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 »


Q: How do I identify the best technology for my course? What questions should I be asking?

A: Always start with your learning objectives or goals for your course. Consider which technologies or tools will best support or enhance those objectives or goals. What does the tool make possible for your large course that you perhaps wouldn’t be able to accomplish without it? Other questions to consider include those of accessibility, cost (to yourself and students), ease of use for you and your students (e.g., Is there a learning curve to use this tool? Are students being asked to navigate too many different technologies?), and whether there is university support for the tool in the event that you need help. Of course, you are also welcome to consult with CRLT or technology support services within your department if you have a goal but are unsure of which tool will best help you accomplish it. CRLT also has a database of examples of U-M faculty using instructional technology, if you’re looking for some ideas.


Q: What is the role of participation or attendance in relation to technology in a large class? Read more »


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: Read more »

The various schools and colleges of the University have different academic policies and procedures, so it is important to be aware of what differences exist. What an instructor also needs to keep in mind is that policies that apply to a given student are determined by that student’s unit, not by the school or college in which the course is offered. This section provides sources to consult for academic policies specific to the College of LS&A and other schools.
Many faculty and staff at U-M have access to confidential student information. This page provides information on the necessary measures instructors must take to protect the privacy of students’ education records, in line with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
This page lists various resources pertaining to academic integrity, including honor codes, a CRLT occasional paper on how to promote academic integrity in the classroom, and other online resources.

What are effective ways to get to know my students and create a positive learning environment from the very beginning of the term? How can I pique students' curiosity about the course material? How can I set student expectations for active engagement in class?

Students in a classroomThese are common questions as teachers prepare for the first days of class, an important time for setting the tone for what is to come in the term. CRLT links to many resources that can help faculty and GSIs think carefully about getting the most out of the first days. These include research on why classroom rapport is useful for student learning, and specific strategies for building relationships and communities in the early days and weeks of a course. Other resources provide suggestions for introducing course material and communicating expectations. Find more first days resources on this list, or click on the tags below for pages that include links to materials we use in our new teacher orientation programs. 

Other CRLT resources about inclusive teaching provide specific strategies for ensuring that you foster learning environments that include and enable all of your students from the very beginning of the term. Inclusive teaching can begin before you ever walk into a classroom, as emphasized by these pages on course design and syllabus design.

As always, CRLT consultants are also available to work one-on-one with instructors. We're here to help you get your classes off to a great start.