CITL Teaching and Learning News: March 14, 2024

Mar 21, 2024, 09:08 AM
CITL Teaching and Learning News March 14, 2024
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Instructor Voices

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Creating Inclusive Classroom Environments: Intention Does Not Always Translate into Impact

Imagine a student is sitting in your classroom and feels like they are excluded from the conversation occurring in class. What can that exclusion feel like? Often, feelings of exclusion lead to detaching from learning: often skipping class, getting poor grades, or dropping out of the class entirely. Feeling like one is included and belonging to the learning environment is crucial to effective learning. Often, instructors use methods and techniques that they intend to be inclusive, but have the impact of exclusion. A key way to create more inclusive learning environments in your classroom is by being aware of your own biases and identities as an instructor, and think about the advantages and disadvantages they have in your teaching.

Mardia Bishop, Monét Tchamdjoci, and Shaimaa Khanam (LAS, Communication) discuss more ideas, tips, and methods for creating inclusive classroom environments in this Art of Teaching Presentation, such as challenging the assumptions we make about our students, handling student challenges to your position as an instructor, and how to design a course to be more inclusive.


CITL Announcements

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Register Now for the Spring 2024 MCOT Cohort

CITL's Master Course in Online Teaching (MCOT) is a deep dive into online teaching strategies that go beyond earlier summer teaching institutes. Prior participation in an instructional development series is optional, but professional experience with university-level instruction is strongly encouraged. MCOT provides social learning and networking opportunities with a supportive interdisciplinary learning community.

The MCOT Canvas Course includes four live Zoom sessions scheduled for Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. beginning March 20. Certificates will be presented to those who complete all course requirements. Register here to join the spring 2024 cohort.

Exploring Alternative Grading Methods: Join Us for an Informal Discussion

Calling all faculty and teaching assistants who are currently using or are interested in using alternative methods for grading (i.e., Labor-based grading and Ungrading) in their courses. Join faculty members Kary Zarate (Education) and Clara Bosak-Schroeder (Classics) for an informal discussion about their assessment practices. This is a space for you to ask questions, discuss current challenges, and support one another. If you are interested in joining this professional learning community, come chat with us on March 22 at 1 p.m. in the CITL room 182 at Armory. Registration is required.

If you can't make it for this session, you'll have a second opportunity to join the conversation on April 24 at 10 a.m. No registration required.

CITL Teaching Certificate Deadline is April 15

If you are pursuing one of CITL's teaching certificates, the deadline for finishing the requirements this year is Monday, April 15. If you don't submit your application by April 15, all of your progress still counts, and you have until next April to finish the remainder of the requirements. Check out the FAQs for information that may answer some questions you currently have.


Workshops and Events


Canvas Open Office Hours
Recurring: every Thursday, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Host: CITL Instructional Support Team

MCOT -  Master Course in Online Teaching 
Wednesday, March 20, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Zoom (Registration Link)
Host: David Favre (CITL)

Authentic Assessment: Can Your Students Apply Their Learning to Real-world Contexts?
Thursday, March 21, 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Zoom (Registration Link)
Host: David Favre (CITL)

Developing Your Teaching Philosophy for a Faculty Job Search
Friday, March 22, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Armory Building, Room 182
Registration Link
Host: Lucas Anderson (CITL)

Alternative Assessment Learning Community
Friday, March 22, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Armory Building Room 182
Registration Link
Host: Jim Wentworth (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.


UDL Tip of the Month


Fostering Expert Learners

Thus far, the CITL UDL Tip of the Month series has looked at the overall framework for UDL and considered a variety of course design strategies and applications for each of the three pillars of UDL: Multiple Means of Engagement, Representation, and Action and Expression. From this vantage point, this month’s tip examines the goal of UDL: supporting students to become expert learners.

What does it mean to be an expert learner? The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) defines “expert learners” as students “who are, each in their own way, purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal driven.”* To unpack this definition a bit:

  • Purposeful and Motivated Learners are goal-directed in their learning, set challenging learning goals for themselves, and know how to sustain the effort needed to achieve those goals.
  • Resourceful and Knowledgeable Learners make connections to prior learning experiences and recognize the tools and resources to help them structure and retain new information.
  • Strategic and Goal Driven Learners formulate plans for learning, monitor and reflect on their progress, and adapt their learning approaches based on feedback and new information, shifting strategies when necessary to achieve their goals.

In the context of design, the goal is to create learning environments that support all learners in becoming more expert-like in their learning approaches, regardless of their starting point or background. So, what course design strategies can be leveraged to help students become expert learners? 

CAST offers the following 5 UDL Tips for Fostering Expert Learners along with examples and related design questions that instructors/designers can consider:

1. Support Relevant Goal Setting:

    • Example: Inviting learners to reflect on a learning goal through personal experience or work they want to accomplish.
    • Design Questions: Are the goals clear and relevant for my learners? How can I better support my learners to set their own relevant and meaningful goals?

2. Communicate High Expectations for All and Recognize Variability:

    • Example: Using feedback that encourages all learners to believe they can achieve high expectations by acknowledging individual differences, communicating high expectations, and promoting goal-directed learning.
    • Design Questions: Have I communicated consistent, high expectations for all learners? How have I supported my students to set high expectations for themselves? What resources have I made available to support learner differences?

3. Promote Disciplinary Expertise:

    • Example: Clarifying the distinguishing features of disciplinary experts in your domain and highlighting how experts engage in their discipline.
    • Design Questions: Have I defined and shared disciplinary expertise in my domain? In what ways are there opportunities for learners to become purposeful, resourceful, and strategic in different disciplines?

4. Focus on the Process, Not Just the Outcome:

    • Example: Showcasing the steps that lead to a final product, such as editing drafts or discussing mistakes in a math problem.
    • Design Questions: How do I highlight the learning process in my discipline? Am I offering mastery-oriented feedback throughout the learning experience?

5. Guide Self-Reflection:

    • Example: Having learners share reflections about their learning frequently, with formative assessments like exit tickets, online feedback options, or journaling.
    • Design Questions: Have I offered time for reflection about the learning process and how that process varies across disciplines? Where can I foster collaboration among learners to share about their learning processes? How do I model the process of expert learning for learners?

Ultimately, becoming an expert learner is an ongoing learning process that is reflective and evolving. By understanding and implementing design strategies that support students in becoming purposeful, motivated, resourceful, and strategic in their learning, instructors and designers can create inclusive learning environments where all students can thrive. The 5 UDL tips provided offer practical guidance for designing courses that not only accommodate diverse learners but also empower them to become expert learners, capable of navigating and succeeding in any learning context.

* Adapted from CAST (2017). UDL Tips for Fostering Expert Learners. Wakefield, MA: Author. Retrieved from

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