Mistakes are a part of life, but never pleasant when they happen. I want to apologize to Leah Mason, who provided me with last weeks FLC’s post. Unfortunately I messed it up, and got the pictures in the wrong order. It was totally my fault.

The mistake is now corrected, and you really should scroll down and take another look at her post on Accessible Language!!!

With all of that in mind, I thought I would take this opportunity to look at mistakes in a bit more detail.

Mistakes in Systems

When building a system, or building a course, assume mistakes are going to happen. How can you help avoid them?

Think ahead of what likely mistakes will be. Calendar errors are possibly the most likely. Gradebook errors are also an area that I help with often, especially column and category errors. Think about where you have seen errors in the past and double and triple check before the course is released.

Mistakes Due To Stress

Believe it or not, most errors occur when you are under stress. When you are stressed even simple tasks can be daunting and impossible. The Yerkes-Dodson Law looks at the relationship between stress and performance.

Yerkes-Dodson Human Performance Stress Curve

What they found was that stress actually helps – to a point. Once stress gets too high, performance decreases. This curve changes with the difficulty of the task. Difficult tasks can only take a smaller amount of stress before you see a performance decrease.

Stressed student looking at his computer

This is important to note when teaching. Students are not likely to find the least stressful environment when studying and working on your coursework! If you are giving a student a difficult task, help them by eliminating distracting elements such as color, sounds, or movements, unless they are directly related to the task you are asking them to do.

If students are under stress, they will not see things on the screen, and they may tend to do the same actions over and over, even if they don’t work.

Are All Errors Bad?

Actually, not all errors are bad. We learn a lot when we make errors, and we can use that information to help achieve future goals. Learn from your mistakes, and remember to walk away for a bit if the stress is too high. You’ll thank yourself!!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Thanks for reading the Faculty Learning Corner, and remember to go back and look at last weeks “new and improved” post!!!