334. Journey Toward UDL

Most faculty begin their teaching careers with little preparation in effective teaching practices. In this episode, Jeanne Anderson joins us to share her journey toward inclusive teaching practices and universal design for learning. Jeanne is a faculty development coordinator at Waubonsee Community College, and an adjunct faculty member in the English departments at Elgin and Waubonsee Community Colleges, and the College of DuPage. She teaches a mix of online, face-to-face, and hybrid writing courses.

Show Notes

  • Tea Tree
  • ACUE
  • 4 Connections Curriculum
  • Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILTHigherEd)
  • Behling, K. T., & Tobin, T. J. (2018). Reach everyone, teach everyone: Universal design for learning in higher education. West Virginia University Press.
  • Tobin, Tom (2020). Pedagogies of Care: UDL. Tea for Teaching podcast. Episode 138. June 3.
  • Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (2012). Classroom assessment techniques. Jossey Bass Wiley.
  • Darby, F., & Lang, J. M. (2019). Small teaching online: Applying learning science in online classes. John Wiley & Sons.


John: Most faculty begin their teaching careers with little preparation in effective teaching practices. In this episode, one faculty member shares her journey toward inclusive teaching practices and universal design for learning.


John: Thanks for joining us for Tea for Teaching, an informal discussion of innovative and effective practices in teaching and learning.

Rebecca: This podcast series is hosted by John Kane, an economist…

John: …and Rebecca Mushtare, a graphic designer…

Rebecca: …and features guests doing important research and advocacy work to make higher education more inclusive and supportive of all learners.


John: Our guest today is Jeanne Anderson. Jeanne is a faculty development coordinator at Waubonsee Community College, and an adjunct faculty member in the English departments at Elgin and Waubonsee Community Colleges, and the College of DuPage. She teaches a mix of online, face-to-face, and hybrid writing courses. Welcome, Jeanne.

Jeanne: Thank you, John.

Rebecca: Today’s teas are:… Jeanne, are you drinking tea today?

Jeanne: I am. I was out and about today, and I stopped at the Tea Tree in downtown Batavia and told them I needed something tasty that would give me some endurance, because I’m a little tired today. I just got over COVID. And so they actually made me a cup of endurance tea.

Rebecca: Oh, look at that.

John: Excellent.

Rebecca: Who knew? [LAUGHTER]

Jeanne: It’s a mix of herbs that have been traditionally used for increasing stamina.

Rebecca: Well, I hope it works.

John: I do too.

John: And I have English breakfast tea today.

Rebecca: Oh, it must be a theme. I have Scottish afternoon tea. We’re all looking for a little energy. [LAUGHTER]

John: …which is a little more appropriate because we are recording in the afternoon, at least here on the East Coast. We met at the POD conference back in November and we sat at the same table at one of the sessions. And we talked a little bit about your practices. And we’ve invited you here to talk about how you’ve integrated inclusive teaching practices, including UDL into your writing classes. Could you tell us a little bit first about what prompted you to adopt a UDL approach in your classes?

Jeanne: Well, John, I have four kids between the ages of 14 and 21. And three of them are neurodiverse. And my 21-year old has autism. My 15 year old has dyslexia and my youngest has ADHD. I started teaching in 2000. I became a mom in 2003. And autism was a word that was introduced in my life in 2005, when my son was 21 months old. So throughout the time that I was starting to teach, and also then throughout the time that I was raising my son, there was a constant theme of having to meet him where he was at, because most normal kids, babies, you would put them in a stroller and go to the mall, and they’d sleep, where my son would cry and scream. But if I brought him home, and he went in his little swing, he was quiet and he was content and he was happy. And so there were just a lot of things that I had to give up at that time to be able to meet his needs. So I had an interview for an adjunct position while I was still in graduate school, at a college in Chicago on a Tuesday afternoon, right after Labor Day. And by mid-afternoon, they were walking me to HR, and I was being told that I would have a class very soon. And then the man I interviewed with, Mr. Haynes, he turned out to be one of my mentors, he came back and he said, “Oh, can you sub tonight? You get paid $150, all you have to do is pass out the syllabus and turn on a video.” And I was like, I could watch a movie for $150.” So I go down and I do my subbing thing. And he knocks on the door, and he hands me a set of books. And he says, “Okay, your class is Monday, Wednesday (it’s Tuesday night I won’t be home till 10). your class is monday, wednesday at eight o’clock in the morning, and you’re teaching Comm 101. And I’m thinking “this isn’t even my discipline.” And so I kind of got thrust in this classroom, not knowing how to teach, as many of us are, and we rely on the good or bad practices of our previous instructors in college. Really, one of the first principles that I talk about, one of the first things that I have to be intentional about, is meeting students where they’re at. And I do that because, at the time, I didn’t know what else to do with them. And so I would just gauge who they were and what their needs were and I would try to meet those needs. And so that’s really the first seven years of my teaching career, I kind of relied on that principle of just doing what my other teachers used to do, and meeting my students where they were at.

