Every spring, the CSU offers a 2-day symposium focused on effective teaching and learning. This spring, the symposium is scheduled on March 13-14, 2020, at CSU-Fullerton and sessions will focus on inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and student success (see attached flier for more info). The call for proposals is open until November 26. If you are passionate about teaching, consider attending or proposing a presentation.
Given our students’ agility with online communication, using discussion forums in Blackboard can be an effective way to engage students in the learning process outside the classroom. Here are some tips that emerged from the attached peer-reviewed paper on the topic:
- To promote equity and allow marginalized voices to be heard, online discussions may allow students to participate who often need more processing time to contribute to a discussion.
- Keep discussion groups to 14 or less.
- Faculty should be somewhat “present” in online discussions to clarify concepts and keep students on track.
- Some students may be more reflective, honest, and willing to discuss sensitive topics in an online discussion.
- Prompt questions and discussion topics posed by the instructor should relate to your course learning objectives and build in complexity and depth as the semester progresses.
- Online discussions should be assessed in some way (e.g. quality and quantity of students’ contribution to the discussion, whether or not students initiate discussions or just respond)
For assistance on how to facilitate an effective and engaging online discussion, contact the Technology & Learning Program.
With the anniversary of the Camp Fire heavy on our hearts this week, it’s a good opportunity to take a moment for yourself to pause. Consider giving yourself a “10-minute sabbatical” to reflect and recharge. Take a walk through the colorful leaves in Bidwell Park, meditate in the Zen Den in BMU 301, or do something that truly enriches you. If you were affected by the Camp Fire and prefer to be with other people this week, there are Group-counseling sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to discuss the emotional impacts and next steps for faculty and staff affected by the Camp Fire.
The Office of Faculty Development and its Advisory Board have prepared an exciting suite of Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) for you for the Spring semester. All FLCs for Spring 2020 are open to all faculty of any rank in any discipline including lecturers and you may apply to more than one FLC. See below for details and application links. Applications must be completed by November 12, 2019. Each FLC involves seven 2-hour group sessions and faculty will be paid $500 for participating and completing deliverables. Find more information on the FDEV Website!
Brief Description: In collaboration with Chico State Enterprises (CSE), faculty will be guided through the grant-writing process, including project concept development, positioning yourself, narrative writing, and submission of a proposal. Participants will gain knowledge and strategies to successfully compete for grant funded research, scholarship and creative activity, allowing you to make valuable contributions to your field and advance your career.
“10,000 First-Generation Wildcats: Embracing a culture of support for the 62% of Chico State students whose parents did not complete a 4-year degree”
Brief Description: Faculty will gain a variety of tools to teach and support our 10,000 First Generation College Students. A variety of inclusive pedagogical principles will be discussed as faculty learn about the assets, challenges, and backgrounds of this growing population at Chico State.
Returning by Popular Demand
“Improving Your Teaching Practice: Tips, Strategies, and Resources”
Brief Description: This FLC is for faculty who want to enhance their teaching practices and create collaborative relationships around pedagogy across disciplines. Topics will be determined based on needs and interests of participants and may include areas such as designing an inclusive syllabus, enhancing lectures, facilitating discussions, teaching large classes, aligning assessments with learning objectives, and educational technologies.
Learning students’ preferred pronoun (or perhaps more accurately their “correct” pronoun), such as she/he or him/her, can be just as important as learning their name. It is part of their identity and you can now see it on your class roster. This prevents you from having to request pronouns publicly while taking attendance, which can be embarrassing, stressful, or confusing to some students. Knowing pronouns even before a semester begins can help you learn a little more about your students thereby creating a safer and more inclusive atmosphere.
Here’s how it works: Students list their pronoun in their Student Center. This allows faculty to see it on their class rosters (see screenshot below). Only students can select their pronouns, and they can change it any time they want in their Student Center.
