University Libraries and TLT Spring 2021 Reading Days programming to help instructors
Plans made to help instructors finish semester strong with final Reading Day on April 21
The spring 2021 semester at the University of Nevada, Reno looked a little different than previous years: instead of a week-long spring break, the semester started a week later than usual to better deal with concerns related to COVID-19 and student comings-and-goings from campus. However, students and faculty still needed some respite from the marathon that the spring semester can sometimes feel like. So, in 2021, Nevada’s first “Reading Days” were scheduled. For these four days scattered throughout the spring semester, classes were cancelled, instructors were encouraged to use the reading days for preparation and professional development, while students were encouraged to study or catch up on projects for their classes.
The University Libraries and Teaching & Learning Technologies saw a unique opportunity to help instructors searching for professional development options for these days. For all of us in TLT, our goal is to support instructors to use the tools available to improve their classes, make teaching easier, or learn about new approaches. Representatives from different Libraries’ departments planned four full days of 50-minute sessions aimed directly at helping instructors.
The first Reading Day was Thursday, February 25, and was focused on improving engagement. Sessions from this day covered student engagement using tools such as WebCampus, Zoom, polling tools, and making, as well as how to make engaging posters for onsite or online presentations. The second and third reading days were back-to-back on Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10. For these, the focus was on helping instructors “get over the hump” of the semester with information on new tools, new uses of old tools, or just new ideas to level up teaching to make the semester the best it could be.
Participants in the first three Reading Days benefited from small-group workshops and discussions, making it possible for Libraries and Teaching & Learning Technologies facilitators to answer specific questions and pay individualized attention to attendees. Both in the workshops and open-discussion brownbag sessions, faculty were able to learn not only from the session presenters, but from their fellow instructors. In some cases, faculty commented that it was just nice to be able to chat with others about what is going on in their classes, especially in terms of the challenges presented in teaching in the time of COVID.
The final Reading Day, scheduled for Wednesday, April 21, will aim to help instructors finish the semester strong. Faculty interested in participating should visit the Level-Up with the Libraries and TLT webpage to view sessions available and to register. You don’t have to wait for the final Reading day, though! If you are interested in further training beyond the Reading Day programming, contact Teaching & Learning Technologies or your Department’s Subject Librarian.