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Michael Christie

Inclusive Teaching Practices – Fall 2022 Newsletter 2

Smeal Academy Fall 2022 Connections Newsletter 2 –Inclusive Teaching Practices

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal Community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides resources, tips, and pointers as we move through the semester.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

5 Ideas for Inclusive Classrooms from the eLDIG Team

It’s always important to consider how we can cultivate classroom environments that make everyone feel welcome. The following suggestions can be easily incorporated:

  1. Consider representation in the resources you provide students. There are so many fantastic repositories of free images available for use in your classroom materials. The following are just a few: Women of Color in Technology, Disability Inclusive Stock Photography, and Beyond the Binary.
  2. Add your pronouns to your Canvas and Zoom profiles. Recommend that students do the same and provide support documentation: Canvas: Add Gender and Identity Pronouns to Your Name and Zoom: Add Gender or Identity Pronouns to Your Zoom Profile.
  3. Remember the importance of connection before content. Learning is social! There are lots of great tools for encouraging interpersonal connection within your class that make your content more meaningful. These virtual question cards from WeConnect are a great free resource for encouraging conversation.
  4. Solicit student feedback frequently, including personal reflections on their learning. This is a great way to support students and keep your finger on the pulse of their classroom experience. Tools like Canvas Surveys and Microsoft Forms are great ways to gather this feedback.
  5. Remember the power of microaffirmations! Microaffirmations include behaviors as simple as: nodding and making eye contact with students while they’re talking; making sure to call on students of different races and genders equally; referring to every student by his or her name; using inclusive language — for instance, talk about “families” instead of “parents;” openly giving praise for a wide range of actions; and staying enthusiastic when interacting with students. (Rastegari & Shafer)

Rastegari, I. and Shafer, L. (2016, December 22). Accentuate the Positive: The transformative power of small encouragements and welcoming interactions. Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at eldig@smeal.psu.edu

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • TLT Creating Community via Technology,1:30 to 3 pm on Nov. 8th or 9th. Register via the Creating Community via Technology Registration Form.
  • Lab Virtualization Considerations and Strategies, 2-1 pm on November 30th. Come learn about Smeal’s lab virtualization approach to ensure that students and faculty have the software and apps they need for their courses. Smeal faculty will share some of their experiences with virtual labs. We will also discuss the next steps for faculty considering the use of virtual labs as we increase our virtualization offerings. Zoom link

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Canvas New Quizzes Update. The Canvas vendor has informed Penn State that the New Quizzes migration timeline is on hold and will be sending an update in the coming weeks with more details. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
  • Tip #2: Set up Thresholds in Starfish. To make Starfish reporting easier, be sure to set up your grading thresholds in Starfish (and your gradebook and grading scheme in Canvas). Check out this Knowledge Base article for instructions. Students have indicated that Starfish feedback helps them better understand how they’re doing in classes, and it also supports advisors as they guide their advisees which is particularly important as we approach the late drop deadline.

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.

Accessibility Tips for Everyday Instructors


In this session especially designed for instructors and staff who support courses, the eLDIG team shared some strategies to improve the accessibility of your course(s).
Link to Session Slides

Accessible Smeal-Branded PowerPoint Templates

Smeal Community Shield
This template includes both 4:3 and 16:9 versions.
Download PowerPoint: Smeal Community Shield Template
Smeal Corner Shield
This template includes both 4:3 and 16:9 versions.
Download PowerPoint: Smeal Corner Shield Template
Smeal Lion Shrine
This template includes both 4:3 and 16:9 versions.
Download PowerPoint: Smeal Lion Shrine Template

Welcome Back – Fall 2022 Newsletter 1

Smeal Academy Fall 2022 Connections Newsletter 1 – Welcome Back

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2022 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2022 semester, we will be sending periodic emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

5 Resources from the eLDIG Team:

As we get started with a new semester, we have curated five resources we want to share with the Smeal Community:

