Posts Tagged ‘CITL Answers’

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 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

CITL Answers – October 2011

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Question: Does Emerson College request faculty follow specific guidelines when prepar­ing course syllabi?

CITL’s Answer: Yes, the Office of Academic Affairs requests that faculty follow the Guide­lines for Syllabi. It lists the elements that all syllabi should contain. And it offers useful language for the statement about plagiarism and the statement that provides information about academic accommodations for disabilities. The Guidelines for Syllabi document is updated as needed. You can request a copy from

CITL Answers – April 2011

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Question: I often struggle to strike a balance between student learning goals for disciplinary content and learning goals for transferring processes to future situations. Don’t students have to know content before they can learn processes like critical thinking?

CITL’s Answer: Your question is one we all face for courses at all levels. If students are going to think critically, for example, they do need something to think about – content! But, often there is so much content, it would be impossible to expect students to retain it all. DiCarlo and Lujan made recommendations that make sense. They noted that information changes so rapidly, the answers to questions today may be the wrong answers tomorrow. Learning is not always about committing facts to memory, but rather about learning how to find, evaluate, apply, and use information. They recommended that faculty reduce the amount of content presentation in class and replace that time with a focus on active learning pedagogies that will enable students to learn and practice the processes that can be transferred into life after college. The content will be there, ready and waiting for the processes. E-mail for the DiCarlo and Lujan references.

CITL Answers – March 2011

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Question: I’m concerned because my students are not using quality sources for their research assignments. How can I steer them towards better sources?

CITL’s Answer: Emerson’s Karla Fribley, Library Instruction Coordinator, provided the answer to this question. The ability to find and evaluate appropriate information is a key part of information literacy, and a skill that students will need well beyond their time at Emerson. To encourage this skill, you can point students to the Research Guides created by Emerson librarians. Research Guides highlight key starting places (databases, reference books, Websites) for research in specific subject areas and courses. They are custom-designed to match the research needs of Emerson students and faculty. Sample guides include: Publishing, Advertising, Citing Sources, Health Communication, Consumer Behavior, Costume & Fashion, and many more. Librarians are happy to discuss how you might incorporate Research Guides into your classes. Contact

CITL Answers – February 2011

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Question: From time to time in national news there are stories about plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct in higher education. What should I do if I suspect a student of plagiarism?

CITL’s Answer: Plagiarism is a serious offense. It is damaging to students and potentially unpleasant and risky for faculty, as well. The Academic Policy Committee issued, and the Faculty Assembly approved, a detailed plagiarism and academic dishonesty policy. When you suspect plagiarism, consult the policy to be fully informed about your role, the student’s rights, and Emerson’s process in response to suspicions of plagiarism.

Then, if you are still suspicious, the next step is to speak with the student to gather more information. If you wish to go forward with a complaint, you complete an Academic Misconduct Complainant Reporting Form and submit it to the Office of the Dean of Students.  Do not hesitate to consult your Department Chair or the CITL if you wish to discuss a case before submitting a complaint.

CITL Answers – November 2010

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Question: Grade inflation seems to be a hot topic these days.  Does it exist at Emerson and what can I do about it?

CITL’s Answer: There is a lot of controversy across the country about grade inflation. There are, however, no simple answers about its existence or what to do about it. Nevertheless, a commonly understood definition for grade inflation is the first step in answering questions. A University of Wyoming’s Webpage, called Grade Inflation: The Current Conversation, has this definition: “ . . . an increase in grades without a corresponding increase in the quality of student work.” For more information, visit that Website.

Once a definition is agreed upon, grades and student learning could be compared over an extended period of time to determine the degree of inflation on campus. Regarding what you can do about it, ask yourself if the grades your students earn are true measures of their learning. Then, to explore and address any grading concerns, sign up for the CITL’s Spring Semester workshop series: Effective Grading for Student Learning. Watch for announcements or contact

CITL Answers – October 2010

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Question: Sometimes I wonder if my teaching techniques help students learn.  What can I do to find out?

CITL’s Answer: We know that students must take responsibility for their own learning.  Your role as teacher is to establish the conditions that best facilitate learning.  One way to find out if your students’ learning is helped by your teaching is to ask them.  But, if you think students might not be forthcoming about what helps or hinders their learning, you can request a Mid-semester Student Feedback session.  Turn your class over to Karen St. Clair, CITL Director, for about 30 minutes.  She will gather students’ anonymous and voluntary perspectives about how the teaching has facilitated their learning, or about possible changes in teaching that might enhance learning.  Karen St. Clair summarizes the feedback and privately shares it with you.  To find out more, e-mail, or call ext. 8246.

CITL Answers – April 2010

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Question: Lately there has been a lot of discussion about diversity. What’s the difference between teaching for inclusion and teaching for diversity? How can I be innovative in my teaching and learning?

CITL’s Answer: Many teaching and learning theories, concepts, and practices are not uniformly defined. Inclusion and diversity are no exceptions. A plausible description about the difference can be found on a comprehensive Website at the University of Washington entitled, Inclusive Teaching. Inclusive teaching refers to teaching in ways that enable all students to have opportunities to learn. No students are excluded, accidentally or intentionally. Teaching for diversity refers to using approaches that reflect the differences in the ways individuals learn. The approaches can reflect how you teach as well as what you teach. Consequently, an instructor can include more students in the learning process (inclusion) by using a variety of teaching approaches (diversity). For more information, e-mail, or consult the University of Washington Website.

CITL Answers – March 2010

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Question:  Assessment has been mentioned a lot lately.  What is it, why are we doing it, and what does it have to do with me?

CITL’s Answer:  Assessment is gathering information for a purpose.  You are probably referring to assessment of student learning.  We gather information about student learning for accountabilities and improvement.  Because we make claims about what students will know and be able to do once they complete a course or a curriculum at Emerson, we are obligated to validate those claims with evidence.  Students, parents, funding agencies, and accrediting bodies are entitled to summary information about student learning.  The information also serves to guide the development of new curricula, and to facilitate continuous improvement of existing curricula.  The courses you teach belong to one or more curricula.  The assignments and examinations you have designed for your students yield evidence of student learning.  By sharing information about the evidence, you will contribute to the ongoing assessment for accountabilities and improvement.  For more information, contact