Category: Events

CTL Technical Workshop: Getting Started with iClicker Cloud

Thursday, January 4, 2024 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Location: TBD

The Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will host a technical workshop Thursday, January 4, 2024, to introduce instructors to iClicker Cloud software.

iClicker Cloud helps instructors engage with their students in the classroom by asking polling questions that can promote discussion, identify areas of confusion and generate questions. Michigan Tech has a campus site license for iClicker Cloud, so instructors can use this tool at no additional cost to their students.

In this CTL technical workshop, we’ll review how to get started using iClicker Cloud in your classroom. We’ll review how to set up your instructor account, iClicker Groups, make custom course settings to meet your needs, and integrate the course with your Canvas course. 

Register for the workshop — make plans to join us Thursday, January 4, 2024, from 2-3 p.m.

Room location will be announced closer to the event date.

Contact the CTL at with any questions about this workshop or using iClicker Cloud in your class.

CTL Technical Workshop: Canvas Grading and Gradebook

Thursday, January 11, 2024 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Location: TBD

Do you have questions about how the Canvas gradebook works? Do you need help grading assignments in SpeedGrader and posting them in the gradebook? Making sure your students have accurate and updated grades in Canvas is important. The Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will be hosting a technical workshop on Canvas grading and gradebook practices.

We’ll cover some of the common pinch points that instructors encounter, including the use of assignment groups for grade weighting, setting up a grading scheme that matches your syllabus, using grade posting policies and attaching grading rubrics to your assignments.

Register to attend the CTL Technical Workshop: Canvas Grading and Gradebook at 1 p.m. on January 11, 2024. Room location is to be determined and will be announced closer to the event date.

Contact the CTL at for more information.

2023 CTL Instructional Awards Announced

The Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) congratulates the following 2023 Deans’ Teaching Showcase members who have been selected to receive 2023 CTL Instructional Awards.  

  • Elham Asgari (College of Business)- Innovative or Out of Class Teaching:  
  • Tim Wagner (Mathematical Sciences)-Large Class Teaching
  • Pasi Lautala (CEGE), and Radheshyam Tewari (ME-EM)-Curriculum Development and Assessment

This year’s recipients will present an overview of the efforts that led to their teaching awards at a CTL Lunch and Learn event on Tuesday, September 12, at 12:00 in the MUB Alumni Lounge.  Each presenter will receive formal recognition and a cash award. 

Please register in advance to attend the luncheon.

The CTL would also like to thank previous instructional award recipients who were instrumental in the selection process.

We’re looking for nominations for the upcoming 2024 Deans’ Teaching Showcase during spring semester. Please consider suggesting (to your dean or chair) instructors whom you’ve seen make exceptional contributions in curriculum development, assessment, innovative or out-of-class teaching, or large class teaching.

Contact the CTL ( for more information.

August 2023

Thursday August 24 and Friday August 25, 2023

New GTAs are asked to attend a general teaching orientation EITHER Thursday or Friday morning the week before classes begin.   This essential session will review national and university instructional policies (FERPA, Title IX, Academic Integrity), basic classroom management and expectations (safety, managing disruptions, inclusion), effective communication with students (in and out of class), and introduce campus instructional resources (library, Student Services, CTL). You must register for a session prior to the event.

Register for Thursday August 24 here.

Register for Friday August 25 here.


CTL Coffee Chat: Planning for Regular and Substantive Interaction in All Classes
Thursday, October 14, 2021

As we pivoted to remote teaching, many of us completed courses in online teaching.   The U.S. Department of Education requires that all online courses using federal financial aid “ensure that there is regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors.”   But now that most of us are back to in-person teaching, it’s worth asking: what if we applied the same standard to face-to-face courses?    In this workshop, we’ll dig into these definitions and try to answer that question.  We’ll also explore ways to initiate “regular and substantive interactions” with all of your students, regardless of the course size or instructional mode.  Participants who wish to attend remotely should indicate this in the comments of their registration.   

