The COT is Talking Tech!

LearningGlassBannerStudents are increasingly tech-savvy, and the educational tools available to educators are increasingly technology-mediated. As educators, it is our job to think critically about technological tools in a way that puts learning and pedagogy at the center of the conversation.

Over the past few months, the COT has been apprised of two major technology initiatives. First, there is the move to online course evaluations. Along with campus administrators, the COT participated in vendor demos of several systems, which are now complete, and the evaluation process will be ongoing over the summer. Please send comments on features you are interested in seeing to COT Analyst, Kim Van Le ( Second, the Academic Senate’s executive committee and the Center for Instructional Technology have endorsed a move from the current learning management system to CANVAS. Please come to the May Senate meeting to hear more about this initiative.

You can also join the conversation about educational technologies on campus by attending the Digital Pedagogy Round Table on May 25th! This event is sponsored by Digital Scholarship Commons, the FITC, and Academic Affairs. Get more info here and here.

This month, our guest bloggers are Leslie Kern and Aaron Zachmeier of the Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC), who have agreed to do a series of blogs on educational technologies. If you are unfamiliar with FITC, this center offers instructional technology support to instructors and graduate students. Each of their blogs will highlight a different FITC tool or resource.

Welcome, Leslie and Aaron, to the COT Blog!

Through the Learning Glass

by Aaron Zachmeier & Leslie Kern

What if you could give a lecture facing your students AND write on the board at the same time? It may seem fantastic, but you can have the best of face-forward lecturing and board-based explanation by recording your lecture with the new UC Santa Cruz Learning Glass, located in the FITC on the first floor of McHenry Library.

The Learning Glass is a clear sheet of glass, framed with LEDs that light up the surface and reflect off the fluorescent markers that are used with it. The instructor is filmed while lecturing and writing on the board. When the filming is complete, the image is flipped so that the writing reads correctly from left to right. The finished recording is then made available to students.

The Learning Glass design was first developed by Professor Matt Anderson of San Diego State University and SDSU Instructional Technology Services. The design of our Learning Glass came from UC San Diego, courtesy of Don Oliff and Craig Bentley of Education Technology Services (ETS), who provided detailed specifications. Our board was built by our own Tom Beckner in Media Systems Engineering. The board is height-adjustable for the comfort of the presenters, and also has the uniquely Santa Cruz touch of a table and frame made of polished redwood. Versions of the Learning Glass are in use at 7 of the 9 UC campuses, and at colleges and universities across the country.

Recorded lectures allow students to view the content at their convenience and at their own pace, and to review the content as many times as they need. And when you record a lecture, you can ensure that all of the points you need to cover are included. Recording with the Learning Glass has the added advantage of allowing you to present a normal blackboard/whiteboard lecture without turning your back on the students. Students see you and register your presence, which helps to keep them engaged. Moreover, the dark background and fluorescent ink make for eminently readable text, which you can see in the clip below.


Clip of Herbie Lee lecturing on Bayesian Statistics with the Learning Glass


What does it take to record a lecture with the Learning Glass?

Start by making an appointment for your recording session by contacting the FITC. You reserve time online on the FITC website, drop by the FITC on the first floor of McHenry Library (Room 1330) between 8AM and 4PM, call us at 831-459-5506, or open a ticket at We are also happy to give you a tour to acquaint you with the studio and work with you on test recordings. And we can consult with you on all aspects of your lecture to make sure it is engaging and effective in achieving your instructional goals.

As with any recorded presentation, preparation is key. Practicing your presentation will make recording go more quickly and smoothly, you will appear more natural and at ease, and planning out how you will use the board ahead of time will ensure that you don’t end up running out of real estate. The FITC also has a white board that is sized to the dimensions of the glass that you can use for practice without tying up the recording studio.

Break up your lecture into shorter segments that will allow students to absorb and reflect before moving on, and will allow you to take a breath between concepts. Of course, segments that require more than one board of content or that are longer than you are comfortable recording in a single take can be recorded in segments and concatenated into a single video.

“Well, now that we have seen each other,’ said the Unicorn,

`if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

To learn more about the Learning Glass, contact the FITC. You can also see what instructors at other UCs are doing with the Learning Glass at

Liberate Your Love of Teaching for Learning


Mecaila Smith is a PhD student in the Education Department and a 2015-2016 Chancellor’s Graduate Intern. This year, she is working with the Committee on Teaching to develop the recently funded Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning.

I recently attended the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching and Learning held in Newport Beach, California. The original Lilly Conference was held 34 years ago, and has since grown into a network of conferences that take place across the country and throughout the year, providing professors with the opportunity to share ideas—in a highly supportive community atmosphere—about the scholarship and craft of teaching and learning.

