Designed to help faculty with planning and thinking creatively about teaching, CTE workshops are not lectures, so come prepared to work on issues in your own teaching, reflect on your teaching goals, and get some practical takeaways that you can apply in your courses.
To see a list of all upcoming workshops and to register, please go to https://facweb.plattsburgh.edu/workshops/.
Teaching Workshop: Wise Test-Making: Creating Better Objective Tests
Students are taught tips for test-taking. It is rare, though, for faculty to freshen skills in test-making. Do students chronically complain about your tests? Do your objective style tests often yield undesirous results? Part of it can be chalked up to student preparedness and Generation Z study habits, but it’s not all on them. There are simple efforts we can take to improve the performance of individual questions and consequently the usefulness of the test overall as a learning tool. Whether you are a novice teacher or experienced, this workshop led by Elizabeth Bernat will introduce you to guiding concepts of measurement validity and reliability, take a deep dive into question design tips, and preview how you may use item analyses to modify the test for future semesters. The session is information-rich, but offers the possibility of a discussion-based, sequel workshop to rework some of your test questions if there is group interest.
Dr. Elizabeth R. Bernat is the Associate Director of Academic Advising, working primarily with students who are learning how to navigate their adjustment to college, find an academic (re)direction that suits them, or need academic supports or other interventions to succeed and thrive. She has taught at the college-level for almost 20 years previously. This workshop content is drawn from Dr. Bernat’s education and pedagogical experience in research methods, instructional communication, and grading and test construction for teachers — as well as her contemporary reflections on the role that classroom practices (especially in the first year) play in the success and retention of this generation of students.
Presentation on Teaching & Learning by Jessamyn Neuhaus: Geeky Pedagogy: A Path to Effective Teaching for Introverts, Intellectuals, and Nerds
In this presentation Jessamyn Neuhaus draws on the scholarship of teaching and learning and her own twenty plus years of teaching to offer practical tools and personal encouragement to instructors in higher education who are introverts and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of a geek too. Based on her book Geeky Pedagogy (West Virginia University Press), this presentation promises to leave you feeling inspired and empowered to keep learning about effective teaching and to really nerd out about teaching and learning.
“Reading this book felt like I was talking about teaching with my smartest, most well-read, and funniest friend.” — James M. Lang, author of Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning
“Geeky Pedagogy essentially helps one ask and answer the paired questions of ‘Who am I?,’ and knowing that, ‘How should I teach?’ Neuhaus offers a lens through which to ask and answer these questions plus much much more. It’s a wonderful tool for reflection, even for experienced instructors.” — John Warner, author of Why They Can’t Write
Teaching Workshop: Quelling the Rebellion: Strategies to Address Student Resistance to Active Learning and to Address Other Non-Content Issues in the Classroom
Inquiry-based learning, inquiry oriented learning, flipped learning, and other active learning methods are unfortunately still new to many students. These methods require engagement with the content and peers, persistence, motivation, and willingness to learn from mistakes. Students that are used to passive teaching formats, such as lecturing, may rebel against this environment, and so it is important to adjust and influence their perspectives early in the course. In this session, a variety of in-class resources and assignments will be shared to address this issue and other non-content issues such as study habits and cellphone usage. It is hoped that this will be a session where participants will share with each other strategies that they use.
Rich Spindler currently is a member of the Mathematics Department. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Online, Bemidji State University, Vermont Common School, and in summer Gifted/Talented programs. Before teaching, Rich held a variety of jobs in electrical engineering or as a computer programmer/data manager. These were for a diverse set of organizations including AT&T Bell Labs, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Department of Health, and the Vermont Department of Health. Rich’s passion in teaching is promoting active learning environments for students both in and out of the classroom.
Ethics Institute Pedagogy Colloquies
Teaching Workshop: North Country “Nudges:” Helping Under-Prepared Students Become More Actively Engaged in the Classroom
In this highly interactive workshop, Jessamyn Neuhaus draws on the scholarship of teaching and learning and on participants’ own wisdom of practice to help faculty members prepare for, recognize, and effectively reduce predictable student passivity and resistance to active learning in our classrooms. Taking into account our student body as well every instructor’s own embodied identity and unique teaching context, Jessamyn will offer participants a range of easy-to-implement “nudges” and inclusive teaching strategies for building academic equity and helping students become more actively engaged in the classroom setting.
Jessamyn Neuhaus is a professor of U.S. history and popular culture at SUNY Plattsburgh and the Teaching Fellow at Plattsburgh’s Center for Teaching Excellence. She is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and author of Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to be Effective Teachers, published in the West Virginia University Press series on teaching in higher education, edited by James M. Lang. In addition to two historical monographs, Jessamyn has published pedagogical, historical, and cultural studies research in numerous anthologies and journals and regularly gives public presentations and workshops on teaching. Visit her website geekypedagogy.com and find her on Twitter @GeekyPedagogy.
Teaching Workshops: Get Your Students off their Devices and into the Thinking of your Discipline!
Facilitated by Kimberly Van Orman. Kimberly Van Orman in an instructional consultant with the Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership at the University at Albany, these two workshops focus on effective course design, critical thinking, fostering student engagement, inclusive teaching and helping students with deep learning practices, including Team-Based Learning (TBL). Dr. Van Orman has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University at Albany and has taught philosophy at institutions including the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution, Siena College and Bennington College.
Disconnect to Connect: Using the Research on Multitasking to Help get Students off their Phones
We are often frustrated by our students’ struggles to disconnect from their phones and laptops in the classroom. Student learning is frustrated, too: multitasking results in scattered attention, superficial processing, and the repetition and strengthening of shallow cognitive habits. But there are effective ways for instructors to reach and teach these students. This highly interactive session shows participants how to: productively respond to multitasking students, create activities that require students to question their device use, and help students develop research-based, intentional plans for disconnecting.
Engage to Disengage: Designing Dynamic Discussions
What do students learn from discussion? Not much, unless you've constructed a dynamic situation that guarantees they will engage in independent, analytical thinking. There are two key elements necessary to getting there: carefully designed discussion questions that give students something significant and concrete to chew on and a mechanism for getting students to interact with one another and with you. In this session, we will examine and discuss why and how classroom discussions go well (or don’t go well) in our courses. Participants will learn and experience strategies for designing and managing discussions that can be adapted to any classroom situation.
iGen: 2 Parts
In past two years (and especially last semester) our students in class demonstrate passivity, addiction to technology, lack of social skills, and more. Of course, this is a generalization, as is the labeling of any group. As much as we are reluctant to lump this generation into one category, it does appear that iGen (born roughly 1995–2013) has certain characteristics, both weaknesses and strengths. This is not an issue unique to Plattsburgh; there is a great deal of literature that seeks to identify and address the concerns these characteristics raise for teaching these students in college. You can access a great deal of information on this topic on the CTE website, but there is nothing like an in-person conversation to clarify the issues and stimulate ideas. These two workshops will seek to identify what the characteristics and concerns (and potential strength) are, and to construct strategies to address them.
Whether you have been teaching for many years or a few, it is always helpful to have an opportunity to review the fundamental best practices of excellent teaching. In this workshop we will review the established best practices in course design, assessment, lecturing, classroom management, teaching persona, and use of multimedia and presentation software. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own techniques to offer to a collaborative discussion.
CTE Express: 5 Things You Need to Know Right Now About iGen
CTE Express — information sessions of 30 minutes or less — offers busy faculty a quick and easy way to learn about new pedagogical research. Led by Jessamyn Neuhaus, this session on iGen/Gen Z draws on published scholarship, the work of the CTE Faculty Learning Community, and our observations of today’s SUNY Plattsburgh students during teaching consultations and classroom visits. It will also give you three specific suggestions for what everyone can do to facilitate iGen student learning.
Delivering Course Design
Your syllabus is written, your texts are in, you know your material. You’ve done this before. So why not start thinking about how to improve the delivery of your content? It’s bad practice (and bad manners) to change course requirements during the semester, but there is nothing wrong with adapting to the various factors that affect your students’ learning and your teaching as you are working your way through the course. The purpose of this workshop is to give you tools for effective improvement of teaching techniques throughout the semester.
The Learning Brain
Current research on the brain has yielded information that can have significant impact on how we design courses and teach our content. What is particularly helpful is understanding how the brain processes information through the various layers of memory, vision, and emotion. We will review some of the literature of neuroscience and discuss how what scientists are learning about the brain can inform how we are teaching.
The Drive to Learn: Fostering Intrinsic Motivation
A workshop on matching learning objectives and assignments in a way that emphasizes what motivates students to become responsible learners. We will also talk about the particular characteristics of our students and the challenges of helping them developing intrinsic motivation.