  1. Final Touches for Fall Session Recording
    Check out our Smeal Academy Session Recording: Final Touches for Fall for some information that is relevant even after week 1 of the semester. You can also check out previous Smeal Academy sessions and newsletters on the eLDIG site. We will offer regular Smeal Academy sessions and resources targeted to address your teaching and learning needs.
  2. Residential Syllabus, Part 2
    Do you struggle to keep up with syllabus policies? eLDIG keeps a Smeal Residential Syllabus, Part 2 up-to-date based on the semester instructions from Undergraduate Programs. You are welcome to use this for your syllabi now or in the future.
  3. Tips for New Faculty
    Higher Ed Jobs Tips for New Faculty – Tips for success (and failure) for new faculty that are relevant to all faculty.
  4. Canvas New Analytics
    Want to get more out of Canvas analytics? Enable New Analytics in your course(s).
  5. Canvas Grading Scheme
    Remember to set up your Canvas grading scheme to match your syllabus. Here’s a Smeal Academy Video Tech Tip explaining how.The eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • TLT Dreamery Speaker Series with Tanya Joosten
    The Dreamery Speaker series hosts experts from other institutions to address timely teaching and learning with technology topics. The first speaker in the series is Tanya Joosten, a Senior Scientist, the Director of Digital Learning Research and Development, and advisor to the Provost for innovation projects at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). On 9/27 & 9/28, 2022 Tanya will have interactive discussions focused on teaching (Approaching Intentionality: Factors That Influence Student Success) and learning design (Considerations for Equity-Minded Practices). Dreamery Speaker Series Registration.
  • TLT Prep & Practice: Top Hat for Course Engagement, Part 1
    Dates of Offerings: Monday, 10/10, 1pm – 3pm & Thursday, 10/13, 1pm – 3pmDescription: New faculty are invited to join Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) for sessions focusing on introducing Top Hat, an engagement platform for teaching and learning. These sessions provide participants the opportunity to get familiar with the Top Hat environment and understand the features that help learning be engaging, interactive, accessible, and connected. Prep and Practice Registration.
  • TLT Prep & Practice: Top Hat for Course Engagement, Part 2
    Date of Offerings: Monday, 10/17, 1pm – 3pm & Thursday, 10/21, 1pm – 3pmDescription: New faculty are invited to join Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) to continue the conversation on Top Hat, an engagement platform for teaching and learning. The second part of the sessions will allow participants to build a Top Hat course and understand best practices for integrating the engagement features into courses. Prep and Practice Registration.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Customize Your Canvas Dashboard. If your Canvas dashboard is cluttered or this semester’s courses aren’t showing up on your dashboard, here’s How to customize your dashboard.
  • Tip #2: Remind students to enable Canvas notifications. To ensure students are receiving Canvas notifications, show them how to enable them. The default settings in Canvas do notify students of announcements right away, but they might miss discussion notifications because those are set to be “off” by default.

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.

Summer Reading Recommendations – Summer 2022 Newsletter 1

Summer 2022 Connections Newsletter 1 – Summer Reading Recommendations

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2021 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2021 semester, we will be sending periodic emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.
This week, we are sharing our favorite books about teaching, learning, and life. Summer is a great time to catch up on your reading! Here are some of the eLDIG team’s current favorite reads.

What is the eLDIG Team Reading?

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Mark DeLuca recommends this book for anyone exploring checklists! The author looks at ways that checklists can be used to communicate information more effectively in a world that seems oversaturated with content that people do not seem able to take in.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Renee Ford recommends this best-seller. James Clear provides concrete advice for changing your habits. This book is full of practical strategies for forming good habits and breaking bad ones. His website includes some helpful resources that are available for free.

Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen

Emily Baxter loves how this book breaks down the fundamental concepts of instructional design in a visually engaging way. Have fun exploring ways to improve your own learning and better engage your audience – whether you are teaching in a classroom, presenting at a conference, or writing a blog post! The first edition of the book is also available online through the Penn State University Libraries.

Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein

Matt Mignogna recommends this New York Times Bestseller. The authors of this book explore why people make bad judgments – and how we can all make better ones.

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James Lang

This book is a favorite of many members of the eLDIG team. James Lang shares evidence-backed recommendations for small changes that can be made in your classroom to build community and help students retain more information. The first edition of this book is available as an e-book through Penn State Libraries: https://catalog.libraries.psu.edu/catalog/19435958.

What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching by Tracie Marcella Addy, Derek, Dube, Khadijah A. Mitchell, and Mallory E. SoRelle

This book is part of our Smeal Academy Summer Book Club! If you are interested in reading along with us, you can find an e-book in Penn State Libraries. We love all the practical suggestions in the book for creating inclusive classrooms.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Summer Book Club Kickoff Session
    In this session, we will provide an overview of the book, What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching and talk about our goals for the summer book club.Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://psu.zoom.us/j/710269538?pwd=THlOeHlobTRFbmtTL2RoZG1VbjNGZz09.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our SmealTLT Website.

Contact Us

Email us at: smealtlthelp@psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG contact form and we will be in touch.

End of Semester Tips – Spring 2022 Newsletter 4

Spring 2022 Connections Newsletter 4 –  End of Semester Tips

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2021 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2021 semester, we will be sending periodic emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.
This week, we are sharing some tips for wrapping up your courses at the end of the semester. Hang in there! We are almost at the end!

FOUR End-of-Semester Tips

  • Encourage students to complete the SRTE.
    Penn State’s Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has provided several strategies for improving your SRTE response rates. These include:

  • Make sure your Canvas grades are prepared for LionPATH.
    The following steps will ensure that your Canvas course is set up to successfully load your grades into LionPATH. As always, reach out to eLDIG if you would like to walk through the process with someone on our team.

  • Reflect on what went well and what could have gone better.
    HThe end of the semester is the best time to reflect on your semester. Everything that happened (or did not) is still fresh in your memory. This is a good opportunity to note resources you may want to add or eliminate; instructions that should be tweaked; ideas for new activities; or challenges you want to reflect on before the next time the course runs. The following list provides some good jumping-off points for reflection:What were some of your favorite moments of the semester? What happened that you would like to avoid in the future?What happened that you did not plan for?What did you do in the classroom to help students feel like they belonged? What more could you do in the future?With what activities and/or resources were students most engaged? When were they the least engaged?

    What surprised you about the students’ behavior?

  • Celebrate!
    Though this time of year is busy, make it a point to do something to acknowledge and celebrate the end of this semester. Maybe you go out for a meal to celebrate with colleagues or family, or perhaps you schedule time to quietly reflect on the end of this semester before beginning the next. Whatever you do, remember that there is power in marking the passing of time and celebrating milestones.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Session: Microsoft Bookings Lunch & Learn
    Join us for a Microsoft Bookings Lunch & Learn facilitated by Jessie Sorensen and Carrie Marcinkevage. Several members of the Smeal College of Business utilize MS Bookings for admissions, coaching/advising, and individual appointments. Participants are invited to share their tips and tricks for maximizing MS Bookings’ value and use. If you have some MS Bookings success and tips, please come share and learn from peers! Join us Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 12-1 PM EST via Zoom.

Please note that rather than a first-time training for MS Bookings, this facilitated sharing session assumes basic knowledge and use.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our SmealTLT Website.

Contact Us

Email us at: smealtlthelp@psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG contact form and we will be in touch.

Spring Cleaning – Spring 2022 Newsletter 3

Spring 2022 Connections Newsletter 3 –  Spring Cleaning for Your Courses

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2021 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2021 semester, we will be sending periodic emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.
This week, we are sharing some spring cleaning tips for courses and Canvas spaces.

