SITL 2013 Focus Team Descriptions

SITL 2013 Focus Team Descriptions

Cross-Disciplinary Course Design: Classroom Wisdom to Cross Divides - Andy Denson, History

Early summer is the ideal time to remodel a class or build a new one.  The experiences of the previous academic year are still fresh in your memory (sometimes painfully so), and the next fall's courses are far enough away that you can still dream of perfection.  Take advantage of this unique state of mind by joining a focus team devoted to course design.  This group will examine several different design models, emphasizing their practical application to the classes taught by team members.  We'll exchange ideas and hard-won classroom wisdom across the disciplinary divides.  We'll almost certainly sketch little diagrams and flow charts.  Bring your syllabi, your goals for the fall, and your early summer notions, and leave with a set of new tools for building better courses.

Game On! Gamify Your Class with Peer Instruction - Enrique Gómez, Physics

Cross the chasm that separates rote learning from higher level reasoning! This team will focus on eliciting higher order thinking skills in students through the introduction of game elements into a course and peer instruction activities. Research in the Teaching and Learning of Science has shown that classes implementing Peer Instruction show significant gains over lecture based courses. Peer Instruction has low cost implementation and can be applied in a wide range of learning subjects. As an additional technique, Gamification inserts game elements in the classroom to motivate students to apply and synthesize knowledge and evaluate their own performance. Peer Instruction and Gamification work together to create a stimulating learning environment. In this Focus Team we will learn how to

•    Implement Peer Instruction so that students connect with each other as they apply new concepts
•    Integrate game elements into course design so that students synthesize their learning experiences
•    Use Gamification and Peer Instruction techniques together to motivate students to acquire higher order thinking skills

By the end of the sessions group participants will have created their own, classroom-ready, learning modules that integrate these techniques. They will also leave with ideas on how to gamify an entire course. Sharing new teaching and learning methods across the divide between our disciplines can be fun!

Reciprocal Engagement ‘Across Divides’: Building Bridges, Not Burning Them – Lane Perry, Center for Service Learning

Community-based learning, in its many forms, is a pedagogy that is designed to directly, intentionally, and reciprocally engage students and faculty with the community in order to provide solutions and resources needed by that community. Using previous experiences, relevant WCU documents, and select artifacts as resources, this focus team will consider the pros, cons, pitfalls, and rewards that can (or have) occurred when implementing community-based pedagogy.

In this focus team three preliminary questions will frame our time together:#
•    Should a university engage with their defined communities? If so, how should these experiences be designed, implemented, and ultimately assessed?
•    What role, if any, should the community have in the 21st century university and what role should the university have in the local community? Is there room for a healthy relationship?
•    How can we, as a university, begin and continue to build bridges with our defined community?#

Through a common, facilitated experience in the form of a half-day community-based project, subsequent dialogue, discussion, and reflection this focus team will explore and develop practical and transferable strategies to connect classroom activities with meaningful and valuable real-world experiences. Bring your mind, heart, and hands; we will leave the matches at home!

Crossing the Ocean that Separates Us: Overcoming Large Class Sizes to Connect With and Engage Our Students - Nancy Luke, School of Teaching and Learning

In keeping with our theme of Teaching Across Divides, it can feel as though an ocean separates us from our students when class sizes are large and lecture alone seems the only instructional option. So do we just wave to them from the shore or do we build a boat? This session will address the reality of large class sizes and offer suggestions for how to engage students in meaningful ways including active learning strategies and thoughtful discussion. We’ll briefly share our challenges with this situation to develop a shared context and then move toward solutions that will work for us despite our disciplines or how we define large class sizes. For some of us, 40 may constitute a large class while for others 100 may be seen as manageable – we’ll explore this as well. At the end of our time together, we will have developed a collection of resources to draw from using an internet-based social bookmarking tool we can continue to add to after the institute is over.

Hello, Hello, Hello…Is there Anybody Out There? - Cyndy Caravalis Hughes, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Perhaps there is no greater teaching divide than the physical one for online educators. Often, it feels like we throw materials out into the Interwebs without knowing whether they’re reached the intended recipients, either literally or metaphorically. This focus group is for any educator who currently teaches or plans to teach online content, be you a seasoned pro or a novice. Focus Team members will leave the Summer Institute with new ideas and tools that will assist them in getting the feedback and participation that will let them know they're coming through loud and clear.

Seeing Ourselves, Seeing Others (Bridging the Divide: Diversity) - Rus Binkley, School of Teaching and Learning

We live and teach in a relatively homogeneous area, facing a lack of diversity among our students.  If we represent any diversity ourselves, we may feel marginalized among our peers and dismissed by some of our students. How do we address diversity in our teaching when most of our students (and faculty peers) are white, heterosexual, and Christian?  How can we teach against the grain?  How can we reach students who do not recognize their privilege?  How can we create spaces in our classes so students will not feel silenced?  Can we separate our public and private selves? How can we select and present teaching material that will neither compromise what we believe nor alienate our constituents?  In this focus team, we will look at ways to problematize our teaching, generating ideas for self-study, created around the presence or absence of diversities.

Undergraduate Research:  Bridging the Divide Between Student Engagement and Faculty Scholarship – Brian Byrd, Environmental Health Program

Undergraduate Research – the term means many things to many people.   As such, the exact methods, goals, and outcomes for faculty involved in undergraduate research vary greatly by discipline.  This focus team will examine methods to develop an investigator led undergraduate research agenda that melds with your own scholarship focus.  We will explore “best practices” and potential pitfalls.  This group is designed for faculty that want to learn more about issues such as (1) defining what constitutes undergraduate research for your discipline, (2) best practices for faculty and student, (3) techniques to match your students with successful projects, (4) knowing when to say no,  (5) funding your student projects, and (6) scholarly dissemination of undergraduate research.  Outcomes for this focus team may include the development of an undergraduate research contract or the construction of an “undergraduate research philosophy” statement.  

The SoTL Connection – April Tallant, Health Sciences

Cross the bridge to make the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) connection. Attend this session to learn more about teaching strategies for opening and connecting teaching and learning processes, how to set up a SoTL project to evaluate student learning and improve your teaching, and how you can make your scholarship public (including publication).  Also learn about peer-to-peer support to help you meet your SoTL goals.  The outcome of our time together will be a SoTL project plan and research agenda with timeline for one of your courses.

Moving Beyond Teach, Test, and Hope for the Best:  Connecting your Student’s Learning, Assessment and Classroom Technology
– Bethany Emory, Associate Director of Instructional Support and Online Learning and Barbara B. Campbell, Associate Director of Faculty Development and Assessment, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College 

All of us must guide our students toward reaching multiple course level outcomes of varying levels of complexity.  An ongoing challenge is assessing to what degree our students have achieved a particular outcome, and how to proceed if not meet all our expectations.  In this focus group, we will challenge participants to develop a learning plan to better align instruction and assessment.  We will focus the efforts around one selected outcome that is typically most challenging to your students and work to develop a cycle of learning and assessment that helps to propel your students toward success.  This approach can then serve as a model for addressing other course outcomes.  

You will leave the institute with tools to help you (1) Focus the student’s cycle of learning (2) Determine, based on properly placed assessments, how well students are processing through the learning cycle (3) Select appropriate, engaging and maybe even fun Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) (4) Determine how to best implement these CATs across multiple learning modalities: face-to-face, blended, and fully online. 
Veteran faculty and new faculty are equally welcome to join us to dig deeper into assessment so there is no longer a need to teach, test, and hope for the best!

To register for a SITL 2013 Focus Team, please click here.


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