Vanderbilt University Increases Training for Adaptive Teaching

In response to another semester of distance and hybrid learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanderbilt University has increased adaptive teaching training resources for faculty and instructors.

“Instructors adopted many new teaching technologies and approaches in the fall, and we are now in a position to help them approach their online and hybrid teaching with even more intentionality,” Derek Bruff, director of the university’s Center for Teaching, said in a press release today.

The Center for Teaching has organized more than a dozen teaching workshops and conversations on adaptive teaching over the next month to help staff “teach effectively in a variety of contexts.” Most trainings will occur before classes resume on Jan. 25. Specifically, the Center is addressing accessibility and equity in course design, active learning in Zoom classes, online student group work, and overcoming the “busy work” dilemma.

As part of the Center’s Online Course Development Resource site, Center staff walks teaching faculty through the online course development process. The content is based on research, best practices, and existing resources from around the web and the Center for Teaching. Professors and teaching faculty are encouraged to use the site as they plan, implement, and assess online courses.

When the school moved to distance and hybrid learning, the faculty was forced to rework existing courses to adapt to the new teaching modality. In response, the Center is now offering instructional design consultations. Julaine Fowlin, the Center’s assistant director for instructional design, is serving as a consultant for instructors on the design of online courses, moving an existing course online, or the development of online programs.

In response to an increased demand for IT support, the Center is recruiting a new instructional technologist to help expand support hours to include Saturday. Of the new hire, Bruff said, “it was time to expand our team to meet the campus support needs.”

Kate Polit
About Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs