The Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning offers multiple workshops, course design groups, reading groups, and guest presenters throughout the year. Descriptions for current and past CATL offerings can be found below.
To sign up for any of the following workshops, please use the registration form.
Our first brown bag will focus specifically on teaching about race and privilege in the U.S., prompted by the events in Ferguson but with an eye toward general principles that apply to other hot national issues. It will be held Friday, August 29, at 12:10 in Moseley 215. Please bring your lunch. No need to RSVP. We’re aiming to make this is a practical and stimulating session for faculty from any discipline.
Our second brown bag will focus specifically on teaching about international and religious issues, sparked by the Israel-Gaza conflict. It will be held Friday, September 12 at 12:10 in Moseley 215. Same format – bring your own lunch.
In both discussions, we’ll focus on the specific and unique topic at hand but also discuss some more general questions: How do these topics enter our classrooms, even when we don’t anticipate them? How can we anticipate and respond to student perspectives during class discussion? How can we introduce such topics in productive ways? How can we set up and model civil discussion on sensitive topics rather than avoiding them? And, ultimately, how can we have civil, meaningful, and authentic conversations about “hot topics” in the classroom?
See above for session description.
Many of us (especially those of us teaching experiential learning courses) ask students to write in response to questions intended to prompt “reflection.” Sometimes, however, we don’t receive the type or quality of products we were hoping for. In this workshop, we will spend time analyzing what we and our colleagues mean by critical reflection, learn what some scholars say are the characteristics of effective critical reflection, and write or revise some of our own prompts (with a peek ahead to assessing them).
Workshop Materials: If you were unable to attend, but are still interested in learning about critical reflection, please view the workshop handout.
This two-part seminar (second session on Monday, October 27) will explore research on and teaching practices that help students learn to connect, apply, and synthesize their learning across contexts and over time. This kind of integration can happen when students link what they’ve learned in one course to another, or when they bridge theory and practice (connecting their learning from a course to an internship, for instance, or vice versa). While majors and programs have integrative goals and use pedagogies to encourage this kind of learning, research suggests that many students are not as successful as they could be at integrative learning. In this seminar we will read and discuss a few key articles on integrative learning – aiming to connect, apply and synthesize the literature on integrative learning to the way we teach our courses and structure our curricula.
Barber, J. P. (2014), Integration of Learning Model: How College Students Integrate Learning. New Directions for Higher Education, 2014: 7–17.
Himbeault Taylor, S. (2011), Engendering habits of mind and heart through integrative learning. About Campus, 16: 13–20.
• Paul Anderson, Writing Across the University
• Alan Russell, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
• Michael Vaughn, Teaching and Learning Technologies
This workshop, cosponsored by WAU, CATL, and TLT, will give you insights for providing deep, meaningful feedback on student work. Workshop participants will discuss with Paul and Alan the importance of feedback in the writing process and in the service of course learning goals. Michael will share some of the ways technology might help us streamline the grading workload while providing effective feedback to support student learning.
Workshop Materials: If you were unable to attend, but are still interested in learning about providing feedback to students, please view the workshop handout.
This conversation will focus on SoTL research questions and methods. The session will begin with Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler (Psychology) and Mike Carignan (History) briefly describing their ongoing research into "Global Mindedness and Intercultural Competence in Short-Term Study-Abroad” (an abstract of their project is below). Mark Kurt (Economics) will respond with some insights from his own research on student learning from study abroad. We then will focus the conversation on the variety of research questions and methodologies used in SoTL inquiries, using Maureen, Mike, and Mark's questions and methods as a starting point for a wide ranging conversation about the variety of SoTL practices across the disciplines.
