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Teaching Excellence Program

Improving Student Success through Transparent Teaching

Date: 12:40pm - 1:40pm PST March 1, 2017 Location: JR Howard Hall 102

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JR Howard Hall 102

This hands-on workshop will be facilitated by TEP’s guest speaker, Janet Steverson (Dean for Diversity and Inclusion). Please attend and encourage your colleagues to do so as well!

Most of us do our best to offer opportunities for all students to succeed in our classrooms. And most of us do our best to design assignments that will help all students apply and expand their understanding of what we teach them. But what if we unintentionally are making our assignments more accessible to some students than to others? What can be done to create an environment where all students start off with similar opportunities for success?

Research suggests that students are more successful when faculty are transparent with regard to their class activities and assignments. The research also demonstrates that first generation students and students from lower socioeconomic circumstances show a marked improvement in class success when a faculty member employs transparent teaching. But what does it mean to teach “transparently”?  

Being transparent means moving the knowledge and understanding of the rationale for one’s class activities and assignments from the faculty member to the students. Being transparent means better explaining the assignment’s purpose (why do this assignment?), the task (how should this assignment be done?), and the criteria for evaluation (what does excellent work look like?). In this workshop we will discuss and practice using one mechanism for making assignments more transparent. 

Janet Steverson will launch next Wednesday’s workshop with a brief overview of transparent teaching, but the following tools will help you to employ transparent teaching techniques:

Please review the brief overview and the PPT slides in advance of the workshop. This will set the foundation for the workshop itself. It also will be helpful if you bring (or at least think about in advance) an assignment from one of your classes to use during the hands-on part of the workshop. And for additional reading on transparent assignments, Janet recommends, Transparent Assignments Promote Equitable Opportunities for Student Success by Mary-Ann Winkelmes.

Although an RSVP is not required, a rough​ headcount is always appreciated. If you plan to attend, please send a quick email to or RSVP below. Please feel free to bring your own lunch. Coffee, tea, and cookies will be provided. 


Registration for this event is now closed.