Spring 2014



Course Design Working Group

Times will vary

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:

  • “the greatest use for me was the discipline of thinking through exactly what I wanted the students to learn.”
  • “I typically think that course development is a very lonely process. It helped alleviate a lot of stress I was feeling.”

CATL Workshop – Deliberate Doodling: Visualizing Course Concepts with Sketchnotes

Thursday, February 20, 12:30-1:45pm, Belk Pavilion 200 (Lunch provided)

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.

CATL Workshop – Tricky Situations: Navigating Challenges to Inclusive Teaching

Tuesday, February 25, 12:30-1:45pm, Lindner 206 (Lunch provided)

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.


CATL Workshop – Motivation & Mindsets (rescheduled from February 12)

Wednesday, March 5, 12:15-1:25pm, Belk Pavilion 201 (Lunch provided)

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.

CATL Seminar – Threshold Concepts and Student Learning

Times will vary

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.


SoTL Symposium: Turning your Teaching into a Research Project

Wednesday, May 21, 12:00-4:00pm, Belk & Spence Pavilions

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.

Winter 2014



CATL Workshops – Teaching Disciplinary Thinking

Thursday, January 9 & 23, 11:45am – 1:15pm, Belk Pavilion 208 (Lunch provided)

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.

Fall 2013



CATL Talk Series – Do the reading: Using structured reading groups to support student learning

Tuesday, September 3, 4:15-5:30pm, Belk Pavilion 208

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.

CATL Workshop – We’re all in this together: Collaborative techniques to enhance student learning

Tuesday, September 10, 4:15-5:30pm, Belk Pavilion 208

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.

CATL Co-sponsored Workshop – How to create authentic writing assignments
Co-sponsored by the Center for Writing Excellence and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Thursday, September 12, 12:00-1:15pm, Belk Library 102 (Lunch 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.

CATL Talk Series – Doing peer observation well

Thursday, September 26, 4:15-5:30 pm, Belk Pavilion 201

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”


Invited Guest: Mick Healey – Engaging students in research and inquiry

Monday, October 7

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 recognized as a ‘high-impact’ activity (Kuh, 2008).  You are invited to participate in one or both of two related workshops:

Workshop – Embedding inquiry into programs

Monday, October 7, 12:15pm – 1:25pm, Belk Pavilion 208 (Lunch provided)

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.

Workshop – Designing inquiry based learning activities

Monday, October 7, 1:35pm – 3:15pm, Belk Pavilion 208

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.

CATL Talk Series – Talking about “Teaching While Gay”

Thursday, October 17, 4:15-5:30pm, Belk Pavilion 201

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.

CATL Workshop – Teaching short, intensive courses (like Winter Term)

Monday, October 21, 12:15-1:25pm, Belk Pavilion 208 (Lunch 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.


CATL Co-Sponsored Workshop – Integrating writing into Winter Term courses taught on campus: Making it work for your students and you
Co-sponsored by the Center for Writing Excellence and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Wednesday, November 6, 12:15-1:25pm, Belk Library 102 (Lunch provided)

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.

CATL Workshop – Using evidence to make sense of teaching and learning

Monday, November 11, 12:15-1:25pm, Belk Pavilion 208 (Lunch provided)

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.

CATL Co-Sponsored Workshop – Using writing in Winter Term courses taught away from campus: Ways to use writing to help students gain the most from their experiences
Co-sponsored by the Center for Writing Excellence and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Thursday, November 14, 12:30-1:45pm, Belk Library 102 (Lunch provided)

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.

CATL Workshop – Taking advantage of the diversity theme in Winter Term

Tuesday, November 19, 12:30-1:45pm, Belk Pavilion 208 (Lunch provided)

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.


Course Design Group – Designing a Winter Term course
Times will vary

Join a course design group to give and receive feedback on designing Winter Term courses.