"Global Mindedness and Intercultural Competence in Short-Term Study-Abroad”
Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler (Psychology) and Mike Carignan (History)
Institutions of higher learning are increasingly focused on preparing students for a global world, and study abroad programs are one important means of broadening students’ experiences (Wang, Peyvandi & Moghaddam, 2009). There are a number of documented benefits of participating in study abroad programs, including increased concern for international affairs, interest in the history of countries other than one’s own, and ability to understand the complexities of national identity (Clarke et al., 2009; Kim & Goldstein, 2005). Recently, Honors Program administrators and faculty have begun to explore the benefits of program-based study abroad opportunities to advance the general goals of study abroad among Honors students (Mulvaney & Klein, 2013). This presentation will focus on the research questions and methods employed in our on-going investigation of the short- and long-term impacts of the first-year study abroad experience of a small, select group of Honors Fellows.
In the responses of heterosexual faculty and staff to its campus survey last year, the President’s LGBTQIA Task Force heard a great deal of support for LGBTQ community members but also a desire for more educational programs about their unique situation and concerns. In this session intended for teaching faculty who would like to learn more, participants will analyze a few situations that could arise in their classrooms, labs, studios, or advising sessions as they work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer students. We’ll connect those situations to general principles of inclusive teaching.
Workshop Materials: If you were unable to attend the workshop but are still interested in resources for working with LGBTQ students, please view the materials from the workshop:
This two-part seminar (first session on Monday, September 29) will explore research on and teaching practices that help students learn to connect, apply, and synthesize their learning across contexts and over time. This kind of integration can happen when students link what they’ve learned in one course to another, or when they bridge theory and practice (connecting their learning from a course to an internship, for instance, or vice versa). While majors and programs have integrative goals and use pedagogies to encourage this kind of learning, research suggests that many students are not as successful as they could be at integrative learning. In this seminar we will read and discuss a few key articles on integrative learning – aiming to connect, apply and synthesize the literature on integrative learning to the way we teach our courses and structure our curricula.
Barber, J. P. (2014), Integration of Learning Model: How College Students Integrate Learning. New Directions for Higher Education, 2014: 7–17.
Himbeault Taylor, S. (2011), Engendering habits of mind and heart through integrative learning. About Campus, 16: 13–20.
Robert Bringle, Kulynych/Cline Visiting Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State, and long time scholar and advocate of academic service learning and civic engagement, will be facilitating sessions on developing courses and research projects centered on academic service-learning. This lunch-time session will focus on the nuts & bolts of teaching service-learning courses effectively, and is designed for faculty who are considering developing a service-learning course, or who have some experience teaching them, but want to join a focused conversation about key elements to consider in this pedagogical context.
CATL is co-sponsoring Bob Bringle’s visit, together with Sharon Hodge, Faculty Development Fellow for Service-Learning and the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community. Look for more details about other opportunities to work with Dr. Bringle during his visit to Elon coming soon.
No one has time to think about Winter Term in November. And yet it will be upon on us soon. Are you new to teaching a short-term intensive course and want to talk about general strategies? Are you teaching a course related to the diversity theme and want to discuss how best to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the theme? Are you bewildered about how you’re going to assess student work in such a fast-paced semester? We will ask participants to tell us in advance what they want to focus on and design this lunch-time session around their needs.
To sign up for any of the above workshops, please use the registration form.
Student Engagement Techniques offers a dynamic model for engaging students, and shares tips, strategies, and techniques applicable across a wide variety of disciplines. On June 18th we will explore the theoretical framework of the book as we define student engagement and discuss what it looks like in practice. On June 25th we will explore tips, strategies, and techniques as well as sharing at least one technique that we have modified for use in our own classroom. This book discussion is designed so that you can attend either or both sessions. **Register by June 2nd to receive a copy of the book.
Wouldn’t it be handy if some authors synthesized recent learning research about mastery, metacognition, student motivation and development, course climate, and how students organize knowledge and then they suggested classroom strategies based on it? Wouldn’t it be nice if they did so in a very readable 224-page book? That’s what five authors did in How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. Join your colleagues for a two-part discussion of this thought-provoking book over lunch on July 16 and 23. **Register by June 5th to receive a copy of the book.
