Blog Archive

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 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. Read more »

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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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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. Read more »

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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: Read more »

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