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October 12 Teaching & Learning Newsletter

Oct 30, 2017, 11:48 AM


View the CITL Teaching & Learning Newsletter October 12 Issue


A Reading Group Registration Last Call

How do the best college teachers teach? Find out by reading Ken Bain's What the Best College Teachers Do along with fellow TAs and a CITL facilitator. Meetings will be arranged to fit your schedule and participation will count towards the teaching certificates. Sign up for a reading group by following this link - you will be matched up with other TAs and a facilitator with similar availability.

Writing Across the Curriculum Seminar

The Center for Writing Studies will be offering a Writing Across the Curriculum seminar, "Structuring Response Systems for Student Writing." It will take place over three afternoons, from 3:15-5:00 pm on Tuesday, October 24; Thursday, October 26; and Tuesday, October 31. You can also request a space for one or two of your graduate teaching assistants to accompany you.

This professional development seminar is a great way for you (and TAs in your courses) to learn how to structure a variety of tools (peer review, written comments, instructor conferences, in-progress reports and reflections, etc.) to not simply respond to student texts, but to build a rich response system that supports both their writing and their learning of course content.

Space is limited, so if you would like to attend this seminar, please email to Debbie Carrier ( by Tuesday, October 17 the following information:

  • your interest in attending all three days,
  • the course you are teaching,
  • and the name(s) and contact information (email) of up to 2 TAs assisting with this course that you would like us to invite

After the October 17th deadline, we will be in touch to extend invitations and with more information about the seminar.  To learn more about WAC seminars in general, please see our WAC Seminar Webpage. If you have specific questions about this seminar, please contact María Carvajal ( 

Save the Date for the Create Your Own Online Course Series

CITL will be hosting the "Create Your Own Online Course" workshop on November 13, 14, & 15 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm each day. This is open to all faculty, staff, eLearning Professionals, and TAs who want to learn best practices for creating an online course. Detailed agenda and registration information will be shared in our next newsletter. This is a particularly good opportunity for anyone interested in earning the Certificate in Technology-Enhanced Teaching.

This Learning Life Photography Contest Submissions Open Now

Will the winner of the 2017 U of I This Learning Life Photography Competition be one of your students? The Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning invites all students on campus to submit images to the contest. Submissions are being accepted through November 17th and there will be an awards ceremony on December 7 at the Courtyard Cafe in the Illini Union. There will be grand prize winners, runners up and category prizes. Categories include "Studying Around Campus," "Learning with Technology," Information Discovery" and "Learning Through the Arts." We want to see what learning looks like through your students' eyes! Encourage your students to sharpen their visual communication skills, get prizes and recognition, and get that great personal image that will stand out form the crowd. Click here for more information about the contest.

Moodle Basics Workshop Schedule for October

Need a mid-semester Moodle refresher, or teaching online for the first time during the second eight weeks of classes? ATLAS is offering Moodle Basics Workshops this fall to help get you up to speed with Moodle. We're happy to answer any individual questions during this time as well. All faculty and teaching assistants are welcome to attend.

  • Monday, October 16, 2017, 1 PM - 3 PM in Room G17, Foreign Languages Building
  • Thursday, October 19, 2017, 2 PM - 4 PM in Room G8B, Foreign Languages Building

CITL Events & Workshops

Want to see what workshops and events are coming later in the system? Look at our full calendar for more information.

Wednesday, Oct. 18
Jr. Faculty Seminar Series #5: Best Practices from Face-to-Face Courses to Online Courses
11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M., room 428, Armory
Speaker: Cheelan Bo-Linn (CITL)
Monday, Oct. 23
Interrupting a (Student) Feedback Loop: Revising a Course through Student Feedback
3:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M., room 428, Armory
Speaker: Donovan Bisbee (CITL Graduate Affiliate)
Wedneday, Oct. 25
The Power of Presentations: Enhancing your Slides for Teaching and Engagement
1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M., room 314, Main Library
Speaker: Jamie Nelson (CITL), part of the Savvy Researcher Series
Wednesday, Nov. 1
Jr. Faculty Seminar Series #6: What We Know About Visual Learning & Thinking Applied to PowerPoint Presentations and More
11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M., room 428, Armory
Speaker: Cheelan Bo-Linn (CITL)

CITL Technical Training

Thursday, Oct. 19
Kaltura Essentials
9:30 A.M. - 10:30 A.M., room 428, Armory
Speaker: Alan Bilansky (Tech Services)

Training Opportunities Across Campus

Want to see what training opportunities exist across campus? Look at the Illinois Staff Training Calendar for more information.  Also check out the Savvy Researcher Series.
Friday, Oct. 13
Using to Program and Conduct Surveys
1:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M., room 314, Main Library
Sponsor: University Library

Monday, Oct. 23
InDesign CC: Getting Started
10:00 A.M. - 12:00 9.M., room 27, Illini Hall
Sponsor: FAST3/Webstore Training Services

Teaching Tips

How Good Are Your Discussion Facilitation Skills?

Successfully leading and guiding student discussions requires a range of fairly sophisticated communication skills. At the same time teachers are monitoring what’s being said about the content, they must keep track of the discussion itself. Is it on topic? How many students want to speak? Who’s already spoken and wants to speak again? How many aren’t listening? Is it time to move to a different topic? What’s the thinking behind that student question? How might the discussion be wrapped up?  Most of us are not trained discussion facilitators. Here is an empirically developed instrument that can be used to more clearly identify the various skills involved in effective discussion facilitation and to gather student feedback that can help you assess yours.

Facilitating Class Discussions: Understanding Group Development and Dynamics

Facilitating discussions requires the ability to engage different perspectives and skills in response to the needs of the group. How well a group works together depends upon the dynamics among participants and the ability of the facilitator to gauge and respond to these dynamics. An effective facilitator works to create an inclusive learning environment while being prepared to set boundaries and rules when necessary. Yet, even experienced facilitators can be confronted with situations or individuals that prevent the group from functioning. This essay describes some reflective practices that can prepare facilitators and participants for productive group discussions.

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