Category: CTL News

Contains news and topics of interest to faculty and instructional staff at Michigan Tech.


CTL instructional Awards: Curriculum Development, Katrina Black

Tuesday January 26, 2021 at 3:30PM, Katrina Black will present on curriculum development. Her topic will include how we choose to spend class time and assess student learning should reflect what it means for students to know and do within our disciplines. Although these beliefs are likely to look somewhat different for every discipline (and even every instructor!) there are many principles that can be broadly applied. In this talk, I’ll describe what aligning beliefs about learning to course structure and assessment has looked like in my physics classroom, including rethinking traditional topic order presentation, focusing on in-class group work, getting things wrong on purpose, and standards-based and mastery grading.

To register for this zoom event, click here.


Teaching in Uncertain Times
UPTLC Virtual Workshop Series 20-21
Wednesday November 4 @ 3:30 PM

Healthy Professor: Incorporating Practices of Well-Being to Teach Fully and Engage Students Meaningfully
Jody-Lynn Rebek, Algoma U. Business Department

Abstract: The healthy professor is a session that will explain, promote, and demonstrate aspects of holistic health, within the context of higher education teaching and learning, especially in light of COVID19.  The session will illustrate the personal experiences of the facilitator, and explore the impact of incorporating well-being into daily living, including current research.  A particular focus on mindset, attitudes, and perspective via practices such as intention setting, gratitude, and mindfulness will be explored.  Ways to nurture authentic leadership through practices that promote greater self-awareness will also be shared.  Faculty who nurture healthy attitudes and engage in activities that promote well-being, trickle into the classroom setting, impacting students, and others in nurturing ways (Seigel, 2018).

Dealing With Distressed Students
Christina Hartline, NMU Counseling and Consultation Office

Abstract: Students at university and college counseling centers across the country are seeking services with increasingly severe problems and concerns (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018; American College Health Association-National College Health assessment, 2018). Educators at these institutions are experiencing a change in student needs, academically and emotionally, and are oftentimes expected to know how to manage students with mental health needs. This presentation will provide audience members with education, techniques, and resources regarding dealing with distressed and/or distressing students. The presenter’s background as a clinical psychologist and assistant professor will provide a first-hand account of the role that mental health plays in students’ well-being. Specific areas that will be addressed include an overview of symptoms and behaviors that may suggest a need for intervention, strategies for communicating with students who are distressed or distressing, and education about available resources for students. Audience members will actively participate in case study demonstrations that illustrate useful interventions and have opportunities to explore classroom concerns. The knowledge and skills acquired from this presentation will allow audience members to support students’ social and emotional learning by normalizing and encouraging help-seeking behaviors.

To register for this event, click here.

CTL Presents: Online Course Showcase
Tuesday November 6 @ 3:00 PM

Michigan Tech has made a commitment to making quality online learning opportunities available for working adult professionals from around the country and further.  Even without the demands the current pandemic has imposed upon us, it is important to be able to deliver education to learners that are working full time, have demanding schedules and family obligations or are bound by place for a variety of reasons. Developing and delivering quality, fully online, asynchronous courses requires creating an online experience that is active, engaging, and features frequent and substantial student-student, student-instructor, and student-course material interactions.

Join the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning on Tuesday, November 10th, at 3:00pm for an opportunity to interact with Michigan Tech faculty who have designed and delivered online courses in Canvas. There will be a showcase by each faculty followed by breakout sessions for questions and discussion.

This event will be held over zoom. A link will be provided when you complete the registration.


CTL Presents – Canvas Course Showcase
Tuesday October 27, 2020 at 3:00 PM

The current remote instruction environment has required many instructors to develop new approaches to using Canvas.  Providing students with an organized and intuitive course design, opportunities to engage with peers, and a workflow to efficiently complete course activities is critical.

Make plans to attend a Canvas Course Showcase, hosted by the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.  This Zoom event will feature three Michigan Tech instructors who will showcase their Canvas courses and highlight some of the organizational features that help support their students.

