17th Annual Teaching & Learning Conference Program

Teaching & Learning Beyond the Pandemic

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

9:00 am – 4:30 pm (EDT)


Elon University welcomes university and college educators to the 17th Annual Teaching & Learning Conference on Thursday, June 10, 2021. This free, fully-virtual conference is sponsored jointly by Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) and Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT).


For all registered participants, Zoom links will be sent the week of the conference, which can be used to connect to the sessions. Each session will be recorded live and the recordings will be provided to all participants of the conference following the live event.


9:00 am – 10:00 am: Keynote

Teaching Distracted Minds: Old Challenges, New Contexts

Dr. James Lang

After more than a year of teaching and learning primarily through screens, faculty and students will be returning to our classrooms with the challenge of student distraction fresh in our minds. This keynote will draw upon scholarship from history, neuroscience, and education in order to argue that attention has always been a challenge for students, but that we will face new obstacles in the post-pandemic era. However, our ultimate goal as educators should not be to eliminate distractions, but to create educational experiences that cultivate and support attention to learning. Participants will learn about a variety of potential pathways to developing such experiences for their students.

Learn more about Dr. James Lang.


10:30 am – 11:30 am Sessions

For this hour time frame, participants may select to attend either one 60-minute evidence-based, interactive virtual workshop or two 30-minute virtual presentations highlighting an innovative pedagogical strategy and evidence of its impact.

30-Minute Sessions

10:30 am – 11:00 am

Exploring Course Content and Equity through Book Study - Lisa Buchanan, Heidi Hollingsworth, Josie Brothers, Grace Contino, Danniya Robertson, Liliana Kelson, Chris Vandjik

Lisa Buchanan, Associate Professor of English, Elon University
Heidi HollingsworthAssociate Professor, Elon University
Josie Brothers, Undergraduate Student, Elon University
Grace Contino, Undergraduate Student, Elon University
Danniya RobertsonUndergraduate Student, Elon University
Liliana KelsonUndergraduate Student, Elon University
Chris VanDjik, Alumni, Elon University

This session focuses on book study as a pedagogical model that can be effective in virtual, in-person, and hybrid environments as well as across course sections. Presenters will describe a process for selecting books that meet course objectives and engender development around issues of equity. Strategies for incorporating student-facilitated discussion and for accountability and assessment will also be shared. Participants will also meet undergraduate co-presenters who will share benefits and challenges, and takeaways of book study.

The Impact of Ungrading on Student Motivation and Persistence - Christopher M. Jones

Christopher M. Jones, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Washburn University

There is mounting evidence that grades have little correlation with learning and that they negatively impact student motivation. In the Spring of 2020, I decided to stop using grades in my general education course at Washburn University. I also conducted a pilot study with two qualitative surveys of my students inquiring about their perceptions of their motivation and their workload. In this presentation, I share my approach to ungrading and discuss the results of my pilot study. We will open up a conversation about assessment and grading during the pandemic and beyond.

11:00 am – 11:30 am

Small Inclusive Teaching - Shannon Duvall, Robert Duvall

Shannon Duvall, Associate Professor in Computer Science, Elon University
Robert Duvall, Lecturer in Computer Science, Duke University

Inspired by Lang’s‚ “Small Teaching”, we present: Small Inclusive Teaching. This presentation will begin with defining characteristics of inclusive teaching and discussing its importance. We will highlight inclusive and equitable pedagogical practices that are ‘small’ in that they can be implemented easily and quickly. Evidence of effectiveness will largely come from the existing literature but will also include anecdotes from the presenters’ experience: with small classes at Elon and large classes at Duke. We will conclude by brainstorming with the participants other inclusive teaching strategies, resulting in a compiled list of‚ “Small Inclusive Teaching” strategies.

Learning About Learning: Effects of Metacognitive Journaling on Self-Reported Metacognitive Behaviors - Shaun P. Vecera, Jessica M. Bowden

Shaun P. Vecera, Professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, University of Iowa
Jessica M. Bowden, Graduate Student, College of Education, University of Iowa

Metacognition, or monitoring and regulating one’s thinking, is critical in producing self-directed learners and for student success in college. Can metacognition be instructed and improve with practice? Answers to this question are equivocal: Some studies show that practice improves metacognitive judgments of learning, but others do not. We assessed students’ self-reported metacognitive behaviors during an online ‘learning about learning’ course that included a six-week metacognitive journaling exercise. Students submitted written responses to prompts about metacognitive planning, monitoring, and evaluating. Students endorsed more metacognitive behaviors at the end of the journaling exercise than at baseline.

