Volume 2, Issue 3


Amarillo College - CTL (Center for Teaching and Learning)

Center for Teaching and Learning


The Savvy Scholar - An Amarillo College Faculty Newsletters. Written by The Center for Teaching and Learning.

News / Tips for Teaching and Learning

Content tailored for Amarillo College faculty which explores, promotes, and supports excellence in teaching, with diverse technologies.

Volume 2, Issue 3


A Thankful November

WOW - can you believe it is already November!!! Time sure seems to fly by. The last few years have been difficult, but we can be thankful for the lessons we have learned and how we have grown as individuals, as faculty, and as an institution. 

Highlights in this issue:

  1. New Blackboard Support and Services Manager - Get to know a little bit more about Ariana! 
  2. Spring 2022 Cohorts available - Registration is now available for Spring cohorts. Find out more about what we are offering. 
  3. Rank and Tenure course #4 - The final course in the Rank and Tenure series is available for registration. Learn more about what this course will provide. 
  4. ACES 2022 - ACES 2022 will be on 1/12/2022 - so save the date now. Registration is open - see more below. 
  5. Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation - Changes are starting with the way we view and use Blackboard. Our transition to Ultra begins January 2022 - see more below. 
  6. Group Collaboration vs. Group Work - We all want our students to work together, but do they really learn anything. Find out below how to make collaborative work more engaging and a learning opportunity for ALL students.  

There are a lot of changes coming to Blackboard and new cohorts to consider. Stay tuned to this monthly newsletter and the CTL website for more information. 

Your CTL Team


Blackboard Support and Services Manager - Ariana Tiroff

Ariana Tiroff is eager to work alongside instructors and students to maximize their use of Blackboard through effective teaching techniques and open channels of communication. Ariana will use her background in computer information systems to implement the newest Blackboard tools and resources to improve workflow and productivity. Ariana holds a bachelor's degree in Business Management from West Texas A&M University and is currently finishing an associate's degree in Computer Information Systems from Amarillo College. 

Ariana can be reached at ctlhelp@actx.edu or 806-371-5932.

Welcome to the CTL!!!


Spring 2022 Cohorts - Now Available

Registration is now open for the Spring 2022 cohorts. We have several new cohort offerings - Small Teaching Online, Universal Design, and Checking for Understanding with great information about writing test questions. We are also offering Cafe Google and Student Research - both back by popular demand!

When registering for the cohorts, please, know the dates and times will only appear on the specific cohort information webpages. The dates and times will not be located in WebAdviser. Also, as the first day of the cohort approaches, you will be receiving calendar invites from the lead Instructional Designer. Remember you must attend all of the sessions and complete a deliverable as required by the individual cohorts. If you have to miss a session, please work with your instructional designer. If you have any questions email, Micheala Dodson.   



Rank and Tenure #4 - Alignment: Pedagogy to Classroom Assessment 

The fourth class in our Rank and Tenure series will begin in January 2022. Do you want to get the best out of your students and their understanding of your content area? There is an urgent need to lift students out of cycles of underachievement. For better or for worse, assessment is one of the tools to gauge our learners’ understanding, so that you can better progress their learning. In this course, we will focus on how to align our ideology of teaching to engagement strategies and techniques, and the assessments used to measure understanding. You’ll discover how you can create a classroom culture that allows difficult ideas to surface, revealing student misconceptions and misunderstandings allowing you to tailor your teaching to your student’s needs. You will also learn the key principles of creating and evaluating valid assessments for learning. Finally, we will explore ways to analyze the assessment data to further improve and enhance our teaching.  

For more information and to register, click below. 


The Rank and Tenure series will begin again in August 2022. 


ACES 2022 - Registration is now open!

Since November snuck up on us so quickly January will do the same thing! Remember to save the date for ACES 2022 occurring 1/12/2022. We have a great lineup of faculty speakers and LOTS of awesome giveaways. Stay tuned to the newsletter and emails from committee members for more information about the keynote speaker, breakout sessions, and volunteer opportunities. Click below for more information. Remember to scroll to the bottom of the page for registration information. 



Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation

Starting in January 2022 the Blackboard Institution page (the page you land on when you log into Blackboard) will change. There are many benefits to these changes, including: 

  • An activity stream to quickly access the most important information consolidated from all your courses 
  • The ability to receive text message notifications from your activity stream. 
  • Explore what needs grading across all of your courses. 
  • View all your messages for all your courses on one page and create a message. 

CTL will have regular updates in the newsletter about our move to Blackboard Learn Ultra in the coming months. We will also have a breakout session about the new Base Navigation page and a preview of the Ultra course view (coming in August 2022).

Watch for several special editions of the Savvy Scholar coming throughout 2022 with more information about using Blackboard Ultra!!



Why Collaboration is More Powerful than Group Work

The CTL Corner blog has an updated post about collaboration in the classroom. As an introduction to the topic, the CTL Homepage has a brief infographic describing the difference between the two. When students see "group assignment" or "group project" do they groan with a lack of enthusiasm? Do you??? Traditionally group projects have been the bain of faculty and students' existence. However, teamwork and collaboration are two examples of skills all employers are looking for in their employees. Collaborative assignments are a great way for students to practice those skills.
Read Why Collaboration is More Powerful than Group Work for more information and strategies for implementing in your course.       


Save the Date


Blackboard ER
8am - 5pm
Ware 205V or Zoom

Zoom link located in Blackboard


ACES 2022
Location: TBA
See ACES webpage for more information

Registration is now open see WebAdvisor


Spring 2022 Cohort Preview - click on the links below to learn more...

Check for Understanding

Check for Understanding

Universal Design for Learning

Equitable Design-Universal Design for Learning

Using REBT

Using REBT to Effectively Cope Inside and Outside the Classroom

Student Research

Student Research is Easier Than You Think

Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)

Center for Teaching and Learning (WARE) Room 205
Web Page: www.actx.edu/ctl | Email: ctl@actx.edu
Phone:  806-371-5920 

CTL Purpose Statement: 
The Center for Teaching and Learning is dedicated to supporting/advancing teaching and learning by working collaboratively with faculty, staff, administrators, and students to provide quality services, resources, and programs to improve the overall Amarillo College experience.



Contact Us

Washington Street Campus, Ware Student Commons, Suite 205
2201 S. Washington St
Amarillo, TX 79109

Student Help/Underground Contact Information:

Phone: (806) 371-5429

Email: ctlstudenthelp@actx.edu

Please report problems with this site or content errors to Ariana Tiroff .