April 2020
Greetings from my home office, where I sit writing at the beautiful roll top desk I inherited from my father.  A lot has changed since our March newsletter, at Vanderbilt, in middle Tennessee, and around the world, but I don’t have to tell you that. We’re all figuring out how to teach and learn and work remotely as we practice social distancing to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Many of the emails I’ve received in the last week have included a word of thanks for the Center for Teaching and its work over the last month helping the campus shift to alternative and online instruction. I’m incredibly proud of my CFT colleagues and the amazing work they’ve done during these unprecedented times supporting the Vanderbilt teaching community.
“I’m sure you must be swamped” is also fairly common, and accurate. I don’t recall another time in my 15 years at the CFT that we’ve been this busy. And I expect we’ll continue to be busy this spring summer, as we shift our programming to support the university’s move to remote teaching and learning.  

For those of you teaching in these tumultuous times, we want to help you navigate the challenges and opportunities you face.
  • For questions about Brightspace and related technologies, please reach out to our Brightspace support team either by email (brightspace@vanderbilt.edu) or phone (615-322-0200).

  • For other questions about teaching, either now or as you prepare for summer courses, you can schedule a consultation via Zoom with members of our senior staff or graduate fellows. Just email cft@vanderbilt.edu to get started.

  • For teaching ideas and resources you can use right now, see our “Resources for Just-in-Time Online Teaching” page for links to CFT blog posts, teaching guides, podcast episodes, and more.
As I sit here at my dad’s desk in a quiet house with good Wi-Fi, I’m reminded that not all of our students are experiencing conditions so conducive to teaching and learning. Many of our students are feeling displaced and anxious, some have limited access to computers and internet, some are in time zones far away, and others are busy caring for family members young and old. Thanks to all of you who are finding ways to be kind and caring to our students. I’m proud to be a part of this teaching community.
-Derek Bruff, Director, Center for Teaching

Resources for RemoteTeaching and Learning

Over the last month, Center for Teaching staff have created and shared a variety of resources to help the Vanderbilt teaching community make the transition to remote teaching and learning. Those resources include:

Apply to be a Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow!
We are now accepting applications for the 2020-21 Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows program. The  program is designed to help you:
  • Build understanding of principles of learning to inform your teaching
  • Stock your teaching toolkit with new skills and approaches
  • Develop a framework for course design
  • Build teaching community
Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows receive $2000 in research funds to be used to enhance their teaching. Tenure-track and non-tenure track, full-time faculty who will be in their second through sixth year in 2020-2021 are eligible to apply.
Application Deadline: Thursday, April 30th
For more details on the program or to apply, visit the JFTF webpage.   
Junior Faculty Spotlight:
Elliott McCarter Talks About Using OneNote to Teach Online
Upon being called to teach my courses online, I cringed at the thought of being chained to a computer for hours on end as I slowly typed everything in Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit. My strong desire to avoid such unpleasantness led me to seek a digital alternative: inking with a pad and stylus. After exploring a few options for this, I settled on OneNote as the most natural and efficient program for students to submit their work in a way in which I could easily and effectively grade it. As I began working with OneNote Classroom (a Microsoft Office program that all students and faculty can access and can integrate with Brightspace), I became impressed with its features and its suitability as a classroom management system as I continue to discover it features and benefits to instructors and students. I offer a brief overview of this program’s merits and functionality during this time of online transition. Continue reading Elliott McCarter's overview of OneNote.
Updates to CFT Programming
With the campus move to remote teaching, learning, and work, the Center for Teaching has made some changes to its previously planned programming.
  • Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows - We are still taking applications for the next year's cohort of fellows! Applications are due Thursday, April 30th. Details on the JFTF website.

  • Teaching Consultations – We are still available for individual teaching consultations with faculty, students, and staff. We’ve just moved those consultations to Zoom. Feel free to schedule a consultation via cft@vanderbilt.edu.

  • Teaching Workshops – We currently don’t have any scheduled workshops open to the campus, but we may offer virtual workshops in the coming weeks as we help instructors prepare for summer and fall teaching. Also, department and school leaders are welcome to reach out to their CFT liaisons, who can facilitate invited workshops on a variety of teaching topics.

  • Course Design Institute – We are tentatively moving our planned “Teaching Inclusively” course design institute for faculty to August. The graduate student course design institute is cancelled for this year.

  • Certificate in College Teaching – We are moving our certificate programming online this summer. We will offer the seminar in college teaching May 11-22, the practicum in college teaching May 25 to June 5, the online teaching specialization June 8-12, and the STEM teaching specialization June 15-19. See the teaching certificate program website for details.

  • Learning Communities – Some of our learning communities are continuing this spring, online. Look for email from your facilitator for details. We are likely to start new learning communities exploring aspects of online and remote teaching this summer.

  • One Button Studio – Our video studio is unfortunately closed during the period of remote working for faculty and staff.
If you have any questions about CFT programming, feel free to reach out via cft@vanderbilt.edu
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