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Welcome to TMAC!

Welcome to the online home for the Teaching Matters and Assessment Center! TMAC’s mission is to support Arts and Sciences faculty and departments in sustaining a culture of teaching excellence through best practices in pedagogy and assessment.

Through workshops, colloquia and consultations with faculty and departments, the Center seeks to foster success in traditional and online learning and the productive mentoring of undergraduate and graduate researchers. 

We expect this TMAC website to become a ‘go to’ resource for all faculty as a clearinghouse for information and online repository of the Center’s wide-ranging activities. We invite you to make frequent use of the site and to contribute to its development. 

Please explore the site and scroll down for the latest postings.

TMAC Weekly 4.17.14

UPCOMING TMAC EVENTS

April 24 (Campus Center Viewing Room) 12:20-1:20 p.m.: “Pen-Free Paper Grading: Alternative Approaches to Responding to Student Writers”

Tired of composing comments student never read? Want to make best use of your time as a reader of student work? In this workshop, we’ll survey a range of approaches to grading and guidance using digital tools including audio comments. (Workshop attendees will receive a free copy of Responding to Student Writing by Nancy Sommers, Harvard University.)

May 1 (Faculty Lounge) 12:15-1:15 p.m.: “Grading 101: RU Using RUbrics?”

Some swear by rubrics as tools for grading and communicating expectations. Others are skeptical about, even opposed to, rubrics. In this semester’s session of “Grading 101,” we explore the pros and cons (and do’s and dont’s) of rubric-based assessment drawing upon examples from a range of assignments and disciplines. (Pizza!)

Faculty Spotlight: Drew Humphries (professor, Criminal Justice) discusses how she approaches managing the classroom, both as a teacher and a department chair.

 ➡ Looking for Gen Ed resources? Learning goals, proposal forms and more are here.

 Conversation starters: A new report from Project Information Literacy details the difficulties of first year students in applying high school research skills to college-level assignments.

 Research into knowledge transfer suggests that, through explicit instruction, students can retain and apply concepts from one course to another. (Chronicle of Higher Education, 4.07.14)

Asking for Your Apps (Week Seven):

As we build a new section of our site on Digital Teaching, TMAC solicits recommendations for teaching tools and classroom apps.

Piktochart is a free web-based infographic creator that can be used to enhance visual presentations in the classroom or create visually interesting assignment sheets or syllabi. It can also be a way for you or your students to visually represent how ideas relate.

Your turn: what teaching tools/apps do you use? teaching.matters@camden.rutgers.edu

From the Bookshelf: Adam Mackie’s New Literacies Dictionary: Primer for the Twenty-first Century Learner is an ebook focused on how digital literacies, including fan fiction, online communities and Youtube, can be incorporated into modern teaching.

Featured Peer Teaching Center: The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at Indiana University-Bloomington has a wide-ranging series of short articles (under Resources), from teaching with Wikipedia to creating rubrics. (Your Weekly compiler found the article on avoiding the “late semester doldrums” particularly salient.)

Call for Proposals:

“Thinking and Writing Beyond Two Culture: STEM, WAC/WID, and the Changing Academy” Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd, Quinnipiac University

Deadline for Proposals: Friday, May 23, 2014

Follow us on Twitter: @RUCamdenTMAC

If you’re interested in being interviewed for the Faculty Spotlight or have a link or topic you’d like to share, please email us at teaching.matters@camden.rutgers.edu.

 

Faculty Spotlight: Drew Humphries

Drew Humphries (professor, Criminal Justice) has learned that, when managing a classroom, anger gets you nowhere. She has three “don’ts” when it comes to classroom management: don’t get angry; if you get angry, don’t talk; and definitely don’t do either of these things in front of a class. Frustration of this type would seem to be a trap new professors might fall into, but Humphries, as department chair, has seen even seasoned professors get caught up in frustration when students don’t seem to be learning. The primary advice she gives is to never escalate a situation: if a student is upset or angry, your anger in return is only going to further create problems. Humphries tells professors that they are never alone in the classroom: departmental support can help alleviate perennial problems. She recalls a situation in her own teaching life where there was a student who was consistently creating problems in class. After repeated attempts to deal with the problem on her own, she sat down with the student and a fellow professor from her department. With a third party present, she and the student were able to gain new perspective on their conflict, and the student ended up taking more of Humphries’ classes in the future. She recognizes that there is always a reason behind the behavior, that students are whole people, and there are reasons for their behaviors in the classroom.

