When you meet your students for the first time, they will form an impression of you and of your course. That´s absolutely normal but it can strongly influence the entire semester, for better or for worse. Therefore, it´s time well invested that you spend at the beginning of your course to create a positive classroom climate. The “opening scence of your course” is often referred to as “the portal”, and there are many things that you can and should plan for this first encounter with your students. We will hear from several ETH faculty members what they do to start the semester and what experiences they made with it.
Daniel Heyen (TU Kaiserslautern)
Daniel Heyen (TU Kaiserslautern) is a professor of Environmental Economics at TU Kaiserslautern. He was a postdoc at D-MTEC, where he developed the Master course “The Economics of Societal Decisions under Risk”. In that course, and with varying success, Daniel experimented with the portal concept on different levels: What worked well in Daniel’s opinion is the course portal, i.e. the first session that sets the scene for the entire course. His experience with the weekly portal, where he relied on either emails or loom recordings, was more mixed.
Dr. Axel Schild (D-CHAB)
Axel Schild (D-CHAB) is an Ambizione fellow at D-CHAB working on the theory of electron dynamics for molecules in laser fields. He is organizing the exercise part for an introductory course to physical chemistry for about 200 students of chemistry, chemical engineering, and interdisciplinary sciences. In Refresh Teaching, he will talk about his experiences when he made one of the exercise groups a questions-only group and about the importance of setting, communicating and enforcing rules for encouraging active learning.
Dominik Stämpfli (D-CHAB)
Dominik Stämpfli (D-CHAB) is a lecturer at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (IPW). He moderates interactive courses on applied pharmacology for around 40 master’s students in pharmacy and organizes the small lecture series “Pharmaceutical Cases” for around 70 bachelor’s students in pharmaceutical sciences. In this Refresh Teaching event, he will talk about the impact of giving students a behind-the-scenes look at active teaching segments and about the importance of announcing visions in addition to learning objectives.