Weekend Wildcards

I have received a lot of helpful hints from teachers testing tools.

1. Pam Powwow: Pamela Stewart has set up a recurring ZOOM Faculty meeting that’ll happen every Friday @ 10am beginning March 27th.

Link: https://zoom.us/j/927866644

This will be an informal session to discuss how the first week went and (if anyone is interested) she’ll show how to set up and share a ZOOM meeting in HFC Online.

2. Presentation Product: Jessica Shamberger recommends Loom. “there’s software called Loom that I have been using as well, which is a presenting and screen-casting tool [emphasis added] that is really good as an alternativefor having to explain a lot of information via email or through a messaging app. It’s free to educators right now and SUPER EASY, which is most important for me. There are several tutorials on it. I have included a video I did for my class just as an example of what it is, which isHERE

 3. Monday Morning Mentor (Timely Topic)  (ooh, thanks for the alliteration Magna):

What Teaching Strategies Help Engage All Learners Online? (available March 23 – 29)

4. Tutorial Builder: [Alliteration can be hard] Jessica Shamberger also uses a tool called iorad, “… which is a tutorial builder software (there is a free version which I use). It tracks and types out all your activity you do on webpage and then has a text-to-speech dictation for any hand-written instructions. Also, it allows students to view the tutorial in video form, interactive form (where they actually need to follow each step on screen in order to move to the next slide) or it can produce a PDF version. I included a link here that shows one example I made for one of my lower level classes about the HFC website with all the change information for the semester”

5. Todd Teams: Todd Browning has worked a little with Teams the last week and is willing to give some help. Since there are hundreds of us and only one Todd, in the short term please ask specific questions if you are seriously considering it. Our IT department has commissioned a collection of resources on how to use Teams that should be ready soon as well.

6. Distance Deportment: Jessica Shamberger recommends this article as a starting place for teachers or students wondering about video chat etiquette.

7. Zoom Zine: Vinita Parekh found this introduction to Zoom teleconferencing software posted by Case Western University helpful:

Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus

Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus
David Jacobs; Math Instructor

One of the things students want from instructors is leadership, and this is likely to be even more true during these unusual times.  As we transition to online teaching, they will likely have additional or magnified fears and concerns:  Can they and will they succeed in this new format, full of possibly unfamiliar technological and logistical challenges.

It occurs to me, however, that few of us are intentionally taught leadership skills.  Yes, most of us know the critical basics:  Help our students succeed; listen to what they need and support them as best we can, given available resources.  Yet what might our leadership need to “look like” at this particular time, as we’re transitioning to teaching online?

I don’t pretend to have all the solutions, but I do want to offer some suggestions and perspective, based on some extensive training I’ve had in small group leadership. The intention is to make more conscious some things we may already “sort of know,” and to help us more skillfully and confidently support our students.

The topics of skillful leadership I want to touch on are:

  1. Managing the group so it both accomplishes tasks and maintains its well-being;
  2. Flowing with the group;
  3. Trusting that the group contains all the resources needed to meet challenges; and
  4. Tapping into the resources within the group in a way that empower its members and helps the group succeed.

I intend to offer this in 2 parts (assuming the “powers that be” allow), since there’s a lot on my mind to share, and I don’t want to overwhelm anyone.  So let’s start:

1. Managing the group so it both accomplishes tasks and maintains its well-being

Right this moment, this is probably the most critical topic to discuss.  As much as we might not want to hear it, our leadership is not just about ensuring that students do the work and keep on task; it’s also about fostering an environment where they have the best chance to succeed.

Our regular environment has been disrupted, and moving to a new, less familiar environment will likely challenge most of us.  And if we have concerns as instructors, imagine how concerned some of our students may be, and how those concerns might interfere with their ability to succeed.

In light of this – and maybe even before I figure out how next week will work and email out the details (two sections of Math 110) — I’m also planning to contact my students  in a separate email this week and ask them to “check in” with me around the following:

  • What are their current concerns?
  • What changes have occurred in their lives and schedules, if any, as a result of current circumstances? (e.g., Do they now have kids at home? Are they available for brief conferences during regular class time or not?  ).
  • What else do they want me to know about what’s going on with them and how I can support them?

Note that the intention is NOT to commit myself to solve all their issues or address all their concerns.  The intention is to:

a) Increase my awareness of what’s going on in the groups I’m leading; and
b) Help my students feel heard — and even feel empowered to influence how we move forward

Even if I don’t utilize any suggestions they have, or address all of their concerns immediately, they are still likely to feel empowered and less fearful just by being offered a chance to give input.  (This is analogous to how I suspect many of us reacted to the faculty meeting that Janice, Scott, et al held on the morning of 3/16.)

And importantly, any information students share with me might be valuable in tailoring my plans to meet the needs of my groups and help them succeed.  (This is an aspect of “Flowing with the group,” which I intend to address in a future post).

The bottom line is this:  When students know that their instructor cares enough to ask, and that they are being heard, it can often make a HUGE difference in outcomes!

A couple logistical notes:

  • I’m NOT going to require that all my students check in with me – just the ones who are moved to do so (I don’t want to overwhelm myself with emails).
  • It is essential that communications at this level be kept private. In fact, when I do this, I explicitly assure students that anything they tell me is private and will be kept strictly confidential.  This is about building and maintaining trust.  If we destroy that trust, they will stop letting us know what they need — even to the point where they stop asking us important questions about the course material we are teaching!

