Conference Proceedings

2017 CCTL Conference Schedule

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2017 CCTL Conference Abstracts

Academic Preparation for the Study Abroad: Striking the Right Balance

By Amelia Gallagher (Niagara University)

I would like to have a conversation with my colleagues at NU as well as other attendees of the CCTL conference about academic issues associated with faculty-led study abroad programs.   Last year, the CCTL committee helped support such a program that I undertook with Marian Granfield (REL/AHMS 240 “Art and Religion”, held in Rome from 22 May-2 June).  Professor Granfield and I both felt that when our students attended study abroad programs offered by other universities (or even by non-accredited institutions) the academic rigor was something that we simply had no concrete evidence of.  Based on this concern, we conceived of the Rome course with the high academic standards in mind.   I would like to use this course as a springboard to delve into such questions as:  “How much preparation is needed pre-trip?”; “What is a good way to handle assignments ‘on the road’?”; “What is the best way to choose applicants for the study-abroad course?”  These are a few of the questions we will discuss, with the objective of maximizing academic results during the study-abroad experience.


Active Learning Strategies in an Introductory Leadership Course

By Cathleen Morreale and Rebecca Rotundo (University at Buffalo)

Active learning is a learning approach that gives students control over their own learning experientially. The learner assumes primary responsibility for important learning decisions (e.g., choosing learning activities, monitoring and judging progress) (Bell & Kozlowski, 2008). It goes beyond simply “learning by doing” and focuses on a self-regulatory inductive learning process that promotes internalization of external knowledge (Frese, Brodbeck, Heinbokel, Mooser, Schleiffenbaum, Thiemann, 1991). Students engage in higher order thinking tasks, rather than just sitting and listening to lecture. This poster will share research that sought to identify how active learning strategies contribute to students meeting course learning outcomes in an introductory leadership course for incoming at-risk freshmen students. In particular, this research will focus on the use of technology, flipped classroom techniques, group work, and gamification. In addition, contemplative methods to promote active engagement were introduced to the students. Outcomes assessed included course learning objectives, class engagement, and course satisfaction.


Basic Digital Video Creation for Teaching and Learning

By Mark Gallimore (Canisius College)

Basic Digital Video Creation for Teaching and Learning


 The Benefits of Virtual Reality in Education

 By James Oigara and Leah MacVie (Canisius College)

In education, new technologies are used to improve the process of learning. Mobile has been one these technologies offerings educators a way to communicate with the students by using suitable applications for learning. Virtual reality (VR) and its use in education has long been discussed however, one of the main challenges is that VR was unaffordable for educational institutes. Today VR has evolved; the technology is up to date, cheaper and more accessible than it has ever been. This presentation examines the benefits of using Google Cardboard for educational applications in a physical geography course. This project evaluated 20 students through interviews and a survey. By analyzing the results, we have found that VR is especially effective in subjects where an interactive environment is needed. VR also offers an immersive experience, involvement and promoting active learning.


BINGO!: Assessment of Upper-level Undergraduate Information Literacy Skills

By Melissa Langridge and Bridget Doloresco (Niagara University)

Information literacy is often considered a general education goal in many higher education institutions. The pedagogical model explored in this session will be of use to librarians as well as teaching faculty as a way to assess what students know about research at the beginning of any upper-level course. The majority of Niagara University students are expected to complete a capstone or thesis project at the end of their senior term. These projects typically expect students to demonstrate the culmination of four years of learning, including expertise in research and critical thinking as applied to their major. Throughout the undergraduate experience, faculty call on librarians to collaborate on instruction as a way to prepare students for the expectations they must meet to complete this upper-level culminating activity. By senior year, some students have never used the library or its resources, while others have had multiple instructional experiences. This lesson, “Information Literacy Bingo,” incorporates pedagogical methods such as gamification and cooperative learning to ensure that all students have the skills required to complete an advanced research assignment.


 Breaking the Carnival Mirror: A classroom Exercise to Reassess Criminality

 By Kenneth R. Culton (Niagara University)

 In The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class and Criminal Justice, Reiman and Leighton (2010) make the case that the criminal justice system presents to us a carnival mirror-like image of what causes the greatest harm to society. The criminal justice system, through its policies and procedures, leads the public to conceive of a typical sort of crime committed by the typical criminal. The typical crime is thought to be person-to-person, violent, and carried out by the typical criminal. The typical criminal is assumed to be black, young, and urban. In opposition to this carnival mirror Reiman and Leighton lay out four (4) true causes of harm largely ignored by the system of criminal justice. They are, 1) the harm of workplaces; 2) the harm of healthcare; 3) the harm of environmental pollutants, and 4) the harm of poverty. The reflexive paper assignment presented here calls on students to reflect on their own family and/or personal experiences in order to answer the question, “From where does the greatest harm arise?” We find that through the process of answering this question and sharing findings in class students’ belief in the typical criminal/typical crime as a source of harm is challenged. Institutional forms of deviance and white-collar crime come to be seen as common sources of harm.


Challenges to Collaborative Learning: How Can We Make It More Inclusive?

By Robin Frye, Maria Barone, Nicholas Hammond, Sasha Eloi, and Melissa Raucci (University of Rochester)

Peer-led team learning (PLTL) is an established method of collaborative learning in STEM environments in higher education. Implementation of this method at our institution has been quite successful, with student attendance at PLTL sessions positively correlating with successful course outcomes (e.g., Platt, et al., 2008; Tien, et al., 2002). While PLTL broadly works well, our data suggest that, on average, underrepresented minority students (URMs) 1) attend fewer PLTL sessions than majority students, and 2) get lower final grades. Given that attending these sessions is significantly and positively associated with higher grades, we have begun investigating why minority students do not attend Workshops as often as majority students. We ran individual and focus group interviews with URM students in an attempt to identify barriers to participation in PLTL, and plan to use a Constructivist Grounded Theory approach (Charmaz, 2008) to analyze data and to inform development of a survey for further probing. Preliminary data review suggests that URM students experience issues around exclusion and low confidence that could contribute to their lower attendance. For either a round table discussion or panel presentation, we want to start a conversation about the research approach that we are using to assess the implementation of PLTL and begin a wider conversation about how to make collaborative learning broadly inclusive. We will use our interview data as the starting point. Our main goals for the discussion/presentation are: to share the strengths and limitations of our implementation of the PLTL model, to share the approach and preliminary results of our research aimed at identifying these limitations and to brainstorm ideas for making the PLTL model more inclusive.


