Faculty Successes

CTL is spotlighting a teaching strategy shared with us by a faculty member. Teaching online has been a new learning experience from many of us, CTL staff included, and we are learning a lot from instructors about what works best for them in their classes. If you have a faculty success story please consider sharing it with us at ctl@umass.edu!

 

Memnun Seven, Nursing

Spring 2021

 

How do you design a class that gives students a variety of ways to participate and succeed? Memnun Seven, Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing, did just that by choosing a flexible course design. In spring 2021, her undergraduate class was one of the few taught in person and, because the enrollment of the course (66 students) exceeded the 40-person classroom capacity limit, she adopted a "hybrid" or "flipped" form of instruction. Her approach to the planning, design, and teaching of this course illustrates ways that instructors can effectively implement flexible learning opportunities. Read more here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brokk Toggerson, Physics

Spring 2021

 

What are some ways to conclude your semester and leave students with a lasting and positive impression? Brokk Toggerson, Lecturer in Physics, teaches large introductory courses of 300+ students. By using digital technology tools and visuals, he thoughtfully ends his courses each semester by returning to his essential questions and prompting student reflection. Read more about the design and impact of Brokk’s approach, including a short video in which he talks about his strategies and tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren McCarthy, Legal Studies

Spring 2021

 

A better way to do peer review of writing in large classes? Lauren McCarthy, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science, is already looking ahead and thinking of ways to carry forward remote teaching innovations in her large (160-220 students) general education course. She talked to us about one such innovation that she’ll keep regardless of whether her course is taught face-to-face or online in the future: asynchronous peer review of writing. Read more about how she uses online tools to manage the peer review process and the unexpected benefits she and her students discovered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacy Giufre and Melina Masterson, Languages, Literature, & Cultures

Spring 2021

 

How can instructors reduce student textbook costs and make a curriculum more inclusive at the same time? Stacy Giufre and Melina Masterson, Lecturers in the Italian Language Program, hoping to offer a more inclusive curriculum to their students and reduce the barrier of entry to their classes, used one of the Libraries Open Education Initiative Grants to write a new elementary Italian textbook. Taking advantage of Open Education Resources need not involve the creation of new materials – many people adapt existing materials – but Professors Giufre and Masterson and their team did a wonderful job creating a new, affordable text for their students. Read more about their motivations, excellent work, and collaborative approach to improving student learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Luiz Amaral, Languages, Literature, & Cultures

Spring 2021

 

How can one make the most of synchronous and asynchronous class activities to enhance student learning?  Luiz Amaral, Associate Professor & Director of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, teaches dynamic language classes with lots of opportunities to try out language skills. To adapt to remote teaching, Luiz decided to split his students into different groups using different modalities to keep them engaged and offer more targeted practice and feedback opportunities – two things that can be useful in any discipline. Read more about the clever design and implementation of his course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie Horowitz, Philosophy

Spring 2021

 

How does one create videos that students want to watch? Sophie Horowitz, Assistant Professor in Philosophy, teaches large introductory courses of 100+ students with teaching assistant-led discussion sections.  In the Spring 2020, she made the switch from in-class lecturing to engaging her students with the course content through brief pre-recorded videos.  Read more about the design and impact of her pre-recorded videos, including a short video in which she talks about her strategies and tips. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda Woerman, Biology

Spring 2021

 

How do you keep students motivated and engaged in large online classes? Many instructors worry that students in their large classes feel disconnected and disengaged. Amanda Woerman, Assistant Professor in Biology tackled this issue by providing students with a variety of ways to actively participate during the synchronous portion of the class and through asynchronous engagement activities. Read more about her strategies, tips, and next steps. 

 

 

 
 
 

Elizabeth Porto, Business Communication

Spring 2021

 

For the past few years, Elizabeth Porto, Senior Lecturer II, has been showing students' brief introductory videos during class over the first few weeks of the semester.  In addition to building comunity over time in an incusive and memorable way, her students learn how to introduce themselves professionally and personally, an important goal she hold for her student.  Read more about her approach, goals, and next steps.

 

Michele Cooke, Geosciences

Spring 2021

 

Did you know that many students – not just deaf or hard of hearing students – benefit from captioning of presentations? Live captioning might be easier and more reliable than you think, according to Michele Cooke, Professor in Geosciences, who has conducted a study with undergraduate student Celia Child (Bryn Mawr College) on auto captioning built into widely available software. Read more and watch their video, in which they demonstrate the effectiveness of strategies that use artificial intelligence based auto-captioning tools to greatly improve live presentation accessibility. 

 

 

Mzamo Mangaliso, Management

Fall 2020

 

Wondering how to inspire academic integrity in test-taking?  CTL is highlighting the excellent work of Mzamo Mangaliso, a faculty member in the Department of Management and former Lilly Fellow for Teaching Excellence.  Faced with the problem of students cheating on his exams, Professor Mangaliso revised his approach to teaching by educating his students on ethics, writing exam questions that stressed higher order thinking, and making savvy changes to how his tests are administered.  He analyzed his exam results and it’s working wonders!  Read more on academic integrity and test taking.

 

 

 

Yanfei Xu, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Fall 2020

 

How do you diversify the curriculum in a STEM class?  CTL is spotlighting Yanfei Xu, an Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering who was recently recognized by COE’s  Deans Diversity Equity Inclusion Curriculum Challenge.  The College of Engineering has asked faculty members to step up to the challenge of integrating issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the curriculum. Professor Xu responded to this challenge by developing a lesson on making solar manufacturing processes more equitable and exposing students to literature on bias in engineering. If you have a faculty success story please consider sharing it with us at ctl@umass.edu!

 

 

Steve Petsch, Geosciences

Fall 2020

 

What are the benefits of reaching out? The CTL interviewed Steve Petsch, Associate Professor in the department of Geosciences, about some success he has found in engaging students who may be falling behind in his 200-person general education course. Reaching out personally to students has helped them feel cared for and learn professional communication habits.  Read more about Steve’s strategies and the impact of his outreach.