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CITL unveils workshop series for Spring 2021

Jan 27, 2021, 07:59 AM

The Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning is launching some exciting new professional learning opportunities for faculty and staff this spring in addition to its regular lineup of workshop programming.

First up is Friday Forum, a more relaxed workshop series that takes place over the noon hour on Fridays, starting on January 29, on Zoom.

“We found that by the end of the week people are a little tired, but they like having something interesting to do over lunch,” organizer Ava Wolf said, adding the series will cover a variety of teaching topics and give participants a chance to try something new or simply listen in and observe.

“I wanted to offer a set of lighter workshop sessions that were more laid back, but that covered topics people care about,” Wolf continued. “We also thought this would be a day and time when more teaching faculty could attend.”

Currently, sessions are scheduled every other week this semester, but that may change as more offerings are added.

The Friday Forum series debuts on Friday (January 29) with Online Collaborative Tools for Teaching, co-presented by Wolf and TA Affiliate Leanna Duncan. The session will offer a fast and fun overview of free digital tools that can be used to increase student participation individually and in groups. Participants will walk away with a fully annotated digital resource detailing all the tools and how they can be used.

\Other topics include an exploration of easy learning activities that can be used to enhance lectures and increase interaction, a closer look at strategies for building online engagement, and tips for flipping parts of your course. Later in the term, as the university moves closer to preparing for a return to in-person learning, sessions will include informational and how-to sessions about teaching in IFLEX interactive classrooms.

“I’m really excited to reintroduce IFLEX during the month of April,” Wolf said. “We’ll have workshops and a Reimagining the Classroom webinar. People are so ready to come back to the classroom, and IFLEX rooms are designed to support the kinds of interaction that we’ve all been missing.”

In February, CITL will kick off the Spring 2021 Faculty Workshop Series on Teaching & Learning. The theme for this year is “Creating Success When Teaching & Learning Remotely.”

“This is a very popular series that is offered both spring and fall,” organizer Cheelan Bo-Linn said. “It was created several years ago in response to the faculty’s desire to learn about ways to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in their courses and to hear each others’ stories and experiences.”

Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from February 17 through March 24. Due to the current situation, all sessions will be held online synchronously to maximize engagement and discussions.

This specially-designed series is for Illinois faculty across all disciplines and rank; however, post-docs and experienced TAs are invited to join. It aims to create a dynamic learning community that will share strategies and best practices from research-based pedagogy.

“It is truly an enthusiastic community as the majority of our participants attend the whole semester series, and several of them even attend this series over many semesters,” Bo-Linn said. “They reported that they enjoy connecting with other instructors and learning new strategies and approaches. They also can practice what they are going to implement later. Overall, they just feel more inspired.”

There will be a wide range of topics including active learning, grading effectively and efficiently, and the connection between emotion and learning. There will be great conversations and handouts!

The new workshop series complement The Art of Teaching: Lunchtime Seminar Series, where Faculty Fellows and others discuss the art (and science) of teaching. It takes place on the first Thursday of the month from 12 to 1 pm on Zoom.

The series continues on February 5 when Emily Knox (iSchool) will present Effective and Efficient Teaching for Student Success.

“Teaching is a skill that one acquires over time often through the development of tacit knowledge that can be difficult to articulate to others,” Knox said. “This workshop will attempt to make some of those techniques explicit.”

In addition to this special programming, CITL continues to offer its regular, ongoing lineup of workshops on teaching strategies and best practices, mastering Zoom and Compass, and much more.

Learn more about the Friday Forum and regular ongoing workshops on the CITL calendar. Be sure to check back often to see what’s been added.

Learn more about the Spring 2021 Faculty Workshop Series on Teaching & Learning.

Learn more about the Art of Teaching: Lunchtime Seminar Series.