Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Workshops by Request

Workshop by RequestWorkshops By Request are designed to provide Cal Poly instructors with opportunities to engage with high-priority teaching and learning-related topics. Our workshops are research-informed sessions that provide guidance on putting concepts into practice to make real differences in instructional effectiveness and student learning. They are offered at the CTLT teaching lab and can also be presented on site for faculty cohorts in programs and colleges on dates and times most convenient for those interested.

The topics listed below are based on recurring areas of interest for university faculty and staff. We will add additional topics over time, including those in response to faculty and staff requests. If there is a topic of interest not listed below, please contact the CTLT. We’re happy to generate sessions and instructional materials tailored to faculty needs.

For each of the topics below, there may be a range of options. Some topics can be segmented into 30-minute micro-sessions, or effectively addressed in a one-hour seminar. Other topics are better suited for a 2-3 hour hands-on workshop or workshop series. When discussing your interest in a Workshop By Request, we can explore the most appropriate session type. Please call (756-7002) or email the CTLT to request a workshop.

Session Formats


30-min (+/-) session focused on a tightly defined, specific “how to” topic


1-hour topic overview/survey


2-3 hours that includes opportunities for hands-on engagement and supports specific participant outcomes and takeaways


3 or more workshops designed for extended engagement with a cohort for deeper learning and more ambitious outcomes and takeaways

Course Design Principles



Fostering A “Growth Mindset” Among Your Students

Emerging research has found that the core beliefs individuals hold about their capacity to grow affect their attitudes and actions with direct consequences for learning. Faculty who learn to foster a “growth mindset” (Dweck, 2006) among students can enhance students’ motivation to learn, their receptiveness to feedback, and their willingness to tackle challenges. This workshop will show you how to foster a growth mindset in your classes and in your course materials.

Seminar, Workshop

Engaging The Student Brain

Researchers have learned a lot in recent years about how the human brain works and linked that knowledge to specific approaches to enhance learning (Ambrose, et al., 2010). This workshop/series will review these principles and tackle specific instructional methods that reflect effective use of the principles to enhance student learning.

Seminar, Workshop, Series

The Promising Course Syllabus

A course syllabus can be much more than an official document listing policies, procedures, and assignments. Beyond covering the nuts and bolts of a class, a syllabus can dynamically introduce a course, invite students to learn, and serve as a central reference and planning guide throughout the term. This workshop will consider the research on effective syllabi – what Ken Bain terms the “promising syllabus” (What the Best College Teachers Do, Harvard UP, 2004) – and encourage faculty to review their syllabi drafts from the perspective of students, who want to learn more about a course and the instructor’s philosophy of teaching. Utilizing a workshop model, we will draft and revise course syllabi that best reflect our teaching philosophies and align our learning goals with the needs of our students.

Seminar, Workshop

Writing Effective Learning Objectives

Clear learning objectives help guide students through your course materials. They provide a rationale for what is studied in a course,  the learning tasks assigned in a course and the ways that learning is measured in a course. This workshop will lead you through the process of articulating your course’s learning objectives, the assessments of those objectives, and the instructional strategies to achieve those objectives in a way that coincides with the content and direction of the course.  These workshop goals can be reached through reflecting on and revising a current course or beginning the stages of a new course design. Come prepared to engage with literature supporting the importance of well-crafted learning objectives, reflect on past course design, and to compose exemplary learning objectives for your courses.

Seminar, Workshop

Instructional Practices



Establishing and Enhancing Your Class Culture: Mastering Immediacy Cues

An accumulating amount of research has identified how the “immediacy” cues that faculty display shape students’ perceptions, attitudes, and motivation. Understanding what these cues are and how to use them effectively can enhance connections to students and foster a positive class culture. While verbal and non-verbal cues that foster affiliation are well known and strongly linked to improved connections between instructors and students, recent research has identified visual and linguistic immediacy cues apparent in online communications that are also powerful tools that enhance positive relationships in education. You will learn what these are and how to use them effectively to enhance your class culture.

Workshop, Series

Dealing with Issues of Grammar and Correctness in Student Writing

Students must use the conventions of Standards of Written English (SWE) in order to participate and communicate effectively in their studies and professional work. However, good writing and communication is more than “mistake-free” work. In fact, research on student error (e.g. Shaughnessy; Bartholomae) has shown how surface errors increase when students are pushed intellectually. For instructors who want to challenge students while supporting conventional SWE, this poses challenges. This workshop will offer instructors strategies for dealing with student error without abandoning deeper learning objectives. Participants will learn how to identify patterns of error for students, offer focused corrections, and provide models of academic prose that model SWE.

