Michael Wesch: Turning Your Class into a Journey

How can you transform a syllabus into more than a packet of papers?

For Michael Wesch, associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, a syllabus is more than a list of content to be covered.

“I want this to be like a journey,” Wesch told his students one day this month.

Wesch was one of four award-winning K-State professors filmed this month for ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices, which uses high-quality video footage to showcase exemplary classroom instruction. In all, ACUE collected 16 hours of footage over the course of two days on the Manhattan campus.

Kansas State University is part of a growing number of institutions nationwide whose professors are featured in ACUE’s program. In recent weeks, ACUE filmed at Florida A&M University and the University of Connecticut as well.

“My team and I were charged with developing a scalable faculty development resource that would help faculty not only learn about effective practices but put them into action,” said ACUE Chief Academic Officer Penny MacCormack. “Our authentic video classroom demonstrations are a critical piece of that learning design, and we couldn’t do it without partnerships with outstanding institutions like K-State.”

Here is the full list of K-State instructors filmed for classroom demonstrations this month:

  • Michael Wesch, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, for the “Developing Fair, Consistent, and Transparent Grading Practices” and “Preparing an Effective Syllabus” modules
  • Gregory Eiselein, Professor of English, for the “Using Advanced Questioning Techniques” and “Engaging Underprepared Students” modules
  • Ashley Rhodes, Teaching Associate Professor, for the “Embracing Diversity in Your Classroom” and “Using Concept Maps and Other Visualization Tools” modules
  • Donald Saucier, University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, for the “Using Student Achievement and Feedback to Improve Your Teaching,” “Promoting a Civil Learning Environment,” and “Using Advanced Questioning Techniques” modules

ACUE also interviewed Jana Fallin, the Teaching & Learning Center Director, to discuss the importance of effective college instruction as a strategy to improve graduation rates.

“When you can help a teacher become more effective, you’re making a positive difference in the lives of all of the students they will teach,” Dr. Fallin said. “We’re proud to partner with ACUE in their work to strengthen college instruction nationwide.”

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