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Maria College Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching


Connection Matters, Especially at a Distance:
Read about the importance of bringing your personality into your online classes and allowing students to get to know you. Instructional designer, Jessica Evans, from Colorado Mesa University offers some tips in her article "Don’t Turn into a Bot Online: Three Easy Strategies to Let Your Personality Shine in Your Online Course".
Helping Students Who Say They're "Not Online Learners": 
As we know, this semester we will have students who are less familiar, and even anxious about asynchronous online learning. Here's a resource from educational psychologist Rachel J. Ebner, PhD which explains Zimmerman's (2000) three-phase cyclical model of self-regulation and helps us to understand what we can do to assist our students develop their self-regulated learning skills:
Tips for Fostering Students’ Self-Regulated Learning in Asynchronous Online Learning Environments

Creating Active Learning in an Online Course Environment
It's challenging, but possible! 
Online Active Learning Instructional Activities Index from Univ of Illinois-Springfield
Active learning in an Online Course from Ohio State Distance Education and eLearning Resource Center

Breakout Groups using Blackboard Collaborate
Many of us are working with groups in Collaborate, and have been working to make this a meaningful active learning experience for our students. Here's an approach using collaborative documents suggested by Dr. Dennis Lowe, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University in Faculty Focus:
Improving Breakout Room Discussions in Online Teaching by Using Collaborative Documents

From the Archives:
Caring and Inclusive Teaching 
The global pandemic and events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd have exposed further inequities in American society. Recognizing the impact of these events and acknowledging the effect this has, and will continue to have on students, as well as faculty, voices from the academy have joined together to share ideas about teaching and learning during this challenging time. 
"What Does Trauma-informed Teaching Look Like?" by Beth McMurtie explores the importance of anticipating, and mitigating the impact of stress on students in the classroom.
"You Belong Here: Making Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion a Mission in the Classroom," a report penned by several academics to assist faculty in addressing difficult conversations about race in the classroom in order to create a welcoming environment in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Digital Accessibility: How does your course measure up? 
Designing courses with accessibility and digital inclusion in mind is one way to demonstrate our commitment to equity in higher education and ensure we reach all learners, and provide a meaningful learning experience for all. Here's a link to a Digital Accessibility Checklist created by Christina Moore, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University. (Creative Commons License CC BY-NC). 

If you have questions about accessibility, navigability or Universal Design for Learning, please contact M-CELT via the link below.

Mission-Centered Teaching

What is meant by the Catholic Intellectual Tradition?

In our mission statement we explain that Maria College's commitment to career-relevant, opportunity education is rooted in the context of the Catholic intellectual tradition. This tradition is embraced by Catholic colleges and universities around the world. Boston College has created a document to foster discourse amongst faculty across disciplinary boundaries about what this tradition means for their teaching. Although Boston College is rooted in the Jesuit educational tradition, and Maria in the Sisters of Mercy, the document offers a historic introduction to how education at Catholic colleges engages with "the ultimate search for truth that animates faith", and how this serves as "the catalyst for inquiry": 

The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: A Conversation at Boston College

As you know, Maria is a Catholic college sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and animated by the Mercy charism. Each year, we celebrate the inspiration and driving force behind the work we do by recognizing the anniversary of the opening of the first “House of Mercy” in 1827 in Dublin, Ireland by Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy.

We hope you will join us, and invite your students to partake of some of the Mercy Week activities, as we commemorate our Mercy mission that inspires us to continue Catherine's legacy of caring and compassion in the classroom and out. 


an open laptop on a desk with two hands typing on the keyboard

With the mid-March pivot to virtual instruction, faculty whose courses were delivered onsite had to quickly transfer materials and delivery to the online space. For those faculty around the country with little or no experience with online course development and delivery, this may have seemed like a formidable task. Now however, this experience, combined with an uncertain future of fully face-to-face teaching resuming soon, offers an opportunity for faculty to develop their online course design and teaching strategies.
SUNY Online has developed the Course Quality Review Rubric (OSCQR), a research-based professional development tool for faculty to further online course quality, effectiveness, and efficiency. The rubric lists 50 standards across the following areas of an online course's learner experience:  Overview and Information; Technology and Tools; Design and Layout; Content and Activities; Interaction; and Assessment and Feedback.