To attend this event register here

CTL Instructional Award – Large Class Teaching: Andrew Galerneau and Teresa Woods
Tuesday October 19, 2021 at 3:45PM

Teresa Woods
Title:  Tend to the Basics, and Find Your Own Shtick!

Abstract:  Whether you are cooking, playing basketball, teaching, or doing countless other activities, careful execution of the basic skills often leads to success.  When I reflect on my own teaching, I don’t see a lot of razzle dazzle, but rather a fierce commitment to aligning learning objectives, learning activities, and assessment (the basics of good teaching).  In this presentation, I will outline my course design and planning routine to illustrate how I accomplish this alignment for a large section linear algebra course.  I’ll also share how over the years I’ve grown confident being myself in the classroom, rather than trying to imitate others who have inspired or impressed me.

Andrew Galerneau 
Using Gamification for Teaching Difficult Topics

Abstract: As students, we have all had that one class, the “why am I here, and do I really have to do this?” class. Fast forward a few years later, and some of us are lucky enough to teach one of these classes. When I first started teaching organic chemistry, I endeavored to not repeat the mistakes I perceived of my professors when I was an undergraduate student. Drawing from personal experiences and information learned from CTL workshops, I utilized Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) and small group work to facilitate learning and engagement with the curriculum during my first teaching assignment. Despite any success I had in the first year, I believed that entire experience could still be more engaging. Based upon lessons learned from modern video games, I gamified my organic curriculum the following summer. The level of engagement and attitudes of my students shifted dramatically, and I have since fully committed to this course structure to date. I look forward to sharing my gamified curriculum design, and the lessons that I have learned in the previous decade.

To attend this event, please register here.

CTL Technical Workshop: Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Word or Google Docs
Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Workshop details: What does it mean to create an accessible document?  Why is it important? How can you create accessible documents from scratch or remediate existing documents to improve accessibility?

In this workshop we will review the most common issues that can introduce digital barriers in documents including headings, lists, links, tables, images, and color use considerations.  We’ll also review the tools available in Microsoft Word or Google Docs to ensure your documents are structured for accessibility, how to check for errors, and how to export accessible PDF versions of your documents.

Computers will be available during the workshop to try out the tools in either Word or Google Docs.  Feel free to bring your own documents to work with during the workshop.

To attend this event register here.

CTL Coffee Chat: Computerized classroom testing: infrastructure, ideas and best practices
Thursday, November 4, 2021 3:30 PM

During remote teaching, many instructors learned how to leverage Canvas or other computerized tools for quizzes and exams. These tools offered advantages like automatic grading, the use of question banks, and the ability to easily randomize correct answers to increase integrity. Remote proctoring, meanwhile, offered significant challenges.  As we’ve returned to the classroom, infrastructure has been put in place to allow computerized testing in university classrooms. This allows more conventional proctoring while taking advantage of the efficiencies and higher integrity of computerized exams.  In this session, we’ll explore that infrastructure and best practices for giving computer-based exams and quizzes in classrooms.

To attend this event register here.

CTL Instructional Award – Curriculum Development or Assessment: Todd Arney, Senior Lecturer in Applied Computing and Paul Sanders, Patrick S. Horvath Endowed Professor in Materials Science
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 3:45 PM

Todd Arney
Title: The challenge of making complex topics accessible and engaging to a broad audience

Abstract:  Sometimes, what starts as a simple question or task, turns into a lengthy and involved procedure or explanation that diverts us away from our original goals. For example, when someone asks a question like “Why isn’t my phone working?” what they are actually asking is, “What is the simplest way to get my phone working?”. In academia, so much time is spent on the nuances and intricacies of “Why” we sometimes lose sight of the question “What is the easiest way to explain this?” – especially to an audience unfamiliar (or frankly uninterested) with the topic. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with faculty in the College of Engineering (Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering) and bring concepts from the College of Computing (Applied Computing) to one of their “Water Resources System Modeling and Design” classes. The task became: “How could I take complex topics like cybersecurity, cyberethics, virtualization, the Linux operating system, and computer networking and distill them down to the bare essentials and make everything accessible (and engaging) to non-technology classes and students?” In this presentation, I’ll share what I did, why I did it, and how it was received.

