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CATE Newsletter   |   Issue #004   |   April 22, 2021   |   teaching.uic.edu





Dear UIC community,

This month’s newsletter showcases resources and upcoming events supporting online instruction. Additionally, in preparation for wrapping up spring semester and planning for summer teaching, please check out these CATE website resources:


Stay updated about upcoming teaching and learning events sponsored by CATE, UIC departments, and outside organizations by following our Events page: teaching.uic.edu/events-all. This month, we’d like to highlight the upcoming Kickoff Meeting for CATE’s inaugural Summer Institute for Online Teaching:

      Preparing for Flames Flex Instruction – Fall 2021 Kickoff Meeting

  • Dates: Thursday, May 13, 2021, and Friday, May 14, 2021
  • Time: 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM CST each day
  • Registration link: forms.gle/uHDShEfLKvY5yW3h6 

Please register to attend the Kickoff Meeting to learn more about the Summer Institute, which will be offered in a format analogous to a flipped course with asynchronous materials released via Blackboard every couple of weeks paired with optional synchronous Zoom sessions. Those interested will be able to self-enroll in a Blackboard course. Enrollment information will be provided at the Kickoff Meeting and on the CATE website (teaching.uic.edu/programs/instructors/summer-institute).

This will be our last newsletter for the current academic year. We’ll resume in August 2021 with an issue that focuses on resources supporting student academic success and well-being. We invite you to contribute materials, particularly those that support student engagement in multimodal classrooms, by contacting us at teaching@uic.edu

As the spring semester draws to a close, please take a moment to pat yourself on the back for the tremendous job you did this past year in continuing to teach remotely and persevering through the pandemic. We hope to see some of you in June and July at the Summer Institute synchronous sessions and look forward to engaging with most of you again next fall. Enjoy your summer!

Sincerely yours,

Erin O’Leary
Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence (CATE)


CATE Events and Webinars


CATE Scholars in Teaching & Learning Seminar Series

Anxiety and Undergraduates’ Learning Potential: A Cognitive Perspective

Speaker: Almaz Mesghina, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Human Development
Predoctoral Fellow, Institute for Education Sciences
University of Chicago

Abstract: A growing body of work shows that many undergraduates, particularly students of historically marginalized identities in academia, experience quite severe levels of anxiety during their college years. The pandemic has only exacerbated this. In this talk, I summarize the research on anxiety and performance, using my research on undergraduates’ COVID-19 anxiety as an illustration. I will share how anxiety can manifest cognitively, and explore student-level (emotion regulation) and teacher-level (instructional design) strategies that we can use to help promote all students’ learning, even while anxious. 

Bio: Almaz (pronounced all - mahz) is a fifth year PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago, where she is a trained psychologist and a dedicated instructor. Almaz bridges these roles in her research by examining how insights from cognitive psychology can inform our pedagogical practices, and vice versa. She is particularly interested in understanding how anxiety can promote or hinder our capacity to learn. Almaz is the recipient of an Institute for Education Sciences predoctoral fellowship. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Child Development from Vanderbilt University.

  • Date and time: Friday, April 23 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CST
  • Follow-up Q&A with speaker: 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM CST
  • Location: A Zoom link will be sent to those who RVSP for the seminar within 24 hours of the seminar date.
  • RSVP: forms.gle/tNZL2xcH9NaVPSzu5



CATE Summer Institute for Online Teaching at UIC

Preparing for Flames Flex Instruction - Fall 2021 Kickoff Meeting

  • Dates and times: Thursday, May 13 - Friday, May 14 | 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM CST
  • Location: A Zoom link will be sent to those who register for this event within 48 hours of the kickoff date.
  • Register: forms.gle/uHDShEfLKvY5yW3h6

Please join us for the CATE Summer Institute for Online Teaching at UIC: Preparing for Flames Flex Instruction - Fall 2021 Kickoff Meeting on May 13-14, 2021. This professional learning opportunity is intended for UIC instructors who are preparing to teach this fall.  The schedules for each day of the two-day Kickoff Meeting are distinct. Attendance both days, however, is not required. Parts of the kickoff meeting will be recorded.

