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January 26 Teaching & Learning Newsletter

Jan 27, 2017, 13:12 PM


View the CITL Teaching & Learning Newsletter January 26 Issue


Spring Workshops Announced

CITL will be offering workshops throughout the semester on many topics in the areas of pedagogy and technology.  Faculty, staff, and grad students can all find something of interest.  See our calendar for our scheduled offerings, and check back occasionally as we continually add more workshops.

Spring 2017 Junior Faculty Series on Teaching & Learning begins Feb. 8

Come join a dynamic learning community by participating in this specially designed seminar series for junior faculty (though all faculty are invited to come). We’ll share strategies and best practices for improving student learning. Sample topics will be Creating Effective Team Assignments and Student Teams, A Learner-Centered Course Design to Enhance Significant Learning, and Enabling Students to Think Critically and Problem-Solve. See our flyer with all of of the Spring 2017 Workshop topics.  Great conversations and handouts provided.  Registration opens on Sunday, Jan. 29th.

Teaching Certificates

The Teaching Certificate Program offers a great way to document your commitment to being an excellent teacher. We offer five certificates to serve a wide audience, whether you are a grad student without a teaching appointment, a teaching assistant just getting started, or an experienced instructor of any rank. Please see the program's webpage for more information.

English Proficiency Interview (EPI) Workshops for International Graduate Students

Registration is now open for four workshops for Graduate Students who plan to take the EPI. The workshops are free, but registration is required. Space is limited, so register early at . First-time test takers and students re-taking the EPI are eligible to attend. Each workshop will focus on a different part of the EPI, including the EPI's structure, how it's scored, preparation tips, definition of terms, responding to open-ended questions, strategies for effective interviewing, and activities and resources you can use on your own to prepare for the EPI. During each session, you'll also have time to practice what you've learned and receive brief feedback. Workshop dates and times: January 31, February 7, 14, and 21, 5:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M.m. Location: Room 428 Armory Building.  Questions? Email us at

2017 Annual Faculty Retreat - Save the Date: March 9, 2017

The theme of this year’s retreat is “The Power of Engagement: Igniting Students' Passion for Learning." We will highlight the many ways in which our faculty here on campus have engaged our students that have resulted in higher achievement, increased motivation and interest, and more meaningful learning. The years program will have video vignettes, teaching simulations, and interactive activities by our exemplary teachers. Attendees can apply for retreats grants to implement ideas inspired from the retreat. Space is limited. Registration is open for faculty starting Sunday, Jan. 29th.

End of Term Evaluation Information (ICES)

CITL will send ICES ordering information in campus mail next week to our department contacts for the Spring 2017 semester. It is up to the departments to distribute this information to instructors. Watch for this information in your campus mailbox.  Allow ten business days to receive your ICES once your request has been placed.  If ICES is needed for an eight-week course, please place your request by February 17th.  For a full 16 week semester, the deadline to order is Wednesday, April 19thPlease review our ICES site for any additional questions.

CITL Events & Workshops


Tue Jan 31
EPI Workshops for International Graduate Students: Spring 2017 (Session 1)
5:30 P.M. - 6:30 P.M., room 428 Armory Building
Speaker: Jeff Arrigo (Linguistics) 

Wed Feb 1
Teaching with Technology Seminar Series: CU Community Fab Lab
12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M., room 428 Armory Building
Speaker: Jeff Ginger (Informatics)
Fri Feb 3
Running Effective Discussions
10:00 A.M. - 11:30 A.M., room 428 Armory Building
Speaker: Lucas Anderson (CITL)
Mon Feb 6
Using Informal Early Feedback (IEF)
1:30 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., room 428 Armory Building
Speaker: Lucas Anderson (CITL)
Tue Feb 7
Informal Early Feedback (IEF) and Responding to Student Input
10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M., room 428 Armory Building
Speaker: Tyler Pack (CITL)
EPI Workshops for International Graduate Students: Spring 2017 (Session 2)
5:30 P.M. - 6:30 P.M., room 428 Armory Building
Speaker: Jeff Arrigo (Linguistics) 
Tue Feb 14
EPI Workshops for International Graduate Students: Spring 2017 (Session 3)
5:30 P.M. - 6:30 P.M., room 428 Armory Building
Speaker: Jeff Arrigo (Linguistics) 
Thur Feb 16
Effectively Working with Students with Disabilities
1:30 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., room 428 Armory Building
Speakers: Ann Fredricksen (DRES); Tina Rolfe (DRES)   

Training Opportunities Across Campus

Fri Jan 27
Access 2013: Relational Database Design Basics Training
10:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M., TBA
Sponsor: Fast3/Webstore Training Services
Tue Jan 31
Lightroom: Level 1
1:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M., room 27, Illini Hall
Sponsor: Fast3/Webstore Training Services
Tue Feb 7
Photoshop CC: Image prep lab
1:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., room 27, Illini Hall
Sponsor: Fast3/Webstore Training Services
Thur Feb 9
Photoshop CC: Layers
1:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., room 27, Illini Hall
Sponsor: Fast3/Webstore Training Services

Teaching Tips

Courses That Are Hard, but Not Too Hard

Finding the Sweet Spot. Courses need to be challenging, but when they become too hard, students stop trying and little learning results. So how do we find that sweet spot between hard and not too hard? More importantly, how do we create that sweet spot in our own courses through the decisions we make about content, assignments, and exams? Finding that perfect balance is not particularly easy or straightforward. Based on research, students do not prefer easy courses, but ones that are “Challenging”, but not “too difficult.” Here are some ways in which to find the line of demarcation of hard and not too hard.

Teaching with Discussions

One of the most challenging teaching methods, leading discussions can also be one of the most rewarding. Using discussions as a primary teaching method allows you to stimulate critical thinking. As you establish a rapport with your students, you can demonstrate that you appreciate their contributions at the same time that you challenge them to think more deeply and to articulate their ideas more clearly. Frequent questions, whether asked by you or by the students, provide a means of measuring learning and exploring in-depth the key concepts of the course. Be purposeful in how you start, maintain, and finish the class discussion.
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