Paul Sanders
Title: Advanced Tools for Undergrads: Using Material Design to Teach Materials

Abstract: Many engineering students progress through the curriculum by learning the content of each course sequentially but not quite seeing the big picture. The Capstone Senior Design experience is a place where the big picture could come into focus, but often it does not. The field of view expands so fast that it can be overwhelming. There needs to be a stepping stone between semester-size courses and real-world engineering. This reality led to the development of a design methods course that is greater than the sum of the parts. It uses graduate level and beyond tools to integrate many parts of the curriculum in a way that is comfortable and engaging. By simplifying the concepts and teaching the course as an example design project using advanced tools, the students begin to see how pressing engineering challenges can be solved by design methods outside the traditional box.

The format of this presentation will be a journey of personal discovery, or perhaps more honestly, how others who had the vision showed me how this was possible in an undergraduate setting. I’m standing not quite on the shoulders of giants, but rather on the shoulders of many competent educators and one expert who tricked me, and I refer to him as the “accidental mentor”.

To attend this event register here.

CTL Technical Workshop: Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Word or Google Docs
Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Workshop details: What does it mean to create an accessible document?  Why is it important? How can you create accessible documents from scratch or remediate existing documents to improve accessibility?

In this workshop we will review the most common issues that can introduce digital barriers in documents including headings, lists, links, tables, images, and color use considerations.  We’ll also review the tools available in Microsoft Word or Google Docs to ensure your documents are structured for accessibility, how to check for errors, and how to export accessible PDF versions of your documents.

Computers will be available during the workshop to try out the tools in either Word or Google Docs.  Feel free to bring your own documents to work with during the workshop.

To attend this event register here.


Center for Teaching and Learning bring back the Coffee Chat, Thursday September 16, 2021 at 4:00 PM

Student Mental Health continues to be a significant concern to front-line instructors.   The new My SSP  (student support program) app is just one of many excellent resources to help instructors help students stay well and address mental health concerns.  In this coffee chat, we’ll review these resources, then apply them to a variety of common student mental health situations.   Those planning to attend (remotely or in person) are asked to register and to watch the above-linked video prior to the event. . (Video duration: ~20 minutes) 

This event can be attended via zoom or in person. Please register here and indicate how you will be attending.

CTL Instructional Award: Innovative or Out of Class Teaching: Smitha Rao, Thursday September 23, 2021 at 3:45 PM

The CTL recognizes, from those nominated via the Deans’ Teaching Showcase, instructors who make contributions in large class teaching, out of class or innovative teaching, and curriculum development or assessment. This year, Smitha Rao, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, has been selected to receive the CTL instructional Award for Innovative or Out of Class Teaching. The abstract for her presentation, entitled “Reaching out to Student Researchers: An ‘old’ mentor’s journey” is below. Following her presentation, Smitha will be recognized formally. We hope you can join us for this event! To register, click here.

ABSTRACT: As a newly minted faculty, the harshest reality I had to face was that the students saw me as a “mentor.” (I soon learned this was code for “old”!) I found that I had to remind myself (repeatedly) that my undergraduate students had only recently completed high school. Not only was I not a peer, but the age gap seemed to grow (sigh!) and become a huge problem. How would I reach across this chasm? In this presentation, I’ll explore the solutions I have found. To seek common ground, I work to challenge student curiosity, engage them through opportunities in the lab and encourage them to take ownership of their work. I will share things I have tried and ideas I have learned as I work with graduate and undergraduate researchers. I hope the presentation stimulates dialog so we can all continue to learn and grow and rely on these combined experiences as we engage with more students.