Throughout the summer, CATE will release online resources to support four general modalities of instruction expected across courses and Colleges in fall 2021:

  • Online synchronous (SYNC): fully online course with live sessions at specified times
  • Online asynchronous (ASYNC): fully online course with no mandatory live sessions
  • On-campus blended synchronous (ONCAM): in-person students simultaneously meeting with synchronous online students via live streaming technology
  • On-campus hybrid (HYBRID): mix of in-person instruction with online content delivered synchronously or asynchronously

Flexible Engagement in the Summer Institute:

  • During the summer, the institute will be delivered in a format analogous to a flipped course, with asynchronous learning modules available through Blackboard Ultra paired with optional online discussion forums and an optional synchronous session facilitated by the CATE team of instructional designers and educational developers. These online discussions and synchronous sessions will enable instructors to apply the principles learned in the asynchronous modules and consider pedagogical questions and ideas that may be specific to a particular discipline, course level, class size, and/or modality of instruction.
  • Instructors unable to participate in the institute over the summer may enroll in the Blackboard Ultra site upon returning to campus in the fall and have full access to all asynchronous learning modules. The CATE team will be available for synchronous or in-person consultations as needed during the 2-weeks just before fall instruction starts.

Please visit the CATE website for more information: teaching.uic.edu/programs/instructors/summer-institute


Featured Resources


Finishing the Semester


Resources for Students

  • If you know of UIC students that are in need of a reliable computer and/or internet access at their home while classes are still being conducted remotely, they may inquire about their eligibility for the Laptop/hotspot lending program: today.uic.edu/laptop-hotspot-lending-program-still-open


Preparing for the Summer



Preparing for the Fall

As UIC prepares for on campus instruction, providing a flexible learning experience to students becomes crucial. We know that flexible learning models require creative, multimodal solutions to support equitable student engagement. During the last year, the majority of UIC’s courses have been either online asynchronous or synchronous, with some hybrid courses—a mix of in-person instruction with online content delivered synchronously or asynchronously. The new flexible delivery mode for the Fall is called blended synchronous instruction.


What is blended synchronous instruction?

Blended synchronous instruction is a flexible delivery mode in which on-campus and remote students synchronously attend a class, participate in class activities, and have access to recorded lectures for on-demand use. To allow for this flexibility, UIC classrooms are being equipped with technology to record and live-stream lectures. Depending on the classroom, instructors will have access to Echo360 lecture capture and streaming capabilities from hardware installed, or to their choice of web-conferencing tools such as Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate. All these technologies integrate with Blackboard, UIC’s Learning Management System. 


Is blended synchronous instruction the same as HyFlex? 

Blended synchronous instruction can be considered a variation of Hyflex. HyFlex refers to a course design model that presents the components of hybrid learning in a flexible course structure that gives students the option of attending sessions in the classroom, participating in the online version of the course, or doing both. Students can change their mode of attendance weekly or by topic, according to their needs or preference. Courses built on the HyFlex model help to break down the boundary between the virtual classroom and the physical one. By allowing students access to both platforms, the design encourages discussions to move easily between the virtual and physical classroom. HyFlex courses require a lot of planning, instructional design, and particular classroom technologies.

Hybrid virtual classroom including both F2F and remote individual students (upper pictures) and the platform visible for the students (lower pictures)
 Hybrid virtual classroom including both F2F and remote individual students (upper pictures) and the platform visible for the students (lower pictures)


Am I supposed to use HyFlex this Fall?

UIC classrooms are outfitted with different levels of technology, so we do not envision many courses being able to run in this mode for fall. Some instructors might consider using aspects of HyFlex such as a flexible attendance policy (e.g., allowing students to choose whether to attend class online in real-time or in-person). But it is also reasonable to design a course with a more structured attendance approach. Overall, with proper preparation and a willingness to be flexible, the classroom technology at UIC will allow instructors to use blended synchronous instruction successfully this fall.