Scholars studying metacognition (the capacity to understand your own thinking) have developed several simple tools that can help students learn disciplinary content/skills and also develop the capacity to consider how they are learning. This session will explore “exam-wrappers” and other techniques that are easy to use and can yield enhanced student learning.
In May 2014 Scott Freeman and colleagues published the largest and most comprehensive meta-analysis to date comparing lecturing to active learning in undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education - the quotation in the title of this session comes from page one of the article. This research demonstrates that courses using active learning significantly increased student exam scores and significantly decreased student failure rates when compared to lecture–based classes. The authors conclude: “Although traditional lecturing has dominated undergraduate instruction for most of a millennium and continues to have strong advocates, current evidence suggests that a constructivist ‘ask, don’t tell’ approach may lead to strong increases in student performance” (p. 4).
*Freeman, S., et al. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. PNAS early edition, 1-6.
• CATL course design working groups– Are you planning a new course for next year or spending part of the summer re-thinking a course you have taught before? Sign up to be part of a course design working group. Groups meet 4 times during the summer, often over lunch, based on group member’s schedules. During each meeting, we’ll discuss each course -- with group members responding to the questions/topics that most interest you as you design it. To sign up for a group (or if you have questions about the process), please email Deandra Little.
• If you’re interested in discussing how you might adapt your Winter Term course to take advantage of the diversity theme, please email Mary Jo Festle.
• Folks from CATL are available to meet with you one-on-one through the summer to talk about teaching and learning.
If you are teaching a new course next year or want to re-think a course you have taught before, consider signing up to join a course design working group. You’ll meet four times this spring with a small group to plan and discuss your course. Facilitated by CATL faculty, planned around your schedules, and focused on your key questions, course design groups can be a collegial and productive way to develop a course. Past working group members remark that:
In Sketchnotes (2013), Mike Rodhe suggests that we engage more fully with material if we use simple doodles to focus and structure key ideas and concepts. Built off a strong foundation of visual coding theory, these methods seem to naturally fit our engaged learning environment. In this session, I’ll share how I used Sketchnotes in an introductory statistics class and the benefits it had on student learning. Overall, students were more engaged with the text, could scan the content for meaningful metaphors, and had more opportunities to discuss and share ideas among small groups. We’ll look at sample activities and student work before considering other places in the curriculum that might benefit from this type of activity.
What if you have a student who seems to bait other students by making insulting generalizations about a particular group of people? Ones who make and laugh at offensive jokes? Or, have students who intentionally exclude a peer in small groups or gang up on one student who holds a view different from the majority? In this workshop, participants will be introduced to a few principles related to teaching inclusively and then think through ways to deal with a number of difficult and/or sensitive scenarios that could easily occur in their teaching environments. We’ll share useful strategies for navigating common challenges to help foster and sustain inclusive classrooms.
Our students are often highly motivated, though at times that motivation can seem more focused on “the grade they earn, not what they learn” (Svinicki, 2005). Research suggests that we can affect student motivation in ways that either impede or facilitate learning. In this session, we’ll discuss a few prevailing theories of motivation and consider what they can tell us about what we can do—or avoid doing—to help students focus on learning.
This seminar will use the lens of “threshold concepts” (Meyer & Land, 2005) to explore students’ learning in your discipline. The fundamental idea of threshold concepts is that certain discrete knowledge or skills in our disciplines is particularly "troublesome" for students to learn and also absolutely essential for students to progress. By thinking hard about threshold concepts, you can gain new insights into how to most effectively help students learn these foundational parts of our disciplines (if you'd like to peek at the literature on threshold concepts in the disciplines, from accountancy and anatomy to women's studies and writing, check out this bibliography).
We’ll meet four times during the spring term, based on participant schedules. Our first meeting will dip into the literature on threshold concepts. We quickly will move to apply this framework to participants’ own disciplines, with each seminar member identifying potential threshold concepts in one of the courses she or he teaches. We will conclude with concrete planning for your teaching based on what you’ve learned about one threshold.