60-Minute Sessions

10:30 – 11:30 am

Creating Even More Relationship-Rich Teaching and Learning - Peter Felten, Leo Lambert

Peter Felten, Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning, Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and Professor of History, Elon University
Leo Lambert, Professor of Education and President Emeritus, Elon University

In this workshop, we will think together about putting human relationships at the center of teaching and learning. Drawing on principles and examples from Relationship-Rich Education, we will consider: How can our teaching create a sense of welcome, care, and inclusion? How can relationships inspire students to learn? How can we help students develop a constellation of mentors? How can our teaching be more transformational? And since we can’t simply add more to our work, what must we do less of post-pandemic? In this workshop, you (and we) will develop a plan to make your teaching (and our campus) even more relationship-rich.

Inclusion has a Voice and It is Hip Hop: Utilizing Hip Hop Culture to Increase Culturally Responsive Classrooms - Vanessa Drew-Branch, Roger F. Suclupe

Vanessa Drew-Branch, Assistant Professor of Human Service Studies, Elon University
Roger F. Suclupe, MSW, LCSW

This workshop will discuss how to increase the intercultural competence and cultural responsiveness of students through the exploration of Hip-hop music and culture. Viewing lyrics and rhythms through a critical race theoretical lens, these artists become social scientists and philosophers who possess critical political, social information who are providing a critical analysis of their communities. Hip Hop music, when viewed as a cultural artifact, can be utilized to increase intercultural competence. Contemporary Hip hop artists such as have continued in this tradition of oral expression as a method of communicating the lived experience that is central in the Afrocentric paradigm.

After the Fire: Compassionate Critical Pedagogy - Megan Knight

Megan Knight, Associate Professor of Instruction in the Rhetoric Department, University of Iowa

This workshop will explore the possibilities of compassionate critical pedagogy. What could our classrooms and other teaching spaces look like if we put caring, trauma-informed practices at the center of our work? And beyond our classrooms, how might these tools help us enact broader institutional change? COVID has been what Raquel Wright-Mair calls a “crash course in pedagogical flexibility,” and this session will demonstrate that some of the lessons we’ve learned are worth keeping.


11:45 am – 12:15 pm Sessions

For this half-hour time frame, participants may select to attend one 30-minute virtual presentation, which highlights an innovative pedagogical strategy and evidence of its impact.

30-Minute Sessions

11:45 am – 12:15 pm

Developing Fluency for Crucial Conversations through Design Thinking - Tracey Thurnes, Dianne Person, Danielle Lake

Tracey Thurnes, Associate Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies & Director Accelerated Pathways Program, Elon University
Dianne Person, Director of Anatomical Gift Program, Elon University
Danielle Lake, Director of Design Thinking and Associate Professor, Elon University

This session gives voice and connection to life’s most crucial conversations. Students and community members face systemic challenges and a lack of training for engaging in difficult conversations. Design thinking, a collaborative process for generating and testing innovations to complex problems, prepares students and our communities for the crucial conversations they will face throughout life. This session shares an example of engaged learning that partnered students with community members to design a more resilient and supportive space for difficult conversations. It provides sustainable opportunities to practice skills needed for empathetic listening, generative thinking, and prototyping more vulnerable and respectful conversations.

New Ways to Engage Students with Google Applications - Denise Wilkinson

Denise Wilkinson, Professor of Mathematics and Director of Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning Center, Virginia Wesleyan University

With the unprecedented need to teach students in very different formats (both socially-distanced face-to-face and remote teaching) for more than a year, the focus on finding effective and innovative ways to engage students in these new settings has been a continuous challenge for most instructors. However, the discovery of new approaches to online applications has provided new insights on the use of technology in many classroom formats. The presenter will share activities using several free Google applications that can be incorporated into a traditional classroom (as well as, a remote) setting that address student engagement, create community, reinforce course material, and collect feedback.

