As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, how well are your students learning? What tweaks could improve your teaching to enhance student learning? 
Buddhi Lamsal instructs his FS HN 471 class inside a Physics Hall photo by Chris Gannon
CELT Teaching Tip • September 10, 2020
Seeking student feedback
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, how well are your students learning? What tweaks could be made to improve your teaching and enhance student learning?  
The Plus/Delta tool is an easy way to seek valuable feedback from your students. It has students focus on advancing their learning in the course and what could be improved by the instructor and the student. It helps students think about their responsibility to the course and what they should continue doing to learn (PLUS) and what they need to change for the course to improve for them (DELTA) (Helminski & Koberna, 1995). 
Students can complete the plus delta online using Canvas, or other anonymous survey software by responding to these four open-ended questions:

  • What is helping me to learn in this class? 
  • What am I doing to improve my learning in the course?
  • What changes are needed in this course to improve learning?
  • What do I need to do to improve my learning in this course? 

Once the students complete the plus delta, you collect the information and summarize it to report each category's themes back to your class in the next session. The feedback loop creates the opportunity to discuss the shared responsibility for teaching and learning in your course. You may further specify what modifications will (or will not) implement based on their feedback. To learn more, visit CELT's Using a PLUS/DELTA Assessment Technique webpage

With a joy for teaching,
Sara Marcketti, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Helminski, L. & Koberna, S. (1995). Total quality in instruction: A systems approach. In H. V. Roberts (Ed.), Academic initiatives in total quality for higher education (pp. 309-362). Milwaukee, WI: ASQC Quality Press.
Quarantined students?
Incorporate accommodation if a student must shift modalities (e.g., face-to-face or hybrid to online) to follow Cyclones Care and Center for Disease Control (CDC) protocols; see the FAQ: Quarantine, Isolation, and Contact Tracing page; or, the student has a documented disability or COVID-19 Health Implications and Related Student Accommodations on file with Student Accessibility Services

To help support our students, follow the guidance Setting up reasonable accommodations in Canvas. Also, anticipate the need for some students to participate asynchronously through your Canvas course (see the Asynchronous Strategies page).
Stay up to date on the Fall 2020 Planning Guidance for Academic Affairs Faculty

In our teaching tips, we will be highlighting the work of successful instructors from across Iowa State University. We have asked them to share their ideas for successful teaching and learning, and share their favorite CELT program.

Dr. Katie Fulton, Associate Teaching Professor, Department of English, has spent 13 years at Iowa State. Katie's advice for teaching:

Take advantage of opportunities to participate in workshops on campus and share ideas with colleagues. CELT is a great resource for new and experienced teachers alike, and they offer workshops for a wide variety of interests. I’ve participated in several CELT workshops during my time at ISU including a Team-Based Learning workshop series and the Quality Matters programming. In addition to learning more about teaching methods and getting to work on your own materials, what’s great about these workshops is that you get to hear from instructors from all across campus in other disciplines. Not only is it fascinating to hear about the work they’re doing with their students, but it also helps us to think outside of the box for what kinds of activities we might be doing to engage students in our discipline. 

The same is true within my discipline. Some of the best things I’ve tried out have been the result of conversations with other instructors and passing along ideas. For example, I love the idea of a Help Forum in Canvas discussions, but students never seemed to use it. A colleague suggested extra credit for asking a question or providing an answer. It worked well for her, and it turns out it works well with my students too. I especially love it when another student chimes in with the answer. It builds community and gives them more ownership over their learning.
Download CELT 2020 Fall Programming
CELT offers face-to-face one-off workshops/webinars, longer-term teaching and learning circles on selected topics, and facilitation of teaching and learning communities. Our program listing with descriptions and registration information may be found on the corresponding page on CELT’s upcoming events page or CELT’s programming schedule via ISU’s Events Calendar website.

To view events by topic area, download the CELT 2020 Fall Programming (PDF).
Tera Jordan
3-Part Series: Reflection, Retooling, and Renewal: Strengthening your ability to be a more effective graduate student mentor
Dr. Tera R. Jordan, Assistant Provost for Faculty Development, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, is a facilitating the following topics:
  • Reflecting on one's mentoring experiences, Sept. 11 (1:30-3 p.m.)
  • Sharing mentoring philosophies: A panel discussion with Margaret Ellen White Award Recipients, Sept. 18 (1:30-3 p.m.)
  • Alignment, trust, and inclusiveness, Sept. 25 (1:30-3 p.m.)
"How I Taught This" Teaching with Top Hat
Sept. 30 (2-3 p.m.)
This 60-minute workshop is for those educators who want to embed blended learning into their course design. Facilitated by experienced instructional designers and structured with interactive activities, this workshop will introduce faculty to the concept of a blended classroom, a tried-and-true instructional method that involves leveraging digital tools (such as Canvas and web conferencing tools alongside Top Hat) to drive active learning and improved student learning outcomes in your online or face-to-face classes. You’ll also hear from educators already finding success with blended delivery at Iowa State.
To join this web talk, Register via the Top Hat website

Where to go for support
A red button with a question mark and Help in white writing
For help with the Canvas, contact Canvas Support via the ?Help menu in Canvas:
  • Chat with Canvas Support use the live chat tool
  • Ticket support. Open the ?Help menu in Canvas and click Report a Problem
  • 24/7 phone support. Call 515-294-4000 (listen to prompts to connect to Canvas support).
  • Find answers to common questions in the Canvas Instructor Guides.
  • Use the resources in the Canvas @ ISU site.

For technical support, contact the ISU Solution Center:
  • Email [email protected]
  • Call 515-294-4000 and follow the prompts to receive support from Solution Center staff

To receive one-to-one assistance for teaching with technology, contact the CELT Instructional Designers
  • Connect with our CELT instructional designers for support or pedagogical consultations by emailing [email protected]; this will also create a ServiceNow ticket for easy tracking.
  • Additionally, you may wish to contact one of the support units directly. Please note which program, department, or college each unit serves and contact the unit for your area.
Prefer a Print version?
To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with the web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for September 10, 2020 (PDF) (