Conducting an Effective Final Class Meeting

The final class meeting of a course will play a significant role in the perceptions that the student carries forward of their personal achievement, as well as that they adopt of the individual professor, and perhaps the entire instructional program and institution. With some much riding on the outcome, it is critical that this key milepost be effectively managed. Following are some tips for achieving common end-of-the-term goals:

  • Draft an agenda several days prior to the final class meeting, and update it several times before meeting the class;
  • Arrive early, anticipating that some students will want to discuss their status within the course privately;
  • Orchestrate as professional appearance to the classroom as possible;
  • Proactively manage the anxiety students will feel toward taking their final examination, and/or submitting a major capstone assignment, by meeting as many as possible at the door;
  • If an evaluation of the course/instructor by students is to be conducted, follow procedures exactly, including leaving the classroom;
  • Identify the next logical course in the curriculum, as well as any courses you have been assigned for the following term;
  • If a final examination is being given, provide any last minute clarification that might be needed by students, procedures for submitting it, and how students will learn of their final course grade;
  • As students leave the classroom, meet each in the hallway if possible and provide personalized feedback on one of their accomplishments within the course.

Ending a course in a comprehensive and professional manner markedly impacts students' sense of security and fairness, and provides opportunities for you to receive feedback that will foster your further development as a professor.

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