Teaching Tip of the Week Archives

Preparing your online assessments in Canvas

Online assessments raise academic integrity red flags, but there are some ways to create your quizzes to reduce those risks.  

Aptly-named Speedgrader function makes grading assignments in Canvas quick and easy

The Speedgrader function in Canvas simplifies grading online by providing a clean interface and requiring fewer clicks to provide feedback and assign grades. Find out how to find and use this time-saving gradebook feature.  

Integrate Zoom directly in your Canvas course!

Read about a simple way to schedule your online synchronous class meetings directly from your Canvas course.  

Videos make your course interesting; Canvas makes it easy!

Recording short videos for your class is a simple way to add that human element into your class—even if it is online. Find out how some best practices for making short videos and how to incorporate them into your course Canvas.  

Canvas Groups facilitates student collaboration

While group work is a necessary evil of graduate coursework, Canvas’s Groups function can help to make coordinating, sharing, and collaborating easier for all involved.  P.S. - You can always add more or delete any extra with the functions on the right side of the Groups page.  

Set and manage expectations with Canvas’s Rubrics

It is annoying for instructors when a student ignores time-consuming feedback to flip ahead and concentrate on an assignment’s score. Equally frustrating is when students have no idea why they have earned a certain grade. The rubrics feature in Canvas allows for instructors to set and manage expectations on student work.  

Using the Assignments feature in Canvas

In Canvas, “assignment” is a catch-all word for anything to be graded by the instructor—whether or not any actual assigned work is collected. Find out the basics of Canvas’s Assignments feature in this Teaching Tip.  

Setting up your Canvas course: Modules v. Pages

Before diving too deeply down the rabbit hole that is the Canvas Instructor Guide, you can get your course set up started with this overview.  

Soothing the sting of cruel student comments

Reading students’ comments on official end-of-term evaluations – or worse RateMyProfessors.com – can often be painful and upsetting. So it’s no surprise faculty skim the written section and focus on the quantitative ratings. Check out this week's Teaching Tip for some suggestions for soothing the sting from those hurtful student comments.  

Positive takeaways from the recent shift to remote instruction

With the unexpected shift to remote learning this spring comes several lessons learned for instructors and course developers. Read about five positive takeaways.  

Low tech options for high-quality teaching

Avoid the rookie mistakes in online learning by incorporating some low-tech solutions. Here are five.  

Ways to promote inclusion in your Zoom lessons

To create an inclusive atmosphere over online platforms like Zoom, you must be intentional. Adding some structural elements to your synchronous remote lessons can help you make the unexpected switch to online learning smoother for both you and your students and ensure that no one gets left out.  

Tips for Using Zoom for Essay, Thesis, Dissertation Meetings and Defenses

Read about some early best practices for holding a remote defense or student essay, thesis, or dissertation committee meeting.  

Instructional Technology Assistance 24/7 & Where to Find It

From the University and the Center for Teaching and Learning: 1) See our new guidelines for communicating with students as classes resume. 2) Visit teaching.pitt.edu for immediate access to resources on instructional continuity in the remote environment. 3) Read the message from Provost Cudd , which contains important information about available resources, as well as information about policies and facilities, and the Provost’s mes... 

Faculty: Do you have a question about teaching online?

The University Center for Teaching and Learning has a full knowledge base of answers to your questions. Simply select a platform or area or use the search box to find the information that you are in need of. There is also a student knowledge base that you can share with you students.   

7 Tips for Delivering Interactive Virtual Sessions in BlackBoard

Click the headline to find 7 helpful tips for when you take your first class online.  

Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Community Members

Join the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) on Friday, April 3, in 548 of the William Pitt Union for the workshop, “Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Community Members.” Presented by Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation, this educational opportunity for faculty and staff provides expert training in serving LGBTQ+ communities. There will be an Introductory Workshop from 11am-12pm, followed by a Skills-Based Workshop and Q&A from 12-1pm. Snacks ... 

How to get your students to ask better questions

Getting students to ask questions can be like pulling teeth! Many students are unwilling or unable to ask their own questions, afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of their peers and their instructors. Find out some best practices to spark your students’ curiosity so they start asking critical questions.  

Connect with other faculty at the next Teaching Partners meeting

The next Teaching Partners meeting is March 23 from 12-1 pm. If you are interested in learning about new developments within the Teaching Center or discussing important topics in higher education, be sure to mark your calendars! Teaching Partners is a faculty community that engages faculty who use the Teaching Center's resources to support and enhance their teaching practice. Lunch will be provided. To register, visit website  (seating is limit... 

Get into the groove with your research writing

Join the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Researchers’ Writing Group every Friday afternoon from 2-5 pm in Alumni Hall. This program aims to provide support and external accountability to faculty working on research. The time will be dedicated solely to research endeavors. For more information, contact Tahirah Walker at tjw88@pitt.edu or 624-6592.  

Using a Social Annotation Platform for Pre-Class Reading Assignments

With the use of social annotation platforms to read digital textbook content, students can interactively annotate and discuss the material before each class. Thus, tools and techniques to help us use these social annotation platforms, like Perusall, have never been more important to learn about and share.  

Emergency Takeover: 4 Tips for Taking Over a Course Midway

Unexpected circumstances can strike at any time! Faculty may need to step away from their teaching duties before the end of a semester, leaving other faculty to finish their course with little to no preparation. In these situations, we need to be prepared with an action plan for the possibility of an emergency takeover. Keep reading to learn some tips on how to approach taking over a course midway.  

Alternate media made easy with SensusAccess

SensusAccess is a file converter tool that makes inaccessible documents (such as Word and PDF files) into more accessible media (such as searchable PDFs, audio MP3 files, Braille, or e-text) and is now available to all Pitt faculty, staff, students, and alumni with an active University email address. Click on the headline to check out SensusAccess’s e-learning course.  

The Semester is Over: Now What?

The conclusion of your course marks the beginning of a new phase: the end of semester is the perfect time to take stock of your course and reflect on your teaching.   

You had one job: an argument for conversations offline

In an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Sherry Turkle argues that, in an age of multitasking, less is actually best.  

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