Combining the Learning Space Rating System and FLEXSpace to Create Innovative Learning Spaces

By Rebecca Rotundo and Lisa Stephens (University at Buffalo)

The University at Buffalo recently used two open access tools to assist in planning the new Learning Design Studio.  The Learning Space Rating System (LSRS) is a quantitative system to benchmark the learning potential of active learning spaces, and FLEXspace – the Flexible Learning Environments eXchange is an open digital repository of leaning space exemplars and best practices to support campus planners, technology integrators and faculty (and academic technologists). In production now for less than two years, FLEXspace has grown to reach over 900 academic institutions across 34 countries viewing, sharing and showcasing content to help generate new ideas to support “technology in service of pedagogy”. The earliest version of this was designed by the A/V community in 2012 and was later expanded across several taxonomies to promote a better understanding of how campus stakeholders can engage in more productive, integrated planning. When FLEXspace and LSRS are combined a campus community has access to a powerful suite of master learning space planning tools to assist with peer benchmarking and to drive campus-driven consensus, which builds efficiency and trust. This presentation will showcase FLEXspace and explain how UB is using FLEXspace and the LSRS to create learning spaces that encourage collaboration, community and technological innovation.


Course Evaluation – A Return on the Investment

By Thomas Slomka and Cathleen Morreale (University at Buffalo)

 Universities collect course evaluations to for many reasons: accreditation compliance; tenure and promotion; faculty review, course, technology and learning space assessment; student, program and institutional learning outcomes; and departmental and institutional planning. While all of these are meaningful reasons to conduct course evaluations the fact of the matter is the data collected by the evaluation process is rarely used beyond the semester it is collected, is often filed away as evidence of compliance rarely to be seen again, and is almost never looked at in a longitudinal manner. Rarely are students given feedback on how their time invested in the evaluation process has impacted course, program, or institutional improvement and change. Most rare is the ability to students to directly access evaluation results to inform their own decision making process as they make course and program selections during their academic career. At UB we have begun a project to expose to students a sub set of course evaluation data about the faculty who teach and the courses available at the university. Our goals are to provide a tool for the students but to also track how they use it, whether the goals for their use have been met, and leverage that data to help inform our program assessment process. In this presentation we will present a brief history of course evaluation at UB and how recent changes in our approach has made this project possible. We will present an interface developed to provide this service and talk about the student developers who are working on it. We will review plans for development of our course evaluation process and tools to link evaluation data to assessment and learning activities at the university.


Dietetics and Adult Education 4 +1 Pathway: Leveraging Online Learning to Build an Undergraduate to Graduate Pipeline

By Andrea B. Nikischer and Carol DeNysschen (SUNY Buffalo State)

 In line with the 16th Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning theme "Cooperative and Collaborative Learning," this presentation will examine an innovative 4 + 1 pathway partnership at SUNY Buffalo State. The Departments of Health, Nutrition and Dietetics and Adult Education collaborated to create the Dietetics and Adult Education Accelerated Undergraduate to Graduate 4+1 Pathway, which allows students to complete their undergraduate and graduate degrees in 5 years. This joint program was established to support Registered Dietitians who are required to earn a master’s degree (by 2024) prior to entering the field. Students in the 4 + 1 pathway focus their adult education course work in ways that complement their content knowledge in dietetics and nutrition. The 4+1 Pathway provides qualified Dietetics and Nutrition undergraduate students a seamless entry into the M.S. in Adult Education program. The Adult Education program is 100% online, allowing students to complete their fifth year of study from any location in the United States or abroad. As many students seek to return to their home community and/or look outside of the college community for work after they graduate with their undergraduate degree, an online graduate program is the ideal partner for a 4 + 1 pathway. Students are able to remain engaged with their undergraduate institution while moving forward with their lives and careers. This presentation will examine the history, application procedures and curriculum map of the 4 + 1 pathway. Also included will be a discussion of advisement procedures, the online education methods utilized, and challenges and benefits for students, faculty and institutions.


Differentiated Instruction in the College Classroom

By Dianne S. McCarthy (SUNY Buffalo State)

 According to Carol Tomlinson, differentiated instruction is “an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for and attention to student differences in classrooms.”  Differentiated instruction is common in elementary and high school classes where teachers use small group work, multiple representations and variations in the instructional process to help students learn.  It is less common in the college classroom, but not undesirable or unnecessary. When teachers differentiate instruction students perform better.   Multiple instructional strategies and multiple means of illustrating learning are two ways of differentiating instruction for college students.  Small group work and flipped classroom experiences are also strategies for differentiation.   This session will describe a college professor’s belief in differentiated instruction, efforts to provide it in classes ranging from introductory to senior level courses in the major, and surveys of student participants on its level of success.


The Discover Niagara Project: An Interdisciplinary Approach

By Paula Kot, Jamie Carr, Thomas Chambers, and William Cliff (Niagara University)

This fall semester, four NU faculty members worked together on the ‘Discover Niagara’ project, a multidisciplinary, integrative learning project between the departments of English, Biology, and History in which students work collaboratively with each other and with faculty in each of the disciplines to analyze the effect of human interaction with Niagara Falls as a ‘natural wonder.’ In this panel presentation, we will share our goals, how we organized the project, the challenges, and assessment data about its effectiveness. The common goals for the project are: 1. To provide students with an experiential learning opportunity that engages them in the Niagara Falls region and develops their observational, reflective, synthesis and evaluative skills. 2. To analyze the relationship between humans and nature—whether therapeutic, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, economic—and to evaluate human interaction with the Falls as a ‘natural wonder’. Though each faculty member is teaching a course devoted to different disciplinary pursuits with individualized assignments and student learning outcomes, the pilot project includes a number of common components between the classes (but is also individually tailored within the context of each course). All students will: read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s travel essay “My Visit to Niagara” with comparison made to a contemporary essay on the Falls; take a coordinated excursion to the Falls for integrative on-site mini-lectures, first-person observation and reflective writing; view portrayals of Niagara Falls at the Castellani Art Museum, comparing artistic representations with one’s own experience of the physical setting of the Falls; and present, respond to, or discuss these experiences at a multidisciplinary student-led symposium.


