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! 

Dustin Bakkie 
FDEV Faculty Fellow
Lecturer, Kinesiology


  • 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:
  • 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!


Dustin Bakkie
FDEV Faculty Fellow
Lecturer, Kinesiology

Student Engagement Challenge

The FDEV team is excited to announce the launch of a 4-week student engagement challenge

Beginning this week, and continuing up to Spring Break, we will be issuing a small weekly challenge that you can do in your next class to help improve connection and engagement with your students. Each challenge will take just a few minutes to prepare for and about five minutes of class time to implement. Don’t feel locked into our instructions or time frames. Making each task your own will only improve your results. We will also give you a short explanation of why this strategy enhances engagement. 

In the next three weeks, keep an eye out for the Tuesday Tip to access the easy-to-implement task or activity for each week. FDEV Faculty Fellow Dustin Bakkie, from the Kinesiology Department, is going to be our guide and facilitator throughout this challenge. 
We will wrap this all up in Episode 4 of the Rise, Teach, Learn Podcast (released on March 25th) and in a Friday Forum on March 26th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. so, stay tuned!

We are going to ask you to step out of your comfort zone a little bit. There will need to be some vulnerability on your part. Engagement is a two-way street. You will have your colleagues and the FDEV team with you the whole way to support you.

So are you in? Are you ready? 

Let’s just dive into Week 1 – The 3 Pillars of Engagement.

This week, we’re going to have you try the subtle Power of Names challenge in your class. It’s SUPER SIMPLE and involves building the personal foundation needed for high-quality engagement.

Framework: In 2014 the Gallup-Purdue Index Report surveyed 32,000 college-level students determined 3 Pillars of Engagement were necessary to foster a sense of engagement and wellbeing. 

·         Pillar 1 – Instructors need to care about students as people first * Most Important

·         Pillar 2 – Instructors need to make students excited about learning

·         Pillar 3 – Instructors need to encourage students to pursue their goals.

Challenge 1: Pillar 1 – The Power of Name

Synchronous Class: Use student’s names as often and granularly as possible. “Great question Tom”, “Good morning Halima”. 

·         Being as intentional as possible about acknowledging students and USING THEIR NAMES. You might be like, “DUH”, but I mean REALLY GRANULAR. Every student who says “hi” in the chat gets named, and I say good morning. Research shows that better social presence from instructors improves student learning and satisfaction. We can do that by using names more often and expressing gratitude. (Ladyshewsky, Richard K. (2013) “Instructor Presence in Online Courses and Student Satisfaction,” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 7: No. 1, Article 13. Available at:

Asynchronous Class: You can use students’ names in feedback. If you are leaving video or audio feedback in the Blackboard or Turnitin Suite be sure to use their name. If you are responding to discussion posts or emails include their name. 

That’s it, you’ve now taken the first step to improve engagement in your course! Engagement comes with connections and using someone’s name is a powerful way to do that!

We look forward to hearing your experiences in the classroom, so let us know how it goes!

Dustin Bakkie
FDEV Faculty Fellow
Lecturer, Department of Kinesiology

Anti-Racist Approaches to Language and Literacy Education

How do we honor, validate, and sustain language identities? How do we decenter whiteness in our classrooms? As educators, how can we expand what counts as literacies and whose literacies count?  If you are interested in anti-racist approaches to language and literacy education, please consider joining the next Book in Common event tomorrow, February 10, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.: The Every Day Work of (Re) Claiming our Languages. The webinar features Dr. April Baker-Bell an Associate Professor in the Departments of African American and African Studies and English at Michigan State University, and author of Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy (2020). Dr. Baker-Bell will be in conversation with Chico State’s Dr. Sara Trechter, Professor of English, who studies the Lakhota, as well as language revitalization with the Nu’eta, and Dr. Aydé Enríquez-Loya, Associate Professor of English, who studies cultural rhetorics and femicides of Mexican/Mestiza women on the US/Mexican border. Together, they will discuss the contention of language, the violence of language, and the work needed for language recovery, reclamations, and celebration of language and language identities. Hosted by Dr. Kim Jaxon and co-sponsored by the Book in Common and the Northern California Writing Project.

