CITL Teaching and Learning News: December 1

Dec 1, 2022, 10:41 AM
CITL Teaching and Learning News: December 1
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Instructor Voices

  Photo of Beth Hoag

Learning Better by Learning from Each Other

Beth Hoag (Director for Assessment and Planning, Student Affairs) sees numerous benefits to holding the Leading Sustainable Change course that she co-teaches in a flexible classroom. Among them: being able to offer immersive activities that allow students to engage with the course content and each other on a deeper level, and giving herself opportunities to gauge when students are learning “in the moment.” 

In this video, Hoag describes one such “impactful” lesson she created to teach students about the Seven Cs of social change model of leadership development. She shares how she designed it, some of the different activities involved, and how they and other active learning opportunities contribute to a positive learning community. 


CITL Announcements


Art of Teaching Looks at Hybrid Classrooms: Today

Join us for the next Art of Teaching Lunchtime Seminar Today, December 1st from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. The hybrid classroom is often called the best of both worlds, and theories show that allowing students more autonomy increases satisfaction and learning. However, data collected told a different story. Aimee Barbeau and Eric Larson (Gies College of Business) will describe the role of social context in the classroom and discuss their findings on the relationship between autonomy and satisfaction as well as the need for instructors to consider not just individual students, but the whole classroom environment. Don’t miss this practical and informative lunchtime session. Please register for Zoom link.

Volunteer to Facilitate Microteaching at the January Grad Academy

Are you generally friendly and care about teaching? Do you have a little (or a lot of) teaching experience, either as a TA or instructor? Please help new TAs get ready to teach by facilitating Microteaching! TA training culminates in Microteaching, where new TAs teach 8-minute mock lessons on subjects of their choice. Microteaching facilitators help the TAs feel welcome, keep things running on time, and provide feedback on the lessons. We provide training. You get to learn a little bit about several different topics, and you end up with unique teaching development service to boost your CV. Contact Lucas Anderson if you would like to help. Microteaching will take place on Friday, January 13th, in the Armory building. Each session is 90 minutes long, and you can volunteer to help with one, two, or even three sessions. Thanks for your consideration!

Final Exams: Exam Services Extended Hours

Exam Services will be open during the following hours during final exam week to process exams administered with Scantrons:

  • Friday, December 9: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Monday, December 12 through Friday, December 16: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

We will remain open over the lunch hour from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. We are located in room 247 of the Armory Building. Contact us at 217-244-3839 or


Workshops and Events


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

Get in the Flow: Promoting Student Learning Engagement
Wednesday, December 7
11:30 a.m.  - 1:00 p.m., 182 Armory Building, registration required
Presenter: David Favre, CITL Teaching & Learning Consultant

See the CITL Event Calendar for all upcoming workshops, and Training Services (formally FAST3) for additional training opportunities. 


Teaching Tips


Assigning Course Grades
(From CITL)

The end-of-course grades assigned by instructors are intended to convey the level of achievement of each student in the class. These grades are used by students, other faculty, university administrators, and prospective employers to make a multitude of different decisions. Unless instructors use generally-accepted policies and practices in assigning grades, these grades are apt to convey misinformation and lead the decision-maker astray. When grading policies and practices are carefully formulated and reviewed periodically, they can serve well the many purposes for which they are used.

What might a faculty member consider to establish sound grading policies and practices? The issues which contribute to making grading a controversial topic are primarily philosophical in nature. There are no research studies that can answer questions like: What should an "A" grade mean? What percent of the students in my class should receive a "C?" Should spelling and grammar be judged in assigning a grade to a paper? What should a course grade represent? These "should" questions require value judgments rather than an interpretation of research data; the answer to each will vary from instructor to instructor. But all instructors must ask similar questions and find acceptable answers to them in establishing their own grading policies

Examining the Benefits of Cumulative Tests and Finals
(from Faculty Focus)

With the academic year nearly over and final exams upon us, it’s a good time to consider how we assess student knowledge in our courses. Cumulative finals are still used in many courses, but a significant number of faculty have backed away from them because they are so unpopular with students, who strongly voice their preferences for exams that include only questions on content covered in that unit or module. Although teachers should not ignore or discount student preferences across the board, there is the larger issue of which testing procedures best promote deep learning and lasting retention of course content. The evidence on the side of cumulative exams and finals is pretty much overwhelming, and those empirical results should not come as a surprise. An exam with questions on current and previous content encourages continued interaction with course material, and the more students deal with the content, the better the chances they will remember it. Students don’t like cumulative exams for the very reason they ought to be used: preparing for them requires more time and energy devoted to understanding and remembering course content.

Cumulative finals are better than unit tests, but cumulative exams across the course are the best option if the goal is long-term retention. Good and plentiful research documents that students taking cumulative exams during the course score significantly higher when given content exams after the course is over. 

See our complete library of teaching tips here.
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