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Seminars Offer Strategies for Managing Classes, Using Educational Tools Effectively

It’s easy for faculty to be overwhelmed by the abundance of educational tools available to them, especially with the extra challenge of growing class sizes. 

A faculty team from the College of Computing is sharing what they’ve learned about using tools effectively and managing large classes by hosting a series of seminars to help others.

School of Computing Instruction Senior Lecturer Mark Moss, Executive Director of Online Education David Joyner, and School of Interactive Computing Associate Professor Betsy DiSalvo are working together under the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Provost Teaching and Learning Fellowship. This initiative brings people from across the institute to figure out how to teach more effectively.

Their recent seminar brought together faculty members from across campus to discuss effective teaching strategies and the use of educational tools such as Canvas, GradeScope, and CATME. The seminar was a platform for sharing experiences, discussing challenges, and exploring innovative solutions to enhance teaching effectiveness, particularly in the context of large classes.

The discussion covered using CATME on Canvas for group formation, a walk-through of Canvas tools for easier final grade posting, and how to collect information to facilitate grouping.

“A lot of us aren’t using the tools as effectively as we could because they’re not always totally intuitive,” Moss said. 

He says the tools sometimes have powerful features, but often, people need to learn how to use them to get the tools to do what they want.

Participants discussed the challenges of adapting to new educational tools, particularly amidst the sudden transition to online learning necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, many faculty members expressed concerns about the scalability of existing tools.

“In the College of Computing, we’re focusing on classes getting larger. These tools aren’t necessarily always designed with the scale of 500 plus students in mind,” Moss said. “We know lots of other people are fighting with this, and we’re going to show some potential ways to approach problems.”

During upcoming workshops, attendees will be encouraged to share specific needs and challenges related to managing large classes. The goal is to provide practical strategies and tailored solutions to address attendees’ specific challenges, empowering faculty members to effectively navigate the complexities of teaching in the digital age.

The next session will be held on Zoom on March 7 from 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. It will be open to all instructors at Georgia Tech. 

If you'd like to participate or share ideas in this or future sessions, fill out this survey by March 1.