While there, I met with professors from a wide range of disciplines, including theology, economics, nutrition, accounting, literature, and biology. And together, we talked about topics such as diversity and inclusion, metacognition, technology in the classroom, motivation, empathy, and student writing. For example, Marilla Scinicki of the University of Texas Austin gave a plenary presentation on, “Evidence-Based Foundations for Motivating Students to Learn”; Terry Doyle of Ferris State University gave a plenary presentation on “Understanding How Students Learn: The First Step to Improving College Teaching Practices”; and Jaimie Hoffman of USC’s Rossier School of Education led an interactive session called, “’HIP’ with Teaching? Using Technology to Facilitate High Impact Practices.” As someone who is new to the teaching profession, I found these conversations inspiring; for other first-time conference participants who were more experienced teachers, the Lilly Conference seemed to provide a liberating sanctuary (really!), where they were free and emboldened to talk about what they valued: teaching and learning, and more importantly, teaching for learning. As the COT continues to develop its website, I look forward to sharing resources from these dialogs.

Over the next twelve months, five more Lilly Conferences will take place across the United States, so there is plenty of opportunity for you to take part in this teaching and learning community as a participant or as a presenter of evidence-based teaching and learning practices. A quick peek at upcoming conference dates and locations is below, but for more information, visit the Lilly Conference homepage.

Upcoming Lilly Conferences

June 2 – 5, 2016       Lilly International Conference – Bethesda, MD

Aug 1 – 3, 2016         Lilly National Conference – Asheville, NC

Oct 20 – 22, 2016     Lilly National Conference – Traverse City, MI

Nov 17 – 20, 2016    Lilly Original – Oxford, OH

Jan 9 – 11, 2017       Lilly National Conference – Austin, TX

While you have your planner out, here’s another date to add to your calendar: the IDEA Grant Deadline is March 31, 2016!

IDEA, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving learning in higher education,” is currently accepting proposals for two grants:

The IDEA Impact Teaching/Learning Grant is designed to promote effective student learning by carefully exploring and systematically documenting the efficacy of various teaching practices, learning environments, and institutional policies.

The IDEA Impact Campus Climate Grant is intended to support increased knowledge and understanding of campus climate issues that impact student learning and the ability of institutions to successfully carry out their mission. (

Visit the IDEA Grant homepage for more information.

I hope you’ll take a look at both the upcoming Lilly Conferences and at the IDEA Grants. These are forums for you to get inspired and share your inspiration, as well as for you to find a space to liberate your love of teaching for learning.

Mecaila Smith

PhD Student, Education Department, UCSC
Cota-Robles Fellow
Chancellor’s Graduate Intern

Welcome to the inaugural COT blog!


Happy Holidays!

It is with great pleasure that the Committee on Teaching (COT) announces EVC Galloway’s commitment to fund a new Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning at UCSC to provide resources for campus-wide instructional support.

This is quite an accomplishment, considering it was just over a year ago that we stood before the Senate advocating for such support. The collective voice of the senators pressed this issue, and the administration listened. Although the details are still being worked out, our vision for the Center is that it will assist UCSC instructors – ladder-rank faculty, lecturers, and graduate teaching assistants and instructors – across the disciplines in their efforts to improve teaching and bolster the student learning experience. We hope to be able to provide readily accessible instructional resources through the website; support innovative teaching and inquiry through individualized confidential consultation, networking opportunities and grants; and develop communities of practice dedicated to excellence in teaching through peer-to-peer interactions, organizing workshops and other events.

The Center will have a part-time Faculty Director (to be hired in Winter), a full-time Professional Development Coordinator (to be hired in Spring), a part-time Instructional Designer and continued support from undergraduate and graduate interns. The Faculty Director (a three year position with two course releases per year) will work closely with the COT to articulate and communicate a vision for the Center, develop strategic plans for development and provide administrative oversight for the Center. If you or any of your colleagues might be interested, please look for the job announcement in January.

SAVE THE DATE: On Wednesday January 13, COT is hosting a Forum on Innovations in Teaching with Technology at the Stevenson Event Center from 3-5pm. Come join us to learn how your colleagues are using technology in their classrooms and to discover campus resources available to hone your teaching. Nandini Bhattacharya (Mathematics) and Jenny Lynn (Classical Studies) will discuss their recent experience integrating technology into their courses. Leslie Kern (FITC Operations Manager) and Aaron Zachmeier (Academic Affairs Instructional Designer) will discuss how the instructional design process can be facilitated, highlighting new advancements in available technologies (e.g., Learning Glass and the Media Editing studio) and how and why to access as a professional development resource.

In 2016, we will be posting monthly COT Blogs to keep you informed of new developments as they occur. We encourage you to visit us often, as we will be adding resources throughout the year. Please also provide feedback to us on our website about the types of support and resources you’d like to see offered.

Best Wishes for a Restful Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Judith A. Scott

Chair, Committee on Teaching