I hope this finds you well, that you’re finding ways to enjoy your work with students, and that you’re also finding some way to enjoy the nice autumn weather.
My apologies ahead of time for the length of this e-mail. My hope is to shift to a once-a-month format, which of course means more accumulated resources collected in each e-mail. To help you sift through the materials, I’m including a table of contents. As always, if you have items or ideas you think might be useful for your colleagues in the future, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Thanks, as always, for your endless efforts to ensure a powerful educational experience for our students.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) A reminder about the new CARPE website
2) Upcoming virtual events, the “on campus” version
3) Upcoming virtual events, the off-campus version
4) Three resources on strengthening community and equity in virtual settings
5) Useful digital whiteboards for realtime collaboration
6) Alternatives to traditional exams
7) Jigsaw listening–one way to make the virtual classroom more engaging
Remembering the big picture
8) “Why We Build.” An essay by mathematician Robert Talbert on how we do what we do in the current chaos–and on what makes it all meaningful.
The new CARPE website is still under construction, but nonetheless contains dozens of resources for faculty and staff, including whole sections dedicated to inclusive and anti-racist pedagogies, and to instruction in a virtual setting.There’s also a section that contains many of the resources students might need as they dive more deeply into the semester. Feel free to pass this information along to your classes.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Activism and Black Life series. The coming weeks bring labs on Kendrick Lamar and the film “Night Catches Us,” as well as a conversation on Race and Policing with Simon Balto and Brandon Hasbrouck.In addition, CARPE, Academic Technologies, Africana Studies and the Office of Inclusion and Engagement are co-sponsoring a series of workshops on decolonizing our syllabi and engaging anti-racist approaches more broadly in our courses. The first event will be on Tuesday, 13 October, from 12:30-1:30. and will be led by Dr. Chanelle Wilson, of Bryn Mawr. For more information, go to go.wlu.edu/pedagogy
LACOL, the Liberal Arts Collaborative, is sponsoring a series of multi-campus, student-led brownbag discussions on trauma-informed anti-racist teaching in hybrid and virtual environments. The sessions occur on most Fridays from noon until 1:00. Feel free to check these out!
Second, from OneHE, resources that are thoughtful, practical, and easily implemented to create better community and learning in any classroom.Third, from Top Hat, five tips for creating a stronger learning community. Warning: some of these may challenge your sense of what it means to be a professor engagine with students!
Every once in a while, I’ll start hearing about a pedagogical tool in conversations with multiple colleagues from different disciplines. AWW App is one of those tools. In the course of a week, several people talked about how it allowed their students to collaborate in virtual settings, share that work with others, and save and archive their thinking over time. There are, of coure, other tools that do this, but this whiteboard app seems to allow flexibility that some of the other tools might not. If you’re looking for better ways to have students collaborate in breakout rooms, give this a look.
Given that chaos of the times and the anxiety and stress that are students are feeling, is there a less-high-stakes way than exams to get a clear sense of how much they are or aren’t learning in our classes? The teaching and learning experts at the Chronicle asked faculty from around the country for their most successful alternatives. Go here for a look at some interesting ideas.
Still feel like you’re not getting the engagement and energy that you’d like out of students in your virutal classes? Well, here’s one idea. It may seem complicated at first, but there’s actually a logic to it, so be patient, read the whole article, and give it a try!
Remembering the big picture
Robert Talbert is smart, innovative, and brutally honest about what it takes to teach in powerful and lasting ways. If you want to take a deep breath and think about the big picture give this piece a read. It’s a good reminder admist all the uncertainty and pivoting of why we do what we do.