Each workshop consists of two consecutive presentations followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Spring UPTLC virtual presentation 3, April 13, 2021 at 3:30 PM

Returning Students to the Classroom Post Concussion by Co-Presenters: Joseph D. Susi II, LSSU School of Kinesiology and Erin Young, LSSU Student
Concussion incidence varies among sports with the NCAA illustrating football with the highest overall portion of collegiate athletic concussions at 37% (2013-2014 NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook).  However, a 2019 study on the incidence of concussion among US undergraduates depicts that the overall concussion rate of sport related concussion was lower than non-sport-related concussion.  Athletes have Return to Play Guidelines and professionals to assist them along the way.  What provisions are available for students and student-athletes in returning to the classroom or “Return to Learn?”  Our talk is based on a class project from fall 2019 and will  examine concussions, identify a “Return to Learn” Team and present guidelines for a “Return to Learn” protocol for students who have experienced a concussion.   

“This Film Made Me Want to Pull My Hair Out!” The Value of Student Diaries for Course Assessment by H. Russell Searight, School of Behavioral Sciences
 Describes a faculty-student collaboration that provides meaningful course assessment information highlighting student reflections on course content. The presentation describes how the use of student dairies can provide a deeper understanding of the impact of a course.  

The subjective impact of a college course on students’ knowledge, critical thinking and ethical development is difficult to assess with standardized quantitative ratings or summative end-of-semester written comments. In particular, when teaching a new class with non-traditional pedagogy, such as the Honors Course, “Medical Ethics and Film,” students’ subjective experiences can provide valuable information for the instructor. Film, as an affectively-evocative narrative, may produce strong emotional reactions which can aid or hinder students’ understanding of course content. Students in “Medical Ethics and Film” were asked to keep a diary in which they recorded their reactions and ethical analyses for each week’s movie. The diary method is useful in providing educators with useful insight into how the class actually impacted students’ knowledge, critical thinking, and personal development and can be a form of communication between teachers and learners. To optimize the pedagogical value of personal course diaries, students should be able to write about their experiences in a reflective manner and experience openness and trust in how their writing will be used. Students were informed at the outset of the course that their reflections and observations through their diaries would be used in a qualitative research paper which they would co-author. However, students were assured that their diary entries would be described without identifying information. At the end of the course, an article, co-authored by the students and instructor was submitted and subsequently accepted for publication

To register for other UPTLC presentations, use these links:

Tuesday, February 16 at 3:30 PM 

Tuesday, March 16 at 3:30 PM 


Spring UPTLC virtual presentation 2,

Tuesday March 16, 2021 at 3:30 PM via zoom
Each workshop consists of two consecutive presentations followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

From Classroom to Resume – Skills that Count by Geralyn Narkiewicz, LSSU Career Services
It is not unusual to read business reports or survey results that indicate recent college graduates are lacking in key employability skills. What skills are employers looking for? Are students truly lacking these skills or are they just not connecting the dots between their learning and the skills they are developing? In this presentation, we will discuss the 8 career competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Participants will share and discuss ideas for increasing student awareness and understanding of the skills they are developing through their college coursework.

WRITE-D: Applying Write-on-Site to Graduate Work in the Disciplines by Co-presenters: Andrew Fiss, MTU Humanities Department; Sarah Isaacson, Will Cantrell, and Pushpalatha Muthy, MTU Graduate School
 While writing is a necessity in graduate programs throughout the disciplines, many find it difficult to address. At this session, we will introduce “write-in-department” groups: groups that provide a regular space and time for writing together within a department. Acknowledging the uses of such groups in undergraduate instruction, write-on-site groups have been implemented successfully at the graduate level at Michigan Technological University. Session leaders will discuss the application of this model to groups in Physics, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Biological Sciences. Attendees will be asked to participate in a short exercise of writing and reflection as a way of exploring the benefits of this approach. Graduate write-in-department groups provide an opportunity for discipline-specific discussions of writing over the duration of the graduate program. In contrast to the “dissertation boot camp” model, the WRITE-D model engages students with disciplinary writing throughout. As needed, faculty share knowledge about rules, norms, and processes, especially having to do with publications, proposals, and fellowships in the field. More broadly, write-in-department groups provide a social network for working through writing — one located within the department, with involvement of department faculty and facilitated by graduate student peers. Overall, the WRITE-D program uses graduate write-in-department groups as a way to help students generate better writing, more effectively.

