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 CATL workshops and events, please use the registration form.
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”? What does our pedagogy reveal, as Anthony Ciccone asks, “about the habits of head, hand, and heart as we purport to foster through our disciplines? 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?” (Ciccone, 2009, Exploring Signature Pedagogies, p. xii)
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.
Do you have a new course to teach in the spring? Are you still hoping to find the time to re-think a course you have taught before? We’re here to help! Sign up to be part of a course design working group. We’ll meet three times during winter term (based on group member’s schedules, likely over lunch). During each meeting, we’ll discuss each person’s course -- with group members responding to the questions/topics that most interest you as you design it. If you are interested in joining a course design working group this winter term, please email Deandra Little or use the registration form.
Interested in the January offerings? To sign up, please use the registration form.
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.