From the CRLT Blog

Gender Inclusive Practices for Your Teaching
Tue, 09/24/2019

Screen capture image of Wolverine Access interface for designating pronouns University of Michigan students identify across a full spectrum of gender identities and gender expressions.  As instructors, how can we cultivate gender-inclusive teaching and learning environments -- that is, environments that invite the full participation of students of all genders and respond to the harmful impact of gender stereotyping and misgendering on student learning?  

Instructors in any discipline can promote gender inclusivity in their courses by trying out some or all of the strategies below. This list is not exhaustive and represents just some of the many intentional practices you might incorporate into your curriculum, policies, classroom facilitation, and interactions with students. 


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Getting Your Courses Ready for Fall
Thu, 08/15/2019

Students walking in the DiagWhether you're starting a course from scratch or revamping something you've taught many times before, careful planning is key to successful teaching. CRLT offers many resources to support U-M instructors in their course planning as the beginning of the semester draws near.

  • The resources on this Course Design and Planning page focus on course design. Do you tend to begin your course planning by asking, "What material do I want to cover?" or "What do I want my students to learn?" Research shows that instructors best promote student learning when they start with the second question, organizing course content, class activities, and assignments around a clear set of learning objectives. The Course Design and Planning resources explain this research and walk you through the process of applying it to your courses.

  • This page on Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning focuses on preparing individual class meetings. It outlines steps for developing daily learning objectives, structuring relevant learning activities, and checking student understanding along the way.  


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CRLT Grants Can Support Your Innovative Teaching Ideas
Mon, 08/05/2019

CRLT stewards grant competitions with the goal of enhancing teaching and learning at the University of Michigan. Some grants can be used to test a classroom idea, and others are intended to empower much greater change in curricula, teaching techniques, or inclusion of University values and priorities. If you are an instructor at the Ann Arbor campus, one or more of these might be particularly useful to you.

engaged student learning around a computer

The Instructional Development Fund (IDF) is a rolling fund that grants amounts of up to $500 for a classroom activity or innovation. It is a rolling grant fund; proposals are accepted at any time until the funds for the year are exhausted. An IDF may be used to pay for supplies and equipment, programming or research assistance, fees and expenses for student field trips, honoraria for classroom guest speakers, fees and expenses for conferences directly related to teaching, or summer projects aimed at developing or enhancing courses. You may have another great idea; it is always worth asking if your idea is eligible. The proposals are brief: only one page plus a budget. Typically, decisions can happen within two weeks for these grants.


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CRLT Services in Spring/Summer
Wed, 06/05/2019

University of Michigan Bell Tower

Is CRLT still available to support U-M instructors during the summer? Indeed, we are! If you're teaching a course in one of these terms, you can request a Midterm Student Feedback session led by one of our consultants. CRLT staff are also available to discuss the student ratings from past courses or to consult on course design and planning as you look ahead to the fall. We're happy to hear from you at any time of year.

For our full range of consultation services, see this page.

 

 


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Connecting Classrooms with Communities: Guidance for U-M Instructors
Tue, 04/30/2019

How and why might you work with community partners to enhance student learning in your courses and build valuable connections beyond the university -- whatever your discipline? In this guest post, CRLT campus partners Denise Galarza Sepúlveda of LSA’s Office of Community-Engaged Academic Learning (CEAL) and Neeraja Aravamudan of the Ginsberg Center offer key insights for planning courses that build productive, equitable relationships with community partners.

Community-engaged learning, also referred to as community-based learning or service-learning, has been recognized as a high impact educational practice that promotes deeper understanding of course concepts while advancing connections between the university and communities. Community partners bring valuable knowledge and expertise to contribute to students’ learning, and those students in turn--and the broader partnership with the university--can expand community partners’ capacity to address their priorities.


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Transparent Teaching: A Focus of This Year’s Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan Series
Mon, 04/01/2019

What does ‘transparency’ mean in a teaching-learning context, and why is it a key principle featured in many CRLT workshops and resources about inclusive teaching? image of campus with many different students walking At its simplest, transparency means clearly communicating with students about course expectations and norms. As outlined below, such transparency can lead to more equitable learning experiences. That’s why transparency is the focus for this year’s Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan May workshop series. (Registration available here; for more details about both transparency and the May series, read on.)


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Making Student Ratings More Useful: Guidelines for Students and Instructors
Mon, 03/25/2019

As we approach the end of the term, students will be asked to provide feedback to instructors using U-M's course evaluation system. At CRLT, we often hear from faculty and GSIs who are discouraged about a number of issues related to student ratings, including the tone of some written comments, relatively low response rates, and uncertainty about how best to use the results productively. This post provides some resources for each of these concerns.

Student Ratings Questionnaire Example

1) Minimizing Unhelpful Comments: Student ratings comments can be unhelpful when vague or irrelevant, whether positive ("Great course!") or negative (e.g., criticism of instructor attributes not linked to the learning environment). To encourage students to avoid rude or personally hurtful comments, CRLT worked with ADVANCE at U-M on a handout that instructors can give to students before they fill out their evaluations. The handout, Course Evaluations: Providing Helpful Feedback to Your Instructors, asks students to keep three key issues in mind when completing their ratings:


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Teaching in the Wake of Hate Incidents
Fri, 03/15/2019

We wish we did not have so many occasions to provide guidance to instructors on teaching in the wake of hate-based violence. As our campus processes the news coming out of New Zealand today, we offer this slight update of a blog from October.

In the wake of the massacre of worshippers at New Zealand mosques, many people in our communityPeople hold candles as they gather for a vigil in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. are feeling threatened and terrorized, grieving deeply, experiencing intense anger, or fighting a sense of despair at a swelling of hatred and violence in our world. These emotions enter our classrooms, studios, and labs, and they can understandably and significantly affect students’ ability to focus on their learning and work with peers in intellectual community.


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Now accepting applications for the 2019 May Preparing Future Faculty Seminar
Fri, 02/01/2019
Nikolas Sweet Ph.D. candidate 2019 PFF Program AssistantNikolas Sweet Ph.D Candidate 2019 PFF Program Assistant

Are you considering a faculty career after graduation?  Want to know more about how to prepare? The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching offers a month-long seminar, “Preparing Future Faculty” (PFF), which helps graduate students navigate the transitional period between graduate school and becoming a faculty member.


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New CRLT Resource: Supporting Students Facing Mental Health Challenges
Wed, 11/14/2018

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:


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