Participants should commit to attend all four seminar meetings, and should plan on some work between meetings. Questions? Contact Peter Felten.
*Meyer, J. H. F., & Land, R. (2005). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Education, 49, 373-388.
We invite you to join CATL and other colleagues for the first May Scholarly Teaching Symposium to jumpstart your summer plans, whether you are in the first throes or the final stages of a scholarly project on teaching and learning.
• We’ll start at noon, with a working lunch session focused on researching your teaching and your students’ learning
• Then we'll spend time in rapid roundtables, learning from and sharing with smart colleagues about Scholarship of Teaching and Learning projects in progress.
• The afternoon will end with refresher sessions on practical topics, including ways to capture student thought processes as well as basic statistics and qualitative coding strategies to assess other aspects of student learning. Stephen Bloch-Schulman, Alan Russell, and Alexa Darby will lead these concurrent sessions.
Each lunch discussion will feature a pair of Elon faculty from different disciplines. You are invited to participate in one or both of the two related workshops:
What does it mean to teach “disciplinary thinking”? How can we effectively teach students to think in our distinct disciplines?
This pair of lunch discussions will build on examples from Elon faculty in diverse disciplines as we consider the links between our teaching and our disciplines.As Anthony Ciccone asks in Exploring Signature Pedagogies (2009, p. xii), “ Is there, or should there be, a consistent connection between a way a discipline creates or discovers new knowledge and the way it apprentices new learners?”
Join CATL and colleagues Chad Awtrey (Mathematics & Statistics) and Ann Cahill (Philosophy) on January 9, and Alexis Franzese (Sociology & Anthropology) and Derek Lackaff (Communications) on January 23 as we discuss these questions in our own courses and consider activities and assignments that help students understand what it means to think within a discipline.
For background on teaching and disciplinary thinking, you might read one or both of these classic articles:
• Shulman, L. (2005). Signature Pedagogies in the Professions. Daedalus, 134 (3), 52 - 59.
• Bernstein, D., Marx, M.S. and Bender, H. (2005). Disciplining the Minds of Students. Change. 37 (2), 37-43.
This CATL Talk will explore approaches to help students learn deeply from assigned reading. Megan Squire (Computing Sciences) and Peter Felten (CATL) will provide a brief overview of a structured reading group process that is adaptable to many course contexts and that has shown positive outcomes for student learning in a small study (12 course sections at 3 universities). We then will have a lively yet practical discussion about ways faculty can assist students in learning from course readings. Snacks will be provided.
Research demonstrates that collaborative learning contributes to enhanced critical thinking and problem solving skills and greater student engagement with their peers and the course materials (Barkely, Cross, & Major, 2002). Participants will directly experience several examples of collaborative learning techniques and work together to create specific activities that can be applied to their current courses. Facilitated by Alan Russell (Math & CATL). Snacks will be provided.
Writing assignments that have at least a touch of the "real" can increase student motivation, enhance student learning, and simplify your grading. You’ll leave this workshop with a draft for a new or improved authentic assignment for a course you teach. You may even be able to use the assignment this semester. Lunch will be provided for faculty who register before September 5th. Seating is limited.
Ever wish for a trusted person to observe and discuss (some aspect of) your teaching – but worried how to make it happen and happen well? Ever wanted to partner with a faculty colleague to share and learn from one another’s classroom experiments, successes, and flops in a mutually beneficial manner – but were afraid to ask? In this session, we’ll consider specific strategies and models for how we might make peer-to-peer observation of teaching at Elon be a constructive, collegial, and mutually beneficial experience. Snacks will be provided. To start the conversation, you might want to read the short Chronicle article by Tobin Shearer: “A Pleasing Observation”
Mick Healey is Emeritus Professor at the University of Gloucestershire. Until 2010 he was Director of the Centre for Active Learning, a nationally funded Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the United Kingdom. Since 1995 he has given about 500 educational presentations. He has written and edited around 150 papers, chapters, books and guides on various aspects of teaching and learning in higher education.