Where can I get more information about blended synchronous and other online modalities of instruction? Join us at CATE’s Summer Institute where we will discuss possibilities for your course and classroom: teaching.uic.edu/programs/instructors/summer-institute

Learn More:





UIC Wins NADOHE Institutional Excellence Award

The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) awarded the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) its 2021 Institutional Excellence Award as a 4-year public institution. The award was presented March 12 at this year’s virtual NADOHE Annual Conference. The organization presents this award to recognize an institution that has “demonstrated measurable progress in promoting and sustaining innovative diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within their campus community.”: https://diversity.uic.edu/news-stories/uic-wins-nadohe-institutional-excellence-award



2020-2021 Teaching Recognition Program (TRP) Faculty Award Winners

The Teaching Recognition Program (TRP) is UIC's self-nominated, faculty-administered teaching award program offered through the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. This award showcases instructors for their teaching excellence and instructional innovation. Stay tuned for video spotlights on the CATE website for this year's award recipients, who will be honored at the Faculty Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021: faculty.uic.edu/awards/reception

Congratulations to UIC’s 2020-21 awardees:

  • Sarah Abboud, Human Development Nursing Science
  • Hossein Ataei, Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering
  • Betul Bilgin, Chemical Engineering
  • Anthony Felder, Bioengineering
  • Jennifer Geiger, Jane Addams College of Social Work
  • Robert Gould, Disability and Human Development
  • Anna Guevarra, Global Asian Studies Program
  • Ronak Kapadia, Gender and Women's Studies
  • Kevin Lyles, Political Science
  • Michael Muller, Biological Sciences
  • Jennifer Rupert, English
  • Michael Siciliano, Public Administration
  • Cortino Sukotjo, Restorative Dentistry
  • Michael Thomas, Educational Psychology
  • Torica Webb, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Bin Yang, Restorative Dentistry

For more information on the TRP award program, visit: faculty.uic.edu/awards/trp


2021 Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program Award Winners


This program is supported by the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the University Library and encourages UIC faculty to use and develop open educational resources (OER) as alternatives to high cost course materials for undergraduate courses. Awardees of the Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program each receive funds to support plans including adopting open textbooks and other open education resources, modifying open textbooks and creating new open access supplemental material. 

Congratulations to UIC’s 2021 awardees:

  • Jeffrey C. Kessler, English
  • Kate Boulay, English
  • Gavin McNicol, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Evangelos Kobotis, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
  • Elizabeth Dolly Weber and Jessica Thornton-Hoselton, French and Francophone Studies
  • Trischa Duke, Becky Bonarek, Jenna Buendia, and Steph Mielcarek, Office of Global Engagement, Tutorium in Intensive English
  • Katherine Warpeha, Biological Sciences
  • Julius Ross, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
  • LeRoy Foster, Information and Decision Sciences

For more information on the Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program, visit: go.library.uic.edu/oer





How Course Delivery Models Should Evolve Post-Pandemic, Not Turn Back


In March of 2020, higher education faced one of the greatest crises it’s ever encountered. In the months following, institutions and faculty responded swiftly. We were called to create new ideas and implement new solutions, recognizing that higher education has likely changed forever. The Choice Model is one emerging idea in a post-COVID future that has the potential to improve course delivery long term based on the lessons of the past year: hbsp.harvard.edu/inspiring-minds/online-in-person-the-power-of-letting-students-choose


Flipped Learning Can Be a Key to Transforming Teaching and Learning Post-Pandemic

When we look at all the assumptions that have been overturned in higher education because of the pandemic and all the needs that have only grown during this time, what becomes clear is that frameworks that previously worked for higher education are no longer guaranteed to function. Something new is needed, and flipped learning may be exactly the right model for where higher education is headed once the pandemic is over: go.uic.edu/EdSurge-Flipped-Learning


EDUCAUSE QuickPoll Results: Assessment and Learning Design

 Credit: Erta © 2021

Change has been the only constant in higher education over the past year. Faculty are adapting to new instructional tools for delivering their courses. Students are navigating new terrain in their hybrid and online learning environments. IT and instructional staff are being called upon to provide new and additional services and supports. In this poll on the depth and persistence of the changes and what they mean for the future, respondents expressed confidence that recent increases in faculty engagement with instructional design and technology will continue in future academic years, as will institutions' adoption of hybrid/online education. They also found that long-term success for new approaches to teaching and learning may rely at least in part on clear and consistent policies and practices across the institution, as well as a shift in institutional narrative from "short-term crisis mitigation" to "innovation for the future.": er.educause.edu/articles/2021/4/educause-quickpoll-results-assessment-and-learning-design


Teaching and Tenure

The current pandemic, which has curtailed normal interaction, throws into dramatic relief the central importance of teaching not only for our students’ learning, but also for their overall well-being. It behooves us all, after COVID-19, to build a more resilient system that includes rewards and support that encourage collaboration toward our common educational goal. We need to foster the central importance of classroom instruction, and the best way to do that is to revise how we reward faculty, write Lisa M. Di Bartolomeo and Pablo García Loaeza: go.uic.edu/Inside-Higher-Ed-Teaching-Tenure-Part-I


A New Deal for College Teachers and Teaching

More than two-thirds of faculty members in higher education today are temporary employees teaching large classes with substantial workloads and lower pay relative to full-time, permanent instructors. Mia McIver and Trevor Griffey describe how supporting salary parity of all college teachers can help to ensure equity, improve teaching quality, reward excellent teaching, and support student success: www.aaup.org/article/new-deal-college-teachers-and-teaching#.YH32y-9KhTY




Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. The month is 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon. Fasting during Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam. It is expected to commence on April 12, 2021 until May 11, 2021 (exact dates may vary by a day or so depending on the sighting of the moon): arabamcc.uic.edu/resources/resources-on-religion



Funding Opportunities


Call For Applications: The HistoryMakers 2021 Faculty Innovations in Pedagogy & Teaching Fellowship 

The HistoryMakers organization invites applications for the 2021 Faculty Innovations in Pedagogy & Teaching Fellowship where up to eight (8) fellowships of $7,500 will be awarded. 


The aim of the fellowship is to foster innovation and further student learning and research skills while providing 21st century digital tools that diversify today’s and tomorrow’s higher education environments for virtual, hybrid and in-person instruction. The fellowship period is June 2021 to January 2022. This fellowship builds upon the inaugural 2020 Innovations in Pedagogy and Teaching Fellowship program.

Successful applications will evidence a plan to increase awareness and usage of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive at a given institution by integrating The HistoryMakers Digital Archive into a course's design and syllabus to diversify curriculum and increase student engagement and learning. Submission is open only to faculty at The HistoryMakers Digital Archive subscribing institutions, of which University of Illinois Chicago is a member. Submission Deadline: Friday, April 30, 2021. 

If you have any questions or desire further information, please email William Teresa, Oral History Researcher at The HistoryMakers: wt@thehistorymakers.org. 

For the full announcement and the link to the application please visit: www.thehistorymakers.org/higher-ed-fellowships 


National and Regional Events


Faculty Summer Institute (FSI)

Registration deadline extended to Friday, April 23, 2021

FSI: At the Intersection of Teaching, Learning, and Technology is an annual conference that brings educators and instructional-technology professionals together each May at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Attendees come from across Illinois and as far away as Canada. The conference features keynote presentations, networking, and hands-on training on the use of modern communication and information technologies in education. 

Susan Poser, Provost and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Robert Barish, the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs are pleased to sponsor UIC faculty members or full-time staff as unit designees to attend the FSI this year.  There is a non-refundable registration fee of $15.  Each recipient will receive a $15 sponsorship to be used towards the FSI registration. This year the conference will take place via Zoom.

For fullest consideration, please apply to attend the FSI using this link by 5:00 PM on Friday, April 23: go.uic.edu/fsi-2021-registration


ShapingEDU Live: Elevating Student Voice & Choice at the Course Level


Join ShapingEDU (Arizona State University initiative) in creating an actionable resource to promote student agency and student voice at the course level in higher education and lifelong learning. Discuss what student voice and choice mean for the current and future classroom and to cultivate an open material for future classroom use. Specifically, ShapingEDU will focus on course design, instructional strategies, course content and assessment.


Synchronous Learning: Reimagined

Discourse around synchronous, asynchronous, and even blended learning environments has led many conversations in higher education. And today, they are part of our everyday language—a by-product of the rapid shift to online and hybrid learning. While this transition to online learning has been made, how can it possibly meet the needs of all students and educators and how has synchronous learning evolved? Join Trey Arrington, Vice President for Operations, Dr. Toni Bennett, Associate Provost for Online Strategy, and Judy Mirick, Professor of Physics and Physical Science, all of Spartanburg Methodist College, to uncover:

  • The evolution of synchronous learning and how to implement stronger, more engaging online learning strategies
  • Lessons learned from the rapid shift to online/hyflex learning
  • How schools can optimize their current strategy to support students and faculty with different learning models
  • Date and time: Thursday, May 6 | 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM CST
  • Register: go.uic.edu/D2L-Synchronous-Learning-Reimagined


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