Rebecca: Definitely a good way to get involved in inclusive teaching and a good framework to dig into a lot of models that are out there.

Jeanne: Definitely, and this college, they didn’t have any remediation. And they really took a lot of students from Chicago Public Schools who truly needed the remediation. And so as a faculty member in these classes, I really had to figure out what their needs were. I couldn’t fix them, but I could give them the best college experience that I could in the courses that I was teaching. And so that’s really what I sought to do. It was also a very diverse group of students. Most of my students were either Hispanic or black. And so, again, another reason to just meet your students where you’re at, get to know them and make them feel comfortable. They’re in a setting where they feel like they don’t belong. And so years before I knew about imposter syndrome, I’m in a classroom having a severe case of impostor syndrome with a group of students who also have impostor syndrome, and that’s really been the bedrock of how I started working with students in the classroom, is making them feel comfortable. Some of the professional development that I’ve done has really informed my teaching practices in a new way over the last few years. The first third of my career was me just kind of figuring out how to teach and also having a child with autism, and using some of the skills that I picked up by raising him, applying those things to the classroom. Whether it’s slowing down my speech and being more intentional and direct in the things I say, that was one thing that I did with him. The second third of my career, we adopted two children, and so I kind of took a backseat. I was still teaching an insane amount of classes, but I wasn’t really making much movement in professional development. And that’s where I was working on getting diagnoses for dyslexia and ADHD, and trying to figure out in their education, like how does trauma inform their education? How are learning disabilities informing their education? How does the fact that they grew up in a Spanish speaking home for the first four to six years impact their education? These are all things that I can think about when I’m talking to my students, because as a writing instructor, especially since my first assignment in English 101 is a literacy narrative, they’re very open about if they grew up in the Spanish speaking home, or if they had a learning disability and they hated school, and the fact that they know that I have this background kind of fosters that engagement and connection. So the last five years, I’ve really focused more on professional development. And I took the ACUE courses. And then I became a Faculty Development Coordinator, and at College to DuPage, they offered a paid course for adjuncts. The curriculum was 4 Connections, that’s what the course was called. 4 Connections comes out of Odessa College in Texas. And the 4 connections are checking in with students regularly, practicing praxis (which means maintaining rigor, but also having flexibility), one-on-one check-ins, and learning students’ names. And so as far as inclusive teaching practices are concerned, again, these are all things that when I started teaching, they were almost frowned upon. You don’t want to engage with your students too much. You’re there to lecture, they’re there to learn, and there’s no late assignments, and if you plagiarize, then you’re out of here. And these were all habits of faculty back in the early 2000s that I grew up under, but that didn’t work for me. And so I looked at these 4 connections, and all of a sudden, it was very validating, because it was like, “Well, I’ve kind of been doing this all along, checking in regularly, that’s something that I do with students, the one-on-one meetings, that’s the one that always kind of enrages faculty, especially adjuncts because of how thinly we’re spread. But if you can get past the I don’t have to meet with every student one on one, I started that process by saying, Okay, we’re post pandemic, I’m comfortable with Zoom… I went from “Why are you taking an online class, if you want to talk to me, you should take an in-person class,” that was kind of the mentality of the early 2000s and mid 2010s. I went from that to, “Hey, it sounds like you could really use a zoom call. Let’s get together. Let’s have a one on one, let’s talk” and really just students getting to know me and me getting to know them a little bit really helped get them on track. They needed that engagement to get on track. The practicing praxis, I used to be told in my early years, “Oh, you’re too flexible. If it’s past the deadline, you shouldn’t take it, it’s a zero.” And in the culture that I was working in, nobody was turning things in on time. There were so many obstacles to the students I had in the beginning. Being a writing instructor, students definitely walk into your classroom not wanting to be there, and believing that you are judging them from the get go. And you kind of are. And so it’s always been my intention to make students feel comfortable so that I can get the best writing from them as well.

