CITL Teaching and Learning News: April 23, 2024

Apr 24, 2024, 11:17 AM
CITL Teaching and Learning News April 23, 2024
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Instructor Voices

  TTLL podcast s2e5

An Entertaining and Effective Engineering Lab 

Who says engineers can’t have pizazz?! Either through sheer silliness or deeply rooted pedagogy, Professor Blake Johnson made low-effort decisions to infuse some style into the pressure cooker situation of converting engineering lab courses into an online modality within a week to accommodate the pandemic response in March 2020. 

Here’s a link to a sample of these lab videos sent to students instead of them being in the facility: Stylized Remote Lab Procedures Example - ME 320 Lab 5

Listen to his reflections in the Season 2 Episode 5 podcast on converting labs under impossible circumstances while maintaining his fun - yet rigorous - teaching effect. 

Did you enjoy this episode, or do you have a story to share about your teaching? Drop us a note at

This podcast was produced by the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the University of Illinois. Episodes can be found on our website, Teach Talk Listen Learn - A CITL Podcast and major podcast platforms. We hope you’ll find us there and join the conversation!


CITL Announcements


Lincoln Legacy Teaching and Learning Conference (formerly FSI) Happening May 20 and 21

Please register and consider submitting a proposal to the 25+ years running conference devoted to teaching and learning and educational technologies. Attendees represent a broad swath of Illinois, including all the universities and many privates and community colleges. All disciplines are welcome.  

This year we are focusing on three themes:

  • Generative AI That Supports Student Learning
  • Online Learning's New Challenges
  • What's So Funny About Playful, Reflective, Slow Learning?

New for this year's program, each conference theme will be addressed through a series of Lightning Talks followed by interactive sessions involving Hands-On Table-Top Activities and Roundtable Discussion Topics.

The conference will be held at the I Hotel and Illinois Conference Center.

Register || Submit a Proposal



Alternative Assessment Learning Community Meeting April 24

Calling all faculty and teaching assistants who are currently using or are interested in using alternative methods for grading in their courses. Join faculty members Kary Zarate (Education) and Clara Bosak-Schroeder (Classics) for an informal discussion about their assessment practices. Come and chat with us on April 24th at 10am in Armory Room 182. Looking forward to learning with you, no registration required.

Final Exams: Exam Services Extended Hours

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

  • Friday, May 3: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Monday, May 6 through Friday, May 10: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

We will remain open over the lunch hour from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Please note that we are now located in room 151A on the first floor of the Armory. Contact us at 217-244-3839 or


Workshops and Events


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

Alternative Assessment Learning Community
Wednesday, April 23, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Armory Building, Room 182
No registration required

Early Findings from the Hybrid Teaching Pilot Program - CITL Art of Teaching Lunchtime Seminar Series
Thursday, May 2, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Zoom (Registration Link)
Host: Jordan Leising (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


Hybrid Teaching Challenges

Hybrid teaching and learning always involves some combination of physical, virtual, and digital classroom space. During the pandemic we pivoted to remote learning and multiple modalities in order to allow students a choice in how they could attend and participate in class. Today we are still grappling with whether or not to offer hybrid courses, and how to deliver them effectively. While there is no magic formula, there are a few things that faculty should consider when thinking about offering a hybrid course: 

  • Providing equivalent learning experiences: The biggest challenge instructors face in delivering hybrid instruction is making sure that both remote and in-person students are getting equivalent kinds of attention and access to content. We tend to focus on the students who are in the room and ignore the students who are online.
  • Some course modification is helpful: While it’s not necessary to rework your entire course for hybrid delivery, instructors do need to be more intentional about planning each class experience. In addition to leading the usual classroom learning activities, they will have to think of ways to specifically reach out to remote students and involve them in every class session.
  • Having the right technology: Currently there are a number of classrooms across campus exploring a hodge-podge of cameras, mics, monitors, and other AV tools. Some work better than others. Early investigations are showing some success with the Owl as an inexpensive option, but the ideal setting is a classroom specifically designed with appropriate technology to support hybrid teaching. 
  • Having technical assistance: Effectively attending to students on Zoom while teaching and leading in-person classroom activities can be a bridge too far. Having a TA or non-academic technical assistant minding online chat and answering questions online can help to ensure that remote students are included and cared for during class.
  • Rethinking exams: It is possible to offer exams in hybrid format, but this may be a good opportunity to try alternative kinds of assessments. There is a lot of creativity in our students especially when they are allowed to show what they know in ways that go beyond tests and papers.
  • Utilizing collaborative tools: One of the best things we learned from pandemic teaching is that students can participate in shared activities when they are allowed to use digital tools. Even a simple Google doc can be a welcoming way to invite in-person and online students into the same learning space.
  • Rethinking cameras on: A lot of frustration was shared during the pandemic over whether students had their cameras on or off. While it is preferable to be able to see our remote students, not seeing them does not necessarily mean that they are not present and fully engaged. Recent data from hybrid courses shows very comparable learning outcomes between in-person and remote students, a surprising number of whom had their cameras off during class.


CITL, in collaboration with Technology Services, has been exploring many aspects of hybrid teaching and learning in a Provost-sponsored Hybrid Teaching and Learning Pilot. The pilot involves a mix of classroom types and sizes, including several new Hyflex classrooms, and SIE stipends are available to faculty who are interested in participating in the investigation. Please reach out to for more information about this opportunity.

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