Final Teaching Tip of the School Year

The calendar doesn’t lie- it is just about the end of the semester. Across campus faculty and students are hard at work wrapping up their courses and preparing for summer. And soon campus will take on that quiet, almost eerie calmness, associated with summer in Ames.

As you prepare for summer I want to share two professional development opportunities for your consideration.

We are currently soliciting participants for the CELT Teaching Partners Program. This program is designed to match second or third year tenure-track faculty with a senior faculty member (a successful, experienced teacher) from a differing discipline. This partnership supplements departmental mentoring with a focus on the teaching and student learning components of your position responsibilities. This partnership will begin the first week of September 2016 and continue until May 2017.  The Teaching Partners Program includes monthly meetings with your teaching partner group, attending three Teaching Partner Program events during the academic year, completing classroom visits among the partner group, and attending at least one CELT professional development program during the year.  If you are interested in participating in the CELT Teaching Partners Program as either a senior partner or junior partner, please contact Jen Leptien, CELT Program Coordinator, at 294-1948 (or by May 6, 2016.

CELT Associate Director Holly Bender has been offering her incredibly popular 5-week teaching circle focused on team-based learning each semester for a number of years now. Inevitably there are a handful of faculty who are unable to participate because of conflicts with their teaching schedule. Holly is considering offering the teaching circle this summer if there is enough interest. If you are interested in participating respond by visiting the Summer Offering for Team-Based Learning Survey website.

Current News about Online Teaching and Learning

Starting this month CELT is beginning a campus wide promotion of the nationally recognized Quality Matters (QM) course design framework for online courses. The March 31, 2016 Inside Iowa State article describes how the QM higher education rubric can be used to evaluate an online course for both general course improvement and for external certification by the Quality Matters organization. The QM rubric is an effective course development tool because it focuses on alignment of course components including: learning objectives, assessment and measurement, instructional materials, course activities and learner interaction, and course technology.

To support this use of QM across campus CELT recently launched three professional development tracks with the goal of helping faculty enhance their online courses. The three tracks are:

  • Basics of online teaching
  • Beyond the basics of online teaching
  • Universal design for teaching online

For more information about implementing Quality Matters at ISU contact: Allan Schmidt, 294-5357 or


In other news, CELT has also started a national search for our next Associate Director for Online Learning. The full position description is available on the ISU Human Resources website. This faculty appointment is 0.75 FTE Administrative in CELT /0.25 FTE academic home department. The closing date for the position is April 30, 2016. For more information please contact: Ann Marie VanDerZanden, 294-7555 or

Your Feedback is Needed: Flipped Classroom Learning Community Planning for Summer 2016

Summer 2016 is approaching and CELT is in the process of planning programming for May and June. We would like your feedback about scheduling a Flipped Classroom Learning Community during this summer. Please take a few minutes to read through the faculty learning community description and goals and complete the short survey to let us know what month and time would work best for you.



A Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy that reverses the traditional educational arrangement by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. 


This learning community offers an opportunity for faculty/staff/graduate students/postdoc to learn more about the flipped classroom concept and how to incorporate this approach into courses. The learning community provides a venue to interact with other instructors, many who have already flipped their course, to brainstorm ideas, and participate in hands-on group activities and discussions. 


Learning Community Goal

The goal of this learning community cohort is to help instructors, or future instructors, get started (re)designing their course using a flipped classroom approach.



Please complete this short survey to help us with our planning.  Thanks!

SoTL Scholars Program

A quick reminder this week that the deadline to apply for the 2016-2017 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Scholars program is coming up after Spring Break. This yearlong program provides a framework and mentorship to help a faculty member complete a SoTL research project. Sara Marcketti, CELT Associate Director for SoTL leads this program and guides participants through a series of activities all aimed toward a completed and publishable SoTL project. Information about the SoTL Scholars Program is available on the website and the deadline to apply is March 28, 2016.

Using Service-Learning to Deepen Students’ Understanding of Course Content

Service-learning has long been an effective way to help students develop a richer understanding of a subject and also apply what they are learning in a tangible way. Bringle and Hatcher (1996) defined service learning as: “a credit-bearing, educational, experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs, and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.” Well-designed and implemented service-learning projects can have a significant impact on the undergraduate experience of our ISU students.

Because of the positive impact service-learning can have, an ad hoc taskforce of faculty, and staff from CELT and Student Organizations have been working to promote this pedagogical approach through teaching and learning circles and a service-learning faculty learning community. In Fall 2015 the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee provided guidance for academic programs on how they might include a service-learning designation in courses. Courses with this type of designation must include a requirement for students to perform volunteer or community service, and also include an assessment of the learning students have accomplished during, or as a result of, their volunteer and community service. The Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee recommends adding the phrase “Assessed service-learning component.” to such course descriptions. If you or your colleagues are integrating service-learning in your courses consider adding that phrase as catalogue descriptions are revised for the 2016-2017.

Visit the CELT service-learning website for more information about service-learning and to learn about service-learning examples at ISU. For further information about the course designation contact Suzanne Hendrich (

CELT’s New Website- Same Great Resources but Easier to Use

If you’ve been to our website  recently you’ve likely noticed our new design and layout. Over the past eight months we’ve worked with a ‘user experience’ (UX) expert to help us reimagine the CELT website. As part of that redesign, we pared down the content to represent the current work we are focused on and to streamline resources we know receive a lot of traffic on the site. There are four main categories; Events & Registration, Teaching, Faculty, and Graduate Students and Post Docs.

The teaching section is by far the largest section and has been significantly refined and reorganized. Within this section we’ve grouped content relative to broad themes of what we do when we teach and these subsections include: Creating an Inclusive Classroom; Effective Teaching Practices; Teaching Format; Facilitating Learning with Technology; Blackboard Best Practices; Preparing To Teach; and Assessment and Evaluation. We still provide pedagogical support for Blackboard (through the website and in person) but the technical support for Blackboard, including online resources, was moved to the ITS Solution Center in August 2015.

The faculty section includes subsections on Documenting Your Teaching; Programs; and Funding Opportunities. The Programs subsection includes information about the professional development programs CELT offers, one of which I would like to promote in this Teaching Tip- The SoTL Scholars Program. This yearlong program provides a framework and mentorship to help a faculty member complete a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research project. Sara Marcketti, CELT Associate Director for SoTL leads this program and guides participants through a series of activities all aimed toward a completed and publishable SoTL project. Information about the SoTL Scholars Program is available on the website and the deadline to apply is March 28, 2016.

We think we have the bugs worked out on the new website, but if you discover something we’ve missed please let me know! And, if you have other feedback about the new site you would like to share, please contact me (

Steps Toward Creating an Inclusive Classroom

Micromessages are small, subtle, often subconscious messages we send and receive in our communication with others in the form of a gesture, word choice, treatment, or even tone of voice. These messages can be either positive (micro-affirmations) or negative (micro-inequities). –National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity

Without awareness educators may inadvertently use micro-inequities to discourage underrepresented students (e.g. female and minority students) from engaging in a course, and ultimately in careers in that field. Although there is strong evidence this is a significant issue in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) it also occurs in other courses and disciplines as well.

So how do we create an inclusive classroom for ALL students at ISU? It may seem like a daunting task, particularly when as an instructor we might not even be aware of the negative micromessages we are sending. Through the direction of the Senior Vice President and Provost, CELT has convened an Inclusive Classroom Taskforce this semester. The taskforce is charged with developing a variety of resources including online materials and face-to-face professional development training to support faculty in creating an inclusive classroom. The taskforce includes undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty and staff from across campus with both expertise in inclusivity and diversity and an earnest desire to make Iowa State an exceptional learning environment. To support this initiative CELT has reorganized some of our existing content on this topic and has added additional materials under the new Creating an Inclusive Classroom section on our website.

We’ll continue to communicate with campus as the Inclusive Classroom Taskforce moves forward.