Rebecca: What are some of the strategies that you use to make students feel comfortable?

Jeanne: I was thinking about my teaching style, and how I would talk about it. I came up with four principles that I really follow: being intentional about meeting students where they’re at, so getting to know your students and meeting them where they’re at while also maintaining rigor and meeting those learning outcomes on the syllabus, because those are two very important components of getting your students through your college courses. I’m also very intentional about engagement. So when I start a class, whether it’s online or face to face, I want my students to know that they’re making friends in this class, and that they and their peers and myself were all part of a learning community, and I’m learning from them. I don’t necessarily call myself an expert. I have so much to learn. And a lot of things that I learned, I learned from my students. I give them an assignment, and they give it back to me, and then I learn about what are the good aspects of that assignment, and what parts of that assignment really need to go. My students teach me that. I can’t learn that on my own. And so having that rapport and that engagement in the classroom is very important to me, especially since the majority of the courses I teach are online. Being transparent is also very important. And I was introduced to the TILT framework (Transparency in Learning and Teaching). And as an English instructor, and as an online instructor, I have to give very clear guidelines to students, because I’m not in the classroom with them. So they have to be able to read the guidelines and follow them. And so I’ve always been pretty good at writing those assignments and getting that across. I’ve tweaked it over the years, being more intentional about letting them know the reason why we’re doing this assignment. I’ve never been a teacher to have like a bunch of readings just because we should have a bunch of readings. Whatever unit we’re in in the English 101 class, I want the exercises that we do in these classes to help them in their final destination of that research essay that they’re putting together for the course. And then the fourth principle has to do with the UDL implementation. And that’s really having that plus-one mindset. Adopting a plus-one mindset is really important, because there’s always one thing that I can do, maybe I’m just doing one thing this week, maybe I’m doing one thing a day, maybe I’m doing one thing a semester, but there’s only one way to improve my curriculum. There’s always one way to improve meeting students’ needs.

Rebecca: So for folks that are interested in that plus one mindset, it’s introduced in Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone by Tom Tobin and Kirsten Behling.

John: And we do have a podcast with Tom that we’ll share a link to in the show notes. Maybe you could talk a little bit about how you’ve implemented some of those UDL principles in your class, as you’ve continually done the plus one thing.

