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CITL Teaching and Learning News: September 11, 2020

Sep 14, 2020, 16:12 PM
Instructor Stories
Jose Vazquez  

Training and Grading Students to be Effective Peer Reviewers

Grading, especially open-ended questions or essays, takes tremendous time and effort by the faculty and/or TAs.  However, not all assignments have to be graded this way. One method employed by Economics faculty member Jose Vazquez, especially in his online economics course, is to utilize his students as peer reviewers. This innovative method considers three aspects: average grade assigned by the peers, the self-grade, and how well that student grades the other peers. This method can train students to read the assignment critically and carefully apply the rubric. Here is Professor Vazquez’s description.

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.

"Dear A/V" New Column for All Your Media Questions

Question: "I would like to create asynchronous lecture videos for my students in which I can alternate between showing my face (via webcam) and my computer screen. I know that you can record both using Kaltura Personal Capture, but my understanding is that, after uploading the video to Mediaspace, students will have control over whether they view my face, my screen, or both at the same time. I do not want them to have this ability. ... Does Zoom or some other program allow this?"
See CITL's comprehensive answer in the inaugural "Dear A/V" post!

Draft List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students

The Draft List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for both Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 are available at As long as publication of the printed version of The Daily Illini doesn’t cease for pandemic-related reasons, the final Spring 2020 list will be published there on September 21 and the final Summer 2020 list will be published on September 24. If your course is missing, check your instructor report against the criteria in the draft list. At least five students must have completed the relevant item(s) and you must have released your ratings for inclusion on the list if you qualify. For questions or corrections, email or call 244-3846.

TA Reading Groups Starting for Fall

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.

Are You Taking the English Proficiency Interview (EPI) this Fall?

CITL and the ESL-ITA Program are offering two workshops to help graduate students prepare for the English Proficiency Interview (EPI). Session 1 will be held on September 28 and repeated on October 6. Session 2 will be held on September 29 and repeated on October 8. Each session meets online from 5:00pm to 5:50pm. Attendance is free, but registration is required at

Fall 2020 Faculty Workshop Series on Teaching & Learning begins Wednesday Sept. 16th

Come join a dynamic learning community by participating in this specially designed seminar series for all faculty (across all disciplines and rank). The theme this semester is “Creating Success When Teaching & Learning Remotely.” For returning attendees, there are several new workshops especially created for teaching online: “Engaging Students in Online Synchronous Sessions” and “Innovative Multimedia Assessments.”  In addition, we will learn about Informal (IEF) & Formal (ICES) Online Student Feedback, Make Your Teaching Stick, and Effective Online Student Teams. Great conversation and handouts provided. The workshops will be online synchronous sessions.  Zoom link provided upon registration.  For a flyer of the series, click here.

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, September 15
Lunch & Learn: ePortfolio Construction Workshop
12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M., Online Office Hours, click the link above for the Zoom link
Speaker: Kate LaBore, CITL
Wednesday, September 16
Fall 2020 Faculty Teaching & Learning Series Workshop #1 "I wish I had known that earlier": Using Informal (IEF) and Formal (ICES) Online Feedback to Improve Teaching and Learning
11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Cheelan Bo-Linn, CITL
Thursday, September 17
How to Lead a Great (Socially Distanced) Discussion Section
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Leanna Duncan, CITL
Wednesday, September 23
Fall 2020 Faculty Teaching & Learning Series Workshop #2 Engaging Students Through Active Learning in Online Synchronous Sessions
11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Cheelan Bo-Linn, CITL
Monday, September 28
English Proficiency Interview (EPI) Workshop Session 1 (repeated on October 6)
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Jennifer Zhang, Linguistics Department
Tuesday, September 29
English Proficiency Interview (EPI) Workshop Session 2 (repeated on October 8)
2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Jennifer Zhang, Linguistics Department
Wednesday, September 30
Fall 2020 Faculty Teaching & Learning Series Workshop #3: Effective Team Projects and Student Teams: What, How and Why
11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M., Online, register to receive Zoom link
Speaker: Cheelan Bo-Linn, CITL
What Are You Reading?
Intentional Tech book jacket  

Intentional Tech by Derek Bruff

One thing we typically notice in conversations about teaching with technology is that they tend to focus mostly on technology, and very little on teaching. Derek Bruff’s new book, Intentional Tech is surprising, because it focuses mostly on really good teaching, and also about teaching with technology. Bruff is the director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching, and a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics. He has long been interested in educational technology and his first book, Classroom Response Systems (2009), addressed ways of increasing interactive learning in the classroom.

Intentional Tech is based on faculty interviews Bruff conducted through his blog, Agile Learning, and his podcast series, Leading Lines. The result is a compilation of exceptional teaching vignettes describing common learning challenges and the intentional choices faculty made about using technology: from simple wheels on chairs and whiteboards, to complex digital tools. Organized into seven principles for easy reading: Times for Telling, Practice and Feedback, Thin Slices of Learning, Knowledge Organization, Multimodal Assignments, Learning Communities, and Authentic Audiences, it’s inspiring to see what students can do with good teaching and a little technology.

Teaching Tips

The Most Crucial Two Minutes of Class

(From Faculty Focus) As an educator, I have an embarrassing confession: When I was younger, I was an incredibly difficult student.

Read something? … On a good day, maybe I’d do some skimming.   Prepare ahead of time? … Nah, another student will do the talking. Pay attention in class? …What for? Why does this even matter to me?!

There within that last cringe-worthy question lies the problem. For anyone who has been at the front of a classroom, you know that one of the greatest obstacles to learning is student apathy. To help overcome this barrier, I recommend the “motivation step,” a brief, introductory discussion designed to articulate why the material is significant. Not just because it may be on an exam, but rather because it will have real life, lasting consequences. It is a practice that immediately addresses that elephant in the room: Why the material matters.

Informal Early Feedback (IEF): A Valuable Opportunity for Just-in-Time Feedback

Student evaluations of teaching are an important part of the feedback that instructors receive. This feedback can be especially helpful when it is collected midway in the semester. Our students can tell us if we explain clearly, are well-organized, grade fairly, and more. They may also be able to tell us if the activities we give them are well-aligned with the ways we evaluate their learning. Responding to students’ comments by discussing them in class, and making changes as appropriate, can lead to increased motivation, better learning, and possibly improved end-of-semester student ratings. Here is a description of the Informal Early Process (IEF) process and sample forms for you to adapt.   Also, CITL is offering two workshops this week and next to help you design your own IEF forms.  For more assistance, contact CITL.

See More Teaching Tips Here