Register for Zoom link here:

We encourage you to explore these resources:

  • Book trailer for Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy 

Open Access (Friday Forum)

Do you have questions about Open Access and how it impacts your scholarly work and publication?

Open Access encompasses a variety of issues but includes literature that is digital, free for users, and that offers authors a variety of licensing options. The relatively new process of publishing in Open Access venues raises questions, however, regarding the process, authors’ rights, and the implications of Open Access publishing for the RTP process.

The film Paywall: The Business of Scholarship highlights some of the pressing issues driving the Open Access movement. 

In March of 2019 the Academic Senate of the California State University passed a Resolution in Support of Faculty Publication Rights with a Green Open Access Policy for the California State University but what does that mean to the academic community at Chico State?

Please join us in a discussion about the status of Open Access on Friday, February 12th (11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., via Zoom). Chico State librarians will discuss research and resources at CSU, Chico. 

We seek to learn about your interests and concerns regarding Open Access publication and want to hear from individuals across campus to engage in a learning community about this topic. This Friday Forum is designed to share information about the process and policies in place, while understanding how we might best direct efforts to support Open Access publication on campus. We hope you will share your experiences and insights.

A few things we will cover in this forum:

  • Explore what Open Access means for our academic community.
  • The Elsevier APC Waiver Agreement with the CSU system, and how you can take advantage of an opportunity to expand access and visibility to your published articles for no additional fees. 
  • Details of Chico’s Open Access Institutional Repository, ScholarWorks.
  • Resources from the library to aid additional exploration.
  • Feedback and stories from you on Open Access relating to your scholarship and discipline.

Our desired outcomes include:

  •         Invite a conversation with OA leaders on campus – listening session
  •          Learn about OA needs for campus
  •          Determine future needs around OA on this campus
  •          Let folks share their existing efforts around campus on OA     

Have questions? Feel free to contact us!

Chrissy Hursh

George Thompson

Pam Kruger

William Cuthbertson

Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion

This Tuesday Tip is brought to you by Travon Robinson, Acting Chief Diversity Officer.

When you talk with many of our Black students on campus, words that are often associated with their college experience include microaggressions, culture shock, the lack of Black student and faculty representation, being targeted by police, learning from a Eurocentric teaching style, minimal cultural resources, and an unwelcoming community. As educators and administrators, are we doing what is necessary to adapt our processes to support the academic success of our growing diverse populations?

According to “Critical Race Theory, Racial Microaggressions, and Campus Racial Climate: The Experiences of African American College Students,” “campus racial climate is broadly defined as the overall racial environment of the college campus. Understanding and analyzing the collegiate racial climate is an important part of examining college access, persistence, graduation, and transfer to and through graduate and professional school for African American students.”

If you want to learn more about how we can better support our Black students, you are invited to attend our upcoming Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion, “What does it mean to #AdultWhileBlack and what does this look like on a historically white college campus?” Join us February 3, Noon – 12:50 p.m. (Zoom Link) for an engaging dialogue with Sara Kutten, Ed.D., (University of Oregon, Director of Student Services) about racial identity and campus climate. Together, we’ll look at new research findings and identify avenues to better support the success of Black college students. 

Some News from FDEV!

My last Tuesday Tip on December 15th included a teaser about some news brewing in Faculty Development. I am excited to share them with you today as you prepare to come back tomorrow to start the Spring semester. 

New FDEV website design 

First of all, we made a few changes to the main FDEV page and we restructured the way you can access our offerings by identifying four major areas: Programs, Workshops, Tools, and Resources. Under each main title you find the list of the specific resources included in each page. You can access those pages by clicking on the corresponding photographs. We also added some icons that will take you directly to a some interesting new resources (and I will speak more about these below). 