To register for other UPTLC presentations, use these links:

Tuesday, February 16 at 3:30 PM 

Tuesday, April 13 at 3:30 PM

CTL Instructional Award: Large classroom teaching to Kette Thomas

Tuesdays, March 30. 2021 at 3:30PM

The 2020-2021 CTL instructional Award for large class teaching will be presented via a zoom session on. Dr Thomas will give a presentation titled Empathic Instruction: The Power and Limits of Making it Personal. To register for this event, please use this link.

Abstract: Professionalism suggests disciplined, objective, and impersonal communication between the vendor and his client. Conventional business practitioners might frame their organizations around bureaucratic ideals, delivering their products and services mechanically and “without prejudice.” This presents the appearance of equitable distribution and management of goods and services. A University setting, however, is more complicated than a conventional business model automatizing its products. University educators require an approach that acknowledges the very personal nature of learning. Indeed, to open yourself up to education is to make yourself vulnerable. This vulnerability is not weakness but, rather, a tool that can guide the learner to new areas of knowledge acquisition. But inappropriately applied, vulnerability in the classroom can also act as an impediment. Educators are, therefore, charged with negotiating the power and limits of intellectual vulnerability. In this lecture, we will look at the uses of empathy during instruction and how they can both accentuate and obstruct the learning process.   


Each workshop consists of two consecutive presentations followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Spring UPTLC virtual presentation 1, February 16, 2021 at 3:30 PM

Our Evolving Co-Advising Model by Jillena Rose, Bay College
Abstract: This bridge in Viet Nam cleverly demonstrates the obvious: Bridges are held up by more than one support. Students, also, need the support and advice of more than one person. It takes more than one advisor to guide a student through college.
Bay College has recently implemented a Co-Advising Model of support for its students. From the moment they are admitted, students receive a co-advisor in addition to their faculty advisor–a guide to help students acclimate to the world of college and empower them to succeed by pointing them toward the people and services that history teaches us will help them succeed. Individually and as a group we also seek to identify and break down barriers individual students encounter to success which might be as “simple” as speaking to an instructor about missed work, as personal as finding child care, and as practical as making an academic plan for future semesters.
How do Co-Advisors do all of that? How do they work with Academic Advisors? Those are great questions and we’re still figuring them out. Presenters will share what we’re using, including some of the data tools we use in the background to help us make more intentional choices when it comes to communication, planning and outreach.
The goals of this session are to describe the Co-advising model and talk about its’ success at Bay so far. We also look forward to participants sharing successful tips for connecting with and supporting students on their campuses. 

Building a Bridge to Information Literacy with Michigan eLibrary Content by Liz Breed, Michigan eLibrary Coordinator; Library of Michigan | Michigan Department of Education
Abstract: Today’s students struggle with developing sound information literacy skills. Project Information Literacy stats indicate 92% of college students use search engines for course research. Students’ reliance on Google and social media combined with our ever-changing information landscape makes building strong information literacy skills increasingly more challenging. At the post-secondary level, there are several supports available including the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Framework and the eResources available in the Michigan eLibrary (MeL). Combined, these tools offer educators a way to weave information literacy concepts into assignments to support students as consumers and creators of information and their development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. This session will review the ACRL Information Literacy framework and demonstrate how assignments can be paired with MeL content to support the application of the information literacy frames in instruction.

To register for other upcoming UPTLC presentations, use these links:

Tuesday, March 16 at 3:30 PM 

Tuesday, April 13 at 3:30 PM 


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.