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Here are just a few notes about upcoming events and projects at DCAL and other items of interest to teachers. Navigate the site's resources at the right. For more news, see DCAL News.

Upcoming Events

Language Share Fair, 8:am-4:00pm, Tuesday April 15th

This year's theme is experiential learning in language instruction. Our presenters will share their best teaching practices and will present on a range of topics including learning language through art, storytelling, blogging, and community service, on campus and abroad, and much more. Prof. Susanne Even, from Indiana University, will share with us her expertise and recent research in drama pedagogy.  This is an all day event, you can register for portions of the fair.  More information about specific sessions as well as registration links are here

New Faculty Luncheon: Using Course Evaluation Feedback for Improvement, 12:30pm - 2:00pm, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

So you got student feedback on the last course your taught.  What do you do with it? How can it be interpreted to help you change your course design or alter your teaching methods?  After a brief overview of the ideas presented in DCAL's resource "Interpreting Your Course Evaluations", we will discuss practical and concrete changes you can make that will improve your teaching.


Text and Data Mining: Projects, tools and student engagement, 12:30pm - 2:00pm, Monday, April 21, 2014

Join faculty members involved in a wide range of research projects using the emerging set of tools and resources called "text and data mining".  Learn how these can be incorporated into teaching through student projects, and what new tools and resources are available.


Difficult Conversations: A Guide to Mastering the Talks We Dread, 12:00pm - 2:00pm, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Difficult conversations can be part of all of our work both inside and outside of the classroom. During this session we will be explore how to develop effective oral communication skills when in challenging conversations with groups or individuals.  This will be and interactive experience that will provide you with a guide to achieving open and constructive outcomes in conversations.


Open Classrooms: Visit a colleague's course and have a lunch on DCAL

We have a diversely talented teaching faculty at Dartmouth and we can learn a great deal from each other. DCAL will get this informal network started by setting up a system for visiting colleagues' classes, not for evaluation purposes, but for sharing and learning from each other.  We'd like to open windows into our courses and classrooms by making visiting simple and inspiring.

DCAL will support class visits by

  • offering recommendations for the process of planning visits
  • funding a luncheon for pairs of instructors who have completed a visit
  • scheduling an end-of-term luncheon discussion for participants in class visits

We want this process to be simple, unencumbered by elaborate evaluation schemes and rubrics, but we have supplied some recommendations and documents on our website that might help you make the most of your visit.

Please note that you need not schedule two visits, one for each participant's course, to qualify for the luncheon reimbursement. Each class visit qualifies both participants for a lunch on DCAL. Librarians, educational technologists and other staff who support learning at Dartmouth are also eligible as visitors, but you must arrange the visit with the course instructor.

For detailed information and procedures, please see

Dartmouth Centers Forum Theme for 2013-14: Body Politic(s): Health, Wellness, and Social Responsibility

Each academic year the DCF chooses a theme upon which to base its programming. The 2013-2014 Dartmouth Centers Forum theme is Body Politic(s): Health, Wellness, and Social Responsibility. Amidst a climate of global uncertainty, there is no more critical issue than taking care of ourselves and each other. From international dialogue to local organizing, the DCF looks to engage our entire community through this issue. 

Some questions that align with our theme:

  • How does one grapple with stark disparities in international health care?
  • What is our "bystander responsibility" when we see unhealthy behavior?
  • How does our political system impact our health and wellbeing?
  • Does caring about faraway health problems even make a difference?

DCAL is a member of the DCF and will highlight events related to the theme.  The DCF has created a focus for each term that will help students, staff, and faculty explore elements of the theme. For more information on these topic, see the Current Theme page.


Flipping the Classroom

How 'Flipping' the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture.  It may not have the gee-whiz factor of high-tech innovation, but changing expectations for what happens in class may prove to be a bigger advance in teaching.  Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education website.

Worth Listening to or Reading

From American RadioWorks: "Don't Lecture Me" featuring Eric Mazur (Physics, Harvard) and Joe Redish (Physics, U Maryland) by Emily Hanford. We have known for years how ineffective even the best and most entertaining lectures are for student learning. Now you can hear that again right from the mouths of some of the best lecturers ever. Follow this link for detailed information, an mp3 link and a transcript.

From Faculty Focus (10-19-2011): "Grading Practices: Liabilities of the Points System," By Maryellen Weimer, PhD. Does grading really motivate learning or something else? Try this link.

Grants to Attend Conferences on Teaching and Learning

DCAL makes grants of up to $1000 to support attendance at conferences and programs devoted to the applicant’s professional development as a teacher. Please review the DCAL Mission statement before applying; these principles will guide the application approval process. Successful applicants will be asked to contribute to a DCAL professional development event in the year following the grant. First-time applicants are especially encouraged to apply for this opportunity to attend programs and conferences.

These funds are for travel, lodging, registration and other costs of participation. A faculty member in good standing may apply for one grant per fiscal year. To apply for a DCAL mini grant, please contact to request an application. The application must be completed and returned to DCAL for approval before the event. If you are approved for the grant, you will be required to submit original itemized receipts for reimbursement after the event has taken place.

Applications for events held during Dartmouth’s fall and winter terms should be received no later than November 1st; those for events held during spring and summer terms no later than March 16th.

Minimizing Disruptions to Your Courses Caused by Flu

Flu season has arrived.  For information about conducting classes during flu season, please visit our page on managing interruptions caused by flu.

Syllabus Template

A syllabus template is now available on the DCAL website. We hope that this template will give you some ideas and make developing a syllabus for your course a bit easier. Please modify the template as needed to make your own personal syllabus and let us know if you have comments/additions. was created by two social psychologists and professors who sought to offer a resource for faculty, staff, and students regarding stereotype threat. This website offers summaries of research on this topic and discusses unresolved issues and controversies in the research literature on the phenomenon. Included are some research-based suggestions for ameliorating negative consequences of stereotyping, particularly in academic settings.

Physics Professor Eric Mazur Switched from Lecturing to Active Learning

An excerpt from "Using the 'Beauties of Physics' to Conquer Science Illiteracy": A Conversation with Professor Eric Mazur of Harvard University (New York Times July 17).

Q. When you teach Physics 1b, do you give "fantastic performances?"

A. You know I've come to think of professional charisma as dangerous. I used to get fantastic evaluations because of charisma, not understanding. I'd have students give me high marks, but then say, "physics sucks." Today, by having the students work out the physics problems with each other, the learning gets done. I've moved from being "the sage on the stage" to "the guide on the side."

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Last Updated: 4/9/14