Center for Teaching Update – April 16, 2020

From: “Victoria Russell (vrussel3)” <>
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 11:57 AM
To: “Victoria Russell (vrussel3)” <>
Subject: Center for Teaching Update

Hi, everyone,

We have a few items to share this week…

Center Updates

  • Thank you to everyone who responded to our 3-question needs survey. We are actively working with DLS to support summer and fall teaching–your input during this busy time is invaluable. If you did not get a chance to respond and would still like to do so, the survey takes about 2 minutes and will be available through Friday, April 24th.
  • Faculty Fellow applications are due Friday, May 1st at 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions about the position, please reach out to Victoria.

Teaching Strategies and Resources

If you’re feeling bogged down by grading and feedback, you’re not alone. Here are a few tips:

  • Perhaps use Canvas’ “Complete/Incomplete” feature, and let students know ahead of time the criteria for a grade of “Complete.” You can select the number of points the assignment is worth and then use Canvas SpeedGrader to select Complete or Incomplete for each student.
  • Having a hard time discerning between what a 92 paper is and a 94? Consider grading out of 10 points rather than 100 which can help make grading more efficient.
  • Did you know Canvas has a rubric feature? If you create a rubric for an assignment, you can use this feature to grade it. Here’s instructions for how to create a rubric using Canvas:, and here’s how to use it:
  • Finally, do you find yourself writing the same feedback over and over? Maybe create a feedback bank. Have a separate document open and copy and paste common comments. This is a great way to revise an assignment later, since you can review your list of comments to see where students might have struggled and need more guidance!

After spending time on video classes and meetings, do you find that you are more tired than you would be after the same interaction in person?  Some are calling this feeling “Zoom fatigue.”  We have to pay extra close attention to others’ body language that we can only see in a small box in a screen, and we are constantly monitoring our own body language that is in our own small box on the screen.  A few tips to work around this phenomenon include:

  • scheduling breaks in between meetings;
  • going old school and picking up your phone to place a call instead;
  • consider turning off your camera in larger meetings if you are not speaking or engaging in discussion;
  • remembering to rest your eyes by looking at something in the distance periodically as well!

The Center for Teaching will not be sending out any updates next week. A Summer Preview update will be distributed during Finals Week. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are in awe of all that you are achieving in extraordinary circumstances. We’re proud to support you and be a part of this community.

​Stay safe and well,

Caitie, Victoria, and Melissa

Dr. Victoria Russell
Associate Director-Center for Teaching

University of Mary Washington

Twitter: @techtweed