Quirky Facts and Ticket to the Final
1- At the start of the term, I ask students to say their names and cite one quirky fact about themselves. Then both the teacher and each of them have to memorize all the names (the quirky fact sometimes helps in this regard and also creates some laughter and good cheer). I do this because in a discussion I encourage them to say the name of the person whose comment they're building on or with whom they might disagree. This helps turn what might otherwise be a question-and-answer situation into a conversation for all that can probe and explore topics fruitfully.
2- I require students to fill out Course Evaluations at the end of a term so that I can have near 100% return and thus learn from the patterns of positive and negative comments that emerge. To ensure such a high rate of return I call the Course Evaluation the "ticket to the final".
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