Workshop, Series

The High Value of Low Stakes Writing: Utilizing Informal, Exploratory, Writing-to-Learn Strategies

Writing is a tool for both learning and demonstrating learning. Effective low-stakes writing assignments can quickly engage students, require minimal feedback from instructors, and are often strong indicators of student learning. This workshop will provide instructors with lots of samples and strategies for using informal, exploratory writing-to-learn strategies in their courses.

Micro-session, Seminar, Workshop, Series

Using Digital Tools to Foster Student Writing

Many effective and proven pedagogies at the core of the writing process– journaling, drafting, conferencing, revising, and publishing – can be enhanced and extended through the use of digital tools. This workshop will provide participants with an array of easy-to-use and easy-to-access digital tools that support effective writing instruction and communication across the disciplines. Featured digital tools include: collaborative word processing, screencasting, phonecasting, blogging and vlogging, social bookmarking and online annotation.

Micro-session, Seminar, Workshop, Series

Managing the Paper Load

Many instructors want to assign more writing in their courses, but fear the consequences. This workshop will provide participants with strategies for how to manage the paper load that comes with increased writing. Topics include: developing rubrics, using effective peer review, avoiding unnecessary commenting, and selecting efficient, timely and varied feedback strategies.

Micro-session, Seminar, Workshop

Crafting Powerful Writing Assignments to Advance Student Learning

Well-designed writing assignments provide a strong impetus for student learning and are powerful tools for finding out what students know, think, and believe on a given subject. This workshop supplies participants with resources and models for designing and sequencing engaging writing assignments that support and sustain student learning. Workshop sessions will cover the components of a good writing assignment – a focused topic with a rich inquiry question, a clear purpose, a targeted audience, an explicit format, and well-defined assessment criteria – along with techniques and strategies for sequencing and segmenting writing assignments.

Workshop, Series

Assessment and Feedback: Students



Beyond the Grade: Best Practices in Responding to Student Writing

Responding to student writing is much more than giving a grade. Research on the teaching of writing strongly shows the benefits of providing timely and actionable feedback on student writing. This workshop will provide participants with effective and efficient strategies for commenting on student written work and for aligning feedback on student writing to course learning goals and objectives.

Seminar, Workshop, Series

The Power of One: Using Individual Conferences to Support Student Success

Research in the learning sciences and education strongly documents how working with students one-on-one greatly fosters student engagement and motivation, especially when such interactions are guided rather than prescriptive. This workshop will review proven strategies that allow you to make effective use of office hours, tutorial sessions, and paper conferences. 

Seminar, Workshop

Assessment and Feedback: Instructors



Making Sense of Student Course Evaluations

Few topics generate more angst among college teachers than student evaluations of teaching. But this is potentially valuable data that deserves analysis to generate more accurate, useful findings. You will get guidance on how to conduct systematic data analyses of student feedback to extract insights and to make better informed decisions about how to strengthen your teaching effectiveness.


Foundations for Professional Growth



Developing a Teaching Development Plan

Excellent teachers are not born, they are made. Acceptably effective novices become highly effective experts not by mere persistence but by following a well-designed roadmap that guides their journey. A Teaching Development Plan requires accurately assessing current capabilities, determining needed future skills, and identifying resources and opportunities to pursue as you progress on your path. This workshop/series will give you a head start on developing your personal roadmap toward teaching excellence. 

Workshop, Series

Reflexive Teaching Practices for Personal and Professional Growth

Reflective teaching is an inquiry approach that emphasizes an ethic of care, a constructivist approach to teaching, and creative problem solving (Henderson, 2001). This workshop is designed to examine reflexive tools and practices to help faculty engage in their teaching practices. Reflection can be broad, over the course of a year or career, or focused, examining a particular quarter, course, or assignment. Employing reflexive practices helps us to understand the dynamic just encountered and plan for the future.  Through examining current literature on reflection and reflexive practices in teaching along with trying out different methods for personal reflection such as journaling, individual lecture/assignment connection, bracketing techniques to explore epistemology, midterm chats, inviting colleagues to exchange classroom observations, this workshop will also begin the process of thinking deeply about our positions in education and how we change and grow as educators.

Workshop,  Series


Related Content

CTLT Newsletter

image of news papers

What is happening in the CTLT

Current & Archive

New Faculty

The CTLT has much to offer new faculty. Come and see us.

Welcome new faculty


Diversity & Inclusivity in the Classroom.

More about inclusivity


image of a person writing

​Writing across the curriculum.

Writing in the classroom


Calendar & Events

View our calendar