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Reflective Practice Project Workshop Resources 2015-2016

A guide for faculty to resources related to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

What Should You Do on the First Day of Classes Articles in IUP LIbraries' Collections

What Should You Do on the First Day of Classes?

Bassett, J. F., & Nix, P. (2011). Students' First Day of Class Preferences: Factor Structure and Individual Differences. North American Journal of Psychology, 13(3), 373-381.

Winston, F. (2007). First Day Sociology: Using Student Introductions to Illustrate the Concept of Norms. Teaching Sociology, 35(2), 161-165. login.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=25117758&site=eds-live

Hermann, A. D., & Foster, D. A. (2008). Fostering approachability and classroom participation during the first day of class: Evidence for a reciprocal interview activity. Active Learning In Higher Education, 9(2), 139-151. doi:10.1177/1469787408090840.

St Clair, D. (2015). A simple suggestion for reducing first-time online student anxiety. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 11 (1), 129-135. 

Van Dyke, F., & White, A. (2004). A Tool to Use the First Day of Calculus. Primus, 14(3), 213-229.

Cowan, M. M., & Piepgrass, K. W. (1997). The first day of class on a two-year campus: what students really want us to know about their science classroom experiences. Journal Of College Science Teaching, (2), 104. direct=true&db=eue&AN=507921696&site=eds-live

First-day class activities. (1998). Teaching English in the Two Year College, 25(2), 161.

Gannon, Kevin. (2016).  The Absolute Worst Way to Start the First Day of Classes.

Higgins, P. (2001). Excitement on the First Day?  College Teaching, 49(1), 2.

Weimer, Maryellen. (2017).  First Day of Class Activities that Create a Climate for Learning. 

Suggestions from Participants

Each person in the group thinks of an adjective which describes them and which starts with the same letter as their first name. Then the first person says their name along with their adjective, i.e. Merciful Mike. Everyone repeats both name. The second person says their name and adjective, and then the group repeats both names of both participants. Continue until all participants have been introduced.

When working with an upper level group where many students know one another already, ask students to tell you something special about another student in the group that they know well.

On the first day of an online class, ask student to do a learning management system/syllabus scavenger hunt to help them get oriented with both the class and the system used to deliver it.

Going over the syllabus can be a scary and depressing initial activity, lots of challenges and rules. Instead of covering the syllabus initially, begin with a fun activity that highlights the significance of what they will learn and the professor's method of teaching. Once they complete the activity everyone will be in a good mood and you can move on to the syllabus.

"Ten things this instructor loves," Chronicle of Higher Education, August 19, 2015. Retrieved from was shared.

Offer a sharing trepidations activity where students and instructor discuss what they are anxious about in taking/teaching the  class during the first class period.


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