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August 20, 2020

By Tara Schmidt, Coordinator of Information Literacy & Assessment

This summer, a group of UTSA faculty and staff took on some of the tough questions surrounding teaching online – connection in an online environment; motivation during a semester of remote learning; virtual engagement and community building. Small Teaching Online: applying learning science in online classes, written by Flower Darby and James Lang, was originally chosen to be the summer reading for the UTSA Libraries. As the spring and summer classes continued to move online, the decision was made to open the reading group to anyone interested. Over 60 faculty and staff signed up to be a part of the reading group, covering one chapter each week, along with a voluntary weekly Zoom discussion. We also participated in a Teams message board to provide discussion throughout the week, question follow-ups, and notes for anyone missing the weekly discussion.

The group included people from a wide range of disciplines and teaching experience. That diversity provided a mixture of creative ideas and approaches to learning. We covered everything from finding ways to provide feedback without burnout, to using video applications to create community within the virtual classroom. Participants shared current assignments and helped each other tweak others for the online environment. Even more importantly, the group was there to encourage, commiserate, and provide suggestions.

Following on the success of the summer reading group, there will be a virtual fall reading group for interested UTSA faculty and staff. The group will be facilitated by Tara Schmidt (UTSA Libraries) and Ryan McPherson (Communication).

Join us – Tuesdays 10am-11am – September 1 to October 27!

You can:

Questions? Email tara.schmidt@utsa. See you online soon!