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.

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.

Developing Test Items for Course Examinations

IDEA Paper #70 • June 2018 • Thomas M. Haladyna • Arizona State University

Abstract: Writing multiple-choice test items to measure student learning in higher education is a challenge. Based on extensive scholarly research and experience, the author describes various item formats, offers guidelines for creating these items, and provides many examples of both good and bad test items. He also suggests some shortcuts for developing test items. All of this advice is based on extensive scholarly research and experience. Creating valid multiple-choice items is a difficult task, but it contributes greatly to the teaching and learning process for undergraduate, graduate, and professional-school courses.

Visit IDEA's website to read the full article.

2018-19 Teaching Transformation & Innovation Grants Awards Announced

The fall 2018 semester is rapidly approaching and preparations are well underway by our 2018-19 Teaching Transformation & Innovation Grant recipients. Our RFP yielded a banner number of submissions and we are very pleased with the breadth in both discipline and location, read on to learn more about this year's projects.

If you have a project you'd like us to consider, visit our Teaching Transformation & Innovation Grants page to learn more.

  • Project Title: Design based collaborative projects in freshman and sophomore engineering courses
    Asad Azemi, Engineering, Penn State Brandywine
    Ivan Esparragoza, Engineering, Penn State Brandywine

    The goal of this project is to expose freshmen and sophomore students to an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset using a problem-based learning approach through multi-phase projects that require using an engineering design process. These projects, depending on the course level, involve different levels of difficulty and are designed as a continuation of three big projects (self-driving model car, quadcopter, and under-water remote operated vehicle). The project starts with introducing engineering students to the engineering design process in the first-year seminar course with limited hands-on activities geared toward starting one of the projects and continues into other courses. The collaborative projects have been designed with the intention of increasing learning through collaboration among students and faculty. The projects also encourage teamwork, promote analytical skills, and emphasize the importance of communication skills.
  • Project Title: Food product design
    Daniel Azzara, Agricultural Economy, Sociology, and Education, College of Agricultural Sciences
    Ramaswamy Anantheswaran, Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences

    This course provides upper-level undergraduate students in the Food Science major with a formal learning experience in new product design (NPD). Working in small groups, students will use their foundation in basic food science to address a new product challenge of interest to the food industry and provided by an industry sponsor or other client. Students will be grouped and will complete their NPD experience based on one of the challenges provided. They will rely on knowledge gained in the Food Science curriculum and other areas deemed appropriate by the instructor. They will design and produce an actual new product prototype that will be evaluated by the course instructor, sponsor and qualified individuals. While a large percentage of the work will be performed independently by the student group and under the mentorship of an industry member, client or associated course instructor. Additionally, all students will meet with the course instructor on a weekly basis.
  • Project Title: From classroom to boardroom: connecting the dots
    Somjit Barat, Marketing, Penn State Mont Alto

    Key learning objectives for this course are applying concepts discussed in class to the solution of business/marketing situations and synthesizing components of the course material to devise strategic marketing and business decisions. Arguably, it is challenging to muster such concepts within the confines of the classroom; therefore, students will visit the Harley-Davidson, Utz Quality Foods, Snyder's of Hanover and Martin's Potato Chips factories in the York business district. In guided tours geared towards learners, students will be better able to achieve the course objectives. Students can immerse themselves in activities and simulation events, featuring unprecedented access to operations, strategies and business practices—all under detailed supervision of a trained company representative and will give students a dose of reality even before they graduate, enhancing their self-confidence.
  • Project Title: Supplementing surveying engineering laboratories with virtual reality
    Dimitrios Bolkas, Engineering and Computer Sciences, Penn State Wilkes-Barre
    Jeffrey Chiampi, Computer Sciences, Penn State Wilkes-Barre

    Surveying engineering laboratories include indoor and outdoor activities. Outdoor activities are weather dependent and canceling such activities due to inclement weather is common, which disrupts the educational process. At Penn State Wilkes-Barre, canceling 1-3 labs per course due to weather is common. This reduces the time students spend with surveying instruments, which limits their experience and skills with surveying practices and techniques. This project will use virtual reality as a means for supplementing surveying engineering labs. Through virtual reality, we can create realistic labs and integrate them with real-world labs. By recording the virtual environment, instructors will be able to assess students’ skills, approach, and methodology when collecting data and provide constructive feedback. Thus, students will gain invaluable experience and improve their preparedness for the job market while instructors will gain a powerful teaching tool.
  • Project Title: 3D manipulative kits for a Calculus class
    Alison Bonner, Mathematics, Penn State Lehigh Valley
    Eileen Grodziak, Technology Services, Penn State Lehigh Valley

