Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Summer SLLO Set Up Sampler

As the great poet and prophet, The Fresh Prince aka Will Smith, once said, “Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.” While the summer is a great time to relax, recover from the crazy semester, and regroup, it is also the perfect time to set you up for success in the upcoming school year.
With that in mind, take this summer to commit to encouraging and assessing student learning in your work with students, and let SLLO help you. This post will give you a few basic items and ways you can get involved when the weather gets hot and the blockbuster movies get cool.
  • Visit the SLLO website ( and look around. This may seem like an easy step, but have you ever just spent some time looking the website over? There are sections for advisors, for students, for rubrics and for activities. This is the first place you can look for SLLO resources, and the more you become familiar with it, the easier it will be to make it a part of your day-to-day work.
  • Attend the SLLO Orientation. Not only will you learn the history of SLLO, you will also get to meet with other people starting off their SLLO journey. Being able to bounce ideas off of others is vital for using SLLO.
  • Pick one aspect of the program and commit to trying it with your students. Whether it is using a particular rubric at the beginning of the semester, or learning contracts, or one-minute papers, just try something. Maybe it will work better than you ever imagined, or maybe it won’t, but you have to start somewhere.
  • Set manageable goals when using SLLO. It may not make sense for you to vow to use learning contracts for every student you advise, pull out learning outcomes for every meeting, and re-writing job descriptions. If you set a goal for using one resource for a handful of students, incorporating it into a larger group with more resources will become easier.
  • Talk about how your department or team is going to use SLLO in the upcoming year. Meeting agendas in the summer tend to have more room for discussion, so suggest to your supervisor a portion of your meeting to talk about student learning. If your colleagues are using the resources, chances are you will be more likely to use them as well.
  • Communicate with your student leaders and find out what they want to get out of their experience. Not only is your schedule freer in the summer, your students will have more time as well. Asking them what they want to get out of their experience will help you decide what areas to focus on in SLLO. If they want to improve their public speaking, use that rubric. Project management? There’s a resource for that. Ask them to think about their future careers and what they need to be successful in that.
Try these things over the summer, and before you know it, you will be amazed at how quickly it becomes a part of your everyday thinking.

Authors Note: From this post on, I will be taking SLLO on the road and writing away from the Texas A&M campus as I pursue other opportunities in my career. I still plan to contribute to the blog, so if you have any ideas for topics, please message me on Facebook (Tom L. Fritz) or follow me on Twitter (@TomLFritz). Thank you to the SLLO Leadership Team for allowing me to stay a part of this great resource even from across the country, and a pre-emptive shout-out to the Create and Share team for keeping me in the loop on the progress.

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