Cultivating Arts Leadership: A Student-led Arts Management Consulting Project - Wen Guo, Shineece Sellar

Wen Guo, Assistant Professor of Art Administration, Elon University
Shineece Sellar, Executive Director of African American Cultural Arts & History Center, Appalachian State University

This session elaborates on the course design, teaching process, and impact of a service-learning consulting project led by senior arts administration students at Elon University. The students worked with a local African American arts organization under leadership transition to identify, address, and develop solutions to its governance challenges. The session is to ignite the discussion on 1) the benefits and challenges of cultivating students’ leadership through real-world projects during COVID, 2) strategies of establishing equitable and reciprocal relationship between faculty, community partners, and students in SLR projects, and 3) deepening students understanding of systemic oppression and racism through exploring local African American history.


1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Sessions

For this hour time frame, participants may select to attend either one 60-minute evidence-based, interactive virtual workshop or two 30-minute virtual presentations highlighting an innovative pedagogical strategy and evidence of its impact.

30-Minute Sessions

1:15 pm – 1:45 pm

Design Thinking Strategies for Cultivating Relational and Emergent Project-Based Learning - Danielle Lake, Wen Guo, Margaret Cox, Megan Casner

Danielle Lake, Director of Design Thinking, Elon University
Wen Guo, Assistant Professor of Art Administration, Elon University
Margaret Cox, SURE Student, Elon University
Megan Casner, Honors Student, Elon University

This session explores how Design Thinking (DT) might support efforts towards relational and resilient project-based learning curriculum. Facilitators describe the results of a mixed method study examining faculty and student perceptions of DT practices and outcomes from 21 courses across four major universities. Preliminary findings of survey and interview data suggest that DT within higher education can increase students’ confidence and abilities to collaboratively address real world problems. Results also showed DT curricular practices can present unique challenges. Session attendees will learn about the latest research and review a range of strategies designed to support their curricular goals.

Incorporating Accessibility Principles into Student Video Projects - Nicole Triche, Staci Saltz, Sana Haq

Nicole Triche, Associate Professor of Cinema and Television Arts, Elon University
Staci Saltz, Lecturer, Elon University
Sana Haq, Assistant Professor of the Practice, University of Miami

Students in all disciplines create video projects as a part of their classwork. These videos can be made more accessible with the incorporation of closed captioning, audio transcriptions, and content warnings. Including these accessibility instruments into video creation can broaden students awareness and understanding of equity and inclusion.

1:45 pm – 2:15 pm

Creating Role-Playing Games: Active Learning and Empathy Building in History Classes - Yidi Wu, Amy O'Keefe, Petra Lezama, Mollie Lund

Yidi Wu, Assistant Professor of History, Elon University
Amy O’Keefe, Assistant Professor of History, Meredith College
Petra Lezama, Alumni, Elon University
Mollie Lund, Student, Elon University

This session introduces Reacting to the Past, a role-playing game pedagogy that allows students to take on characters, and practice public speaking and primary source analysis. The pedagogy invites students to seek empathy and understanding with historical figures, including women and people of color. As students grapple with issues such as racism, imperialism, and religious division in the “play” environment, they practice diplomacy and problem-solving, and gain a broader perspective on issues that make peace and justice so elusive. The games connect students through teamwork and common objectives, and motivate students to do research and work outside of class.

Silver Linings: Using the Best of our Pandemic Experience in our Post-Pandemic Classrooms - Neil Witikko

Neil Witikko, School of Education Associate Professor & Director of Center for Teaching and Learning, The College of St. Scholastica

A flexible hybrid teaching model during the national pandemic led many of us to tighten course learning outcomes and even eliminate some course activities and assessments. We have navigated this space by relying on both old and new tools and teaching strategies, which not only helped us survive the pandemic, but also led to powerful teaching and learning. As we plan to return to face-to-face classes in the fall, continued uses of some of our pandemic best practices will strengthen our courses for years to come.