    Most science and all engineering majors require a C or better grade in Math140: Calculus with Analytical Geometry I. For many students, attaining this achievement becomes a roadblock to their desired major. Anecdotal observations show that students respond positively to techniques that are used in programs of study for developmental math. These techniques include peer group learning, collaborative quizzes, guided lesson plans, more frequent testing, math study skill development and hands-on manipulatives. As a further step, hands-on manipulatives and guided lessons using graphing technology could enhance student conceptualization of several Math 140 course objectives. However, these items are not available from education material suppliers for calculus classes.

    This project focuses on creating 3D printed hands-on manipulative kits for students and assessing the effectiveness of the activities and kits through a student pilot work-group. The hands-on manipulatives provide a physical representation of a concept that students can view, touch and maneuver as desired. The end goal is to provide a calculus workbook of activities with the manipulative kits that will engage students and help them transform their learning into a successful outcome.
  • Project Title: Using eye tracking technology to improve the efficiency of learning to operate
    Amanda Cooper, Department of Surgery, Penn State Hershey Medical Center
    Steven Allen, Trauma Surgery, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

    Eye tracking glasses will be used to compare gaze patterns of experienced and novice surgeons during laparoscopic cholecystectomies. First, gaze patterns of experienced surgeons will be determined. Gaze patterns of novice surgeons will be compared to the experienced surgeons. We hypothesize that novice surgeons can learn to perform a laparoscopic cholecystectomy more quickly and efficiently if they view the surgical field like experienced surgeons. The hypothesis will be tested by analyzing gaze patterns of novice surgeons during laparoscopic cholecystectomies over a 10-month period. Novice surgeons will be randomized so half will receive feedback on how their gaze patterns compare to those of experienced surgeons, the other half will receive standard verbal feedback. After 10 months, gaze patterns of both novice groups of surgeons will be compared to those of experienced surgeons. We will also compare attending surgeon ratings of the performance of the two groups of novice surgeons.
  • Project Title: Expanding capacity in brewing sciences instruction at Penn State
    Ryan Elias, Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences
    Christopher Sigler, Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences
    Josephine Wee, Food Science, College of Agricultural Sciences

    Pennsylvania is home to the nation’s 4th largest craft brewing industry, with an economic impact of nearly $2 billion. Penn State serves this industry in several ways, most significantly in terms of educating its future leaders through our undergraduate program in Food Science. Bachelor's degree candidates in our program receive first rate training in the fundamentals of food science (i.e., chemistry, microbiology, engineering, food processing), but their exposure to brewing science specifically is limited to a single lecture unit and related laboratory exercise in their senior year. We consistently hear from our students that more extensive exposure to brewing science and practical beer production would be valuable. This project will strengthen Penn State's existing infrastructure in brewing science through the purchase of modern, pilot scale beer production equipment, and allow us to significantly expand our brewing science curriculum.
  • Project Title: Lived experience as text: Creating and performing Hip Hop Theatre
    A. Kikora Franklin, Theatre, College of Arts and Architecture

    This project will enable students in THEA 420, Advanced Scene Study, to experience, evaluate, and create their own piece of theatre inspired by the languages, histories, and social/political circumstances that gave birth to, and continue to breathe life into, a quintessentially American art form—Hip Hop. Funding will help students explore theatre through a Hip-Hop Theatre focus, a fresh, cutting-edge, cross-cultural perspective that challenges the traditional notions of the "well-made" play. Using this research and their own lived experiences as the foundation, students will devise an original work that will be performed as a culminating project at the end of the semester. Students will engage with visiting guest artists at Penn State and travel to New York to experience Hip Hop culture directly.
  • Project Title: Student-generated video tutorials for laboratory preparation in BIOL 129
    Lisa Mangel, Biology, Penn State Erie
    Tinukwa Bouder, Instructional Designer, Penn State Erie
    Qi Dunsworth, Instructional Designer, Penn State Erie

