A Crash Course for Teaching This Fall

This post offers quick takeaways to help you be successful in your most pressing tasks before the semester begins. There are tips for brand-new instructors as well as seasoned pros. 

Tips to Get Your Sakai Site Ready

  1. Brand new to Sakai? You’ll need to create your own sites. If you are interested in building a highly interactive site, learn about the advanced template. The Sakai Help site can help you navigate the system and Learning Innovation offers online office hours. You can contact us at learninginnovation@duke.edu to schedule training as well. 
  2. Teaching a course again? You can import content from a previous site. Review steps to update specific tool items and consider more stylistic considerations. Save time with the Date Manager to bulk edit due dates.
  3. Seeing too many sites at once?  Clean up your navigation bar so only your favorite sites are visible. If you are ready to let go of old sites, learn how to download important content like grades, quizzes, lessons and then mark sites for deletion

Tips to Develop a Student-Centered Syllabus

  1. Writing a syllabus for the first time? Check out our course planning guide and refer to this checklist for a complete syllabus.
  2. Trying to improve upon an existing syllabus? Consider how to update the tone to be student-centered or read about one professor’s approach to creating a student-centered syllabus.
  3. Concerned about building an equitable course? Update your syllabus (and slides) to meet accessibility requirements (and make them easier to read for all students). Plus think deeply about how to craft equitable policies and discussions.

Tips for Better Feedback

  1. Wondering who your students are? Try one of our survey templates to find out about them before the course begins and how to support their learning this semester.
  2. Interested in evaluating your course? Commit yourself to change and gather ongoing feedback from your students. For help from us, sign up for a midterm feedback session facilitated by Learning Innovation staff.
  3. Want to provide effective feedback to your students? Develop ways to use frequent, low-stakes assessments to make their learning transparent and deliver feedback in a timely fashion.

More help

Explore the Learning Innovation website to discover much more information. For example, how to use Duke-supported learning technologies, how to address course design issues such as active learning or effective teamwork plus find resources for new faculty. Don’t see what you need? Email learninginnovation@duke.edu for help.