Whether you have returning students in your spring semester classes or are expecting to see mostly new faces, keeping students engaged before the start of the semester is a great way to “hit the ground running” when classes resume. The holiday winter break is a great chance for students to relax, recharge and prepare for the new semester. However, as many of us know, between family events, seeing old friends and other recreational activity, sometimes students lose the flow of their academic pursuit in those 5-6 weeks without class. Higher Ed Hero brings you these 5 tips to keep college students engaged over holiday break so you and your students can get the most out of class when it begins.
Recommended Reading List
Many of your students, especially the upperclassmen, will be taking multiple courses with you and your department colleagues as they pursue their major. For those couple of years, you really have the chance to engage students beyond a single semester course to develop a solid teacher-student relationship as they immerse themselves in the subject matter. Those students should have an earnest desire to seek out the books, essays, papers, and other texts related to a given field. By providing them with some additional resources to pursue knowledge independently, you can keep them informed on topics, developments and changes in the field. Connect with your department colleagues and compile a list of the most interesting new books, articles etc. to share with your students for independent discovery.
Make Course Handouts Available Ahead of Time
If you already have your roster list for next semester’s courses and have relevant handouts (introductory material in particular) consider making it available to students prior to the start of the semester. The class leaders will most likely read the material on their own and could help to bring those that didn’t up-to-speed. Professors that have employed this tactic might notice that class discussions move quicker in the beginning and sets up the whole semester on a good pace.
Keep Students Informed About Off-Campus Events
Not all students travel so far from college that it is inconceivable for them to venture back to your campus neighborhood for off-campus events. Perhaps there is a local presentation relevant to specific course or a poetry reading from a college alumnus. Maybe there are just some good shows going on during the break. Whatever the event may be, promoting it to your students is a good way to keep them involved in the campus (and off-campus) culture during the break. As they attend events, see their classmates and are around their campus, their attitude towards the college will remain positive and in the forefront of their thoughts.
Set Up Online Discussion Boards
Students like to share with one another. Just look at social media, new smartphones that can share data with a tap and other avenues that have been created for the purpose of sharing. If properly encouraged, today’s students will also freely share intellectual and/or academic thoughts with one another. You can setup a discussion board relevant to the class starting next semester or maybe just on a topic relevant to a given major.
Using the Campus Email Server
Students will continue to check their school email over break. They have to in order to stay current on important updates, campus news, club news, etc. Don’t be afraid to forward interesting and relevant info, videos, event information or anything else you think your students would appreciate. Just don’t over-send!
We here at Higher Ed Hero hope you enjoyed these simple tips for connecting with your students over break. Education never stops and it is important to keep today’s (often easily distracted) students engaged and current on relevant topics.
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