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Even though the snow hasn’t arrived yet, the CTE’s January program line-up is ready to go. See below for information about our Course Preparation Retreat, pedagogical workshops, and instructional tech trainings to help you ramp up for spring.

Final Roundtable: More Meaningful Assessment

Our final Teaching Roundtable of the semester, Assessing Learning In and Across Our Disciplines, will be held remotely on Thursday, December 9 from 2:00 - 3:00. Juliana Belding (Math) and Dana Sajdi (History) will kick off our discussion by sharing their reflections on assessing learning within their own disciplines. We’ll then open things up for a discussion of common challenges instructors face when evaluating student learning. Find further details and registration information on the CTE’s website.

Apply for 2022-23 Faculty Cohorts

The CTE is now accepting applications for its 2022-23 Faculty Cohorts on Teaching, which bring faculty together for a year-long exploration of a pedagogical question or approach. Next year’s cohorts will focus on “Applying Learning Sciences to Our Teaching” and “Teaching for Inclusion and Social Justice.” All Boston College faculty are eligible, and participants receive a $2,500 stipend. Find further details and registration information on the CTE website.

Advice for Supporting International Learners

As part of International Education Week, Lynne Anderson, Director of BC’s English Language Learners Program, hosted a virtual panel on “Supporting International Learners at BC: Reflections from International Graduate Students and Instructors.” Some highlights of the advice shared by the student panelists:

  • A little structure can make a big difference; for example, provide students with bullet points to respond to rather than an open-ended free write.
  • Have students trade off taking notes during lecture and sharing those with the full class.
  • Structure opportunities for students to participate in class by rotating assigned discussion leaders.
  • Make space for international students to share about their home countries.
  • Take the time to learn how to pronounce students’ names correctly.

If you’d like to see the full conversation, you can find a complete recording of the panel online.

January Programs

Once you’re ready to start thinking about your spring semester courses, the CTE is here to help you prepare. In addition to individual consultations, we’ll be offering a number of programs in January to help you gear up for the new semester. See below for more information and reach out to with any questions.

Course Prep Retreat (Remote)

Held January 4 – 7, the Course Preparation Retreat is a four-day virtual event that provides a structured opportunity for instructors to work on preparing their courses in conversation with colleagues. The majority of time each day will be dedicated to independent work by participants, bookended by gatherings over Zoom to share ideas and feedback.

All BC faculty and Teaching Fellows are welcome to participate. Additional details and registration information can be found on the CTE website. Space is limited, so we encourage you to indicate your interest by December 16.

Technology Trainings (Remote)

Our technology trainings — all held remotely over Zoom — aim to help you get comfortable using various learning technologies to further your teaching goals. Recordings of these sessions will also be made available starting January 14th. Follow the links below to register.

Canvas: Basics  Tuesday, January 4, 1:00 - 2:30
Canvas: Assignments and Grading  Monday, January 10, 10:30-12:00
Canvas: New Quizzes  Wednesday, January 12, 1:00-2:30
Tools for Collaborative Reading and Writing  Thursday, January 13, 1:00-2:30

Teaching Workshops (In-Person)

Starting the second week in January, we’ll be offering a variety of workshops focused on common pedagogical questions. These hands-on discussions will give you a chance to refine your plans for spring. All teaching workshops will be held in person in the CTE’s Innovation Lab (O’Neill 250). Follow the links below to register.

Active learning 2.0: Strength in Structure  Monday, January 10, 1:00-2:30
Transparent & Welcoming Course Policies  Tuesday, January 11, 10:30-12:00
Supporting LGBTQ+ Students  Wednesday, January 12, 10:30-12:00
Fostering Belonging in the Classroom  Thursday, January 13, 10:30-12:00

Drop-In Sessions (Hybrid)

Bring questions on Canvas and other BC-supported technologies, and CTE staff will answer them on a first come, first served basis. Register at the links below, indicating whether you plan to attend in person or via Zoom.

Drop-In #1  Friday, January 7, 10:30-12:00
Drop-in #2  Tuesday, January 11, 1:00-2:30
Drop-in #3  Friday, January 14, 10:30-12:00

Other Spring Programs

Faculty Reading Group: Becoming a White Antiracist

This spring, the CTE is partnering with Intersections to co-sponsor a faculty reading group on Becoming a White Antiracist by Stephen Brookfield and Mary Hess, which focuses on how to support white people in developing antiracist identities. The purpose of this group is to provide a semi-structured space where faculty can find a community of support and accountability as they pursue antiracist understanding, habits, and actions in their university work. As the title states, the book is primarily aimed at supporting white people in taking responsibility for participating in the dismantling of white supremacy. That said, BIPOC faculty are welcome to join the group if they are interested in doing so.  

The group will meet seven times over the course of the semester. Participants will receive a copy of the book and $500 stipends. Space is limited so please express your interest by January 7th.

New Faculty Seminars on Teaching

We’ll continue our New Faculty Seminars on Teaching this spring, providing full-time faculty in their first two years at BC an opportunity to gather with colleagues to discuss topics of interest to those getting started in BC classrooms. You’re welcome to RSVP for our spring offerings:

Strategies For Active Learning  Wednesday, January 26th, 1:00-2:00
Interpreting Student Feedback on Your Teaching  Thursday, February 17th, 10:00-11:00
Better Assignment Design  Wednesday, March 23rd, 10:00-11:00
Using Tech Purposefully  Tuesday, April 12th, 2:00-3:00

We anticipate all spring seminars will be held in person in the CTE’s Innovation Lab (O’Neill 250). If in-person participation poses a barrier for you, please let us know.

Tech Updates

Poll Everywhere has recently made updates that provide instructors with additional flexibility when exporting Poll Everywhere grades to Canvas. Instructors can now choose between exporting the participation column (which will give students full credit for any activity they responded to, regardless of correctness) or, as was possible before, they can export the grade column (which is determined by whether or not students correctly responded to activities). In addition, while grading for correctness is only possible for two question types, grading for participation is available across all question types. Please see our updated page on viewing & grading student responses for more information.

Canvas New Quizzes have an updated look and feel, with similar functionality to Classic (current) Quizzes plus some new features. We recommend taking an opportunity to learn about the updated tool before you work with it, especially if you use question banks, surveys, practice quizzes, analysis tools, or manage release of results to students. In addition to a back-to-school New Quizzes training (see above), the CTE is addressing individual questions in a hybrid New Quizzes Drop-in, December 14, 2:00 - 3:00. Contact with any questions.

Center for Teaching Excellence
140 Commonwealth Ave
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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