60-Minute Sessions

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm

Continued Connections: Using Community- and Technology- Rich Education Post-Pandemic - Patti Burns, Sabrina Thurman, Anne-Marie Iselin

Patti Burns, Senior Lecturer in French in the Department of World Languages and Culture, Elon University
Sabrina Thurman, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Elon University
Anne-Marie Iselin, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Elon University

The coronavirus pandemic has forced nearly all educators and students to expand their teaching and learning online. While this experience has presented numerous challenges, it has also brought opportunities for community-rich teaching and learning experiences. Online environments provide unique and creative possibilities for engaging students deeply with content, supporting each other as a learning community, and connecting with instructors in meaningful ways to enhance their understanding of the material. Join us to explore how we faculty might continue to use online components or experiences to reinvigorate our collective passion for teaching and learning post-pandemic.

A Return to Humanity in Teaching - Stephanie M. Foote

Stephanie M. Foote, Associate Vice President, Teaching, Learning, and Evidence-Based Practices, John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education and Stony Brook University

In The Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer (1998) writes, “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher” (p. 10). As Palmer (1998) suggests, teaching and identity are interwoven, making teaching an act of vulnerability. Despite this, we often create our courses in ways that protect us, and ultimately, create distance from the students we teach. This session will explore ways to return to the humanity in teaching by understanding ourselves and our students and using these collective understandings to create inclusive and responsive learning environments, regardless of course modality.

Teaching Re-Imagined: Reigniting Passion for Teaching and Learning by Implementing Relationship Based Teaching - Ashley St. Martin, Muhsin Michael Orsini

Ashley St. Martin, Course Instructor, Western Governors University
Muhsin Michael Orsini, Evaluation Scientist, Independent Consultant

The goal of relationship based teaching is to cultivate a compassionate learning community that engages students and promotes learning. By focusing on the needs of students and teachers, and practicing a language of giving and receiving, students and teachers learn relational power or power with others. “When compassion thrives, so does learning.” Education and brain research have demonstrated that emotional safety mediates learning. This workshop will prepare and motivate instructors of higher education in any academic discipline to practice nonviolent communication in their institutions with peers and in their classrooms with students, and equips instructors to implement relationship based teaching.


2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Sessions

For this hour time frame, participants may select to attend either one 60-minute evidence-based, interactive virtual workshop or two 30-minute virtual presentations highlighting an innovative pedagogical strategy and evidence of its impact.

30-Minute Sessions

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Students' Perceptions of Effective Feedback - Pablo Celis-Castillo

Pablo Celis-Castillo, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Elon University

This talk discusses the results of a study where students enrolled in an Advanced Spanish course were asked to reflect upon the effectiveness of four feedback strategies: (1) individualized markings and written comments, (2) in-person individual conferences, (3) general class comments, and (4) peer-review activities. The study discovered that students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of some of these techniques varied during the semester as their writing project progressed. These results suggest a preliminary model to provide feedback to students, one based on their perceptions of effectiveness and that could streamline the process of providing feedback for teachers.

Resilient and Flexible Teaching (RAFT): Staying Afloat in Rough Waters - Heather Keith, Christina Fabrey

Heather Keith, Executive Director of Faculty Development & Professor of Philosophy, Radford University
Christina Fabrey, Associate Dean for Advising and Academic Achievement, Prescott College

When venturing into wild territory such as a swift mountain river, a raft may be necessary for basic survival. During last spring’s turbulent educational waters, we switched to emergency remote teaching as a survival raft, just trying to stay afloat. As we explore post-pandemic waters, perhaps we will see our COVID year as a catalyst for a better equipped and more graceful model of resilient and flexible teaching (RAFT) that enables equity and success regardless of circumstances. This workshop explores a holistic approach to teaching that incorporates well-being and support so that communities can face turbulence with resilience and confidence.

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Foundational Learning in Equity and Opportunity: Piloting a New Model in the Field of Education - Rebecca Miller

Rebecca Miller, Associate Director of Curriculum Design and Assessment, Harvard Graduate School of Education

This session introduces a new curricular model for foundational learning in issues of equity and opportunity, piloted in 2021 for master’s students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), that seeks to provide choice and agency for students while supporting all learners to develop shared understandings and skills to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). We will describe the distinctive features of this model and share findings from an evaluation study of the pilot, including insights from students about how these courses (offered via Zoom in January) supported learning and growth amid overlapping pandemics.

