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University Center
for Teaching and Learning
2020-21 Annual Report

Greetings from Associate Provost Cynthia Golden
Executive Director, University Center for Teaching and Learning
Center Associate, Learning Research and Development Center

Cynthia Golden

The past two academic years have presented the University Center for Teaching and Learning with some of the most significant challenges we have ever faced. Our Center was called upon to respond to evolving teaching and learning environments amid rapidly changing circumstances—and in the process of doing so, exceeded our own expectations for supporting faculty and students. Our team members were innovative, creative, and tireless in their efforts during this pandemic.

This report highlights some of our key accomplishments, but only scratches the surface as to how the Teaching Center enabled the University of Pittsburgh to sustain instructional continuity in the face of extreme adversity.

Greetings from Associate Provost Cynthia Golden
Executive Director, University Center for Teaching and Learning
Center Associate, Learning Research and Development Center

Cynthia Golden

The past two academic years have presented the University Center for Teaching and Learning with some of the most significant challenges we have ever faced. Our Center was called upon to respond to evolving teaching and learning environments amid rapidly changing circumstances—and in the process of doing so, exceeded our own expectations for supporting faculty and students. Our team members were innovative, creative, and tireless in their efforts during this pandemic.

This report highlights some of our key accomplishments, but only scratches the surface as to how the Teaching Center enabled the University of Pittsburgh to sustain instructional continuity in the face of extreme adversity.

0+
Faculty who participated in Teaching Center workshops
0+
Courses administered in Canvas in both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 terms
0
More than 7,000 Pitt faculty, staff, and faculty support specialists received the Teaching Center’s weekly newsletter

Instructor Feedback on Participating in Faculty Seminars

“I came out of the seminar with several
very solid (and manageable) ideas
to improve the quality of my classes,
so for me it was a great success.”

Adam Lee Cilli, PhD
Assistant Professor of History
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

“I found the sessions and
the individual consultation very helpful,
and I have already incorporated some of the things
I have learned this semester.”

Cynthia Salter PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Behavioral & Community Health Sciences
Director (Interim), Center for Global Health
Graduate School of Public Health

0+
Faculty who participated in Teaching Center workshops
0+
Courses administered in Canvas in both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 terms
0
More than 7,000 Pitt faculty, staff, and faculty support specialists received the Teaching Center’s weekly newsletter

Instructor Feedback on Participating in Faculty Seminars

“I came out of the seminar with several very solid (and manageable) ideas to improve the quality of my classes, so for me it was a great success.”

Adam Lee Cilli, PhD
Assistant Professor of History
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

“I found the sessions and the individual consultation very helpful, and I have already incorporated some of the things I have learned this semester.”

Cynthia Salter PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Behavioral & Community Health Sciences
Director (Interim), Center for Global Health
Graduate School of Public Health

Teaching Support

Flex @ Pitt

  • The Teaching Center created resources to train faculty on how to use Zoom, which became one of the primary technologies supporting instruction. Since Aug. 1, 2020, more than 1 million Zoom sessions occurred at Pitt.
  • The Online Student Toolkit was created, which helped provide students at Pitt with helpful information that allowed them to use educational technology tools like Canvas competently. Overall, 96 percent of students who were surveyed found the toolkit to be helpful.
  • Faculty enrollment in the Teaching Online at Pitt self-paced Canvas course few to 517 participants.
  • Teaching Center teaching consultants logged more than 530 hours of individual consultations with Pitt instructors in 2020-21.

Canvas Implementation:

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic coincided with the University’s transition to the Canvas learning management system.

  • Nearly 5,500 course were published on Canvas in spring 2021. More than 80 percent of instructors and 90 percent of students had at least one active course during this term.
  • Our online self-help resources had more than 59,000 views during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • During the fall 2020 term, 94 percent of survey respondents reported Canvas worked “very” or “somewhat well.”

Faculty Badging/Credentialing

  • More than 1,600 badges awarded and more in progress.
  • Newly added credentialing opportunities: Pitt Professional continuing education courses, the University Library System, Achievement in Pedagogy, Universal Design Concepts, Online Instruction, Assessment.
  • Completely redesigned faculty seminars for accelerated and remote delivery.

Assessment of Teaching

  • The 2019 ACIE recommendations on assessment of teaching were codified by the Office of the Provost and we expect it to have a significant and enduring impact on the university.
  • We provided nearly 400 hours of consultation to help faculty and academic units improve assessment of teaching effectiveness, including through online resources and supporting units implementing the 2019 ACIE recommendations.
  • The annual Assessment and Teaching Conference on Feb. 12 was held virtually this year, and was our first time supporting an event using Pitt’s new conference platform, Accelevents. Nearly 250 faculty and faculty support specialists attend the event.

Teaching Surveys

The Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching administered nearly 15,000 surveys in fall 2020 and spring 2021, with response rates hovering around the 50% mark.

Adoption of the midterm survey option increased by almost 60% between fall 2019 and fall 2020, an indication of their effectiveness and usefulness.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Teaching Center continues to support Pitt students by enriching the experience and knowledge of faculty and TAs with interactive workshops, one-on-one consultations, and other programming that underscores the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in teaching.

  • Over 5,000 students completed Pitt 0210 Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance, a new course for first-year students. The Teaching Center contributed to multiple aspects of course development, including digital media, instructional design, and surveys.
  • Seven faculty received the 2020 Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum in recognition of their efforts to integrate diversity and inclusion concepts into their courses and curricula.
  • We established new highs in overall attendance (427), unique attendees (223), and first-time attendees (167) during the Provost’s Diversity Institute for Faculty Development in May 2021.