New FDEV Faculty Fellows 

Dr. Jamie Linn Gunderson was selected as the FDEV Faculty Fellow for Spring 2021. Jamie will work with three other faculty fellows, Paul Bailey, Dustin Bakkie, and Dr. Chris Crews, to produce content for the FDEV website. I am excited to be working with this group of faculty and to increase what FDEV can offer. 

New FDEV Resources 

FDEV is excited to launch an FDEV Podcast and FDEV Zine (these pages are currently under construction, but save these links for the future). The FDEV Podcast will be hosted by Dr. Jamie Linn Gunderson and will be released twice a month, on the first and third Thursdays, starting February 4th. The FDEV Zine will be released on the first Monday of each month, starting on February 1st. The Zine was designed with the hope to attract some artistic work from faculty, students and staff. I will reach out to specific departments to see if we can establish some collaborations, or you can reach out to me directly ( These new resources allow us to have an official FDEV Week now, since every day we are excited to be offering faculty some resource or opportunity for development: 

The FDEV Week: 

Monday: FDEV Zine (first Monday of each month) 

Tuesday: Tuesday Tip (every Tuesday) 

Wednesday: GO Virtual Community (every Wednesday 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in Zoom

Thursday: FDEV Podcast (every first and third Thursday of the month) 

Friday: Friday Forums (twice a month) 

New FDEV Tools 

FDEV is also excited to launch two new tools that we hope will provide valuable help to faculty. We created a Model Course Design database that allows searching concrete examples of course design. If you click on the blue icons you will be able to access individual course portfolios created by Chico State faculty. Similarly, we created a page to search for Teaching Guides that offer tips in a variety of areas of instruction. Modeling Universal Design for Learning (UDL), we made the teaching guides brief, clear, easily accessible and applicable, and we organized the resources in four areas (explore, listen, watch, and read), offering additional information in various formats (websites, podcasts, videos, and articles). More instructions on how to access these tools are available on the respective pages. 

New Teaching Climate Change & Resilience Series 

In collaboration with the Campus Sustainability Curriculum Subcommittee, FDEV is happy to offer a new Teaching Climate Change & Resilience Series. The campus community will also have access to a number of books on climate change and resilience that are available on the series’ page. I want to take this opportunity to also promote our Teaching Racial & Social Justice Series. The next workshop, “Data displays and interpretation: linking the practices of our fields to social justice issue” (led by Dr. M.E. Matthews), will be held on Tuesday, February 2nd, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The schedule for the other spring workshops will be finalized next week. 

Upcoming Events 

Lastly, I want to promote a couple of events happening this and next week. Tomorrow we will have a chance to come together as a community for the third Tipping Point Summit. The focus this year is on Virtual Realities, and I hope that everyone will join us to learn about our virtual experiences and share your own. Next week (Friday, January 29th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) FDEV will organize a Friday Forum on How to Showcase Evidence of Teaching Excellence. Faculty will discuss their experience in class evaluations (both synchronous and asynchronous) and will share how to showcase evidence of teaching excellence in the RTP dossier. 

We hope that you will find these resources useful and we encourage you to reach out to FDEV for any questions you might have. 

We wish you a wonderful start of the Spring semester! 

Thank You!

Early this morning as I was looking through my Facebook memories, a message popped up from 2016. It was a card from a graduating student, who wrote “I am grateful for the ways you invested in me. I felt known by you, which was a great gift to this nervous transfer student.” I have no desire to focus this Tuesday Tip on myself, but this card was a powerful reminder of how many students see faculty: as someone that is willing to invest in them. This idea really moved me because I feel that sometimes we do not realize how important we are for the development of our students’ self-esteem and growth beyond their academic life. 

