|Equity-focused Teaching at Michigan: Investigating our Practices
At CRLT we continue to develop our understanding of equity-focused teaching as an ongoing process of learning from doing, reflecting on our impact, and critically investigating our practices. This year’s Equity-focused Teaching at Michigan May Series aims to foster critical reflective practices as a central component of Equity-focused Teaching. Using the lens of “practice” means we can think critically about the patterns of inequity and power that take shape in often subtle yet impactful ways through our actions over time. Critical reflection is the work of actively examining and unpacking these patterns, using our experiences as evidence, in dialogue with others’ perspectives and knowledge.
|Reframing Rigor to Promote Equity in Teaching and Learning
In scientific research, rigor refers to the level of care and precision used in the design, execution, and interpretation of experiments and studies. For example, the National Institute of Health (NIH), a major funding source for medical and biological sciences, requires grant applications and progress reports to adhere to a strict standard of rigor. In this setting, scientific rigor is defined as: “the strict application of the scientific method to ensure unbiased and well-controlled experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results.” While this definition is STEM specific, descriptions of rigor in other disciplines also focus on thoughtfully executing one’s work, ensuring it is grounded in scholarship, and examining one’s biases in analysis and interpretation (e.g., see Gill & Gill, 2020; Langtree, Birks, & Biedermann, 2019; and Riggs & Büchler, 2007).
How might we conceptualize rigor in a college teaching setting? At a minimum, it would involve thoughtfully chosen, clearly laid out learning goals, targeted assessments of those goals, and learning activities designed for students to reach those goals, independent of student demographic or background. The design and implementation of a rigorous course would be grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning for the discipline. Additionally, an indicator of rigor would measure how many students (and by how much) have pushed the boundaries of their knowledge, skills, and attitudes in order to meet the course objectives.
|ChatGPT: Implications for Teaching and Student Learning
Recently, the artificial intelligence app ChatGPT has been making headlines in the higher education media and beyond. Some have taken an alarmist approach, such as a recent Atlantic piece titled “The College Essay Is Dead.” Others have been more sanguine, examining the limitations of the app as well as offering suggestions for how it can inform student learning and writing. Below is an FAQ about ChatGPT that includes links to useful resources.
|Structuring Classroom Discussions About Elections
This midterm election season brings an important opportunity for students and instructors to connect classroom learning to the value of civic engagement. Developments in law and politics at the national level have highlighted the particular importance of state and local civic engagement.
The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching works with instructors to think through approaches to incorporating discussion of the midterm election and its links to civic engagement into their courses, as well as strategies for responding in the moment when these issues arise.
Encouraging students to engage in the US democratic process is a non-partisan activity
This post shares highlights from resources curated for faculty and staff to not only encourage voter engagement, but also to support the development of students’ habits of democracy before and after the upcoming election. Regardless of citizenship status, domestic and international students benefit from understanding how democracy works.
|Teaching in Fall 2022: Balancing Flexibility and Accountability
Over the past two years, instructors across the university have learned a great deal about ways to build flexibility into their courses, a core principle of equitable teaching. We know that students have benefitted from this approach to course elements such as absences and deadlines.
As we move into the Fall 2022 semester, we are hearing a range of approaches to flexibility. For some instructors, this reflects a long-standing commitment to allowing students multiple ways to navigate their course and demonstrate learning. Others, especially those teaching large courses, have reported that student expectations for flexibility around course modality, grading, and attendance have become unmanageable for them and seem to have led to student disengagement as well.
So, what do you do this fall?
|2022 Equity-focused Teaching @ Michigan Series
It has been one year since CRLT has broadened its lens to center equity in our teaching and learning frameworks.
|“Help: My students are overwhelmed, and so am I!”
Guest Author: Joy Pehlke, Wolverine Wellness
A common theme we are hearing from instructors across campus is the level of stress they and their students are experiencing this term. To offer context about the current moment and suggestions for navigating it, we have asked Joy Pehlke, Health Educator and Wellness Coach at University Health Service and Lecturer in LSA, to write this guest blog post.
My role at Wolverine Wellness allows me to witness the student experience in multiple ways: through one-on-one wellness coaching conversations, well-being presentations, and discussions in my class, ALA 240: Living Well in College and Beyond. Many students, staff, and faculty hoped that things would get easier once we could go back to some sense of “normalcy.” Instead, a common theme has emerged. We are struggling with the tension of wishing things would get easier and finding they’ve only become more complicated. We are seeing higher levels of stress and anxiety, and it has become clear that pre-existing issues on campus (burnout, overwhelm, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, racism, loneliness, etc.) have only been amplified by the pandemic. And these aren’t just student issues. Instructors are impacted, too.
|Fall 2021 Course Evaluations: Creating Useful Questions
As we pass the middle of the term, instructors are asked to think about course evaluations that students complete at the end of the term (November 19-December 10). Twelve days before evaluations open, U-M instructors are invited to preview evaluation questions and create a few of their own if they wish. What principles or goals might guide you in that process?
In this blog post, we review the university-wide questions that appear on end-of-semester evaluations, and we offer guidance on how to make the most of instructor-created questions. These principles can also be used to create questions for feedback that you collect at other times of the semester. In addition, this previous CRLT blog post provides strategies for increasing student response rates, and this Registrar's site contains details about the course evaluation process.
|Lecture capture: A meaningful resource for learning
Still in the midst of a pandemic, you may be wrestling with the question of whether or not to record your lectures. On the one hand, recordings provide a simple way for students to catch up if they become sick. On the other hand, you may worry about student learning or about teaching in an almost empty classroom. You are not alone.
Concerns about the effects of lecture capture on attendance and learning have existed since its inception. While some studies find that lecture attendance does indeed decrease slightly when lecture capture is introduced, many others show no significant effects. The relationship between lecture capture, attendance and student achievement is complex and shows different patterns for different groups of students (e.g. Banerjee, 2020).
|Using Groups and Teams in Teaching: New CRLT Resources
What are the benefits of collaborative learning? What are best practices for forming teams? How can I promote effective group dynamics? And, how do I hold students accountable in this learning context?
Questions such as these arise regularly in consultations with U-M instructors who are implementing group work in their courses. Drawing on these experiences and the research on best practices, CRLT has created a new webpage, Introduction to Groups and Teams. It is designed to be a valuable starting point for instructors to consider as they add or revise group assignments and activities to their courses. The site includes information and resources on the following topics: