Teaching Roundtables

One thing we’ve been hearing from faculty, as they try to figure out how to teach in this new pandemic context, is that social distancing has made it even more difficult to find time to talk informally with colleagues about their teaching. Hallway conversations or chats over lunch where instructors share assignment ideas and puzzle out classroom challenges are all more difficult to come by.

In an attempt to help fill that gap, the CTE launched a new virtual Teaching Roundtables series meant to provide BC instructors a chance to share teaching ideas and challenges with colleagues and to think together about new pedagogical approaches.

Each Teaching Roundtable will focus on a topic or question specific to the teaching challenges we’re facing this year. We’ll make some space to discuss the particular classroom contexts we’re adapting to, whether remote or blended, and also how we’re responding to the national conversations swirling about us.

We’ll invite a couple faculty to kick off each discussion by sharing their own thoughts on the topic, and then we’ll open things up for discussion. You will find the spring schedule, below.

Teaching Lab Sciences in a Pandemic

Thursday, January 21, 10:00 - 11:00

Socially distanced and remote teaching has been demanding for all instructors this Fall, and Lab Science courses have faced distinct challenges. The Report from the Lab Courses Working Group last June aimed to address common concerns and guide practices this Fall, around four central areas:

  • Following COVID-19 protocols in the lab setting (distancing, face covering, etc.)
  • Modality of the lab course given the 50% capacity limitation
  • Supplemental activities used to ensure content of the course is comprehensive
  • Online-only version of the lab course for remote students

Join your colleagues to share reflections on how things went, questions you’re still considering, and what you’re anticipating for the Spring.

Register for Teaching Roundtables: Teaching Lab Sciences in a Pandemic

Navigating Expectations for Neutrality in the Classroom

Wednesday, February 10, 4:00 - 5:00

Instructors often find themselves holding their own scholarly and pedagogical commitments in tension with student expectations of instructor “neutrality.” Especially in courses that examine politically-relevant topics, students can be quick to call out what they perceive as partisanship. And as this nation lives through an inflection point of political violence, extremism, and disinformation, this classroom dynamic is raising urgent questions for many instructors. Join your colleagues for a wide-ranging conversation about how you are experiencing and responding to expectations for neutrality in the classroom. The session will begin with brief reflections from Margaret Lombe (SSW) and Sylvia Sellers-Garcia (History, MCA&S) about their own teaching practice and then shift to an open discussion.

Register for Teaching Roundtables: Navigating Expectations for Neutrality in the Classroom

Teaching Foreign Languages at a Distance

Tuesday, February 23, 4:00 - 5:00

Whether teaching socially distanced in-person or remotely, foreign language instructors have had to be particularly creative in adapting their courses for the current moment. Approaches such as managing pair and small group work, encouraging participation in the target language, and providing feedback to language learners have all required new strategies. This session is a chance for anyone teaching a foreign language to share lessons learned and success stories from this past fall as well as raise lingering questions for spring. The session will begin with brief reflections from Danny Bowles (Eastern, Slavic & German Studies, MCA&S) and Andréa Javel (Romance Languages & Literatures, MCA&S) about their own teaching practice and then shift to an open discussion.

Register for Teaching Roundtables: Teaching Foreign Languages at a Distance

Defining What’s “Normal” on Zoom

Friday, March 12, 12:00 - 1:00

Even as we approach the one-year anniversary of our switch to remote instruction and the “Zoom boom” that followed, we still haven’t come to consensus about what “normal” should look like on Zoom. The norms of social interaction that guide our in-person exchanges don’t always translate easily to remote settings — especially to remote classrooms — so instructors have needed to craft their own Zoom norms. For this roundtable, join your colleagues to discuss the different ways they’ve sought to structure productive learning spaces in Zoom that hold students’ accountable while also respecting their differing needs. We’ll also consider what lessons from Zoom we might carry back with us to the in-person classroom. The session will begin with brief reflections from Lori Harrison-Kahan (English, MCA&S) and Pilar Opazo (CSOM) about their own teaching practice and then shift to an open discussion.

Register for Teaching Roundtables: Defining What’s “Normal” on Zoom

This isn’t Busywork - Making Structure Meaningful

Wednesday, April 7, 3:00 - 4:00

A common pandemic teaching strategy has been to incorporate more frequent, low stakes (and often asynchronous) opportunities for students to practice what they’re learning and get regular feedback on their progress. Increasing structure in this way can improve student learning; however, it can also lead to student concerns about increased workloads and “busywork.” Join your colleagues to tackle the question of how to build in regular opportunities for practice without overloading students or ourselves. How can we communicate the purpose of structure to students so they see that it’s integral to their learning? Will increased course structure continue as a regular strategy once we’re able to return to fully in-person teaching? The session will begin with brief reflections from Ángeles Picone (History, MCA&S) and Heather Olins (Biology, MCA&S) about their own teaching practices and then shift to an open discussion.

Register for Teaching Roundtables: This isn’t Busywork - Making Structure Meaningful

Experiments in De-Centering Whiteness in the Classroom

Tuesday, April 20, 12:00 - 1:00

From diversifying curricula to grappling with the lived experience of students of color at predominantly white institutions, many instructors are looking for ways to decenter whiteness in their classrooms. Come discuss your questions and initiatives with your colleagues and learn about how others across campus are thinking about this challenge. The session will begin with brief reflections from Rocío Calvo (SSW) and Hilary Palevsky (Earth & Environmental Sciences, MCA&S) about their own teaching practice and then shift to an open discussion.

Register for Teaching Roundtables: Experiments in De-Centering Whiteness in the Classroom

Accommodation Requests

The Center for Teaching Excellence is committed to providing equal access to its events and programs. Individuals with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact centerforteaching@bc.edu.

Past Programs