Tuesday Tip (Or Lack Thereof)

Dear faculty, 

Rebecca Nelson, the FDEV administrative support coordinator, sent me a nice reminder about the Tuesday Tip today and I panicked: blank, zip, nada. I got nothing! 

The Tuesday Tip snuck up on me, coming out of nowhere: I had not thought of a topic, let alone was ready to write about a topic. The past week has been focused on ChicoFlex, QLT, the Zine, welcoming two new student assistants (we can’t wait for you to meet them!), planning for summer training, and well… the Tuesday Tip surprised me.  

I always feel I can juggle anything, no matter how much work it is, but the Tuesday Tip fiasco was a reminder that, in fact, I can’t. 

And then I realized that this episode was actually worth writing as a tip: I feel your pain, I feel how overwhelmed you are, I know you feel that this semester needs to end because there is not much energy left. The cup is not “runneth over”: it’s running empty.  

I also know that you are tired of being offered professional development opportunities when all you need is a nap! 

So, my tips for you this week are as follows: 

  1. Take a break from grading, seriously. A short break can do wonders for refocusing our mind. I know you have endless grading. But make sure you take some breaks. 
  2. Go outside. Enjoy the sun and the weather (I know, it’s hot, there is pollen, but still, leave the office for a bit). 
  3. Do not feel guilty about saying “No.”  
  4. Do not feel vulnerable about needing help, and reach out for that help. 
  5. Enjoy lovely food and indulge in some treats. 
  6. Take care of your body, in the way your body needs it (for some people this means working out, for others being outdoors, for others maybe just relaxing). Listen to what your body needs. 
  7. Focus on something that does not involve a screen or a computer. 
  8. Have a chat with a friend, and even better, share some laughs too. 
  9. Register(opens in new window) for Angela Davis’ talk (yes, this is nourishment!) 

Faculty Development has a million resources for you, and we are always available to help and provide support. But for today, our only tip is to take good care of yourselves. 

Chiara Ferrari, Ph.D. 
Faculty Development, Director 
Campus zip: 026 
Phone: 530-898-3094 
https://www.csuchico.edu/fdev/ 
Professor 
Department of Media Arts, Design, and Technology 
Campus zip: 504 
Phone: 530-898-4647 

The ChicoFlex Pilot

Dear faculty,

I want to take this opportunity to share some information about the ChicoFlex pilot that started in early April and invite you to this week’s Friday Forum for a chance to hear from the faculty who are participating in the pilot. Danielle Hidalgo (Sociology), Jaime Raigoza (Computer Science), Kevin Kimbell (Finance and Marketing), Nicholas Nelson (Physics), and Scott Brady (Geography and Planning) have been teaching in classrooms equipped with hyflex technology for the last couple of weeks, and have experimented with different pedagogical practices.

Faculty Development has been working closely with Classroom Technology Services and the Technology & Learning Program to learn the ins and outs of hyflex technology, class management, and general pedagogical needs for hybrid courses that will adopt the ChicoFlex Model. The ChicoFlex Team (Brent Liotta Chiara Ferrari, Kathy Fernandes, Marjorie Shepard, and Mike Magrey) has attended these classes in a variety of capacities: acting as students in person, participating as students online, and providing some tech support.

We are incredibly grateful to the faculty who are participating in the pilot, and I think I speak for our whole team when I say that we are learning so much about the possibilities, as well as the challenges of this mode of instruction. This Friday Forum will give us an opportunity to share what we have learned so far: we encourage everyone to join us for a chance to ask questions about ChicoFlex and hear about Summer training opportunities!

