The CTE monthly newsletter.
View this email in your browser
Read the advice that Boston College faculty shared about teaching in socially distanced and online contexts.

Faculty's Advice for Teaching in a Pandemic

The University Council on Teaching partnered with the CTE and IRP last semester to survey and conduct focus groups with faculty on what they’ve learned about teaching in this pandemic context. Over 200 instructors shared their experiences teaching in socially distanced and online classrooms, which we’ve summarized in a new recommendations report available on the CTE Resources site. There you can find an overview of the central themes that arose, along with specific suggestions shared by faculty. We will continue to update this resource as new ideas come in.

January Workshops and Drop-Ins

Throughout January, CTE staff will be offering workshops via Zoom on a range of topics relevant to both distanced in-person and remote teaching. This week’s sessions focus on the basics of Canvas, Zoom, and Panopto. The rest of the month we address the most common pedagogical questions we’ve heard from faculty this past year:

We’ll also be staffing virtual drop-ins — most general, one specifically on Jamboard and Google Docs — where you can get help with your particular technology and teaching questions. You’ll get a chance to indicate your questions when you register, so we can be ready to help you. Find the full workshop and drop-in schedule online, along with registration information.

Additional Support Available


In addition to the workshops and drop-in sessions listed above, you can also reach out to the CTE for help with specific questions or to talk through ideas. We ask that you direct all requests to our main account, rather than contacting individual staff directly, so we can better manage the flow of requests.

If you’re not sure whether the CTE is the best place to go with your request, you can always refer to our Finding Help page to see which office on campus is best suited to help you.

Course Planning Resources

If you prefer working on your own, our Canvas courses for Adaptable Blended Instruction (ABI) and Adaptable Remote Instruction (ARI) provide step-by-step guidance for developing your in-person or synchronous online course. If you haven’t already, it’s a one-step process to self-enroll in the ABI course or self-enroll in the ARI course. In addition, you might find the following resources useful:

Copyright Questions

BC Libraries are ready to assist you with copyright or fair use questions. See the research guide and contact with any questions particular to your course.

Register Now: Course Prep Retreat

We still have a few spaces available for our virtual Course Preparation Retreat being held January 11-14, 2021. This four-day retreat will provide a structured opportunity for instructors to work on preparing their courses in conversation with colleagues. All BC faculty and Teaching Fellows are welcome to participate, whether they are preparing courses for remote or in-person contexts. Additional details and registration information can be found on the CTE website. Please register by January 6.

Faculty Cohort Applications Due March 1

Applications are now being accepted for our 2021-22 Faculty Cohorts on Teaching: Traditions of Formation and our Teaching and Teaching for Inclusion and Social Justice. Cohort participants receive a $2,500 stipend and spend a year investigating a new pedagogical approach to implement in at least one of the courses they teach. The program is open to all Boston College faculty. Descriptions of the two cohort topics and application information are available on the CTE website.

Tech Updates

New in Canvas

New text editor: The Rich Content Editor — the tool you use to create content in areas such as Syllabus, Pages, Assignments, etc. — will be updated in your Canvas courses later today. Review our resource, Getting Started with the New Rich Content Editor, for an overview of the tool, which highlights the new location of frequently-used features.  

Personalize display settings: Canvas now allows you greater flexibility in personalizing your account, with new options available to adjust your display settings. Full details are available in resources we’ve developed for both instructors and students.

Students already listed: Students now appear in Canvas sites before they are published. This allows instructors to create groups before a site is published and removes the delay in granting students access. As soon as you click “publish” on the homepage, students should be able to enter the site.   

Easily import due dates: Now when you import content from a previous site, you can update all Assignment due dates from a single screen, in batches or one at a time. Please note that the “Copy to…” feature in Quizzes is for sharing them with other course sites. Contact for help in duplicating a Quiz within a site.


Keeping Zoom Up to Date

Zoom does not always prompt users to make new updates, but current versions are often required to take advantage of the latest features (for example, the option to return some students from break-out rooms before others in the latest release). You can check for an update every couple of weeks by opening the dropdown menu in the app, selecting “Check for Updates,” and following any prompts.

Plan Now for Mid-Semester Feedback

If you’re planning to gather mid-semester feedback from your students — either using the standard form distributed by the Provost’s Office (which was introduced in Fall 2020) or a form of your own design — CTE staff are available to help you develop feedback questions and/or make sense of feedback you’ve already gathered. Our primary role in these consultations is to serve as a sounding board, help you identify the information you’re hoping to learn from your students, find trends in your students’ comments, and determine how to respond to the feedback.

To set up a feedback consultation, please fill out this form. If you have any questions, contact us at If you’d prefer to complete some or all of the mid-semester feedback process on your own, you can also see our Mid-Semester Feedback resource.

TAM Grants Due in February

Teaching, Advising, and Mentoring (TAM) grant proposals are due March 1, 2021. Administered by the University Council on Teaching (UCT), TAM grants provide up to $15,000 to fund creative and innovative faculty projects meant to advance the teaching, advising, and mentoring of students at Boston College. The UCT favors proposals that go beyond the normal preparation of courses expected of faculty. Almost any expense can be covered by a grant, including up to a total of $5,000 of summer stipend per award. 

See the Office of the Provost’s website for complete application information. If you’re looking for feedback on a TAM grant idea, UCT members can provide feedback on proposal drafts submitted to by February 1.
Center for Teaching Excellence
140 Commonwealth Ave
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

View this email in your browser

Prefer not to receive these emails?
Unsubscribe from this list
Boston College home page