Reading Circles


Reading Circles are small, self-regulated groups of faculty who meet to discuss a common book. Each group is composed of participants from several different disciplines and at varied stages of their careers. These synchronous meetings are designed to provide colleagues with an opportunity to share ideas about teaching and learning in an informal setting with peers from across the University. Circles are offered each Fall and Spring. Registration is announced via the OFE Newsletter. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Spring 2022 Reading Circles

Our Spring 2022 Reading Circle selections are:

Book Cover of Advancing Online TeachingAdvancing Online Teaching: Creating Equity-Based Digital Learning Environments by Kevin Kelly and Todd D. Zakrajsek (Stylus, 2020, 264 pages): The goal of teaching online is fundamentally the same as teaching face-to-face: facilitating the learning of all students to the greatest extent possible. This book differs from other books on online teaching in that, in the process of offering guidance on course design and planning, developing outcomes and appropriate engaging activities, managing the workload and assessment, the authors pay explicit attention throughout to the distinct and diverse needs of students and offer effective strategies to accommodate them in a comprehensive and inclusive way by using the principles of Universal Design for Learning.

By following those principles from the outset when planning a course, all students will benefit, and most particularly those whom the research shows have the greatest achievement gaps when taking online courses — males, first generation and low income students, those from underrepresented minority groups, the academically underprepared, students with disabilities, and those with limited online access or lacking readiness for online learning.

Beyond good planning and design, Kelly and Zakrajsek offer ideas for creating inclusive course environments and activities, such as using culturally appropriate content and making it accessible in multiple formats. They also share methods to foster faculty-learner interaction and increase personal connections with students, and among students, through group activities or learning communities, which are so critical to motivation and success.

Faculty new to online teaching as well as more experienced readers will find a wealth of practical guidance on developing and honing both fully online and blended courses and, as importantly, a wealth of proven ideas to help the new generation of students with diverse needs to succeed.
 
Book Cover of Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead)Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) Edited by Susan D. Blum, with a foreword by Alfie Kohn (West Virginia University Press, 2020, 272 pages): The moment is right for critical reflection on what has been assumed to be a core part of schooling. In Ungrading, fifteen educators write about their diverse experiences going gradeless. Some contributors are new to the practice and some have been engaging in it for decades. Some are in humanities and social sciences, some in STEM fields. Some are in higher education, but some are the K–12 pioneers who led the way. Based on rigorous and replicated research, this is the first book to show why and how faculty who wish to focus on learning, rather than sorting or judging, might proceed. It includes honest reflection on what makes ungrading challenging, and testimonials about what makes it transformative.
 
 

“Reading Circles give me time to reflect on teaching. Too often I just fly from class to class without being able to pause. Reading the book and talking to others about it builds those pauses and moments to reflect into my schedule.” - NC State Faculty Member

How do I participate?

Our Spring 2022 Reading Circles will be fully online and synchronous, with meetings held in Zoom. All meeting dates and times have been preset by OFE based on what timeslots have been most popular in the past; you just need to sign up for the schedule that best suits you:

  • Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m.: Feb. 15, Mar. 1, Mar. 22
  • Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m.: Feb. 15, Mar. 8, Mar. 29
  • Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m.: Feb. 15, Mar. 8, Mar. 29
  • Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m.: Feb. 15, Mar. 1, Mar. 22
  • Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m.: Feb. 16, Mar. 2, Mar. 23
  • Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m.: Feb. 16, Mar. 9, Mar. 30
  • Thursdays, 9:00 a.m.: Feb. 17, Mar. 10, Mar. 31
  • Thursdays, 10:00 a.m.: Feb. 17, Mar. 3, Mar. 24
  • Thursdays, 2:00 p.m.: Feb. 17, Mar. 3, Mar. 24
  • Thursdays, 3:00 p.m.: Feb. 17, Mar. 10, Mar. 31

You will be matched with a Reading Circle and receive Google Calendar invitations to your Circle’s three Zoom meetings. You will need an internet-capable device that has at least a microphone, and ideally has a camera (smartphone, tablet, laptop) in order to attend virtual, synchronous sessions via Zoom.

If you have further questions, please contact us at faculty-excellence@ncsu.edu.

How do I get my book?

Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) is available as a paper book (provided at no cost by OFE) or an ebook (via NC State University Libraries).

Advancing Online Teaching Creating Equity-Based Digital Learning Environments Kevin Kelly and Todd D. Zakrajsek is available as a paper book (provided at no cost by OFE).

If you choose a paper book for either selection, please provide your mailing address when filling out the registration form. OFE will mail your book to any address, but books mailed to an NC State Campus Box will likely arrive quicker.

What is expected of participants?

All registered participants agree to

  1. attend reading circle meetings;
  2. contribute to discussions;
  3. take a turn leading their reading circle in a form of shared leadership; and
  4. complete an evaluation of the experience.

All virtual participants also agree to using an internet-capable device that has at least a microphone, and ideally has a camera (smartphone, tablet, laptop) in order to attend virtual sessions via Zoom.

Can I recommend a book for future Reading Circles?

Yes, please send us an email at faculty-excellence@ncsu.edu.