ChicoFlex Pilot Friday Forum

(Friday, April 30th, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., via Zoom)

The ChicoFlex Spring Pilot Team

Interactive Journals & Digital Toolkits

Sent on behalf of Dr. Jamie Gunderson

Get excited, educators! FDEV has a new, creative idea on how to further increase engagement AND experiential learning: interactive journals and digital toolkits! Interactive journals are gaining popularity in the digital learning environments as well as research and are easily accessible for learners and educators alike! See an example of an interactive journal! Digital toolkits serve as a repository for learners (and educators) to organize resources that can support learners beyond the classroom.
Interested? Join us to learn more about creating your own interactive journal and toolkit at our GoVirtual Community meeting tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom.

Student Participation Yay or Nay?

Dear faculty, 

Yesterday I ran into an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, about the problematic nature of grading class participation. In Should We Stop Grading Class Participation?, James M. Lang discusses how grading participation is often very subjective – and therefore inevitably biased – and shares that: “when we drill down to the particulars, this grading practice raises some hard questions that usually are left unanswered: Are all comments equal? What counts as a comment worthy of a good grade? How am I tracking the quality of the comments, as opposed to the sheer quantity?” 

What Lang suggests is not to eliminate opportunities for students to engage (with both the material, with each other, and the instructor), but to reconsider what that engagement looks like and what different forms can take. This topic was the focus of one of the Go Virtual Community meetings we had in the Fall, and I created a brief presentation about Evaluating Participation. These slides offer information about benefits, challenges, and methods for assessing participation, but also resources that invite to reconsider the role of participation as a graded portion of the course, including links to rubrics that can help evaluate participation and engagement in more holistic, equitable, and meaningful ways. 

I hope you will find these resources both useful and challenging! 

UPCOMING EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES 
TODAY! Teaching Racial and Social Justice Series (3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.) 
Friday Forum: How to Approach Service Strategically (April 16, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
CAL$ Summer Program Application (Due April 19th)
QLT WorkshopsREGISTER HERE.

 Submit ideas for activities in zoom discussions and breakout rooms HERE

Chiara Ferrari, Ph.D. 
Faculty Development, Director 
Campus zip: 026 
Phone: 530-898-3094
https://www.csuchico.edu/fdev/
Professor 
Department of Media Arts, Design, and Technology 
Campus zip: 504 
Phone: 530-898-4647 

Zoom Discussion, Breakout Rooms, and Engagement

Dear faculty, 

I know that by now I probably sound like a broken record, but FDEV is really interested in focusing on student engagement this semester. 

I have heard many concerned faculty sharing their experience about how “this semester is just different” and how students are really struggling and dropping out or simply not showing up. 

This is a concern that we have tried to address with the student engagement challenge and today I want to share one of our Teaching Guides about Zoom breakout rooms

The teaching guide includes some practical tips for application in the classroom, but also a number of tutorials and resources you can explore. 

We want to take our effort a step further though, and for this reason, I am asking all faculty to consider contributing to the creation of a database of Zoom discussions, assignments, and activities that you used in your classes and had a positive impact on the students. It is my hope that this list of resources can offer faculty some practical ideas of how to manage zoom discussions and breakout rooms. I know we have some amazing talent among our faculty, so I encourage you to fill out this brief google form and share your successful experience with online student engagement. 

Thank you for your contributions! 

And… a reminder to join us tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. for our weekly Go Virtual Community meeting (Zoom link). We will discuss ideas and experiences with flipped classes! 

Chiara Ferrari, Ph.D. 
Faculty Development, Director
Campus zip: 026
Phone: 530-898-3094
https://www.csuchico.edu/fdev/
Professor
Department of Media Arts, Design, and Technology 
Campus zip: 504
Phone: 530-898-4647

Teaching & Storytelling

Dear faculty, 

In high school, I had the pleasure to learn from a teacher of ancient Greek and Latin who was as strict and terrifying as he was intellectually stimulating, challenging, and incredibly dedicated to those disciplines. What I remember most about him was his endless love for the Classics and his ability to get students engaged through his storytelling skills (and Greek and Latin literature certainly offered many opportunities for fascinating stories). 