Practically, Humphries advises professors to establish the tone of their classroom from the first day: highlight the classroom behavior policies portion of the syllabus on the first day of class. She also emphasizes that how we conduct our classes is a major determiner of classroom behavior. Although we might have a lot of material to cover, a classroom where the professor only lectures is bound to create problems as students who are not engaged become bored and act out. Humphries emphasizes teaching disciplinary habits of mind and critical thinking in our classrooms and attempting to do it in ways that capture our students’ attention. Though the challenges are great, she recognizes that it is a privilege to teach Rutgers-Camden students, who, in her observation, truly recognize the value of the education they receive here.

 

TMAC Weekly 4.10.14

UPCOMING TMAC EVENTS

April 17 (Faculty Lounge) 3:00-4:00 p.m.: “Preparing Your Syllabus for the New Gen Ed Requirements”

Come learn to incorporate Gen Ed and course-specific learning goals into your existing or new syllabi and review the submission process to get a course approved under the new requirements.

April 24 (Location TBD) 12:20-1:20 p.m.: “Pen-Free Paper Grading: Alternative Approaches to Responding to Student Writers”

Tired of composing comments student never read? Want to make best use of your time as a reader of student work? In this workshop, we’ll survey a range of approaches to grading and guidance using digital tools including audio comments. (Workshop attendees will receive a free copy of Nancy Sommers’s Responding to Student Writing by Nancy Sommers, Harvard University.).

May 1 (Faculty Lounge) 12:15-1:15 p.m.: “Grading 101: RU Using RUbrics?”

Some swear by rubrics as tools for grading and communicating expectations. Others are skeptical about, even opposed to, rubrics. In this semester’s session of “Grading 101,” we explore the pros and cons (and do’s and dont’s) of rubric-based assessment drawing upon examples from a range of assignments and disciplines. Pizza for lunch.

➡ Looking for Gen Ed resources? Learning goals, proposal forms and more are here.

Conversation starters: Southern Illinois University-Carbondale debuts a new technology initiative that includes not only giving tablets to first year students, but creating a full suite of campus apps to take advantage of new digital course materials.

In the journal Across the Disciplines, Professor Alice Horning of Oakland University argues for reading across the curriculum as a motivator for student success.

Asking for Your Apps (Week Six):

As we build a new section of our site on Digital Teaching, TMAC solicits recommendations for teaching tools and classroom apps.

In conjunction with this week’s workshop on annotation, we introduce  Annotation Studio, developed at MIT. Annotation Studio creates a platform from which you and your students can read and annotate texts. This free and easy-to-use system is designed to facilitate group discussion about assigned class texts or uploaded student papers.

Your turn: what teaching tools/apps do you use? teaching.matters@camden.rutgers.edu

New TMAC Resources: In addition to Annotation Studio, we introduce a new section on annotation featuring both tools and readings that promote effective reading and writing.

From the Bookshelf: WAC and Second-Language Writers: Research Towards Linguistically and Culturally Inclusive Programs and Practices is a collection (free download) edited by Terry Myers Zawacki and Michelle Cox on best practices in teaching second-language writers across the curriculum (Psst: today, we are all teachers of second-language writers.)

Featured Peer Teaching Center: DePaul University’s excellent Teaching Commons has resources on course design and syllabus construction, among many other topics.

Follow us on Twitter: @RUCamdenTMAC

If you’re interested in being interviewed for the Faculty Spotlight or have a link or topic you’d like to share, please email us at teaching.matters@camden.rutgers.edu.

TMAC Weekly 4.3.14

UPCOMING TMAC EVENTS

April 9 (Armitage 106) 12:15-1:15 p.m.: Promoting Active Reading in and Beyond the Classroom: Annotation Techniques and Tools 

Tyler Hoffman, chair of the English department, joins us for this workshop on active reading strategies in our courses. Come learn approaches for a variety of reading-based activities, including using Rap Genius to respond to poetry. Pizza for lunch!

April 10 (Armitage 224) 12:20-1:20 p.m.: Preparing Your Syllabus for the New Gen Ed Requirements

Come learn to incorporate Gen Ed and course-specific learning goals into your existing or new syllabi and review the submission process to get a course approved under the new requirements.

