Resources for Co-Teaching

The Office of Civic Engagement is excited to announce the launch of a new website on Co-teaching & Community Engagement.  Co-teaching and community engagement afford faculty innovative opportunities for blending content from different fields into a specialized course that provides a unique learning experience for students. In addition, interdisciplinary teaching and community engagement are well-researched and established high impact practices shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds, especially historically underserved students.

One of the outcomes of the Provost’s Special Initiative on Co-teaching & Community Engagement last spring was a new website for faculty to connect, learn, and try out interdisciplinary teaching and to add a civic engagement component to their courses. The site includes examples of co-teaching here at Chico State, how to find the resources you need, current research related to co-teaching models, and FAQs about the process.

Trigger Warnings in College

The “trigger warning” below is a quote from Jonathan Rauch, a first amendment scholar and best-selling author who spoke at Chico State in 2016 (video here). He advocates for free speech and recommends that every university add this statement to their course catalog, website, and publicity materials…

 “Warning: Although this university values and encourages civil expression and respectful political behavior, you may at any moment without notice, encounter ideas, expressions, and images that are mis-taken, upsetting, dangerous, prejudice, insulting, or deeply offensive. We call this “Education.”

Do you think Chico State should include a trigger warning in our catalog?

Would you include a trigger warning on your syllabus?

Do trigger warnings threaten your academic freedom or ensure it?

Think About Thinking

Ever know someone who was a really bad driver but thought they were especially good? Their perceived competence was high but actual performance was low. This could be a result of poor metacognitive skills (i.e. awareness of one’s own thought processes) as discussed in this Tedx Talk. The same concept holds true for some students in the classroom. Those who feel confident about their understanding, but do poorly on exams, may lack awareness of their own true knowledge or skill. That inability to accurately judge their own competence can affect how much they study. Students with poor metacognition will often shorten their study time prematurely, thinking they have mastered course material when, in fact, their learning may actually be fragmented or inaccurate. As we prepare students for lifelong learning by developing their critical thinking, creative thinking, and interdisciplinary thinking, we should also weave metacognitive thinking throughout our curricula. Below are eight ways to integrate metacognition in your courses.

  • Use formative assessments throughout the semester (i.e. short, low-stakes assessments). Clickers are a great way to accomplish this and TLP can help you get set up.
  • Implement Exam Wrappers.
  • Use the active learning strategy “think-pair-share” so students can reflect on their own learning before sharing in a group.
  • Have students create a practice exam and then answer their questions as a homework assignment. Then, ask them for a judgement of their confidence in their understanding of the material.
  • Ask students to reflect on the strategies they’ve used in the past to learn. Were they effective? Could they be improved?
  • Assign a 60-second in-class writing where students reflect on a prompt about their learning from the homework.
  • Assign students to generate two questions from the assigned reading and think about them throughout class.
  • And perhaps most importantly, role-model your own metacognitive practices


Drop by Events in October

Event Invitation #1

What: Rose Garden Room open house – check out the quiet faculty space for writing, grading, reading, and relaxing. Stop by and enjoy popcorn, snacks, coffee, prizes, juice shots, and other fun activities (see attached flier) sponsored by FDEV and Meriam Library.

When: Wednesday, October 10th – drop in any time between 8am-5pm

Where: MLIB 459

Visit: for more information

Event Invitation #2

What: Viewing party for the livestreamed 2018 Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium keynote and afternoon presentations focused on improving degree completion and addressing equity (see below). FDEV will provide coffee, hot tea, and snacks so we can listen and discuss how the presentations relate to our campus. Please click here to let us know if you plan to drop by so we can ensure we have a large enough room.

When: Wednesday, October 17th – stop by any time between 1:30 – 4:30pm. The symposium agenda is here.

Where: SSC 150

No More Cheating with Online Exams

Ever catch a student cheating on your online exam? Studies consistently reveal that over half of college students have cheated at least once. Years ago, a student informed me that his peers were using smartphones to photograph the screen during my online exams and then texting friends who hadn’t taken it yet. I was disappointed but also unsure what to do about it. Chico State now has a solution to address online exam cheating in all its various forms. A remote proctoring service called Proctorio provides the convenience of online exams along with the security of proctored exams. This service, which is free for all Chico State faculty, allows you to:

  • Block internet searching and other applications during the exam.
  • Observe the student and their test environment via camera to ensure they are following your testing rules.
  • Customize the strictness of the rules used to best fit your expectations.

After the online exam, Proctorio provides you feedback on each student including data on browser clicks, eye-movements, and an audio/video recording. You then decide how, if at all, to proceed with the data.

If you’re interested in using Proctorio in Spring ‘19, you must first attend a training. If you’re interested in learning more, please attend a virtual initial information session (via Zoom) on Monday, October 15th at 11am to see an overview of this new technology to see how it can fit your needs. Click here to RSVP if you’re interested.

If you have any questions about the information session or about bringing remote proctoring to your course, contact TLP at 898-6167.

