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The Center for Teaching and Learning congratulates all Oregon State University graduates in the Class of ’17. Best wishes for a wonderful future!

And as the university looks forward to its 150th year, we extend a big thank you to everyone who teaches at OSU for your efforts this year on behalf of all your learners!


Large expanse of green grass with sun and skyHybrid Course Funding—Proposal Deadline Extended until June 20.  CTL will provide professional development funds to participants in the Hybrid Faculty Learning Community in Fall 2017 and redesign an established Corvallis campus course as a hybrid course that will be offered in Spring or Summer 2018. See call for proposals. Space limited; apply now.


New Funding Opportunities: Hybrid and Transformative

pink rhododendron flowersThe Center for Teaching and Learning invites applications for two popular learning communities that begin in September:

1 – The Transformative Curriculum Professional Learning Community supports OSU faculty in defining and designing cross-disciplinary courses that transcend traditional academic boundaries. See the Transformative Curriculum Request for Proposals for details.

2 – The Hybrid Faculty Learning Community supports faculty redesigning Corvallis campus courses as hybrid courses. See the Hybrid Faculty Learning Community Request for Proposals for details.

Both learning communities are offered in a hybrid format that blends on-campus meetings with online resources and interaction. Both programs offer professional development funding for successful completion.

Proposals for these programs are due June 10. Space is limited; apply now!

Spring Celebration of Teaching Symposium

Dear Colleagues – Thank you for attending our Spring Celebration of Teaching. We so rarely have a chance to simply discuss great ideas. The energy and enthusiasm at the event was palpable. We thank you all for your commitment to OSU students and teaching excellence.  If you would like to see the photographs of Benny and our guests, click on the Link.

Blended Learning Hands-On Workshop

Join us to explore tools and techniques to integrate online and classroom learning in your courses. Learn effective blended/hybrid teaching practices in this hands-on CTL workshop on Wednesday, May 3 1:00-2:30 p.m., in Milam 215. All faculty and GTA’s welcome. Please bring your laptop. Refreshments provided. Please register here.

Academic Technology Lunchtime Webinar: How You Can Create a Successful Hybrid Course

Join Cub Kahn (CTL) on Wednesday, 19 April, noon to 12:30 p.m. More than 270 OSU courses are hybrid, integrating a reduced amount of face-to-face class meeting time with significant online learning activity. This webinar will demonstrate effective methods for designing and teaching a hybrid course, and cover ways in which the Center for Teaching and Learning and Academic Technology can support your on-campus hybrid teaching efforts. Register here.

Strategies for Handling Student Absences

Our primary goal is to ensure students learn what we intend.  It is true that when students miss a class, particularly one that is activity based, it is not possible to “make up” the experience.  Still, there are legitimate reasons why students may need to be absent: death in the family, illness, sports and arts obligations, etc.  Students should not be penalized for legitimate absences.

As teachers, our question is: what will best support a student’s learning even though s/he cannot be in class? You are the content expert and course designer, so you are the best person to decide what additional assignment would best support students in the case of an absence.  Still, here are a few ideas for your consideration.

Assign the student to:

  • review the assigned reading and identify the key points accompanied by an explanation of why those particular points are most important
  • organize the course information (up to this point) into a graphic representation…then in a NEW color, add in, and CONNECT the new content (covered when he was absent).
  • write a short paper, not to exceed two pages, that summarizes the ideas, relationships, concepts, calculations he missed

Again, our focus needs to be on how to best support students’ learning despite absences. Another idea is to require students, upon return, to meet with another student to review the class content and provide you with a short, written summary of the classes missed.  This would allow you to quickly check to see if s/he missed any major points. Whether an assessment is delivered through a clicker or exam, its purpose is communication: assessments communicate to teachers the degree to which the students are learning what we intend.  This “feedback” informs us about what was difficult for students and needs re-teaching.

Some teachers pre-manage for student absences by adding this statement to the course syllabi: “In case of an excused absence, an alternative assignment that supports your learning will be required.”  Another idea for your consideration is to allow students to “drop” one or two daily grades; we all have things come up…and once in a while we need a “get out of jail card.”  This communicates to students that we understand the complexities of life, yet expect them to come prepared.

Equitable Group Participation

Dear Colleagues,

Even though it is the end of the quarter and your hearts and minds are on the closure of winter quarter, I thought I would post a support for your spring quarter courses.  We are often asked how to assess group work.

Cherry blossoms and OSU Memorial UnionCreating equitable work groups is an issue, as you know, of great importance. “Effective collaboration” is not only an institutional outcome it is authentic preparation for life.

Students figure out rather quickly that we assess what we value. Clearly preface group work by outlining the importance of, practicing and mastering, effective collaborative skills; explain it is necessary preparation for the world of work and citizenry.  Clearly outline expectations:  you expect equitable work and the group will be “graded accordingly.”

In this case, collaborative participation must be a percentage of the grade: the success of the group must count towards each individual’s final grade. (This encourages commitment to equity…unless there is a significant emergency of one group member, group members are required to figure out how to collaborate as a group.  This is not really an issue with today’s technology).

Provide the students with the Collaboration and Equity Rubric: tell them clearly that each person will independently and confidentially evaluating their group’s performance using the rubric as the metric.  Explain you will collect the evaluations at the completion of the task. (There are a number of ways to ensure individuals’ responses remain confidential; Canvas is an option as students can post without others seeing their work.)

Please note, according to the rubric students’ assessments require data for evaluation of the group’s performance; if someone is identified  by group members as someone who didn’t contribute equitably, that individual receives a lower rating that the rest of the group members. Do not assign the group a grade; always grade collaboration skills on an individual basis.  If your class is small enough you can evaluate your students’ participation levels in class; those who are not contributing can be encourages and supported by you (during the quarter) in the improvement of their collaborative skills.

When we directly clarify expectations and evaluate them, it communicates we value the skill necessary for full citizenry and the world of work.

The Collaboration and Equity Rubric is for your use, reflection and revision.

Have a great break!

Teaching Triads

Teaching Triads: Join colleagues and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in this spring’s professional learning community (PLC). Teaching Triads is designed to engage trios of faculty around structured teaching observations and intellectual coaching. Through reciprocal observations, feedback, and dialogue participants collaboratively address questions, needs, and opportunities in the enhancement of teaching. The work is supportive, formative, voluntary and NOT evaluative. This hyflex PLC runs April 13 – June 15 and has live sessions on Thursdays at 12:30. This PLC is also offered to off-site teachers. Extended MOU submission date April 3, 2017. Download the MOU.

Spring into the Celebration of Teaching!

The Center for Teaching and Learning spring symposium, Celebrating Teaching Excellence, is traditionally dedicated to the showcasing of OSU’s innovative and creative teaching. This is a fun event that fosters reflection, enhances the exchange of ideas, and inspires our collective commitment to our students and the art of teaching. Progressive family-style lunch and rotating conversations are hallmarks of this celebration.

On Wednesday, April 26 from 11-2, if you (and colleagues and/or students) would like to showcase your work at a round table, please fill out the short application proposal.  All applications will be reviewed and 12 will be selected.

Don’t be shy…apply!

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