    The purpose of this project is to expose students enrolled in a 4 credit, 6 hour BIOL 129 Mammalian Anatomy course (2 hr. lecture and 4 hr. lab) to effective lab preparation techniques and information needed to complete anatomy lab assignments successfully. This project addresses two key problems:
    1. students' unpreparedness when completing labs
    2. students' lack of knowledge on how to approach and complete lab assignments self-sufficiently

    The instructor will address identified problems using collaborative learning and multimedia. Students will work in teams to create video tutorials that focus on:
    1. anatomy topic
    2. lab prep
    3. equipment
    4. usage
    5. demonstration of a plan of action

    This project will be implemented in one section of BIOL 129 in fall 2018. A total of 24 students divided into six teams consisting of four students will be assigned a lab and given access to lab equipment in advance to create short video tutorials for the class.
  • Project Title: Transforming clinical nursing education
    Delores McCreary, Nursing, Penn State Altoona
    Cindy Bowman, Nursing, Penn State Altoona
    Elizabeth Gatchell, Nursing, Penn State Altoona
    Jill Kargo, Nursing, Penn State Altoona
    Suzanne Kuhn, Nursing, Penn State Altoona
    Christine McCombie, Nursing, Penn State Altoona

    The goal of this project is to transform clinical nursing education by promoting critical thinking and clinical reasoning, while reducing the burden of required written assignments outside of the clinical experience. Hosting the nationally known speaker, author and consultant, Dr. Linda Caputi, will assist faculty in accomplishing the project goal. Caputi has extensive experience as a nurse educator and has developed the Caputi Model for Clinical Education©. She believes that one of the major challenges facing nursing education today is how to teach students to "think like a nurse." Dr. Caputi's model for teaching clinical reasoning is practical and easy to implement. While at Penn State Altoona, Dr. Caputi will present multiple workshops which will be open to nursing faculty from all campuses that offer the pre-licensure nursing program. Collaboration with all campuses will facilitate transformation of clinical nursing education across the entire College of Nursing.
  • Project Title: Integration of virtual reality and 3D environments to enhance mathematics learning
    Larry Musolino, Mathematics, Penn State Lehigh Valley

    This project will integrate Virtual Reality (VR) and Virtual Learning exploration as a powerful learning experience for students to enhance mathematics courses such as Calculus. The use of VR and immersive 3D environments will allow concepts to come to life for students and promote a deeper fundamental understanding of important mathematical concepts. For example, a VR 3D roller coaster ride can be used to demonstrate calculus concepts such as the derivatives, tangent lines, increasing/decreasing functions and so on. These visualization tools allow instructors to create new models for student understanding by taking existing teaching methods and pairing them with state of the art visualization tools to improve student comprehension of difficult math concepts, especially for those where a graphical or visual understanding enhances student learning. In addition, students will be challenged to create their own VR learning environments and share with other students.
  • Project Title: "Facing Displacement: Writing (in) Transit"–a mobile writing lab
    Lee Peterson, English, Penn State Altoona

    How do we write for the 21st century in the academy? "Facing Displacement: Writing (in) Transit" ventures an answer in the form of a course based on a combination of scholarly inquiry and creative writing in conjunction with travel to two cities, posing different questions regarding forced migration at each. The conjoined courses aim to help students develop into competent, alert researchers in the academic and literary conversations surrounding refugees and displacement (3-credit thematic course) and to write creatively in a range of voice carefully attuned to people, site and self as a way of shaping their ideas (1-credit creative writing class). The latter is envisioned as a sequence of mobile writing labs to Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, asking students to com-pose, to "put together" through the practice of acute listening, gathering, finding, interrogating and forming. SITE's grant supporting the writing lab portion will allow its institutionalization.
  • Project Title: Improving student intuition of radiative heat exchange
    Matthew Rau, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering

    An in-class learning project will provide students with a real-world radiation heat transfer experience. A radiation emitter and a radiation detector will be used to directly illustrate the physical link between radiation intensity and four relevant parameters: emitter surface properties, emitter temperature, viewing angle of the detector, and distance between the emitter and detector. Following an introduction to radiation theory in prior lectures, students will work in teams of four to investigate the effects of each parameter. The course instructor will first acquire the relevant measurements with the equipment as an in-class demonstration. This measurement strategy will accommodate a large class size (~90 students). Each team will then work to provide the theoretical analyses to match the measured values. Duration of the project will be over two class sessions and conclude with each team turning in their analyses followed by a discussion of limitations.
  • Project Title: DuBois Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program video/reflective learning project
    Barbara Reinhard, Health and Human Development, Penn State DuBois
    Holly Tkacik, Health and Human Development, Penn State DuBois

    The PTA program faculty developed a reflective learning project utilizing the creation and review of videos for skill development. The project was piloted in PT 100S and PT 384 in spring 2018 utilizing student and instructor personal cell phones. The reflective learning portion of the project requires the student to make a patient education video based on an assigned case study/scenario. The students then make a second video of themselves carrying out a treatment/assessment technique based on the case study. Students upload these videos to BOX, then view two of their classmates' videos and provide feedback. Finally, on the day of the faculty-graded skill assessment, a video is made of the student while they complete the skill. The instructor reviews the video to verify objective grading and then uploads the video to BOX for the individual student to review and complete a reflective self-evaluation.
  • Project Title: Documentary video series on Buddhism and healthcare in Philadelphia's Asian communities
    Pierce Salguero, History and Religious Studies, Penn State Abington

    This project will produce a series of short documentary videos about Philadelphia's multiethnic Buddhist institutions. In 2016–17, a small grant from the Penn State Center for Student Engagement in Philadelphia provided funding for a website to house oral history interviews, photographs, and audiovisual recordings collected by the spring 2018 RLST 105 class. Building on this ethnographic project will be a major part of Penn State Abington's RLST 104 and 105 classes moving forward. SITE's funding will support the production of a series of short (~3 min) documentary films to introduce students to the ethnographic field, to discuss some of the major practices at the local temples, and to model audio-video and interview techniques. These videos will be instrumental in preparing students before they begin doing their own research. As they will also be made public via the website, these videos will also support other courses in Asian Studies, American Studies, and Health across the Penn State system and beyond.
  • Project Title: Use of avatars in a virtual reality lab to prepare preservice teachers to use evidence based practices
    Mary Catherine Scheeler, Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education, College of Education
    Kathleen McKinnon, Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education, College of Education
    Andy Marketz, Special Education, College of Education

    Imagine a teacher walking into a virtual reality simulator, quickly suspending disbelief, and engaging in instruction with five student avatars who interact with her in real time. She can practice the same skill until she gets it correct. The teacher wears a "bug" in her ear to receive immediate feedback from the instructor to maximize effectiveness. This is TeachLivE™ a virtual environment providing preservice teachers with multiple opportunities to practice specific skills in a controlled setting before teaching real students. It is modeled after use of simulators in other professions (e.g., medicine, business, law enforcement). The session is provided through a SKYPE/Zoom connection to an Interactor who brings avatars to life, taking the lead from the course instructor who provides lesson objectives in advance. In this project students will practice specific teaching skills in the simulator to attain mastery and fluency of the skills to aid in generalization to the real world.
  • Project Title: Pedagogical innovations for a globalized curriculum: A Penn State multi-campus teaching symposium
    Margaret Signorella, Psychology, Penn State Brandywine
    Veronica Montecinos, Sociology, Penn State Greater Allegheny

    A one-day symposium in May 2019 will gather faculty members from several Penn State campuses to discuss new and existing pedagogical approaches to internationalize the undergraduate curriculum. Based on the experience of the Teaching International program at Penn State Greater Allegheny, initiated in 2004, the symposium will be organized around three pillars:
    1. Inter- and intra-campus multidisciplinary collaboration strategies for the implementation of long-term curriculum internationalization models
    2. Approaches for the development of course content and student research projects focused on a common geographical area of the world (country, region or sub-region) and a common internationally-significant theme (i.e., UN Sustainable Development Goals related to inequality, health, or the environment)
    3. Discussion of possible general education integrative courses aimed at advancing curriculum internationalization
  • Project Title: Getting started: An interprofessional education workshop for educators in the health professions and related fields
    Melissa Snyder, Nursing, College of Nursing
    Kelly Karpa, Pharmacology, College of Medicine

