Established in 2009 as the first of its kind in Türkiye, the mission of Koç University Office of Learning and Teaching (KOLT) is to improve the learning and teaching at Koç University (KU) by promoting a student-centered learning environment. Designed in line with the mission and vision of the university, KOLT activities consist of support for faculty, students, teaching assistants, and support for accreditation and program evaluation. All of KOLT activities are developed in the light of state-of-the art educational methods and technologies to establish effective teaching and active and collaborative learning at KU.
KOLT offers the following programs and services for KU faculty:
- New Faculty Teaching Workshops: KOLT organizes an orientation program for new faculty members to enhance their teaching skills and to introduce teaching tools and resources available at KU. The program includes online and face-to-face workshops on effective teaching tips and practices, learner-centered course design and delivery, and hands-on practices in official learning management system of the university, Blackboard.
- Regular or On-Demand Workshops: KOLT staff regularly organizes workshops on different aspects of learning and teaching. Guest speakers are invited to provide faculty with new approaches to learning and teaching that have proven positive effects on student engagement and learning outcomes.
- One-on-one Consultations: KU faculty can consult with KOLT on various issues relate to learning and teaching. Confidential one-on-one consultation helps faculty (re)design their courses and pursue excellence in their teaching practices.
- Class Observations: KU faculty can request a classroom visit by KOLT. The observation procedure consists of three components: pre-observation meeting, observation, and post-observation (consultation) session. The purpose of classroom observation is to help faculty members become more critical and reflective about their teaching through identifying their strengths and areas for improvement.
- Online Mid-semester Course Evaluations: Mid-semester evaluation is a useful way to provide input to faculty members about the progress of their course. Faculty member have the chance to make necessary improvements in the second half of the semester. Every semester, KOLT runs online mid-semester course evaluation via Blackboard. Faculty members are notified about the process via e-mail. The aim of this evaluation is to anonymously collect student feedback about a course in the middle of a semester. At the
end of the process, the student feedback becomes visible to the instructor.
- Teaching Innovation Grants (TIGs): KOLT TIGs award grants to the full-time faculty members and instructors who wish to redesign their courses with innovative learning and teaching tools and techniques. Funding may be requested for a wide variety of activities related to undergraduate and graduate level teaching such as course improvement/revision, curricular innovation, and integration of educational technologies (Blackboard, online response systems, etc.). Applications from individual faculty members as well as groups of faculty who collaborate to teach a course are welcome. Faculty members who wish to apply for TIGs should follow the call that is announced a month before the beginning of each academic semester.
- Syllabus Design: KOLT helps faculty with syllabus design on KUSIS (Koç University Student Information System). A guideline and sample syllabi can be reached by using KU password after clicking on this link.
- Teaching in Active Learning Classroom (ALC): Located in College of Engineering building (ENG Z27), this classroom is intentionally designed to offer a student-centered and technology-rich learning environment in order to facilitate and enhance student engagement. KOLT offers workshops for the effective use of the ALC. Faculty can explore technologies and pedagogies that support active learning in this classroom. The faculty members who are interested in using the class can send their request to Registrar’s and Student Affairs Directorate.
- Integration of Educational Technologies into Courses: KOLT assists KU faculty in effective integration of educational technologies to enhance student engagement and learning in and outside the classroom. KOLT support for educational technologies consists of the following items:
- KOLT provides services for Blackboard, one of the most well-known learning management systems used to supplement face-to-face traditional education with virtual learning environments. KOLT organizes monthly workshops and offers one-on-one consultation sessions on how to set up a course on Blackboard and how to use the assessment tools, grade center, Turnitin, plagiarism detection tool (Turnitin User Guide can be reached by using KU password after clicking on the following link), and interaction tools provided by
Blackboard. KOLT has continued to collaborate with three textbook publishers, i.e. Pearson, McGraw Hill and John Wiley in order to integrate their course supplementary materials into Blackboard and build sample course layouts suitable for KU courses.
- KOLT helps faculty use Panopto, a video platform for recording and sharing video content. Panopto enables KU faculty to record, webcast, manage, and search all its lectures and KOLT gives one-on-one support and organizes workshops on how to use it.
- KOLT supports faculty in the use of immediate response systems, such as clickers, Kahoot, Turning Point, and PollEverywhere. All these systems allow instructors to conduct formative assessment activities during class time, to deliver more student-centered classes by arousing interest and attention, and to assess student learning frequently and immediately during a class time. Graded or non-graded quizzes via these systems help the instructor determine the subjects that are not understood well and revisit them immediately in class.
- KOLT organizes educational technology demo day two or three times in an academic year to make the faculty have hands-on experience on different educational technologies.
- KOLT provides all technological support for faculty who wish to develop an online course to COURSERA, an open online learning platform that is accessible from all parts of the world. Six courses have been launched so far, and three courses are currently under preparation.
- KOLT tries to meet individual requests from KU faculty to integrate different technologies into their classes such as preparing multimedia content for a course.
Faculty members are notified about KOLT faculty events via e-mails and KUDaily
announcements. KOLT website at kolt.ku.edu.tr can also be visited to see the details of up-to-date faculty development programs, upcoming events and useful resources on learning and teaching (KOLT website).
There is a wide spectrum of activities for students at KOLT including:
- weekly scheduled one-on-one tutoring support (with more than 100 tutors for more than 80 courses in each semester) and study groups
- reviews before exams,
- conversation circles in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish,
- online and face-to-face academic skills workshops and seminars to prepare new coming students to the academic life at university.
Faculty can request tutoring support for a course. Faculty can nominate a student for being a tutor. Please click this link to see the tutor qualifications and some other details about tutoring at KOLT.
Students can also consult with KOLT on their academic problems including time management, procrastination, developing effective study habits and improving their academic success. Faculty members can encourage academically struggling students to get support from KOLT. Also, faculty can request customized workshops (e.g. how to read effectively, how to take lecture notes, how to take an exam, how to prepare a specific assignment, etc.) for a single course to help students perform better and become more self-regulated learners. KOLT collaborates with faculty in the design of such customized workshops.
KOLT runs Computer Proficiency Assessment Program (CPAP 100) at KU. It is a mandatory program for all Koç University undergraduates, except those enrolled at the School of Medicine. Its aims are to develop and evaluate the skills of students in Microsoft Office Word (word processing) and Excel (spreadsheets). KOLT regularly holds CPAP 100 training sessions and one-on-one tutoring for students and administers CPAP 100 exams which are scheduled at different intervals throughout an academic year.
TEACHING ASSISTANT (TA) SUPPORT
KOLT offers a non-credit course (graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory) “KOLT 500 TA Training Program” for new-coming teaching assistants (TAs) to prepare them for their teaching duties at KU. KOLT 500 consists of workshops on effective teaching, grading, educational technologies, etc. and group microteaching sessions that involve short problem-solving sessions or presentations followed by self-reflection, peer evaluation, and recommendations by experts.
ACCREDITATION AND PROGRAM EVALUATION SUPPORT
KOLT takes active role in different institutional level programs to improve learning and teaching at KU. KOLT carries out program-wide evaluation studies to support internal evaluation and accreditation processes in different Colleges and Schools. If requested, KOLT helps the program review teams structure the process, prepares benchmarking reports, and gathers feedback from students and alumni through focus groups and surveys.