Teaching News: Winter policies & invitations

December 22, 2020


We wish you the happiest of holidays. As we go into break, we share teaching resources and invitations that we hope will be valuable as you plan winter courses, including Academic Council’s winter term expectations, welcome modules for remote and online/WEB courses, and an updated “starter syllabus” for remote courses.

We celebrate your hard work. The Office of the Provost announced these awards recently that honor a number of our UO faculty:

  • The Remote Teaching Awards – in recognition of faculty who transformed traditional, face-to-face courses into remote teaching.
  • The Fund for Faculty Excellence Awards – established in 2006 thanks to generous gifts from Lorry I. Lokey, in recognition of faculty excellence in creative accomplishment, education, research, and scholarship.
  • The COVID-19 Research Innovations Awards – in recognition of faculty research efforts deployed in response to COVID-19.

At the December 2020 Teaching Excellence Celebration, we asked Teaching Academy members to share one word describing a cherished value that  guided their teaching through this challenging year. The image above captures what they said. Thank you, teaching community, for these inspiring values and all the care that you all bring to your classes.

Academic Council Winter Guidance

Academic Council has updated its expectations for winter classes. Notable changes include:

  • a live, synchronous office hours requirement for all courses (including online/WEB);
  • an expectation that online/WEB instructors contact students by the first day of winter classes by email or via Canvas to welcome them, orient them to the general structure of the course and Canvas site, and let them know where to find the syllabus;
  • advice noting that “video on” requirements can be problematic for some students and encouraging instructors to find other ways to engage students during live classes.

TEP’s Starter Syllabus offers a range of typical class policies revised for remote instruction. You can download and adapt it.. See especially newer sample policies on student well-being and class engagement.

UO Online and TEP have created customizable “Welcome Modules” that can be imported to your Canvas site and customized to supplement your welcome message.

Winter Invitations, Week One

Beyond the Breakout: Strategies and Structures for Better Discussions
Wednesday, January 6, 10-10:30 a.m.
Register here.

Discussion is a key tool for learning, and all students will participate in discussion given the right conditions. But what are those conditions, especially when we are working in a remote context? How can we structure synchronous discussions that get all students engaged with each other and with the course content? This micro-workshop will offer several practices and structures that support robust and genuine student discussion, whether in a small- or large-enrollment course.

For Faculty: Using the New ‘Instructor Reflection’ Survey
Wednesday, January 6, 12-1:15 p.m.
Register here.

UO recently launched a campus-wide Instructor Reflection survey that both archives instructors’ end-of-term thoughts about their courses and features in the evaluation of faculty teaching, offering faculty a new way to capture aspects of their professional, inclusive, engaged, and research-informed practice. What benefits does the survey offer faculty? Who can read the results? How should we think about it as part of a teaching file? Join us for information and advice about how to use this opportunity both thoughtfully and strategically.

For Graduate Students: Engaged Pedagogy Course Opportunity
Wednesdays, 12-1:50 p.m. 
Instructor: Jason Schreiner 
CRN: 25373

In this two-credit graduate seminar we will explore the theory and practice of engaged pedagogy, a practice of teaching and learning that challenges instructors and students to participate mutually in a community of learning, to think critically and passionately through collective inquiry, and to produce shared knowledge that empowers and transforms. We’ll ground our work in principles of inclusive, engaged, and research-led teaching and use key touchstones in the scholarship of teaching and learning to design practical teaching methods and tools.

Reading Groups

TEP Pedagogy Reading Group: Small Teaching Online
Wednesdays, beginning January 6, 9:00 a.m.
Zoom: https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/94975804093

TEP invites you to join us to read and discuss the book Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes, by Flower Darby and James Lang. “Small teaching” is the idea that it is possible to improve teaching effectiveness by implementing small changes rather than having to make major course revisions. This engaging and accessible book surveys research related to online teaching, describes examples from real classrooms, and provides “Quick Tip” suggestions for making those small improvements. We welcome participants from all ranks and disciplines. The book is available from the UO Library in ebook form. For more information, including the reading schedule, visit the related blog post

Science Teaching Journal Club
Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do about It

Thursdays, beginning January 7, 9:00 a.m.
Zoom: https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/369256082

This winter the journal club will read Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do about It, by James Lang. Join us to read about and discuss distraction, methods for cultivating attention, and how to apply what we learn to our own classrooms. Lang draws on peer-reviewed literature and includes examples of how instructors incorporate the results in their teaching; where relevant, he also includes "Quick Take" sections with recommendations for faculty. The book is a pleasure to read and will provide instructors with a variety of ideas, whether they teach remotely, online, or face-to-face. We welcome participants from all ranks and disciplines. The book is available as an ebook from the UO Library. For more information, including a reading schedule, visit the Science Literacy Program’s journal club page