As someone teaching at the U of S, we look forward to discussing any of the following topics or additional topics related to teaching and learning in higher education.
In addition, we can connect colleagues on shared areas of interest related to teaching and learning, or to other relevant units on campus.
Types of consultations include:
Assessment, whether formal or informal, is one of the most important elements of your course. We meet can meet with you to discuss ways to improve the assignments and examinations in an existing course, or work with you to create, implement and / or adopt new, innovative or alternative forms of assessment. We can help you determine the most effective and appropriate assessments for a new course that you are developing, or help you develop feedback and grading tools (for example, a rubric or marking checklist to assess students' written work). Or, perhaps you would like suggestions about how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your grading practices, or suggestions on how you can improve the feedback you give to students about their assessment.
Course Design & Syllabus
Whether or when you are developing a brand-new course or revising / updating an existing course, we can help you with any phase of the course design process. We can meet with you to discuss your course design plan as a whole, or we can help in just one or two specific aspects of your course design. For example, we can help you find ways to effectively integrate a new teaching strategy into your course, help you clarify your learning outcomes, or help integrate informal ways to assess where students are at in their learning processes. Or, we could help you start the course design process right from the very beginning!
The course syllabus allows instructors to convey to students an overview of the key elements of a course, including what the students will learn, who the instructor is, how students will be assessed and other important, course information. Whether you are just starting to draft your syllabus or simply want to make some revisions, staff at the GMCTE are here to provide feedback about any aspect of the syllabus, including what elements are required and / or recommended by the Academic Courses Policy.
As part of our support for curriculum development, we offer consultations and coaching about the process for leading and engaging curriculum discussions, reviews and data gathering. Please contact Sheryl, Susan, or Carolyn.
Gathering information about your program can provide a solid grounding to improve your program and to meet external requirements like accreditation reviews. Perhaps it is how much students learn (e.g., students’ performance), where they learn (e.g., mapping by asking instructors which courses teach or assess the skill, or self-ratings by students of where they learn specific skills), student experience and navigation through a program (e.g., examining pre-requisite structures and asking students how they move through the course), how alumni perform (e.g., alumni and employer’s ratings of performance and essential skills), what is the value for your students (e.g., focus groups with current students or alumni) or more.
If you are interested in undergraduate research, community-engaged learning, field-based learning, experiential learning in labs, simulations, study aboard, practicum, internship, or cross-cultural learning, we offer consultations about how to connect these activities within your course and programs, as well as how to assess. We can also suggest resources and connections with other units or people on campus who have relevant experience.
Feedback on Teaching
The purpose of these consultations is to provide confidential support as you gather and review evidence and perspectives about your teaching. Any written summaries provided or discussions remain yours to keep confidential or, if you desire, to share.
On your invitation, we can attend and observe a class to provide confidential formative feedback (feedback for you to use to improve your teaching in that class). It is most effective to request and engage in classroom observations within the first few months of class so that there is time to meet, observe, discuss, and implement the changes you want to make.
Additional Student Feedback
Additional student feedback may be useful for informing your teaching decisions. Through the consultations, there is support for developing questions, identifying ways to gather the information (e.g., survey, focus group, reflection papers), assisting with gathering, and discussing interpretations and potential ways forward.
Interpreting Teaching Evaluations
When you receive your departmental student evaluations of teaching, we are available to meet to discuss ways to interpret the results of the evaluations and to use the evaluations to reflect on and improve your teaching practice.
Instructors now have at their disposal a wide variety of open educational resources, including but not limited to open textbooks, and the opportunities to integrate these into all aspects of education are vast. The GMCTE offers consultations related to the adoption of open educational practices. In addition, we can also connect researchers to appropriate members of the U of S community who can advise on open access publishing and research as major granting agencies move toward requiring the products of funded studies to be published in either open access journals or on other public websites.
Reflective Practice & Portfolio
We review and provide feedback on individual's teaching portfolios, which may be developed as part of applications for teaching or faculty positions (at the U of S or elsewhere), for tenure and promotion purposes, or for teaching award nominations. If you would like thoughtful feedback from a GMCTE staff member on a teaching portfolio, we need to have time to review the portfolio in advance of meeting with you, so please ensure that you leave an appropriate amount of time (ahead of any deadlines you may have) to allow for this type of consultation.
Research on Teaching
The higher education literature spans several databases and may use different terms across fields. If you are interested in finding out what literature already exists about a teaching topic you are using, or are seeking to ground decisions about possible topics in the scholarly literature, connect with one of us directly based on our bios, request a consultation in a specific area (e.g., teaching with technology), or contact us with your questions.
Conducting Research on Teaching
Research on teaching (also called scholarship of teaching and learning or SoTL) involves inquiry into what strategies are working in our classes, if a newly implemented or created approach improves student’s learning, how students are engaging in specific parts of the course, and more. You may be drawing on familiar research methods or asking questions that draw on new methods. Maybe it is your first publication on teaching or your tenth. Our consultations provide opportunities for discussing research directions, and identifying methodological approaches and resources.
Teaching with Technology
Flipped & Blended Teaching
You may have been using flipped or blended strategies for years, experimented with them a few times, or may be brand new to these concepts. We are happy to meet with you to reflect on and assess what you’ve been doing or to assist you in learning more about flipping and blending. We can help you choose the tools and strategies to best meet the pedagogic needs of your students. Flipped and blended strategies are designed to get the most benefit out of your face-to-face class time. We are also able to help connect you with others on campus with similar goals and experiences.
Incorporating Technology in the Classroom
Whether you’re interested in incorporating a tool like clickers or lecture capture in your class or have a novel and unique idea to engage students in class, we are available to discuss the idea with you to help you incorporate it in the most effective and beneficial way for you and your students. We are able to make suggestions of tools and strategies based on our personal teaching experiences, previous consultations, and findings in the literature.
Teaching Online and Using Blackboard Learn
You may be teaching a fully online course or are utilizing Blackboard Learn to support your face-to-face courses, we are able to consult with you on the tools available within Blackboard Learn to make your course more effective, interactive, and engaging. Whether you are a Blackboard veteran or new to the tool, we can help you get the greatest pedagogical benefit out of these tools. Although, we are proficient in using Blackboard Learn, our consultations focus less on the tools themselves and more on how to use them for teaching. If you are looking for specific technical assistance, please contact ICT Training Services or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may already have a new teaching strategy in mind or are seeking potential strategies for meeting your current goals. Perhaps it is to engage students further into the content, make group work more effective or other ideas that you would like to discuss.