January 2021
Conversations on Teaching focus on emergent teaching and learning issues in an informal, discussion-based format.  These sessions provide members of the Vanderbilt teaching community a chance to share their teaching experiences and learn from each other.
Teaching with Chat & Channel Apps
With the move to remote and online teaching in 2020, faculty and other instructors experimented with a wide variety of tools to foster and maintain social presence with their students. Some tried using group messaging apps like Slack, Discord, and Teams as a way to connect and communicate with students. These apps feature multimedia chat channels, making them useful places for sharing announcements, fielding questions, posting resources, and supporting group projects.
In this conversation on teaching, we’ll hear from a few instructors about the ways they’ve been using these apps to support student learning and engagement. And we’ll invite participants to share their own ideas for teaching with these collaboration tools.

Overcoming the ‘Busywork’ Dilemma: Creating Meaningful Asynchronous Activities for Student Engagement
The busywork dilemma is where students perceive that assigned learning activities or assessments are not meaningfully contributing to their learning. This can be very frustrating to instructors as they often put a lot of effort and time into the design and implementation of these activities. This dilemma can be magnified in online and hybrid classes when students are held accountable for learning activities in new ways. While students’ reasons for calling intentional learning activities busywork vary and some are embedded in misconceptions of learning there are some common pitfalls to avoid.
Two faculty members will share their approach for designing asynchronous assignments and how they engage with students meaningful. They will also share their successes and challenges.

Accessibility and Equity in Course Design
Are you interested in learning how to create equitable online spaces that are accessible to all students? This interactive panel discussion will bring together members of the Vanderbilt community who are experts on fostering accessibility in online learning spaces. Panelists will share effective practices and creative approaches for building and implementing accessible courses online. Participants will be invited to ask questions and troubleshoot accessibility challenges they may be facing in their own courses with the group. This will be an opportunity for all to connect with others who wish to improve accessibility in current or future online courses and create more equitable learning environments.

Group Work and Student Collaboration Online
Student collaboration looks very different in online and socially distanced settings than in our traditional, face-to-face classes. This panel discussion will bring together members of the Vanderbilt teaching community who are using group work or student collaborative projects in their online or hybrid teaching. Panelists will present their group projects, describe the challenges they have experienced, and how they have overcome those challenges in an online environment. Please join us! There will be time for group discussion, Q&A with the panelists, and opportunities to connect with instructors from across campus.
Hybrid courses: Approaches to engage your virtual and F2F students
In this Conversation on Teaching, three faculty members will share their successes and challenges in teaching hybrid courses this fall.
They’ll describe approaches that helped them engage students synchronously, whether they were attending virtually or in person, as well as asynchronous course structures that helped keep everyone moving through the course together. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions and their own teaching experiences to the discussion.

Synchronous Sessions in Online Courses
In this Conversation on Teaching, four faculty members will share their successes and challenges in facilitating synchronous sessions in online courses this fall.
Attendees are encouraged to bring questions and their own teaching experiences to the discussion.

CFT Now Offers Instructional Design Consultaions
The Center for Teaching is pleased to offer instructional design consultations to the Vanderbilt teaching community. Julaine Fowlin, assistant director for instructional design, is available to consult with instructors on the design of online courses, moving an existing course online, or the development of online programs. As an instructional designer, Julaine collaborates with faculty and other instructors to systematically assess student learning needs and then design learning activities, assessments, and other solutions.
Instructional design consultations are a great complement to the CFT’s existing liaison support and strengthen our resources for those teaching online at Vanderbilt. However, Julaine is available to consult on any mode of instruction, including online, hybrid, and face-to-face.
Learn more about Julaine Fowlin here, and watch her introductory video here. To schedule a consultation with Julaine, see this form.

As we look ahead to another unusual semester in the spring, we are offering a number of workshops to help you prepare.  The extended winter break will be a good time to learn about various technologies and strategies for your face-to-face, online or hybrid class sessions. 
An Introduction to Online and Hybrid Teaching
January 13, 10am
Jaunary 15, 12pm

See details and register

Teaching with Top Hat: Synchronous & Asynchronous Strategies
January 13, 2pm 
January 18, 10am

See details and register

Teaching with Top Hat: Interactive Textbooks
Creating Video Assignments with GoReact
January 15, 10am
January 18, 10am 

See details and register

Setting Classroom Expectations
Self-Compassionate Teaching: Putting on your Oxygen Mask First

CFT staff offer Brightspace workshops for instructors interested in learning how to use Brightspace tools effectively and efficiently.
We are also available during the academic year to facilitate Brightspace workshops on topics both general and specific for departments, programs, and schools, upon request. Email brightspace@vanderbilt.edu to ask about these offerings or the possibility of an invited workshop.
For more information about these workshops and future offerings, keep an eye on the Brightspace support workshops page.  
Introduction to Brightspace
Discussions in Brightspace
January 19, 12pm
February 2, 2pm
Assignments in Brightspace 
January 14, 10am
January 26, 2pm
Setting up your Gradebook 
January 15, 1pm
February 5, 1pm

Come Work at the
Center for Teaching! 
Each year the Center for Teaching (CFT) hires a number of graduate students as part of its efforts to mentor and train graduate students, including those serving as teaching assistants or instructors of record here at Vanderbilt as well as those interested in developing teaching skills for future faculty careers. The CFT has several types of positions available for graduate students for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Graduate Teaching Fellow – GTFs lead sections of the Certificate in College (CiCT) Teaching program; consult with graduate students about their teaching; facilitate workshops for graduate students at TA Orientation and throughout the year; and assist CFT senior staff with various ongoing and short-term projects, including the creation of online resources for the Vanderbilt teaching community.  Learn more about the GTF Program.
Teaching Affiliate – The primary responsibility for Teaching Affiliates is to lead a cohort of incoming Teaching Assistants (TAs) through a day-long workshop at August’s TA Orientation. These workshops familiarize new TAs with the challenges and opportunities of working as TAs at Vanderbilt and help prepare TAs for the first few weeks of class. Cohorts are divided by discipline, and so the CFT seeks Teaching Affiliates from a wide variety of disciplines on campus. The Teaching Affiliate position is a 70-hour position, with most of those hours occurring in August 2021.
CiCT Facilitator – The CiCT Program facilitator will, alongside the Graduate Teaching Fellows, lead a section of the CiCT program.  The facilitator will read and prepare lesson plans, lead class sessions, and attend weekly meetings with the GTFs.  When the CiCT program is in session (8 weeks per semester), the approximate workload will be between 5-10 hrs/week.
These positions are great opportunities for graduate students to refine their teaching and presentation skills and network with graduate students outside of their department or program.
Applications for all three types of positions are due Friday, February 12, 2021.
Learn more about each of these positions and apply online by visiting the CFT's employment opportunities page.

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