In teaching, like in writing much of the work comes from revising and updating your knowledge, your objectives, your formatting, and your implementation. I use the scientific approach in teaching like in research. I need to know what my students already understand at the outset of the semester. A baseline evaluation provides a framework to scaffold further information, introduce new ways to think about existing and newly introduced information. Real learning does not come from rote memorization of facts and dates but in thinking about information in an applied, meaningful way, in a critical way.
I start each class I teach with a comprehensive exam, essentially the final exam that includes all of the information I hope students will take away from the semester. This provides a baseline of information, where they are at the start of the semester. Over the course of the semester, I introduce learning assessments (traditional exams), self-evaluations and class ratings, to see where my students are at all times during the semester and if my pedagogy is effective. At the end of the semester, students provide course and instructor ratings as well. These tools provide a basis for how I might frame subsequent courses, how I might improve my course work, and what learning methods (e.g., case studies, group exercises, laboratories, and lectures) were effective.
My lectures and sometimes my classes are not always a success. But in the classroom, the field, or like in writing, research and life, we formulate, implement, evaluate, and revise, revise, revise.
These are the core courses I teach, linked to some of these classes are the most recent syllabus:
PSY 300 and 301: Research Methods and Statistics
PSY 324: Comparative Animal Behavior
PSY 352: Sensation and Perception
PSY 452: Behavioral Endocrinology
PSY 420: Drugs and Behavior
PSY 382/482: Biopsychology Research and Capstone