THREE Spring Cleaning Tasks Worth Tackling Now

  1. Create a Canvas Master Course for your Spring Cleaning
    A Canvas Master course can be used as a space to clean up and prepare your course in a space other than your live courses with LionPath enrollments. Are you worried that your students might see changes, or do you need a place to make changes in between semesters? Request a Canvas Master course and then import course content to make your changes in a more secure editing environment. Another great use for Canvas Master courses is to import, save, and organize content from previous semesters.
  2. Delete Old or Unneeded Files
    One common issue in courses is that there often are several files no longer in use and/or the Canvas “Files” tab is cluttered or disorganized. You can delete Canvas files and you also can organize and move your Canvas files. Note that if you’d like to delete multiple files, you can do that: From “Files,” if you click one item (or folder) in the right-side menu, and then press CTRL+A or Apple/Cmd+A, you can then press the delete key to delete everything selected. It is much faster than going one by one.
  3. Review Your SRTEs and student feedback
    Have you taken the time to review the feedback received from students? Take a moment to look through your SRTEs and other student feedback (student emails with questions, anecdotal comments, your own student evaluations for feedback). Reflect on the information you have received. Are there any trends or common issues that should be addressed before the next time your course is offered? Make a list of what you’d like to keep the same, change, and/or remove based on your feedback and experiences. Check out this article outlining 10 Ways Faculty Can Support Student Success if you’re looking for inspiration or guidance.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Session: Inclusive Classroom Practices
    Join Jamie Campbell and Olivia Lewis from Smeal’s Office of Diversity Enhancement Programs as they share tips and strategies to make our classes more inclusive for Smeal’s diverse student body. We will discuss five specific things everyone can do to promote a feeling of belonging in our classrooms. Join us Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 12-1 PM EST via Zoom.
  • Smeal Academy Session: Microsoft Bookings Lunch & Learn
    Join us for a Microsoft Bookings Lunch & Learn facilitated by Jessie Sorensen and Carrie Marcinkevage. Several members of the Smeal College of Business utilize MS Bookings for admissions, coaching/advising, and individual appointments. Participants are invited to share their tips and tricks for maximizing MS Bookings’ value and use. If you have some MS Bookings success and tips, please come share and learn from peers! Join us Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 12-1 PM EST via Zoom.

Please note that rather than a first-time training for MS Bookings, this facilitated sharing session assumes basic knowledge and use.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our SmealTLT Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Course Announcements. Consider using announcements for course communication to inform the entire class about something. It is easier to use than course mail for sharing global information – but you have to tell students at the beginning of the course to check announcements frequently!
  • Tip #2: Remind students to enable Canvas notifications.
    To ensure students are receiving Canvas notifications, show them how to enable them. The default settings in Canvas do notify students of announcements right away, but they might miss discussion notifications because those are set to be “off” by default.

Resources

How to Set Up Your Grading Scheme in Canvas

How to Set Up Your Grading Scheme in Canvas

This video explains how to set up your Grading Scheme in Canvas. You can choose conventional, pre-made grading schemes that are commonly used in Penn State, or you can choose to create a custom scheme which is great for finer adjustments and allowing for the possibility of rounding.

Finalizing Your Canvas Gradebook

Finalizing Your Canvas Gradebook

This video explains how to finalize your students’ grades in Canvas. There are three important recommendations in the video:

  1. All grades should have a numeric value in them. A dash ( — ) will count as a zero in the final grade calculation, it will not remove that assignment from overall grade calculation.
  2. Make sure all hidden grades are visible to students. Whether a grade is visible to students or not won’t affect the student’s true grade, but it does allow them to fully understand why they earned the grade they did.
  3. Export the grades in Canvas to an Excel document and check to make sure that students’ listed “Current Grade” is the same as their listed “Final Grade.” If these numbers are not the same, then there is an issue somewhere in the Canvas Gradebook that will need to be troubleshooted.