CEILS Monthly Newsletter | Issue #76 | Sept 23, 2021 | ceils.ucla.edu
Welcome to the Fall 2021 Special Edition of the CEILS Newsletter!
Dear CEILS Community,

Welcome back! We know there are a lot of resources, links, information coming to you from a variety of sources and that can be overwhelming.

A few things to remember about starting class this fall:
  • First years and second years are in a similar boat – both of these cohorts have not been in a physical classroom

  • Students need to get back into the mindset of being in class and remembering what it’s like to study and take an in-class exam. Give them opportunities to practice!

  • Students may not have retained information last year – we recommend assessing the key concepts you expect them to know, and providing resources as a reminder (videos, texts, etc).

  • Students may not be able to actively participate in Zoom classes because they do not have access to private spaces on campus, so ask students to communicate with you about their circumstances and be flexible.

  • Make time to process what happened this past year during the first week of class (for example, provide 5 mins to socialize and discuss with peers).

In this special edition of our newsletter, we collated and organized some of those resources, particularly those you may need to get you started this quarter to hopefully make finding what you need easier. Below are some highlights from our faculty workshop and resources organized by topic.

Remember to be flexible with yourself and your students. Things won't be perfect, but we'll get through this together! Always feel free to contact CEILS if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely, The CEILS Team
Kicking Off the Quarter
Kicking Off the Fall Quarter with Dean Johnson and Associate Dean Courey

During our welcome session we were grateful to have Dean Tracy Johnson and Associate Dean Albert Courey provide some context for our workshop and welcome the participants. A quote from Dean Johnson highlights some of the important lessons that we can apply in our approach to education and collegiality:
"One of the most important things I've learned from [CEILS] over the years can be summarized with the "Three Cs": The first is the importance of Compassion. Being both kind and gentle with our colleagues, our students, but also to ourselves... The second C is Clarity, really being clear with our expectations and explicit about what we're asking [of] our students... And the third is Community, that we are really in this together."
Teaching In-Person
In-Person Teaching: Bringing Joy and Excitement Along With the Challenges

Many students and instructors have mixed emotions about returning to campus this fall; they are both excited to be able to engage with others face-to-face, but are concerned about health and safety. This was a feeling that was mirrored during our in-person workshop session. The room had an air of excitement and celebration mixed with trepidation as we brainstormed solutions to challenges to teaching in-person.

Recommendations + Resources for Fall 2021: Guidance on Teaching in Different Modalities

We recognize that there may need to be multiple modalities used depending responding to specific and emerging circumstances. The Cross Campus Teaching Innovations Group put together a guide to help you navigate all of the potential decisions with respect to teaching modalities.

Teaching with Masks: Accessibility Concerns

While masks are essential for protecting our health, they also pose major challenges to teaching. Not only do masks muffle voices and make it harder to hear others, it also masks the facial cues that instructors and students rely on when communicating.

Active Learning and In-Person Polling Tools

As we head back to in-person teaching, we'd like to remind you that there are additional strategies and many ways to adapt online tools that can be used to increase student engagement!

Lessons Learned from the Student Panel
Student-Generated Resource:
Addressing Student Anxieties About Return to In-Person Instruction

Students in the Learning Assistant Program gathered information from their peers to get a sense of how students are feeling about the return to in-person instruction. With this information, they put together an infographic expressing these concerns and some suggestions for how instructors can help.

Student Panel Highlights

We were fortunate to have 5 fantastic students join us for a student panel who shared insight on their experience over the last year and a half, what instructors did well during the pandemic, and what they are most concerned about coming back to campus this fall. Below are a few quotes we pulled from the panel that we thought might be particularly useful for instructors to know:
"...even though we're not all necessarily online anymore I think that a whole year of having to deal with that and maybe to deal with the loss of a family member or close friend is definitely going to weigh heavy on them for a while. It's going to be difficult for them to get back in the rhythm of things and the schedule. I think also being able to recognize the outside forces or outside issues can also add on to that stress."
"My main concern is if I get COVID or something and I have to isolate myself. If there's an in-person class I'm taking, will I have to make it up somehow, or what would the protocol be, especially during finals week? I really don't know what's going to happen."
"When I had to quarantine...the professor allowed us to have an alternate assignment to make up for an exam or assignment we missed because of an illness and it helped take a lot of pressure off what I had to do...so I could focus on my well-being and mental well-being."
Strategies and Examples from Faculty
Idea Sharing from Peers: Faculty Lightning Talks

Learn how Faculty across STEM have incorporated inclusive and equitable teaching strategies in their classrooms. During our workshop, faculty panelists discussed, showed examples, and presented data on the following topics:

  • Dr. Siobhan Braybrook: Combining Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning (+ increasing student agency)
  • Dr. Jennifer Casey: Using POGIL to Create Community in the Classroom
  • Dr. Tonya Kane: Engaging students in lower and upper division courses in EEB
  • Dr. Jeff Maloy: Two-stage exams, nature of and positionality in science, science and society, and learning pods
Equitable Course Design
Equitable Assessment Design

Any approach to equitable course design begins with the idea of "Backward Design". This begins with planning learning goals and outcomes for students before planning assessments or activities to help students learn effectively. In this session, the CEILS team helped participants plan for inclusive and equitable assessment strategies that aligned with the goals and learning that they wanted their students to achieve.

Engaging Students with Active Learning

Research shows that actively engaging students in the learning process can lead to deeper and more valuable learning. Effectively incorporating active learning techniques into your lecture can help solidify the concepts they are learning. In this session we discussed strategies that could be used remotely or in-person to increase student participation and considered how to address equity issues that may arise when implementing these activities.

Equitable Syllabus Design

One of the first things students engage with in a course is the syllabus; it provides an introduction not only to the topics and assignments throughout the quarter, but also provides a first impression of who you are as a teacher. On top of that, research shows that students frequently refer to the syllabus through the quarter. In this session we discussed and explored ways to make our syllabi more welcoming and clear, support student learning, and encourage student success.

Teaching with TAs in an Instructional Team
How Can You and Your TAs Best Support Each Other?

This Fall CEILS piloted a new workshop for faculty called "Teaching with TAs: Intentionally Building Communication, Boundaries, and Mentorship within the Teaching Partnership". In the workshop we discussed challenges that TAs face and ways that instructors can more efficiently engage TAs as part of a team while respecting their roles as student-teachers.

Additional Support
Check Out the CEILS Curated Calendar of Events
Looking for other online events related to inclusive teaching or equity in STEM? Check out the CEILS calendar of events for a curated list of local and national workshops, webinars, and conferences! We update this calendar regularly so check back often.

Connect with UCLA's Center
for Education Innovation &
Learning in the Sciences
For more information about CEILS events and resources, including a list of STEM education events from previous mailers, please visit the CEILS website at www.ceils.ucla.edu or stop by our CEILS office in 222 Hershey Hall.  If you wish to be added to the CEILS mailing list for future newsletters and special announcements, please send your request to media@ceils.ucla.edu.

Please note, this monthly newsletter is circulated through many departmental listservs. Most other CEILS correspondence, including special event announcements and reminders, are sent to CEILS mailing list recipients only. Thanks!