OSU Teaching

Center for Teaching and Learning

OSU Teaching

Archives for Center for Teaching and Learning

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!

Who is in the Teaching and Learning Spotlight?

The Center for Teaching and Learning and LIFE@OSU are introducing a new semi-monthly series highlighting the stories of successful teaching on campus. Teachers featured in the series have all utilized CTL services and resources in order to better enhance their teaching experiences. For more information about LIFE@OSU.

This month’s featured faculty member is Rebecca Hutchinson, assistant professor with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. To learn about Rebecca and her teaching experiences check out her article on our Announcements & Events page or see the article in LIFE@OSU.

5 Tips for Facilitating Difficult Conversations

As a follow up to our Winter Symposium we wanted to share five tips for facilitating our students’ citizenry and communication skills. Handling difficult discussions in the classroom is a topic many of us are faced with today.

-1-  Before the class begins, identify any controversial issues that might arise in your classroom. How might these discussions contribute to the course you are teaching?

-2-  Prepare students for the discussions by including this in the course syllabus, and remind students throughout the course that controversial issues are opportunities to develop an understanding of, and empathy for, others.  Critical thinking and respectful communication skills are institutional outcomes for all OSU graduates as they are skills necessary for full participation in a democracy and all work environments.

-3-  Support students in learning difficult discussion skills by providing them the opportunity to set ground rules. (Preliminary work can be done in Canvas; bring the summary of the input to the face-to-face session.)

-4-  Ask students how they might handle a situation in which someone chooses not to follow the ground rules.  (What specifically might they say or do to maintain the safe environment?)  This emphasizes the collective responsibility for maintaining a civil environment, as opposed to it being only the teacher’s responsibility.

  • Have an agreed upon method for stopping the class and gaining everyone’s attention.
  • Keep your emotions in check.

-5-  After the discussion ask students to write a short reflection on the act of participating in the difficult discussion.  This assignment underscores the importance of communication skill development (we assess what we value).  You may wish to also include a question about the rhetoric in the argument, the framework from an argument was made, or the quality of information used to defend a point of view.

  • When were you most engaged?
  • At what point, if any, did you disconnect from the conversation?

For a pdf of these 5 tips, click “Print Friendly” at the end of this post.

Our website now contains this information as well as many additional resources to support you in engaging in difficult dialogue in the classroom. Check out these resources.


CTL 2017 Winter Symposium Golden Ticket Winners

Thank you for joining us at the winter symposium, Humor. Care. Contemplation. We appreciate you taking the time to join us. We would like to announce that the Golden Ticket winners from our Ask an Expert Question Carnival were Jennifer McKee and Tianhong Shi! Congratulations to you both! We look forward to seeing you at the Spring Symposium, Celebrating Teaching Excellence on April 26!

Hybrid Workshop

Shiny Learning Innovation Center sign on brick wall of LINC buildingExplore 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 Friday, Feb. 3 1:00-2:30 p.m., in Milam 215. All faculty and GTA’s welcome. Please bring your laptop. Refreshments provided. Please register in advance to save a seat. See you there!

Time to Register for CTL’s Winter Symposium!

OSU clock tower with Benton Hall in the backgroundJoin us for CTL’s Humor, Care, and Contemplation Winter Symposium from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, MU Horizon Room.

Morning sessions include:

  • Contemplative Practices as a Tool Towards Seeking Balance
  • Negotiating Difficult Discussions with Care
  • The OSU Innovation Initiative: How does disruptive innovation work, and who are we disrupting?
  • What’s funny . . . and not so funny? What do political cartoons communicate about teaching, learning and higher education?

For the first time CTL will host an “Ask and Expert Resource Fair” in the afternoon. Several OSU departments will host booths to share their expertise with you in conversations and mini-consultations.

See the full schedule and register now.

Tuesday Teaching Talks & Thursday Tech Webinars

We are excited to announce a complementary series of workshops and webinars. This series will advance both your teaching excellence and the integration of educational technology to continue your support of students’ success.

Tuesday Teaching TALKS which meet every week at 10:00 and/or 2:00, in Milam 215, will be followed on Thursdays with an educational technology support session specifically designed to leverage your teaching through the effective use of technology (including Canvas).

See the full schedule. Attend one or attend all!

Tuesday Teaching TALKS – Milam 215 @10 or 2

No registration required.                                    

Thursday Tech Webinars – Online @ 10 & 2


For questions contact:



Please join us in this collaborative effort,

Kay Sagmiller, Center for Teaching and Learning Director

Lynn Greenough, Learn@OregonState Associate Director


Season’s Greetings and Opportunities Ahead

Large snowy oak branches pointing up into a blue sky

As the culmination of the Fall term coincides with the season of giving, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the ways you contribute to student learning. Your time, talent, and expertise are the foundation of the gift of learning we give our students, which in turn they share with their families, communities, employers, and industries. While your attention might currently be focused on Winter course preparation, you should know that your teaching matters and that you are contributing to our broader OSU mission.

We also wanted to remind you of some of the exciting initiatives we have planned for the coming Winter.

  • Join CTL in a Professional Learning Community on Learning Communities (PLC on LCs). From January 2 – March 10 join a collegial group of educators who are united in building community, engaged in scholarly (evidence-based) teaching, and interested in learning how to facilitate their own professional and/or student-led learning communities across the University. As a hybrid course the first session will meet online; when meeting face-to-face the sessions will be held Thursdays from 10:00 – noon in Milam 215. CTL will provide a $500.00 compensation in professional development funds for all completers.
  • Starting January 3 Tuesday Teaching TALKS will begin again. These just-in-time, 90-minute workshops provide applicable instructional strategies. The strategies are modeled and participants work with colleagues to integrate the practices into their own teaching. These workshops are particularly helpful to those new to teaching, or for those simply in need of a refresher. The same topic is discussed every Tuesday at 10 and 2 in Milam 215. No need to register – just come on by! Attend one or all. Participants who complete the series now earn a Certificate in Teaching and Learning to be used on resumes or towards their promotion and tenure!
  • In partnership with Learn@OregonState, Tuesday Teaching TALKS will be followed by Thursday Tech Webinars. On Thursday of each week at 10 and 2 a webinar on how to integrate into Canvas many of the ideas discussed at TALKS will be shared. Registration is required for the webinars. Attend one or all.
  • On Thursday, January 26, the CTL, in collaboration with multiple units across campus, will be hosting the winter symposium entitled “Seeking Balance: Colleagues, Critical Conversations, and Chocolate.” Sessions will include practical strategies and open discussions around topics of interest. After lunch, there will be an “Ask an Expert Question Carnival” at which faculty and staff can ask on-campus experts about teaching and learning. Registration is recommended.
  • We’d also like to remind you to apply now to participate in the Hybrid Faculty Learning Community. CTL will provide professional development funds to instructors who participate in in spring 2017 and redesign a Corvallis campus course as a hybrid course. To apply, respond to the Request for Proposals by Jan. 10 or contact Cub Kahn.

Most of all, we’d like you to know how deeply we value your role in our mission to advance and celebrate teaching excellence – teaching excellence that provides extraordinary educational experiences for our students’ success.

Warmest wishes,

Kay Sagmiller, Director

Center for Teaching and Learning

Group Photo of Four CTL Staff Members

Page 1 of 6:1 2 3 4 »Last »