(from Berkeley University Center for Teaching & Learning) "Not with a whimper, but a bang." – (A revisionist view of T.S. Eliot). Make the last day count. Too often, the last day of a class can be taken up with housekeeping-information on the final, last minute details, and course evaluations. But as Richard Lyons, author of several books on college teaching says, "the final class is a key student retention milepost." Here is a potpourri of ideas from Berkeley faculty
Parting Ways: Ending Your Course
(from Association for Psychological Sciences) Much emphasis has been placed on the use of activities at the beginning of a course to provide opportunities for introductions, begin to create a comfortable classroom atmosphere to encourage discussion and learning, or develop a sense of community and group identity. In many teaching books (e.g., McKeachie, 1999) there is an entire chapter devoted to getting started and what to do on the first day of a course such as breaking the ice, introducing the teacher and textbook, and allowing time for questions. Much less attention has been given to the equally important task of providing closure at the end of a course or seminar.
After a great deal of time developing a sense of comfort and community in the classroom, ignoring class endings seems awkward and abrupt to both students and faculty. Here are some suggested “parting-ways” techniques.