Teach Week 2023

Teach Week 2023

Welcome to Teach Week! Looking to get ideas for your fall classes? CTL is offering a week of workshops and other events to help you generate and implement new course design ideas.




"On Demand Session: Faculty Experiences with Alternative Grading"

Date: All Week

Facilitators: Elkie Burnside (Writing Program), Jason Hooper (Music Theory), Caralyn Zehnder (Biology)

Description: More faculty are considering alternative grading approaches, like ungrading and labor-based grading, to move students’ focus away from grades and towards learning. In this recorded faculty panel, we hear from three instructors who have successfully used alternative grading approaches in their courses who discuss how to implement these approaches in their courses and what to consider before trying these new approaches to grading student work.

Register for access to this series of recordings.

"Building Belonging: Strategies for Creating and Nurturing Inclusive and Equitable Classrooms"

Date: Monday, June 12, 2023, 10:00 am to 11:30 am via Zoom

Facilitators: Claire Hamilton (CTL), Kirsten Helmer (CTL)

Description: We've all experienced moments of feeling out of place or uncertain about our belonging, and for some students, this feeling can pervade their university experience. As faculty and instructors, we have the opportunity to create a positive and equitable classroom climate in diverse learning environments, from small seminars to lecture halls or labs, flex courses, or online. Creating an inclusive atmosphere is crucial, as research indicates that students' sense of belonging directly influences their learning, motivation, persistence, and academic success.

In this interactive session, we'll explore strategies for fostering equitable and inclusive classroom contexts where students feel valued for their unique contributions, perspectives, and backgrounds. Through engaging activities, participants will gain practical insights into cultivating a classroom atmosphere characterized by care, respect, and a strong sense of belonging.

Register now. 

"Dropping grades? Reflecting on Experiments in Grading" 

Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2023, 10:00 am to 11:30 am via Zoom

Facilitator: Sara Cavallo (CTL)

Description: The topic of alternative grading has sparked many efforts by faculty to modify traditional grading practices in their classes to support student learning without the pressure of grades. These efforts have taken different approaches: providing more flexibility in what is graded (full or partially ungraded assignments) and when it is graded (flexible deadlines and attendance), and who grades (peer evaluations and self-assessments).
We welcome anyone interested or curious about alternative grading to join a roundtable discussion on the successes, challenges, and surprises faced while trying to implement these types of practices. In this discussion, we invite you to share some strategies you have tried, what has worked (or not!), and learn some new ways of approaching grades and grading from conversations with fellow instructors.

Register now.

"ChatGPT and Generative AI in Higher Education: Exploring the Future of Teaching and Learning" 

Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2023, 10:00 am to 11:30 am via Zoom 

Facilitator: Kirsten Helmer (CTL)

Description: Join us for a thought-provoking virtual roundtable discussion on the rapidly developing field of generative AI tools and their implications for teaching and learning in higher education. As educators, we are always seeking to enhance our teaching practices and provide innovative learning experiences for our students. But what happens when technology takes on a more active role in the learning process?
In this session, we will begin to explore the potential impact of generative AI on higher education and the role of educators in an AI-driven environment. You will have the chance to share your wonderings, experiences, challenges, and worries and work together to develop your thinking about how generative AI will change education. Nick Tooker (Civil and Environmental Engineering), a member of the CTL’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Working Group that conducted a pilot study of UMass students’ perceptions and use of ChatGPT, will briefly present preliminary findings. Whether you are already familiar with the topic or just starting to explore its possibilities, this session is the perfect opportunity to join the conversation. We look forward to seeing you there! Disclaimer: Session description co-generated with ChatGPT.

Register now.

"Summer Teaching Renewal: Finding Space for Rest, Play, and Rejuvenation"

Date: Thursday, June 15, 2023, 10:00 am to 11:30 am via Zoom

Facilitators: Colleen Kuusinen (CTL), Julia McDougal-Ronconi (Nursing)

Description: You made it! The academic year has ended, and the long days of summer await. If you are like most faculty, you already have a long summer to-do list and the word “productive” is buzzing through your brain with the same fury as the season’s pollinating bees. You might also be feeling exhausted or depleted. Fortunately, rest and productivity are not mutually exclusive. Rejuvenation is a vital component of your work as a teacher.  

We approach this session from the premise that to be there for your students, you have to nourish yourself. The academic year and the many rapid changes we’ve faced in higher education in the last few years have made it challenging to truly prioritize rest—before we get to the point of depletion. Through discussion and reflective activities, we will begin to develop a “summer care plan” that will renew you for teaching next fall. One goal will be to reconnect with your “why” -- the unique purpose behind your teaching that gives you joy. We will then discuss what barriers we face to finding space for rest and play, and reimagine productivity from a place of ease. We will brainstorm activities that will be restful and rejuvenating for you this summer so that, hopefully, you can also envision a more easeful and joyful fall. 

Register now.

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.