August 2019

It’s never too late to make a good decision, right?  Although planning fall courses starts long before the start of classes, we recognize that many instructors are still making course design and implementation decisions right up to the wire.  That’s why we’re offering a variety of teaching workshops for Vanderbilt instructors on August 19th and 20th, right before the first day of the fall semester.  Sessions at the CFT’s Just-in-Time Teaching Conference include:
Presentation Renovation:
Choosing The Right Tools
Date: Monday, August 19th
Time: 9:00-10:30am Includes breakfast
Facilitator: Rhett McDaniel
Lesson Planning
Date: Monday, August 19th
11:00am-12:30pm (Includes lunch)
Heather Fedesco
Teaching Inclusively to Diverse Groups
Date: Monday, August 19th
Time: 1:00am-2:00pm (Includes refreshments)
Joe Bandy
What’s in Your Syllabus?
Date: Monday, August 19th
Time: 2:30-3:30pm (Includes refreshments)
Facilitator: Cynthia Brame
Intro to Brightspace Course Management System
Date: Monday, August 19th
2:30-4:00pm (Includes refreshments)
Stacey Johnson
Leading Classroom Discussions
Date: Tuesday, August, 20th
Time: 9:00-10:30pm (Includes breakfast)
Facilitator: Joe Bandy
Small Changes, Big Results
Date: Tuesday, August, 20th
Time: 11:00-12:30am (Includes lunch)
Facilitator: Cynthia Brame
Active Learning with Top Hat
Date: Tuesday, August, 20th
Time: 1:00-2:00pm (includes refreshments)
Facilitator: Rhett McDaniel
Students as Producers:
Creative Assignments for Deep Learning
Date: Tuesday, August 20th
Time: 2:30-3:30pm (Includes refreshments)
Facilitator: Derek Bruff
Motivating Students
Date: Tuesday, August 20th
Time: 2:30-3:30pm (Includes refreshments)
Facilitator: Heather Fedesco

Using Brightspace in your Fall Classes?

As you prepare, keep in mind all of the Brightspace resources we offer here at the Center for Teaching. July is a great time to get started!
  • Great news! Brightspace now has an Annotations Tool for grading! Learn more about how to use the tool with this guide: Using the Annotations Tool and get to know how the Assignments tool can make accepting and grading student work more efficient.
  • Please visit our on-demand resources to peruse our growing list of frequently asked questions that include step-by-step instructions, screenshots, and videos. 
  • If you want to sit down with one of our knowledgeable instructional technologists face-to-face, we offer in-person consults! Just email to request an appointment. Or you can stop by for any of our drop-in hours and get answers on the fly!
  • Registration is now open for our Introduction to Brightspace workshop on Thursday, August 15th at 10am. Register here.

Top Hat Virtual Open Office Hour Sessions 

During these open sessions, you set the agenda! Quintin Peirce from Top Hat will share ideas about how best to incorporate Top Hat into your class, demonstrate the platform’s newest features (new grade book and weekly course report), and answer your questions. Plan to attend one or all of the sessions.
To see the full list of dates/times and to register visit the Vanderbilt Top Hat training page.
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August is here! I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure where the summer went. It was a busy one at the Center for Teaching, as we wrapped up the academic year, started collaborating with Vice Provost Tracey George on faculty development initiatives, and prepared for our fall events and programs.
Our big orientations happen next week, one for new faculty and one for new teaching assistants, and our annual Just-in-Time Teaching Conference is right around the corner, with workshops on a variety of topics for new and returning instructors. We’ll launch a new set of learning communities later this month, and welcome our tenth cohort of Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows, too.
We’re also rolling out changes to our Certificate in College Teaching and starting new seasons of our Leading Lines and VandyVox podcasts. Oh, and our annual Open Classroom event is coming September 9 to 13, with five days of teaching visits and conversations open to the Vanderbilt teaching community. Save those dates!
The start of the fall term is always an exciting time of year. As you get ready for your fall courses, please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. Our consultants would be glad to talk with you about your syllabus, assignments, classroom practices, or any aspect of your teaching. Just call or email to schedule an appointment.
Derek Bruff, PhD
Director, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
New and Continuing Learning Communities at the CFT
The Center for Teaching hosts a number of learning communities, intended for members of Vanderbilt’s teaching community interested in meeting over time to develop deeper understandings and richer practices around particular teaching and learning topics. Click on a title to view details about that learning community.
Teaching at Vanderbilt New Faculty Orientation
At the beginning of every academic year, the Center for Teaching hosts “Teaching at Vanderbilt,” an orientation for junior and senior faculty new to Vanderbilt.
The orientation features an introduction to strategies for launching a successful teaching career at Vanderbilt, with concurrent sessions on a variety of practical topics. Teaching at Vanderbilt is an opportunity for new faculty to meet each other and to learn how the Center for Teaching can support them throughout their Vanderbilt careers. See orientation page for details.
Date: Thursday, August 15th
Time: 1:30-5:00pm
Featheringill Hall
CFT Proudly Welcomes the
2019 Cohort of
Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows!
L to R: Audrey Bowden (Biomedical Engineering), Daniela D’Eugenio (French & Italian), Misty Evans (Nursing), Gautam Hans (Law), Brittany Hollibaugh (Nursing), Allison Leich Hilbun (Biological Sciences), Clinton Leonard (Nursing), Elliott McCarter (Asian Studies), Justus Ndukaife (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science), Ipek Oguz (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science), Jennifer Ridgway (Nursing), LeTizia Smith (Nursing), Kim Steanson (Nursing), Denis Zhernokleyev (German, Russian and East European Studies)
The Junior Faculty Teaching Fellowship provides its recipients with a structured faculty development experience that includes consultations, a course design seminar, peer observations, and dinners with senior faculty. This program not only helps its fellows develop an understanding of best teaching practices across the disciplines, but also assists them in their professional growth by helping them hone their abilities to balance teaching and research, improve their materials for review, and build a collaborative culture of teaching at Vanderbilt. The Center for Teaching thanks the School of Nursing for additional funding for this year’s fellows.  
Teaching Assistant Orientation
Many graduate students are awarded teaching assistantships, and while teaching assistant (TA) duties vary across departments, they all demand considerable skill and knowledge. These duties can include grading, consulting with students during office hours, leading discussion or problem sessions, teaching labs, or giving lectures.
To assist new TAs as they prepare for their duties, the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching offers its Teaching Assistant Orientation (TAO) each August. See orientation page for details.
  • Sessions offer effective strategies for the varied teaching duties assumed by TAs.
  • Participants at TAO also receive an opportunity to practice their teaching skills and receive feedback on their teaching.
  • Participation can make students’ work as TAs easier and will be a valuable addition to their curriculum vitae.
Date: Wednesday, August 14th
Time: 9:30-4:15pm
Location: Featheringill Hall

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