Programs and Services

Learning Innovation and Faculty Engagement (LIFE) offers a wide range of programming and services to foster innovative, evidence-based teaching and learning practices at the University of Miami. Core programs and services include consultations, tailored workshops, and other events available to the entire teaching community, including departments and programs. We frequently develop new programming and services responding to the needs of individual faculty, the broader academic community, and emerging research around teaching and learning. The following areas are just some of the ways we support teaching and learning across the University of Miami and we welcome requests or ideas for new programs or services.

To schedule a consultation, discuss a special project or workshop idea - contact life@miami.edu

Quick Links: Consultations / Workshops / Communities of Practice / Partnerships and Projects


Consultations

LIFE offers a variety of free, formative, confidential consultations for members of the University of Miami teaching community. These individual or group consultations may focus on a teaching topic or challenge, a course or strategic initiative, and range from one-off consultations to ongoing engagements for complex projects. We're also available to consult with departments or other academic groups, cohorts, and units.

Teaching Consultations

We design and tailor our consultations according to the needs of each individual, group or unit, therefore we often address varied and diverse topics. Consultation topics can range from fostering engagement and community in the classroom, to experimenting with a new creative project or pedagogical technique. Example topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Preparing a course syllabus: creating learning objectives, outcomes, and inclusive approaches
  • Increasing student engagement and participation:small and strategic approaches to positively impact face-to-face or blended courses
  • Developing methods to assess learning:co-designing assignments and resources, establishing feedback strategies
  • Implementing active and experiential learning: creative projects, case-studies, problem-based and discussion-based learning
  • Integrating innovative technologies and strategies: object-based learning, fabrication and makerspaces, immersive technologies, and multimodal assignments
  • Finding reusable curriculum resources: identifying open-educational resources and co-creating resources
  • Creating opportunities to gather student feedback: creating midpoint evaluations, forming student focus groups
  • Conducting research about student learning: exploring ways to engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning

To schedule a consultation - contact life@miami.edu

Consultation Format

A consultation may take place over email, phone, virtual conference, or in-person, depending on the request and questions. While each consultation will adapt to the needs of an individual or group, our consultation process systemically involves the following steps:

  • Schedule a consultation: To schedule a course consultation, contact life@miami.edu. We will connect you with an instructional designer to schedule a meeting.
  • Before the consultation: Once scheduled, we usually review preliminary resources (syllabus, assignment descriptions, or other course materials) to become familiar with the context of the request and to prepare initial research to share.
  • During the consultation: A consultation will generally start with some initial reflective questions to learn about your teaching and learning goals. We then co-design potential milestones and resources to work towards, explore and design possible solutions.
  • After the consultation: We will provide additional resources and support you during the implementation of a goal. We will also discuss ways to measure or assess any potential changes and address potential improvements for future development.

Teaching Observations

Through confidential teaching observations, we also provide guidance and formative feedback on classroom teaching. We start this process with an initial consultation to address the  goals of the observation. Members of the LIFE team will then attend a course session or review a blended course and provide a follow up consultation to inform future teaching changes.

To schedule a teaching observation - contact life@miami.edu

Workshops

LIFE provides tailored faculty development workshops on pedagogical and technological strategies for groups, academic units, schools or colleges, upon request. We offer one-off workshops or a series of workshops and often consult with attendees before we design and facilitate a session. As we aim for each workshop to model engaging, practical, instructional practices, attendees leave with a number of strategies or resources they can apply in their teaching.

Example Workshop Offerings

The following examples include previous and on-going workshop offerings for faculty and graduate students. We are also available to co-design any workshop based on consultation topics and group interests.

  • Emerging Educational Technologies for Modern Languages and Literatures Courses
  • Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences (Online and Face-to-Face)
  • Active and Flipped Learning in the Engineering Classroom
  • Narrative Techniques 'Bootcamp': Humanizing Online and Blended Learning Experiences
  • Multimodal Assessments: Strategies for Writing Related Assignments
  • Bringing Discussion and Dialogue to the Engineering Curriculum

Workshops at the College of Engineering

Each semester, representatives from LIFE, the College of Engineering (CoE) and the University of Miami Libraries develop and manage a workshop and seminar series for CoE faculty and teaching assistants (TAs) and focus on educational technologies, teaching strategies and library resources. Workshop facilitators include Renee Evans, CoE Senior Instructional Designer and James Sobczak, University of Miami STEM Librarian. To learn more about this series contact life@miami.edu.

Previous 'Mix, Mingle and Learn' workshop topics have included:

  • How to create a syllabus
  • Motivating students to learn
  • Utilizing open educational resources and open access publications
  • Enhancing learning through practice and feedback
  • Collaborating with Microsoft Teams
  • Assessing student learning
  • Developing mastery in your students
  • Makerspace on campus

Technology Partnerships

For the application of emerging technologies within teaching, we also partner with external vendors to support faculty development interests and initiatives. Past workshops include:

  • Google for Higher Education: AR/VR Workshop
  • Adobe Spark: Let's Get Creative Workshop
  • Magic Leap: Design Principles for XR and Rapid Prototyping for Magic Leap in Unity

Communities of Practice

To foster spaces for discussion, collaboration, and exchange of teaching practices towards common interests and goals, we support multiple communities of practice related to University strategic initiatives and requests from the teaching community.

Faculty Reading Group

Learning Innovation and Faculty Engagement (LIFE) facilitates a faculty reading group each semester, to provide an opportunity for educators from across disciplines and departments to discuss common teaching & learning interests. View reading group offerings below:

Faculty Learning Communities

The Faculty Learning Community (FLC) is a trans-disciplinary community of practice where faculty are actively engaged in collaboration, experimentation with technology, and development of innovative teaching practices. Members of the LIFE team design and facilitate faculty learning communities, in partnership with the Office of the Provost and Quality Enhancement Plan initiatives.

Partnerships and Projects

Some programming and services involve partnering on special projects that exemplify and characterize the kind of impactful work that we do alongside faculty members and other university partners.

Teaching and Learning Events

  • The Faculty Showcase is the University of Miami’s premiere teaching and learning event. Each year, we host an annual gathering where faculty share, network, and discover the ways in which their colleagues are enriching student experiences through innovative pedagogies and learning technologies.
  • Teaching and Learning in STEAM (TALIS) Day is a teaching and learning event that recognizes the innovative changes faculty and graduate assistants made to their courses at the College of Engineering.

Preparing New Educators

  • The Graduate School Teaching Academy is the University of Miami Graduate School’s initiative to equip a number of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows with the basic teaching skills they will need in anticipation of pursuing a faculty role with teaching responsibilities. Members of the LIFE team serve as instructors for Teaching Academy sessions on active learning, learning assessment and feedback, and educational technology.

Rapid Investigations

Our team in partnership with Academic Technologies and University partners collaborate to engage in rapid investigative 'Hot Teams' on emerging topics related to teaching needs. The results focus on sharing use cases and relevant educational research to inform teaching practices. View previous investigations here.

  • Request an investigation: If you are interested in a new technology or for implementation at the University of Miami contact life@miami.edu to evaluate and explore your request.

Inter-Institutional Collaborations

  • The Miami Teaching, Learning, and Technology Collective is an inter-institutional initiative comprising faculty developers, instructional designers, and educational technology experts from the University of Miami (represented by LIFE), Florida International University (Center for the Advancement of Teaching), and Miami Dade College (Center for Institutional and Organizational Learning). The goal of the MTLTC is to promote collaboration and information sharing among the three participating institutions.