Archive for the ‘CITL Answers’ Category

CITL Answers April 2013

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Question: When you consider teaching, research, and service, time management can be challenging for an aca­demic. I’m trying to figure out how to organize my numerous responsibilities against my real life. Help!

Answer: In any profession there are time management challenges. Right here at Emerson there is a way for you to focus on your writing endeavors. Between semesters, the CITL and the Iwasaki Library offer the Faculty Writers’ Retreat. It is two days of designated time for you to write. This “choose your own adventure” opportunity gives you permission to just write, or you can complement your writing with voluntarily-offered support from campus experts in several aspects of the writing process. Watch for the announcement for the next Faculty Writers’ Retreat.

CITL Answers-March 2013

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Question: I’ve heard my colleagues mention scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning. What’s the difference?

Answer: When faculty members engage in scholarly teaching, they use disciplinary methods to study their teach­ing processes and student learning outcomes. They identify challenges in helping students learn, they read pedagogical literature, they test out interventions, and they use the results to enhance student learning. The scholarship of teaching and learning, or SoTL, extends scholarly teaching further by making the scholarly work public. Faculty present their findings at conferences or publish in journals that focus on teaching and learning in higher education. Follow this link for a chart that illustrates stages of faculty growth toward being engaged in SoTL: Contact Karen St. Clair – – if you would like to discuss moving from scholarly teaching to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

CITL Answers – December 2012

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Question: Besides contributing the “CITL Answers” column to Faculty Focus, what does the CITL do?

Answer: The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) promotes excellent teaching for enhanced stu­dent learning. The word “innovation” in the center’s title simply means that as you work toward excellent teaching, new-to-you approaches are explored and used. More broadly, the CITL involves tailored support for any teach­ing and learning concern. Individual consultations and small group sessions are available to all faculty. Because the CITL promotes ways to enhance student learning, it encompasses three units that offer support for learning: the Lacerte Family Writing and Academic Resource Center, the Disability Services Office, and the Office of Ser­vice Learning and Community Action. The CITL also assists the College by investigating and recommending best practices in teaching for student learning in higher education. Frequently this is done through collaborations with other units on campus that promote excellent teaching for enhanced student learning.

CITL Answers – November 2012

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Question: Lately I have been hearing a lot about community. How can I bring community into my courses?

Answer: There are many options and assistance is available. Through collaborations with Emerson’s Office of Ser­vice Learning and Community Action, faculty can enhance their courses by establishing relevant exchanges with established or new community partners. Students engage with community partners through volunteerism, and then students relate their experiences back to the course. Levels of community involvement range from engaging with partners one time to multiple times across the semester. It is not too late to enhance your Spring 2013 course. Contact Suzanne Hinton, Associate Director of Service Learning:, ext. 8774. Visit the Service Learning and Community Action webpage:

CITL Answers – October 2012

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Question: Grading is a difficult task. Sometimes grading can be objective; other times it can be too subjective. How can I grade more fairly and effectively?

Answer: Not only is grading a difficult task, it is a complicated one. There is no simple answer to your question. Many elements go into awarding grades that students earn. To be fair means that the grades reflect how well students per­formed on the learning goals for the course. To be effective means that the grades, awarded throughout the course, helped students reach the learning goals. The single best advice to get you on your way to fair and effective grading is a paraphrase of Walvoord and Anderson (Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment in College): teach what you grade and grade what you teach.

CITL Answers-April 2012

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Question: When it arises, plagiarism is complicated and time consuming for all. I have to attend to detection, making a complaint, and sanctioning the student. How can I stop plagiarism from happening in the first place?

CITL’s Answer: The Iwasaki Library and the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning assist faculty through discussion sessions about the reasons why students plagiarize. And, at these sessions they offer recommendations for assignment design that can help deter plagiarism. Watch for announcements about these discussion sessions or contact the library:, or the CITL:

CITL Answers – March 2012

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Question: I prefer electronic means for obtaining information. Although I would like to find out more about teaching and learning in higher education, there is too much on the Inter­net to manage. I would like to dip one toe into the pool and then figure out where I want to plunge deeper. How can I get started?

CITL’s Answer: The CITL’s webpage has several links to helpful resources on a variety of topics about teaching and learning in higher education. The resources range from sites offering teaching tips and strategies to ones providing essays and scholarly treatments of current issues in higher education. To get started, visit the CITL’s web resources page:

CITL Answers – February 2012

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Question:  I have rules in my course for students’ behavior.  For example, I have rules for cell phone use and attendance.  But, I can’t seem to consistently enforce the rules.  There’s always an exception that I have to consider.  Are there rules about rules that will help me?

Answer:  Most faculty are troubled by rules that get broken and then can’t be fixed.  In the December 13th, 2011 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rob Jenkins listed rules about classroom rules. The first on the list is “Don’t make a rule you can’t enforce.”  For some rules you may spend more time policing, instead of teaching.  The last on the list is “Be consistent.”  Jenkins advises that “if you have a rule, you must enforce it, regardless of the consequences.”  For Jenkins’ other rules, here is the link to the article and readers’ comments:

CITL Answers – December 2011

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Question: Oftentimes I would like to investigate a teaching and learning issue, but the vast literature is overwhelming. I would prefer to start with something targeted and brief.  Is there a resource that could give me a quick overview of the literature about specific, common issues we face as professors?

CITL’s Answer: The IDEA Center publishes short articles on teaching and learning topics. There are nearly 40 of these articles available for free. They are written by experts in the various topics, and they include references for further reading. Obtain PDF versions of the articles here:

CITL Answers – November 2011

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Question: My students tell me they hear everything that is being said in class, but their work doesn’t suggest they listen deeply. How can I help them understand the difference?

CITL’s Answer: For a brief explanation about the difference between hearing and deep listening, go to a recent post on “Academic Minute,” a daily feature of Inside Higher Ed. In two and a half minutes, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Pauline Oliveros explains the difference. It could provide just what you need to begin to help you help your students engage in deep listening. The link is here:­ing