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Conference Presentations and Resources

Session descriptions and presenters from the 2012 Teaching and Learning Conference are listed below. Many of the presenters  have generously shared their presentations and materials as a resource. Materials have been converted to PDF () where possible.

Morning Plenary

How to hit a moving target: assessing engaged learning ()
Ashley Finley, Senior Director of Assessment and Research – Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), National Evaluator – Bringing Theory to Practice

Campuses are increasingly realizing the need to expand traditional notions of teaching and learning in order to meet the demands of higher education in the 21st century.  It is a time to think inclusively about student success, challenge paradigms that govern institutional structures, re-examine the skills necessary for today’s workforce, and consider the utility of our technology rich environments.  It is a time, in short, to develop assessments that enable better, more meaningful narratives about 21st century learning in higher education.  This interactive plenary will guide participants through campus-based examples of how educators are using e-portfolio and Web 2.0 tools (e.g., social media and constructivist digital tools) to shape and inspire student learning across complex and often non-traditional settings.  Additionally, the role of intentional reflective practices and the application of student-centered rubrics will be examined as essential components for capturing students’ experiences and measuring learning gains.

Morning Concurrent Sessions

Assessing student online behavior via Google Analytics

Have you ever wondered how students are really interacting with materials placed in the LMS?   This session will explore using Google Analytics as a way to assess student behavior within the LMS, helping you make informed adjustments to the student's learning experience.  Google Analytics is a powerful, free tool that tracks user behavior across your web site and offers fresh, data-driven insights to help you provide materials in effective ways.  In this session, we'll take a look at analytics across three courses in the LMS and discuss ways that this information can be used to make informed decisions about enhancing the student's online learning experience.  Participants will brainstorm online behavioral goals for their courses, followed by guidance from the facilitators on how to set these goals in Google Analytics to begin tracking the behaviors. 


Claudia Sparks, Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies, Elon University

Engaging assignments and in-class activities

Deep conceptual learning does not happen without engagement - a state of motivated, focused mental (and sometimes physical) activity. This session will provide ideas for creating learning contexts that promote engaged, self-regulated learning through in-class activities and out-of-class assignments.


Katie King, Associate Director of CATL and Associate Professor of Psychology, Elon University

Evidence of teaching effectiveness: Beyond student evaluations

What kinds of evidence can faculty use to improve and evaluate their own teaching? This interactive session will provide a framework for gathering and using evidence to improve your teaching and to demonstrate your effectiveness with others. The session also will include examples of different approaches to using evidence, and will give you the chance to think about your own use of evidence in teaching.


Catherine Ross, Managing Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, Wake Forest University
Peter Felten, Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Elon University

Ghosts and values:  how ethical decision making haunts our curriculum

Students at William Peace University are surprised when they learn that ghost stories are an effective tool for learning about ethical decision making.  In this workshop, Peace’s Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Instruction and an experienced first-year seminar instructor will demonstrate the crucial difference between teaching a subject called “ethical decision making” and USING specific precepts of ethical decision making to encourage critical thinking about issues in traditional academic disciplines and, as in the ghost story seminar, popular culture more generally.  We will also address the problems inherent in assessing student learning outcomes in a course devoted to such potentially personal issues. 

Marnie Arkenberg, Professor of Psychology and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, William Peace University
Wade Newhouse, Associate Professor of English, William Peace University

Inclusive class discussions: promoting effective discourse in diverse classrooms

In inclusive classrooms, all students feel supported to learn and explore course material, readily participate in class, and view themselves as people who “belong” in a community of learners. In this workshop, we’ll explore ways faculty can increase the odds of achieving broad-based, civil, and productive class participation in classes that spend a fair amount of time in discussion.


Mary Jo Festle, Associate Director of CATL and Professor of History, Elon University

Just in Time Teaching - using technology to bring student's out-of-class learning into the classroom

Just in Time Teaching (JiTT) is a student centered approach to teaching and learning that makes regular use of before-class questions or problems that make visible to both students and instructors the nature of students’ understandings and misunderstandings of course material. JiTT can help instructors make efficient and effective use of class time and facilitates the development of students’ abilities to reflect on and regulate their own learning processes. This workshop will provide the rationale for the use of JiTT and help participants explore its use in their own courses. Scott Simkins, Director, Academy for Teaching and Learning, North Carolina A&T State University, co-editor (with Mark Maier) of Just-in-Time Teaching: Across the Disciplines and Across the Academy, Stylus Publishing, 2009.


Scott Simkins, Associate Professor of Economics and Director of Academy for Teaching and Learning, North Carolina A&T State University

Making thinking manifest through think alouds

Experts and novices don’t only differ in what they know, but in how they think; therefore, witnessing the thinking of experts (not merely the result of that thinking) can be a powerful way to gain understanding of a discipline. Think alouds–the verbalizing of one’s thought process while doing a particular activity, such as reading a difficult text or responding to a challenging problem–can successfully be used for both teaching and research purposes. In this session, we will present examples of both uses, and give participants an opportunity to develop ways of using think-alouds in their courses and scholarship.


Ann Cahill, Professor of Philosophy, Elon University
Stephen Bloch-Schulman, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Elon University

Preparing students to cross cultures

This workshop session will  discuss and demonstrate techniques for engaging students in reflecting about the cultures and communities that they will encounter when they do study abroad, service-learning and other experiential coursework. Participants will talk about the role of preparation in formal curriculum and have a chance to participate in an exercise designed to engage students with a new culture through local experiences and to develop their own exercise appropriate to their course.


