Reflections on Pedagogy

A selection of researched articles written by the EPIC team, many of which were published in our monthly newsletter. Visit our newsletter archive to view a complete list of articles and to sign up for future updates

Remote Learning

Creative Online Units in Language Instruction—December 2021

A recap of a presentation by Dr. Beyza Lorenz on how interactive, collaborative assignments, and activities in synchronous online courses can increase student engagement and support the learning process. Part of the EPIC-Lang Tips, Tricks and Treats Talk Series. 

Keywords: second language pedagogy, active learning

Preparing for Post-Pandemic Teaching: Seven Online Classroom Strategies to Keep -January 2022

Strategies for increasing student engagement in remote learning environments.  

Keywordsactive learning

Engagement Tips for TAs – October 2020

Tips for embracing Zoom awkwardness and being deliberate about building community in online learning.  

KeywordsZoom; community building; digital learning tools

Things to Carry with Us from Remote Instruction back into In-Person Teaching – Feb. 2021

Reflections on the 1-year mark of online teaching in the pandemic.

KeywordsRemote teaching; transition back to in-person teaching; pandemic

Nonverbal Feedback in the Zoom Classroom – March 2021

Tips for using Zoom chat, polling, and other forms of nonverbal student engagement.  

KeywordsZoom; chat feature; polling; nonverbal engagement

Accessibility Beyond Remote Teaching – May 2021

What we learned about accessibility during the pandemic and how to carry that back into the in-person classroom + an interview with Carolanne Link.

KeywordsAccessibility; DCP; Carolanne Link; pandemic; remote teaching; in-person teaching transition

UDL (Universal Design for Learning)

A Brief History of Universal Design for Learning – Nov. 2021

Background information on how Universal Design,  an architectural and design concept which aimed to increase accessibility, was applied to pedagogy to benefit students by centering multimodality and accessibility.

UDL in a Large Class: The Beatles – Nov. 2021

An interview with Prof. Elizabeth Randell Upton, who foregrounds UDL in her musicology class on The Beatles.

Keywords: remote learning, testing, accommodations, cheating, ADHD

Applying UDL to Second Language Teaching – Nov. 2021

A conversation with Liz Carter, a visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies at Western Washington University, about her publication, “What Does the Post-secondary Mandarin Foreign Language Inclusive Classroom Look Like? The State of the Art and Some Practical Suggestions.”

Keywords: second language pedagogy, non-Roman script, jigsaw activities

Mental Health

Student Evaluations, Emotional Labor, and Self-Care – Dec. 2021

Quick tips to exercise self-care when seeking to reflect over student evaluations.

KeywordsStudent feedback, COVID classroom

Instructor Mental Health – Jan. 2022

A few tips for instructors to prioritize their mental health especially during a time when COVID was surging and the university was adapting to a new LMS.

Keywordssocial media

Emotional Energy, Interaction Rituals, and Bildung: Contemplating Pandemic-Resistant Pedagogy – Jan. 2022

Reflections on how to build a holistic learning environment during the pandemic.

Creating a Culture of Belonging – Jan. 2022

Several strategies that can help instructors create an online environment where students of all backgrounds and abilities can feel that they belong.

Keywordsdiversity, active learning

Why Addressing Students’ Emotions Matters  – Oct. 2020

Strategies for breaking down the idea that students have to check their emotions at the classroom door; how to help students process pandemic-related stress and support students by incorporating choice into course design.

Keywordsstudent mental health; emotions in the classroom; pandemic; student choice

Our Students and Mental Health – June 2021

Supporting students’ mental health during pandemic and beyond; round-up of on-campus resources.

Keywordsstudent mental health; emotions in the classroom; CAPS; pandemic

Student Feedback

Online Tools for Mid-Quarter Student Feedback – Feb. 2022

The benefits of mid-quarter evaluations. Includes a sample mid-quarter feedback form. Three ways to solicit feedback: Google Docs/Forms, BruinLearn, Annotation software like Hypothesis.

Soliciting Constructive Course Evaluations – Feb. 2022

Suggestions and strategies for soliciting effective course evaluations.

Keywordsactive learning, UDL

Acting on Mid-Quarter Evaluations – Feb. 2022

Categories of student feedback and how to effectively act on them during the course.

Reviewing Student Evaluations – June 2022

Tips on how to make the most of student feedback.


Sustainability in Language Humanities – March 2022

The relationship between environmental sustainability, diversity/multicultural understanding, and foreign language pedagogy.

Keywords: diversity, active learning, second-language pedagogy

Language Pedagogy

ASL Instruction and Preservation via Film and Video – April 2022

Benefits and challenges of new video platforms like Zoom, Youtube, and TikTok with regards to ASL.


Supporting Central American Heritage Language Learners – April 2022

Ideas and challenges for Spanish-language teaching for heritage language learners. Focus on California. Includes helpful resources. 


An Interview with Dr. Magdalena Tarnawska Senel on Asynchronous Language Courses – April 2022

Interview based on the professor’s experience of teaching German courses in an asynchronous online setting

Keywordsremote teaching

Music and Language Pedagogy: Cultivating Sensitive Listening and Sonic Flexibility – April 2022

How musical techniques such as singing and close listening can help learn foreign languages, especially harder languages like Chinese and Arabic 

Professional Development for Language Educators – June 2022

Some ways in which language teachers can continue to grow as professionals. Helpful resources from CAT.


Plain Language – May 2022

How using plain language, instead of jargon, can advance learning and make it more accessible

Supporting Autistic Students – May 2022

How teachers can support autistic students at UCLA. Helpful tips and resources. 