Everything is going well in your class, and you feel pretty confident about your students’ learning and their engagement in the classroom; then spring break happens. They come back and seem to have not been energized by their break, but enervated by it. Each semester has its rhythm and during the spring semester the students seem particularly vulnerable to the pull of the change in weather and the expectation of a summer break that involves working, traveling, vacationing, and probably not much of academics. Let’s talk about strategies for conquering the mid-semester blues and ensuring that the second half of the semester is as productive as the first!
Finding Meaning in the COS
This is a workshop on how to interpret and respond to course opinion surveys. The purpose of this workshop is to give you the tools to understand the elements of the student surveys that are most relevant to efficacy in teaching and suggestions on how to address those elements in a productive way and sustained way.
Student Engagement: Two Parts
A common source of frustration for faculty these days is the passivity of students in the classroom. I share this frustration. It is very demoralizing to walk into a classroom with a passion for one’s discipline and feel as though that passion and energy is disappearing into a black hole of disinterest. At the very least, it makes teaching less enjoyable, and at worst, there is the concern that our students are not learning. What engages or engaged you as a student? You don’t have to be an entertainer to keep students’ attention and encourage them to work in your class. Students tend to be more engaged with course materials and activities when they clearly see the relevance to their own interests, when they are appropriately challenged, and when they have a clear sense of what is expected of them and how they will be assessed.
These two workshops address the core structure of a face to face classroom: the lecture, and the assignments and activities. We will work together to understand how to construct and deliver lectures that engage and instruct, and how to design complementary assignments and activities that reinforce the instruction in a manner that takes into account the characteristics of Generation Z.
Hotshot: Victoria Reynolds — Motivation & Assessment
Augmentative and alternative communication refers to any mode of communication that replaces or supplements speech, such as sign language, a text-to-speech app or a communication board. It is an important area of speech pathology practice, yet students traditionally find it a difficult area to master. Further, while the issue of physical accessibility is widely-known in the community, communication accessibility is not. I’ve tried to solve the problem of student engagement by recruiting them to a social justice cause, all from the comfort of their own classroom, and with a little help from some friends.
Joining the Common Problem Project
The Common Problem Project, which has been running for three years now in collaboration with three other SUNY campuses, Oneonta, Oswego, and Cortland, has been re-infused with a new, NSF grant award. Right now, we are completing the last year funded by the SUNY Improvement Grant, and we will have a number of faculty participating in the fall. The next round will have faculty specifically from STEM partnering with Humanities faculty/classes. Course development would take place in the fall of 2018 (for which faculty will receive a stipend) and the collaborative teaching will begin in spring, 2018.
The project entails faculty partnering to engage your students with a common problem, providing them with the opportunity to use problem-based learning techniques and to work together to solve a problem from the unique perspective of their disciplines. This pedagogical experiment can be a way to really address multiple facets of the challenges we face with this generation of students.
Problem Based Learning
In PBL classrooms, rather than spending time memorizing blocks of information, students learn the basics by working on problems. PBL give students the opportunity to learn content through analysis and application. As a learner-centered pedagogy, PBL is a prime candidate for a teaching technique that encourages students to take responsibility for their learning in a process of intellectual struggle with their peers. In this way, they learn autonomy, resilience, and how to interact positively with others. This problem-based learning workshop will offer both the theoretical foundations for PBL, as well as specific techniques for implementing it in your classroom. Beware: this is not for the faint of heart. PBL requires that, to some extent, you step aside and let learning happen without you running interference.
Moodle Design for Student Engagement
While it is perfectly acceptable to use Moodle in a basic formatting fashion, don’t you wish your sites had some personality and style? If you consider your course site to be an extension of your own teaching and classroom, why not make it as inviting and accessible as possible? In this workshop I will show you how to make your Moodle course as efficient as possible and give it a shine that welcomes your students to the process of learning outside of the classroom.
OER: Open Educational Resources
Open educational resources (OERs) are freely available and openly licensed teaching and learning materials that include everything from full textbooks to quiz banks to student study aids. SUNY Plattsburgh is participating in a state funded effort to increase OER adoption at public universities in the state with a program to be announced this spring. In this workshop you will learn how to use OERs and why their use makes strong pedagogical sense.