October 2020
Register for our Latest Online Course Design Institute!
This structured professional development opportunity for Vanderbilt faculty, grad students, and other instructors will explore effective practices in online education and help instructors plan their upcoming online courses.
For those who weren’t able to take the intensive version of the OCDI in the summer, there is still time to join this fully online, five week course. Synchronous meetings will take place two times per week via Zoom, all other content will be asynchronous on Brightspace.
During the institute participants will:
  • Develop a course plan for their upcoming online course, one that integrates learning objectives with assessments, assignments, and activities;
  • Build one or more sample modules for their courses, practicing the skills they will use to build other modules;
  • Plan strategies for helping their online students thrive, including strategies for promoting meaningful interaction, social presence, and equitable learning; and
  • Learn about the affordances of online teaching tools, identify tools that align with their goals, and develop practical skills using those tools.
The Online Course Design Institute will consist of a mix of asynchronous and synchronous activities, with time built in for individual course planning and digital tool practice. The total time commitment is expected to be 8 hours per week during the institute.
Participants will work through a series of asynchronous Brightspace modules leading through a course design process. They will also meet once or twice each week via Zoom with a small cohort for peer feedback on course plans.
This cohort will be facilitated by staff at the Center for Teaching. For more detailed information about the OCDI, including module screenshots, view the OCDI Overview PDF document.
Dates: October 12th - November 11th

Event Focusing on Teaching Issues of Race and Racism
Throughout 2020-21 and as part of its annual Teaching, Difference, & Power series, the Center for Teaching is hosting a learning community that will address a variety of topics related to teaching and race. The first event of this series, “Teaching Issues of Race and Racism,” will take place October 2nd from 12:00-1:30pm in a Zoom meeting you may join here.
In this discussion we will focus on the many challenges that can make teaching about race and racism exceptionally difficult and the ways that faculty at Vanderbilt and beyond have sought to meet them as they support their students’ race consciousness and anti-racist work.
The meeting will be facilitated by the CFT’s Joe Bandy (also Affiliated Faculty in Sociology), Abena Boakyewa-Ansah (PHD Candidate in History and Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT) and Anthony Reed (Associate Professor of English).
If you have an interest in being notified of future events in this series, please register at this link and we will keep you informed about the learning community as it develops.
Date: Friday, Oct 2nd
Time: 12-1:30pm
Location: Join Zoom here

Creating Effective, Equitable Assessments for Online Courses:
An On-demand Resource

In the transition to online education many educators have been concerned about how to assess student learning in ways that are engaging, creative, fair, and equitable.  Not only do students demonstrate widely differing resources and aptitudes for online learning that raise concerns about equity, but online technologies present instructors with many challenges in assessing students accurately and effectively, with many questions raised about how to preserve academic integrity and adapt older assessment strategies in a time of disruption.
To address many of these concerns, in late August, The Chronicle of Higher Education hosted a webinar entitled, “Creating Effective, Equitable Assessments for Online Courses.” The CFT’s Joe Bandy participated as a guest panelist along with Beckie Supiano, Senior writer at The Chronicle; Christina Paguyo, Director of Academic Assessment with the Office of Teaching and Learning at the University of Denver; and Natasha Jankowski, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Executive Director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.
A recording of the webinar is available on demand at The Chronicle website here. If you have questions about the issues raised in the webinar or your own assessment practice, please feel free to reach out to Joe or any of the CFT senior staff.
Meeting in Tents with Students
If you have been on campus lately, you may have noticed that there are more tents than one usually sees outside of Commencement week. These tents have been set up to provide more outside, socially distanced meeting space for faculty, students, and staff. Faculty and other instructors are welcome to use these tents to meet with students, perhaps holding office hours under a tent or inviting small groups of students to meet there for discussion or project work.
The usual protocols apply—stay six feet away and wear mask—but there’s no reservation needed. The tents are first-come, first-serve during business hours.
Conversations on Teaching
These sessions provide members of the Vanderbilt teaching community a chance to share their teaching experiences and learn from each other
in an informal, discussion-based format. 
Leading Synchronous Online Discussions
This semester, many of you may have tried your hand at leading synchronous online discussions for the first time, most likely via Zoom. You may now be more comfortable using breakout rooms, collaborative documents, and other techniques to help your students contribute to class conversations. We want to hear about how things are going. Join us for an informal conversation about what’s working and what’s not when facilitating class discussions via Zoom. This will be a great opportunity to learn from others who have experimented with synchronous online discussions.
Date: Wednesday, October 7th

Registrants will receive a Zoom link.


Testing Strategies in Hybrid and Online Classes
The move to hybrid and online teaching this year has prompted a shift in how we think about many aspects of our teaching. One area that can be particularly challenging is assessment, particularly in courses that rely on exams. In this Conversation on Teaching, four faculty will share the approaches they and their colleagues are using to test students in a fair and equitable way this fall, using these observations to kick off a larger conversation. Join us to share your experiences and to learn from other instructors about the successes, challenges, and opportunities of testing in our online and hybrid classes this fall.
Date: Thursday, October 15th

Registrants will receive a Zoom link

Teaching during an Election Year
Election years can present many opportunities to educate students about the most pressing issues in our society, but it also is a time of heightened emotions and conflict, with many difficulties that arise for instructors across the disciplines.
This Conversation on Teaching will involve a discussion about the many opportunities and challenges of teaching during an election year, especially given the unique context and tone of this cycle, as well as what teaching approaches and techniques might prove most successful. This will be a broad ranging conversation that may touch upon many subjects, including pedagogies of civic and political engagement, affective dimensions of teaching, managing student conflict, trauma informed teaching, and critical pedagogy, among others.
Joining in the conversation will be David Lewis (Political Science), Gabriel Torres (Anthropology and American Studies), and Paul Stob (Communication Studies). 
Date: Thursday, October 15th
Time: 1-2:30pm
Registrants will receive a Zoom link.

New vlog series:
Teaching programming online
Doug Schmidt, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Computer Science, and Jules White, Associate Professor of Computer Science, are creating a video blog (vlog) series on “Teaching Programming Online.” Schmidt says they were inspired by a CFT-sponsored webinar in August that drew about 25 Vanderbilt faculty members, demonstrating substantial local interest that suggests there may be broader and ongoing interest in a persistent resource.
Schmidt and White, who have been teaching programming online for ~7 years to thousands of students, plan to record short videos talking about best practices they’ve developed from these experiences and to post them to a YouTube playlist. They hope to use this process to codify their knowledge and to share it with each other and with other interested instructors around the world.
The first four teaching programming online videos will be
  • Motivation and overview
  • Types of online programming courses
  • Best practices for organizing online content
  • Best practices for creating and disseminating online content
The videos have a variety of good advice, from organization and wrapping that can help students make up for background gaps to personal notes about remembering to smile and show your humanity. 

Instructional Design Consultations through iDesign
Vanderbilt University has partnered with the instructional design firm iDesign to make available a number of services to help faculty and other instructors prepare for online and hybrid teaching this fall. iDesign learning specialists are on-hand to assist with your course design and teaching effectiveness questions. If you have a question relating how to best implement a teaching strategy or best practice in your course, iDesign is here to help! Support requests can be submitted via brightspace@vanderbilt.edu or through the iDesign Faculty Resource Hub. You can self-enroll in the iDesign Faculty Hub. Self-enrollment instructions are here.

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