Disabilities and Computing: An Interview with Travis Lee – May 2022

Interview about the Disabilities and Computing Program at UCLA

This Month in Innovation: Physical Accessibility in the Classroom – Jan. 2019

Presents 3 physical accessibility problems that we might confront in UCLA classrooms (seating, fluorescent lighting, and single-wall display) and possible solutions to each. 

Keywords: Accessibility; classroom set-up/design; spatial organization 

Peer-Assisted Reflections on Student Learning (PAROSL)

“Faculty Supporting Faculty… Supporting Students: Peer Observation and Responsive Teaching Innovations”

Abstract: Research-based instructional practices make a difference for students, but simply telling faculty to adopt them does not foster lasting changes in teaching practice. More promising is faculty development that’s embedded in the day-to-day work of teaching. In the Peer-Assisted Reflections On Student Learning program at the University of California, Los Angeles, pairs of faculty members observe each other’s classes, reflect on how student learning is unfolding, and collaboratively devise teaching innovations that respond to the actual needs of students.  This model can be effective when it provides adequate time for reflection; is framed around student learning, not teaching; is explicitly nonevaluative; and provides coordinating guidance for faculty pairs. 

“From Content-Centered Logic to Student-Centered Logic: Can Peer Observation Shift How Faculty Think about Their Teaching?”

AbstractThis research investigates how peer observation programs can be designed to enhance faculty use of student-centered logic. Data include participants’ self-reports (interviews) and 50 hours of recorded faculty-faculty dialogue. Findings suggest specific design features that may increase fluency in student-centered logic. The study may be useful to academic developers interested in helping faculty move beyond content-centered, lecture-based approaches to teaching.

“Going Small, Going Carefully, with a Friend: Helping Faculty Adopt Lesson-Level Constructive Alignment through Non-Evaluative Peer Observation”

AbstractConstructive Alignment (CA) is a pedagogical tool for designing student-centered instruction aligned to learning outcomes. Despite strong evidence that CA and student-centered instruction are superior to lecture-based pedagogy, the latter remains prevalent across higher education. This descriptive-explanatory case study (n=20) investigates how programs of reciprocal, non-evaluative peer observation can help faculty understand and use CA at the lesson level. Analysis of exit interviews and faculty-faculty dialogue reveals that participants are able to apply principles of CA at the lesson level; most report this is new learning. Two program features that support this learning are described.

Managing 'Hot Moments' in the Classroom

Getting Comfortable with Discomfort – Nov. 2020

Strategies for balancing inclusivity and safety with the productive discomfort that means learning is happening.

Keywords: discomfort; inclusivity; hot moments; zone of proximal development

Think Fast: Cognitive Dissonance and the Power of the Teachable Moment – Nov. 2020

Review of “Interrupting Bias” workshop plus tips on turning “hot moments” into teachable moments.

Keywords: hot moments; teachable moments; interrupting bias; cultivating inclusivity 

Multilingual Learners

Your Voice Matters: Engaging Multilingual College Students in Creative Writing – March 2021

Strategies for teaching creative writing to multilingual learners and the power of incorporating creative assignments into any language class.

KeywordsMultilingual learners; creative writing

Grading and Assessment

Rethinking Participation Grades – April 2021

Asks what the purpose of participation grades is and gives instructors questions to ask themselves about how to revitalize it or maybe even do away with it altogether.

KeywordsParticipation grades; grading; evaluation; assessment

Technology in the Classroom

TechTalk: Increasing Inclusiveness with Technology – Jan. 2019

Three tips for teaching with technology at UCLA: online testing, student choice in assessment format, and making sure students have the equipment they need.

KeywordsTechnology in the classroom; accessibility; CCLE; student choice


“Introducing Inclusive Gatherings: An EPIC Teaching Innovations Grant Project” – Feb. 2019

Interview with TIG project leads on their “Inclusive Gatherings” workshop series. Defines inclusivity and offers an overview of the project’s key topics. 

KeywordsInclusivity; Teaching Innovation Grants; politics in the classroom

Transparency in Teaching and Learning (TILT) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

This Month in Innovation: Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) – Feb. 2019

Overview of the TILT method and how to apply it to two assignments in a course.

KeywordsTILT; transparency; inclusivity; accessibility

This Month in Innovation: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – March 2019

Overview of UDL and fives principles that can be applied to courses: goals, classroom configuration, varied classroom presentation formats, assignment format choice, opportunities for feedback and reflection.

KeywordsUDL; inclusivity; accessibility; transparency

This Month in Innovation: Rethinking Learning Outcomes – June 2019

Tips for how to develop transparent, student-centered learning outcomes aligned with course goals.

KeywordsStudent-centered; inclusivity; accessibility; learning outcomes; course goals

Faculty Profiles

Faculty Spotlight: Five Questions with Chris Mott – Dec. 2018

Interview with English Department TAC Chris Mott, who talks about teaching writing in the context of the literature classroom.

KeywordsWriting about Literature; Metacognition

Faculty Spotlight: Five Questions with Whitney Arnold – May 2019

Interview with Dr. Whitney Arnold and introduction to the resources available to instructors and students at the Undergraduate Research Center.

KeywordsURC; research; writing

Faculty Spotlight: Helen Deutsch – Jan. 2019

Summary of an interview with Professor Helen Deutsch (English), in which she talks about conflicts between disability studies, health humanities, and eighteenth-century literature.

KeywordsDisability Studies; Health Humanities; Literature

Faculty Spotlight: Five Questions with Kathy Komar – March 2019

Interview with Professor Kathy Komar (Comparative Literature) about teaching big lecture courses like seminars, literary studies pedagogy, and what she has learned from graduate student TAs about teaching.

KeywordsLiterature Classroom; Lecture Courses; graduate student TAs