Category Archives: Teaching Resources

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Accessibility in the Classroom – Insights and Questions from TLH Faculty Fellows

On September 28, our Fall Cohort of TLH Faculty Fellows convened for the first meeting of the semester to plan public events and contributions to knowledge. I also led a discussion about accessibility in the classroom by talking about why it’s important, what the institutional process is like (i.e. students request services through their campus disability services office, which acts as a liaison between student and teacher) and how that may or may not be effective. According to the National Center for Education statistics, nearly half of students with disabilities end up dropping out before they finish (link opens in a new window). According to one study, stronger self-advocates were more likely to complete their degrees (link opens in a new window), but that puts the onus on students to advocate for their needs semester after semester, which can become a barrier to success.

We started the discussion by first polling our fellows on their knowledge of accessibility accommodations, current experiences teaching disabled students in their courses, and types of accommodation requests.

The fellows rated themselves as generally having average experience with accessibility issues and no-one considered themselves to have very limited knowledge or to be very knowledgeable.

Question 1 results (image link opens to interactive chart)

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TLH Office Hours Recap: Accessible Course Design and Hybrid Teaching

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.

A Free Printable Bookmark from the “Philosophy for Children Workshop: Anti-Racist Conversations at Any Age”

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

Understanding and Building Collective Efficacy

This post was written by Contributing Authors Tim Leonard and Leigh Somerville

The purpose of this blog post is to provide a brief overview of the concept of collective efficacy and share some practical examples of what it can look like in the classroom setting. As well, we provide several open-source documents that may be helpful in reflection and instructional planning. 

What is collective efficacy? In short, it is when a team of individuals share the belief that, through their combined efforts, they can overcome challenges and positively impact student achievement and success. Continue reading

Autoethnographic Pedagogy Zine

On March 17, CUNY Professors James Lowry, Nerve Macaspac, and Cynthia Tobar led a workshop on “Autoethnographic Pedagogy: Student Expertise and Learning in Community.”

CUNY serves a diverse student population, including first generation scholars, undocumented immigrants, students living below the poverty line and students from communities historically excluded from higher education. All CUNY students have unique lived experiences and knowledge, but our teaching does not always recognize and value the expertise already present in the classroom. At the same time, many opportunities for meaningful pedagogy are missed because of traditional delimitations around the classroom and the institution of the university. Continue reading

Nature-Based Learning in Higher Education (Event Recap)

This post was written by Contributing Author Nicole Kras, Ph.D., Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Human Services at Guttman Community College.

On Tuesday, April 13th, I organized a workshop that focused on various aspects of nature-based learning (NBL). NBL is described as follows:  

Nature-based learning, or learning through exposure to nature and nature-based activities, occurs in natural settings and where elements of nature have been brought into built environments, such as plants, animals, and water. It encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and behaviors in realms including, but not limited to, academic achievement, personal development, and environmental stewardship. It includes learning about the natural world, but extends to engagement in any subject, skill or interest while in natural surroundings (Jordan & Chawla, 2019, p.2).  Continue reading

Considering Accessibility & Equity in Assessment Design

As educators with the City University of New York, we know that our learners come to our classrooms as unique individuals. They bring with them diverse experiences and backgrounds. 

Assessment and Learner Variability 

In learning environments, individual variability is the norm, not the exception.” UDL and Assessment | An Introduction to UDL and Assessment

In our role as educators, we use assessments to measure student understanding and progress. The purpose of an assessment is to measure what our students can do, or know.  If an assessment doesn’t accommodate the wide variability of our learners then they fail to do what they must by design: evaluate our students and provide us with vital information about their learning and our practice. 

 It is an essential part of our courses. It is therefore essential that assessments accommodate learner differences if they are to be effective. We must design our assessments with the diversity of our learner needs at the forefront. Continue reading

Twine, An Open-Source Tool for Non-Linear Storytelling and Gaming Pedagogy (Event Recap)

This blog post was written by Contributing Author Katherine Tsan (Baruch College and York College), Open Educational Resources coordinator and educational technologist.

I organized the seminar that ran on March 12, 2021, from 10 to noon, with the title TwineAn Open-Source Tool for Non-Linear Storytelling and Gaming Pedagogy. This hypertext decision-tree game-making platform has meant much for me as an educator, given its versatility, its simplicity, and its history of accommodating individual stories that highlight personal agency (a key reason it has become the vehicle for creating “games” that portray the struggle of people living with depression, and the experience of marginalized communities).  Continue reading

Making Public Contributions to Knowledge

Openly exchanging teaching resources is how I learned to teach. I owe a debt of gratitude to colleagues who shared generously: they emailed me their syllabi, explained what a “fishbowl” or “Think-Pair-Share” is, and introduced me to Reacting to the Past. Now after a decade of teaching as an adjunct, I’m certain that one of the best ways to give back to the profession is to share a public contribution to knowledge about teaching.

This is a lesson for our students as well. Ample research shows that students write better when they know they are writing for a large public—whether that’s a publication on a class blog visible only to peers or a professional peer-reviewed journal (see Prof. Danica Savonick’s “Write Out Loud“), a paper delivered at a student or professional conference, a presentation at a local club or community group, a poster at a university symposium, or in any other venue beyond the classroom (see Laken Brooks’ IHE piece on service learning). Writing for an authentic audience increases student engagement in a real-world process where conventions and rules must be adhered to and deadlines must be met. Continue reading

Course Planning: On Feeling Seen and Heard (Part One)

While I’m looking toward the new semester, I’m thinking about how I might be the kind of professor who inspires.  My most impactful teachers were the ones who made me feel smart; they stimulated my curiosity, they seemed to take all of my ideas (even the far-out ones) seriously, and they encouraged me to think rigorously.  As I follow their examples, I try to foster communities of learning in which students feel seen and heard.

2020 was/is a nightmare.  And its 2021.  We all know the many reasons why.  Yet, in all this, students are still showing up to college.  They’ve got their reasons; and, hopefully, some of those reasons include their dreams.  Our students will inherit this earth; my ambition is to assist them as they develop the skills they will need to create a future that sees them, hears, them, and empowers them. Continue reading