occasional paper

We're Here For YouU-M counseling offices in collaboration with President Schlissel recently launched a new campaign with the motto “We’re here for you,” designed to increase community dialogue on mental and emotional health and normalize access to services. As a U-M instructor, you are likely aware that many of your students experience mental health challenges. What can you do within the bounds of your role to promote mental health and support students experiencing challenges?

CRLT’s latest Occasional Paper “Supporting Students Facing Mental Health Challenges” provides a starting point for faculty and GSIs interested in exploring this topic. As the paper emphasizes, you can take many steps in your role as an instructor to normalize a focus on students’ mental health and set up an academic experience that promotes growth and resilience.

In the Occasional Paper, you will find: Read more »

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Have you been approached about team teaching, but are nervous about the process of sharing a classroom with other instructors? Have you participated in a team-taught course, and want to learn new strategies to make it even more successful in its next iteration? Are you looking to learn more about the benefits of team teaching for both students and instructors? Are you curious about team teaching, but unsure of how to plan for, structure, or evaluate such a class?

Faculty team teaching a GSI colloquium in English

We welcome faculty and GSIs across campus to explore our newest Occasional Paper, Teaching in Teams: A Planning Guide for Successful Collaborations. Many team-taught courses seek to promote students’ development of higher-order thinking skills by enabling them to interact with instructors who have different sets of expertise and perspectives (Bacharach, Heck, & Dahlberg, 2008; Bierwert, 2011; Helms, Alvis, & Willis, 2005). And for instructors, team teaching enables instructors to encounter new content knowledge, as well as new perspectives on their own expertise (Bacharach et al., 2008; Plank, 2011; Shibley, 2006). As Dr. Laura Olsen (MCDB) shares: Read more »

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Molecule structureAs winter term gets underway, many U-M instructors are teaching in new GSI-faculty teams. How can you build productive collaborations from the start? 

The CRLT Occasional Paper on "Teaching Effectively with GSI-Faculty Teams" highlights many benefits--for professor, GSIs, and students--of effective relationships among professors and grad students who teach together. As the literature on GSI-faculty relationships makes clear, though, such teamwork can sometimes pose significant challenges. U-M faculty have reported, among other issues, grappling with how to coordinate the work of all members of a teaching team, handle student complaints, and respond to various challenges to instructor authority.

It's probably obvious but bears repeating: Establishing clear team guidelines and routine communication patterns early in the term can help prevent such problems--as well as provide structures for addressing them productively if they do arise later in the semester. Read more »

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students working at a computerThere's no question that students' writing improves most when they have frequent opportunities for practice and feedback. But instructors sometimes struggle to find ways to provide those opportunities, especially in large courses. One method that many U-M instructors use to good effect is structured peer review. These three faculty members--featured in CRLT's recent Occasional Paper about Online Collaboration Tools (OCTs)--have made creative use of OCTs to facilitate collaborative writing as well as timely, frequent, low-stakes peer feedback: Read more »

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This occasional paper discusses research showing how student personal response systems (often called 'clickers') can support student learning. It gives specific strategies for using clickers to assess student knowledge prior to the course, check students' understanding of new material, administer tests, document attendance, and more. The paper also discusses challenges and proposes best practices for using clickers for a range of purposes. 
 
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