Tell Your Story

In a recent interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that universities fail to adequately communicate with the public about their discoveries, which reduces their educational impact. He noted “there’s a whole culture [in academia] that does not embrace…pop culture. If communicating with the public were valued in the tenure process, [faculty] would be better at it.”

  • Do you agree with Dr. Tyson?
  • Should faculty become better storytellers to inform and inspire the public about their scholarship?
  • Should communication to a lay public audience (e.g. local TV news stories, popular magazine publication, YouTube channel, advocacy website) be rewarded in Chico State’s RTP process?

Neil deGrasse Tyson – Chronicle Interview

Share your comments below.

Understanding What’s in a Name

This week’s tip brought to you by Nathan Heggins Bryant, assistant professor in English and co-coordinator of this year’s Book in Common (BiC).

To create an inclusive and welcoming space for students, faculty must be cautious of word choice in the classroom. In her recent book, Dismantling the Racism Machine, Karen Gaffney discusses issues pertaining to naming and diction. She suggests, “Pay more attention to how you respond to other people’s names.” She references a recent study showing that employers and teachers alike respond more positively to names that sound white than those that sound black.

Making an effort to learn and pronounce students’ names is an important step in creating an environment where students feel welcomed and engaged. But so, too, are our decisions to use damaging terms like “illegal alien” (as opposed to “undocumented person”). The implication of name choice is one of the tenets of this year’s BiC (All They Will Call You). If you are interested in learning more, consider attending one of these upcoming Book in Common events.

  • BiC campus kickoff (September 26 from 11-1 on Glenn Lawn)
  • Public film screening and discussion of the documentary Who is Dayani Cristal?, about the efforts to uncover the identity of a man who died at the border (November 6 at 6:30pm in PAC 134)
  • Panel discussion entitled “The Politics of Migrant Death at the Border,” featuring Chico State colleagues (November 14 from 6-8pm in Colusa 100A)

If you are teaching the BiC in a course, in part or in whole, there are resources available for you to use (reading lists, discussion questions, etc.) or you can contact co-coordinators Nathan Heggins Bryant or Hannah Burdette to assist with curricular planning.

Design Your Course Backwards

The Cheshire Cat told Alice in Wonderland that if she didn’t know where she wanted to go, then it didn’t matter which path to take. Getting somewhere specific requires knowing the destination. This same concept (starting with the end goal in mind) applies to creating or modifying a course. In the book, Understanding by Designthe authors suggest three steps for creating a course using Backwards Design (i.e. designing from back to front – see model below). Note that determining what to actually teach is the final step.

  • Identify the desired results. Determine what students should know and be able to do by the end of the course (i.e. the course objectives). Consider national, institutional, or department standards and clearly define the desired outcomes.
  • Determine acceptable evidence. Determine how you will know when, and to what degree, students achieve these results by using formal and informal assessments (e.g. written work, demonstration, community project, dialogues, exams, etc). With clear results in mind, consider what facts/principles/skills/characteristics students need to demonstrate to you so that you can assess, and then grade, their learning.
  • Plan learning experiences and instruction. Determine what learning experiences will best equip students to achieve the desired results. What will need to be taught, and in what order, throughout the semester? Build materials and gather resources needed to accomplish these goals (e.g. lesson plans, PPT slides, active-learning projects, field trips, labs).

If you want help designing courses (face-to-face, online, or hybrid), the Technology & Learning Program has instructional design consultants available to assist you. Click here to request a consultation.

Listen to a Voicemail from Your E-mail

It is now possible to receive voicemail in your e-mail inbox. Chico State just launched a new technology called “Unified Messaging” (UM) that automatically e-mails you an audio file of a voicemail left on your office line. The e-mail will include either an attached audio file or a play button right in the text (see screenshot below). Once you listen to the voicemail in your e-mail inbox, the red light on your phone will stop blinking since the voicemail is no longer considered new. If you delete the e-mail, it automatically deletes the voicemail from the message center.  This feature is particularly useful if you want your voicemail and e-mail communications in the same place, if you share an office phone with colleagues, or if you just rarely notice that blinking voicemail light on your landline. You can still retrieve voicemails the usual way by dialing 898-4400.

If you’re interested in setting up Unified Messaging, click here to open the UM page and then click on “Request Service.”

Text Students Without Giving Out Your Cell Number

If you want to use this popular communication format to help students learn but don’t want to give out your cell phone number, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are several apps for texting in an educational setting. One of the most frequently used is Remind. It’s easy to set up, free to use, works with either a web-interface or a smartphone app, and keeps cell numbers private for both sender and receiver. Other features include audio texting, attaching files, and translating text messages into various languages. Students can choose whether or not they wish to receive your text messages, so this could be a supplemental and optional form of communication to help those students who feel they could benefit from it. You could text students a last-minute change in classroom location, an upcoming due date reminder, or anything else related to your course content, protocols, or assessments.

If you’re more comfortable using e-mail or making announcements in class to communicate with students, that is perfectly fine. Software such as “Remind” may be helpful if you’re searching for an effective tool to communicate with your students on a platform with which they are familiar, comfortable, and competent.