September 2017

Vanderbilt Instructors Open Their Classroom Doors on
September 5th and 6th

Would you like to watch one of your colleagues teach to see how they manage the classroom, engage students, or address challenging subjects? Do you ever feel like you toil in private to learn how to teach? You’re not alone.
Too often in higher education we instructors do not have the opportunity to watch and discuss each other’s teaching, and therefore we struggle in what Lee Shulman has called, “pedagogical solitude.” The Center for Teaching has long worked to change this isolation by creating occasions for pedagogical community.
For a second year, we are proud to offer two intensive days of teaching visits. On September 5th and 6th, classes taught by some of the most well-respected and awarded teachers across Vanderbilt’s many disciplines will open their classroom doors to faculty and graduate students.
Introduction to Top Hat
If you think you might want to incorporate polling in your class, then this demo session is for you!
In this web-based introductory session, Kara Dingboom, Vanderbilt’s Enterprise Account Manager at Top Hat, will help you become familiar with the basic functions and features of the product and answer any questions you have about moving your content to Top Hat from another polling system. Learn more at Top Hat at Vanderbilt.
Date: Monday, September 11th
Time:  2:00pm -3:00pm
An email with the link for you to join the webinar will be sent prior to the event.
Date: Thursday, September 28
Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm
An email with the link for you to join the webinar will be sent prior to the event.
CFT Thanks our Teaching Affliliates!
Kaleigh Bangor (German, Russian & East European Studies), Emma Banks (Anthropology), Todd Evans (Mechanical Engineering), Andrea Gardiner (Civil & Environmental Engineering), Kyle Godbey (Physics), Daniel Kidd (Physics), Danielle Kopke (Biological Sciences), Elleansar Okwei (Chemistry), Katie Yewell (Economics), Laine Walters Young (Divinity)
Every August, the Center for Teaching offers Teaching Assistant Orientation (TAO) to all new TAs as a way to learn about TA duties, policies and resources, best practices in teaching, and to come away with some useful tools for immediate use in the classroom.
We wouldn’t be able to make this happen without our wonderful cohort of Teaching Affiliates, who come from all over campus to lead our breakout disciplinary sessions at TAO.  We’d like to thank them for all of their hard work with TAO this year.
Thank you, CFT Teaching Affiliates!
Mid-Semester Student Feedback
The feedback students provide about your teaching on their end-of-semester course evaluations can be valuable in helping you improve and refine your teaching.  Soliciting mid-semester student feedback has the additional benefit of allowing you to hear your students’ concerns while there is still time in the semester to make appropriate changes.  A Small Group Analysis (SGA) takes this one step further by involving a CFT consultant to help.
An SGA is a method of gathering anonymous feedback from students about what is helping them learn and what is not, in a course.  This service is an excellent way to assess students’ response to your teaching mid-semester.  The SGA results will remain completely confidential—only you and the CFT consultant will see them. 
Our website has more information on our SGA service.  To schedule an SGA, simply call the CFT at 322-7290.  And if you’re interested in gathering feedback from your students on your own, please see our “Gathering Feedback from Students” teaching guide for ideas and tools.
Crafting an Effective Teaching Statement
In this workshop, we will address best practices for writing a teaching statement/philosophy for the academic job market. This workshop is open to Vanderbilt graduate students & Postdocs from across the disciplines who want to improve their teaching portfolio materials. All teaching experience levels are welcome.

Facilitators: Kylie Korsnack & Justin Hubbard, CFT Graduate Teaching Fellows
Date: Monday, September 25th
Time: 3:00pm-4:30pm

Location: CFT

Open to Graduate Students & Postdocs

Junior Faculty Spotlight:
Brett Byram and
Nicolette Kostiw
Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Brett Byrum, Biomedical Engineering, and Nicolette Kostiw, Center for Latin American Studies, talk about their teaching philosophy and interests.
Brett Byram
Ultrasound is the most used medical image method in the United States, but it’s notorious for making terrible, uninterpretable images.  Because of this a significant focus in my lab is on making ultrasound reliable and interpretable in all patients.  We accomplish this through a number of means including combinations of new ultrasound pulse sequencing and signal processing approaches.  Our approaches have led to 10x improvements in image quality.  At Vanderbilt, I teach courses covering bioacoustics and ultrasonic imaging to graduate and undergraduate students and I teach data analysis and statistics to undergraduate engineering students.  In my undergraduate course I am exploring methods for exposing students to open ended problems with no definitive answer.  The goal is to provide environments where students are empowered to create and then answer their own questions.  In the data analysis course this is accomplished by providing students with large, real data sets that allow students to pose their own hypotheses that are interesting and relevant to each of them and then develop experiments and analysis to test their hypotheses. 
Nicolette Kostiw 
I have a PhD in History and my specialization is nineteenth-century Brazil. My research examines the end of slavery in Brazil, looking specifically at the ways in which former slaves and their children navigated the country’s transition into the post-emancipation era. I teach the three core courses for Latin American Studies majors, minors, and graduate students: LAS 2101 (Introduction to Latin America), LAS2102 (Introduction to Brazil), and LAS 4901/5901 (Latin American Studies Seminar). I'm entering my second year of teaching and, methodologically, want to focus on active learning strategies. I'm also a digital humanities advocate and I continually aim to better integrate historical research and technology in the classroom.

September Brightspace Workshops and Drop-in Hours

In these hands-on workshops, participants will learn about Vanderbilt’s new course management system, Brightspace. Bring your own laptop computer so you can explore and build content in our test course! You will learn to confidently navigate the different areas of a Brightspace course; post, edit, and copy content for students using a variety of tools; and communicate with students about important Brightspace tools.
Workshops topic include:
In addition to these workshops, you can get individual help during drop-in hours at the CFT.
Catch up on Season Three of the Leading Lines Podcast
In the two latest episodes of the Leading Lines podcast we speak with Eric Schmalz, Citizen History Community Manager at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and Humberto Garcia, associate professor of English at the University of California at Merced.
Schmalz works with the Holocaust Museum’s History Unfolded project. The museum calls the project a “citizen history” project, in the style of crowd-sourced citizen science projects like Galaxy Zoo or FoldIt. Regular people are invited to find newspaper articles from the 30s and 40s, either online or at our local libraries, ones that reference the Holocaust, and contribute them to an online database. So far, the project has collected over 8,000 articles!
Garcia talks about his reasons for teaching with blogs, as well as specific strategies he has used over time to integrate out-of-class and in-class learning through blogs. And he describes his experiments with classroom response systems as a way to incorporate student blogging in larger classes.
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.
English Language Center to offer Effective Teaching Strategies for International Faculty Seminar
This seminar helps international faculty hone their instructional skills for the US university classroom context. The interactive sessions, micro-teaching demonstrations, and individualized feedback allow participants to develop and practice effective teaching strategies, instructional language, and improve pronunciation. 
Dates: Fall and Spring Semesters
Times: Once a week/TBD

Location: Vanderbilt University English Language Center (ELC), 1208 18th Avenue South
More information available on the ELC web site.
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