CITL Teaching and Learning News: September 19, 2023

Sep 22, 2023, 16:39 PM
CITL Teaching and Learning News September 19, 2023
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Instructor Voices

  Instructor profile image_Andrea Faber Taylor

Teaching in a Constantly Changing Teaching Environment

Andrea Taylor Faber (Crop Sciences) teaches her horticulture and greenspace courses in flexible and restorative ways to compensate for a learning environment constantly in flux. “Remind your students that they are probably attentionally fatigued,” Faber says. “We’re constantly taking in information and filtering a lot of information; we’re constantly working our capacity to pay attention because of the heavy load we place on it trying to pay attention to what’s important and filtering out what isn’t.” To help with this attention overload, Faber incorporates “green breaks” where students get up from the desk and go outside without devices to recharge.

In this presentation, Faber outlines some practices and strategies that she has utilized in her teaching and research for helping students (and herself) deal with a teaching and learning environment that changes constantly and provides the prime environment for attention overload. These include providing options for hybrid or fully online students, building in stretch breaks in your class sessions, built-in socializing, and utilizing your lunch break to recharge for yourself. “Take steps to consistently be your best self,” Faber says. Taking time to recharge and inspire your teaching helps you focus on your research and teaching, and also gives students the best experience for their learning.


CITL Announcements


List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students

The List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for the Spring 2023 semester 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 +1 (217) 244-3846.

Free Data & Analytics Consulting Services Available for Fall 2023 

Do you need help with data, troubleshooting code, statistical analyses, or survey research? Consulting and workshops are open to campus on the following: Stata, SAS, ATLAS.ti, SPSS, R, Python, Qualtrics, and Alchemer. All services are free through a partnership with CITL, the Library of Scholarly Commons, and Tech Services. For open consulting hours and workshop registration, visit our CITL Data Analytics Services website.

Drop-in hours on Zoom and in person: 10 am-5 pm M, T, W, Th 10 am-5 pm and F 1pm-5-pm. Register for a workshop

Register Now for the Fall 2023 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 18th. Certificates will be presented to those who complete all course requirements. Register here to join the fall 2023 cohort.

CITL Upgrades GenAI Resources to Empower Faculty and Students 

CITL has recently enhanced our GenAI resources to better support our faculty and students as they face the constantly evolving landscape of GenAI in higher education. Our aim is to foster a vibrant teaching and learning community where individuals can explore more GenAI and investigate its potential impact on their instructional and learning approaches. Our services include training and consultation, easy access to the most recent AI tools and teaching resources, as well as opportunities for learning from and collaborating within our Illinois community.

Introducing CITL’s New Universal Design for Learning Team!

Looking to enhance the accessibility and inclusivity of your course and teaching? CITL's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Team of dedicated experts is here to help. Our UDL Team can assist you in implementing UDL principles to create more inclusive, accessible, and effective learning experiences for your students.

The UDL Team can help you:

  • Improve the accessibility of your online course and course content.
  • Reduce barriers in instruction to foster a more inclusive learning environment.
  • Diversify how students engage with you, their peers, and your course content.
  • Provide flexibility in assessing students' knowledge and skills.
  • Tailor course content to support students’ learning styles and abilities.
  • Design activities and assessments that address students’ diverse learning strategies.

Our UDL Team can start small and focus on one aspect of your course (like your syllabus or a single assignment), or we can consider your entire course or program. Whatever your needs or interests, take that important first step and reach out to us at Let’s work together to create a more accessible, inclusive, and engaging learning experience for your students!


Workshops and Events


Generative AI Training and Consultations
Recurring: every Monday and Tuesday, 12pm - 4pm
Location: CITL Innovation Studio, Room 182, Armory Building
Walk-ins and appointments
Host: CITL (provides easy access to the latest versions of key GenAI tools and consultations)

F'23 Faculty Workshop Series on Teaching & Learning, wksp #2: Creating Effective Team Members and Team Projects: What, How, and Why
Wednesday, September 20, 11:30am - 1:00pm
Location: Room 182, Armory Building (east side of the building)
Registration Link
Host: Cheelan Bo-Linn (CITL)

Canvas Open Office Hours
Recurring: every Thursday, 11am - 12pm
Host: CITL Instructional Support Team

Running Effective Class Discussions (The Meta-Discussion)
Thursday, September 21, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Location: Room 182, Armory Building (east side of the building)
Registration Link
Host: Lucas Anderson (CITL)

F'23 Faculty Workshop Series on Teaching & Learning, wksp #3: Creating a Learner-Centered Responsive Course and Syllabus
Wednesday, September 27, 11:30am - 1:00pm
Location: Room 182, Armory Building (east side of the building)
Registration Link
Host: Cheelan Bo-Linn (CITL)

F'23 Faculty Workshop Series on Teaching & Learning, wksp #4: The Art of the Enhanced Lecture (Part I) – Key Components of Structure and Student Engagement
Wednesday, October 4, 11:30am - 1:00pm
Location: Room 182, Armory Building (east side of the building)
Registration Link
Host: Cheelan Bo-Linn (CITL)

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


Teaching Tips


The Power of Silence in the Classroom

You ask a question in class and no one responds. Maybe that makes you nervous. Was it a bad question? Should you rephrase? Are your students just lost? What do you do?

In most circumstances, what you should do is just wait. Let me offer a few considerations to help you be comfortable with silence in your classroom.

The silence doesn’t last as long as you think. You are almost certainly perceiving time differently than your students. You probably have several thoughts racing through your mind after you ask a question. You might be anticipating various student answers and how you would respond. You may be asking some of the questions I posed in the first paragraph. You are probably also thinking ahead to the next part of your lesson. All these thoughts are causing your perception of time to dilate. Your students don’t have all these questions running through their minds, and the silence does not feel nearly as long to them as it does to you. Just wait. It probably won’t be that long before someone responds. It just might feel like a long time.

You do not have to out-wait everyone in the class. Like the joke about outrunning a bear, you don’t have to be the most patient person in the room. You just can’t be the most impatient person in the room. You can do that. Wait until someone responds.

Silence is time for your students to think. It is not your job to fill your class time with speech. It is your job to help your students learn. Silence after a question gives students time to think before answering, and that is a good thing. You’ll probably get better answers.

In fact, consider enforcing silence after a question. Give students a set time to think, or even write down a response. Then ask for someone to volunteer an answer, and your volunteer pool will probably be larger. After all, you shouldn’t always want to hear from the bravest or fastest thinking people in the room. I hope you want to hear from everyone, so give the shyer or more deliberative students time to think before answering.

So, you ask a question in class and no one responds. No problem. They probably just haven’t responded yet. Give them a little time to think, wait patiently, and see who you hear from.

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