Teaching and Learning Collaboratory

To support active and blended learning we provide faculty with resources that define various concepts and tools to use in their classroom that promote student participation and engagement with the course content, instructor, and students.


Communication Resources

Teaching and Learning Email List

An email list for faculty interested in instructional technologies, pedagogy, and innovative tools for classroom engagement. This list has been created to support faculty who wish to try new technologies and strategies for learning, and as a place to share success and troubleshoot struggles. Subscribers will be notified about any teaching and learning workshops/events on campus and will have the opportunity to share questions and best practices through this forum. Be sure to join this community and join an initiative that strives for active student participation and learning and nurtures the passion for innovation.

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Learning Newsflash

Listed below are the Learning Newsflash articles that contain educational information and/or quick tips on innovative strategies to enrich knowledge.









Workshops are designed for the faculty, staff, and graduate students of Rensselaer. 

Workshop Date and Time Location Registration Link
Entering your Course Syllabus in Digital Measures Wednesday January 16th

from 11 – 12pm

Beta Classroom, 1st Floor Folsom Library Register

by Monday, January 14th

Student Learning Outcomes Wednesday, January 23rd

from 2 – 3pm

Beta Classroom, 1st Floor Folsom Library Register

by Friday, January 18th



Beta Classroom

The Beta Classroom is located on the First Floor of the Folsom Library. The Beta Classroom is a high technology classroom for interactive learning, which can accommodate about 25 participants. The goal of the classroom is for faculty to pilot new or interactive technologies and pedagogical approaches that may be appropriate for rolling out in a broad range of classrooms. 

Technology Preview Session

Check out our workshop schedule to see if a Beta Classroom Preview Workshop is running. Be sure to click the red plus sign to the left of the Current Workshop title to expand the listing.

If the workshop is not available or does not fit your schedule, contact Maureen Fodera to schedule a preview session of the technology. 

Scheduling the Beta Classroom

Send an email to Kim Ellenwood with a brief summary on your learning concept using the various technologies available in the room. Define which technologies you would like to work with and explain how you will be testing/using the technology with your content to create engagement for the students and improve their learning. 

Once your proposed concept is approved for testing in the Beta Classroom, you will work with Maureen Fodera to schedule your session(s).

After testing, you will be asked to complete a survey that collects your observations and conclusions on using the technology to improve learning. The data will be used to assist in the justification for pushing out some of the technologies into other classrooms on campus.


Tools to Support Learning

RPI Supported Tools
Blackboard Learn 

Blackboard Learn is the Learning Management System (LMS) supported by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The platform contains multiple features, such as organization for your course documents, such as syllabus and lecture notes. Blackboard Learn also allows instructors to set up spaces for students to upload assignments, which can be run by the Safe Assign plagiarism checker if desired. Other features include online tests, discussion boards, and blogs. 

Contact: rpilms-support@rpi.edu  

Adobe Connect

Adobe Connect is a web conferencing software service that offers immersive online meeting experiences for collaboration, virtual classrooms and webinars.  All meeting rooms are organized into 'pods', with each one performing a specific role, which include: chat, whiteboard, notes, and slideshow. 

Contact: connect_admin@rpi.edu 


An iClicker is a radio frequency device that allows students to anonymously respond to questions the instructor poses in class. The instructor can create polls or low-stakes testing in-class to have instant feedback about the lesson material. 

Rensselaer Supporting Documents for Installation:

Student PowerPoint slides with registration notes to share in class.

Contact: Maureen Fodera (foderm@rpi.edu)


Submitty is an open source programming assignment submission system from the Rensselaer Center for Open Source Software (RCOS), launched by the Department of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It supports secure testing of many languages, including Python, C/C++, Java, and anything available on GNU/Linux, as well as advanced grading tools like memory debuggers. Other features include multiple submissions for students, flexible late day policies, hidden tests, an interface for instructor manual grading, and support for multiple instructors. 

Contact: Prof. Barbara Cutler (cutleb@rpi.edu)


Box is a cloud content management and file sharing service. Box's main features include online storage, secure file sharing, syncing with desktop, file editing, notes application and file preview. Box supports granular permissions, which allow the user to permit others to have specific permissions, such as "view only" or "edit", over files hosted on their account. Additional features include version history, commenting, and search options. Box supports usage via a web browser on a desktop computer, or the Box Mobile App on mobile devices, available for Android and iOS.


The platform includes thousands of assets that you can access anytime from any device! Lifelong learning is a fundamental component of our mission at Rensselaer. New technologies and business practices require skill development and innovation. Whether you are interested in a short vignette for a specific job related need, or a comprehensive course designed to advance your career, the Professional Learning Center for Faculty, Staff and Students contains solutions. Explore the possibilities and login to your personalized account via the Skillport link above using your RCS login information.

Contact: Will Fahey (faheyw@rpi.edu)

Professional Video Recording

The division of Production & Video Services of RPI MultiMedia Services is a full service video and multimedia production facility, dedicated to professionally producing and delivering content for the Rensselaer's instructional, event and Institute advancement needs. Its services are provided at no charge for course listed on the SIS Class Hour Schedule, but their equipment and services are also available (on a fee basis) for non-course, on-campus events.  