Education that Makes a Difference- Unifying the Community to Support Athletes with Developmental Disabilities

 By Krista Vince Garland (Buffalo Sate) and Dennis Garland (Niagara University)

 The presenters will discuss components of a cross-disciplinary postsecondary course in Special Olympics Coaching and Game Management. Topics of discussion will include fostering university partnerships, elements of coaching individuals with developmental disabilities, and event planning. As a sister of an individual with a developmental disability, Eunice Kennedy Shriver observed that individuals with developmental disabilities lacked opportunities to engage in sports and physical activities. To ameliorate this, she then started a day camp at her home in Rockville, Maryland in 1962. Subsequently, Special Olympics has grown to an international organization with programs in 170 countries. For many of the youth and adult athletes, involvement in the programs provide opportunities for physical activity they might not otherwise encounter. Likewise, and for a multitude of reasons, there are often barriers that inhibit opportunities for social interactions among people with and without developmental disabilities. The program that will be discussed in this presentation involves partnerships among Special Olympics professionals, university faculty and students, K-12 practitioners, agency professionals, and other community members that work together to plan and implement a regional Special Olympics event. • Attendees will learn about the elements of developing the curriculum for the Special Olympics Coaching and Games Management course. • Attendees will learn how teaching university students from non-educational backgrounds are prepared to interact with athletes with developmental disabilities. • Attendees will learn about the community partnerships that are integral to the successful planning and implementation of a regional Special Olympics event. This proposal addresses how a diverse university student makeup and community stakeholders come together to provide an opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities to compete in a regional Special Olympics event.


Effective Teaching Teams

By Susan E. Mason, James J. Winkelman, Shanique G. Service, and Alize A. Rosado (Niagara University)

Faculty members who have been involved in team teaching may describe the experience as the best classroom experience they have had, or the worst. Similarly, the students in a team-taught class may be laudatory of the approach or critical. When is team teaching most effective? We review various models of team teaching and consider the factors that influence learning outcomes. Important factors include: characteristics of the teachers. Those teaching may have similar, complementary, or conflicting teaching styles. They often differ, by design, in the area or level of their expertise. Type of students. Diversity in the student group could include differences in level and amount of experience, as well as differences in personality characteristics. Material presented. The material covered may be factual and objective, or it may be subjective, open to interpretation and debate. Method of presentation. The method of presentation may be simultaneous, with two of more teachers presenting/discussing together, or serial, with one teacher presenting after the other, on the same day or on different days. Finally, we outline some of the practical challenges (schedule, budget), potential pitfalls (poor co-ordination, conflicting views), and benefits (different perspectives, intellectual debate) of team teaching. Participants are invited to discuss the issues and share their own experiences.


Flipped classroom in a Computer Programming Course: A Case Study

By Yonghong Tong and Paul Vermette (Niagara University)

 In Fall 2016, I start a new teaching and learning approach – flipped classroom – in course “CIS490A: Mobile App Development II”. The prominent characteristic of this course lies in the creation of some advanced technologies in mobile app development. Traditionally, most time I teach in class, students follow my instruction and do the practice of coding. Due to various reasons, some students could not focus on and will miss some parts of the lectures. This flipped classroom will have video lectures available for student preview and review any time. With the advantages of mobility, students can study the course video lectures via mobile devices (tablets and/or smartphones) anytime anywhere. During the class meeting time, I have more time to assist students on practice, homework, project, and other advanced topics.  This flipped class is mainly divided into three sections (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) weekly. Several 5-10-minute lecture video clips and the lecture slides were recorded around several days before the Monday. Students study the materials via Canvas before the first section. In Monday’s class, I will give a short lecture, then students most practice what covered in lecture slides and videos. In the second section on Wednesday, students are required to finish in-class exercises, which can enhance the knowledge and skills that covered in this week. In the third section on Friday, students should do their homework assignment or team project with their creativity, which are designed to offer students opportunity to do innovative mobile application design. I make myself available to answer any questions or discuss ideas in all the three sections. I enticed one colleague who is a teaching and learning specialist to assist and comment on these project. Dr. Paul Vermette agreed and will visit the class regularly. Dr. Paul Vermette and I will meet every two weeks to discuss the process and make some changes if needed. According the first feedback in two weeks, this new approach increases students’ motivation and engages students in learning. Preliminary surveys indicate students like this teaching and learning approach (formal survey data will be collected at the end of this semester).


Guiding Students to Complete Reading Assignments with Deeper Comprehension

By Sharon Green and Kathleen McGrath (Niagara University)

 Professors’ expectations of how students should be reading assigned material may differ, perhaps significantly, from how their students are actually reading.  Some students, especially first-year students, rely on reading behaviors developed before college, but these behaviors may actually limit deep comprehension of college texts.  This, in turn, can hinder students’ ability to succeed in college courses.  Some students may avoid reading; others may only read cursorily just to get it done; still others may not complete reading assignments, sometimes because of competing commitments such as family responsibilities, athletic participation, or job.  Some students may even be struggling readers.  In this session, we will describe ways that professors can encourage students to read, not just to complete the assigned reading, but more importantly to move beyond surface reading to understand texts on a deeper level.  We will emphasize a variety of “write to learn” tasks that professors can employ in their courses.  In addition, we will invite participants to recommend strategies that have engaged their students in course readings while helping students better understand the readings.  Our goal is not to create more work for professors but rather to suggest techniques that can be easily integrated into a course without too much additional effort. 


Increasing Student Engagement through Questions, Reading, Collaboration, and Response

By Shawn M. Bielicki (Liberty University)

Student engagement focuses the liability of learning on the learners (Bonwell & Eison, 1991).  When done well, students become an important part of a given class and remain engaged throughout the session.  The outcomes are higher student satisfaction, understanding, and achievement. 

This practice session will share, model, and discuss various teaching strategies that can be used in day-to-day classroom teaching to increase student engagement.  The presentation will overview study questions and emphasize the need for higher-end questions in student assessments.  Since reading is critical to student success, the session will outline a strategy to train students to actively read and engage with their text.  The presentation will also highlight ways to utilize high-tech and low-tech collaborative learning techniques in class.  Lastly, to keep students engaged during lectures and discussions, several participative response techniques will be demonstrated.


Innovative Pedagogical Techniques in Engineering Dynamics

By Somnath Chattopadhyay (University at Buffalo)

This work aims to implement and assess a few learning activities to enhance teaching of Engineering Dynamics, an important course in undergraduate engineering curriculum.  These activities allow the students to experiment with physical objects similar to what they typically would see in a homework problem for that course.  The students will work in teams to perform experiments to build their concept and remove misconceptions in problem of engineering dynamics.  These activities are: (a) weights on a pulley, (b) objects rolling down a ramp, and (c) strings wrapped around spools pulled gently across a surface. These scenarios are designed to produce non-intuitive results, often leading to cognitive conflict, and thus challenging the students to rethink their conceptual frameworks. The learning activity involving weights on a pulley involves a number of such systems where the students will be asked to predict which system will have the greatest acceleration.  The activity associated with the rolling cylinders, the students will establish the way the rotational and translational kinetic energies relate to the mass distribution on a rolling object.  In the activity with the spool, the students will try to remove the common misconception that the friction force always opposes the direction of the translational motion.  These learning activities will be assessed using the techniques of: (a) individual prediction for each scenario, (b) team worksheets and team predictions, (c) short term transfer questions as quizzes and tests, (d) think aloud interviews, and € subjective surveys.  It is hoped that the results will support the use of learning activities for student learning and motivation.


