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How to Kick Procrastination to the Curb: 10 Strategies to Get You Moving

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE While autumn is beautiful, it’s a season that can also be ladened with intense yard work. Recently, I helped my husband pull out decaying Black Eyed Susan’s from one of our gardens. From there, I cleaned up the front garden, tossed the spent potted summer flowers, and planted perennial flowers. By the time I was ready to sweep up the mess I had created on the walkways, I was wilting like the flowers I had just tossed. After many hours of tackling the autumn clean-up, I found myself despising my gardens and swearing that I was going to plant plastic flowers next year. I have a love-hate relationship with gardening. Can you tell? My emotions about writing were often the same. You see, I’ve always loved writing. Yet, I perfected the art of procrastinating my writing until it had become a daunting task. A task that had me cursing its existence. UNTIL… I learned a few key strategies about taking action on my writing (or any overwhelming task I attempt to undertake) that have completely transformed my productivity. Key Strategies to Kick Procrastination to the Curb 1. Acknowledge that FEAR is holding you back. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of pain. There […]

How to write a meaningful piece with a quick deadline.

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE I volunteered. I wanted to do it. But I was also overwhelmed by it. What was “it”? My dad passed away recently and I raised my hand when the pastor asked, “Who would like to give the eulogy?” I had only four days to write  the most important piece I had ever written.   It was important that I got it right. And I didn’t have much time.  Writing Strategies for that Time You Need to Get it Right (and be Fast About It) Sit and quietly reflect. Allow your thoughts to flow.  Begin listing or mindmapping your thoughts as they come. Brainstorming early gives your thoughts time to percolate. You will continue to add to this list as more ideas come to mind.  You will simply be recording ideas that you don’t want to lose. The sentences may be fragmented ideas. But refrain from editing this brainstormed list until you are ready to write.  Keep a note-taking device handy. The note-taking device can be in the form of a journal, index cards, or even voice notes. Using the notes app on your smartphone is easy because, well, who doesn’t have their phone adhered to their hip at all times? The idea is to be […]

Could your tests withstand a grade appeal?

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE A faculty member contacted me recently. She is facing the nightmare so many of us in academia fear. A student is appealing her final grade. Yikes! You may be surprised to hear that this student failed 3 of her 4 course tests. But, that is not what she is contesting. Rather, the student is appealing because “the tests in this faculty member’s course were unfair in comparison to other courses.”  “The tests were too hard.” And now the faculty member must defend her tests before the grade appeal panel. Seeking advice, this faculty member asked me about what she should prepare for her meeting with the grade appeal panel. This is what I told her: Bring copies of your syllabus to demonstrate how the policies of the course, including testing, are clearly laid out. Be prepared to defend the reliability and validity of the course tests. Bring copies of your course tests and all of the corresponding test analyses provided by the test analysis software. Bring copies of your test item blueprints. Be prepared to cite best evidence literature that indicates the tests were reliable and valid. Do you agree? If you were this faculty member, could you provide the grade appeal panel the evidence that indicates your tests are reliable and valid? Likewise, administrators, do […]

10 Strategies to Ease Academia Pain

By Kelly Beischel Have you ever felt like your time was being rapidly sucked away? That’s where I am right now.  You see, time is not my own this semester. We are currently knee deep in curriculum creation. I can’t even say revision because we’re creating a brand-spanking-new concept based curriculum from scratch. Did I hear you say OUCH? You’re right. It’s painful. It’s time consuming. (Especially at the super-sonic speed with which we’ve been charged to create it.) Lack of time is one of my pain points. How about you? In the event you’re feeling the same way, let me share with you a few strategies I’ve been using to ease the “lack of time” pain that comes with being a faculty member. Strategies to Relieve Academia Pain Be kind to yourself. The curriculum nor does its creation ride solely on your shoulders. My husband kindly pointed this out to me in one of my fits of overwhelm about our curricular change. Be a leader. Feeling disempowered by those in authority can bring out negativity in the best of us, especially when those in authority are not effective leaders. Step up. Bring your own leadership qualities such as honesty, communication, a sense of humor, confidence, commitment, and creativity to the project. It […]

How to Successfully Deliver Syllabus Content


By Kelly Beischel Last week we discussed the importance of laying out the course ground rules in our syllabus.  The delivery of the syllabus is crucial. Just as umpires stand on home plate and give the ground rules before the game begins – it’s key that you do the same with your syllabus. It starts the course off in the right direction. So how can you most effectively deliver the content of the syllabus and elicit their buy in? Ask your students to read the syllabus before coming to class. Then discuss with them any thorny points on the first day of class. The room will be pretty quiet, betcha. Most students won’t read it. Use up the whole first class period explaining the syllabus. (Not the best use of time, right?) Create an audio recording that explains the syllabus. Doing this frees up class time. Require students to listen to the recording prior to the 1st class. You can tell them that a quiz will follow. They’ll do it. Give a syllabus quiz in class. It can be individual or in small groups. It’s fun to use the quiz as a game. You can distribute prizes for the most thorough answers or for the group finished first. I’ve also […]

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