As many parents, teachers, staff members, and students know, the end of the fall semester is in sight (thought I heard someone say “Whew”). Yes, it really is, and if you’re a teacher or academic advisor, you probably know how important it is to help students stay on track with academic conferences to discuss their progress and how they’re doing before the end of the semester.
It’s not enough to come down to the end of the semester, announce the upcoming final exam, and then allow students to come up to see their grades. No, this isn’t a good practice as students then have less of a chance to perform as well as they possibly can had they understood their grades, weak areas, and strong areas at least a month or more prior to the final.
So today, I’m here to help you with understanding some context on preparing for academic conferences with students by giving some tips on questions to ask prior to holding them and showing views of how your online appointment scheduler might appear before students prepare to book a meeting with you.
Some Things You Might Not Know About Your Students
Sometimes you may come across students who will not inform you of occurrences and challenges that they are facing outside of school. Some students will try to work through tough times and challenges, such as working a full-time job, juggling parenthood, or facing health challenges.
As a teacher or administrator, you might notice that these students might struggle with attending classes on time, focusing in class, or coming to class at all. Some students might even zone out during class because something else is preoccupying their thoughts, and the challenge is being able to reach those students and encourage them to continue trying in the class beyond those struggles.
I’m not saying that you should badger these students or be nosy, but a quick meeting before or after class just to ask if everything’s okay or if there are questions you can help those students with is enough to let them know that you care. An email or a call is also helpful as it lets them know that they’re not just a number in your class, but a member of a community whom you want to see succeed. These brief meetings might count as conferences depending on your department, but if you find yourself wanting or needing to meet with the student for a longer period of time, then here are some questions you might consider asking during your conference.
Questions to Ask Students During Your Conference
Here is a list of questions to ask during your academic conference to help determine the best ways in which to help your student:
1. How do feel about the material we’ve covered so far?
2. Is there any concept that we’ve covered so far that’s very fuzzy?
3. How much time do you spend studying per week?
4. Do you visit the tutoring or academic success center?
5. Is there anything that I can change about how I’m teaching to try to help make learning the material easier?
These are just several sample questions that you can ask your student during the conference, and you may be able to think of more concerning classroom conduct, outside challenges, strengths, and others.
Helping Students to Book an Appointment Online for the Conference
Allowing students to set up an appointment online for conferencing is very simple and easy to do. This takes out the additional time that you might have to set aside either before or after class in order to announce that you need to see certain students before he or she leaves.
It’s as simple as providing a link to your online scheduler within the learning management system that your institution uses, whether that’s Desire 2 Learn, Blackboard, Moodle, or any of the other systems. Additionally, you might also be able to provide a “Book Now” button under the class news or announcements section, or embed a web scheduler on your own website or under the news section as well.
Here’s an example of what your web scheduler might look like when a student prepares to schedule a meeting with you:
If you'd like to demo this scheduler, you can step through it below to set up a test appointment:
And we hope that this post was helpful to you today and will be able to help you going forward as you work with your students in making sure that they understand where they are in your classes and possible next steps forward. If you enjoyed this post or can share some great educational tips with us, let us know in the comments box below. For now, happy scheduling!