On Tuesday, September 14th, we held virtual TLH Open Office Hours with the Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows. We had 11 participants, who shared their experiences with grading and ungrading (alternative forms of assessment).
Some of the challenges discussed included the tedium of grading in Blackboard; helping students understand how scaffolding works (and that missed assignments can snowball into weaker bigger-stakes assignments); guiding student decisions in co-created assessments; and, more generally, increasing student engagement and self-motivation.
Faculty also shared useful tips and strategies, such as:
talking students through HOW and WHY a given type of assessment or type of assignment works can help them understand the mechanics and gain a grasp of how syllabi and even institutions function–learn the unspoken rules and how to navigate them, an especially important skill for those who feel underprepared for college;
using group work (and peer review) to help extroverted students manage their speaking-time and help shier students open up (e.g., put all of the “extroverts” in one group and all the “introverts” in a different group);
asking students to set goals and learning outcomes for themselves at the beginning of the semester and, later, asking them to self-assess how close they came to achieving those goals (individual and/or collective) by the end of the semester;
making connections between the course content and students lives (e.g., ask students what they are most curious about).
I also presented a brief slide deck with some examples of ungrading, which you can view here.
Mellon TLH Faculty Fellow Michael L. J. Greer kindly shared some further resources with me after the workshop:
If you’d like to dive in further this semester, there is an #Ungrading Edcamp happening this November 4-6, 2021 (registration is free and the agenda will be informed by what participants are most interested in, so sign up and add your thoughts here).
On August 31, 2021, TLH held the first office hour session with 9 of our faculty fellows. We kicked off the session with a short, high-level presentation about accessible course design which was followed by a discussion about challenges that professors have encountered while teaching online during the past year, with making their course materials accessible on short notice, providing other accommodations to students, and with technology platforms that are not always accessible or user friendly. During the discussion, faculty fellows shared some of the tools and techniques that have worked well for them and bringing up questions that also informed the topic. Overall, it was a productive hour and we really enjoyed the knowledge-sharing! We added 3 more slides to our presentation with some of the resources.
Stay tuned for our next TLH Office Hourse, on September 14 at 4 pm. TLH Executive Director, Christina Katopodis will lead a discussion on ungrading and peer review.
Image: CUNY mascots pose with members of the CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities (CCSD) at the 2018 NYC Disability Pride Parade.
The pandemic forced a rapid shift to online teaching, but what will we return to and what will we adapt in the future? Some students have benefited tremendously from a move to online learning, especially those who have difficulty with public transit due to a disability, difficulty affording transportation, or a long commute to class. Other students have struggled with having only online or asynchronous courses and learn best with in-person instruction. Educators have been forced to innovate during the past 18 months under the cloud of the pandemic and its related crises, and with the larger systemic problems that higher education was facing before COVID. Continue reading →
This post was written by Contributing Author Sonia Adams, a PhD candidate at St. John’s University who organized an event in TLH’s Spring 2021 series on active learning.
Toni Cade Bambara has greatly impacted my work as an educator and curriculum developer. I admire her commitment to literacy education, creativity, multiculturalism, and social justice. During my undergraduate studies in English, I was fortunate to take literature classes and seminars that exposed me to writers of color from the United States and abroad. However, I noticed a trajectory within many of the required, standardized, and special topic English courses, which privileged White male authors and texts. The western literary canon perpetuates an aesthetic that Bambara referred to as the “Anglo-Saxon tradition” that limited entryway for women and ethnic writers to enter the English curriculum (Bambara, “Summer 1968 SEEK Report). Although there were some gains made in late 1960s and early 1970s in making the curriculum more inclusive, there were some women and ethnic authors who served as ‘minority representatives. In other words, their writings were deemed the standard for the racial, gender, and/or cultural group which they derived from. Bambara foresaw the implications of white patriarchal privileging and minority representation and sought to challenge them as an English Professor, writer, editor, and activist. Continue reading →
Professor Dahlia Elsayed and Professor Liena Vayzman
April 13 and 20, 2021
This is a representation of my activist side and my normal side. By bringing art and social justice together, I decided I wanted to remake a famous painting by Norman Rockwell. My head is served on a silver platter, hard to ignore, but I have very vibrant 60s/70s influenced makeup on. I’m surrounded by people laughing and talking, but all of the white people surrounding me have copied my makeup… and now the laughing seems to be more of a “haha we look just like her.” I tried to connect the “Culture Vulture” experience people of color always go through. Famous celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Gwen Stefani are infamously known as Culture Vultures… they wear people’s culture like it’s a costume. (From Asian, Native American, Black people, and much more!) And me a person of color, surrounded by white onlookers is having the first-hand experience of only being a “thing to eat, or to take from.”
