Teaching News

March 18, 2021

We wish you a happy, healthy, and restful spring break.

Instructor Grading Options

As you’re working with students to complete winter term, there are ways to offer them extra flexibility. These options should be evaluated against what’s possible for you as an instructor during this fraught time:

  • Academic Council gives faculty and graduate instructors latitude to “modify course expectations such that required work is reduced or grading schemes are adjusted provided they can still meet course learning objectives.” You can make changes to the advantage of students even late in the term, like adjusting the points, duration, format, of the final exam or providing additional opportunities or extended deadlines.
  • UO standing policy states that an “Incomplete may be issued when the quality of work is satisfactory, but some minor yet essential requirement has not been completed.” The policy also states that “faculty and students should develop a contract outlining the requirements and specific deadlines for making up the incomplete. Contracts should be filed in the departmental office through which the course is taught.” 

Looking toward Spring

Compiling the Syllabus: Even as Canvas offers elegant ways to parcel key course information for students using its different features, we remind instructors to please continue to compile, post to Canvas, and file with your units a single PDF syllabus, which is required for many administrative purposes (for students transferring to another university, or seeking to meet a professional school course pre-requisite, for program review or accreditation, etc.).

Panopto: A change to Panopto simplifies the way an instructor copies existing video content to a new term. UO Online and TEP have created step-by-step instruction for the New Panopto Copy Tool.

University Counseling Services (UCS) and Other Wellbeing Support: UCS can support students—and support you as you support them. Their excellent, drop-in Let’s Talk program may be a particularly good program for instructors to share: a student just needs to click on a zoom link to speak individually with UCS staff members when the service is available. University Counseling Services prioritizes calls from faculty to help you support students. (Just call 541-346-3227, identify that you’re a faculty member and say that you’d like to consult about a student.) These services are available this finals week and beginning again week one of spring term.

See TEP’s new, collected wellbeing resources including profiles of how faculty colleagues approach supporting students’ wellbeing.   


Spring Warm-Up: Designing for Student Engagement
Friday, April 2, 10-10:30 a.m. Register here. This micro-workshop is a repeat of the “Winter Warm-Up" session.

An engaged class community has a measurable impact on student learning. For many students and instructors, creating genuine community in a remote context has been a challenge, both because we are physically distanced, and because many of us have extra demands on our time. How can we design for community while being strategic with our time as instructors? In this 30-minute session we will share three questions to consider and three engagement-building strategies for addressing those questions that you can deploy at the beginning of spring term.

Discussion Lab: Building Class Community with “Liberating Structures”
This participatory biweekly series offers the opportunity to learn and practice several Liberating Structures: “easy-to-learn microstructures that enhance relational coordination and trust. They quickly foster lively participation in groups of any size, making it possible to truly include and unleash everyone.”

Part 1: Networking & Chatterstorm
Friday, April 2, 2-2:40 p.m.Register here

This week we will focus on building new community with “Networking” and “Chatter-storm,” two structures that get people engaged with each other and questions in a genuine way, right away. These structures are relevant for classes of any size in any discipline.

Part 2: Conversation Café
Friday, April 16, 2-2:40 p.m.Register here.

Conversation Café is a basic discussion structure that occurs in dialogue rounds. Liberating Structures notes that “the format of the Conversation Café helps people have calm and profound conversations in which there is less debating and arguing, and more listening.” Using it early in the term supports students in experiencing more equitable dialogues, building community with peers, and grappling with big and genuine questions. This structure is relevant for classes of any size in any discipline.

Reading and Demonstration Groups

Learning from Pandemic Teaching Experiences
hosted by the Science Teaching Journal Club
Thursdays at 9 am starting April 1
Zoom: https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/369256082

This spring, we will explore teaching methods that have gained new prominence during the pandemic, including hybrid, HyFlex, and socially distanced face-to-face teaching. What can we learn from these methods and our own remote and asynchronous teaching experiences that we want to carry forward, including into face-to-face classrooms? We will divide our time between readings and teaching demonstrations. Visit our web page for more information and a tentative schedule. We welcome faculty and graduate students of all ranks and disciplines to participate every week or just drop by for selected conversations.

‘Research-Informed’ Reading Group: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Online Courses
Wednesdays at 9:00 am starting March 31
Zoom: https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/94975804093

This spring, TEP & UO Online will host a reading group focused on how to design and teach online courses to promote student success and close equity gaps facing under-represented students. Visit our webpage for more information and to see our tentative reading schedule. We welcome faculty and graduate students of all ranks and disciplines to participate every week or just drop by for selected conversations.


Williams Fund Instructional Proposals: Due April 1
The Williams Council invites proposals from individual faculty or groups to renew, broaden, restructure, or develop classes and curricula that actively engage students in the learning process. More than $100,000 is available, and the Council awards between three and 11 grants each year.

Nominations for Sustainability Teaching Award: Due April 5
The Office of Sustainability and TEP invite nominations of faculty who demonstrate teaching excellence in courses that engage the principles of sustainability and real-world problems and contexts. Send faculty member’s name, applicable course syllabus, and a one-page letter of support that addresses the evaluation criteria to Sarah Stoeckl (sstoeckl@uoregon.edu), Office of Sustainability program manager.

Student Success Summit, Any TimeIn February, UO’s outstanding Student Success Summit offered more than 40 presentations, many featuring resources and strategies related to teaching and learning. You can view the entire list of Student Success Summit offerings and gain access to recordings and materials in the Student Success Community Canvas by emailing ahocker@uoregon.edu. Sessions of particular interest to instructors may include:


TEP and UO Online are here to support you in your teaching. Request an individual consultation.