Thursday, August 18, 2011
Elon University welcomes area university and college educators to the 8th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference, jointly sponsored by Elon's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) and Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT).
This year, we focus on Thresholds to Learning, a theme that embraces new ways of looking at student learning and our roles in creating active and engaging learning environments that facilitate the first steps toward deep learning. As part of its on-going vision, the conference features workshops on a variety of innovative teaching methods and effective ways of using technology. Our goal is to provide you with strategies and resources that can be used immediately, to encourage new ways of thinking about teaching and learning, and to give you a spark of inspiration as you begin the new academic year.
|Times||Location||Presentations and Events|
|8:00 - 8:30||KoBC Lobby||Arrival and Morning Refreshment|
Welcome and Introductions
Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge:
This presentation will outline a new analytical framework to inform programme design and assessment. It builds on the notion of 'Threshold Concepts' which can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, without which the learner cannot progress and involves an ontological shift. As a consequence of comprehending a threshold concept there may thus be a transformed internal view of subject matter, subject landscape, or even world view. This transformation may be sudden or protracted, with the transition to understanding often involving 'troublesome knowledge'. Depending on discipline and context, knowledge might be troublesome because it is ritualised, inert, conceptually difficult, alien or tacit, because it requires adopting an unfamiliar discourse, or perhaps because the learner remains ‘defended’, resisting the inevitable shift in subjectivity that threshold concepts initiate. Difficulty in understanding threshold concepts may leave the learner in a state of 'liminality', a suspended state or 'stuck place' in which understanding approximates to a kind of 'mimicry' or lack of authenticity.
|10:00 - 10:15||KoBC Lobby||Break|
|Concurrent Sessions I|
Effective Feedback and Efficient Grading
Does the feedback you provide your students and the way you grade their work accurately reflect your educational philosophy? This session will focus on ways to provide feedback on our students work that students will actually use and to develop grading practices that foster a learning orientation and that are closely tied to educational objectives. Participants will be guided through a process of aligning assignments and assessments with course learning goals and developing a formal or informal rubric for evaluating student work to make your feedback and grading effective and efficient. We’ll also discuss whether all student work has to be graded, the pros and cons of peer evaluation, and the often subtle ways we communicate our expectations.
Effective Hybrid or Multi-Headed Hydra?
Learning Management Systems (LMS) include hundreds of features designed to support teaching, learning, and collaboration; however, only a tiny percentage of LMS capabilities are used by college professors. Instead, some instructors are beginning to use technology students already use, such as texting, blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. In this session we will share ideas, opinions, and experiences about the strengths and weaknesses of Learning Management Systems compared to a small pieces loosely joined approach. There will be a quick demonstration of Twitter at the beginning of this session which will then be integrated into the panel discussion thereafter. Panelists and participants alike will share what they think might be advantages or pitfalls in tweeting, posting, or texting course-related information, and whether (or how) these 'social media' supplement or supplant an LMS.
Stepping Up to SCALE-UP
What happens when every part of a class – the physical set-up of the classroom, the sequence of assignments, even the scheduling of assessment tools – is focused solely on what the students have learned and are learning? SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs) is an emerging pedagogical method focused on collaboration, coaching, and frequent feedback. Though SCALE-UP was first applied in the sciences to accommodate higher numbers of students per class, it can also be used in smaller classes and in the Humanities, resulting in more authentic, internally-motivated student learning and in personal recognition of the need to learn, which correspondingly instills in the instructor the need to teach. The approach also eliminates busy work (for both the student and the teacher), grade-grubbing, incentives for surface learning, and the need to evaluate student effort rather than actual learning. Two examples will be described and through questions and discussions, participants will get a candid, revealing peek into experimental pedagogical methods that promote student and teacher success.
