Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What is a "hybrid" class?

Whether you think of it as the next hot trend in teaching, or as a tried-and-true approach finally getting its due, it seems that the hybrid course has arrived. More college-level instructors nationwide, including several here at the U, are using "blended learning" approaches to teaching their courses. (See, for example, our Hybrid Master Class with Dr. Cindy Furse from Electrical Engineering.) Indeed, there are already courses with the HBRD attribute on the U's class schedule (see Spring 2012, for example).

The most typical version of the hybrid course involves recording lecture material and making it available online, thus freeing up class time for group work, hands-on activities, discussion, and other more engaging approaches than the traditional lecture. This approach allows students to review lecture material on their own time (and pause and rewind, which they can't do in a regular class), and allows instructors incorporate active learning techniques, which have consistently been shown to lead to better comprehension and retention, into their teaching without being worried about covering all of the required content.

There are many resources available to learn more about Hybrid Courses. CTLE will be facilitating a workshop on May 18, 2012 - see our website for more details. Can't wait until May to learn more? Other resources you can check out include a free live webinar on December 13 led by Dr. Bob van den Brand from the Netherlands. You can also see what the Department of Languages and Literature is doing on their website.

Monday, November 21, 2011

CTLE supports faculty up for review, graduate students on the job market

You may have read the recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune regarding policies on post-tenure reviews. As one of the comments to this article points out, we already have a post-tenure review process in place. What you may not have already known is that the Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence can help University of Utah instructors prepare the teaching-related components of their tenure review packages. These same services can also be useful for graduate students preparing to go on the job market.

Among our services for instructors we include:

  • Syllabi and materials review - help to make sure your classes get started on the right track. The end of Fall term is a great time to contact us about your Spring classes!
  • Collecting student feedback - we can do this at midterm through a variety of methods, and we also manage the end-of-term Student Course Feedback system. We can also help you interpret the feedback you receive, and work with you on ways to address the feedback.
  • In-class observations - having a trained pedagogical expert observe your class and provide you with feedback cannot only help you improve your teaching, but can also be included in your portfolio as evidence of your commitment to teaching excellence.
  • USET - Our Undergraduates Student Experts on Teaching can observe your class and provide you with feedback from the student perspective, paired with resources from our center. You can also pair up with a USET student on a teaching-related project to help improve your students' classroom experience. See the USET website for further details.
  • Peer-observations - we can provide you and your colleagues with support to create a culture of peer-review related to teaching in your department. We can offer forms and other resources to aid with the observations themselves and workshops on what to look for and how to conduct a teaching consultation. If you haven't identified a peer in your home department who is willing to work with you, we can help you identify other instructors on campus.
Consider calling on us at anytime, not just when you are up for review! We are here to support excellence in teaching and learning on the University of Utah campus year-round.

Email info@ctle.utah.edu

Call 801-581-7597

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Congratulations to Stephen Gonzalez, for being elected as a student representative to the Association for Applied Sport Psychology! Stephen is also a HETS (Higher Education Teaching Specialist) candidate.

See the FYI article highlighting Stephen's achievement.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Imagination in Higher Education

What if undergraduate education could be engaging, exciting, and even...wait for it...FUN?

"Imagine the Possibilities" is the new theme of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Utah. As part of this initiative, Eric Liu, co-author of Imagination First, will be visiting the campus this month to provide a talk entitled "Imagination in Higher Education in the 21st Century". According to Liu, imagination is a skill that can be developed.

It seems to me that this is a skill that could be put to good use in our classrooms. How do we hope to foster innovation in our students, the leaders of tomorrow, if we are not imaginative in the way we teach? We do have many excellent instructors here on campus who use innovative approaches to teaching (for just one example, consider the Honor College's latest recipient of the Distinguished Honors Professor Award, Matthew Bradley) - but what if every classroom at the U was a model of the best applications of imagination to education? What if every classroom was engaging and exciting? What if every instructor was able to motivate students to learn? Perhaps taking a moment now and again to "Imagine the Possibilities" may be the first step towards these goals.

There are many reasons to transform the undergraduate experience, and all of them require that we re-think the way we typically do things. Take a few moments and Imagine the Possibilities with us. Eric Liu's talk will be held in the UMFA Dumke Auditorium on November 30, 2011 beginning at 5:30 pm.

University of Utah's FYI recently published an interview with Eric Liu. You can read blogs written by Eric Liu and colleagues on their website: Imagination Now.