Integrity vs. Despair: A Practical Application of Scholarly Research in the Classroom to Enhance Student Learning

By Amy Breski (Trocaire College)

The encouragement of teaching strategies to enhance student learning and engagement focusing on their development of critical thinking skills has been a major focus of many higher education institutions. One way that instructors can bridge the gap between student’s understandings of course concepts is to introduce practical applications of scientific research in the classroom. Scientific research adds to a body of knowledge to further a particular science which is relished by scholars. However, often higher education instructors struggle with student understanding of research and discussion engagement. Often times, this is due to the lack of a practical application for the student. One way to bridge this gap is to incorporate critical thinking into the curriculum through instructor guidance and student driven discussions.


Leveraging Google Apps for Education in Your Course

By Patricia Waters (Canisius College)

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is a core suite of communication and collaboration applications that allow students to work from any device, anytime, and anywhere. Using the SAMR model, this session will demonstrate how GAFE can be used to create inquiry-based, student-centric learning environments. “SAMR” is an acronym that stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. The SAMR model provides a technique for moving through degrees of technology adoption to find meaningful uses of technology beyond “tech for tech’s sake” (Puentedura, 2009). This session will focus on leveraging Google Apps for Education resulting in higher levels of student engagement and achievement. Participants will explore how Google Apps can be used to 1) streamline course procedures, 2) enrich the learning process through collaborative documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, 3) assess students learning through the use of Google Forms. Attendees are asked to bring course rosters, digital content (syllabus, assignments, power points, videos), and a Gmail login/password.


Mastery-Based Testing in Calculus I

By Amanda Mangum (Niagara University)

 This talk will focus on a new method I utilized to encourage students to engage with the material from a Calculus I course in such a way that they leave the course fully understanding the key material and the concepts. Often, students accumulate enough partial credit on tests to pass Calculus I while continuing to have significant misunderstandings of fundamental concepts. Since many students need to take Calculus II as well, it is in the students’ best interests to fully master the content of Calculus I before moving on. Many students also have anxiety about their mathematics courses due to past experiences. Mastery-based testing was implemented in this course to both reduce test anxiety and to encourage students to revisit material until they master it. The course was divided into 22 major concepts, 18 of which were covered during in-class tests. Students who did not receive a grade of “mastery” on any concept could re-take a new test question without penalty. Students only receive credit for concepts that they have mastered by the end of the semester. This talk will first discuss how I implemented these methods, the reaction of my students, and then also discuss the shortcomings and challenges encountered with this approach. I will also facilitate small-group discussions on how other faculty could implement this method. They will be able to brainstorm both the concepts that their courses may be broken into and various approaches they may take to asking questions over the same concept for re-takes throughout the semester.


Meditation for the College Classroom

By Leah MacVie (Canisius College)

 Studies show that college students experience high levels of stress and anxiety (Misra & McKean, 2000). When elevated, this stress can cause physical and mental harm (Murphy & Archer, 1996) and the effects can manifest themselves in both academic work and college classrooms. Many K-12 schools have begun to explore meditation as a stress reliever and have seen positive results in the health and wellbeing of students (Schonert-Reichl & Lawlor, 2010). Can meditation work to reduce stress and anxiety in a college setting? Early studies show that it cannot only benefit students, but also teachers (Meiklejohn et al. 2012; Shapiro, Brown, & Astin, 2008). In this workshop, you will learn about my experience with integrating meditation in my own college classroom (technology in education course) and student reactions. Then, I will share different techniques and apps available to help educators introduce meditation in their classroom and their personal lives. Participants will have a chance to explore each technique and apps mentioned.


The Mindful Teacher: Incorporating Livescribe Pens to Access Content, Notes, and Accommodations

 By Patricia Waters (Canisius College)

 The Livescribe Smart Pen is a pen with a camera at the tip and a microphone which is able to record audio ( That audio is synced to the spot on special dot paper where it was touching when it was recorded. Besides acting as a mini-computer, the smart pen comes with a desktop application allowing for recordings to be downloaded for replaying and sharing (Griffey, 2010). It is growing in popularity by teachers and students to record lectures (pen casts) while taking notes. The JUSTICE Project Livescribe Pilot guided urban educators through a single-subject research study focused on implementing additional technology in inclusive setting. By instituting a process of problem identification, assistive technology instructional strategy selection, critical analysis of data, questioning and self-reflection, teachers gained experience using a Livescribe Pen to address student's needs in inclusive classroom settings. After receive training on the technical features of the Livescribe Pen and basic principles of action research, teachers developed a study to investigate the use of the Livescribe Pen as a form of assistive technology with their classroom.  The purpose of this presentation is to introduce this piece of assistive technology to educators, provide participants with a variety of examples of how it can be used within the college classroom, and learn about how action research can be used to change classroom practice.


Mindfulness: An Introduction for Educators

By Donna C. Kester Phillips (Niagara University)

 This interactive PowerPoint presentation will provide a brief historic background and research findings on the practice of mindfulness in pre-k through college/university classroom, as well as implications for students’ and teachers’ learning and well-being.  Opportunities to practice and explore websites and apps will be integrated into this workshop.


Mindfulness Exercises for the Classroom

By Mitchell R. Alegre (Niagara University)

 There is a growing movement in higher education to incorporate mindfulness practices in teaching across disciplines. These contemplative practices are applied to encourage new forms of inquiry and develop creative thinking. This session will provide a simple model of mindfulness and the rationale for its application in teaching. The main emphasis of the session will be to describe activities that can be used in the classroom and adapted to teaching a variety of academic disciplines.


A New Culture of Pedagogical Advancement: Goals and Challenges of a Hybrid Delivery Model for Learning

By Bernie Murray (Ryerson University)

One of the strategic goals of universities is providing innovative learning opportunities and new experiences for students in higher education. Current priority areas include enhanced experiential learning opportunities; alternative assessments; adoption of innovative technologies; or measurement of enhancement of student learning. The development and delivery of two hybrid courses addressed the strategic goals providing new ways of learning for students in creative studies. The purpose of this project was developing hybrid courses to enhance learning experiences and encourage students to be self-directed by monitoring their progress that may help them develop into life-long learners. Each module included the course content, learning outcomes, reflective questions, and activities. Learning outcomes for each module allowed students to take responsibility for their progress while the course was active. The evaluation process to determine the success of this mode of course delivery involved a reflective survey for the instructor, technical assistant, and students who provided feedback and recommendations for improvement. This project aligned with the university's academic plan as it attempts to enable greater student engagement and deep learning within the curriculum. The benefits for creating the hybrid model for the courses in a faculty of communication and design included: (1) aligning with the strategic goals of the university to create flexible learning modules; (2) providing opportunities and preparation for the technical assistant for an advanced degree; (3) examining the course content, learning goals, and assessment measures that may enhance learning experiences and provide clarity for students; (4) addressing the needs of the 21st century learner: access to course materials that are available online; (5) developing efficient modules that use lecture time in an effective way; and (6) helping students to become self-directed life-long learners. Students are able to understand whether they have successfully completed each module using reflective questions and assignments that match the objectives of the course. They also have access to course resources but have face-to-face weekly meetings to engage in class activities, ask questions, and learn from peers. This project was funded by the Learning & Teaching Office at the university.

