In all my lesson plans, I have space for a reflection. If something needs a tweak, it took longer than I thought, or I have an idea, I write a note on the lesson plan I printed out. (I time the segments so I can tell if I’m running out of time and need to adjust.) However, a few semesters ago, we started entering stats like number of students, how well we think the class went, as well as reflections, in the faculty LI request form in LibAnalytics. Last semester I stopped copying my reflection into the lesson plan and it cost me recently when I taught a COM 231 class. I thought this instructor required her students have their topics by the LI class. I was wrong. I am now reminded why I kept up with those lesson plans so obsessively.
When I teach for an instructor again, I usually start with the lesson plan I used the previous semester – complete with the reflection that includes warnings I’ll need for the next time. So now I’ll remember to at least email the students before the LI class with a survey that asks for their topic, so they’ll have chosen one before the class. On a related note, I used the Developing Your Topic is Research video from NCSU. The good news is, when I asked the class what they learned, I got back some good answers. The problem is, it shouldn’t have to be used in a 2XX level course. This video would be better in COM 110, which, ideally, they should have taken before COM 231. Unfortunately, since only COM 231 transfers as a communication class (versus a general elective), more and more students are being advised to take COM 231, not COM 110. So, it is possible that students take COM 231 (no prerequisite) their first semester, even before taking any other class. Suffice to say, this makes scaffolding difficult.