Engaging undergraduate students in research and inquiry is, we would argue, the best way to link teaching and research (Healey and Jenkins, 2009). It is moreover recognised as a ‘high-impact’ activity (Kuh, 2008). You are invited to participate in one or both of two related workshops:
This workshop will discuss the variety of ways in which research and inquiry based learning are undertaken in undergraduate programmes from first year to final year using numerous mini-case studies from different disciplines, departments and institutions in North America, Europe, and Australasia. Lunch will be provided for faculty who register before September 30th.
This interactive workshop aims to explore practical ways of incorporating inquiry based learning into a course and discusses some of the issues faculty and students face in this mode of learning. Participants will leave the workshop with practical ways in which they can incorporate inquiry learning into their courses regardless of discipline or class size.
During this CATL Talk, we'll discuss Domenick Scudera's thought-provoking article from the Chronicle last spring, "Teaching While Gay." In it, Scudera touches on a range of topics related to faculty and student identity in classroom teaching, including self-disclosure and self-care. Join Matthew Antonio Bosch (Gender & LGBTQIA Center) and Deandra Little (CATL) to discuss the following questions, among others: How do we decide how much of our identities to disclose to students, at what point, and why? How do we balance encouraging free expression and exploration of ideas with the fact that some ideas can be painful to hear? How do we create a space for classroom discussion that feels safe — for faculty and students? We'll discuss big ideas as well as practical strategies for classroom discussion and self-care. Snacks will be provided.
Your course meets 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for about 3 weeks. Some classes feel like they’ll never end, and yet the term is over in the blink of an eye. How do you take advantage of the opportunities offered by this unique format while also maintaining your and the students’ energy & enthusiasm? How do you insure that your students learn really important things and deeply? During this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss strategies for teaching effective, engaging intensive courses, and invite participants to share ideas for successful activities and assignments for the short term. Facilitated by Mary Jo Festle (History & CATL) and Deandra Little (CATL). Lunch will be provided for faculty who register before October 14th.
Writing assignments and activities need to be included, but they can present special challenges for in the highly compressed winter-term courses that are taught on campus. This workshop will help you plan writing assignments and activities that maximize student learning while remaining manageable for you. Lunch will be provided for faculty who register before October 30th. Seating is limited.
Scholarly teaching involves applying the analytical tools of our disciplines to understand (and, ideally, to enhance) our teaching and our students' learning. This practical workshop will explore effective ways to use evidence to make sense of teaching and learning in a specific course. What kinds of questions might you ask, evidence might you collect, and analytical techniques might you use to understand teaching and learning in a particular course? Janet Myers (English) and Peter Felten (CATL) facilitate this workshop. Lunch will be provided for faculty who register before November 4th.
These courses vary widely in the opportunities and constraints they present for student writing. In this workshop, we will think together about ways to design writing assignments that increase students’ ability to achieve your course’s learning goals. This workshop will provide suggestions and invite you to contribute some, as well. Lunch will be provided for faculty who register before November 7th. Seating is limited.
During this workshop, we’ll discuss ways to make the most of the diversity theme in a Winter Term course. You might be interested in joining us if you could imagine saying:
• “My course already deals with a type of human diversity but I’d enjoy talking with others about how to help students get better at reflecting, conceptualizing, or communicating about it.”
• “My course already deals with diversity but I’d enjoy talking with others about how to write diversity-related learning objectives and assignments/projects that help students meet those objectives.”
• “My course doesn’t have an obvious connection to diversity but I’d be open to supporting the theme if I could figure out how.”
After a preliminary survey to find out what participants most want to focus on, we’ll tailor the discussion to focus on those topics, including practical strategies, activities, and assignments others have used successfully in diversity-themed Winter Term courses. Lunch will be provided for faculty who register before November 12th.
Join a course design group to give and receive feedback on designing Winter Term courses.