    Interprofessional education (IPE) occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes (World Health Organization, 2018). Once students understand how to work interprofessionally, they are ready to enter the workplace as a member of the collaborative practice team. This is a key step in moving health care from fragmentation to a position of strength. Although educators recognize the importance of interprofessional education, they are frequently limited in their understanding of core concepts and strategies that can effectively be used to develop interprofessional learning activities. This workshop is designed to provide the foundational knowledge, skills, and immersive practice needed to equip educators in implementing interprofessional education programs. Workshop participants will form a dynamic, collaborative community of interprofessional educators across the University system.
  • Project Title: Physics 211; Physics 150; Physics 250; Physics 462
    Karl Trout, Mathematics, Penn State York

    It is important for students to make the connection between the learning done in the classroom and the real word. This project has students leave the classroom to investigate how well the basic physics they are learning matches the real world. Using the Apple iPad's built in accelerometer, students use downloadable apps to collect and analyze motion. Further, they use the iPad's built in video camera (capable of 120 frames per second with no special lighting requirements) to take video of motion and then use a downloadable app to assist in analyzing the motion. Student groups each investigate their own unique physical system. The labs may take a couple of weeks as they thoroughly analyze the motions and write their reports, especially in labs during the latter half of the semester as they know more of the basic laws of physics.

    This project has been successfully piloted during the spring 2018 semester at Penn State York in the Physics 211 lab by borrowing iPod Touches from the campus' Kinesiology department. Students were able to successfully accomplish the goals, including video analysis. However, it was extremely difficult for some students to use the small displays on the iPod Touches because plans presented here are compatible with iPads. This project intends to solve that problem by acquiring full-sized iPads and necessary apps to transform our students' physics lab experience. By the end of the semester, students will have more confidence in applying the laws of physics to everyday experiences, and they will have better appreciation of their pursuit to understand physics.
  • Project Title: Developing community health student nurses through a virtual platform
    Leslie Womeldorf, Nursing, College of Nursing
    Justina Ferguson, Nursing, Penn State Scranton
    Carolynn Masters, Nursing, Penn State Erie

    Didactic and clinical experiences provide opportunities to apply theoretical concepts to nursing practice. One educational strategy available for class and clinical is simulation. Simulation in nursing education includes a variety of activities in which learners experience actual or potential situations replicating what occurs during nursing practice (Meakim et al., 2013). The project's purpose is to explore the effectiveness of virtual simulation in meeting course objectives in the BSN Community and Family Health course. Accreditation requirements, viability of simulation as a learning strategy, and addressing challenges of access to meaningful clinical opportunities in the community setting are driving factors for this proposal. Three faculty will collaborate to incorporate a virtual simulation platform, Sentinel City, and implement its use in clinical and classroom learning. Faculty will measure student learning and student and faculty satisfaction.
  • Project Title: Data privacy, democracy, and the humanities
    Grant Wythoff, Psychology, Penn State Brandywine

    This project includes data privacy workshops for undergraduates that show the value of humanities perspectives on digital media today. Currently, there are no resources for undergrads, online or through the Penn State curriculum, addressing issues of privacy, surveillance, and social media practices. These workshops will pair hands-on lessons using students' own devices with concepts from philosophy, history, and media studies. These workshops will complement the website security.psu.edu, which lists best practices for campus-specific security (passwords, research data, email). Instead, they will address tactics for protecting personal data, blocking unwarranted surveillance, and leaving filter bubbles. As recently reported in the The New York Times, issues from gadget addiction to fake news have computer science programs around the country looking for ways to teach ethics and politics. These workshops will demonstrate what the humanities offers fraught conversations on digital culture today.
  • Project Title: Teaching with Doceri and Zoom in calculus courses
    Taoye Zhang, Mathematics, Penn State Scranton
    Griffith Lewis, Instructional Designer, Penn State Scranton

    It is usually hard for students to take good notes while trying to catch up with the instructor during a math class. Their notes are often incomplete—and sometimes incorrect. The purpose of the project is to record the class notes and live video via Doceri and Zoom for students. The Doceri files and Zoom video recordings will be posted in Canvas. This way students not only can have complete lecture notes, but can also enter the "virtual classroom" and watch the instruction as often as they like.

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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