Jeanne: Well, they talk about multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression and multiple means of engagement. So I’m always looking at my curriculum and thinking, how can I better represent, how can my students better express what they know? And how can we improve engagement? For multiple means of representation, I started revising my syllabus, first of all. I tried to use more inclusive language, a little more colloquial, a little more warm, not having these really strict rules, but kindly sharing what was expected of students in a tone that reduced that imposter syndrome, telling students directly in my syllabus “you belong” is important. Another thing that I did, I learned about how to create like a visual graphics syllabus. For example, for my English 101 class, we have four papers that students write. And so on one page, I outline the entire course with what the whole course will look like and some of the things that they’ll be learning. Under each paper, I would talk about specific skills that they were going to pick up under that paper, during that unit. So they could see the entire class on one page. It will list the papers and what percentage they’re worth. And it’ll list a little description of what is involved. Our final paper in the English 101 class is a career analysis project. And so day one, I want them to know, “Hey, you’re going to be writing a paper about the career you’re interested in.” So let’s start thinking about that. And so a lot of the scaffolding that I put in place from paper to paper helps students follow the general outline of the course. I also use a skeletal outline. When I teach a face to face course, I actually set it up on whatever learning management system I’m using in the class. I set it up the same way I would an online class. I do that because I don’t want to forget anything. But at the beginning of class, I can go over the page and say, “Okay, these are all the things that we’re going to get through today.” And students know, and they’re not getting restless in their seats, especially because I mostly teach night classes. And you can just imagine By seven o’clock how much they want it to be over. And thankfully, I don’t have a ton of content that I have to get through. And so it’s like a half discussion/lecture, half of the class is us working together. And the other half is lab time. And as part of like an inclusive teaching practice, during lab time I meet with students regularly, one on one. And again, I’m getting to know them, I’m finding out “How was work today?” But I’m also finding out “Where are you at with your writing practice today?” And if you put something in place for one student, every student can benefit from that. So like if I have a blind student who needs her readings to be audio, the mother who is driving her kid to soccer practice can also benefit from having an audio version of the text. I’ve really embraced that idea of, when I put something in a course, trying to give them a graphic, trying to give them the text, and then trying to give them an audio or audio-visual component. I use Zoom a lot to create my videos. And so we have the closed captioning, they have the PowerPoint, they have the option of reading the transcript, maybe all those things can be overwhelming, but then turn off the closed captions and just have the PowerPoint and the talking. A lot of times I don’t even have the PowerPoint, I just have the screen for the learning management system, which is not always smart, because I use three different learning management systems, so that I have to keep re-recording those videos.

Rebecca: It sounds like those alternative formats are really helpful for students in giving options to explore the content and giving variety. And it sounds like you’re guiding them through picking and choosing which format works best for them.

Jeanne: Absolutely. And in 2010, when I got my big start in online teaching, I had completed a master’s certificate in online learning through Illinois Online Network. And actually, that was the first time I had ever heard about things like summative and formative assessments. So I was using classroom assessment techniques or CATs to check in with students. So those were things that I was learning in this class that I didn’t know about, then fast forward to last semester, and now I want to learn more about universal design for learning. So I started a digital accessibility for educators certificate. And we had a course for the foundations, we had a course where we just learned the basics of manipulating documents and making them accessible. I did another course that did the same for videos, and then the full eight-week UDL course, but the videos was interesting in that they actually recommended that your videos only be two to three minutes long, which if you’re used to teaching an hour and a half class, how do you get a two-minute video to educate your students. And I think part of that is students are used to watching shorter videos. And so if you have a 20-minute lecture, chunking it into four different videos can be very useful, because even when they have to go back, they know that that information that they want to review comes from video two, or video three, and it breaks things up for them. And you can set them up where one flows into the next

Rebecca: You were just summarizing the different ways that you were implementing multiple means of representation. You’ve talked a little bit about multiple forms in your syllabus, you talked about skeletal outlines, and then you were just talking about multiple formats for lectures. So one of the other UDL principles is thinking about multiple means of expression or ways that students can demonstrate their learning. Can you share some of the ways that you’ve implemented that into your teaching?

