Center for Academic Excellence January Back-to-School Workshops - Register Now!

Please join us for CAE’s January Back-to-School workshops, as we work with many campus partners to help you innovate and adapt your teaching for our evolving pedagogical context. Join us for any or all of our pedagogical workshopsdrop-in help sessions, or writing time together. We will be joined by faculty and professional staff who will offer their expertise. Above all, we will continue to acknowledge the unique community of practice that will sustain us as we begin a new year. All sessions will be taking place via Zoom.

Monday, January 9, 2023

  • 9:30 - 10:45: Teaching Students Underprepared from COVID: An Open Discussion
    • Registration Link:
    • Are you experiencing a lack of preparedness in first and second-year students? Have you not been able to teach as much or as in-depth material as you normally would in your courses? Our first and second-year students are part of the “COVID Cohort.” The pandemic greatly impacted their critical high school years, leaving many of them underprepared in key content areas. Join us for a brown bag discussion where we will crowdsource ideas about how to best support our underprepared students. We’ll be joined by Megan Buxton, Director of the Office of Accessibility, and Wendy Mendes, Director of Student Well-Being, Bellarmine Campus.
  • 11:00 - 12:15: Blackboard Ultra - Sneak Peek at the New Interface
    • Registration Link:
    • Join the CAE and Academic Computing staff for this first look at Blackboard Ultra, the new, streamlined interface for the campus’s Learning Management System. Scheduled to be slowly rolled out over the next year-plus, the new Blackboard features a more modern and simplified look, along with outstanding new mobile apps for phones and iPads. You’ll see examples of courses that your colleagues have already taught in Ultra; learn how easy it is to incorporate outside items such as Kaltura videos and publishers’ content; and discover what the reaction has been from the first sets of students who’ve experienced it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

  • 9:30 - 10:45: Where Do I Start? Moving from Idea to Grant Proposal Submission
    • Registration Link:
    • How can you move from an idea to a funded project? This workshop, hosted by ORG, will walk you through the steps and connect you with helpful resources to begin converting your research or creative idea into a winning grant application. Participants will learn the basics of preparing and submitting a grant application, and will leave the workshop with a roadmap for moving forward.
  • 11:00 - 12:15: Thinking Through Assignment Design
    • Registration Link:
    • This workshop will demonstrate how faculty can use library course guides to create scaffolded research assignments. These assignments are highly customizable and can emphasize specific portions of the research process while providing easy access to the library and quality/vetted external resources at the point in the project where students need them. Examples of small and large assessments will be shared, and several other educational technology tools in addition to library course guides will be demonstrated.
  • 1:00 - 2:15: Designing an Ungraded Assignment
    • Registration Link:
    • Over the course of the fall semester, a number of faculty participated in an Ungrading Learning Community, centered around the very hot topic of how we might move beyond the constraints and assumptions around traditional grading. This workshop will kick off a new round of ungrading exploration as we support each other by putting the process into practice. We’ll review and discuss various approaches to rethinking grading, and lay out plans for implementing ungrading practices into our upcoming courses. Throughout the spring the group will continue to meet/communicate regularly to support each other in our efforts.
  • 2:30 - 3:45: Designing Digital Scholarship Assignments 
    • Registration Link:
    • Adding digital components to traditional course assignments can provide students with transferable skills and new perspectives on the potential of their own scholarship while introducing new classroom dynamics in which faculty and students learn and create together. However, digital assignments can be difficult to scaffold and evaluate in the course of a semester. This session will present ideas of digital tools that can be used to help explore increasingly complex digital assignment design as well as the benefits of pursuing digital assignments.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

  • 9:00 - 10:15: Tech Tools Overview Sampler
    • Registration Link:
    • Over the past few years, Fairfield University has been introducing faculty to a number of easy-to-use, mobile-friendly presentation and collaboration technologies that provide students with new ways to engage in their learning. In this session, CAE staff will showcase some of these new tools and highlight specific practices and strategies for easily employing them to reinforce existing face-to-face teaching activities. From flipping your classroom to assigning new types of multimedia publication assignments, this workshop is sure to provide new ideas and approaches to reaching your students.
  • 10:30 - 11:45: Leveraging Videos for Student Engagement
    • Registration Link:
    • Interested in incorporating videos into your class, but not sure where to begin? In this workshop, we'll share ways you and your students can leverage Kaltura, a video streaming tool, to engage in learning. Learn how to record and embed your own videos, find feature films to complement your lessons, or create video assessments for your students to pre-record their presentations or debates. Finally, we'll share how to track the detailed media analytics to understand how your students are engaging with your videos.
  • 2:15 - 3:30: Blackboard Basics 
    • Registration Link:
    • If you’re new to Blackboard - or if you’ve simply forgotten some of the basics - join Academic Computing/ITS and the CAE for this introductory session on getting started with Blackboard. We will cover everything from navigating the base navigation to uploading files, creating announcements, and accessing the class photo roster. 
  • 3:45 - 5:00: Level Up Your Blackboard Course
    • Registration Link:
    • Ready to up your Blackboard game? This session moves beyond Blackboard basics to explore a few ways to assess and engage with your students using Blackboard. We will discuss assigning groups, creating and grading assignments, building a test or survey to check in with students, building interacting self-assessments using Kaltura video quizzes, using Blackboard rubrics on graded activities, and more! 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

  • 9:30 - 10:45: Engaging Classes with the Visual & Performing Arts
    • Registration Link:
    • Looking for new ways to develop your students’ verbal, observational, or writing skills this semester? A visit to an exhibition at the Fairfield University Art Museum or to a performance at the Quick Center might be just the “ticket”! Michelle DiMarzo (Curator of Education & Academic Engagement, FUAM) and Lori Jones (Director of Programming & Audience Development, QCA) will discuss curricular engagement strategies with their offerings in Spring 2023 and beyond.
  • 11:00 - 12:15: Accessibility, Accommodations & UDL
    • Registration Link:
    • Making our courses accessible to all learners includes more than providing accommodations; accessibility can be built into our syllabus design and teaching methods. Join us for a workshop to explore how you can proactively design your courses to accommodate learners across a variety of learning profiles.
  • 2:00 - 3:30: QPR Gatekeeper Training
    • Registration Link:
    • QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. With these the 3 simple steps, anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. QPR educates the general public about the known warning signs of a suicide crisis. People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Wendy Mendes, Director of Student Well-Being, Bellarmine Campus, will lead us in this important work.

Friday, January 13, 2023

  • 10:00 - 3:00: Writing Retreat 
    • Signup Link:
    • Join the CAE and a community of colleagues for a day-long writing retreat on Friday, January 13th, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Plan, begin, revise, or complete writing projects (e.g., manuscripts, books, syllabi, reports, portfolios/dossiers). Share and report on your writing goals, consult with peers or CAE staff about any stage of your writing process, or use the time for some solo writing. When registering please let us know if you would prefer in person or via Zoom.
  • 10:30 - 12:00 and 1:00 - 2:30: Syllabus Drop-in
  • Zoom Link:
  • Sign into the Zoom link for a one-on-one consultation with a CAE Director about any aspect of your syllabus (learning outcomes, assessment strategies, active learning activities, tech tools, etc.).

For more information, contact Center for Academic Excellence / /