Winter Course Design Institute 2022 (Teaching Tip)

Four people using laptops

Registration is open for the 2022 Winter Course Design Institute (CDI). The CDI is open to 40 faculty or staff with teaching responsibilities. All disciplines are encouraged to participate.

The CDI provides a space for faculty to build community, review effective assessment, active learning techniques, and overall course design. Attendees will have the opportunity to design or substantially revise their online or hybrid courses. The presenters for the 90-minute sessions 2022 CDI are Drs. Lesya Hassall (CELT), TJ Stewart (School of Education), Cristina Bonaccorsi (Department of Chemistry), and Monica Lamm (Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering). Topics include course design elements, building community, effective assessment, and active learning techniques.

This year, the CDI will be offered January 4-7. Each day will feature a 90-minute session discussing different components of online or hybrid learning environments. The sessions will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. each of those days and will conclude with an optional 30-minute guided discussion and individual, scheduled consultations.

Registration will be accepted until November 30 through this Qualtrics survey. Those who fully engage in the four-day CDI and complete a self-evaluation of your course (materials provided by CELT), will receive a $500 professional development stipend from the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost.

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Resources for Success (November 11, 2021 – Constant Contact) page.

Prefer a Print Version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for November 11, 2021 (PDF).

CyThx Teaching Spotlight: Arka Ghosh

Dr. Arka Ghosh's headshot

Dr. Arka Ghosh was featured in #CyThx 2020 with this message: 

Dr. Ghosh is an excellent professor as he makes sure to engage the class constantly by asking interesting questions, and also highlight the important material during the lectures. As if this were not enough, he even stops to make sure that everyone is following along during class, and that nobody is stuck if he glances around the room (I took this class before the pandemic, and am always grateful for how amazing of a professor he is!).

Dr. Ghosh shared this teaching advice:

I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in Statistics, both in-person and online. When I started teaching, I promised myself not to forget how it feels to be a student. I remember feeling lost in courses, not following everything the professor said, or getting utterly disinterested in the course topic. As an instructor, I try to make sure that does not happen to my students.

I print out their photos from AccessPlus at the beginning of the course and learn their names. In larger classes, I ask them to sit at the same spot and make a seating chart to help me remember their names. I feel like that makes a big difference in keeping them engaged. While teaching, I keep asking individual students questions to make sure they are keeping up.

I have found CELT workshops beneficial for me to grow as an instructor. In particular, the Quality Matters programming was very helpful for me to rethink how I present my material in my courses. 

CyThx recognizes those who make others feel valued (Inside Iowa State)

Now in its third year, CyThx gave Iowa Staters a chance to thank the faculty, staff and graduate teaching assistants who make them feel like a valued member of the ISU community. The initiative is a partnership of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, ISU Learning Communities, Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The 2020 version drew 227 submissions, honoring recipients from 102 university units — some of them multiples times. Each message was shared with the recipient and the recipient’s unit leader. Go to the CyThx website to see the recipients and the messages that submitters chose to make public.

Tips to Make Your Course More Accessible (Teaching Tip)

Students work together during Disability Awareness Week

This week, Iowa State University has been observing Disability Awareness Week, a week devoted to educating the Cyclone community about the experience of individuals with disabilities. As an instructor, you have a direct impact on a student’s experience and ability to grow and thrive at ISU. Consider these tips to increase accessibility and improve all student learning experiences.

  • Present information in multiple formats: A disability may impact a student’s ability to access specific forms of communication. Provide course content in a variety of modalities to eliminate this barrier, and allow all students the ability to access materials through the platform most beneficial to their learning. Create captions and transcripts for videos and audio recordings, include audio descriptions of images, diagrams, or maps, or include a simulation or hands-on experience.
  • Consider how students will engage with course materials and each other: Can you identify any barriers to or within the meeting location(s) or learning environment? Have you selected learning technologies accessible to students with disabilities? Support students by being flexible and providing alternative options for engaging with course materials and each other. Allow students to participate in person or virtually. Give them the opportunity to voice questions and comments, type them within a chat, or provide anonymous feedback via Qualtrics. Encourage students to work together using alternative formats including virtual rooms, team chats, discussion boards, or online interactive apps.
  • Use assessment for learning ownership: Identify alternative mechanisms students may utilize to demonstrate acquisition of knowledge and skills indicated in your learning objectives. Provide a variety of options for students to demonstrate their skills that allow for various strengths, preferences, abilities, and student disabilities.

Contact Lori Mickle (, 515-294-5299) for more information about course accessibility or email with any questions.

Above photo courtesy of Alexandra Kelly/Iowa State Daily

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Resources for Success (October 28, 2021 – Constant Contact) page.

Prefer a Print Version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for October 28, 2021 (PDF).

CyThx Teaching Spotlight: Eulanda Sanders

Eulanda Sanders headshot

Dr. Eulanda Sanders was featured in #CyThx 2020 with this message: 

Dr. Sanders has supported me in every way when it comes to my research interests. As a first generation student, at times this degree can seem out of reach but Dr. Sanders has helped me deal with my imposters syndrome, showing me it’s attainable, while holding me accountable during the process. I’m completely online but I do not feel like I’m missing out with the way she stays connected with me.

Dr. Sanders shared this teaching advice:

Education is a partnership between student and teacher, in which the aim is to enhance life within our environments. My goal as an educator is to challenge students to strive beyond their expectations, thus empowering them with confidence in their abilities to thrive in our multi-faceted society. Education provides a foundation for students to develop a sense of humanity, sensitivity, and accountability towards individuals and the environment in which they live. Involving students in community and engagement activities that relate directly to their field of study is integral to fostering ethical and humanistic practices in disciplines and industries. Create dynamic curriculum to meet the current needs of the discipline, industry, and the students in the classroom. I suggest to not just teach a subject matter — to mentor and guide student through the curriculum to ultimately, graduate and have a wonderful life.

CyThx Teaching Spotlight: Laura Greiner

Dr. Laura Greiner's headshot. She is in a gray blazer and pink shirt.

Dr. Laura Greiner was featured in #CyThx 2020 with this message: 

Dr. Laura Greiner has made me feel like a valued member of the ISU community because of all of the things that she does outside and inside of the classroom for students. This semester I am in her Swine Science class and she has made so many adjustments to fit the COVID-19 situation and the needs of students. She has personally helped me develop my resume and cover letter and get me in contact with industry leaders for internships. Dr. Greiner has also gone above and beyond as an educator by being involved on campus with student organizations as she is the Block & Bridle advisor. Dr. Laura Greiner has been such a great professor for me this semester and as a faculty member that I can trust and go to with anything that is happening in my life.

Dr. Greiner shared this teaching advice:

During COVID class adjustments, our class was set up as hybrid with synchronous webinars during the in-person lecture hour. I had many students that would choose to participate remotely during our scheduled lecture hour rather than attending in person.  Students attending online were encouraged to ask questions and those questions were answered in real-time, much as if they were sitting in the classroom with us.

I believe in interactive learning and will spend the first few weeks of class creating interactive activities in which we learn each other’s names and encourage open dialogue through team-building activities.  

Take the five to ten minutes before class, walk the classroom, greet students by name, check-in with the students that tend to be a bit quieter, and ask questions. 

Whenever possible, talk about what is going on in the world that relates to the course material and ask for student input to encourage critical thinking.

CELT courses

I have attended a seminar on Engagement Strategies for Every Classroom which helped me identify novel ways to assess student knowledge and gain classroom engagement. I recently completed a Project-Based Learning Workshop that has really given me a new insight on developing a course that deviates from the typical lecture format.