     2020 Teaching and Learning Conferences
Please check websites, as some of the conferences may now be online. 



 The Assessment Institute

Indianapolis, IN




 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference

Boston, MA


27 -30

 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) Annual Conference

Perth, Australia



 Online Learning Consortium: Accelerate Conference

Orlando, Florida



Drop-in to the Center! We hope to be able to welcome you back in our center soon. When we do, you will find us upstairs in Main Building in Liberal Arts and Management wing. In the meantime, we are available for virtual consultations.

Our computers are set up with software for you to trial for presentations and lecture capture. We have instructional guides and headphones with microphones for your use. 

Course Design and Development

How does your online course stack up? Is it exemplary? Accomplished? Promising? Incomplete?

Review Blackboard’s Exemplary Online Course Program Rubric to review your online course. The rubric addresses key aspects of an effective online course including design, interaction & collaboration, assessment, and learner support, and will offer strategies to make your course exemplary!



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Inside Higher Ed

A daily news brief about what’s happening in higher education around the country, as well as career advice and information for jobseekers.

Faculty Focus

A free newsletter that shares effective teaching strategies for the college classroom.


Metaliterate Learners Thomas Mackey, SUNY Empire

The Humanities as Technology's Necessary Partners"

Laurie Grobman, Penn State


New to Teaching?
Professor Chris Palmer, School of Communication at American University shares his experiences:
Reflections on Teaching Mistakes I've Made 

Strategies for Online Teaching Effectiveness:
How to Be a Better Online Teacher by F. Darby, The Chronicle of Higher Education
7 Guidelines for Effective Teaching Online by S. O'Malley, Inside Higher Ed 
How to Adapt Courses for Online Learning: A Practical Guide for Faculty by S. Cruickshank, Johns Hopkins
Organic Online Discussions: Saving Time and Increasing Engagement by  Beth René Roepnack for Faculty Focus.

Tips for Effective Online Discussions:
From Inside Higher Ed and EduCause 

Fostering Metacognitive Development
Have you heard any of the following about learning: Listening to classical music increases reasoning ability? A primary indicator of dyslexia is seeing letters backwards? Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning styles (e.g., auditory, visual, kinesthetic)? Some of us are “left-brained” and some are “right-brained” due to hemispheric dominance, and this helps explain differences in how we learn? We only use 10% of our brain? If so, then you will enjoy reading, and learn how the academics involved in this study sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (2019) hope to expand faculty understanding of the science of the mind and brain. 
Neuromyths  and Evidence-based Practice in Higher Education: An International Report


Here you have access to The Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (JoSoTL) which is a forum for the dissemination of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in higher education.  

This Issue Highlights:

Breaking Through Student Bias with Creative Debate Assignments by Daniel M. Settlage, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

Past Issue Highlights:

Applying "politeness theory" to address uncivil behaviors in the classroom and the relationship between faculty caring  and student engagement in    'If They Don’t Care, I Don’t Care’: Millennial and Generation Z  Students and the Impact of Faculty Caring by Amy Chasteen Miller, and Brooklyn Mills, University of Southern Mississippi



Teaching Questions? Would you like a strategy or educational technology consultation?

Here are just a few areas for consultation: Questions about Blackboard capabilities and using interactive tools such as blogs and wikis; Rubric development; Giving effective feedback; Active learning strategies; Universal and Backward Design for online courses; Implementing group work; Developing assignments that foster metacognitive and writing skills; Moving a F2F course online.

Please complete the following form to make a request an appointment with Wendy. Please be sure to state what you need help with, your name, email and what times you are available during the week.



Wendy Trevor, PhD, Assistant Professor, English, Director, M-CELT, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


As a result of the move to virtual instruction, our hours have changed. We are available for remote consultations and for Blackboard and Blackboard Collaborate pedagogical support Monday through Friday by appointment. To set up an appointment, please send an email to Wendy. For Blackboard troubleshooting, please contact the IT Help Desk.