Dean, General Education
“Landing Classes” are important courses, since these courses are new students’ first experience with teaching and learning at the college. For this reason, we strive to engage students by employing active learning strategies in every class meeting, designing lessons that require students to apply their learning, and contextualize the course content and skills to help students see the relevance and value (i.e. contextualized learning).
Landing Classes vs. Other Classes
We don't necessarily think you, as an instructor, should teach a "landing class" differently than other classes at the college. An instructor should approach teaching all classes by employing applied learning, active learning strategies, and contextualization. That being said, we're singling out "landing classes" because in colleges across the country, we have seen many students leave college during their first year. At Kendall, in particular,
- About 25% of new-students leave the college after their first quarter.
- About 25% of new-students are on Academic Warning (their first-quarter GPA is under 2.0) after their first quarter.
These trends are causing us to focus on "landing courses" to address these alarming numbers, since, we believe good teaching will result in engaged students who will accomplish their academic and professional goals.
Below are the college's Best Practices for delivering an engaging “landing course.”
Personalize and Engage
As the instructor of the course, it’s important for you to establish a rapport with the students and customize your instructional approach to each of the students. Furthermore, if a student is struggling in the class, you may need to make yourself available to the student outside of class to help them and alert college staff who can help you to support the student.
- Set your expectations for student performance on the first class meeting and hold students accountable.
- Spotlight on Sapna Mangal, Associate Professor in the School of Hospitality Management
- Create a nurturing environment and instill a growth mindset in the student.
- Use active learning strategies in every class meeting.
- Provide feedback on assignments within a couple days (no longer than a week after the assignment is completed) and strive to provide meaningful feedback in-the-moment (during class time) as students are applying the learning.
- Strive for student-centered class meetings by tailoring the class meetings to appeal to various learning styles and academic level
- Use Kendall college resources: peer mentors, peer tutors, Academic Success Center (ASC), and advising.
- Peer Mentors. Each program has a dedicated peer mentor, an upper class student who can help new students navigate Kendall. Contact Holly Bouma- Johnston (email@example.com).
- Academic Success Center (ASC). The Academic Success Center (ASC) is staffed by math and writing specialists (one each) and peer tutors and provides academic support to struggling students. If you observe a struggling student, submit a KC Alerts (see below) or email the Manager of the Academic Success Center, Meredith Tumilty (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Advising. The advising department plays an important role at the college. Advisors maintain a relationship with their students, and they can help you support your students. If you have an issue that you believe needs the advisors attention, please submit a KC Alerts (see below) and specify that you want the advisor to contact you. If you need to contact Advising about a particular student, use this email address (AdvisingGroup@kendall.edu)
- Use KC Alerts, the college's early alert system, to notify the college that a student is struggling in the class. More info on KC Alerts. You may be prompted to sign in - please use your O365/email credentials.
- If you’re teaching an online class, use the announcement portion of the class as a forum for instruction (Spotlight on Nicole Grasse, Assistant Professor in General Education), not just a place to remind students of due dates. There are numerous web-based tools that you may want to use:
- Coming soon: Web 2.0 Tools for Engagement
- To vary the announcements in an online class, post videos of yourself.
During a recent focus group of students at the college, students responded that they felt more engaged in classes that are relevant to their future careers or to themselves. Not all courses provide content and skills that will be directly employed during their career, but students do crave context for these skills and content. Please see the Teaching Toolbox section on contextualized learning.
- Instructors may want to take students on field trips or spend time in class connecting course content to the instructor's real-world experience with the industry/content.
- Instructors may want to invite guest speakers into class to share knowledge/experience with the course content. (Consider using technology (Skype, Zoom, etc.) to connect students with industry experts.)
In the recent focus group about student engagement in course at the college, students overwhelmingly reported the best courses challenged them and caused them to think in new and different ways.
- Go beyond having students memorize vocabulary and terms and lecturing about these basic elements of a course.
- Use real-world problems (perhaps via current case studies) where there are no “right” answers to the problem.
- Provide student numerous opportunities to practice critical thinking about the course content. Begin by providing students with well-structured, simple problems and progress to more complex, ill-structured problems and provide guidance to students to work through the problems.
- Model critical thinking so that students can “see” an expert work with the material.
- For those who want to base their approach on education theory, familiarize yourself with the Perry scheme of intellectual development
You will want to consider each of the activities (lecture, discussion, role-play, etc.) and design a series of activities for form a cohesive, rigorous learning experience for each class meeting that leads students to the accomplishment of the course’s student learning outcomes. See lesson planning.