The Internet is full of great (and sometimes not-so-great) teaching ideas, lesson plans, and videos. This series of teaching videos on YouTube is useful, brief, and interesting. Each video clip is approximately 5-minutes long and topics include “How to Aggregate Quiz Scores”, “The Reciprocal Learning Strategy”, and “The In-class Flip.” Watch one clip a day and see if you can find a creative way to enhance learning in your class and have fun along the way.
Chico State students pay several hundred dollars for textbooks and supplies every semester, in each of their courses, on top of tuition and fees. There is a growing interest among faculty to adopt lower cost (or even free) learning solutions to help remove financial barriers for students who sometimes forego purchasing course materials in order to meet their basic needs. The Chico Affordable Learning Solutions (CAL$) website has several suggestions to decrease costs of course materials while retaining quality and rigor. Reducing course costs can help narrow equity gaps while improving graduations rates for all students.
If you’re interested in locating (or even creating your own) high-quality low-cost course materials, Apply Here to the CAL$ Fall Workshop series by October 15. Faculty who attend three different one-hour workshops (see attached details) and implement a cost-savings strategy for students in their Spring 2020 course(s) will earn both a CAL$ Training Certificate and $400 (paid in Spring 2020). Applications from faculty who teach high-enrollment, high cost, and/or GE courses are especially encouraged. Workshop titles and payment details can be found on the CAL$ FA19 Memorandum of Understanding. If you have questions, please contact Beth Shook or Edward Roualdes .
Interested in learning a new language to enhance your cultural competency, prepare for an overseas trip, or communicate with your International students? Well, there’s an app for that. Chico State recently partnered with Mango Languages to provide faculty and students with a free (normally $18/month) full-access account. Mango (similar to Duolingo or Babbel) is a database with over 70 languages including Spanish, Thai, Punjabi, Latin, Korean, Greek, and many more. Mango can prepare learners for realistic conversations and strengthen everyday communication skills. You can read and hear words, speak words and play them back to yourself, and play comprehension games. There is even a built-in translator.
To access Mango, click on this Meriam Library link and then click on Mango Languages. Then, you can create a free account by clicking Sign Up. Enter your campus email address and a password (doesn’t have to be your campus password), click the free account, click on Chico State, and you’re all set.
There is also a Mango Languages mobile app available on Apple and Google Play stores.
If you want to deeply engage your students in course content by shifting away from teacher-centered instruction and towards student-centered projects, try Project-Based Learning (PBL). This hi-impact curricular model makes learning relevant to students by establishing connections to life outside the classroom and by tackling real life issues. In PBL, faculty serve as facilitators and even co-learners as students engage in projects such as investigating community problems, analyzing complex social issues, creating new scientific tools, designing a new app, etc. Students are “coached” through hands-on experiences in real-world interdisciplinary settings that require critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving. Chico State already has several courses using PBL, some of which include service learning in collaboration with the Office of Civic Engagement.
Below are a few resources if you’re interested in learning more about PBL.
Contentious moments in a classroom, such as when someone makes a politically charged or racially insensitive comment, can be uncomfortable. These comments can also completely derail a lecture and compromise the learning environment. Sometimes our instinct is to quickly redirect the conversation to avoid addressing the comment. A more effective approach, however, is to role-model to students how to manage the situation through discussion. The ideas presented on Chico State’s Our Democracy page include resources to navigate situations like this. For example, the suggested L.E.A.R.N. approach is to…
L – Listen to what students are saying
E – Empathize with their position
A – Assess what to do (take a moment to compose yourself)
R – Respond directly
N – Negotiate how to move forward
It might be helpful for you to have a mental script ready for times like this. For example, you could say something like “Diverse perspectives are welcome in this classroom and I sense some disagreement about this topic. Let’s take a minute to process this idea including writing down your thoughts. Would anyone like to share what came to mind as we seek to better understand each other’s points of view?”
You can always revisit the conversation at the next class after everyone, including yourself, has had time to process it. Ignoring the comment altogether or ending class early is a last resort unless you feel that someone’s safety might be at risk.