Teaching Matters

Breaking News

Suicide Prevention Training

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The Suspenders4Hope campaign, developed at Wichita State University, aims to share hope and helpful resources by building communities of support for mental health, fighting stigma and celebrating resiliency. President Muma encourages all members of the WSU community to take the Preventing Suicide Training at www.suspenders4hope.com.

ARC 2023

What's Coming for January

With three weeks each year of training, discussion, and reflection, the Academic Resources Conference  is always in some stage of development. Last month we did a recap of August's events, and here we are now talking about what's coming up in January! 

January's ARC will take place from the 9th-13th, and once again we will be fully online via Zoom. In addition to our normal technical training, the winter ARC will bring a focus on digital transformation. Over 30% of our planned sessions will deal with topics like big data, artificial intelligence, and the implications of digital transformation. 

We will also be inviting several publishing representatives to come talk about how their digital materials, including their AccessNow textbooks work and what instructors need to know in order to use the materials effectively. You won't want to miss this event, so please mark your calendars now.

January ARC Book Club Book

We are bringing back ARC Book Club for the January ARC, and we hope you will join us. The book we've chosen is Robot Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Dr. Joseph Aoun, President of Northeastern University.  University Libraries has this book in a digital format, and members of the WSU community can access it here. Robot Proof is a very interesting read, and we know it will lead to excellent conversation.


Teaching Matters Recap

The Retention Fellows hosted the first ever, "Teaching Matters" discussion on September 9th. The meeting brought together instructors (including a few GTAs), staff, and both undergraduate and graduate students to discuss what works and what doesn't work to start the semester off right.  Here is a recap of some of the topics:

  • Moriah Beck talked about how teaching students metacognition strategies pays off later in the term. Even asking questions as simple as, "what do you hope to learn in this class?" helps students get started on the right road. Katie Lanning made a similar suggestion, and she uses a pre-course survey to start these thinking processes.
  • Sarah Taylor talked about the value of "ungrading," a technique she learned about at a previous Academic Resources Conference. Once she explains the method to her students, she finds that their anxiety goes down and curiosity in the process and content goes up.
  • Gery Markova shared some advice she got as a new instructor, "Students are scared of you. Tell them who you are!" To develop her relationship with her students, she uses time to show them pictures from her life and explains "who she is." 
  • Others talked about the value of ice breakers and digital polling interfaces (OIR recommends Poll Everywhere and Survey Monkey as accessible options) to encourage interaction.

One of the students in attendance had this to say about the value of having some kind of introductory experiences in a class, "Some professors just dive right in and start teaching. They don't even tell you their name sometimes. That's the worst way to start a class."  So, try something! And if it works well for you, tell a friend so they can try it too. Need help thinking of activities? Try using one from the Wellness Cards provided by CAPS. Order a free set of Wellness Cards here

Did you miss the September meeting but want to join the conversation? Great news! The next meeting is October 7 in Woolsey 231/232 at 11:30am. The topic will be "Formative and Summative Assessment." Bring a lunch and let's talk teaching!


Do You Use Teams to Teach?

Are you using Microsoft Teams to teach? If so, the Office of Instructional Resources would like to learn from you.  Please let us know by sending an email to OIR@wichita.edu. Thanks!


Be Careful with Course Messages to All

You may have noticed that Blackboard's Course Messages feature has been beefed up and highlighted since our move to Ultra Base Navigation. If you use the tool to send messages to your whole class please be aware of this important limitation: When you initiate a Course Message to "all," then all replies are automatically shared with everyone. That means that if a student replies to your message with a question, everyone will see that question, and if you answer the question, everyone will see that answer. That feature is neither "good" nor "bad" but it is important to understand. You do not want to ask for or provide private information in a Course Message that began as a message to the whole class.