by Dale Byam, Ph.D., Department of Africana Studies, Brooklyn College
In 1968, 19 (later reduced to 17) Black and Latino Brooklyn College students were arrested in their homes on charges of arson and rioting at the college. The students were detained at Rikers Island for 4 days. Though the charges were later dismissed, the incident marked a turning point for the College
Original caption: Mock Funeral: Students at Brooklyn Collee yesterday mourning “the death of justice,” referring to indictment and arrest of 17 students for arson and rioting. Girl in the foreground read Plato as the demonstrators passed by.
by David H. Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Communication, Department of Humanities, New York City College of Technology
There are large disparities in health outcomes for New Yorkers according to race, gender, income, education, ability, etc. CUNY students from low-income families and racialized groups are among the hardest hit by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and among the most impacted by furloughs, unemployment, and crowded living conditions.
The 2021 Health Communication Symposium at City Tech was a public forum on health disparities. The event took place online and included guests and speakers from around the world. There were over eighty people on the call. Continue reading →
At the Philosophy for Children Workshop on Thursday, April 22, Prof. Cheri Carr (LaGuardia Community College) with her students Jesus Benitez and David Ortiz, talked about how inclusive thinking begins with how we treat our children. Between ages 2-5, children internalize racial bias and display attitudes similar to adults. By age 12, many children become set in their beliefs. Caring and invested educators and parents can unintentionally perpetuate anti-Black racism by promoting a colorblind approach to race stemming from their discomfort navigating conversations on race. Not talking about race reinforces racism in young children; talking about it encourages the development of positive attitudes and skills needed to advocate for racial justice. Continue reading →
The field of Library & Information Science is often downplayed within spaces of higher education. Librarians are frequently positioned as somehow different than “teaching faculty,” considered the real scholars and educators, with the Library at the margins. And in a way, it’s true that the cornerstone of information literacy instruction – commonly known as the ‘one-shot’ – is a challenge, different than a semester-long course immersion. Librarians are tasked with offering a single session within which students will do the following: Receive guidance on how to assess sources, identify a scholarly article, accord to the standards of academic writing, properly cite sources, and perhaps, hopefully, become energized by the zest of research. At least, this is what we aim for. Continue reading →
by Ria Banerjee, Sarah Hoiland, and María Julia Rossi
As educators, we are typically impelled to produce content–course plans, public lectures, writing and speaking in various registers is central to what we routinely do. It is rarer for us to get opportunities to “fill the well,” so to speak, and a TLH grant provided us a forum to develop our understanding of contemporary fiction that is outside our disciplinary subfields but aligns with our interests. After discussion among a core group of five planning faculty (Julia, Ria, and Sarah are the names on record for this group of CUNY friends), we decided on some ideal parameters for our planned event: we wanted to read recent novels by women of color, intentionally working against the Anglophone publishing industry’s bias, and we chose works focused on the US with an eye on global interconnectivity. We wanted to attract participants from a range of work and professional experiences, as having only educators might narrow our conversation. Finally, we wanted to give space to student voices in designing and leading our discussions, again to foster a broad conversation that would not be possible at, say, a disciplinary conference. We settled on three particularly timely novels. Continue reading →