This message is actually not meant as a tip today, but as a thank you to all faculty who have spent endless hours recording lectures, redesigning their courses, finding creative ways to engage students, experimenting with new technology, dedicating additional time to hold extra office hours, going above and beyond to modify instruction to ensure that learning would not be fully disrupted. Now, let me be clear: learning was disrupted, and I don’t believe we should act like it wasn’t. What has not changed, though, is the fact that our students still look at us hoping that we will invest in them.  And my gratitude goes out to all of you who have invested in your students, despite the pedagogical difficulties, the increased workload, the personal struggles, and, last but not least, the technological hiccups.

The Office of Faculty Development is committed to offering programs, learning communities, workshops, and resources to make faculty’s life a bit easier. I am very aware of the fact that faculty’s life has not been easy this semester, and I do hope that all of you will take some time for yourselves because you certainly deserve it and, even more certainly, you need it. For next semester FDEV has some interesting surprises in store for you, so stay tuned for our news as we transition into the Spring semester… 

Lastly, I want to share my appreciation and gratitude for everything that the Technology and Learning Program has done to support faculty in collaboration with FDEV. This has been a wonderful partnership that continues to grow, and we are excited to think creatively about additional ways in which we can help you. 

Have a wonderful break and get some much-deserved rest!   

Reflection on Learning

I sometimes still think about my comprehensive exams for both my M.A. and Ph.D., and as ridiculous as it sounds, I remember that experience to be very fulfilling. What makes me remember it fondly is certainly NOT the stress that was associated with it, but the chance I had to reflect upon my learning: simply put, I had not realized until that moment how much I had learned and how much I had grown intellectually.

Ideally, “dead week” should have the same effect on our students, and we should offer them time and opportunities to reflect on their learning. A 2017 Orion article reports how this is not always the case, however, and how “dead week at Chico State is one of the most stressful times” especially if new content and assignments are added to the class this late in the semester. 

This academic article offers evidence of the benefits of reflection as a form of experiential learning while providing useful background information and a literature review on the topic.

This resource from Purdue University is a reminder of the purpose and importance of reflection in writing classes and offers practical ideas about reflection activities. More resources and ideas can also be found inThree Ideas for Implementing Learner Reflection.

As we wind down towards the end of one of the most challenging semesters we all have experienced, I encourage everyone to dedicate this time for pause and reflection, and in so doing, help students realize how much they have grown and learned.

Podcasting for Teaching & Learning

As a film scholar in love with Orson Welles, I remember the first time I listened to the controversial 1938 War of the Worlds: I was fascinated by both the concept (a Halloween prank that turned into mass hysteria) and the content (the narrative of aliens attacking Earth). And of course, by Orson Welles’ incredible voice (seriously, just listen to it if you haven’t yet).  

Since then, radio technology has evolved significantly, and now we all have our favorite podcasts saved on our phones. But a core element has not changed: good storytelling. And I’ve always loved to think about teaching as a form of storytelling. Podcasts have been used very successfully for both teaching and learning, at various educational levels. As one podcaster reminds us, “students listen for longer than they’ll watch or read,” podcasts are easily accessible, and promote better learning for students with mental and visual disabilities. EdTech offers some recommendations about Higher Ed podcasts, this article even discusses the benefits of podcasts for faculty development, and this podcast offers great pedagogical resources for instructors.  

If you want to learn more about podcasting for teaching and learning, the Office of Faculty Development will hold a Friday Forum on December 4th via Zoom, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  

A panel of faculty will share their experience with podcasts, discuss tips and best practices, and offer ideas on how you could use podcasts in your own classes.  

Lastly, I want to remind everyone about the call for applications for FDEV Spring 2021 programs, see below: 

Closing the Equity Gaps Faculty Learning Community 

Digital Pedagogy Faculty Learning Community 

Faculty Writing Community 

Quality Learning and Teaching Workshops 

All calls for applications will close on Monday, December 7th, at 5:00 p.m. You can also find a list of all open calls in the FDEV Programs page

We look forward to receiving your applications and being able to offer you continued support!