Faculty Successes

UMass Amherst is home to an impressive community of talented, dedicated, thoughtful, and innovative teachers. Recognizing that a teaching culture flourishes most when practices and stories are shared, the CTL has created this space to highlight faculty pedagogical strategies and successes. If you have a faculty success story, please consider sharing it with us at ctl@umass.edu!


Fall 2021

Many people know that Open Education Resources (OER) help students save money. But a recent project created by Elkie Burnside, Assistant Director of the Writing Program, and her colleagues, shows that OERs have the potential to engage students and faculty in a meaningful collaborative process of text creation. Read more about Elkie’s motivations, excellent work, and collaborative approach to improving student learning.

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.

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.

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.