Phillip Motley, Assistant Professor of Communications, Elon University
Amanda Sturgill, Associate Professor of Communications, Elon University
Steven Duke, Director of the Center for International Studies, Wake Forest 

Science Literacy

In addition to content knowledge, science students must have advanced critical thinking and communication skills to participate fully as part of a scientific community. In this session, I will describe the results of a heuristic review of  writing-to-learn strategies in STEM, and highlight evidence-based strategies that promote specific learning outcomes. Then, we will work together to discuss ways to overcome barriers to implementation and to promote teaching efficiencies.

Julie Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Biology, Duke University

Teaching with Moodle

A panel discussion where Elon faculty share how they are going to teach using Moodle, our new LMS.  Learn tips, tricks, and their most useful features in Moodle.

Elon University panel members
Maureen Allen, MBA & Post Masters in Information Systems Instructor - Computing Sciences
Scott Buechler, PhD, Assistant Professor of Business Communications Chair of the Management Department
Jeffrey Carpenter, PhD, Assistant Professor - Education
Brooks Depro, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor - Economics
Victoria Shropshire, MA, Instructor - English

Cheri Crabb, PhD, Academic Technology Consultant, Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ben McFadyen, MEd, Instructional Design and Technology Consultant, UNCG School of Education

Writing in STEM disciplines

How can STEM faculty incorporate writing into their courses without displacing essential disciplinary content? How can they provide effective instruction in a subject—writing— they have not been educated to teach? Participants in this practice-oriented workshop will learn a practical approach to using their existing expertise to design, teach, and grade assignments that integrate technical and writing instruction.

Paul Anderson, Professor of English and Director of Writing Across the University, Elon University

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

A Discipline Divided: Can Threshold Concepts exist in Political Science?

At last year’s Teaching and Learning Conference, British researcher Ray Land introduced our campus to Threshold Concepts, ideas that are crucial to a discipline but often difficult for novices to grasp because they embody highly disciplinary ways of knowing and thinking.  In this session, we will report the results of a small study of senior political science majors. Our results suggest that while some concepts may serve as disciplinary thresholds, it may be more helpful to focus on “portals” to the many sub-disciplines of Political Science. Participants will be guided in examining the value of exploring threshold concepts within their own disciplines.

Dion Farganis, Assistant Professor Political Science, Elon University
Jason Kirk, Associate Professor of Political Science, Elon University

Experiential Learning in the Classroom: Reacting to the Past games

The Reacting to the Past pedagogy, pioneered by Barnard College, consists of elaborate role-playing games set in the past and informed by classic texts. Reacting to the Past is commonly used in writing-intensive, first-year seminars where students collaborate in factions to debate a “big question." This pedagogy can also be modified to create one-week games appropriate for science classes or for introducing the pedagogy to new players. In this workshop we will briefly discuss the rules for Reacting to the Past games, restage a 1999 panel debate over Pluto held at the American Museum of Natural History, and consider assessment issues. Instructor materials for The Pluto Debate and other Reacting to the Past games are available online (www.rttp.org).


Tony Crider, Department of Physics, Elon University

First Generation Students: Helping them negotiate an unfamiliar landscape

All first year undergraduates face challenges in adjusting to their new college or university environment. If the student is also the first in the family to attend college, the first-year adjustment challenges are compounded. Davidson College's recent Teagle Foundation Grant is allowing us to assess the needs of our first generation students, to inform campus constituents of those needs, and to create an academic support structure through advising and our new Center for Teaching and Learning that will help level the academic playing field for these students. This workshop will help participants think about the challenges first generation students face on their home campuses and explore ways to address the needs of these students.

Verna Case, Beverly F. Dolan Professor of Biology and Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Research, Davidson College
Linda LeFauve, Associate Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research, Davidson College

Teaching for Transfer: Writing across the University

What do we know about how students apply writing knowledge and strategies to new contexts? How can we facilitate students’ transfer so that they take what they learned about writing in previous classes and use or adapt that writing knowledge in our classrooms? This session briefly synthesizes research on writing transfer before giving participants an opportunity to brainstorm and design assignments that support students’ writing transfer.


Jessie Moore, Associate Professor of Professional Writing and Rhetoric, Elon University

#winning Approaches to teaching with Twitter and other digital media

What choices about audience, voice, and purpose do students make when they use Twitter, Facebook, text messaging, and other digital media? How can faculty help students understand to think critically about the ways they communicate using social media and how the same rhetorical decision-making applies to more traditional forms of communication? How do faculty address the challenges of allowing students to access social media during class? The presenters will discuss ways faculty can help students be more careful and responsible users of social media by teaching students to critically analyze tweets and text messages, and asking students to extend this thinking to develop research projects about digital literacy. If you are new to Twitter, an overiew will be included in the presentation.


Paula Patch, Lecturer in English, Elon University
Dan Reis, Instructional Technologist in Teaching and Learning Technologies, Elon University

Tech Exhibit Hall

Ever been really excited about technologies presented at a conference, only to come back to reality when you realize you have no idea where to start?  Yeah… us too!  The Technology Exhibit Hall featured stations that explored the technologies discussed during the concurrent sessions and provided more depth. Handouts from the Tech Exhibit Hall are included below.

Google Apps

Library Resources
Citation Mangers 
Journal Alert Services 
Research Guides 

Mobile Devices
Elon's Tablet Initiative 

Social Media Plus
Google Plus 
Twitter in Higher Education