CELT continues to aid faculty, staff with online programing

Summer is usually a time when things slow down on campus, but there was little of that this year for the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), as it played a key role in improving online instruction and learning.

CELT provided  virtual programming throughout the summer to aid faculty and staff on issues, ranging from online course essentials to navigating controversial topics in the classroom. Programming continues to ramp up in preparation for the Aug. 17 start of the fall semester.

The following are four virtual programs that can help prepare and improve online instruction:

The condensed course design clinic

Aug. 11, 8 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

This one-day, four-hour clinic is a faster-paced version of the summer course design institute normally conducted in-person over four days. The online clinic focuses on course planning, building a student-centered course in Canvas, active engagement strategies, learning assessment techniques, designing a learner-centered syllabus and implementing accessibility.

The objective is not to completely redesign a course, but to target three or four elements for improvement.

"It is a lot of learning from each other --not just talking to instructional designers and people at CELT," program coordinator Lesya Hassall said. "It is exposure to new ways to develop your course."

The clinic has a self-guided element for design and development of courses. Instructors can request additional guidance in setting up online courses through individual or group consultations with CELT by emailing celt@iastate.edu.

Synchronous communication tools

Weekly, various times

The webinar began this week, but CELT has provided Webex, Zoom and Microsoft Teams training since the transition to online instruction last spring. The training covers ways to interact and engage effectively with students, and provides an overview of different online tools (Webex, Zoom and Teams) and their appropriate use. Tips for improving the student experience also are shared.

"We focus on everything from accessibility to camera placement, sound, lighting and background," CELT learning technologies coordinator Amy Ward said. "It is all about removing distractions. We don't want instructors to have to think about tools, distractions and lighting while they are teaching, we want them to be able to focus on the content."

Upon completion of the 50-minute presentation, participants receive a recap with links to resources.

Teaching large enrollment courses online

Sept. 8, Oct. 6 and Nov. 3, 3:10-4 p.m.

This introduction to the Teaching Large Classes Online Community is for faculty and staff who teach classes with more than 60 students. It allows them to learn from others as they talk about instructional strategies, testing, tools and technologies.

The learning community came out of a summer session held by CELT to address areas of interest raised by faculty. The online meetings are designed to address issues of the moment as instructors develop best practices for large-group online instruction.

"This is something we wanted to do for a couple of years," Ward said. "It will really benefit those instructors who have classes with more than 60 students."

Refection, retooling and renewal: Strengthen your ability to be a more effective graduate student mentor

Sept. 11, 18, 25, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

The online, three-part series focuses on faculty mentoring experiences in graduate school, the different mentoring models across campus and core building blocks of a mentoring philosophy. Margaret Ellen White Award winners will lead one session, discussing mentoring approaches in different departments and colleges.

"We will have breakout discussions about how they cultivated their mentoring philosophies, what were some of their defining moments and what they learned from some of their most challenging students," assistant provost for faculty development Tera Jordan said.

Director of student counseling services Chris Hanes will lead a discussion on graduate student well-being, cultivating trust and psychological safety.

"Our mission is to create, share and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place, so excellence in graduate mentoring is really key for furthering the institutional mission and strategic goals around access to the Iowa State experience," Jordan said.