Alison Coil, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow

Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 Quarter:

Dr.  Coil will be available to informally visit your classroom, notice key elements of teaching from her lens as a UCSD professor who has experimented with teaching and then will provide confidential, specific feedback on your teaching. Your time commitment is only the one hour after the classroom debrief meet with Dr. Coil. Example feedback, which she has provided for other faculty, include:

  • You can ask students to sit up closer to the front if you want, if they tend to populate the back of the room.
  • Ask students to turn off their phones at the start of every lecture.
  • Try to not have your voice go up at the end of a sentence; you want to come across more declarative.
  • You can ask students to fill in the blanks instead of doing it for them; get them speaking with each other as soon as possible after class starts, to engage and get their heads in the room.
  • It would be good to speak more slowly, as the students need time for the new material to sink in.  It’s hard to follow when too fast, as students have to spend energy listening and keeping up and have fewer cycles to process.
  • Your energy level is good once you get going - this is great!!!  The students feed off of this.
  • Instead of asking “Any questions?” you can say “What questions do you have?”  This is more likely to get a response, as it shows that it is okay and in fact expected that they might have questions.
  • How do the students know what is the most important material to know or remember?  How do you communicate that to them in lecture? 
  • You can do more interactive things in class - ABCD student response questions, short discussion questions that break them up into groups of ~3-4, ask for predictions, ask them to explain a concept in their own words.  All of this allows you to see if they’re getting the material at the level you want.
  • You can present less information and go through it more slowly and focus more on the most important topics.  Over time I’ve been moving to proving less info and really make sure they’re getting it instead.
  • You did a great job handling questions where you didn’t know the answer; that builds trust with the students. 
  • You have very good repoire with the students - nice interactions, open communication, back and forth - the students clearly feel comfortable. 


Spring 2018 Quarter:

Dr. Coil will be creating a document in which she reflects weekly on what happens in her 300+ enrolled class, discussing ideas before and after each lecture on her interactive teaching methods - exactly how she did it, and what the results we. This approach offers a glimpse into some of the “inner thinking” that happens on her part as she prepares for a class. Her approach will include how she moderates her online discussion boards; online interactive homework and pre-lecture materials; how she uses student response systems not just to track attendance but get the students speaking in class; how she asks students to explain their way of understanding why a certain answer is the correct answer to a question (for example, I almost always have them talk to each other first for a minute before asking them to speak to the whole class.)

Dr. Alison Coil's 2017-2018 Faculty Fellow Project