Interactive Strategies for Engaging Large and Small Classes Alike

Faculty Focus

As faculty, our goal is to create an environment in which students are engaged with the material, while at the same time ensuring that they are prepared to advance in their studies. There are many techniques and tricks and pedagogies we can use—some requiring a lot of work, some requiring less, but perhaps one of the simplest is to simply get closer to students, moving around the room, and offering easy opportunities for them to talk to each other.

Grant Opportunity for UCLA Instructors using Kudu

CEILS would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to one of our new collaborators in educational development, Kudu!

What is Kudu? Kudu is an online textbook/learning platform designed by Drs. Alex Kusenko and Warren Essey in UCLA’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. At the heart of Kudu is a passion for making textbooks engaging and interactive by incorporating high quality video– but most importantly affordable! Drs. Kusenko and Essey are offering a model for UCLA instructors to develop low-cost, customizable textbooks that would eventually be free for UCLA students in their courses. You can learn more and see some examples on their website:

CEILS is working with Drs. Kusenko and Essey to identify opportunities for UCLA faculty-led textbook development projects. Please reach out to us if you are interested in learning more and possibly developing, publishing, or licensing your own course textbook with Kudu.

Instructors using Kudu may also be eligible for grants through the UCLA Library’s Affordable Course Materials Initiative. Learn more about his initiative below.

UCLA Library – Affordable Course Materials Initiative

This Library initiative encourages instructors to use low-cost or free alternatives to expensive course materials, such as open-access scholarly resources, Library-licensed and owned resources in print or digital form, reformatted special collections items, and learning objects and texts that faculty create themselves. By more closely aligning Library collections, services, and expertise with instructional needs, it has helped lower the cost of course materials for thousands of UCLA students while achieving instructors’ educational objectives.

Awards pair instructors with a team of Library specialists who help them identify, access, adapt, and adopt alternative course materials. Award amounts are available of $1,000 each for instructors teaching courses with enrollments of fewer than two hundred students and of $2,500 each for instructors teaching courses with enrollments of more than two hundred students. Collection development awards may also be designated to build or enhance library collections in support of specific courses. The financial sums are meant to offer an incentive for the time it will take instructors to identify new resources, adjust syllabi, and modify assignments and can also be used to cover any actual expenses incurred by the instructor.

The initiative has been endorsed by the Office of the UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the UCLA Academic Senate.

Please note that the application deadline for Fall ’18 is May 21.
Learn more about the Initiative here.

Lecture Instruction: Alive and Not So Well

Inside Higher Ed

New study of undergraduate STEM courses finds that lectures remain dominant — despite finding after finding questioning their effectiveness.

See the research paper published in the March 2018 issue of Science Magazine: Anatomy of STEM Teaching in North American Universities

Congratulations to Erin Sanders (CEILS), Blaire Van Valkenburgh (Life Sciences), Frank Laski (Life Sciences), Kevin Eagan (Education), Christopher Lee (Physical Sciences), and Marc Levis-Fitzgerald (OID) for their contributions to the largest-ever observational study of undergraduate STEM education.

2017-2018 Instructional Improvement Grant Program

2017-2018 Instructional Improvement Grant Program, UCLA Office of Instructional Development
View more information on the IIP Grant Website.

The Instructional Improvement Grant Program supports curricular experimentation and development and instructional improvement of undergraduate offerings. Projects may be initiated by faculty, departments, or larger units. Proposals should address the specific needs of an undergraduate course or curriculum and explicate an appropriate and cost-effective response to a clearly defined pedagogical problem.

New this year are two initiatives aimed at spreading and sharing teaching improvements more broadly across campus:

  • Faculty Improving Teaching (FIT) Communities. These faculty communities of practice will be an opportunity for all grantees to receive ongoing feedback and support from fellow IIP-supported faculty members and OID consultants.
  • IIP Grantee Reporting. Every grantee will be expected to present their project in some venue (which could be quite informal). An additional reporting requirement is to provide a list of other instructors or courses which might benefit from similar teaching approaches.

All proposals must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2018.