Congratulations & Thank You
Phew. Today marks the end of Spring 2021 classes, and only finals remain. We made it through a marathon, and even if we’re limping toward the finish line, we’ve done more than just endure. As we reflect on the last year, it would be natural to focus on—and to grieve—our many losses, including all that we were unable to accomplish, both professionally and personally, because of the pandemic. So this week, we wanted to encourage you to give yourself credit for all that you have accomplished, too.
You may not have a handle on it yet, but you’ve done so much, adapting and evolving; developing new skills and strategies for teaching (and for other work); and finding strength you may not have known you possessed.
Many faculty are already vaccinated, or in the process, and have begun a slow return to normalcy. Although most of us will be relieved and grateful to return to our classrooms in the fall, the way we teach will be changed permanently, and for the better. We’ve learned new technologies, which will come in handy beyond holding class sessions on Zoom. We’ve developed new strategies for keeping students engaged, and for guiding their reasoning and development, which will inflect the assignments we give in the future. Many of us have developed more structured learning experiences that we can use in future iterations of our courses, regardless of modality.
To help our students become successful remote and online learners, we’ve had to be more transparent in our communication, especially around instructions and expectations, and we can use our clarified approaches and materials in the fall. Most importantly, we’ve taken care to build in moments to check in with students, to show them our humanity and our compassion, and we’ve seen how valuable these gestures are. We’ve been reminded, in powerful ways, of the value of our community, and we’ve found new ways to preserve and sustain it.
As you reflect back on this semester, and the last thirteen months, we encourage you to enumerate and give yourself credit for all you’ve accomplished. And when you’re ready, we hope you’ll think about how much you’ve learned about teaching, even when it was difficult. We are so grateful for all that you do. Again: congratulations; you made it.
Summer Teaching Workshop
Thursday, April 29th | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Zoom | Sign up to attend
If you’re teaching in the summer, you may be wondering how to make a course you normally teach in fall or spring work well in a compressed summer semester. No need to do all of the planning alone! Join us for this hands-on summer teaching workshop, in which we’ll discuss how to distill a course to its essence, prioritizing so that you can set achievable learning goals for your students. Then, we’ll help you get started designing the course so students make progress toward those goals through fewer, but longer, class sessions. Since the extended meeting hours in summer demand that we vary our teaching strategies, sharing approaches and resources with colleagues across disciplines will make planning class sessions more fruitful and more enjoyable. We look forward to working with you!
Summer 2021 Course Design Seminar
Monday, May 3rd – Thursday, May 6th | 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Synchronous on Zoom & Asynchronous on Canvas | Sign up to attend
CAT’s Course Design Seminar provides faculty with the structure and support they need to craft transformative and inclusive learning experiences that reach and inspire their students. Course design and planning need not be lonely work; they are best accomplished in a community of peers who are similarly engaged. The seminar is a week-long series of hands-on workshops, during which faculty will hone their goals for student learning, plan effective use of class time, and work on sequencing and scaffolding coursework, as well as gathering valid evidence of learning. They will also work on strategies for fostering welcoming classroom climates and cultivating student motivation. Participants will gain:
- Structured support to (re)design a course for maximum learning
- Individual assistance and feedback on their course design, including learning goals; assignment and exam design; effective use of class time; class activities; active-learning strategies, etc.
- Expertise in learner-centered teaching and backward design
- Strategies for motivating students
- Collegial community and peer feedback
You can sign up to attend through the link above. If you have questions about attending the seminar, please email us at pro-teaching@FSU.edu. We look forward to working with you!