This event will be held over zoom. A link will be provided once you have completed the registration.

CTL Presents – De-escalating in the classroom
Friday October 30, 2020 at 12:00 PM

The Center for Teaching and Learning,  in cooperation with Public Safety and Police Services, present De-escalation in the classroom. Students, like instructors, are dealing with exceptional stressors. These agitated states can make interactions with and between students very difficult. If you say the wrong thing, they can become increasingly angered, but if you give in to their unreasonable demands, you may unintentionally create an even more complicated situation. While there is no perfect solution, knowing how to verbally de-escalate “hot moments” in a classroom or other situation might increase opportunity to reach a mutually desired outcome. In this lightly interactive workshop, Reid Devoge from public safety will share strategies and techniques that can be used to resist verbal aggression and ultimately create a situation wherein productive dialogue can occur.  Rob Bishop from Conduct Services will also be present to address questions about how his office might address conduct issues for such situations. and share other relevant campus resources.

This event will be a zoom lunch session. Once you have registered, you will be provided with a link via a calendar invite. 


Teaching in Uncertain Times
UPTLC Virtual Workshop Series 20-21

Tuesday, September 8 @ 3:30 PM

Take it or Leave It? Student Engagement Techniques to Carry Forward Into Fall and Others that Can Stay In The Spring
Brigitte Morin, MTU Biological Sciences Department

Abstract: Spring 2020 brought an opportunity to try out many new teaching techniques in a variety of classroom situations. From completely flipping an already flipped class, teaching synchronously and asynchronously, live and pre-recorded, big (150+) and small (22), some vital teaching lessons have been learned. This session will highlight the major takeaways from each scenario, focusing on strategies that stuck regardless of the class setting or size as well as discussing techniques that can be left behind. The talk will center around keeping students engaged and connected in various ways despite the virtual and physical distance. Participants will leave with clear strategies that they can apply (or not!) in their own classroom regardless of size or subject matter.

How a Weekly Video Saved My Sanity
Cathy White, LSSU Education Department

Abstract: Although I thought I had all my content clear and ready for the first week of remote teaching, I received an almost constant barrage of emails from my students asking for clarification or how to do x,y, and z. The next week, I made a document with a checklist of what needed to be done and a short video overview where I explained the tasks and how to submit. Students knew what to do and how to do it and could focus on the work instead of asking me for more information. Many students mentioned the videos in the course evaluations. Weekly overview videos can be used in face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes. This session will show some examples of videos and show how to make your own. 

To register for the event on September 8, please click here.

Teaching in Uncertain Times
UPTLC Virtual Workshop Series 20-21

Tuesday, September 16 @ 3:30 PM

Empowering Students to Learn Without You
Barb Light, LSSU Dean of College of Education & Liberal Arts

Abstract: Headed to a conference? Need to miss class? Teaching online? Want to prompt student learning outside of class times? This session will share ten ideas for managing student learning when you cannot be with them for whatever reason. Some will integrate technology into the strategy.

The Importance of Self-Care During a Pandemic | A New Path: Choosing Wellness
Mary Franczek, NMU  Nursing Department

Abstract: Do you view health as the absence of disease? A static condition for which there is no change? Or do view health as an opportunity to live life to the fullest even with disease present? Wellness is a choice. Dorothea Orem defines self care as the “practice of activities that individuals initiate and perform on their own behalf in maintaining life, health, and well-being.” How well are you taking care of yourself? The short form of the Integrative Health and Wellness Assessment (IHWA) tool was developed to support self-assessment and self-reflection on the eight dimensions of wellness defined by the Theory of Integrative Nurse Coaching (TINC). These dimensions include (1) Life Balance and Satisfaction, (2) Relationships, (3) Spiritual, (4) Mental, (5) Emotional, (6) Physical (Nutrition, Exercise, Weight Management), (7) Environmental, and (8) Health Responsibility (Dossey, 2015). This tool, once completed by the attendee, helps to assess readiness to change, priority for making changes, and the persons confidence in the ability to make change. I have researched the need of personal self care in nursing, medicine, social work, psychology, teaching, pharmacology, and physical therapy. There is a pervasive need for all professionals to engage in a daily practice of self care. Through storytelling, with humor and honesty, participants will reflect on their personal need for self care. Through completion of the IHWA, participants will identify personal self care wellness goals. Daily application of information gained, will improve the health and wellness of participant educators. This path will lead to improved outcomes for ourselves, our students, and our universities.