As I became an instructor, I’ve always looked at storytelling as one of the most engaging pedagogical practices to use in the classroom, and a technique that can help students relate to the material more strongly and directly. Storytelling: Bringing the power of stories to your teaching provides some information about the benefits of using storytelling in instruction, while also offering some tips on storytelling techniques. Our University has unlimited access to Learning Through Storytelling in Higher Education: Using Reflection and Experience to Improve Learning, and lastly, “Reflections on operationalizing an anti-racism pedagogy: teaching as regional storytelling” (2019) offers insights into using storytelling as a fundamental tool in anti-racist pedagogy. 

In relation to this topic, I am excited to promote our next FDEV Zine (to be released on Monday, April 5th), which will focus on teaching as a form of storytelling. I hope you will explore the resources above and you will enjoy our next Zine! 

Chiara Ferrari, Ph.D. 
Faculty Development, Director 
Campus zip: 026 
Phone: 530-898-3094 
https://www.csuchico.edu/fdev/ 
Professor 
Department of Media Arts, Design, and Technology
Campus zip: 504 
Phone: 530-898-4647

FDEV Teaching Guides

Dear faculty,

I truly hope you had a chance to breathe and re-energize during Spring Break and dedicate some time to yourselves!

I want to use this Tuesday Tip to give you an update about and encourage you to explore our Teaching Guides page, because it has grown significantly since I originally introduced it in January.

The creation of this page was inspired by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching, which offers a series of Guides grouped into 5 different areas: Principles & Frameworks, Pedagogies & Strategies, Reflecting & Assessing, Challenges & Opportunities, and Populations & Contexts. I invite you to explore their website as they offer a variety of important resources.

Our Teaching Guides are grouped into 5 different areas: Assessment, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, Instructional Planning (in progress), Pedagogy, and Technology & Accessibility. One useful tool in the page is a search bar that allows you to narrow down your search and focus on topics that are more directly related to your needs, as opposed to having to browse through all teaching guides.

Thanks to our FDEV faculty fellows (Jamie Gunderson, Chris Crews, Dustin Bakkie, and Paul Bailey) we now have 20 teaching guides available, and we expect to have at least 50 by the end of the Spring semester. The teaching guides are built around principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), so each of them offers information about research on the topic, ideas for practical application in the classroom, and a series of resources that you can explore (websites), listen to (podcasts), watch (videos), or read (more articles on the topic).

And if ULD is your bread and butter, I want to encourage you to attend tomorrow’s Go Virtual Community meeting (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., via Zoom) because Jamie Gunderson will share her expertise and passion about UDL.

The FDEV faculty fellows and I really hope that you will find these teaching guides useful and we invite you to reach out to FDEV if you want to contribute to our repository.

Chiara Ferrari, Ph.D.
Faculty Development, Director
Campus zip: 026
Phone: 530-898-3094
www.csuchico.edu/fdev
Professor
Department of Media Arts, Design, and Technology
Campus zip: 504
Phone: 530-898-4647

Student Engagement Challenge 4

Dear Faculty,

Wow. Can you believe it is the final week of the Student Engagement Challenge – and Spring Break is next week!? Kudos to you for all the care and compassion you show in serving your students. I hope you can find some time to serve yourself and get some rest over this break. 

The third and final pillar for building a strong foundation for student engagement is all about encouraging students to pursue their goals. One of my favorite encouragement quotes comes from John Maxwell. He says, “You should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. And everyone who receives it – young or old, successful or less-than-successful, unknown or famous is changed by it.” Inspired by this quote, I have an engagement challenge assignment AND A BONUS template you can use for an essential practice you should be trying in your classes around now. 

Challenge 4: Pillar 3 – Applying Content to Student Goals – Time: 5-10 min to assign

As an activity, this challenge works well for asynchronous and synchronous classes – this one is a great discussion board or live discussion topic. 

  • Prompt: Challenge students to take something they have learned in your class and discuss how it applies to their future career goals. 

