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CITL Teaching and Learning News: June 11, 2020

Jun 12, 2020, 16:24 PM
Instructor Stories
Carla D. Hunter

Remote Instruction Provides Renewed Opportunities for Guest Expertise

Dr. Carla D. Hunter regularly invites guest speakers to her PSYC 336: Special Topics in Clinical-Community Psychology course. The transition to remote instruction with Zoom meant that she had flexibility in who she could invite to deliver a guest lecture without needing to install additional apps or learn additional technologies. She was fortunate to have a guest speaker who identifies as intersex speak with her class about the role of virtual communities in identity exploration. The guest speaker delivered the lecture from Massachusetts. Students were engaged, asked great questions, and learned a great deal. In turn, the guest speaker benefitted from observing their positive impact in education.

"The guest speaker plans to pursue activism, social justice, and education as their next steps,so I think it was validating to speak to individuals at the college level, many of whom did not have personal relationships with nor were knowledgeable of the complexities being experienced in intersex communities. Students were moved by the guest speaker's vulnerability and bravery.From this, I leaned to think beyond my local space and to reach out to guest speakers who may not be able to travel to campus and can still have an impact in the classroom."

Do you have your own story to tell?
CITL is collecting stories from instructors and students interested in sharing their experience of remote instruction. Whether you have an interesting innovation, simple course adaptation, or even an instructional misstep, we hope to share these stories so we can all learn from the collective experience of our campus community. Please take a few minutes to complete this short form to share your Teachable Moments.

CITL Summer Workshop Series

Lucas Anderson and the CITL Graduate Affiliates are putting on a series of eight workshops on the essentials of effective teaching. Designed primarily for experienced TAs or other instructors designing a course for the first time, the series will take you through the steps of effective course design, with a particular focus on how to prepare for some or all of your course to be online or in a socially-distanced face-to-face environment. Each session involved about thirty minutes of pre-work, and an hour-long zoom meeting. Make the most of the series by attending the whole thing, but you are welcome to attend only the sessions you want. See this flyer for more information, and look down below for descriptions of the first few sessions.

CITL is looking for new Graduate Affiliates

The Instructional Development team at CITL is looking for several new Graduate Affiliates. Grad Affiliates are experienced TAs at Illinois who have a keen interest in the theory and practice of good teaching in higher education. These are hourly positions, intended for those who have primary funding from another source, yet the capability to work a few hours extra per week.

See this page for more information about the Graduate Affiliate position, and for how to apply.

TechHub Virtual Office Hours

Join us for virtual office hours every Tuesday from 10am to 11am on Zoom. Jamie and Megan will be there to answer your questions about emerging technologies, other educational tech on campus, how you can access our spaces, and anything else of interest! If we don’t have the answer, we’ll point you to someone who does. Some of our specialties include PowerPoint, Zoom, 3D printing, virtual reality, augmented reality, and laser cutting.

While each week will be an open discussion, be on the lookout for special guests and topics!

Is eText Right for Your Course?

With more instructors preparing for fall online, we suggest using Using eText at the “front end” with Compass or Moodle provides seamless grades, quizzes, and other embedded features. It provides a professionally designed, content-rich learning environment while integrating LMSs, video content, and external resources, and serves well for the blended modality.

The eText@Illinois Advantages (

    • Clean user interface mimics the weekly class as outlined in your syllabus.
    • Assured accessibility on any device, and the most accessible, mobile friendly teaching platform on campus.
    • Embeds videos from YouTube, MediaSpace, and other streaming platforms.
    • Access restricted to the class roster, enabling instructors to share copyrighted and proprietary content.
    • Embeds homework questions straight from the LMS into lessons.
    • Lower cost than traditional textbooks.
    • Variety of built-in engagement activities and self-reflection cues.

The CITL Promise and How to Proceed

Since instructors are so busy teaching amid the pandemic’s significant disruption, eText@Illinois can help. Just give CITL access to your previous course materials in the LMS, Box, or other locations, and we’ll convert it to an eText for you review, revise, and then utilize into the Fall, and beyond! For more details about eText please view this short video.

Need Help in Transitioning to Blended or Online Instruction?

While our physical offices are closed until further notice, CITL is here to help! You can contact a CITL Online Learning Specialist to consult with you on strategies for transitioning your course.You can view recordings of our popular workshops targeting the essentials of moving your course online. You may also want to visit the CITL website for the latest advice on transitioning your course to a fully online or blended format.

CITL Events & Workshops

Tuesday, June 23
An Overview of Backward Course Design (Summer Series Part 1)
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speakers: Lucas Anderson (CITL) and Slav Dvoretskiy (CITL Graduate Affiliate)
Thursday, June 25
Creating Learning Objectives (Summer Series Part 2)
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Lucas Anderson, CITL
Tuesday, June 30
What Can We Assess Online? (Summer Series Part 3)
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Leanna Duncan, CITL Graduate Affiliate
Thursday, July 2
How Do You Assess Your Students Online? (Summer Series Part 4)
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Kazem Alidoost, CITL Graduate Affiliate
See this flyer for the entire summer workshop series
CITL Technical Training
Tuesday, June 16
TechHub Virtual Office Hours
10:00 P.M. - 11:00 A.M., Zoom
Speakers: Jamie Nelson & Megan Baird
Topics: We'll field any educational technology questions,
but we specialize in PowerPoint, Zoom, 3D Printing, virtual
reality, augmented reality, and laser cutting.
Tuesday, June 23
TechHub Virtual Office Hours
10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M., Zoom
Speakers: Jamie Nelson & Megan Baird
Topics: We'll field any educational technology questions,
but we specialize in PowerPoint, Zoom, 3D Printing, virtual
reality, augmented reality, and laser cutting.
What Are You Reading?
Student Engagement Techniques book jacket

Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty by Elizabeth F. Barkley

The bulk of the book consists of 50 activities you can incorporate into your class, including step-by-step instructions, examples of use, and advice for transferring the activities to online courses. The activities range from simple to complex, could take a few minutes or all class period, and serve a variety of purposes from helping students remember course content, to helping students apply the material, to helping students find value in the class. The book also contains a list of 50 tips and strategies for teaching an engaged class, and opens with a brief overview of research-based theories of student engagement and motivation. Designed as a handbook, you can skim through it to find the perfect activity for your class, or you can read from the beginning for a quick and lucid introduction to the relevant pedagogical theory.

Teaching Tips

Faculty Interventions Can Help Student Success

(From Inside Higher Ed) A new research paper shows that feedback and interventions from professors can have positive impacts on student success. The paper, "My Professor Cares: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Faculty Engagement," was published this month in the National Bureau of Economic Research. The researchers conducted several experiments, starting with a small pilot on an introductory microeconomics course, according to the brief. The premise was then scaled up to more than 43 classes and 4,000 students at a university. In the experiments, faculty sent "strategically timed" emails to students that included information about how to succeed in the class, the student's current standing and a reminder of when the professor was available. The results from the pilot group were successful.

Engaging a Village: Effective Strategies to Reach Every Corner of the Lecture Hall

(From Faculty Focus) As educators, we often struggle to provide an effective learning environment for the students who are easily distracted and clamoring for more support. Technology in the classroom has the potential to engage students and allow us to be more hands-on with hundreds of students at a time, making students feel supported while engaging them in the classroom community. Some approaches are to flip the classroom, use problem-based learning, use teaching assistants to lead neighbors within the village and more.