What Pitt Students Are Saying

Read anonymous feedback from students about their experience
participating in Pitt’s Anti-Black Racism course, which debuted in 2020.

I think having one module to go through per week was very nice because it didn’t make taking class be too much. Another great thing was bringing in different professors to teach each subject, not only because it gave us expert information, but because it also gave us the chance to hear from multiple sources.

I like that this course focuses on Black history in America. I learned things that I had never heard of before, and I think providing this course is a valuable step in fighting racism against Black people.

Very insightful, intellectual, and useful resources, readings, lectures, and materials from many different sources and speakers. The course allowed me to explore the various aspects and ideas about Anti-Black Racism that I may not have previously considered and to gain a better perspective and understanding of systemic and societal issues, narratives, and history that I may not have been aware of.

It filled a lot of gaps that the K-12 Public Education system fails to meet and did so in a way that was informative and not [alienating]. I really appreciate the aim to educate instead of chastising those who may not have grown up in an environment that would allow them the insight provided by the course.

0
Faculty and staff attended the Assessment and Teaching Conference
0
More than 1,800 midterm course surveys were administered
0
Faculty in attendance at Diversity Institute events

Feedback from Pitt Online Faculty

Pitt Online staff were instrumental in helping me
navigate the University’s online program and
course development policies. It was a pleasure
working with Pitt Online instructional designers.”

Tinukwa Boulder. PhD
Director of Innovative Technologies and Online Learning
University of Pittsburgh School of Education
Associate Professor of Practice
Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading

“Pitt Online ensured a smooth process to submit assignments
and sustain active engagement throughout the course.
Each term, we find ways to improve the course experience
for the student and for me as the instructor.
With their help, we constantly explore resources
for online learning and share our work with others.”

Judith Zedreck Gonzalez, DNP, MPM, RN, NEA -BC
ANCC Magnet Certification
Professor, University of Pittsburgh
Program Coordinator, DNP Health Systems Executive Leadership

0
Faculty and staff attended the Assessment and Teaching Conference
0
More than 1,800 midterm course surveys were administered
0
Faculty in attendance at Diversity Institute events

Feedback from Pitt Online Faculty

Pitt Online staff were instrumental in helping me navigate the University’s online program and course development policies. It was a pleasure working with Pitt Online instructional designers.”

Tinukwa Boulder. PhD
Director of Innovative Technologies and Online Learning
University of Pittsburgh School of Education
Associate Professor of Practice
Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading

“Pitt Online ensured a smooth process to submit assignments and sustain active engagement throughout the course. Each term, we find ways to improve the course experience for the student and for me as the instructor. With their help, we constantly explore resources for online learning  and share our work with others.”

Judith Zedreck Gonzalez, DNP, MPM, RN, NEA -BC
ANCC Magnet Certification
Professor, University of Pittsburgh
Program Coordinator, DNP Health Systems Executive Leadership

Community Engagement

Outreach & Events

  • The Flex@Pitt Playbook tallied more than 18,000 page views during Flex@Pitt instruction.-We introduced a reimagined experience for more than 300 new faculty that included virtual early access to a variety of resources, monthly instructional communications, and an on-campus welcome event.
  • Nearly 200 graduate and professional students attended New Teaching Assistant Orientation, held virtual in both 2020 and 2021.
  • More than 250 online learners from Tuscarora Intermediate Unit, a regional educational service agency operating in south-central Pennsylvania, participated in Infant Mental Health, a School of Education online professional development course.
  • Our informational and educational videos produced over 5,000 views on our YouTube channel. COVID-19 Faculty Survey – Fall 2020 respondents indicated that they relied on the Teaching Center newsletter as a source of information for COVID-19 updates.
0+
Faculty participating in New Faculty Essentials
0
TAs/TFs attended New Teaching Assistant Orientation.
0%
Increase of midterm survey adoption from fall 2019 to fall 2020

Additional instructor feedback During the 2020-21 Academic Year

“Thanks for all your extra work this semester and offering
the make up exams services. There are so many
extra accommodations that students need this semester
because of the pandemic, and you’ve been
absolutely critical in helping to alleviate a bit of
the extra burden put on professors.
Thank you so much for your time.”

Lisa Mcillvried
Lecturer, Department of Neuroscience

The Center’s instructional designers are conscientious and
deadline-oriented. They have trained our
novice online instructors to produce
highly successful programs. The staff has developed
a course structure that works, and they are able
to respond to variations in course delivery based on
the academic unit’s unique student body,
subject matter, and pedagogical goals.

Alan Meisel
Professor Emeritus of Law
Director of Online Programs, MSL Program,
and Certificate in Disability Legal Studies

0+
Faculty participating in New Faculty Essentials
0
TAs/TFs attended New Teaching Assistant Orientation.
0%
Increase of midterm survey adoption from fall 2019 to fall 2020

Additional instructor feedback During the 2020-21 Academic Year

“Thanks for all your extra work this semester and offering the make up exams services. There are so many extra accommodations that students  need this semester because of the pandemic, and you’ve been absolutely critical in helping to alleviate a bit of the extra burden put on  professors. Thank you so much for your time.”

Lisa Mcillvried
Lecturer, Department of Neuroscience

The Center’s instructional designers are conscientious and deadline-oriented. They have trained our novice online instructors to produce highly successful programs. The staff has developed a course structure that works, and they are able to respond to variations in course delivery based  on the academic unit’s unique student body, subject matter, and pedagogical goals.

Alan Meisel
Professor Emeritus of Law
Director of Online Programs, MSL Program,
and Certificate in Disability Legal Studies

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