CRLT Blog

Registration is now open for CRLT's fall seminar series on teaching and learning. These programs offer U-M instructors opportunities to gain new perspectives on teaching at Michigan, share ideas across disciplines, and improve teaching skills. 

This semester, our offerings include workshops for both faculty and graduate students on key skills like leading discussions and writing exams. To help U-M instructors make a smooth transition to using the Canvas learning management system, we are also offering sessions on teaching with Canvas for both faculty and GSIs. And as always, our seminar series features sessions on topics related to diversity and inclusive teaching. This fall, these include a faculty panel entitled "How Do We Teach About Privilege?"; a four-session seminar for graduate students and postdocs on Diversity and Inclusive Teaching (co-facilitated by CRLT and IGR); and a workshop exploring the intersection of technology and accessibility. Full details about these programs and more can be found on our Upcoming Events list.

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:

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:

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.