News & Announcements

YES YOU CAN: Strategies for Implementing PBL & Cases in a Large Class (and Small Ones Too)

Mark your calendar for a seminar on integrating problem-based learning (PBL) and case studies into large and small classrooms. The seminar will be given by Dr. Patricia Marsteller from Emory University. Marsteller has been a pioneer in implementation of these practices in the Life Sciences for decades. The seminar is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. on Friday, October 5th in 5 HHD.

There will be several opportunities to meet with Dr. Marsteller. Message Glenna Malcolm if you are interested in participating in one of the sessions below.

Thursday, October 4

  • 3:30 - 5:00 p.m., 30-45 minute meeting time slots
  • 6:00 p.m., Dinner (up to 4 people), sponsored by CESE

Friday, October 5

  • 8:00 a.m., Breakfast (up to 2 people), Nittany Lion Inn
  • 9:00 - 10:30 a.m., 30-45 minute meeting time slots
  • 12:10 - 1:30 p.m., Lunch (up to 2 people)
  • 1:30 - 5:00 p.m., 30-45 minute meeting time slots
  • 6:00 p.m., Dinner (up to 4 people), sponsored by Biology

Special thanks to the Department of Biology and Center for Excellence in Science Education (CESE) for sponsoring this seminar.

Cruz Joins Schreyer Institute for Teaching and Learning

Laura Cruz (PhD, University of California at Berkeley, 2001) joins the Schreyer Institute of Teaching Excellence as an associate research professor of Teaching and Learning Scholarship. Portrait of Laura CruzHer new role is to heighten awareness of a growing body of research in teaching and learning in higher education, with particular attention to supporting faculty and programs who are interested in turning the work they do in the classroom into published scholarship. Over the years, Dr. Cruz has worked with hundreds of faculty to develop research projects leading to presentations, publications, external grants, and advanced insight into both comprehensive and disciplinary-based pedagogical practice.

Prior to coming to Penn State, Dr. Cruz served as the Director of the Centers for Teaching and Learning at both Tennessee Tech University and Western Carolina University. She has held multiple leadership positions in the field of educational development, including an elected term on the governing board of the professional society for faculty developers and service as editor of To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development.

Her extensive list of publications include work in her first discipline (history) as well as the areas of course and program design, educational technology, educational development, and emerging forms of scholarship. She has been a frequent invited speaker in the areas of organizational development, teaching and learning by design, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Her most recent book, Taking Flight: Making Your Center for Teaching and Learning Soar, is currently under contract with Stylus press.

Tool for creating diverse student teams

One of the most common reasons for implementing group or team assignments is that many work environments require employees to work effectively in teams that includes members that may come from across the globe. Students who can work well with others and communicate about it may have an advantage in the job market. Plus, it is far better for them to learn these skills before their salary depends on it!

Dr. Micah Modell, assistant professor in the Department of Technology and Society at the State University of New York (SUNY) Korea, recently posted about his use of Diversity Points to help students create teams that directly address one of the primary reasons that faculty use teams in their courses—the ability to effectively work with team members with backgrounds or experiences, while still giving them some control over the team. Each team receives points for different types of attributes (e.g., state, country, gender, major, age). He lets students create their own teams if they meet a minimum diversity threshold. He uses CoLab.online to preserve student privacy and calculate Diversity Points. He hopes this, along with other methods and content, helps students to actively seek out and value diversity.

Applications Accepted for Research Assistant

The Schreyer Institute has an opening for an hourly (10 hrs/week) Research Assistant for the fall 2018 semester (with a possibility of continuing in spring 2019). This position will focus on supporting the work of the Faculty Development Resources (FDR) working group, which is part of Penn State's Transforming Education strategic goal.

Responsibilities include:

  • Conducting semi-structured face-to-face or video interviews (using the FDR interview protocol) with faculty from multiple Penn State locations and varied disciplines
  • Reviewing interviews for accuracy (after processing by transcription service) and conduct qualitative analysis of interview transcript data
  • Conducting a systematic, comprehensive literature review related to entry points and pathways faculty members take to improve and/or innovate teaching teaching and students' learning (with and without technology and across multiple instructional modes)
  • Benchmarking with other institutions, including our Big Ten peers, about whether and how they provide a centralized resource for faculty development information, people, services, and technology
  • Supporting the work of the FDR working group, including attending and contributing to group meetings

Visit Penn State Job #82632 to apply. Please include your cover letter describing experience with conducting interviews and analyzing qualitative data, CV and contact information only for two academic references familiar with your research skills. Preference is given to graduate students. Review of applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

To Teach is to Learn: Denise Ogden, professor of marketing at Penn State Lehigh Valley, shares a message from a memorable former professor

In this podcast, Dr. Denise Ogden shares a message from a memorable former professor who kept reiterating "good enough is not good enough." This message truly inspired Dr. Ogden, who puts that message into action by never settling for "good enough" and trying always to do more than what is expected. As an award-winning professor at Penn State, she brings that lesson to her students.

One of the strategies she brings to her classroom is spend a lot of time really thinking about the course structure, and what she wants to accomplish. She contemplates deeply what she wants the students to get out of each class.

Dr. Ogden develops rubrics so that students clearly understand the objectives. Setting standards is another important goal she brings to every course. In addition to these things, she tries to bring a sense of fun to the course.

An example of a fun activity she has brought is a review of literature assignment. Students really struggled with the initial literature review assignment, because, admittedly, she says the assignment could be a bit dry and a challenge. She wondered how she could bring some fun to it. Since the material centered around the course topic of negotiation, what Dr. Ogden did is have students find a scene in a movie that had negotiation skills and apply the lessons of negotiation, such as integrative negotiation to the movie scene. She called it "Edutainment" and believes that it resonates well with students who crave a fun and stimulating classroom experience.

Listen to the conversation with Ogden. This podcast is part of the To Teach is to Learn series produced by Nichola Gutgold. You can find the full collection by searching Gutgold in the Schreyer Institute's Tools & Resources Repository.

Say “Yes, and” to the new Improv & Pedagogy Faculty Learning Group!

Following the huge response to last year’s SITE-sponsored “Improving Pedagogy through Improv Theatre” seminar, we are pleased to continue supporting the organizer’s efforts through their Improv & Pedagogy Faculty Learning Group!

The group meets three times a semester in 102 Kern from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fall 2018 dates are:

  • Friday, September 14
  • Friday, October 19
  • Friday, December 7

At these lunches, participants will chat about improv & pedagogy, and you may be invited to perform! This is a no-pressure environment and is a ton of fun.

Lunch is included! Participants can come for all or part of the festivities!

We are pleased to offer funding to support groups of faculty who regularly engage in discussions of teaching and learning topics or issues. Funding is available for start-up or existing groups. Visit our Faculty Teaching Community (FTC) Grant page to learn how to start your own group!

Four Horsemen of the Teaching Apocalypse

Marie K. Norman, PhD and Michael Bridges, PhD, March 1, 2018

The Teaching Professor recently republished this article as a timely reminder for instructors at the beginning of the academic year. Norman and Bridges suggest that four common issues “undermine students’ learning, motivation, and morale” and “compromise the effectiveness of even seasoned teachers.”

In this brief, easy to read article, the authors identify the issues, discuss relevant research, and provide guidance for avoiding these pitfalls.

Fall training sessions provide resources to optimize courses

This fall, IT Learning and Development is offering several training sessions for faculty and staff who are looking to enhance their course content in Canvas.

All training sessions listed below will be offered online via Zoom, enabling faculty and staff to attend from anywhere in the Penn State system. If a session is full, you may still request that session. If space becomes available, you may become enrolled in the workshop, or another session may be added based upon waitlist demand.

Canvas: Using the Gradebook
Monday, September 17, 1:00-3:30 p.m. EDT or Tuesday, September 18, 9:00-11:30 a.m. EDT

This hands-on workshop will prepare participants in using the Canvas Gradebook for recording and reporting student course grades. Participants will be guided through the steps for setting up and maintaining a gradebook, ensuring assignments appear in the gradebook as desired, and using the gradebook to record and modify grades. Register and learn more information

Canvas: Optimizing Canvas Courses for Accessibility
Tuesday, September 25 9:00-11:30 a.m. EDT

This hands-on workshop will prepare participants using Canvas to optimize their content for accessibility. Participants will be guided through the steps for identifying areas of content to optimize, optimizing content when using the Rich Content Editor, creating extended deadlines for quiz and assignment submissions, and utilizing recommended guidelines for optimizing quizzes for accessibility. Register and learn more information

Canvas: Creating & Delivering Effective Content
Tuesday, October 9, 1:00-3:30 p.m. EDT or Wednesday, October 10, 9:00-11:30 a.m. EDT

This hands-on workshop will guide participants through the options for delivering course content through Canvas. Participants in this workshop will learn how to create and manage Modules and Pages through hands-on practice and facilitated exploration of Canvas’s related features and options. Register and learn more information

Canvas Brown Bag: Quizzes and Grading for Large Enrollment Classes
Wednesday, October 17 12:00-1:00 p.m. EDT

In this brown bag, learn and discuss tips and tricks for addressing common issues. You will walk away with new ideas for assessing, grading, and providing feedback to your students in your large (more than 50 students) enrollment courses. Register and learn more information

Canvas: An Introduction
Wednesday, November 7 10:00-11:00 a.m. EDT

In this discussion-oriented seminar, participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of Canvas at Penn State and will examine the best uses of the tool for teaching and learning. Register and learn more information

Canvas: Creating Assignments & Quizzes
Wednesday, November 14 9:00-11:30 a.m. EDT

This hands-on workshop will prepare participants to design and deliver assessments through Canvas. Participants will be guided through the steps to creating assignments and quizzes, selecting assignment and quiz settings, and adding questions to a quiz. Participants will also explore assessment options and settings within Canvas, including settings for question display, interaction, review, and feedback. Register and learn more information

Canvas Brown Bag: Transition Your Course to a New Semester
Thursday, November 29 12:00-1:00 p.m. EDT

This one-hour demonstration will outline tasks to complete in your courses at the end of the current semester and the beginning of a new semester to make the transition to each new term as smooth as possible. You will review both essential and recommended tasks along with how-to resources and suggested timelines. Participants will leave with practical strategies to enhance their existing course management and organization strategies in Canvas. Register and learn more information

SRTEs Go Mobile!

This semester students can choose to submit SRTEs using the new mobile friendly web version for phones and tablets. No app download is necessary, upon sign-in students will see this option when they have active SRTEs to complete. Students may find it convenient to respond to open-ended questions using the voice-recognition built into their mobile devices.

Screen shot of mobile icon from SRTE tool. 
Screen shot of Mobile SRTE icon.

When students choose the mobile option, they will see only one question at a time, rather than the entire SRTE form on their screens.

The regular web version SRTE is still available for students with laptops or without mobile devices.

Faculty will also be able to use the mobile version to check response rates for courses with active SRTEs. Those faculty who are concerned about response rates will be interested in taking advantage of this new functionality by asking students with mobile devices to complete their SRTEs during class.

Faculty: please remember that if you set aside class time for students to complete the SRTE, you need to leave the room.

Workshops & Seminars

11/6/2018, Noon - 1:15 p.m.
11/7/2018, 10:00 - 11:15 a.m.
11/8/2018, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
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