Jeanne: Sure, well, again, because I teach primarily online, I rely very heavily on the discussion boards. And so I do definitely start out with the icebreakers. And it’s not a best practice to answer every student on the discussion board, but for the icebreaker I do, because I want them to know that I heard them and that I have a response for them. And so I really tried to be very intentional. And then as the discussion boards increase throughout the semester, I back off and let my students engage with each other. But what I love about the discussion boards is it democratizes the classroom, because if a student is put on the spot right there in the classroom, they can’t always process the information quickly enough. They might be shy, they might feel like they just can’t come up with the answer right then and there. But when you’re on a discussion board, a student has the opportunity to read the question and thoughtfully respond in their own timing. And that really matches the work that I do. I’m definitely better at creating courses in writing and using instructional design techniques to lay out my classes and have everything set up, do all the writing of assignments, I’m much better at the organization than I am at getting up in front of students and lecturing. That’s just what I’m better at. And so I can really understand the idea of having a new concept introduced to me, and then having the opportunity to really think about it, maybe do a little research and pull my thoughts together before I respond. And so I think having those discussion boards, sometimes I even integrate them in my face-to-face classes just to give students other opportunities to engage. I have a literacy narrative assignment, where I allow students to either write the essay, or use another modality. So like, every once in a while, I’ll have a student who will want to make a video, I don’t have all the techniques of what video software you should use. Sometimes having all that information can be daunting. In today’s age, you know, my son, he’s 21, so he’s a junior in life and he’s working in the trades. So he’s not in college. But he started using a Chromebook in sixth grade. So we have students now who have capabilities in video production that I don’t have, just because they’ve been doing it in their elementary, middle school, and high school classes. So I also have an option for them to create a comic. Because we have an example in our textbook where somebody wrote a literacy narrative,as a graphic comic. Every once in a while, I get the drawers who want to have their literacy narrative that way. And so again, there’s just multiple ways. Writing class, you can’t always have a video, students have to write. But I can sometimes give options, the literacy narrative is a great place to give students the opportunity to showcase their story using another modality. I provide examples whenever possible. I ask my students “Can I use this?” and I get more and more questions from students about, “Can I have an example?” And sometimes I don’t want to give them one, I just want them to respond. It’s a low-stakes assignment, and I want them to think. I don’t want them to see somebody else’s response. I just want them to tell me what they know. But especially for larger essays, I want to make sure that they have those examples. We read a lot of essays from published authors, but having examples from their peers, and especially examples from peers that had me as their instructor, can be very helpful to students being able to then turn around and express their thoughts in writing. And this is also where that TILT model comes in, because I want to tell them why they’re doing the assignment, the literacy narrative, the purpose is for me to get to know you as a student, as a reader, as a writer. It’s an opportunity for you to tell me your story, and what the actual prompt is, what the skills they need, there’s always a rubric for them to follow to guide them. I give them an idea of what I expect in the final product. And sometimes I’ve been learning more and more that sometimes, using specifications grading, it’s either you met the objectives, or you didn’t can be very helpful in some of these writing assignments. One of my favorite writing assignments is… I got this at a conference at College DuPage, like maybe in 2016, and I adopted it, and I’ve been using it for years, but only in the face-to-face classroom. It’s students pairing up to groups of two or three, and they choose a movie and they do their own version of “At the Movies with English 101.” I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember this, Rebecca, I know John is, but Siskel and Ebert At the Movies on Sunday afternoon, I watched it with my dad every week and so I get to nerd out a little bit and do things I love and show them all these different clips of Siskel and Ebert. And then they get to pair with somebody and watch a film and write a script that they present to the class. And so what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not even really necessary to grade this assignment, because I’m really only grading on grammar and punctuation because they work so hard on it because they’re presenting it to their peers, and they’re working with another classmate that it’s a pure learning experience. And last semester, I had a student who was talking to her partner, and she said, “This is so fun. This is like doing a podcast.” And I thought, oh my goodness, I can bridge. I tell them to write a script and they look at me like a deer in headlights. But if I say they’re gonna do a podcast about their favorite movie, now I’ve reframed the assignment in terms that they understand. So that’s what I’m going to do next time. And like I said, if you’ve done the assignment, you get full credit because I’ve never had a student not do the assignment. I do have a rubric for the person who takes advantage, just in case they’re out there. And really the only way to lose points is if you don’t present your individual reflection on the entire process. So I feel like that is just one of those ways to meet students where they’re at by giving them the freedom to work with somebody else and see what kind of writing they can produce without too many parameters. And they’re almost always successful.

John: You had mentioned something about a career analysis project. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

