Back Online!

Education Concept

After a mid-summer break, AHTR is back from vacation and, probably as you are too, making final preparations for the upcoming school semester.

This fall, we’re excited that the AHTR blog will play host to some thought-provoking posts from guest authors.  We’ll be kicking off later today with Rhonda Reymond writing about her experiences using Tiki Toki timeline technology in the classroom.

In the meantime, inspired by a recent crowd-sourced post on the Chronicle of Higher Education, we’d also like to invite discussion of the first class of the semester. Apart from the pithy advice for students the CoHE users collated (below), what information do you give your students in their first class? What does (or could) an energizing first class session look like? Regardless of the class subject matter, and be it online, in person, or off-site and hybrid courses, what questions do you pose to your students at the beginning of the semester?  What activities to you begin with?  What syllabus elements do you highlight?

We invite you to share below in the comments. Next week we’ll be posting a perfect-for-first-class-of-the-semester drawing and description exercise on the AHTR blog, courtesy of author and teacher Jesse Day, in time for prepping for the first week back. For now, a list of advice for students. Perhaps we need an accompanying one for teachers? …..


1.  Read your syllabus.  It contains the answers to many of your questions.

2.   If you have questions that aren’t answered in the syllabus, ask them. Always ask questions.  When in doubt, ask questions.  The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.

3.   For the love of all that’s good in this world, GO TO CLASS!  If nothing else, you might learn something through osmosis.

4.   Do your reading.  Even if it’s just supplementary, it will probably help you understand the subject matter much better.

5.   Don’t procrastinate.  Seriously.  It’s a bad idea.  This includes cramming for tests.  Don’t do it.

6 Follow the directions.  Just do it. Your grade will depend on it.

7.   Take advantage of office hours, especially if you’re in a big class.  It’s next to impossible for professors to know everyone’s name in a big class.  If you go to their office hours, they can put a face to a name.  As a corollary: Most professors aren’t ogres.  We actually like college kids and we want to get to know you.

8.   Professors help those who help themselves.  Grace and mercy come to those who earn it.  Waiting until after half the grades in the class have been recorded severely limits what your professor can do to help you.  In other words, the earlier you can let your professor know that you’re having trouble, don’t understand something, have questions about material, etc., the better.

9.   Get a firm grasp on the science of learning.  First, know your learning style and use it to your advantage in studying. Compensate for it in areas that emphasize other learning styles.  Second, understand and appreciate the differences between testing methods and how that impacts your preparation.  For example, the way one studies for a multiple choice test is different from the way one would study for an essay test.

10.   Keep a calendar.  Tests, papers, and projects are less likely to sneak up on you if you put all important dates in a day planner.

One response to “Back Online!”

  1. While I’m not an art history teacher, I would unquestionably share this article about why to study it.

    Written by an art history professor at Essex, Matt Lodder, it argues that the skills learned through the study of art history are transferrable to numerous professions and in high demand today. You’ll want to frame this!

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