An Online Learning Planner

By Leah MacVie (Canisius College)

Canisius College is celebrating its 10th anniversary of offering online programs this year. We’ve learned a lot in this time and are happy to share what we’ve learned. Participants will be invited to fill in their own Online Learning Planner using the template that will be provided. This is a soup-to-nuts session for anyone involved or interested in online learning. It will cover the following:

i. Online learning policies and strategic planning.

ii. State authorization and accreditation specifics.

i. Marketing online programs.

iii. Online learning faculty development strategies.

iv. Online student support and engagement strategies.

v. Recognizing online graduates.

vi. Engaging online alumni.


Occupation-Specific Language Learning - a Teacher’s Pathway to the Learners’ Success

By Alicia Trembowski (Algonquin College)

With the soaring influx of immigrants to Canada and beyond its borders, as well as the existence of non-native speakers of English in Quebec, teachers of English as a second language witness the struggle and impact of professionals in the process of adaptation and integration with the Anglophone environment. While the learners’ objectives remain evident, educators face an unexpected challenge of rotating roles to assist in the attainment of those goals. The classroom where diverse cultures, languages and additionally careers intersect poses the new circumstances for a teacher in terms of the unique competencies to acquire, apart from the linguistic ones, and affects the perception of his profession from a different perspective.  What factors account for the students’ effective communication and performance in the Canadian workplace? To what extent can teachers hold a mentoring role and be in charge of the learners’ outcomes? How does the pathway of the professionals of various domains cross the qualifications of their mentors? Finally, what skills need to be developed to meet the expectations of both sides and where are the boundaries of the cooperative/collaborative zone? 


PALS for ELLS: Friend or Foe? Effects Of Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies On Reading Skills Of English Language Learners With And Without Disabilities

By Gliset Colόn (Buffalo State College)

The number of English language learners (ELLs) in public schools has increased significantly over the past decade. As a result of gaps in communication, instruction, teacher preparation, and cultural mismatch, many ELLs with and without disabilities are unable to read English at grade-level. This results in higher likelihood for grade retention, school dropout, and referrals to special education placement when compared to English speaking peers. Intervening is key to bridge the gap and prevent these negative outcomes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of two modified peer-assisted learning strategies (PALS) on the reading skills of English language learners with and without disabilities. More specifically the effects of a modified Partner Reading and Paragraph Shrinking strategy on the oral reading fluency and accuracy skills of English language learners with and without disabilities in the second grade. The current study employed a pretest/posttest control group quasi-experimental design and an exploratory case study analysis to examine the efficacy of the PALS components for ELLs. Results indicated the modified PALS intervention was effective in increasing the oral reading fluency and accuracy of English language learners with and without disabilities. More specifically, ELLs who received PALS treatment exceeded the typical rate of improvement expected for an average student in the same grade at the same time of year at a higher rate when compared to control group. Positive feedback was given by both teachers and students in terms of feasibility and importance of skills addressed. The exploratory analysis of the verbal interactions of multilingual students revealed students’ use of a specific language was dependent on the specific skill or purpose of communication. Implications for this study are discussed.


Real-time or Performance-based Assessment and Exceeding the Limits of Creativity: Matching Course Objectives with Assessment Measures in Jazz Improvisation

By Bernie Murray (Ryerson University)

Collaborative learning provides numerous opportunities for music students to gain knowledge and skills together in jazz ensembles. Improvisation classes help students attain a higher level of aural skills and creative expression. Building knowledge on past jazz icons and their contribution to improvisation as well as a concentrated focus on the development of ear training enable students to acquire extraordinary levels of musical achievement. Students’ improvisational styles develop throughout their studies due to peer and instructor feedback and from their shared learning experiences. David Baker’s syllabus (1989) was identified as the first instructional support for educators teaching jazz improvisation. Baker created this course syllabus in 1931 for jazz educators and focused on the memorization of songs and jazz-related harmonic theory. As defined by Sawyer (1992), the characteristics of a jazz performance include, “The five areas are (a) interactional influences, (b) conscious and nonconscious processes, (c) units of ideation, (d) the balance of structure and innovation in the domain, and (e) the balance of structure and innovation within the individual (p. 255). There is no intention to produce the performance as a repeated activity. This presentation focuses on examining the course objectives and assessment measures used by jazz educators that test knowledge and theory. Testing for aural skills is assessed by creating a musical map. The student must write a reflective component to submit with the map. Real-time (live) and performance-based assessment are examining the process of learning and creating music. Therefore, criteria to assess performance will be examined with music at this session. Participants of this session will gain knowledge about assessing live performances including: (1) an analysis of Baker’s 1931 course syllabus; (2) assessment of aural skills and musical mapping; and (3) criteria for performance assessment. This will highlight some of the challenges that music educators encounter each time they assess students work. 


Refreshing collaborative learning in online and blended courses through a Faculty Learning Community

By Jie Zhang, Pamela Haibach, Denise Copelton, Kathleen Olmstead, Logan Rath, and Joon Yong Seo (SUNY Brockport)

Despite the development of educational technology and the increasing demand from the higher education institutions on online and blended teaching, the results of the survey of faculty attitudes on technology (2016) indicate that the old concerns still remain among faculty members regarding the role of technology in and outside of classroom. For example, does the use of educational technology improve student learning outcomes? Does it help facilitate faculty-student interactions and communication (Inside Higher Ed, 2016)? Once the faculty members start to teach online and/or blended courses, what can be done to continuously support them to enhance student learning? The Online Refresh Faculty Learning Community (FLC) offers a platform for faculty members across disciplines, on a regular basis, to exchange ideas and share experiences, practice different tools and strategies to refresh teaching, collaborate and support each other to provide quality learning experiences to all students in online and/or blended courses. Through the workshop, the Online Refresh FLC members will share practical collaborative learning tools and strategies of instruction and assessments used in their own online and/or blended course. Through hands-on activities, interactive questions and answers, and discussions, the participants will explore research- and evidence-based practices regarding how to design, manage, and evaluate team-based problem-based collaborative learning, to help make online and/or blended teaching more effective and improve student learning. At the end of the workshop, the participants will take away practices on collaborative learning that they can implement in their online and/or blended teaching to help improve student learning.