Jeanne: Sure. That came out last spring, I had a late start class. And they were supposed to be writing an editorial and I was barely getting film analysis and literacy narrative essays from them. They were really struggling as a class. And I was trying to figure out a way to motivate them. And I’m thinking, if I have them write an editorial, that’s not going to work for this group. And so I scrambled, and I thought, well, as a freshman in college, most of the students who take English 101, this is their first time in college, and thinking about the TILT model, what can they write that gives them purpose? And so I came up with “Well, every student’s going to want to get out of college with a career, and we can still meet the learning objectives in the class.” So the final product is the actual essay, and that is totally graded with a rubric and they have to meet all the learning objectives, work cited page, introduction, thesis statement, all those components of a basic essay, source integration, synthesis. We’re in the early stages of getting them ready for that English 102 class. And so they can write an essay about their career meeting all those objectives in the same way that they could write an editorial meeting those same objectives. And so I always start a paper like that with an annotated bibliography. And so I got the librarians to help me find websites where students could research their careers. And so the librarians put together a page for me that students can refer to, and I’ve since created short videos, where I explain the different databases to them. Right now, I think I have like a 12-minute video that I did. So the next step is, instead of talking about all the databases in one video, talk about different individual databases in two to three minutes, breaking that down and meeting them even better than I was with a 12-minute video. So they write their annotated bibliography, and that gives them an opportunity to work on MLA citations, work on summarizing, and thinking about how they’re going to use that material for the final essay. That’s part one. Part two is using ChatGPT to have a conversation, I call it a ChatGPT interview. And so now that students have done the research on their own, now they’re taking what they know and I give them a series of prompts. And I’m giving them the experience of using ChatGPT to inform their writing and the research. And so I’m not necessarily concerned about the interview. I’ve very recently learned that instead of them describing the process, they can send me a link to the actual interview. So it’s evolved from describing the process to: write an introduction, give me your link, and then write a reflection on what helped and what didn’t help and how you think this is a valuable tool in education, how you think that ChatGPT could derail you in your education. And so I know a lot of English faculty are very wary of AI in the classroom with good reason, because I’ve gotten a few of those papers. And I’ve probably gotten more than I think, and they’ve gotten under my nose. But it’s like the internet was 20 years ago. It’s a tool that’s not going anywhere. And so it is our responsibility as educators to introduce students to these tools and talk about the ethics of them. And so this is just an opportunity to kind of slip that in. And the feedback I’ve gotten from most students is “Oh, yeah, I got really good information. Some of it wasn’t accurate based on my research. I could tell from the tone of what I was reading that it was robotic, and I definitely wouldn’t want my writing to sound that way. But it was nice to put some ideas in and get some feedback from those ideas. So part one is the annotated bibliography. Part two is the ChatGPT interview. Part three is that final essay, and this semester, I’ve added a part four, because I wasn’t feeling like this assignment was robust enough. And I’ve also been in conversations about UDL, giving students multiple ways to express what they know. And so I actually went into ChatGPT and I put part of my assignment in it. And I asked him to write me guidelines for doing a media presentation. And so now they’re going to have to take what they’ve learned in their essay, or what they’ve written in their essay. And they have to take it a step further and do some kind of a PowerPoint or video or some kind of visual component, so that they can, I guess, bring what they know, it’s not just an essay, but they’re sharing it with the world in some respects, or they have something that they could share with the world. And so this will give me an opportunity to talk about portfolios, ‘cause some nursing students need those kinds of things. I know I did when I was in public relations, journalism was my major. And so I know when I got out of college, I needed a portfolio. And so this is just another opportunity for them to maybe have a little bit of fun with the content. And it brings them more into the 21st century. Our students, I’m sure many of them aspire to be influencers. They love their YouTube. So this is a way for them to live out that dream a little bit.

Rebecca: Sounds like an opportunity to think about audience as well.

Jeanne: Yes, definitely.

Rebecca: How have your students responded to these opportunities in the reconfiguring of this project?

Jeanne: They have responded really well, especially with this particular project, the feedback I’ve gotten is I really appreciated the opportunity to research something I need to know about anyway. And I appreciated that you created an assignment that I can relate to, that means something to me. Not every discipline can do that. But as a writing instructor, Comp 101, Comp 102, I do have a lot of flexibility with the content. And so I focus very much on the skills that students can attain… the Siskel and Ebert, they all are looking at me, like, I’m crazy for asking them to create this podcast. But as they go through the process, I give them a lot of time in class. And as they go through the process of creating the document, at the end of the day, they have another piece of writing that they’re really proud of. A lot of them say “I had fun doing this.” And I feel like if a student is having fun doing a writing assignment, I’m really going to get to see their best efforts. I find that a lot of kids come out of high school and they come to college with this idea that I have to write what my teacher wants me to write. And I have to figure out what that is. And during the pandemic, I really got a taste of that when I was helping my son with his research paper, because he didn’t really do any writing. He started by looking for quotes. And then he explained what those quotes meant. He started with main ideas, and then he’d find quotes, and then he’d explain the quotes. And then he’d slap in a bunch of transitions and call that a paper. But there was really no like, “What do I think about this?” It was more about how do I meet all the criteria that my instructors have given me to complete this assignment. And so it’s a real privilege in English 101 to be able to kind of deprogram that thinking and give students the opportunity to really know what it’s like to write what they think,

