CITL Teaching and Learning News: Feb 9, 2023

Feb 28, 2023, 16:30 PM
CITL Teaching and Learning News February 9, 2023
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Instructor Voices

  Photo of Gayle Spencer

Creating an Engaging Classroom Helps You Be a Better Teacher

“When you create environments where students can be actively engaged, it just makes you a better teacher,” says Gayle Spencer (Illinois Leadership Center). Spencer strives to cultivate a classroom where students have access to different learning activities and are motivated to form connections among themselves.

In this video, Spencer details how she has her students make transition timelines: their life stories drawn on paper. When she first did this activity, it unexpectedly lasted for two class periods because the students were so engaged with each other. Spencer also recalls a student crying upon attending his first class after campus reopened at UIUC. She suggests it is important for students like these to have spaces where they can connect with their peers, so that they can feel empowered to learn for themselves.


CITL Announcements


CITL Faculty Book Club

One book, eight friends, and infinite possibilities! 

The next “chapter” of the CITL Faculty Book Club will begin Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, in the vibrant teaching and learning space of 156 Armory. The book club will meet from 11:30 am to 1 pm on the following Fridays: Feb. 24, March 24, and April 7 and 21 (2023). It's open to all UIUC faculty and post-docs with teaching responsibilities; however, space is limited to eight seats, so register now.

“We're excited to discover the liberating potential of multicultural teaching practices in our next book, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (hooks, 1994),” said David Favre, a Teaching & Learning Specialist at CITL and the book club’s facilitator. Members can use a free version of the book from the University Library.

TA Reading Groups Starting for Spring

This reading group will be critically reading and discussing Ungrading and its applications to different modes of teaching. Participants are encouraged to consider how cultural assumptions about grading and assessments have informed their teaching practices and philosophies. 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.

If more than one reading group forms, additional groups will investigate how the best college teachers teach by reading Ken Bain's What the Best College Teachers Do. Reading groups are a great way for TAs with tight schedules to fulfill workshop hours for the Graduate Teacher Certificate or the Certificate in Foundations of Teaching.


Workshops and Events


Spring Faculty Series on Teaching & Learning, Workshop 2
A Reflective Teaching Philosophy Statement for Promotion and Tenure
Wednesday, February 15
11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Armory Room 182, registration required
Presenter: Cheelan Bo-Linn, CITL Teaching and Learning Consultant

Spring Faculty Series on Teaching & Learning, Workshop 3
Create a Responsive Student-Centered Syllabus to Support Learning
Wednesday, February 22
11:30 am - 1:00 pm , Armory Room 182, registration required
Presenter: Cheelan Bo-Linn, CITL Teaching and Learning Consultant

Spring Faculty Series on Teaching & Learning, Workshop 4
Develop Effective Assessments of Student Learning: Tests, Exams, & Rubrics
Wednesday, March 1
11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Armory Room 182, registration required
Presenter: Cheelan Bo-Linn, CITL Teaching and Learning Consultant

Art of Teaching Lunchtime Seminar Series
Sara Benson & Jimi Jones (AA&U's Institute for Open Educational Resources)
Thursday, March 2
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, Zoom, registration required
Presenter: Emily Forbes, CITL Teaching and Learning Consultant

Stay tuned for this semester's events! Bookmark the CITL Event Calendar for all upcoming workshops and the Training Services (formally FAST3) Calendar for additional training opportunities. 


Teaching Tips


Emphasizing the Importance of Originality

Emma was concerned about the increase in plagiarism among her students. As an instructor for a writing-intensive course, she knew that much of the plagiarism was unintentional and could likely be reduced by giving students more writing practice and feedback, but how could she do this without drastically increasing the course’s already heavy grading load?

Emma decided to use Turnitin, the originality detection software already available in her learning management system, as a teaching tool instead of a punitive one. With her TAs, she crafted a four-step approach:

  1. All assignments and rubrics were revised to include clear expectations about academic integrity.
  2. As part of instruction, students learned how to submit their work to the plagiarism detection program and interpret the generated report.
  3. Instructors created “Check Yourself” links for all assignments so students could generate a plagiarism detection report before officially submitting their work, enabling students to catch and correct their errors.
  4. Students were required to submit benchmark assignments and unscored drafts for quick instructor review, thus allowing the team to address possible infractions in a low-risk environment.

Not only did these changes significantly reduce instances of unintentional plagiarism, but also students reported significant increases in their willingness to submit their original work. They indicated a perceived reduction in their workload simply because they could check and correct their writing prior to turning it in. Students consistently stated that they felt the originality detection software made revision easier and kept them out of trouble. One student even jokingly compared the software to Safe Auto, the insurance company whose commercial tagline was, “We keep you legal for less.” 

Want to learn more about using Turnitin in your assignments? See over a dozen helpful resources here

See an archived library of teaching tips here.
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