This prompt gets students to think about what they have learned and find relevance to their future goals. It can also help them identify transferable skills and see value in the content they might not have before. Having the opportunity to discuss with peers gives them the chance to encourage each other and see your course content through different lenses. 

Now as a BONUS, I have YOUR HARDEST CHALLENGE YET!  

BONUS Challenge: Feedback – Course Feedback Survey – send THIS SURVEY to your students. (Be sure to edit it to the specifics of your class before you send it)

Asynchronous Version – You will need to edit the first couple of questions about meetings, but otherwise, the survey will work just fine for you.

Introduce it by saying something like this: “I am sharing a course feedback survey with you, and I would appreciate it so much if you were to take a few minutes and fill it out earnestly. I work hard to make this course as great as possible. Your input helps more than almost anything else. The survey is anonymous, and I will read every entry. I ask that you are honest but also constructive. Statements like “You’re the WORST TEACHER EVER!!” tell me nothing. WHY am I the worst teacher ever? THAT helps me improve. Be sure to highlight positive and negative aspects of the course.”  – I like adding a dramatic statement like that. It cuts the tension and gets a few laughs. If it’s not your thing, go ahead and cut it. 

Knowing what is working and isn’t working in your class is CRITICAL to running a successful and engaging course. An ANONYMOUS course feedback survey can:

  • Allow students to voice opinions
  • Let them feel they influence the course – especially if they see you implement their feedback.
  • Highlight the useful parts of your course, alongside the ones that aren’t working.
  • Take a bit of work off your shoulders in discovering how to improve your course. Students are smart! They want to enjoy the class and succeed, and they will have great ideas on how to make that happen.
  • Facilitate a better understanding of students. Students will often share personal information that they may not otherwise. 

I want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for being a part of this challenge. You worked hard to increase engagement in your classes, and you should feel exceptionally proud of that. 

Stay tuned to the FDEV Podcast on March 25th, where Dr. Jamie Gunderson and the FDEV faculty fellows will recap and reflect on the challenge. If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for the Friday Forum discussion of this engagement challenge on March 26th (10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.).

A Final Cheers,

Dustin Bakkie
FDEV Fellow
Kinesiology Lecturer

Student Engagement Challenge 3

Hello Chico Faculty! (hey, it’s still Tuesday, right??)

I am so excited for Week 3 of the Student Engagement Challenge, as it has one of my favorite assignments that will work in ANY class. 

This week, we will focus on getting students excited about your material. We are going to help you create an easy assignment to implement that allows students to explore their connections with your content and your discipline.

The next Pillar of Engagement is Getting your students excited about learning. This one can be tricky, especially if you teach a required course that everyone has to take.

So, how do we get students excited about our content? First of all, the energy and excitement you bring to class and your content influence how your students feel about it. While this plays a huge role, a personal connection to the content DRIVES engagement. 

Challenge 3: Pillar 2 – Personal Course Connection – Time: 5-10 minutes to assign – As an assignment, this works synchronously or asynchronously. 

This week’s assignment is inspired by ideas in Flower Darby’s Small Teaching Online book, with just a slight twist. You can check her book out by clicking the link below – it’s an excellent read for anyone wanting to make their online teaching more impactful. 

Access a digital version of Small Teaching Online, by Flower Darby. Chiara worked hard to get everyone access to it. Be sure to say thanks!

Ask your students to do one of the three following tasks:

  • Find Two Current Resources – Students find and post two current resources related to the recent course content or topics. These can be online news posts, blogs, podcasts, youtube videos, Tik-Tok, infographics, etc., as long as they are related to your class and informative. 
  • Find an Expert – Students find a leader in their chosen career path and reach out to them for a chat or curate a portfolio of the leader’s work they would like to learn from. 
  • Develop a Personal Learning Network – Students follow, subscribe, or connect to 3 individuals they can learn from and ask at least one content-related question they have. 

I have a ready-to-use Assignment Template for you to use (It’s a google doc).