Rebecca: Maybe to move on from just efficient solutions to things to something that’s actually valuable to them.

Jeanne: Exactly. And they’re learning skills in high school for a reason. They just lack the opportunity to really put those skills together in a lot of regular classes, I think. It’s been my experience with my kids anyway, and with my students, that they are really just re-imagining graphic organizers and presenting them to their students with all the boxes checked.

John: In your professional development role have some of the techniques that you’ve been using been widely adopted at your institutions?

Jeanne: Well, at Waubonsee, they pay for faculty to take the ACUE courses, which is a certificate in effective college instruction. And I know that there are a lot of active learning modules, there’s modules that have to do with creating a classroom environment that is conducive to learning. And there’s also a course that’s separate from the effective college instruction that is fostering a culture of belonging. And so that is a really good course to get people thinking about those around them. And at College DuPage, I do a lot of book clubs. So that’s how I got introduced to Thomas Tobin’s work, Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone and Flower Darby’s work with Small Teaching Online. And in fact, Thomas is the one who introduced me to John, at one of his sessions. So I’m a little bit of a Thomas Tobin groupie, I guess. And so I do find that any opportunity for faculty to engage with each other is really key. I know this as an online faculty member, I know this as an adjunct faculty member. I probably spent a good 10 years in a silo while I was raising my kids, and developed very slowly as an instructor, because I was really just doing my own research and learning my own things. But bringing it out into the world and engaging with other people, it really does improve your teaching strategies and your abilities at a much faster rate. And so I have really enjoyed the privilege of working in faculty development and sharing the things that I’ve learned with others and constantly also learning from others.

Rebecca: That is one of the benefits to being in faculty development, is getting the opportunity to learn new things, and from other faculty and other developers on a regular basis. I think that’s one of the reasons why John and I like to do the podcast. [LAUGHTER] And that’s why I enjoy listening to the podcasts, too. I go in these stages where I just listen and listen and listen and listen and listen, and then I burn out and I gotta stop, or I think, “Okay, I’m not listening to another podcast until I apply something from the last one I’ve listened to.” Because you know, when you’re in the car, and you’re just driving around, it can be really easy to think, “Oh, this is great, and then you forget about it.”

John: And that is a bit of an occupational hazard for being a podcaster in this area. Because there’s so many great ideas that we hear from people that it’s really tempting to try to do all of them. And that can be quite overwhelming.

Jeanne: For sure.

Rebecca: So, we do always wrap up by asking: what’s next?

Jeanne: I know and I keep thinking about that. My faculty development job is supposed to end because it’s a two-year fellowship, supposed to end in May. And so what’s next is there has been talk about keeping my fellow Adjunct Faculty Development Coordinator and I on staff. So I guess we’re waiting to figure out as we revamp that department if I will continue in faculty development. But the good news is I love teaching so much. And I love teaching online so much. And one thing that I’ve learned about the anxiety that I have with teaching in face-to-face classes is that I don’t do it enough. And if I do it more, that anxiety dissipates, because I’m in that community. So I don’t know what’s next.

John: Thank you for joining us. It’s been great talking to you again, and we look forward to hearing more about your continued evolution in terms of teaching.

Rebecca: Thank you for sharing your story.

Jeanne: Thank you so much for having me on. This was great.


John: If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. To continue the conversation, join us on our Tea for Teaching Facebook page.

Rebecca: You can find show notes, transcripts and other materials on teaforteaching.com. Music by Michael Gary Brewer.

Ganesh: Editing assistance by Ganesh.