March 2018
“Students as Producers”
Course Design Institute
May 7-9

The CFT invites Vanderbilt faculty members to apply to its 2018 Course Design Institute on the theme of “Students as Producers.” During the three-day institute (May 7-9, 2018) participants will design (or redesign) courses that engage students not only as consumers of information, but producers of knowledge. Proposals for museum acquisitions written by students in a course on African-American art. MRI machines built by engineering students in a design course. A class podcast on the latest healthcare policy research. Video documentaries created by future teachers to explore social and philosophical aspects of education. These are just some of the products of student learning created in courses taught by Vanderbilt faculty who have adopted the “Students as Producers” approach to course design. Through this year’s Course Design Institute, the CFT continues its efforts to support instructors in building these high-impact teaching practices into their courses. Course Design Institute participants will…
  • Learn and apply a process for designing courses in which learning objectives, activities, and assessments are aligned;
  • Enhance their understanding of how students learn and apply that understanding to teaching in their disciplines;
  • Design assignments that foster deep learning by engaging students in meaningful, generative work; and
  • Expand their network of fellow Vanderbilt educators, connecting with peers with similar teaching interests.
Participants will leave the institute with plans for courses to be taught in the following academic year. Additionally, each participate will receive $500 in research funds to be used to enhance their teaching.
"A lot of us come in to teaching positions without a lot of teaching experience. It’s intimidating, but the Course Design Institute gave me a lot of resources to connect with my students.

Gilbert Gonzales, Assistant Professor
of Health Policy, 2016 participant

“The Course Design Institute is a really great way to get back into contact with teaching pedagogies in a short, quick, easy to digest three-day period.”

Rebecca VanDiver, Assistant Professor of the History of Art, 2016 participant
For more on the Course Design Institute experience, read stories from past CDI participants.  For more information or to apply, visit the Course Design Institute website.
Applications are due Sunday, March 11th. 
Microaggression Teaching Workshop March 22nd

When teaching, it is almost guaranteed that microaggressions will take place. These seemingly small, ostensibly singular manifestations of oppression can deleteriously effect the teaching-learning environment, our students, and ourselves. As common as microaggressions are, it is equally common that educators are at times unsure of the best way to intervene, particularly in ways that maintain effective relationships with students and/or colleagues. Further, typical best practices for intervening assume the responder’s position as bystander, ignoring the ways that educators may also perpetrate or be targets of injustice.
This session aims to create an active learning community wherein current and future educators can build their capacity to respond effectively to microaggressions in the classroom. After offering some guiding principles for effective interventions, the facilitators will lead participants through a skill-building sessions that draws from participants’ own experiences and questions.

Date: Thursday, March 22nd
Time: 12:00pm-3:00pm
Location: CFT

Facilitator: Amie Thurber
Open to Graduate Students & Postdocs


Teaching, Difference, and Power: Disability and Learning Meeting March 15th

Higher education today is home to an increasingly diverse student population with a wide variety of needs and abilities.  This presents innumerable opportunities to enliven and enhance the intellectual dynamism of our classes and campuses.  To take full advantage of these opportunities, university educators must develop the knowledge and skills of teaching inclusively to diverse audiences.  This has been the purpose of the Center for Teaching’s learning communities for faculty and graduate instructors under the banner of “Teaching, Difference, and Power.”
On March 15th from 11:30am-1pm, the CFT will host a Disability and Learning meeting to talk about how faculty can develop engaging and accessible learning experiences for students with disabilities.
Please register here if you plan to attend.
Brightspace Support for March

If you will be asking students to submit papers electronically this semester, consider decluttering your email inbox and using a Brightspace Assignment submission folder instead. Student submissions on Brightspace are kept in an organized, time-stamped folder. Brightspace also provides convenient grading tools that allow you to easily communicate private grades and feedback to students in a FERPA-protected space. Email us at or check out this collection of step-by-step guides for help getting started.
For the rest of the spring semester, we will be offering drop-in hours for faculty and staff who have Brightspace-related questions. Stop by the workshop space of the CFT (even without an appointment) and find a specialist ready to assist.
We can get you up to speed with Brightspace’s new features, assist with building your course content, or help you solve technical problems. 
Tuesdays 9-11am
 & Wednesdays 2-4pm

If you need help but can’t drop by during the times listed above, you can email Brightspace Support for online support or to schedule a consultation with a member of the Brightspace support team. Contact us at
Latest Podcast Episodes on Ed Tech in Higher Education
The latest In this episode, we talk with Jay Clayton, professor of English and director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. Jay teaches courses on digital media and online gaming, and he talks with Gayathri Narasimham, Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning, about how he helps students engage in both critical analysis and creative production of video games and other new media.
To listen to the podcasts, visit the Leading Lines website, search for “Leading Lines” in iTunes, or subscribe via RSS.  You can also follow us on Twitter, @LeadingLinesPod.
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