To register for the event on September 16, please click here.

Future events include:
October 13: Collaborating Group Testing Implemented Online Using Zoom
In Defense Of Distance Education Lessons Learned From Zoom
November 4: Healthy Professor: Incorporating Practices of Well-Being to Teach Fully and Engage Students Meaningfully Dealing With Distressed Students


Teaching in Uncertain Times
UPTLC Virtual Workshop Series 20-21

Wednesday, August 26 @ 3:30 PM

Enhancing Pedagogical Impact Through Voice and Movement
Elizabeth Parks, LSSU Theater Department

Abstract: Teaching digitally has forced us into a conversation with our webcam. The camera doesn’t lie. Our verbal and nonverbal communication doesn’t lie. In this workshop we will explore vocal and physical strategies for maximizing our impact in the classroom through personal vocal and physical engagement. By exploring the psycho/social/physio-vocal training methodologies of Lessac Kinesensic Training and Margolis Method we will explore ways to make your digital teaching more effective and teaching in-person with a mask more effective. We will explore ways to strengthen your vocal prowess and ways to cultivate physical energy whether in an online format or an in-person format. Ultimately, energy is energy is energy and we will explore how energy is manifested in the classroom, in the teacher, and in the student in order for the teacher to craft the best experience for the student to maximize teaching and learning. 

Using Starpoint Activities in Online Chat as a Method of Engaging Students
Nadun Kulasekera Mudiyanselage, MTU Mathematics Department
Co-Presented with Jacob Blazejewski

Abstract: This past academic year two MTU graduate teaching instructors set out to improve student engagement through Canvas’ integrated online chat forum: Piazza.  We aimed to develop robust activities that helped build community among students and increase contact with the instructor beyond the stereotypical “post three observations from your reading and comment on two other observations.” These activities were graded using a simple ‘star points’ rubric and student’s participation counted as a portion of their final grade. We will share our rubric and demonstrate it live with an engagement activity.  Additionally, we will present data about the effectiveness and student’s perceptions of star points in Precalculus and Differential Equations from three in-person sections and two online sections. We hope attendees will be inspired to use our easily adaptable activities within their own courses of any subject area.

To register for this event, please click here.

Future events include:
September 8: Take it or Leave It? Student Engagement Techniques to Carry Forward Into Fall and Others that Can Stay In The Spring
How a Weekly Video Saved My Sanity
September 16: Empowering Students to Learn Without You
The Importance of Self-Care During a Pandemic | A New Path: Choose Wellness
October 13: Collaborating Group Testing Implemented Online Using Zoom
In Defense Of Distance Education Lessons Learned From Zoom
November 4: Healthy Professor: Incorporating Practices of Well-Being to Teach Fully and Engage Students Meaningfully Dealing With Distressed Students


May 13 at 3:00PM, CTL and Idea hub present: Online Education Session VIII: Tech Forward to Better: Lessons Learned during COVID-19

Over the past eight weeks, most everything about the way we engage with students changed as the pandemic challenged us to quickly put our classes online, identify new ways of assessing learning, and support students in their unique and varied situations–all while our homes became our offices, we experienced zoom fatigue, parents became teachers, and toilet paper became a precious commodity.

