We recognize it may be easy to get swept away with conversations about AI as the most prominent technology in higher education right now (evidenced by our guidance on teaching with AI, for example). Though new AI tools are top of mind—and are likely to be for a while—we’re continuing to develop and support you in using digital tools to enrich the teaching and learning experience in other arenas.
Below we’ve highlighted three new or updated resources that can support your teaching this year ranging from streamlining your grading processes, hosting student work online, and fostering a sense of belonging in your classroom:
Use Gradescope to digitally manage paper-based handwritten assignments and exams. Gradescope simplifies grading paper-based, handwritten assignments and exams with its Canvas integration, and can automate some grading of the material itself.
After initial setup and syncing with Canvas, assignments and exams can be scanned and uploaded to Gradescope by the instructor or by individual students. Once uploaded, Gradescope uses handwriting recognition to identify the students’ names and responses, organizing them for grading.
Gradescope’s dynamic rubric (meaning any changes to the rubric are automatically applied to all exams, even if they had been previously graded) provides flexibility in grading and providing feedback. The final scores can then be synced to Canvas and students can view the feedback. Gradescope can also be used for scantron exams.
CNDLS Course Sites
Course Sites are one of the most popular uses for websites at Georgetown. Most often, faculty use the WordPress course sites for class blogs. (Read CNDLS’ Websites tool page to learn more about creating your own domain to host more expansive web projects using Georgetown Domains.)
Created for either a single semester or extended use, a course site offers students a responsive, user-friendly social system for interacting beyond the classroom. When set to “members only,” it provides a safe, private extension for classroom conversation; when set to “public,” it gives students the opportunity to engage with their classmates (and even others) in a public space. When used to reflect on research, sites can become part of a working group’s or individual scholar’s workflow.
Research sites are a place to store and share documents, drafts, and reflections related to an academic project. Outside the classroom, thesis writers from a number of different departments, for example, have used research sites to share their research and research process with their classmates. As students participate in practicums, internships, or other learning experiences outside the classroom, they are often asked to write short reflection papers.
By using an internship site instead of a simple reflection paper, students can share their experiences with classmates participating in similar experiences outside the classroom. ePortfolios offer the opportunity to reflect on learning and make important connections amongst courses or topics, as well as make links between academic work and life experiences. More than just traditional portfolios in digital form, ePortfolios can be edited and shared with ease. Uploading artifacts—whether they are photos, academic papers, or certifications—to an ePortfolio allows users to draw attention to their achievements and qualifications. Depending on the privacy settings an ePortfolio user selects, the ePortfolio can also be opened to search engine indexing, leading to greater discoverability and visibility. (Learn more about CNDLS’ past ePortfolio Initiative.)
To get started with your course site, request a site and a member of the CNDLS team will reach out to you.
Name Pronunciation Tools
Implementing name pronunciation tools in your teaching is a quick and easy strategy for building community in your course. Learning who your students are, including pronouncing their names correctly, helps foster their sense of belonging in class, and in turn promotes an accessible class climate (Wheeler 2016). (Read more about cultivating an inclusive class climate in our Inclusive Pedagogy Toolkit.)
Because “personal names index identities, including socio-cultural identities of ethnicity, nationality, language & religion” and mispronouncing names can negatively impact students feelings of belongingness in class, using a name pronunciation tool like NameDrop (see examples below) serves as a useful reference for faculty because the recordings can be reviewed throughout the semester (Pilcher 2016; Pilcher and Deaken-Smith 2022). Pronouncing the names of students correctly allows students to fully participate with the course materials, as students are less likely to be engaged in learning environments in which they feel they do not belong (Hurtado & Carter, 1997; Strayhorn, 2019).
Being able to listen to your students’ name pronunciations whenever you need will help you feel more comfortable communicating with them. You may want to establish a practice at the beginning of the semester to establish a positive relationship with students from the very first day.
You could record your name and add a link to the recording in your Canvas profile and/or email signature to model using these types of tools. Encourage students to use a name pronunciation tool, and add their recordings to their own profiles in Canvas. You can easily access your students’ recordings on the ‘People’ page in Canvas by clicking on their names and navigating through their profiles.
NameDrop is one such name pronunciation tool that can help faculty and students build an inclusive learning environment, currently available for free. Georgetown University is exploring enterprise contracts for a name pronunciation tool, and CNDLS staff can offer some guidance on how to use free tools in the interim.
Visit the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) website to find ideas and instructions on teaching with digital tools, or email us at email@example.com with any questions.