Engaging Student Voices in Institutional Inquiry and Assessment
This presentation focuses on methods for integrating student co- researchers in institutional inquiry and assessment processes. We will discuss how the inclusion of student collaborators impacts the gathering and interpretation of assessment data and generates valuable recommendations for institutional change. Student researchers will share their experiences and challenge participants to consider ways to incorporate "student voices" in their own institutional assessment. Participants in this session will leave with innovative ideas about how to develop effective inquiry-based assessment projects that lay the foundation for meaningful institutional change.
|11:25 - 11:40||KoBC Lobby||Break|
|Concurrent Sessions II|
Writing Transitions/Writing Thresholds
From first-year composition through advanced professional and technical communication, writing curricula are constructed under a foundational premise that writing can be taught - and that writing knowledge can be “transferred” across critical transitions. First-year composition is often a required course for all students with the assumption that what students learn will transfer to their other coursework and throughout their educational careers. But what do we really know about transfer, in general, and writing transfer, in particular? This workshop provides a brief overview of the latest research on writing transfer and then gives participants an opportunity to try out and discuss teaching and learning activities that facilitate students’ transfer of writing knowledge across their academic experiences.
|KoBC 201||Creating 3-D Virtual Environments for Education|
Tony Crider and David Neville - Elon University
Do Counter-Normative Pedagogies Have Threshold Concepts?
We will apply the idea of threshold concepts not to disciplines but to pedagogies, using service-learning (SL) as our example. Positioning students, faculty, and community members as co-learners, SL requires and fosters shifts in perspective, practice, and identity that seem to point to threshold concepts associated with learning how to teach and learn (and serve) through this approach. Together we will hypothesize illustrative threshold concepts associated with learning and maximizing use of this counter-normative pedagogy, critically analyze use of this concept in this context, and consider implications for the design of SL and of associated faculty/staff development.
|KoBC 346||Mobile Devices: More than an E-BookReader|
Randy Piland - Elon University
|12:50 - 1:50||Collonades|
Technology Exhibit Hall opens - KoBC Atrium
|Concurrent Sessions III|
The Threshold of Consciousness: How to Wake Up Your Students!
Research suggests that active involvement is vitally important for the mastery of higher-level cognitive skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking, but lectures are the predominant mode of instruction in higher education. This workshop is designed for faculty who would like to experiment with active learning strategies in their courses. It focuses on low-risk strategies that can easily be adopted by teachers accustomed to lecturing. Participants should leave the workshop with strategies they can apply immediately in their classes.
Venturing into Strange Places: Linking Research and Teaching
This session will consider the kinds of attributes our graduates will need as they enter society and employment in the 21st century. We cannot anticipate the future but we can prepare our students for it, and it is likely that in this process they will need to encounter a certain strangeness. In a knowledge-based economy characterised by uncertainty, complexity, risk and speed, binary oppositions between ‘ivory towers’ and ‘real world’ environments appear increasingly outdated. Evidence from a recent sector-wide project undertaken in Scotland suggests that the attributes valued by research communities, with their emphasis on enquiry, problem-formulation and generation of ideas, are equally valued in business and industry, and, further, are seen as contributing to responsible citizenship. Colleagues will be invited to discuss the kinds of learning environments and the types of activities in universities that are most likely to foster the kinds of high level graduate attributes that are increasingly sought in a globalised economy.
Teaching Online: Myths and Mythbusters
For those who have not taught online, myths are shared that online instruction is difficult to develop, it requires sophisticated prowess in complicated technologies, or evaluation is impossible, and communication is flat and dull. At Elon, Teaching and Learning Technologies dispels these myths by treating faculty as experts who want to harness their teaching experiences into authentic online learning experiences. In this session our goal is to provide participants with strategies and methods they can begin to use immediately. By initiating conversations about course modification and the opportunities in online teaching and learning, TLT helps instructors use what they know and what they already have to build strong courses that leverage students' desires to excel into satisfying and effective learning - while using simple technology universally available to anyone with a computer and internet access. After a general discussion of popular myths, participants will draw from their own experiences to plan an online activity which could replace a face-to-face teaching/training technique. A panel that includes faculty, students, and instructional designers with online experience will provide feedback supported by examples from successful online courses.
|KoBC 346||Developing Complex Thinking through Meaningful and Authentic Writing Assignments|
Steve Braye - Elon University
|3:00 - 3:15||KoBC Lobby||Break|
Technology Exhibit Hall closes
Thanks to open web tools, faculty and students have the capability to create, experience, and manage their own teaching and learning using various open source applications, social media, and online networks. These tools can easily be used to engage both university students and interested non-registered persons from outside the university. This presentation will examine how different approaches to course design combined with open web tools can engage both students and non-students, and what the shift from a centralized, campus-controlled LMS to open web tools might mean for the campus and beyond. In this plenary, Jim will look at how important work being done using open web applications can be harnessed to extend and enlarge the traditional academic community. He will demonstrate and present the University of Mary Washington's online publishing platform, UMW Blogs, as just one example of such a process.