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January 12 Teaching & Learning Newsletter

Jan 13, 2017, 08:34 AM


View the CITL Teaching & Learning Newsletter January 12 Issue


New Year, New Semester!

We wish you a happy 2016 as well as an inspiring and productive Spring semester. In this edition of our newsletter, we share pertinent announcements, upcoming workshops, and events as well as teaching tips to help you prepare for the first weeks of the new term.

Looking Forward to Spring 2017

We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with you in Spring 2017. We will continue to offer the Junior Faculty Series and Teaching with Technology Seminar Series each with new and returning topics. We will be offering new hands-on workshops that tie pedagogical strategies learned in the Junior Faculty Series with technology to give you real world experience with these tools. We also look forward to our end of the year Celebration of College Teaching event. If you have any ideas on workshops or events you would like to see we would love to hear from you. Please send them to and we can see what we can do. 

CITL Events & Workshops


Wed Feb 1
Teaching with Technology Series: CU Community Fab Lab
3:00 P.M. - 4:30 P.M., room 249 Armory Building
Speaker: Jeff Ginger (Informatics) 

Technical Training

Thur Jan 12
Illinois Compass 2g Essentials Clinic
3:00 P.M. - 4:30 P.M., room 249 Armory Building
Speaker: Jordan Branham (CITL) 

Training Opportunities Across Campus

Monday, Jan 23
Savvy Researcher - Improve Your Research Strategies
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., room 314, Main Library
Sponsor: University Library - Scholarly Commons

Tuesday, Jan 24
Savvy Researcher - Choosing a Citation Manager
10:00 A.M. -11:00 A.M., room 314, Main Library
Sponsor: University Library - Scholarly Commons

Thursday, Jan 26
Savvy Researcher - Improve Your Research Strategies
10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M., room 314, Main Library
Sponsor: University Library - Scholarly Commons

Teaching Tips

Is Your Syllabus a Boring One or a Promising One?

Rather than read aloud your syllabus on the first day, how do you lively up a boring syllabus?  Clip art? More jokes? Perhaps even just one joke? A better method would be to adopt the idea of the "promising syllabus," a concept developed by Ken Bain, whose book (What the Best College Teachers Do, 2004). He doesn't claim to have originated the idea of the promising syllabus -- he discovered it, he said, from his review of the syllabi of outstanding college and university teachers, in which he found a common approach and some common features. "The promising syllabus," Bain wrote via e-mail, "fundamentally recognizes that people will learn best and most deeply when they have a strong sense of control over their own education rather than feeling manipulated by someone else's demands." A promising syllabus contains three key components.

Make the Most of the First Day of Class

The first day of class always creates some nervousness, even for seasoned instructors. It helps to have a mental checklist of objectives to accomplish so that you and your students come away with the impression that the course is off to a good start. The first class meeting should serve at least two basic purposes: a) to clarify all reasonable questions students might have relative to the course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. As students leave the first meeting, they should believe in your competence to teach the course, be able to predict the nature of your instruction, and know what you will require of them and b) to give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are. These two basic purposes expand into a set of eight concrete objectives that will maximize opportunities in your first day.

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