A podcast exploring topics about teaching and professional development for faculty members and instructors at Illinois State University. The show is produced by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. Find out more at CTLT.IllinoisState.edu.
Ep. 068: Communicating in Asynchronous Courses
Students don't have to feel like they're "teaching themselves" when taking an online, asynchronous course. Dr. Hulda Black, an associate professor in the College of Business, joins us to highlight ways to make communication work through course design, establishing habits, and timely feedback. She and Jim Gee discuss in importance of creating a "rhythm" through scheduled communications, including announcements through ReggieNet and weekly videos to explain learning goals and give general feedback on student work to the class. They also discuss how to approach office hours using meeting tools like Zoom.
Ep. 067: Civic Engagement in Extraordinary Times
We talk a lot about civic engagement as a core value at Illinois State University. But what does it look like when practiced in our courses? We explore that question in this episode, a preview of the 2021 University-Wide Teaching & Learning Symposium, Civic Engagement in Extraordinary Times. Dr. Katy Strzepek and Harriet Steinbach from the Center for Civic Engagement join Dr. Dana Karraker and Jim Gee from CTLT for an in-depth look at the ties between public higher education and engendering a life-long sense of civic learning in students. The group highlights ways, both big and small, to incorporate civic engagement in classes. They also examine the lessons learned from a semester of teaching and activism during a tumultuous election season, the national spotlight on social justice, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, they preview the three "rock stars of civic engagement" who will keynote the January 6, 2021 Symposium.
Ep. 066: Fall 2020 Student Check-in
As an extraordinary semester wraps up, we check in with three undergraduate students from Illinois State about their experiences learning in the age of COVID-19. They highlight what's worked in their classes this semester, what instructors have done to help them to succeed, and how the new tools we've all had to embrace - things like Zoom, recorded lectures, and other apps - have actually offered some expanded opportunities. They also explore some surprising ways they connect with other students. Plus, they weigh in on synchronous versus asynchronous learning and how those insights have impacted their choices of classes for the spring semester.
Ep. 065: Divisive Discourse
Tackling tough social issues is often a minefield in which few instructors wish to tread… and for good reason. From political polarization to the isolation of the global pandemic, a multitude of forces are shaping, and sometimes stifling, our ability to have deep, important conversations in our classes. But it can be done and done successfully.
We talk with Dr. Joseph Zompetti from the School of Communication, who shares ideas about how to structure classroom conversations, face-to-face or virtually, to navigate through divisive discourses. Joe and Jim examine some basic ground rules which can help students engage with controversial ideas and provide a sense of camaraderie with the mutual goal of sharing different perspectives. They explore the idea of classrooms as simulation spaces, where it’s okay to examine the real world without succumbing to the weight of real-world ideology. Joe also shares how he transformed his course on political rhetoric through two divisive presidential elections and what teaching practices he’s embraced during the shift to fully online instruction.
Ep. 064: Cybersecurity
We speak with Dan Taube, Illinois State University's Chief Information Security Officer, about how to keep ourselves and our students safe as we teach and learn online. As college instructors, we don't usually think about our teaching in terms of the exchange or storage of data. But it's an important consideration not just in terms of our personal online habits, but also in terms of ensuring students' privacy. Dan highlight's the best ways to prevent bad actors from getting a hold of the information they so desperately want. We discuss how to to be mindful when interacting with email and websites, and we also explore the process the University when faculty or departments seek to incorporate new online tools into the curriculum. You'll also hear about the good cybersecurity habits instructors can model for their students.
Ep. 063: COVID-19 - Students Speak
To say the Fall 2020 semester has been a challenge is to undersell it. But still, students say they're having positive learning experiences despite the global pandemic and all it means for higher education. In this episode, we talk with three returning Illinois State undergraduates, who bring a unique perspective about how things have changed since last fall. They share what their professors are doing to help them. They highlight the communication practices, flexibility, and organization that helps them to succeed. Plus, they emphasize the importance of empathy and genuine concern in the student-teacher relationship.
Highly recommend to teachers of any age
While this podcast is designed for university faculty, I often recommend this to many of my PreK-12 grade peers. Good teaching has many of the same elements regardless of age. I find their episodes to be a mixture of reminding me of best practices, new content and resources.