CTL Newsletter: January 16, 2018

What’s the Big IDEA?

On January 8, we held our first annual student ratings of instruction party. What a nice way to spend a snowy day! Drew Dunham shared some great IDEA tricks for tracking numbers and interpreting student feedback. We learned that the survey’s formative report includes links to “teaching and learning resources” for each of its student learning objectives and teaching procedures. (Scroll down for more information.)

I didn’t pass up the chance to promote my new favorite resource, the Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) Project. The TILT Project was developed by Mary-Ann Winkelmes, Coordinator of Instructional Development and Research at UNLV. “Transparent teaching methods,” says Wilkelmes, “help students understand how and why they are learning course content in particular ways.” They are especially important for students who are not familiar with the culture of higher education. Winkelmes offers tips for transparent learning strategies, disciplinary methods, classroom agendas, assignments, and grading. My own resolve for this semester is to be more transparent about my teaching philosophy, starting on day one.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the results of the contest to determine the funniest, least helpful, and least intelligible student comments. Well, I have to disappoint you. I didn’t keep a record. All I remember is that one of the winning entries said something like, “This was too much work for a 100-level course.” The comment appeared on the survey for a 200-level course.

You gotta love those students. Happy New Year and Happy Spring Semester!

Jocelyn McWhirter
Director, The Newell Center for Teaching and Learning
January 16, 2018



From IDEA:

Where to access your results: albion.campuslabs.com/faculty

Faculty Resources: http://www.ideaedu.org/Resources-Events/Support-For-Current-Clients/IDEA-SRI-Powered-by-Campus-Labs#1033494-using-your-feedback

Guiding Questions for Interpreting Reports: https://www.ideaedu.org/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Client%20Resources/Interpretive-Guiding-Questions_CL-Report.pdf

Using the Formative Report: http://www.ideaedu.org/Services/Diagnostic-Feedback-Formative-Tab

IDEA Teaching and Learning Resources: http://www.ideaedu.org/Resources-Events/Teaching-Learning-Resources. If you’d like some tips for how to achieve a learning objective or how to implement a teaching procedure, this is the place to get them.

New Titles in the CTL Library:

A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classroom
Teach Students How to Learn
Overcoming Student Bottlenecks
Encountering Faith in the Classroom
Shaping Your Career

Borrow these and other great books in Ferguson 108.


News from The Newell CTL

Change is in the Air! First, a name change. From now on, we will be known as The Newell Center for Teaching and Learning. Look for our updated logos as soon as the Director can figure out how to paste them and gmail decides to implement the signature changes she just submitted. Second, a location change. Stockwell 305 is currently under renovation. We’ll move our quarters there sometime this semester. Look forward to a grand opening!

GLCA/GLAA Consortium for Teaching and LearningThe website’s newest feature is an article by GLCA Director of Program Development Greg Wegner on “The Liberal Arts in Currents of Change.” Greg summarizes reflections from a February 2017 Colloquy for the GLCA/GLAA Center for Teaching and Learning. Those reflections include assessments of recent changes at our institutions (changes in the faculty, in the student body, etc.) along with the challenges and opportunities that those changes present. Albion College was represented at the colloquy by Ian MacInnes and Jocelyn McWhirter.

And, in case you missed it, you can also check out Jocelyn’s Digital Town Hall Meeting on Teaching a Student Body from a Variety of Backgrounds along with Ian’s article, “The Coming Vocabulary Crisis and What to Do about It.”

Talking about Teaching. You can always talk about teaching. Find a partner, trade classroom observations, and talk about teaching while having a Baldwin Cafe lunch on The Newell CTL! To register, just reply to this newsletter.

Teaching Reflections. Thanks to Carrie Walling and Eric Hill for last semester’s Teaching Reflections. We’re taking submissions for this semester. If you’d like to contribute a brief essay about teaching and learning, reply to this newsletter.


Upcoming Conferences

Teaching Professor Conference, June 1-3, 2018 in Atlanta. “There’s simply no better place to explore and celebrate the art and science of teaching.”

Teaching Academic Survival and Success (TASS) Conference, April 8-11 in Ft. Lauderdale. “The Teaching Academic Survival and Success Skills Conference is a forum for faculty, staff, student support personnel, administrators and others who help under-prepared students succeed in college and beyond.”

About Jocelyn McWhirter

Jocelyn McWhirter is the Stanley S. Kresge Professor of Religious Studies at Albion College in Albion, Michigan.
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