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From the Director

Posted by on Friday, January 12, 2018 in News.

Happy New Year! We’re off and running here at the Center for Teaching, with a variety of opportunities for you to refine your teaching skills and experiment with new teaching practices. Looking at the semester ahead, let me draw your attention to a few highlights:

  • On January 29th, the CFT will hold a Celebration of Learning featuring posters, presentations, and performances by students from all over campus. The event continues our work exploring the theme of “Students as Producers,” engaging students not only as consumers of information, but producers of knowledge. If you have a student who has created or designed something interesting in one of your courses, you’re invited to recommend them to participate in the event. And if you’d like to get a sense of what immersive student learning looks like across the colleges and schools, please join us at the Celebration of Learning on January 29th! Details here.

  • The CFT hosts a number of learning communities in which faculty, staff, and students learn from and with each other about particular teaching and learning topics. We have four learning communities continuing this spring semester: Environmental Course Development, Disability and Learning, Teaching Design Thinking, and Lab Pedagogies. You’re welcome to join any of these communities at any time.

  • Late last spring, the CFT launched Brightspace as Vanderbilt’s new course management system. Our Brightspace support team had a busy fall semester as instructors and students learned the new system. This spring, in addition to our ongoing Brightspace support options (email, phone, drop-in office hours, and more), the Brightspace team is planning opportunities for instructors to learn more about the assignment tool and the new Learning Object Repository, which makes it easier to share instructional materials with other instructors. More info: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/brightspace.

  • We have a new cohort of Blended and Online Learning Design (BOLD) Fellows starting this spring. These graduate students will work with faculty mentors and CFT staff to design, implement, and assess online learning materials for use in Vanderbilt courses. Thanks to permanent Provost funding, the BOLD Fellows program is now open to all disciplines across campus. Look for a call for applications for the Fall 2018 cohort later this semester, and keep an eye on this newsletter for other opportunities to explore online teaching practices.
Finally, I want to say farewell and thank you to Vivian Finch, who finished her time as an Assistant Director here at the CFT in December. Vivian brought new energy and ideas to our programs and services for graduate students, and she was an enthusiastic and collegial presence on the CFT staff. We wish her the best as she moves on to new adventures.
In related news, we’re hiring. See our employment page for information on our open Assistant Director position. If you know of someone good, send them our way!
Derek Bruff, PhD
Director, Center for Teaching

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