Teaching Outside the University Classroom: Using Nature as a Text and Context for Learning - Scott Morrison, Katherine Baker

Scott Morrison, Associate Professor of Education, Elon University
Katherine Baker, Assistant Professor, Elon University

In this interactive session, we will share the rationale, pedagogical moves, and student feedback from our collective experiences teaching outside of the university classroom. More specifically, we will show how nature can be used as a text and context for physical and mental wellbeing, community building, and deeper learning. We will share five core routines for teaching outside, a kind of template for organizing class time to ensure that students’ needs are addressed and that learning goals are met. To conclude, participants will brainstorm how they might apply the core routines in their context and in their discipline.

From Creating to Sustaining Innovative, Experiential Curricula: Immersive Learning Practices Pre- and Post-Pandemic - Phillip Motley, Danielle Lake

Phillip Motley, Associate Professor, Elon University
Danielle Lake, Director of Design Thinking and Associate Professor, Elon University

How might we create, assess, and sustain innovative and experiential curricula that yields long-term value for students and communities given recent radical changes to our lives? This session guides participants through potential ways to incorporate and assess situated and emergent community engaged practices. Facilitators will highlight findings from three different approaches, including the Design Thinking Studio in Social Innovation program, the Power and Place Collaborative initiative, and the iMedia “fly-in” course at Elon University. Participants will map opportunities relevant to their own curricular goals and gain actionable ideas for implementing strategies relevant to their institutional contexts.

60-Minute Sessions

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

CANCELED: Design Justice & Inclusion: Principles that can Inform our Practice - Amy Archambault

Amy Archambault, Instructional Designer, Wake Forest University

You may be familiar with inclusive design practices, but are you familiar with Design Justice.org’s principles? In this presentation, we will discuss the principles created by a group of designers, teachers, activists, and technologists. We will spend time reflecting on how they can relate to our work as faculty, instructional designers, faculty developers, etc., and find ways to think about how we might implement some of them into our work. Please come to this session ready to learn something new or share where you are in your journey if you are familiar with these principles. We will spend some time in reflection, as well as, sharing our experiences.

Teaching for Equity and Inclusion - Mary Jo Festle

Mary Jo Festle, Maude Sharpe Powell Professor, Professor of History, and Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Elon University

In this session, participants will be introduced to evidence-based principles for teaching for equity and inclusion as well as a framework designed to help instructors reflect upon ways to expand or deepen their practices. They’ll also spend some time trading strategies for how to implement the principles.


Maintaining Transdisciplinary Training in Developmental Screening in the Time of COVID-19 - Katrina Fulcher-Rood, Pamela Schuetze, Kathy Doody

Katrina Fulcher-Rood, Associate Professor in the Speech-Language Pathology department, SUNY Buffalo State College
Pamela Schuetze Ph.D., Professor, SUNY Buffalo State College
Kathy Doody, Ph.D., Associate Professor, SUNY Buffalo State College

In the United States 20-25% of children have psychosocial risks that have the potential to negatively impact their academic success. Given this, the importance of early identification is imperative so that children with developmental issues can receive early intervention services before they enter school. Students will need to be prepared to administer developmental screenings in transdisciplinary teams to ensure this need is met. Providing these hands-on learning experiences has become more difficult due to the constraints of COVID-19. This presentation will discuss the importance of transdisciplinary education and ways to offer these experiences in virtual settings.

Building Community in the Class and Beyond: Strategies and Self-Reflection - Jennifer Ibrahim, Anne Frankel, Jamie Mansell

Jennifer Ibrahim, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Temple University College of Public Health
Anne Frankel, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Public Health, Temple University
Jamie Mansell, PhD, LATC, AT, Associate Professor, College of Public Health, Temple University

The pandemic has shined a light on teaching issues that have been building for years. Gone are the days of traditional classrooms with the instructor behind a podium. Engagement, collaboration and community-building are key to quality education and student retention. In this session, we will discuss the evidence base for traditional and innovative ways to increase engagement and a sense of community both inside and outside the classroom, whether in-person or online. Attendees will be guided through an evaluation of their own teaching practices to determine ways to understand current strengths and to build authentic learner-learner and learner-instructor connections.


3:45 pm – 4:30 pm Session

Networking and Discussion Session

Facilitated by CATL Faculty

Join the afternoon Networking and Discussion Session to participate in small group conversations about takeaways from the day and what you’ll carry forward with you beyond the pandemic.