To the New Instructor

If you’re reading this page, you’re probably A. a new instructor or B. curious about what we have to say to new instructors.

Either way, we say: welcome.

Then we say: we hope our site helps you. We designed it with you in mind. We tried to think of what you–the new teacher, or the teacher new to our particular program, or the seasoned pro looking to mix it up a little–might need, what you might want, as you embark  upon new adventures in the classroom.

In the beginning, we thought, “what are the questions that new instructors ask?” So we asked new instructors to submit questions. Then we submitted frequently asked questions to professors and instructors whose work we admired. Their answers–which are smart, savvy, and sometimes funny–are scattered throughout the site, but they’re also available at the FAQ page. If you have a question that we’ve failed to answer, don’t hesititate to give us–Kelly Pender (Coordinator of GTA education), Molly Scanlon and Kerry Dirk (Assistants to the Coordinator of GTA education), or Julie Mengert, Steve Oakey, Joseph Scallorns (GTA advisors)–a shout.

In planning the design of the O.C.E.L.O.T., we asked ourselves: where do new teachers begin? And we answered by saying: outcomes and goals.

So why not begin by reading about the goals of 1105 and 1106? Then, under “Planning a Course,” take a peek at our textbook list and sample syllabi. Read about assignment sequencing. Check out the big list of time-tested and instructor-approved assignments. Read about the importance of lesson plans and how to facilitate class discussions under the “Course Management” section. Read about grading strategies under “Assessment” and check out a host of helpful links under our “Resources” section, including links to library info, technology help, principles of visual design, a number of PowerPoint presentations that explore various facets of visual rhetoric, ideas for oral and group presentations, professional development materials, and a movie that describes the concept of the “pecha kucha” presentation.

We hope this site makes life as a teacher at VT better and easier. If you have any ideas for improvement–or if there’s anything else you need–let us know. We’re here to help.


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