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Check out these recent posts to our blog.


Position Openings: Instructional Technologists, Deadline June 15th

Vanderbilt CIRTL Programs for Future STEM Faculty

From Math Major to Teaching Center Director: My #altac Journey

Thinking STEM, Teaching STEM: A Blog Series




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June 2015

The CFT Welcomes New Assistant Director for Educational Technology Stacey Johnson

 We’re excited to announce the upcoming appointment of Stacey Johnson as the CFT’s Assistant Director for Educational Technology. Beginning June 15th, Stacey will work with faculty, teaching assistants, and other instructors at Vanderbilt to enhance student learning through the use of Vanderbilt’s course management system, Blackboard, and other online learning platforms.

Stacey is currently an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Hope College in Michigan, where she teaches Spanish language and education courses and consults with other language faculty as they explore the use of educational technology in their teaching. While at Hope, Stacey worked with colleagues in the Spanish department to convert the entire first-year language sequence from a traditional four-day-a-week format to a hybrid model that uses a course management system for one fourth of the total contact hours.

Stacey’s research interests include adult language learning, problem-based learning, mobile technology in the classroom, and hybrid language instruction. Her first book, Hybrid Language Teaching in Practice: Perceptions, Reactions, and Results, co-authored with Berta Carrasco, was published earlier this year, and her second book, Adult Learning in the Language Classroom, is scheduled for release in September. Her co-authored College Teaching article, “The Selfie as a Pedagogical Tool in a College Classroom,” gives a sense of the creativity she brings to her teaching and her work with educational technology.

Stacey’s hybrid teaching experience and her expertise in educational technology will enhance the CFT’s ability to support Vanderbilt instructors as they explore how Blackboard and other online learning platforms can be more effectively used to enhance student learning. We look forward to introducing Stacey to her new colleagues across campus this summer and fall.

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New Employment Opportunities at the CFT

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The CFT is seeking applicants for two Instructional Technologist positions.  These new positions will support faculty, students, and staffwith the use of Vanderbilt’s course management system (Blackboard) and other online learning platforms.

The Instructional Technologists will report to the CFT’s Assistant Director for Educational Technology and work collaboratively with senior and support staff at the CFT, as well as others involved in supporting teaching at the university.

This position requires an Associate’s degree and a minimum of 24 months of relevant experience.  A Bachelor’s degree is preferred. To see the complete list of job duties and preferred skills, visit the CFT's employment opportunities web page.

The deadline for applications is June 15, 2015. Apply online here.

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Make the Most of Your Course Preparation Time This Summer

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Summer time is here, and many faculty members have a break from their usual schedules, a chance to slow down a bit and start planning their fall courses. 

If you have a breather, you may find this an opportune time to review and refresh your teaching plans and practices.  The Center for Teaching is open all summer, with consultants ready to help you review your classroom accomplishments this past year and consider how to recreate your course designs.

We tailor our consultations to your specific needs, based on a “backward design” process described in Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.  This useful framework works “backwards” by starting with what we usually consider the last phase of course development, the desired results.  Identifying the outcomes you want from the course—the learning goals you set for your students—lays a solid foundation for an effective learning experience.  Then you proceed to creating targeted assessments that provide evidence that they’re making progress toward those specific goals. 

You end by designing assignments and activities that give your students practice in using their learning to initiate that progress.  In sum, you

    • Identify desired results (learning goals).
    • Determine acceptable evidence (assessments).
    • Plan learning experiences and instruction (assignments and activities). 

Come in today and we’ll help you fine-tune your current designs or create brand-new courses.  Call 322-7290 to schedule an appointment.


In addition to consultation, the CFT website contains a wealth of useful resources like our collection of 65 guides, online documents in which we synthesize and condense some of the research and resulting practices of specific topics in teaching and learning. These guides support our mission by contributing to two main areas in our programs and services:

  • Identifying, sharing, and advocating for research-based practices in university teaching and the resources that support them, and
  • Fostering campus conversations on teaching and learning that are informed by national and international higher education developments.

Visit the CFT website and discover new ways to structure and organize content, evaluate student learning, and create activities to better engage students with the course material. Below are links to a few guides you will find useful as you begin planning your course.

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Reflecting On and Documenting Your Teaching Experiences


Reflecting on Teaching: 
What?  For Whom?  Why?

Often, the motivation to improve one’s teaching by revising practices or experimenting with new initiatives stems from reflection.  This reflection often focuses on feedback received from others, such as student evaluations or peer reviews.  Reflection further involves one’s own assessment of experiences, through self-observation and activities that foster self-analysis such as teaching workshops or individual consultations, and/or pedagogical research. 

Written reflections on teaching can be used for personal, professional, or pedagogical purposes. While teaching statements are increasingly an important part of hiring and tenure processes, they also are effective in helping one clearly and coherently conceptualize his or her approaches to and experiences of teaching and learning, and deepen and renew their commitment to values and goals for their teaching.    

At Vanderbilt, promotion and review processes require faculty to reflect on their work and document their progress in teaching, research and service.  When reporting on teaching, faculty are encouraged to articulate their teaching philosophy and objectives; describe past and planned course and curriculum development; and explain pedagogical initiatives, innovations or experiments, and their results.

The Center for Teaching provides one-on-one consultations on evaluating and documenting your teaching.  As we assist you in preparing your teaching documentation, we work with you to reflect deliberately on your practice as a means of deepening your understanding of pedagogical goals and methods, and linking those goals and methods to student learning.

If you’d like more information about reflecting on and documenting your teaching, please stop by, or call, the Center for Teaching (322-7290) or visit our set of teaching guides on the topic.

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From the Stacks...


Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology
by Diana Laurillard

This book focuses on the learning community model that is the most flexible to implement in terms of scheduling, teacher collaboration, and design: the linked course.

This volume covers both “linked courses” in which faculty may work to coordinate syllabi and assignments, but teach most of their courses separately, as well as well as “paired courses” in which two or more courses are team taught in an integrated program in which faculty participate as learners as well as teachers. The author and her colleagues present powerful illustrations and instructive case studies of effective pedagogy, programs and assessment approaches, and address the organizational structure challenges that can make learning communities more effective, sustainable, and widespread.

Available in the Center for Teaching library.

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