Let Publishers Do the Heavy Administrative Lifting
Preparing for a new class, or revamping an old one, is no easy task. There’s a syllabus to create, content to prepare, a textbook to choose – the list goes on and on. Once you’ve made some of these decisions about how your course will run, though, don’t forget to check your publisher’s website for resources to supplement your teaching. They have published more than just a book; there’s a whole world of resources out there just waiting to be used. Here are some that I have used and found helpful in the past.
(Note: If you are using McGraw Hill’s Connect, you can click on “Resources” from your course’s home page to find many of these items listed below. For ALEKS, hover over “Class Administration,” click on “Resources,” and then “McGraw Hill Resources.”)
Pre-made slides can help you outline and plan your lectures. If you are someone who likes to teach using slides, these publisher-provided slides are there for you to use and edit as you see fit. They follow along with your textbook, referencing the section and page numbers, allowing you to focus on content and explaining things to your students instead of little administrative details. If you prefer not to use slides, you can still make use of them! They are great resources that you can post to your Learning Management System (LMS) for your students to supplement your lectures.
Similar to slides, guided notes help alleviate some of the work in outlining and setting up your course. The exercises have been vetted and give you a great place to start. These are also helpful when teaching in an online setting, as students like to have something written to help them through the readings. I suggest to my online students that they should print them out or load them into their tablet, and then fill them out as they read. This helps guide them to the most important parts of the section since they won’t hear me say these points during lecture.
Making a test can often be a time-consuming chore, but using a test bank can help! I’ve found them especially useful when I am teaching multiple sections of the same course. I can quickly locate a few versions of the same type of question(s), which lets me make multiple forms of a test without worrying about varying difficulty or making the questions stale and boring.
If you use a web-based homework system, suggested homework exercises are often pre-built for you. These cover the main ideas of each section, but then you can go in and edit to fit the material you cover. These have been particularly helpful if it’s your first time teaching the course. Starting with something that’s pre-made and editing is always easier than starting from scratch.
It never hurts to have a visual explanation available for students, but videos can be time-consuming and difficult to create on your own. Khan Academy is a popular destination, but chances are your textbook comes with some supplemental videos too. Post them to your LMS so your students have quick and easy access.
When in doubt check with your publisher’s customer support or sales rep for the latest and greatest resources available for you and your students.