Classroom instructor with students using laptops.As U-M instructors put the finishing touches on their fall syllabi, many are pondering technology policies for their courses. Instructors across all disciplines at Michigan have developed creative ways to utilize technologies to facilitate student learning. As many U-M faculty examples demonstrate, laptops and mobile electronic devices can be leveraged in the classroom to enhance student interaction, collaboration, content knowledge, and practice with key skills. 

Yet many teachers find the presence of such devices a hindrance to student learning in their classes and seek ways to limit their classroom use. Recent writings about this concern have cited the distraction of the student user, the distraction of their fellow students (with one faculty commentator comparing classroom laptop use to second-hand smoke), or the sometimes-alarming uses of social media among groups of students during class. Many faculty are also persuaded to limit laptops in the classroom by research on the benefits of notetaking by hand for those students who are able. Considering these concerns alongside the development of ever-better instructional technologies, what's the best technology policy to adopt?

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and the choices you make will depend on any number of factors including your discipline, class size, pedagogical strategies, and learning goals for students. Any instructor effectively has three choices, considerations about each of which we outline below: Read more »

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CRLT staff are busy preparing orientation programs for new Graduate Student Instructors across campus. Our fall GSI Teaching Orientation is coming up on August 31-September 1 in the Michigan League, followed by an orientation for Engineering GSIs on September 3. Every fall, hundreds of graduate students who are teaching for the first time at U-M attend our orientations. 

These programs provide opportunities for new GSIs across campus to think deliberately about how to engage and support the learning of every student in their classes. They feature a range of activities and sessions that highlight resources and strategies to help participants succeed as teachers at U-M. These include: Read more »

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CRLT is very pleased to congratulate the first recipients of the GTC+ certificate. Launched last year as a collaboration with the Institute for the Humanities and Rackham, the GTC+ provides opportunities for additional professional development around teaching with digital media for students already pursuing the Rackham-CRLT Graduate Teacher Certificate. In this guest blog, GTC+ participant Antje Gamble profiles the three graduate students who completed the new certificate this year. Antje received her Ph.D. in the History of Art this summer; she has run the GTC+ Twitter feed (@GTCPlus) throughout 2015. Read more »

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We are very pleased to share the news that Matthew Kaplan has been appointed Executive Director of CRLT.

Matt's appointment culminates a long evaluation and planning process for CRLT, which included internal and external reviews as well as a national search for a director with an inspiring vision for the Center's future. Candidates were invited to speak on "The Future of a Teaching Center in a Research University," and Matt's talk highlighted the importance of CRLT's interconnectedness. Defining the center's role as "cooperative leadership," he foregrounded our crucial collaborative relationships with partners on campus as well as our connections with the work of other university teaching centers both nationally and internationally. 

Matt brings to the Executive Director position over twenty years of experience in educational development, during which he has published widely on topics related to teaching and learning, faculty development, and teaching center administration. He has also held leadership roles in POD Network, the national professional organization for educational developers in higher ed, and is recognized as a key expert by teaching center colleagues nationally. He also knows our center and university very well, having worked at CRLT since 1994 and served as CRLT's interim director since January of 2014. Read more »

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Commencement may be over, but CRLT is still available to support U-M teachers throughout the spring and summer. If you're teaching a course in one of these terms, you can request a Midterm Student Feedback session led by one of our consultants. CRLT staff are also available to discuss the student ratings from past courses or to consult on course design and planning as you look ahead to the fall. We're happy to hear from you at any time of year!

For our full range of consultation services, see this page. Read more »

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