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Corralling the Course of Record


We talk a lot about academic freedom, the importance of being able to shape a class and curriculum to help students achieve. At first glance, a Course of Record can seem all prescribed presentations and assignments. However, on Saturday, September 15, the Composition I & II teachers discovered how creative a Course of Record can be.

Alison Hofley demonstrated how to take advantage of pre-existing material by using the included PowerPoints for in-class presentations with student follow-up to online discussion questions for homework. Alison also uses online discussions questions to collect answers for later in-class work. Alison adds a critical thinking component to writing by having students submit a thesis statement, pulling them up on an overhead in front of the class, and having the class contribute feedback. To foster discussion among the students, Alison stands in the back of the room, so the thesis statements are the sole focus of the class.

Shelbey Rosengarten had more suggestions for adding critical thinking to grammar drill and practice. To build vocabulary and add detail to writing, Shelbey has students work with pairs of words and come up with synonyms. Then students discuss the meaning implied with each set of words and how word choice can change the tone of a paper. Students also take words and phrases that are cliché or overblown and come up with clearer terms.

Sometimes a simple shift in focus can add a whole new layer to a lesson. Share your favorite techniques for presenting and building on a lesson in the comment section below!

Featured Link: BlogTalkRadio is an online talk radio network with millions of listeners and thousands of hosts covering politics, tech, entertainment, health and more. How can you supplement your class with live discussion?

Other Training/Sharing Going On:

  • The first ANGEL sharing session of the 2012-2013 academic year is Oct. 1 at Clearwater Campus, Social Sciences Building, Room SS139 from 12:30 – 1:45 pm. SPC faculty will share practical and effective ANGEL course strategies.
  • Seminole Campus is having a “Presidential Debate Watch” Party on Wed. Oct. 3rd in UP 303/319 from 8:30 – 10:30PM.
  • Clearwater Campus is hosting Debate Watch on Wed., Oct. 3 from 8:00pm to 11:00pm in LA 151.
  • St. Petersburg College Applied Ethics Institute presents The Ethical Implications of Free Speech in the World of Social Media on Wed., Oct. 3 from 7-8:30 p.m. on Clearwater, Fine Arts Auditorium
  • Join the 5th annual Fall Critical Thinking Institute Friday, Oct. 5 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Seminole Campus from for more on how to take the basic elements of any class to the next level
  • The October WITS Learning Event will focus on Developing Critical Thinking Activities Using Reusable Learning Objects in two Oct. 5th sessions at 9 a.m. in Room 1- 312 at the EpiCenter and 1 p.m. at Seminole Campus, UP 320.

Let us know any training sessions coming up on your campus and for more fun events, check out the Events Calendar on SPCollege.edu.


  1. Alison’s and Shelby’s interactive ideas promote not only interest in grammar and writing, but, in addition have students think how to relate these to their every day lives. Students realize what they are learning isn’t just for college but can be very useful. Most all these interactive ideas are putting the responsibility on the students to take ownership of their education.
    Roberta “Bobbie” Newman
    Adjunct Instructor REA and SLS (SP/G)

  2. We’ve used Master courses for a while now and I find that having the basics already prepared allows me to spend my time on planning for more interesting and involved learning activities that relate to the basics. In these rushed times, sharing the load and materials just makes sense!

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