November 2021
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Course Improvement Grant Spotlights
In a new blog series, CFT associate director Cynthia Brame and assistant director, Julaine Fowlin talk with faculty about their grant projects. 
Chiara Sulprizio, senior lecturer in classical and Mediterranean studies, talks about her Course Improvement Grant, “Italian language enhancement for Maymester course in Rome.”
Alison Hilbun, senior lecturer in biological sciences, talks about her project, “Compare studies of 3D materials to creating quizzes to consider whether learning strategy outshines motivation in memory retention.”

You can read about her project on this CFT blog post.

Updated Guide!
Dealing with the Unexpected: Teaching When You or Your Students Can’t Make it to Class

If you find yourself considering the question of how to deal with attendance and participation this year, you will want to check out our newly updated guide "Dealing with the Unexpected: Teaching When You or Your Students Can’t Make it to Class".
The most recent update to this perennially useful guide takes into consideration the ways teaching at Vanderbilt have evolved since our 2020/2021 shift to remote and hybrid teaching and proposes ways to address some of the challenges we face in setting clear expectations in attendance policies while also keeping students engaged in class even when they cannot physically be present.
New Guide on Project-based and Dynamic Collaborative Learning
The newest addition to the CFT’s Course Development Resources (CDR) site, entitled Project-Based and Dynamic Collaborative Learning, is all about how instructors can design meaningful, effective group work through research-informed strategies and the intentional use of technology. The guide explores the research on collaborative groups and answers questions such as:
  • How should we form groups?
  • How can we effectively prepare and support students to function as a group?
  • What are some design considerations in shifting face-to-face work online?
  • As well as many other important considerations.
The guide also includes a detailed list of resources and technologies to support collaborative learning in online, hybrid, or technology-enhanced face-to-face settings. 

Teaching with Case Studies
Case studies are a signature pedagogy throughout the professions and increasingly across all liberal arts disciplines.  When used effectively, they can motivate students to learn deeply through meaningful, complex, and real-world scenarios, elevating anything from analytical thought to ethical reasoning, applied practices to theoretical critique.
This workshop will explore how case studies are or can be used in a variety of teaching contexts to advance student learning, and how to efficiently overcome some of the challenges of the case method.
Date: November 5
Time: 12:00-1:30pm
Location: A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants in advance of the event.
Junior Faculty Spotlight:
Janelle M. Delle
Each year, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Janelle Delle, Nursing, talks about some of the lessons she has gained from the Fellowship.
When I first began my teaching career 5 years ago, I had no idea what to expect of myself or the students, nor what exemplified an “excellent instructor”.  This was a whole new experience for me, and I was so proud to be a part of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing team.  Remembering back, I had taken two education courses during my time in the DNP program and really dove deep into the different types of learning preferences, knowing that this was something I needed to understand well to prepare myself for a future roIe as a Nurse Educator.  I was hired on as a clinical instructor post DNP graduation and felt that this was the perfect fit for me as I could “demonstrate” my clinicals skills in a very meaningful way for the students to learn effectively.  An additional piece to clinical teaching, separate from clinical skills, is that of debriefing in a post-conference.  I had no idea how to construct my time during these 4 hours every week.  I knew my goal was to present our 12-hour clinical day in a “meaningful way” so that each student could take away even a small piece of knowledge from what they experienced during the clinical day, but I really wasn’t sure how to organize this in a productive way that would provide the most benefit to the learner.  This has been a huge learning curve for me over these last few years, and I have taken student feedback and reorganized how clinical conferences flow to produce a more effective learning environment, knowing that I still have room to grow. 
Being a part of the JFTF these last few months has opened my eyes to multiple teaching strategies for successful student learning.  This teaching fellowship program has provided me with multiple resources and opportunities to build upon restructuring my post-conference debriefing sessions to allow them to be more meaningful for our pre-specialty students. Being able to observe other educators’ classrooms, participating in bi-weekly teaching seminar sessions, along with peer feedback has helped build this foundation.
My skills are compounding, and my educator role is expanding to facilitate helping our students reach their educational goals through the process of scholarly teaching in hopes that it will be reflected in their future practice as Nurse Practitioners. I am proud to be a part of the JFTF and look forward to the upcoming year, while continuing to build upon essential principles of learning to add to my teaching toolkit. 
Decolonizing Our Teaching
The exhortation to “decolonize” our syllabi and our teaching more generally has become increasingly common across higher education in recent years. For its many advocates, decolonization can include a wide variety of practices, such as the acknowledgement of indigenous land claims, understanding how the culture of colonialism has shaped our disciplines, diversifying the canons of our fields, anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching, inclusive course design, and a decentering of pedagogical authority, just to name a few.
With a panel of faculty that includes Akshya Saxena (English), Adeana McNicholl (Religious Studies), Lily Claiborne (Earth & Environmental Science), and others, we will explore what it means to decolonize our teaching in theory and practice. 
Date: November 1
Location: A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants in advance of the event.
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