August 2020

August Workshops from the Center for Teaching
For faculty and other instructors looking for a lot of ideas for teaching this fall in a short amount of time, the Center for Teaching is offering a variety of online workshops in August. Some workshops are focused on teaching with Brightspace, Vanderbilt’s course management system, while others focus on other aspects of adaptive teaching in the coming academic year. All workshops will be offered multiple times during August.
Workshops in August include:
  • An Introduction to Online and Hybrid Teaching – This workshop provides an introduction to promoting both asynchronous and synchronous interactions in your fall courses. The workshop includes a self-paced portion on Brightspace (about 2-3 hours of time) along with a 90-minute Zoom session that includes modeling of and practice with synchronous online teaching strategies.

  • An Introduction to Brightspace – In this hands-on workshop for people with little to no experience teaching online with Brightspace, participants will be oriented to Vanderbilt’s course management system and learn how to accomplish common teaching task. This 90-minute Zoom session includes times for questions.

  • Leading Synchronous Online Discussions – This 60-minute Zoom workshop will provide a variety a variety of discussion techniques that can be used via Zoom to facilitate discussion, and will model some of those techniques during the session.

  • Grades, Rubrics, and Feedback in Brightspace – Participants in this 90-minute Zoom workshop will learn about the range of tools available in Brightspace to make assignments, grading, and feedback more efficient and more effective.

  • Inclusive Teaching – Using case vignettes, this 90-minute Zoom workshop will give participants the opportunity to explore practices of inclusive teaching that can improve their courses by engaging a wider range of voices and viewpoint, creating greater accessibility in activities and assessments, supporting classroom civility and productive conflict, and fostering a classroom culture that encourages deep learning and critical thought.

  • Asynchronous Online Interaction 
    In this workshop, participants will explore different kinds of asynchronous interactions as students in a Brightspace course, then meet via Zoom for a one-hour debrief and strategy session. 
Additional August workshop topics include finding and creating images and graphics for course materials, using the Discussions tool in Brightspace, and learning how to use the Center for Teaching’s new Brightspace template for online courses.
More information and registration for our August workshops can be found at Most workshops are open to faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdocs.

CFT Launches New Site to Help Instructors Develop Online Courses
The Center for Teaching is excited to announce the Online Course Development Resources website. The site is designed to help faculty and other instructors design, teach, and revise their online courses, drawing on research, best practices, and existing resources from the Center for Teaching and around the web.
There are two ways to engage with the resources on the new site: as a self-paced course, in which the site walks you through the course development process and provides you with information on a range of tools commonly used to teach online, or as an on-demand resource for questions on specific topics.
The Center for Teaching is offering a variety of workshops and other events this August to help instructors prepare for adaptive teaching this fall. For faculty who can’t fit these events into their schedule, or want to get started designing their fall courses right away, the Online Course Development Resources site will be invaluable.

Reserve Time in the
One Button Studio

The One Button Studio (OBS) is an excellent resource for this upcoming semester. The OBS, located in Room 801 of the Baker Building, is an automated video studio that faculty and other instructors can use to easily record high quality videos, without any prior video production experience. CFT Digital Media Specialist, Carly Byer, will be present your entire appointment to ensure your videos are a success. The OBS will be particularly useful for faculty who want to create online content for their courses. To book studio time, visit our online scheduling calendar. For ideas for using videos in your teaching, visit the CFT’s teaching guide on effective educational videos. For technical instructions creating screencasts via Kaltura or sharing videos with students on Brightspace, see our “Using Media on Brightspace” resource.

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. 
  • 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.
Due to COVID-19 and the need to practice safe social distancing, this year, TAO will be held remotely and will include a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities spread across three days. New TAs will work in a small disciplinary cohort led by a Teaching Affiliate to learn about the skills and knowledge needed to be an effective TA in face-to-face and online learning settings. Participants should plan to dedicate approximately 3 hours each day to complete all synchronous and asynchronous activities.
Date: August 17, 18, 19
Time: 9:00-11:00 am via zoom, plus an additional hour to complete asynchronous learning modules
For details and to register, see the orientation page.
Brush up on Some Essential Brightspace skills
Brush up on some essential Brightspace skills before teaching in an online or hybrid format this fall. Join Stacey, the CFT’s Assistant Director for Educational Technology, on Zoom for workshops about Brightspace tools including Discussions and Grades/Feedback. You can register and learn more about the available workshops on the Brightspace workshops page.
If you will be using Brightspace for the first time and want to get to know the content and navigation tools, sign up for one of the Introduction to Brightspace workshops August 4th, 10th, 12th, or 18th at 11:00am. Register and learn more here.
If you don’t want a whole workshop, but just need to pop in and discuss your questions with one of our instructional technologists, the Brightspace support team and the Digital Media Team at the CFT are offering drop-in support hours every Thursday in August from 11am-1pm. No need to register, just join Brandon, Paige, and Carly at this link. 
CFT Blog Posts Designed to Help You Prepare for Fall
CFT director, Derek Bruff, outlines some student-centered strategies you can use to engage students in meaningful learning, including discussion leading, live polling, backchannels, collaborative notetaking, group work, hybrid pair work, and more.
Cynthia Brame, CFT associate director, has been thinking about different ways to structure students’ time “in the classroom” and has created a resource that provides three options you can consider when structuring your hybrid and flexed classes this fall.
In response to the unprecedented moment where students and instructors will be experiencing higher levels of stress, along with new expectations for teaching and learning, Leah Roberts, CFT senior graduate teaching fellow, wrote this blog post that provides recommendations and considerations for instructors.
Dr. Adriane Seiffert and Dr. Ashleigh Maxcey from the Department of Psychology share their thoughts, reflections, and suggestions on teaching online based on their experiences teaching courses over Maymester and Summer 2020 in this blog post full of useful insights.
Leading Lines Ed Tech Podcast with Susan Kevra
In this episode, we’re talking with one of the participants in the Vanderbilt Online Course Design Institute, Susan Kevra, a principal senior lecturer in French who also teaches in our American studies program. In our conversation, we talk about experiential learning activities, building community and fostering social presence, balancing asynchronous and synchronous modes of instruction, and the role of visual design in the online learning experience.
To hear the podcast episodes you've missed, 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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