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Cornell University

Final stretch: refocusing at the end of the semester

We have just over one week left of classes this semester! This is a great time to take stock of what you want to accomplish in the course before it ends. Consider these ideas to avoid adding to end-of-semester stress for students, teaching assistants and yourself.

  • Catch up on grading and posting grades to the course management system so students know where they stand and you have access to the grades. Lightly grade some homework if necessary to catch up.
  • Think through the remaining course assignments and make sure they actually match where you are with course content. Adjust as needed.
  • Review the course learning objectives for any critical content that still needs to be covered. Omit something less critical if necessary.
  • If you are using Ed Discussion, encourage students to answer each other’s questions. Explaining the content helps with learning the content.
  • Consider a high-level review of the course, bringing out and connecting the big ideas. Add context of where they apply.  Students often get lost in the details and need help seeing the big picture. Also help students see how they can use the material beyond the course.
  • Students spend time and effort studying for your final exam or deliverable. What pointers would you give them to use the time effectively?  You can make your own list of advice or refer students to other sources such as the LSC resource for students, or Richard Felder’s “Memo to students …”
  • Develop any review material early and let students know what and when you will be posting so they can plan their studying for your final.
  • Reflect for yourself on successes and failures in the course this semester and write down some notes for the next time you teach it while it’s all fresh in your mind.