While we all envision a time when we can get back to normal, a look back through the chaos and uncertainty shows incredible stories of ingenuity, creativity and resilience. Times of crisis often lead to the biggest opportunities for innovation, and many of us have examples of things that we did in the online environment that we’re planning to keep and improve upon as we prepare for a Flex Fall.

Join us for the last in our spring 2020 series of virtual IDEA hub/CTL Online Education Sessions, on Wednesday, May 13 3:00 – 4:30pm, as we reflect back on the challenges of the semester, share our stories, and reframe our thinking around opportunities to go “forward to better” rather than “back to normal.” If you have a story you’d be willing to share, please respond to this brief google form by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Friday, May 8. Selected story tellers will be asked to prepare a one-slide, two-minute overview of their best practice, new idea, or lesson learned.

Whether you want to share a story or listen to the stories of others, click the link to register and be added to the calendar invite which will include the Zoom link. If you have questions or do not get the calendar invite, please email

Immediately following the session, join us in our virtual IDEA Pub for an end-of-semester happy hour from 4:30 – 5:00! As always, this will be a chance to kick back with your beverage of choice, socialize, and connect with one another. We’ll provide some prompts to get the conversation going.

Once you have registered with this link, you will be sent the link to join the meeting via zoom.


IDEA hub/CTL Online Education Session I

Friday April 3, 2020 from 3:00PM to 4:00PM

In the last two weeks, everything changed. We’ve scrambled to put our classes online, reorganize our lives, and adjust to the new normal. We’ve felt overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. These last two weeks have shown us the importance of community and connection–if we can’t meet in physical spaces, we’ll gather in virtual ones.

Join us for the first in a series of virtual IDEA hub/CTL Online Education Sessions, Friday April 3 from 3:00 – 4:00. In this first session, you’ll hear from a student panel about their experience transitioning to online learning: what they are thinking and feeling, what is working and what isn’t. You’ll see online tools modeled that you can use in your classes. And you’ll have a chance to connect with one another to share insights, frustrations, successes, concerns, and coping strategies.

Immediately following the meet up, join us in our virtual IDEA Pub for a happy hour from 4:00 – 5:00! This will be a chance to kick back with your beverage of choice, socialize, and connect with one another. We’ll provide some prompts to get the conversation going.

To register, see this link

IDEA Hub series continued

Tuesday April 7, 2020 at 3:00PM, Amlan Mukherjee from Civil and Environmental Engineering will speak for the first 10 minutes about Break Out Rooms in Zoom. This will be followed by a question and answer session.

To register for April 7, use this link

Friday April 10, at 3:00PM, Nancy Barr from Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics will speak for the first 10 minutes about Giving feedback online. This will be followed by a question and answer session.

To register for April 10, use this link

Tuesday April 14, at 3:00PM, Roman Sidorsov from Social Sciences will speak for the first 10 minutes about Testing. This will be followed by a question and answer session.

To register for April 14, use this link

Friday April 17, at 3:00PM, Libby Meyer from Visual and Performing Arts will speak for the first 10 minutes about Using Media. This will be followed by a question and answer session. 

To register for April 17, use this link

Tuesday April 21, at 3:00PM, Facilitators: James DeClerk (MEEM) & Travis Wakeham (Biological Sciences)  will speak for the first 10 minutes. This will be followed by a question and answer session. 

To register for April 21, use this link

Friday April 24, at 3:00PM. In this session, we will reflect and debrief on what we have learned during this sudden immersion in online learning and plan for the future

To register for April 24, use this link


Thursday February 13, 2020 at 12:00PM the CTL will present a lunch and learn titled Teaching and Learning STEM Faculty Institute Kickoff

In collaboration with the College of Engineering, the CTL has procured 25 copies of Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent’s book on integrating research-based practices into STEM teaching.  
In this session, we’ll survey the book and break attendees into groups based on experience and goals. Then, we’ll make plans to read, meet, and discuss the book during 4 additional meetings during spring semester. Registrants should come prepared to discuss “good” meeting times and share their own background and goals regarding active learning and research-based teaching.

