UAA Teaching Effectiveness Workshop for Instructors:
Learning and Using Understanding by Design (UbD)

Date and Time: April 24, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
49th Annual UAA Conference (Los Angeles, CA)
Luskin Conference Center


Workshop Coordinator:

Dr. José W. Meléndez, University of Oregon, Eugene

Barbara Ferman, Ph.D.             Temple University, Philadelphia
April Jackson, Ph.D.                  Florida State University, Tallahassee
José W. Meléndez, Ph.D.          University of Oregon, Eugene

This pre-conference workshop is specifically designed for instructors at any stage of their careers who are seeking theory and practice-based strategies to inform and/or improve their teaching. Participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, discuss challenges, and share strategies based on their own teaching experiences. This workshop is geared towards helping instructors strengthen their theory and practice-based teaching.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe and differentiate between key concepts and theories of backwards design
  • Explain the reasoning behind strategies to establish a constructive learning environment
  • Identify theory based approaches to connecting classroom content to practice
  • Name elements of a hidden curriculum and define how it relates to learning objectives and evaluations

The increasing focus on teaching effectiveness has placed greater expectations on professors to not only be creative about how they teach, but also to be able to articulate the rationale behind their teaching. There is an integral relationship between pedagogy/teaching and how students learn. When we teach, we are constantly reacting to how learners are responding to content and how it is presented. This means instructors are constantly negotiating between their intended instruction and the actual process that unfolds with students. Thus, it is essential to ensure that little is left to chance in the classroom. As such, the more professors think ahead about how they design their learning interactions, the more likely these specific learning interactions will take place.

This workshop will focus on helping instructors connect teaching practices to theory. Grounding our teaching practices in theory can help us further understand what is working and what needs adjusting. One such planning framework that connects practice to theory is Understanding by Design (UbD). UbD is a “backwards” design process that helps instructors hone in on what they want their students to learn and then create a road map to achieve those goals. The term “backwards” is used because it focuses on what we want our students to learn by the end of the semester and works backwards to outline how to do so. Although highly regarded in education and learning sciences fields, this framework is not widely known by faculty teaching in other fields in higher education. This half-day professional development workshop will introduce professors to the backwards design process to help them plan their courses more effectively, with a focus on learning objective as the driving force behind what instructors choose to do in their classrooms. Instructors will also be introduced to related instructional foci such as: Deconstructing and reconstructing a student-centric class syllabus, strategies to establish a constructive learning environment, and approaches to connecting classroom content to practice. Lastly, professors will review the role of rubrics both as guidelines for themselves and their students to evaluate student work and the course.

Participants are asked to bring in sample syllabi to both share and to work on. This professional development workshop will involve an initial overview of the educational and learning theories and concepts, followed by sharing and reviewing of sample syllabi for key components and opportunities for improvement. Small group break out sessions will provide opportunities for faculty to apply the concepts and materials from the workshop to their own syllabi. The workshop will end with a model activity professors can use in their courses for reviewing the hidden curriculum inherent in all teaching that can help students more effectively evaluate courses.

Application & Review Decision Deadlines

Potential participants must complete an application form.

Important: UAA will offer two Teaching Effectiveness workshops, which will run parallel to one another. You can apply to one or both. If you apply to both, you will be prompted during the application process to rank the workshops in the order of preference. Please note that we received three times as many applicants as we admitted last year. Accordingly, the more detailed your answers are the better chance you have at being admitted.

Click to Submit Workshop Application

  • Application Deadline Extension: Sunday, December 9, 2018
    (Late applicants will not be considered)
  • Selected participants will be notified by: January 7, 2019



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