Student Perceptions of Embedded Library Instruction

By Logan Rath and Allison Wright (SUNY Brockport)

Our paper explores the effects of embedded library instruction on the students’ perception of their abilities to complete course requirements. Specifically, we studied the ways students’ information literacy and critical literacy skills are affected when an inquiry-based social studies methods unit is team-taught by the instructor and a librarian. We wanted to know the student perceptions of embedded library instruction when working to complete course requirements, as well as how these perceptions change depending on the degree and nature of direct support students receive. Our study surveyed students and analyzed their course projects in order to measure how an increase in the breadth and scope of collaboration between the course instructor and librarian instructor would impact on students’ perceptions of their abilities to meet established course requirements. This paper will detail the history of our collaboration, what we learned, as well as our future plans for embedding library instruction in social studies teacher education coursework.


TeachLivE in Teacher Education: Preparing Teachers in Evidence-Based Practices via Virtual Rehearsal and Simulation

By Krista Vince Garland (Buffalo Sate) and Dennis Garland (Niagara University)

These presenters will demonstrate virtual rehearsal and educational coaching within a virtual reality classroom (TeachLivE). Three specific evidence-based practices will be discussed: discrete trial training, system of least prompts, and time delay. A live demonstration with TeachLivE will occur and participants will have opportunity to engage with avatars in real-time. It is acknowledged that today’s teachers face the challenge of providing instruction in an increasingly complicated curriculum to a widely diverse population of learners, including those identified with disabilities (Belfiore, Fritts, & Herman, 2008; Browder & Cooper-Duffy, 2003; National Research Council [NRC], 2001). Considering teacher quality is the strongest indicator of student success (Darling-Hammond, 2010), teacher preparation programs must provide educators with research-based pedagogies that will ensure an effective learning environment for students (Lane & Carter, 2006; Regan & Michaud, 2011; Simonsen, 2008; Simpson, 2011). Classroom simulation technology can provide a virtual learning environment designed to provide individuals with a realistic space to practice teaching with avatars. Interactions are real-time and can be scripted or spontaneous, depending upon the nature of the learning activity. Interactions can be replicated in a rapid, systematic nature, so that several teachers can instruct in the virtual classroom over the course of an hour. This presentation will demonstrate the use of three specific evidence-based practices (discrete trial training, system of least prompts, and time delay) while in a virtual classroom. • Participants will gain knowledge on how to deliver three evidence-based practices (discrete trial training, system of least prompts, and time delay) with fidelity. • Participants will have opportunity to experience coaching of these practices within the simulated classroom. • Participants will receive the opportunity to interact with student avatars and conduct a short guided learning session within the simulator.


Teaching for Relevance and Engagement

By Bob Kane, Bill Cliff, and Robyn Goacher (Niagara University)

This roundtable shows through experiences in undergraduate courses in biology, chemistry and history that case studies are an effective way to engage students inside and outside the classroom.  Our presenter in biology designed case methodology to solidify discipline-specific content knowledge and strengthen conceptual understanding.   He finds that case analysis was linked to an improvement in exam performance and remediation of select student misconceptions.  Students reported that case analysis improved ease of learning, depth of learning, and appreciation of the relevance of and a curiosity about the subject.  As a learning strategy, case analysis helps promote conceptual change.  Thus, case-based learning imparts both cognitive and affective advantages in helping students achieve meaningful understanding of a content-rich subject domain such as the sciences.  Our presenter in chemistry shows that case studies can also be extended beyond the classroom discussion format to include laboratory work.  Such lab-integrated cases may be more impactful due to students’ direct involvement in making measurements towards the goal of arriving at an answer to the posed issue.  However, surveys and interviews of students participating in such lab-based cases in an introductory analytical chemistry course revealed that lab cases may not be viewed by the students as case studies at all, despite the desired learning outcomes having been achieved.  The role of integrating lab and classroom cases will be discussed based on both student and faculty perspectives.  Finally, our presenter in history argues that case studies permit the reduction of the predominant emphasis on constructing an analytical narrative (i.e., using primary and secondary sources to appreciate the validity of competing interpretations of the past) and instead focus on forecasting and decision making.  Students develop a framework for understanding how people of earlier days were not historical subjects for our dissection, but were also temporally bound.  In other words, historical actors also had to grapple with unknowable futures when confronting their current situations, and their cases, when taken in context, can serve as useful models for us now.


Teaching Mathematics Without Numbers

By Debbie Bond (Villa Maria College)

The realm of mathematics is very diverse, and at times very confusing.  Mathematics is a field full of equations, expressions, ratios, proofs and theories; many of which intimidate and confuse students.  Though, there are methods where students can learn mathematical theory without ever writing down a number.  This workshop is meant to bring a few methods to light for educators to utilize in all subjects; though all of the activities done are mathematically based.

The three topics explored during this workshop will be, graph theory and infinity.  Each activity will have a lesson outline with the rules for each of the methods used, and grading structures. The following three approaches will be demonstrated to help the audience understand both the method and the content; (1) Socratic seminar, (2) peer silent journaling and (3) article analysis through reflection.  

Further, each of these methods work to varying degrees of collaboration.  Socratic seminar, focuses on how students solve problems in three dimensions, (1) as an individual (2) in small groups collaboration, and (3) as a whole group.  This method focuses highly on Vygotsky’s theory of social learning.

The second method, peer silent journaling, will focus on exploring thoughts and ideas on the topic of infinity.  The activity focuses on working as silent partners to discover how to focus and analyze their ideas of a complex mathematical concept.  This method focuses on the concept of refined reflection, in which one, may or may not, refine their thoughts based on the questioning techniques of their partner. Finally, the article analysis, focuses on how the individual student reacts to the content in the article.  This is purely an individual reflection based upon one’s own experiences and reflection on mathematical concepts.  This is embedded in the concepts of James Banks and his exploration of cultural contribution to society. This session will require participants to be actively involved with each of the methods.   At the end of the session participants will be able to see how to introduce/teach multiple subject areas using these alternative methods.


Ten Canvas Tips for Better Student Engagement

By Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa ápi (Niagara University)

The Canvas Learning Management System updates every three weeks. In this workshop we will explore the top ten techniques faculty can incorporate into their courses to help with student engagement, reduce grading time, and generally make faculty’s lives easier.


The Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP): Moving Beyond SUNY Boundaries

By Roberta (Robin) Sullivan (University at Buffalo)

The Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP) is an online, on-demand professional development model to encourage instructors to explore and reflect on innovative uses of emerging technologies. TOEP provides a focused venue to experiment with social-media and the latest web-based instructional technology tools in a safe and supportive environment to expand their pedagogical toolbox.

In this session we will explore the TOEP website ( ). We will share examples of the application of how the freely-available tools found on the TOEP website can be used to engage students. Examples will include the use of audio, video, mobile apps, collaborative spaces, and more. The session will also focus on recent enhancements including a new website design and newly added sections on gamification, ePortfolios, and use of social-media in flipped and online learning.

This innovative professional development model is a SUNY cross-campus collaboration, which is beginning its fifth year. Discussion will also include information about how any campus or institution can become a TOEP partner campus. Becoming a partner campus enables all faculty and staff at the institution to join the TOEP private social network community and earn digital badges and other professional development award incentives. Participants become eligible for awards after completing 5 short (½ hour to 1 hour) online, hands-on, and reflective Discovery Learning Activities over the course of the academic year. Anyone, regardless of campus affiliation, may take advantage of the curated collection of tools, tutorials, and resources that are available on the TOEP website to transform their teaching practices.


Transferring Critical Thinking Outside the Classroom (And Civic Engagement Too!)

By Michael Barnwell (Niagara University)

In the past, my philosophy department defined critical thinking as the ability of students to understand logical forms of arguments and recognize logical fallacies.  An exam with questions similar to those discussed in class was given to students as an assessment.  While this approach had its merits, it failed to address the primary goal that students’ ability to think critically be transferrable to environments outside the classroom.  The goal of my project, therefore, is to induce the ability to think critically and transfer the logical concepts taught in the philosophy classroom to situations students will encounter throughout their lives.  As a side goal, this project will also encourage civic engagement, which is yet another goal of higher education.


Use of Cell Phones and Software to Engage Students

By Malena Jones (Niagara University)

Engaging the millennial generation in class is a challenge that faculty face daily. Faculty are constantly competing with students on cell phones, texting and social media. Instead of competing with cell phones use in class this project attempted to utilize cell phones and audience response software to engage students.  Traditional undergraduate nursing students have difficulty grasping research concepts and tend to find research intimidating.  To encourage student engagement in the course, audience response software was downloaded onto their cell phones and students were encouraged to bring them to class.  In class activities included mid-lecture quizzes, case studies, student and classmate polling.  The software also allowed students to question or seek clarification on content without embarrassment by sending questions directly to faculty with their cell phones.  The basis of this project was to develop and implement active student learning activities in a junior level nursing research course.  The specific goals of this project were to, increase student understanding of nursing research, increase student engagement, assess student perceived effectiveness of audience response software. Evaluation of student understanding of research content, perception of learning activities, and the use of the audience response software will be completed by several methods and preliminary results will be discussed.  Student comprehension of content will be evaluated with a secure, proctored, nationally-normed exam designed to assess student understanding of research and critical thinking skill. End of the semester course evaluations will examine students’ perceptions of the student learning activities. Students will also be surveyed to explore their experience with audience response software and perceived engagement in the course.


Using Debates to Establish Relationships in Online Learning: When Arguments Help Strengthen Bonds

By Anna McNab (Niagara University)

Advancements in communication technologies are enabling the increased use of distributed teams consisting of geographically, temporally, and even organizationally dispersed members. However, due to the use of impersonal communication media, the social context is often missing in such teams, making them more vulnerable to uncertainties. Students taking online courses often complain that they were unable to establish bonds equal to those they establish in face-to-face settings. The goal of the project is to test whether students in an online course can quickly create trust and cohesion if they engage in a debate using synchronous video conferencing technology. The debate was chosen as such interaction will allow them to communicate using various communication cues that are both verbal and non-verbal in nature, providing them with an opportunity to get to know each other better. Data were collected during the Summer 2016 semester in two sections of a masters-level course online. The students were asked to form diverse teams (one international student and one North American on each side of the debate) and to fill out a short survey before the debate (to get the baseline values) and following their debate. The surveys assessed their learning and various indicators of their ability to form bonds with the other students and whether their relationships have strengthened as a result.  Early results show that the debate did affect the user’s views of each other; the students viewed their group partners in a more positive light and also viewed their abilities to complete tasks more positively. The study overall shows that meaningful relationships can be formed online and perhaps more importantly, it can be accomplished within a relatively short time frame (e.g.: only one assignment with a single synchronous meeting). For example, in the MBA program, there is a plan to move towards having more classes online but these classes are delivered in less than 5 weeks of time. It may thus be important to design specific assignments early on that force people to get to know each other quickly so that students will feel a little more connected.


Using Ethnography Across Disciplines

By Michael J. Durfee, Ken Culton, Tim Lauger, and Todd Schoepflin (Niagara University)

How can utilizing ethnography stimulate more active, integrative learning?  How can ethnography effect student learning outcomes across disciplines?  These are the substantive questions that will help frame our roundtable discussion on the value and uses of ethnography in the humanities.  With four educators representing three distinct disciplines, our roundtable discussion will bring a variety of scholarly perspectives together to unpack the utility of ethnography when studying pressing issues in the fields of history, criminology, and sociology respectively.  More broadly, our roundtable will evaluate how ethnography has been valuable in our own teaching.  When attempting to stimulate student discussion of sensitive issues surrounding race, poverty, culture, and social interactions, ethnography often proves invaluable.  Rather than dictating knowledge from the lectern, ethnography encourages educators to be co-conspirators in asking questions, tackling difficult subject matter, and moving towards sensible solutions with their students. This process requires that students think critically, actively making sense of both the personal experiences of others as well as their own. Pedagogy steeped in active learning recognizes that people learn best from experience.  Too often, scholars and students are divorced from the daily experiences they seek to study and understand.  Ethnography brings educators and students alike a step closer to the experience of others, forcing readers to channel their powers of empathy, and think critically about why historical and sociological context matters.  Perhaps most importantly, ethnography personalizes otherwise abstract, sterile concepts, theories, and scholarly ideas.  Panelists will also discuss the myriad challenges, and potential pitfalls of engaging ethnography with undergraduate students. 


Using Technology to Support Professors and Students for Effective Service-Learning: Enhancing Student Engagement and Transformative Learning

By Camille Pontrello and Johanna Fisher (Canisius College)

The purpose of this study was to investigate how technology can support the effectiveness of Service-Learning as a pedagogical tool for professors who use multimodal teaching and learning practices to enhance student engagement and promote transformational learning experiences. Secondly, we sought to determine if Service-Learning is also a tool that supports the mission and identity of the Catholic, Jesuit college where it is implemented.  Through the examination of faculty and student surveys, online assessment tools, collaborative reflection session data, and reflection artifacts, the findings of this investigation reflect how technology supports the efficacy of Service-Learning as a pedagogical methodology for the promotion of experiential, transformative learning inclusive of the Jesuit commitment to mission.


