CITL Teaching and Learning News: April 10, 2020

Apr 10, 2020, 15:45 PM
Instructor Voices
Becky Fuller

Fishing for a Story: Podcasts in the Classroom

Many of us assign an end-of-semester term paper and then spend many hours providing feedback and assigning a grade. Unfortunately, a frequent outcome is that our students don’t ever receive these final papers back. Isn’t there a better way to measure what our students learn? Becky Fuller in Animal Biology/School of Integrative Biology found that having her students do a quick, informal podcast at the end of each class session provided a valuable opportunity for her students to reflect about what they found meaningful from that class. In addition, the students provided peer feedback on these podcasts.Watch this video to see how she implements this strategy.


Teaching Certificate Deadline is April 15

The deadline to submit applications for a CITL teaching certificate is April 15. With instruction and CITL consultation moving online, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If the certificate you are applying for requires a teaching philosophy statement, note that you must get your statement reviewed from someone outside of CITL (faculty from your department would be a good choice), and revise your statement in light of that feedback. Submit the revision as part of your application - there is no need to get CITL to review your statement before submitting it as part of the application.
  • If you still need to get your class observed for a certificate, we can still conduct an observation of your online instruction, however you plan to do it. Contactcitl-info@illinois.eduto request an observation.
  • You will not be able to submit your application in person or through campus mail by April 15. You may instead email your completed applications to Lucas Anderson You will need to scan your completed application and attach it to the email, and also attach as separate files any other required documents, such as reflective essays, examples of original work, or a teaching philosophy statement.
  • If you are missing any signatures of CITL staff on your application, you may submit the otherwise completed application and we can provide signatures upon receipt of your application.
  • If someone outside of CITL helped you complete a requirement, such as a faculty member observing your class, and you did not get their signature on your application, ask that person to email Lucas affirming they helped you complete the requirement.
  • With regret, we will not be holding our annual certificate awards ceremony. We will devise a way to get your certificates to you, but we won't have specifics to share until closer to May.

CITL Physical Office Closed

The main CITL physical office will be closed until further notice. CITL staff are still available to help: you may send an email For assistance specific to transitioning to online instruction, visit thecontinuity of instruction web page.

What Are You Reading?
Cover of the Book Minds Online by Michelle D. Miller

This a good time to take a deep dive into our bookshelves or Kindles. In this occasional series, we’ll highlight relevant books and articles that remind us why we love teaching. Want to share what you’re reading? Contact Ava Wolf

The bookMinds Onlineby Michelle Miller, and herearlier articlewhich inspired the book, is especially insightful as we grapple with moving our courses online. Although the book is a few years old, it’s nontechnical descriptions of neuroscience and cognitive psychology set the stage for enhancing our online courses with brain-based strategies that enhance student attention, motivation, and higher order learning skills. Course design practices likeinterleavingpatterns of attention,spaced repetition,and the positivetesting effectof giving lots of low-stakes quizzes, are especially well-suited to learning management systems and other online tools. Of particular interest is the discussion of analogies as a way to improve transference of knowledge across modules in a single course, or across multiple courses. Shortly before coronavirus sent everyone home, Miller’s keynote wasrecordedat Columbia University’s 2020 Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium, where she discussed changing faculty mindsets, the myth of the tech savvy student, and new research on the use of VR for targeted simulations.

--Submitted by Ava Wolf, PhD, Assistant Director, Teaching and Learning Spaces (CITL)

Teaching Tips

What Is Using Media to Enhance Teaching and Learning?

(From SERC at Carlton College) The termmediawas first used to describe newspapers more than two centuries ago.Today media has many different connotations. For instance, there are mass media, print media, visual media andsocial media. While media can take on many different forms, the purpose of all media is universally the same -- media is a channel of communication. Media can be used in direct instruction, active learning teaching strategies and student projects. Media can be used in almost any discipline to enhance learning, both in class, and also for out-of-class assignments. Short film and television clips, written articles, and blog postings can be viewed to reinforce concepts and spark discussion. Songs and music videos, especially when the lyrics are made available, can be used to the same effect.

Going Multimodal: 5 Tips for Switching to Multimodal Assignments

(From Faculty Focus) With written communication becoming increasingly multimodal—from newspaper websites to your social media feed to your learning management system’s announcements page—researchers and practitioners alike have made the case for the value of multimodal assignments. While much of this work focuses on the theoretical changes, this article offers practical suggestions for faculty members with limited experience designing multimodal assignments who’d like to convert some of their traditional assignments to multimodal ones.An assignment is multimodal if it invites students to engage in more than one medium of communication, or if it gives students the opportunity to select from several potential media.

Online Teaching: KIS (Keep it Simple)

(From Alison Yang, Online Teaching@KIS) As many of us had to quickly transform our scheduled face-to-face course to unscheduled online courses, we were suddenly faced with a myriad of decisions. Should I teach synchronously or asynchronously? What assignments and quizzes can I keep? And in what format?Here is a handy chart (Do this – Not that)that will help you to make effective, realistic decisions that will benefit both you and your students.