Spring into Teaching

Spring into Teaching

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Welcome to Spring into Teaching! Looking for new ways to think about teaching and your course design as you enter the spring semester? Want to make adjustments based on the literature on learning and emergent knowledge about UMass students’ learning preferences? We have just the thing for you. This January 12-14, we’re offering a series of workshops and post-workshop tinkering opportunities to help you refine your course design, hear what worked for students in the fall, and learn from colleagues across campus. Look through the workshop descriptions below, register for one, two, or all three sessions; and take advantage of the post-workshop sessions in which you can talk with the workshop facilitators about your specific course design questions.  


Workshop 1: “I Wish My Instructor Would....”: Transforming Barriers into On-Ramps for Learning

Date: Wednesday, January 12, 10 am to 11:30 am via Zoom 

How Do I Do It: Talk with the facilitators about your specific questions from 1 pm to 2 pm via Zoom

We know from students’ feedback on courses, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning. Our students are diverse, and we may unintentionally create learning barriers when we design our courses that we can address by using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a conceptual framework for inclusive and equitable course (re)design. In this highly interactive workshop, facilitators Beth Lisi and Kirsten Helmer will guide you through a process of identifying barriers to learning and using the principles of UDL to transform those barriers into on-ramps for learning. You will leave this workshop having begun to apply UDL principles to your course (re)design so that you will support the learning of all your students. Co-facilitated by Beth Lisi and Kirsten Helmer, CTL. 

Register for this workshop. 

Workshop 2: "I’m Overwhelmed!”: How to Help Students Better Prepare for Class 

Date: Thursday, January 13, 10 am to 11:30 am via Zoom  

How Do I Do It: Talk with the facilitators about your specific questions from 1 pm to 2 pm via Zoom 

Many teachers struggle with engaging students deeply with assigned course materials such as readings, pre-recorded videos and other digital materials. Our increasing reliance on learning management systems like Blackboard and Moodle make it more important than ever to intentionally frame how we want students to engage with our course materials before class. The good news is: there are plenty of ways to help students. In this session, we will explore how to:  

  • Select the right materials for your course 
  • Integrate materials into your course design  
  • Frame materials effectively 
  • Teach students how to engage deeply with materials before class 

Participants will leave the session with some new resources, tools, and practices that they can try in their own classes. Co-facilitated by Claire Hamilton and Brian Baldi, CTL. 

Register for this workshop. 

Workshop 3: "Will this be on the Exam?" Helping Students Focus on What’s Important

Date: Friday, January 14, 10:00 am to 11:30 am 

How Do I Do It: Talk with the facilitators about your specific questions from 1 pm to 2 pm via Zoom

If you’ve ever felt frustrated by hearing students ask, “Will this be on the exam?”, this workshop is for you! We will tease apart what we’ve heard from students across campus, discussing some encouraging reasons why students might ask this question, and discussing what you can do to shift student focus to learning and not only exam performance or grades.  Ultimately, our course design decisions and teaching approaches can have a great impact on students’ motivation to learn and development of effective learning skills in your course and beyond. Co-facilitated by Colleen Kuusinen and Mei-Yau Shih, CTL. 

Register for this workshop. 

Syllabus Consultations

In addition, you can always schedule individual syllabus and course design consultations through our Consultation Request Form. Choose what works for you, when it works for you.