Take it up a notch: Have a google doc ready to go (or use Zoom Chat) at the start of class and ask students to share their resources, who their expert was, or someone in their learning network with a sentence or two about its relevance to the course and why they chose it. 

Just like that, you’ve helped students draw connections between course content and their interests. You have also given them avenues to pursue the content on their own and supporting them in chasing down their goals. That sounds a lot like Pillar 3… TWO FOR ONE BONUS!

This is one of my favorite assignments. Allowing student autonomy to navigate their interests surrounding your topics is always a hit! 

Cheers,
Dustin Bakkie 
FDEV Faculty Fellow
Lecturer, Kinesiology

EVENTS AND RESOURCES

  • Join the Go Virtual Community meetings (every Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in Zoom)

Student Engagement Challenge 2

Welcome back to Week 2 of the 4-week FDEV Student Engagement Challenge!

So, how did the first challenge go? Did using names more granularly feel a bit weird or out of your comfort zone? If so, good. Keep doing it! It will feel more natural, and your students will feel connected, which leads to engagement.

This week we are doubling-down on that first pillar of engagement – because it is just that important. Below you will find two planned activities designed to help you and your students connect even more. 

We encourage you to choose one to implement this week and see how it goes. Take 5-10 minutes to plan these out to ensure they go well. However, we need to encourage students to engage by letting them do it safely. This means no points attached and anonymity. 

Challenge 2: Pillar 1 (care about students as people)

OPTION 1 – The Two Word Check-In 

Synchronous – Ask your students: “I would like everyone to describe how they are feeling today in just two words.”

  • I encourage this to be an anonymous response and not have any point value attached.
  • Remember, we are playing the long game here. These strategies and tactics may boost engagement a bit at first, but HOW YOU RESPOND is critical to promoting FUTURE engagement. Students see you respond to others with kindness, care, and value, and then they will decide to engage as well. 
  • Students need to know engaging is SAFE and VALUABLE – Your actions prove this.
  • Share your own, too – Be sure the class response is visible to everyone. You can do this by using: 
  • A Poll-Everywhere Word Cloud: https://www.polleverywhere.com/word-cloud
  • Google Doc / Jamboard
  • Your Response: Respond & Empathize – Let students know you hear them, and recognize their feelings. Empathize and encourage or affirm.

Asynchronous: Two Word Check-In & Response Use this Google Slides Template.

  • Create a copy and add enough slides so that each student has their own.
  • Be sure to change the “Share” settings to “Anyone with link can edit”
  • To ensure anonymity, encourage students to log out of Google before they edit
  • Each student will put their two words in the title box
  • Each student will then spend a few minutes anonymously offering encouragement and thoughtful responses to classmates’ two words in the text box on the slide.
  • If you notice any slides not getting responses, give some encouragement there yourself.

Challenge 2: Pillar 1 (care about students as people)

OPTION 2 – The  Entry Ticket 

Works for synchronous or asynchronous classes – Entry Ticket Template

  • Create a copy of the Entry Ticket Google Form above. Edit as you see fit.
  • At the start of class, share the link to the form and ask students to fill it out, letting them know you hope to quickly get a sense of where everyone is today, both personally and academically. 

The key to the entry ticket is to view class results as a whole and discuss them afterward. You can screen share the results as you discuss (just be sure to skip the section where they put their names). 

One of Entry Tickets’ great things is that it allows students to ask CONTENT and ADMINISTRATIVE questions safely. You can devote some time in the class to answer them, as they are directly relevant to the course. I encourage you to try it out more than once.  

Asynchronous Version: Do a weekly check-in ticket. Use the template above, but make some edits to apply to a week rather than asynchronous classes. 

Take it up a notch: Add a specific question you want to ask your students before sharing the form with them. Making it personal to you and what you care about improves authenticity.

I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

Cheers,

Dustin Bakkie
FDEV Faculty Fellow
Lecturer, Kinesiology