team teaching courses

Dr. David A Starrett dstarret at BIOLOGY.SEMO.EDU
Wed Jun 23 15:17:16 EST 1999


At 02:46 PM 6/22/1999 -0700, Jon Monroe wrote:
>Plant-eders,
>
>Well it seems we're in the June to August time when there are fewer
>legitimate postings to Plant-ed...  Maybe a curriculum conversation
>will help us to ignore the spam!
>
>We are contemplating a major change (the first in countless years)
>which will probably involve going from taxon-based first year courses
>(Botany and Zoology) to process-based courses (e.g Structure and
>Function of Organisms, Evolution and Ecology...).  In order to
>represent all taxa in these courses it may be necessary to teach them
>as teams but that can create problems for students.  Can anyone share
>how they solved those problems?

We redid our curriculum this year and had on the books process-oriented
classes as you mention.  We were going to have 4-5 faculty team-teach to
their expertise.  While our curriculum changed directions and we dropped
the idea, we were comfortable with it as we team-teach a number of courses
around here.  For instance, we team teach Cell/Molec.  2 faculty do it in
first semester, three in second.  In second we are doing development stuff
so we have an animal development faculty to come in do that section, then a
plant person come in and do plant section.  This works well as we know our
areas and the students get the benefit.  

Our sophomore level plant biology course is 1/2 taxonomy, 1/4 anatomy, 1/4
physiology.  It is team taught.  The Plant Systematist here does the
diversity 1/2, I do the anatomy and physiology half.  The students thus get
the benefit of our expertise in our areas of specialty.  How do we do it,
he teaches 8 weeks, then me.  We both go first day to talk about the class,
then I show up 8 weeks later.  Yes, our teaching styles are different, I
have to go easy my first day to get students used to me.  I have to take
some things for granted, I sometimes ask students if such-n-such has been
covered, etc.  On grading, we divide the course garde in half.  We each
contribute half the possible points, then we sit down and work out the
curve together.  This course works well this way.  

The cell/molec course works well also.  There also we divide the grading up
by relative time we teach.  It is a Jr/Sr course and so the students have
seen greater range of teaching styles and adapt to new faces in front of
the room pretty easily.


Dave Starrett


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