May 1 (Faculty Lounge) 12:15-1:15 p.m.: Grading 101: Grading Policies that Meet Your Teaching Goals

Join a discussion about grading policies that encourage student learning and engagement. Topics discussed will include responding to student writing and the use of rubrics.

Conversation starters: A new documentary, Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Labor, is featured at the Chronicle of Higher Education; the 50 minute film can be viewed in its entirety.

Inside Higher Ed has compiled much of its recent writing on the subject of online learning that falls outside the realm of the much-discussed MOOC phenomenon. Topics covered include the “flipped” classroom and methods of blending online and face to face discussion.

Asking for Your Apps (Week Five):

As we build a new section of our site on Digital Teaching, TMAC solicits recommendations for teaching tools and classroom apps.

On the heels of our workshop with Christy DeCarolis (Office of Instructional Technology), we invite you to replace your Powerpoint presentations with Prezi, a cloud-based tool to visually relate information. Students and educators get a free upgrade to a premium. Web-based Prezi makes real-time collaboration easy, and students can “present” remotely or use voiceover.

Your turn: what teaching tools/apps do you use? teaching.matters@camden.rutgers.edu

New TMAC Resources: New on our Writing Resources page is an article by Diane Dowdey giving an overview of citation practices across the disciplines.

From the Bookshelf: Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World is an inquiry into what certain countries are currently doing to educate their children in a way that gives problem-solving skills rather than information regurgitation. Widely reviewed and lauded, the book gives an overview of the differences between the educational programs of the United States and those of countries such as South Korea or Poland.

Featured Peer Teaching Center: As part of TMAC’s building of a new Writing in the Disciplines resource page, we invite you to take a look at University of Vermont’s WiD program, where they host a number of articles, videos and other materials on disciplinary writing.

Follow us on Twitter: @RUCamdenTMAC

If you’re interested in being interviewed for the Faculty Spotlight or have a link or topic you’d like to share, please email us at teaching.matters@camden.rutgers.edu.

 

TMAC Weekly 3.27.14

UPCOMING TMAC EVENTS

March 28 (Campus Center N. Conference Room) 12:15-1:15 p.m.: Teaching With Technology: Introducing Prezi

Join new Office of Instructional Technology staff member Christie DeCarolis for an introduction to the cloud-based presentation technology Prezi. Learn how and why you might want to switch from Powerpoint to Prezi, which can represent concepts and connections both verbally and visually.

April 9 (Armitage 106) 12:15-1:15 p.m.: Promoting Active Reading in and Beyond the Classroom: Annotation Techniques and Tools

Tyler Hoffman, chair of the English department, joins us for this workshop on active reading strategies in our courses. Come learn approaches for a variety of reading-based activities, including using Rap Genius to respond to poetry. Pizza for lunch!

Conversation starters: Inside Higher Ed considers teaching with Twitter, discovering that students are not as saturated in digital media as we might assume.

Indiana has become the first state to withdraw from the Common Core standards; however, critics say this is largely a cosmetic move.

Student Writing: In College & Undergraduate Libraries, a librarian urges her colleagues (and teachers) to drop the “research paper” in favor of more rhetorically appropriate assignments.

Asking for Your Apps (Week Four):

As we build a new section of our site on Digital Teaching, TMAC solicits recommendations for teaching tools and classroom apps.

Vocaroo is an extremely simple, yet powerful, web-based tool for audio recording directly from your browser–no need for extra software. If your computer has a microphone, Vocaroo can capture and save a recording to be downloaded or shared. In “flipped” classrooms, it can be used to record lectures. With Vocaroo, instructors can respond orally to student work and students can submit audio assignments.

Your turn: what teaching tools/apps do you use? teaching.matters@camden.rutgers.edu

New TMAC Resources: Looking to improve assignment handouts? Check out a talk by John Bean on designing problem-based activities that promote critical thinking.

From the Bookshelf: Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, originally created by Joseph M. Williams and now in the charge of Joseph Bizup, has reached its 11th edition for good reason: its simple advice for writing clearly and succinctly are useful for writers across genres and levels of expertise and can be a useful guide for a professor looking to improve student writing.

Featured Peer Teaching Center:  Georgia Tech’s library has a huge selection of sites, books, videos and other materials on teaching and learning, including support for Teaching Assistants.

Follow us on Twitter: @RUCamdenTMAC

If you’re interested in being interviewed for the Faculty Spotlight or have a link or topic you’d like to share, please email us at teaching.matters@camden.rutgers.edu.