Dear Colleagues,

I can hardly believe that it’s midway through August and the Fall term is just around the corner. With that in mind, I offer the following list of resources for you as you begin preparing for teaching:

Info & Links You Need Right Now:

  • Want to know what types of technology your students are bringing to your classroom? The most recent survey of our incoming freshman class tells us that 18% have a Windows PC, 76% have a Mac, and 3% are using ChromeBooks or another type of Tablet. From this survey we also know that our students prefer to receive time-sensitive information via text message rather than via email. Thus, you may want to share these instructions for setting up Canvas notifications with your students during the first week of class.
  • Sign Up for an Educational Technology workshop. There are many to meet your needs, including Tools for Student Success, Canvas for Beginners, and Making Grading Easier.
  • Have a quick “How Do I?” question about Canvas or other teaching technologies?  Please drop in to the Virtual Tech Hub, on weekdays from 2:30-4:30 and you will find a staff member ready to help with all of your issues or questions:  (note: this link will open a Zoom meeting)
  • Visit the Online Classroom Inventory to see images and access training materials for using your assigned classroom(s). Notably, we have new video tutorials for all of our classrooms, which you may view via these links:
  • Did you realize that you can view data within Canvas to monitor your students’ engagement with your course? You may want to use this to gauge whether some of your students may need a nudge from you to help them be more successful.

A Bit of Inspiration:

In Closing:

Not too long ago I was visiting my adult daughter Emma in Washington DC, where she lives and works. We got two tickets to tour the Library of Congress. If you haven’t been there yourself, you may not be aware that there are tile frescoes on the ceiling in that building commemorating great writers and thinkers. As we walked around that gorgeous building looking at the artwork I found the list of “Librarians of Congress” inscribed on one of the walls and made a point of taking a photo of the list because the current Librarian, Carla Hayden, is a personal hero. As you might expect, she is the lone woman in a long list of men who have served in that role over the years.

inscriptions in the Library of CongressAs I was snapping the photo a docent started chatting with us and then led us over to the other side of the building, the only other place where a woman’s name appears on the edifice. The name was Sappho, and the guide explained to us that her name had been added to the ceiling as a mistake, because the designers didn’t realize Sappho was a woman. All three of us rolled our eyes at that, but of course it caused me to ponder how much has changed in the period since 1897 when the Library of Congress building was built.

That experience returned to me as I considered how the college classroom has changed since I was in school, since I began teaching, and since we have all returned to in-person classes after the pandemic. A new school year used to mean spiral notebooks for each subject and multi-colored pens, now it means assembling digital folders and updating to the most recent version of Zoom. It means crafting culturally-responsive and diverse curriculum. It means team-based learning and authentic assessments. It means using technology wisely to create the best-possible learning experience for our students. I realize it’s an enormous endeavor to prepare for the Fall term. I wish you my very best as you do so.