Contact: pvs@rpi.edu 


Mediasite is a presentation tool that allows instructors to make live digital recordings of lectures or presentations. Students can view the presentation over the internet in real-time and/or can access the presentation for viewing at a later date. 

Contact: mediasite_admin@rpi.edu 


Additional Tools

Gradescope is an online grading tool that allows teachers to provide feedback to students on their tests and assignments. It provides detailed feedback on each section of the submission to students, and  instructors can access detailed assignment and question analytics. Gradescope is a free service. 


Voicethread is a collaborative, multimedia, cloud-based slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments using voice, text, audio file, or video. Voicethread's services incur a cost per instructor with additional per-student fees for classes of over 50 students.


Slack is a cloud-based platform of team collaboration tools and services. Features include teams, which groups to join through a specific URL sent by a team admin or owner, and channels, which are specific chat threads that can be public and open to all members of a group, or can be private an include only a subset of members. The platform can be accessed via a web browser on a computer, or via mobile app available on Android and iOS. Slack is a free service, with additional features available for a fee. 


YouTube is a video sharing platform that allows unregistered users to view all of its content, but users to log in with their Google account to upload, rate, share, comment on videos, make playlists and subscribe to other users. YouTube hosts user uploaded videos in a variety of topics, including education, science, entertainment, lifestyle, beauty, travel, fashion, and more. The plaftorm can be accessed via a web browser on a computer, or via mobile app available on Android and iOS. YouTube is a free service, with the option to pay a fee for the YouTube Red service, which removes advertisements and allows users to access restricted content.

Desmos Graphing Calculator

Desmos is a mobile application and browser-based graphing calculator. In addition to graphing both equations and inequalities, its features include: lists, plots, regressions, graph restriction, simultaneous graphing, piecewise function graphing, polar function graphing, and other features commonly found in programmable calculators. Desmos is a free service accessible via its website, and application available in Android and iOS

Google Drive

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service that can be accessed with a Google account (which can be associated with an email of any domain, for example: Gmail or an RPI email address). Google Drive supports desktop via web and programs for Windows and MacOS, as well as mobile platforms, with apps for Android and iOS. It also includes a collaborative editing office suite comprised of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, which allow multiple users to open and edit files of the following categories in real time: documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and more. Google Drive is free to use up to 15 GB of storage, though additional storage can be purchased.


Skype is an application that provides online video and audio chat services in addition to instant messaging capabilities. Skype supports a Google Chrome plug-in, programs for Windows and Mac, and mobile applications for both Android and iOS. Users may transmit both text and video messages and may exchange digital documents such as images, text, and video. Skype also supports video conference calls. The service is free, but special features may incur a cost. 


SurveyMonkey is a web-based platform that provides customizable online surveys, as well as a suite of paid back-end programs that include data analysis, sample selection, bias elimination, and data representation tools. Surveys can be created wither using a computer with a web browser or on a mobile device with the SurveyMonkey app available for Android and iOS. However, surveys can be responded via web browser on any device. SurveyMonkey can be used for free by a single user receiving 100 or less responses per survey, but further features can be accessed at a cost. 

Microsoft Translator

Microsoft Translator translates conversations so everyone can join in. There is also a feature to download the transcript once the conversation or course content has been shared.


Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform, where anyone can create multiple-choice quizzes that a whole class can access and interact in real time by using their own electronic devices. Kahoot! supports use via a web browser on Windows or Mac computers, or via a mobile app on Android and iOS smartphones. Kahoot! Is a free service. 

Wheel Decide

Wheel Decide is a website that lets users provide a set of options to create a “wheel”, which can then be “spun” to output a random choice of the given options. The tool is available to be used by anyone at the website, and users that log can save wheels to their profile for later use. It is a free service and can supports use from any computer with a web browser.  


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2018 Teaching and Learning Collaboratory Board

The group of people comprising the TLC is the Rensselaer teaching community, led by a board of faculty advisors. The goals of the TLC board are:

  • To cultivate an Institute-wide culture of pedagogical excellence in the classroom and to encourage innovations in teaching.
  • To host workshops where teaching best practices are disseminated, new technologi es are introduced, and broader discussions around pedagogy take place.
  • To encourage and create teams of faculty to compete for external funding for research into pedagogical innovations.
  • To identify and support promising pedagogical innovation seed projects.

The TLC board is comprised of Rensselaer faculty members committed to pedagogical innovation. Members of the board serve staggered 3-year terms. The board’s current membership includes:


Call for Proposals

The Office of Undergraduate Education is pleased to announce the third annual call for proposals supporting pedagogical innovation from the Rensselaer Teaching and Learning Collaboratory (TLC). 

The TLC invites proposals from full time tenure track faculty members or lecturers/Professors of Practice for piloting and assessing pedagogical innovations, especially those integrating interactive technologies into the classroom.  We wish to fund seed projects that will serve as the foundation for external grant applications.  Project proposals should entail the implementation of new interactive approaches, including the use of the Beta Classroom, gaming, remote laboratories, or other innovative methods. Proposals that include some use of the Beta Classroom will be given first consideration.

Proposals are due March 14, 2018 (pdf to schadl@rpi.edu)
Winners will be announced May 1, 2018 and funding will commence July 1, 2018.

For futher information on the call and details for applying, click TLC 2018 Proposal Information.

Take a look at previous winners: