Last weekend, CRLT Executive Director Connie Cook was honored by the POD Network, the main national professional organization for teaching center directors and other educational development professionals. The group's highest honor, the "Spirit of POD Award" is given annually to an outstanding leader and innovator in the field.    

In the tribute read about Connie Cook at the group's annual meeting, she was lauded for her many influential publications and her generous mentorship of teaching center colleagues around the country. She was recognized in particular for her central role in "shaping the dialogue and teaching development programming on multiculturalism and diversity through her advocacy of inclusion in the work of her own Center, through a unique and wonderfully innovative theatre program with national reach, and through strong international outreach to China and other countries." She was characterized by her nominators as "a giant in our field." Read more »

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What obstacles to student learning might you inadvertently be introducing into your classroom? How can you plan courses and lesson plans in ways that effectively anticipate a range of student abilities? What resources and practices can help you work with students who disclose learning disabilities? What are good strategies for fostering respect and understanding about learning disabilities within your classrooms?

Participants discussed all of these questions in a recent workshop with the CRLT Players on "(dis)Abilities in the Classroom." Using theater to prompt reflection and discussion, the session explored various challenges faced by U-M students with learning disabilities and provided concrete strategies for instructors to support students in navigating those challenges. As emphasized by this CRLT Occasional Paper, students with disabilities are attending and succeeding at U-M in increasing numbers. As our classroom communities become more diverse in this way, it's critical for U-M teachers to anticipate and respond productively to a range of student abilities in their classrooms.

During the workshop, participants brainstormed a wide range of teaching strategies that echo the best practices for inclusive teaching recommended by the CRLT Occasional Paper as well as U-M's Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office. As their Faculty Handbook--a great resource for all U-M teachers--explains, many strategies for anticipating or accommodating students with learning disabilities are simply good pedagogy.

Specific teaching practices suggested at the workshop include: Read more »

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At this point in the semester, many courses are building toward a midterm examination. As a teacher, how can you best design such tests to motivate and assess student learning?  How can you be sure that your classroom instruction adequately prepares students for the exam?  How, in short, can you make the most of exam time as a learning opportunity for your students?

The process of designing an exam can offer a great opportunity to ensure that your learning goals, instructional practices, and assessment techniques are all well aligned. Our website features several resources to help you thoughtfully design exams that reliably measure whether students have learned what you've been trying to teach them--and evaluate those exams fairly. These emphasize that effective exams  Read more »

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As one participant at the recent Preparing Future Faculty conference had heard from her faculty mentor, "Everyone is busy. Not everyone is productive." What can you do to make sure you fall into the latter category? The conference session on Strategies, Tools and Resources for Productivity focused on developing habits while in graduate school that will lead to greater success as a faculty member. Of course, such habits are useful for scholars at any stage of their career, especially if you're balancing full teaching and research agendas. 

At the session, CRLT Assitant Director Rachel Niemer presented research showing that success in most endeavors begins with creating the right habits so that you are consistently making progress toward your goals. For college faculty, one crucial habit to develop is regular writing. But knowing this fact does not always mean acting upon it. Developing a new habit requires creating the right environment for it to grow. For regular writing, the elements of such an enviroment include: a regular trigger, opportunities to engage in the desired behavior, and a "reward" or sense of accountability for completing the behavior.
 
Want to learn more about how to enhance your own productivity? If you read on, you can see the Prezi presentation from the session and learn more about resources for productivity. 
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It's a common challenge: A student answers a question in class. But the answer is wrong. How do you respond?

When there are definite right and wrong answers, it's important that instructors provide clear feedback on student responses so that the class knows which answers are right, which are wrong, and which are somewhere in between. Often, a wrong answer gives some insight into how students are thinking about the question, and provides an opportunity to lead the students to a better answer. Of course, you also want to communicate that the student's answer is appreciated, and maintain a safe space for students to contribute answers in the future. 

We've located some resources from teaching centers around the country with suggestions for how to handle wrong answers. Some of the best suggestions include: Read more »

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