Please register online. Attendance will be limited to 25, with lunch available for those who register by Monday, February 10, 2020


Tuesday January 21, 2020 at 12:00PM the CTL will present a lunch and learn titled Ed Tech Roundup.

Start the new semester by checking out some new teaching tools and resources. There’s something for everyone!

  • New Canvas Gradebook
  • Captioning Videos (New tools and Minigrants)
  • Integrated Library Resources (through Canvas Commons)
  • Accessibility Short Course
  • New Zoom Classroom   (Dillman 204)
  • Gradescope Artificial Intelligence Grading Tool


UDL Workshops: EquatIO- Making Math Digital and More Accessible

Learn how EquatIO provides tools to create digital math expressions that are more accessible to all learners. Math expressions used is STEM courses are commonly presented as images in documents or web pages.  These can be difficult to interpret for students with learning disabilities like dyslexia or dyscalculia, and those who use assistive technology.  We’ll review the features of the EquatIO toolbar including the AI prediction supported equation editor, the LaTeX editor and conversion options, the handwriting and speech input tools, the Desmos graphing calculator, the EquatIO mobile input option, and the amazing and powerful screenshot reader. See how EquatIO provides learners options for how they interact with math expressions, allowing them to create, edit and listen to math in new ways to support their learning.

This workshop will be held:
Tuesday October 1, 2019. 10AM – 11AM in Library 242. Please use this link to register for that date.
Monday October 7, 2019. 3:30PM -4:30PM in Library 242. Please use this link to register for that date.

UDL Workshops: Ally- Helping Make Course Content More Accessible

See how Ally indicators provide a visual status of your course files and how to access and implement Ally guidance to improve access.  Learn about common accessibility issues like scanned and untagged PDF’s, missing headings, and alternative descriptions and how to fix these issues in your course materials.  See how Ally’s course accessibility report provides an overview of course accessibility issues and helps you prioritize planned improvements. This workshop is a great chance to get answers to your most pressing course accessibility questions. This workshop will be held in Library 242.

October dates for this workshop are:
Thursday October 3, 2019. 2PM – 3PM in Library 242. Please use this link to register for that date.
Wednesday October 9, 2019. 3:30PM – 4:30PM in Library 242. Please use this link to register for that date.

CTL Coffee Chat: Quality Online Learning at Michigan Tech

Online education offerings are increasingly scrutinized for quality; often more so than typical on-campus courses. While some requirements are external, on a basic level, meeting these expectations is also in the best interest of students enrolled in our online offerings. These requirements
also provide the best opportunity to ensure that we, as a university, present our expertise in the best possible light, and demonstrate our commitment to high quality education regardless of delivery method. Please join us to discuss how Michigan Tech is working to ensure the quality of online education and bring any questions that you have regarding online teaching, new qualifications, and the online course review process. Please use this link to register by September 27, 2019.

Jackson CTL: Choosing and Using Media

A variety of presentation media are now available in – or can be brought into – almost every classroom.  In this workshop, we’ll consider best practices for using common media.  We’ll also examine the advantages and disadvantages of several different classroom media across a number of educational dimensions with an eye toward optimizing the information conveyed.
Please use this link  to register for the October 17, 2019 lunch and learn


CTL Instructional Award Presentation Series

In the first presentation of our fall award series, we’ll hear from two of our four 2019 instructional award winners. Dr. John Jaszczak, Professor of Physics and Interim Chemistry Chair, will share his extensive experiences using a variety of methods of full-class assessment of learning in large classes. Dr. Tim Schulz, University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering will then share his outstanding progress in online course curriculum and learning tool development. Following each presentation, we’ll recognize them with the 2019 CTL Award for Assessment (John) and Curriculum Development (Tim). Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from and recognize two important contributors to Tech’s teaching mission!
Please use this link to register for the October 22, 2019 coffee chat