Course Tune-Up Initiative

About the Initiative

The 2021 Fall semester brings a compelling new opportunity for transformative learning as we meld the best of our residential experience with the most promising technology-enabled practices that sustained us during more than a year of remote teaching.  The L&S Instructional Design Collaborative, in partnership with the UW-Madison Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentorship, is pleased to offer the Course Tune-Up Program to provide instructors with support to design an intentional “new normal” for their teaching. 

The Course Tune-Up process is designed to facilitate concrete and manageable innovations. We provide instructors with direct assistance from a course design/technology specialist to support creative thinking, planning, and implementation of targeted design innovations in one or more of the categories below. Larger projects are accepted, but we may work with you to establish phases to address near-term and longer-term goals. Submissions are accepted starting Aug 23, 2021 through the Fall 2021 semester.

Overview of the Process

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Our course tune-up program matches instructors with a course design partner to address a remote and blended teaching challenge. The process is efficient and targeted at practical improvements to save time and teach well.

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Interactive Lectures & Student Connection

Many instructors found the interactive features of Zoom (chat, polls, emoticon reactions, breakout rooms) to be simple and effective in keeping students engaged and active during virtual learning. Connect with a design partner to explore low-tech and no-tech interactive strategies to recapture these interactive elements in the classroom and beyond. 

We can help you: 

  • Help students plan their engagement with organizational tools and a clear course rhythm
  • Review technologies that stage and scaffold student interactions before, during, and after your class meetings.
  • Extend the classroom with student-created study groups for easy real-time or asynchronous collaboration.
  • Assemble strategies & resources that can be used on-demand throughout the semester to increase interactivity. 
  • Work to create an environment where students with accessibility and equity challenges are comfortable, welcome, and a valued part of the learning community.
  • Explore how settings and features of tools that lead to more authentic interaction

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Interactive Lecturing Book
Interactive Lecturing: A Handbook for College Faculty is a helpful resource for planning activities in the classroom.

Remote Learning Materials & Practices

After teaching remotely during the last year you may have amassed a large number of digital materials. It may be unclear how the materials can best support your students and serve as a longer-term teaching tool. A course design partner can help you audit your resources and develop a plan that thoughtfully incorporates existing materials into your in-person classroom.

We can help you: 

  • Consider the ongoing utility of lecture recording (or reuse of previously recorded lectures) to support students who may need to be absent.
  • Intentionally shift some or most lecture content to Canvas to repurpose valuable in-person class time.   
  • Efficiently manage communication and feedback with digital tools
  • Revise remote activities to better suit the classroom 
  • Develop a technical workflow for revising and streamlining digital materials.

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Get and Use Student Feedback

The upcoming academic year will be different from any other, and that means understanding your students’ experiences will continue to be important.  Gathering feedback from students at planned intervals during the semester can help you make small improvements to your learning environment. A course design partner can collaborate with you to develop questions that reveal specific updates to improve your course. 

We can help you:

  • Consider what you will do differently in your fall classroom, and how you will know it is successful.
  • Reveal how students use the online parts of your course, and plan improvements.
  • Consider how an activity, like a peer review assignment, works and how could it be better.
  • Develop a simple and actionable mid-semester evaluation aligned with your end-of-semester evaluation.
  • Identify and create methods to solicit feedback on new or updated aspects of your course for fall. 

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Choose Your Own Tune-Up

What technology-enabled practices transformed your teaching in the last year? What would you most like to carry forward into your “new normal” of teaching? Work with a partner to identify goals and steps to reach them.

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