CITL Teaching and Learning News: October 13, 2022

Oct 17, 2022, 11:30 AM
CITL Teaching and Learning News: October 13, 2022
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Instructor Voices

  Photo of Professor Jenny Amos

Benefits of Teaching in an Active Learning Classroom

Teaching Professor Jenny Amos (Bioengineering) has been teaching in active teaching classrooms of varying sizes and set-ups for about six years. 

“I’ve grown so accustomed to just weaving in and out and getting to know my students on a more personal level,” says Professor Amos, who believes that has led to students asking more questions in class, more students visiting her during office hours, and other positive behaviors. 

In this video, she discusses how this type of flexible learning space fosters interaction among students. She also provides ways instructors can take advantage of the environment to spark discussion and collaboration and enhance learning in the classroom.


CITL Announcements


CITL "Tech or Treat" October 25th

Visit the CITL Armory spaces for some spooky fun with technology on Tuesday, October 25th from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Scheduled presentations and hands-on demonstrations every hour feature popular video and digital tools to support learning in-person and online. Explore Halloween-themed VR, AR, and 3D printing, scary video effects, a deathly eText, hybrid meeting tools, and much more. Free for faculty, instructors, and TAs. Refreshments served. Look for complete schedule in eWeek.

Register Now for the Next MCOT Cohort

CITL's Master Course in Online Teaching (MCOT) is a deep-dive into online teaching strategies that goes beyond earlier summer teaching institutes. Prior participation in an instructional development series is not required but professional experience with university-level instruction is strongly encouraged. MCOT provides an opportunity for social learning and networking with a supportive interdisciplinary learning community.

The MCOT Canvas Course includes four live Zoom sessions scheduled for Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. beginning October 26th. Certificates will be presented to those who complete all course requirements. Register here to join the Fall MCOT cohort.

CITL Faculty Book Club

One book, eight friends, and infinite possibilities! The new CITL Faculty Book Club will begin November 1 in the vibrant teaching and learning space of 156 Armory. It’s a great way to connect with colleagues from different disciplines who are curious about the same topics that interest you. Our first selected book will be What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching (Addy et al., 2021). Inclusive teaching is a major component of UIUC’s definition and assessment of teaching excellence and an essential topic for all instructors.

Joining our book club has many benefits:

  • Creating new collegial friendships
  • Learning from each other’s experiences and points of view
  • Using a free version of the book from our UIUC Library
  • Earning an Accredible badge that can be displayed on LinkedIn
  • Receiving a free CITL notebook to write your reflections and questions
  • Suggesting ideas for our next book

If you are a faculty member at UIUC or a post-doc with teaching responsibilities, consider joining! Register for the CITL Faculty Book Club by following this link. Please check your calendar to see if you can attend meetings on Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on November 1st, November 15th, December 6th, January 10th, & January 24th.

List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students

The Summer 2022 List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students is now available. If your course is missing, check your instructor report against the criteria in the list. At least five students must have completed the relevant item(s) and you must have released your name and course for inclusion on the list if you qualify. For questions or corrections, please email or call 217-244-3846.


Workshops and Events


Faculty Series on Teaching and Learning, Workshop #5: Creating a Learner-Centered Responsive Course and Syllabus
Wednesday, October 19
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Armory Room 182, registration required
Presenter: Cheelan Bo-Linn, CITL Teaching & Learning Consultant

Universal Design for Learning: From Principles to Practice
Wednesday, October 19
4:00 - 5:00 p.m., Zoom, registration required
Presenter: Marc Thompson, CITL

Digital Tools for In-Class and Online Engagement
Wednesday, October 26
4:00 - 5:00 p.m., Zoom, registration required
Presenter: Ava Wolf, CITL Teaching & Learning Consultant

Learning and Memory in the Classroom
Wednesday, November 2
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Armory Room 182, registration required
Presenter: Lucas Anderson, CITL Teaching & Learning Consultant

Art of Teaching: Lunchtime Seminar Series
Thursday, November 3
12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Zoom, registration required
Presenter: Ava Wolf, CITL Teaching & Learning Consultant

See the CITL Event Calendar for all upcoming workshops. Looking for other training options? You might want to check out the Canvas Workshop Calendarand additional training opportunities provided through Training Services (formally FAST3).


Teaching Tips


Lighting the Path: Making Connections Between Classes and Careers
(from Faculty Focus)

Students can have a hard time seeing how general education requirements and foundational classes help them achieve their goals. Students, especially adult learners, want to make measurable progress toward their degrees right out of the gate. Actually, want might be too weak a word. As they balance jobs, families, an income gap, and student debt that grows weekly, they need to make progress as a tangible achievement to keep them going. What I want to focus on are potential solutions, or at least actions we can take toward solutions. If we view a student’s educational journey as a continuity, as a process with incremental progress, how do we put the imprint of this journey on individual classes? We can do this in part by creating a context for the learning in our courses and through instilling a sense of direction by infusing reflection in the classroom. The online classroom is a dynamic space for having amazing interactions with our students. Sometimes it’s text, sometimes video or audio—there are dozens of ways to connect and dozens of potential locations for this interaction to take place: gradebook feedback, inbox, the discussion board. The key is to have meaningful conversations with our students, a dialogue, not a sermon from the mount but an interchange—a back and forth.

Using Reflective Writing to Get Students Connected with the Material
(from Faculty Focus) 

When I was a sophomore in college, I took my first course in cognitive psychology and fell in love. I was so excited that we could apply the scientific process to understand how humans perform everyday tasks like learning, problem solving, language, and memory. When I walked into my first cognitive psychology classroom as an instructor, I was so excited to share this with students; however, I was shocked to learn that what was so obviously exciting and relevant to me was not so obvious to everyone else. Students were often frustrated by the apparent lack of relevance of the course material to their lives. One student once asked me with great exasperation, “Why do I have to understand research? I want to help people!”

Not being able to find course material relevant is not only frustrating for students, but it can also impact their learning. Psychologists have long understood that being able to connect new information to previous knowledge or experiences is critical to understanding and remembering that material (e.g., Chi and Wylie, 2014). Furthermore, inclusive or engaged pedagogies argue that finding relevance in the course material is key to making all students, no matter their background, feel welcomed in the classroom (e.g., Fry, Ketteridge, and Marshall, 2008). The challenge, of course, is finding ways for students to bring in their relevant experience without undermining learning outcomes. 

See our complete library of teaching tips here.
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