June 2017
The Center for Teaching held our annual Course Design Institute last month, supporting more than a dozen faculty members in taking a “Students as Producers” approach to the courses they teach.  The institute is one of the highlights of the year for me, because of the enthusiastic participation of the attendees and because I get to see some of my CFT colleagues in action leading workshops on teaching. 
What struck me this year, however, was the power of sharing our teaching practice.  It was fascinating and inspiring to hear about the assignments and activities used by CFT staff, faculty guests, and institute participants.  Events like the Course Design Institute give us a chance to connect with the community of teachers here at Vanderbilt, identify common teaching goals and challenges, and learn about ideas and strategies that can enhance our teaching.
The Center for Teaching also hosted opportunities in May for graduate students to participate in that teaching community.  We offered summer intensive versions of our Certificate in College Teaching and Certificate in Humanities Teaching and Learning programs.  Two dozen graduate students and postdocs participated, exploring research on learning and best practices in teaching.  I’m glad the CFT could offer additional capacity in our popular graduate programs through these summer intensives.
Looking ahead to next year, we’re planning more opportunities for teachers at Vanderbilt to connect and share, including a number of learning communities open to faculty, students, and staff.  Later this summer, we’ll invite participation in communities focused on community-engaged teaching, disability in the classroom, design thinking, and teaching with Top Hat, Vanderbilt’s new classroom response system. 
I’m really excited about the Top Hat adoption, since having a centrally funded and supported response system means it will be much easier for instructors to experiment with in-class polling strategies.  I’m looking forward to hearing about the creative ways Vanderbilt instructors use the tools provided by Top Hat to create meaningful classroom learning experiences.
Have a great summer!  And let us know if we can help as you spend time this summer planning your fall courses.
BOLD program instructional materials reach over 2500 Vanderbilt students, 65,000 others
How do you find your way to safety when you’re sailing and the GPS fails? How do you determine whether a child’s babbling indicates that her language is developing as you would expect? What effect does decreased breathing rate have on blood pH, and why? If you’re designing a heat engine and are choosing between turbines of different efficiencies, what is the impact on your cooling costs? How do you explain to a local elementary school class how the Monarch butterflies they’re studying travel 2500 miles to Mexico for overwintering?
Graduate students in the BOLD Fellows program have developed online instructional materials to help over 2500 Vanderbilt students answer questions like these. Developed in Fall 2013 as a CIRTL teaching-as-research program, the Blended and Online Learning Design program is designed to help STEM graduate student/faculty teams build expertise in developing online instructional modules and gather data on how those modules impact students’ learning. The program has provided a modest stipend and funds to help with conference travel for Fellows. Twenty-two graduate students have completed twenty projects in the program, and eight more graduate students have projects in development. Not only have the projects been used in Vanderbilt classes, they have also been used more than 65,000 times by people from over 100 countries. Further, one has been use by the Navy to train midshipmen.
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The CFT website has a full list of the BOLD Fellows and mentors, and the BOLD website hosts a project gallery where projects are more fully described as well as fuller description of the program, a list of Fellows’ presentations and publications, and helpful information for developing online instructional materials.
Newly Revised CFT Guide on Course Design

The Understanding by Design teaching guide was recently updated by Ryan Bowen, a graduate teaching fellow at the Center for Teaching. Understanding by Design is a book written by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe that offers a framework for designing courses, content units, and lessons. The teaching guide walks readers through “backward design” which is one of the primary design approaches mentioned in Understanding by Design. The guide explores the benefits of using backward design as compared to traditional methods of instructional planning, and then it elaborates on the three stages of the process as established by Wiggins and McTighe. Finally, the guide offers a planning template for readers to engage with the backward design process. Blank templates can be downloaded alongside a model template that is complete with descriptions to ensure clarity of what is being asked at each stage.
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Top Hat Selected as Vanderbilt’s Classroom Response System
Classroom response systems are educational technologies that allow instructors to rapidly collect and analyze student responses to questions posed during class.  Such systems have been used at Vanderbilt for more than a decade, and they have been shown to increase student participation and engagement during class.
Top Hat is the first classroom response system to be adopted campus-wide at Vanderbilt. It will be available to faculty, students, and staff across campus starting July 2017.  Instructors teaching with “clickers” are invited to consider Top Hat for in-class student polling. 
Top Hat is a “bring your own device” (BYOD) classroom response system that makes use of students’ personal mobile devices (phones, tablets, laptops) as response devices.  BYOD systems offer a number of logistical and pedagogical advantages over traditional, “clicker”-based systems.
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Brightspace Drop-In Sessions for Summer
Brightspace Support at the CFT will be offering drop-in training and support for faculty, graduate students, and staff using Brightspace. Come get technical and pedagogical support from a team of Brightspace specialists during our drop-in support hours. Feel free to bring any questions or issues you want to resolve.
Summer Drop-in Hours

Mondays 2 – 4 pm

Tuesdays 2 – 4 pm

  Wednesdays 10 am – 12 pm  

  Drop-In unavailable July 3rd – 7th.

Reflecting on Teaching: 
What?  For Whom?  Why?
Often, the motivation to improve one’s teaching by revising practices or experimenting with new initiatives stems from reflection.  This reflection often focuses on feedback received from others, such as student evaluations or peer reviews.  Reflection further involves one’s own assessment of experiences, through self-observation and activities that foster self-analysis such as teaching workshops or individual consultations, and/or pedagogical research. 
Written reflections on teaching can be used for personal, professional, or pedagogical purposes. At Vanderbilt, promotion and review processes require faculty to reflect on their work and document their progress in teaching, research and service.  When reporting on teaching, faculty are encouraged to articulate their teaching philosophy and objectives; describe past and planned course and curriculum development; and explain pedagogical initiatives, innovations or experiments, and their results.

The CFT provides one-on-one consultations on evaluating and documenting your teaching.  We will work with you to reflect deliberately on your practice as a means of deepening your understanding of pedagogical goals and methods, and linking those goals and methods to student learning.
For more information, please stop by, or call, the Center for Teaching (322-7290) or visit our set of teaching guides on the topic.
Latest Podcast Episodes on Ed Tech in Higher Education

In the latest episode of Leadning Lines, Vanderbilt’s Associate Provost for Digital Learning John Sloop interviews three colleagues from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development. This fall, Peabody is launching two online graduate programs, a Masters of Education in Human Development Counseling, and a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations. John talks with three Peabody faculty members involved in the new programs about moving into online education in 2017.
Our guests are Andrew Van Schaack, Principal Senior Lecture in Human & Organizational Development and Associate Dean for Online Programs; Catherine Loss, Assistant Professor of the Practice and Associate Department Chair in Leadership, Policy, and Organization; and Paul Speer, Professor and Chair of Human and Organizational Development. You can read more about Peabody’s new online degree programs by visiting peabodyonline.vanderbilt.edu/.
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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