Faculty Tell All: Remote Teaching Spotlight

Each month CEILS will feature remote teaching highlights from UCLA STEM instructors who faced and overcame some of the most difficult challenges of teaching in an online environment. In addition to monthly highlights, CEILS will also feature tips from UCLA faculty.

This Month’s Spotlight

Dr. Tracy Johnson

Dr. Tracy Johnson, has recently been named the new Dean of the Division of Life Sciences.  Dean Johnson is an HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) professor who holds the Keith and Cecilia Terasaki Presidential Endowed Chair in the Life Sciences. Throughout her years as a University of California professor (at UC San Diego 2003 to 2013, and at UCLA since 2013), Dean Johnson has not only participated in ground breaking research, but has also earned multiple honors, awards and grants for her work providing transformative undergraduate learning experiences.

CEILS has been fortunate to collaborate with Dean Johnson in her inaugural initiative as Dean, Out of the Box: Reimagining the Virtual Classroom in Fall 2020. Out of the Box, launched during UCLA’s Fall Teaching Forum, provided resources and time to support faculty in rising to the occasion, to get from “good enough” teaching to deliberate and inclusive teaching tailored to the needs of their students. This led to more than 30 faculty engaging in professional development to improve their Fall 2020 courses. Watch this video of Dean Johnson’s message to faculty about remote teaching.
In her role as the Director of the UCLA-HHMI Pathways to Success program, CEILS partnered with Dean Johnson on a 5-year $1-million grant-funded program dedicated to ensuring that transfer students have equal access to a high quality STEM education and increases their entrée into a range of STEM careers.
We are excited for Dean Johnson’s leadership in creating more equitable classrooms and look forward to continuing our work with her at UCLA!

Past Spotlights

Dr. Jenny Casey

Dr. Jennifer Casey, winner of UCLA’s 2019 Distinguished Teaching Award, just received the 2020 Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching for her Spring 2020 enhanced general chemistry pilot course (Chem14AE). In this 7-minute video, she describes her approach to a remote version of Chem14AE, how she fostered group work and built engaging and effective community through remote teaching. She talks about the challenges she encountered along with great tips for overcoming these obstacles. This pilot course is supported by a UC Provost Grant, the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and CEILS.

Watch the interview with Dr. Casey here. 

Here are the resources Dr. Casey discusses in the video:

  • Ideas for Communicating on Zoom: This PDF was shared with Dr. Casey’s students in order to provide them with a variety of ways to use Zoom and other computer programs to communicate with each other and complete group projects.
  • Tips for Maximizing Team Roles: One way Dr. Casey found success in remote teaching is through assigned teams. In these teams, all students are given the opportunity to rotate between team roles, which are described in the PDF.
  • Exploring Electron Domains: This is an example worksheet that showcases how each team works together, as well as how all teams are able to interact in the larger classroom.

This month, we are featuring multiple UCLA faculty and their new publications on inclusive education.

Roshini Ramachandran and Marlius Rodriguez
Drs. Ramachandran and Rodriquez’s study details the efforts taken in remotely teaching a large organic chemistry lecture course at UCLA in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ramachandran is the Assistant Director of Curricular Initiatives at the UCLA Center for Advancement of Teaching. She also teaches undergraduate chemistry courses. Dr. Rodriquez is the 2019 – 2022 Cram Teacher-Scholar and was teaching Chemistry 14C at the time of publication.
Christopher Schell et. al (including Shane Campbell-Staton)
Dr. Shane Cambell-Staton of UCLA collaborated on a paper published in Nature about promoting Black excellence in higher education. The paper addresses how scholars can employ anti-racist policies and actions in the field of ecology and evolution. Dr. Cambell-Staton is an Assistant Professor at the UCLA Institute for Society & Genetics.
Dr. Jeff Maloy of UCLA was one of many collaborators on this list of how you can create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals in your class. The recommendations featured in the article are not only comprehensive, but are also a great tool to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and becoming a better ally. Dr. Maloy is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at UCLA.

Dr. Marlius Castillo

Dr. Marlius Castillo, Cram Teacher-Scholar at the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has just published an article on student perspectives on remote learning in a large chemistry class. In this video, she discusses her experience teaching Chem 14C during Spring 2020 and how she has developed an engaging learning environment for students, as both professors and students navigate their first remote quarter together. You can read Dr. Castillo’s article here.

Quick Tips from UCLA Faculty

In addition to our monthly video series, we also feature faculty achievements in blog posts and other resources.