SET forums will allow students to share feedback on courses, teaching methods

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) will host its fall Students for Exemplary Teaching (SET) Forums on Oct. 3 and Nov. 20 for students to get a chance to express the positives and negatives they have seen at Oakland University.

The forums run for about an hour, with CETL Director Dr. Judith Ableser facilitating the events. Ableser said the forums help CETL to better support OU students, the center’s biggest stakeholders.

“I know the university is about student success,” she said, “and we feel that if faculty can be more successful with their students, then their students can be more successful … We want to hear from the students what they think is important.”

CETL provides resources and professional development to faculty, academic staff and graduate students to enhance “student success and learning by supporting the overall success of the faculty and the university community through pedagogical, professional and leadership development opportunities,” according to the CETL webpage.

The objective for the SET forums is to create workshops and resources for faculty based off of student opinion, which the center has done for about seven years, according to Ableser. 

There will be two forums this semester — the first with the general theme of “Highlights & Lowlights: Share Your Classroom Experiences at Oakland University” and the other exploring the question, “Do Students Cheat More in the Technology Age?”

At the “highlights and lowlights” forum, students will be asked to give feedback on teaching methods they have seen, effective and ineffective class strategies, and more. The “technology age” forum will explore the cheating scene surrounding the ease-of-access to online resources.

Student comments Ableser has seen include the positive use of Moodle for courses and reviews of lecture methods, though the forums do not focus on specific professors. Ableser said students should attend the forums because their voices matter and help the center understand further perspectives. 

“We are up on the literature, we are up on best practices and that, but it’s from an academic’s perspective, not a student perspective,” she said. “We want to make sure that we’re incorporating the students’ perspectives.”

Elijah Sanders, Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) senior legislator and former Student Academic Support Committee member, has been attending the forums since fall 2015. He said he would like to see more students in attendance because CETL helps advocate for them.

CETL and the OUSC have coordinated to improve the student experience for years through student-inspired resources, according to both Sanders and Ableser. Sanders also emphasized the importance of students taking advantage of every opportunity to get their voices heard.

“Student activism and involvement is important, especially when engaging in the classroom,” Sanders said. “If you do not get involved, you’re kind of silencing your own chance to create a change and benefit yourself because … [your professors’] job is to help you. Your job is to let the university know what your needs are, and CETL is one of the best ways that you can do that.”

Sanders plans to attend the forums and use his stance as an OUSC legislator to draft a bill concerning important student issues, working with CETL to the extent to which he can be involved.

The forums are Thursday, Oct. 3 from 12-1 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 5-6 p.m., with lunch/dinner provided to students. Both will be in Elliott Hall, Room 200A. Students must register for the events at least a few days in advance via the CETL webpage, under the “Students for Excellence in Teaching” tab.

More information can be found on the event flyer.