Center for Teaching offers resources and workshops for adaptive teaching this spring

As the Vanderbilt community prepares for another semester of adaptive teaching, the Center for Teaching continues to create resources to help faculty and instructors teach effectively in a variety of contexts.

“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,” said Derek Bruff, director of the Center for Teaching.

January workshops and conversations

Center for Teaching staff are organizing more than a dozen teaching workshops and conversations on teaching for January, with most occurring before classes begin (in most schools) on Jan. 25. Topics include accessibility and equity in course design, active learning in Zoom classes, online student group work, and overcoming the “busy work” dilemma, among others.

Faculty interested in particular tools can attend workshops on teaching with Brightspace, Top Hat, GoReact and more. Faculty who didn’t teach in the fall are particularly encouraged to participate in the center’s “Introduction to Online and Hybrid Teaching” workshop. See the Center’s January 2021 events page for details and registration.

Online Course Development Resource site

The resources in the Center’s Online Course Development Resource site walk through the online course development process drawing on research, best practices and existing resources from around the web and the Center for Teaching. Visit the site for practical advice on planning, implementing and assessing online courses.

Instructional design services

The Center for Teaching is now offering instructional design consultations to the Vanderbilt community. Julaine Fowlin, the center’s new assistant director for instructional design, is available to consult with instructors on the design of online courses, moving an existing course online, or the development of online programs. To schedule a consultation, see this form.

Brightspace support at the CFT

Many instructors have learned new ways to support student engagement and learning through Brightspace, Vanderbilt’s course management system. The center’s team of Brightspace support specialists is available to answer questions both technical and pedagogical. Support is available via email ( and phone (615-322-0200) on Sundays from 5 to 11 p.m., Mondays–Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. On-demand resources are always available on the Brightspace support website.

The Center for Teaching is also recruiting an additional instructional technologist for the Brightspace support team, a position that will enable the team to expand support hours to include Saturday. “Given the increased use of Brightspace by faculty now and in the future, it was time to expand our team to meet the campus support needs,” Bruff said.

Educational technologies

Brightspace isn’t the only educational technology that the Center for Teaching supports. The following tools all integrate with Brightspace in various ways:

  • Top Hat is Vanderbilt’s classroom response system, offering tools for live polling that can enhance a Zoom or hybrid class session as well as tools for asynchronous student interaction, including quizzes and discussions that are embedded in course content.
  • GoReact is an online video feedback tool. Students can upload videos of presentations or performance demonstrations and instructors (and peers) can leave time-coded text, audio and video feedback.
  • Gradescope helps instructors administer and grade assignments and assessments, whether online or in class. It can improve efficiency, equity and security when grading, particularly when teams of graders are involved.
  • Perusall is a social annotation tool, allowing students to collaboratively highlight and annotate course readings and materials. Social annotation can help students engage more deeply with readings and learn from their peers.
  • Proctorio is a remote proctoring tool, offering a variety of options for promoting academic integrity during exams and quizzes. The tool can prevent students from using browser windows and record test-takers using student webcams, flagging unusual activity for faculty analysis.

One Button Studio

The CFT’s One Button Studio is an automated, simplified video studio that can be used without any previous video production experience to make high-quality educational videos for online and hybrid courses. The studio has great lighting and sound and is incredibly easy to use. See the One Button Studio website for more information or to book an appointment.

Blog posts, teaching guides and more

For additional resources, including blog posts, teaching guides, podcast episodes and YouTube videos that may be useful for spring 2021 teaching, see the Center for Teaching’s resource round-up.

VUIT trainings

In addition to Center for Teaching resources, faculty and other instructors also can access trainings on classroom technologies through VUIT. For more information and to sign up, please visit the VUIT adaptive teaching website.