That’s enough, I think, for the moment.  I will hopefully return in the next few days to share around the remainder of the topics.

Sharing Resources for Switching to Remote Learning Quickly

I knew we could do this! While I was making and eating dinner I received several links to resources other teachers have found helpful. I will place them in this article. Give other suggestions in the comments and I will move them here.

Maria Andersen/Almy Education Resources

“How to move your math or science class online” (free sign-up / registration required for access)


CMUOnline Workshops for Educators

Critical and Creative Teaching in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis A collection of resources organized to help faculty transitioning to teaching online

Community of Inquiry

Community of Inquiry Framework  Course development rubrics – provides a set of criteria based on foundational course design principles


A blog post explaining that you need to be practical and links to other resources. (Author Jacqueline Wernimont)


Five Ways to Promote Student Autonomy in Online Discussion

Michigan Colleges Online

Michigan Colleges Online Rubric (PDF) – free to use by all MCO member institutions

Michigan State University

Keep Teaching: A Guide to Remote Teaching at MSU

Online Learning Consortium

Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Continuity Planning and Emergency Preparedness

Research-based approaches to teaching online maintaining a focus on students as people

Quality Matters

Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric (PDF) – requires paid membership for use; They also have a newly developed  Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist.

Thriving in Uncertainty Webinar on March 19

Link to Register

University of Michigan

U of M Center for Academic Innovation: Keep Teaching @ UM


Special thanks to Chardin Claybourne for all the resources he has suggested.
Tell me more in the comments and I will move them to the main page. Rave about the ones you like in the comments so others know. The UM, MSU, amd Quality Matters Emergency Remote Checklists seemed to me to get right to the point.
We can do this!

Fall Book Group: whistling vivaldi

Do you want to join a book discussion group, but worry you don’t have the time in to read the book during the fall semester? Are you in an employee group with professional development funds and you have a few dollars left this year?

The CTEI is pleased to help!

We will hold book discussion on Claude M. Steele’s Whisting Vivaldi in the upcoming fall semester. In the book Steele summarizes evidence that stereotype threat is real. He discusses short- and long-term impacts of stereotype threat. He also offers remedies to mitigate stereotype threat. In this video the author answers questions about his book.

The CTEI will purchase a few copies of the book in the fall to share. We encourage faculty to purchase their own copies- especially if they can be reimbursed for the purchase.


East Campus Book Group

Thanks to Peggy Kearney we are able to offer a book group on the East campus. The group will meet for the first time on February 22 from 2:30 to 3:30. The group will read How to Become a Student Ready College by Tia McNair, our Professional Issues Conference keynote speaker.

If you are interested in joining contact Peggy Kearney. We have some books available to borrow if you need one. Contact Jeff Morford if you need to borrow a book.

CTEI Book Groups Forming

The CTEI is forming book discussion groups for the winter. All teachers are welcome and we will schedule readings so as many people as possible can attend. Books are available to borrow, but Full Time teachers are encouraged to purchase any books and seek reimbursement through the Professional Improvement Fund. Express an interest below!

Teaching Naked Techniques Bowen Book Group
If you missed out on the opportunity to read and discuss Dr. Jose Antonio Bowen’s practical text in the fall, open this link and let us know your availability for discussion in the Winter: Teaching Naked Availability Survey
ISBN: 978-1-119-13611-8

Becoming a Student-Ready College McNair Book Group
As a follow-up to Dr. Tia McNair Brown’s presentation at last week’s PIC, we hope to form at least one reading/study group to discuss Becoming a Student-Reading College. Interested? Open this link to let us know your availability: Becoming a Student-Ready College Availability
ISBN: 978-1-110-11951-7

Bowen Handouts

Last Friday José Bowen led two engaging sessions- a keynote speech at UM-Dearborn and a workshop at Henry Ford College. Several people have asked whether we can get more copies of the hand outs or more information.

For more information the best place to go is to the website teaching naked. The Borrow and the Buzz tabs include information you may wish to read, watch, or share. Some of the other tabs promote Dr. Bowen’s business.

If you are after handouts, like those from our workshop, then follow this direct link to the handout page.

Are you already using some techniques, or tips from the sessions?  Let us know in the comments.

Teaching Naked Techniques

“Engagement precedes learning.”  (Bowen & Watson 2017)

What does an engaged student look like?   How does course design and instructor planning impact student engagement long before the first class meeting?  Why should instructors care about building a culture of inquiry and comfort where students feel compelled to not only show up for class, but show up having read and thought so they are prepared to actively engage?

If you find these questions interesting (or perhaps disconcerting), mark your calendar for the CTEI Mini-conference scheduled on Friday, 21 September.  Author Jose Antonio Bowen will join HFC and UM-Dearborn faculty to discuss practical strategies instructors can follow to engage and retain learners.   Click this link to look inside:  Teaching Naked Techniques A Practical Guide to Designing Better Classes  Each chapter focuses on one active teaching technique, provides step-by-step guidance and explicit examples of how professors across a wide range of fields and campuses (University of Georgia and the U.S. Naval Academy, to name a few) are putting these techniques into practice.  For those who wish to dive deeper, a list of additional resources and and an impressive list of references close each of the 13 chapters.

Full-time faculty can be reimbursed for purchasing this book from the Professional Improvement Fund (PIF). If you read this before August 1 and have not reached your PIF maximum for this year, consider buying this book for your personal library.