Using TitanPad for Collaborative Learning: Supporting Teacher Candidates’ Teaching and Learning

By Camille Pontrello (Canisius College)

The purpose of this study was to examine the comprehensive effectiveness of teacher candidates’ use of the technology, Titan Pad (an ether pad), in four key areas. This online, collaborative writing space was integrated throughout their coursework and its use sought to enhance their learning of early childhood/childhood literacy development, facilitate engagement in a collaborative learning community, and promote communication. The final facet of this investigation sought to determine whether teacher candidates were able to use this technology for authentic purposes in their coursework and in turn, support their comfort to use it in their future teaching. Teacher candidates described their experiences using TitanPad as beneficial in sharing pedagogical information and collaboration for enhanced learning while supporting engagement. The results of this investigation suggest that using TitanPad (ether pad) technology with teacher candidates may be a promising practice for teacher educators to consider in literacy methods courses.


Variations in Social Presence: Prominence Versus Influence in Online Discussion Forums

By Erica L. Demler, Stephanie L. Nardozi, Mark Bloxsom , and Deborah Moore-Russo

(University at Buffalo )

The purpose of this study is to explore variations in social presence, at both the individual and class levels, in two virtual Communities of Inquiry (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001). Participants in the study include 29 graduate students and 2 instructors from two sections of a doctoral-level, online, asynchronous seminar course offered in consecutive semesters. We use social network analysis and descriptive statistics to examine the Social Presence of the students and instructors within and across 13 discussion board forums from each class. Values for in-degree centrality, out-degree centrality, and betweenness (Bratton, 2008) are considered in conjunction with other factors including whether a user was: (1) an early, middle, or late poster, based on the time of the user’s first post; (2) a heavy, moderate, or light poster, based on total number of posts; and (3) a long, medium, or short poster, based on the number of lines per post. Preliminary findings suggest that early posters tend to make more posts overall and to receive responses from more users (i.e., have a higher in-degree centrality) than those who are middle or late posters. Early posters, therefore, are likely to be more prominent in discussions because they are generally also heavy posters. A more unexpected finding, however, is the lack of any noteworthy relationship between the time of a user’s first post and his or her level of influence on the discussion, as represented by the user’s out-degree centrality. The amount of ties to other users does not appear to be related to when a user joins the forum. This indicates that, while middle and late posters may not be as prominent in discussions as early posters, they can still be influential. Another indicator of a user’s influence in a discussion forum may be related to post length. In general, long posters (i.e. those with more lines per post) had a higher out-degree centrality than medium or short posters. The information gained from this study will inform practices of online, discussion-based seminar courses that are offered at the doctoral level.


Visual Argument Maps to Aid Learning Both Philosophical Method And Content

By Michael Barnwell (Niagara University)

In my philosophy of religion courses, we examine arguments for varying religious claims by engaging in a ‘dialectical’ approach.  In this approach, an argument’s strength is tested by objecting to it.  After this objection, a reply on behalf of the argument is offered.  This reply is then followed by a counter-objection, a counter-reply, and so on.  In order to fully understand any particular argument, a student must be able not only to follow, but also to express, the full dialectical movements between the argument’s objections and replies.   Students often “think” they understand the dialectical movements when we discuss them in class.  When they take their exams, however, it becomes obvious they do not.  In order to remedy this, I required students in my Spring 20106 class to draw what I call “argument maps” for each of the major arguments discussed.  In an argument map, a student will divide the paper into two columns:  a pro (left) and a con (right) side.  On the pro side, the student will begin by writing out the argument.  Next (and at a level on the paper below the ending of the argument), the student will write the first objection to the argument in the con column.  Below that and in the pro column, the reply will be written out.  This process continues until the full dialectic is expressed. Often, students will make reference to a point made in one of the dialectical moves but either use it for the wrong side (e.g. they will think an objection is a reply) or in reference to a different argument altogether.  They metaphorically “drown” in the sea of arguments.  This visual portrayal will enable them to see clearly which points are being made for which sides. This project was intended to accomplish three goals: (i) students will better understand course content, (ii) students will become better critical thinkers, and (iii) papers will improve.  My presentation will discuss how this approach was implemented and the results of this approach (drawing on both direct and indirect measures).


Yes, and – Using Positive Approaches from Improvisation to Support the Learner in Traditional and Online Learning Environments

By Patricia Hoefler (University of Phoenix)

In improvisational comedy and theater, the “Yes, and” approach is a way to support one’s scene partner by offering them an open avenue towards communication that expands upon a scene. Taking this positive, collaborative and creative method, and including it in one’s teaching practices allows for a transformative learning environment for the student, which I have experienced within my own classroom. In my presentation, I intend to draw on my own experiences in improvisational comedy and theater (MFA in Performance and Society), in order to describe the key points of this technique and demonstrate how faculty can use it to keep an open dialogue in the classroom, and avoid shutting down the communication process.

2016 CCTL Conference Sessions

See the full program Here!

  • Assessing Great Teaching: Psychometric Properties of a New Measure Based upon Bain’s Principles of Great Teaching

    By: Peter Butera, Paul Schupp, Timothy Osberg

    Ken Bain’s book, What the Best College Teachers Do (2004), has become a contemporary classic in the scholarship of teaching and learning. In it, Bain studied 60 to 70 college teachers at two dozen institutions whom he identified as great college teachers (GCTs), exemplars recognized by peers who had achieved lasting learning impact with their students (p. 4). Bain wanted to discern the lessons he took from the GCTs that can also help others teach well. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the internal consistency and validity of a survey that examined the degree to which Niagara University professors viewed their own teaching and their students’ learning relative to the principles that Bain identified as the hallmarks of the GCTs. The 31 Likert-scale items on the survey were constructed around Bain’s six key elements that frame the components used to define great teaching. Study participants also provided a self-evaluation of their teaching effectiveness. The Cronbach’s alpha for the 31 items on the survey was strong with a value of .84, which reveals that the items demonstrate consistency in yielding what constitutes a mosaic of good teaching. Although the alpha values for the six subscales ranged from .24-.59, reflecting only fair to poor internal consistency for each subscale, inter-item correlations within subscales identified 12 items (two from each of the six subscales) that had a Cronbach’s alpha of .72. Those items, which we call the didactic dozen, provide a brief, efficient, and internally consistent measure of good teaching that can be substituted for the longer measure when brevity is preferred. An exploratory factor analysis revealed a two-factor structure underlying the 31 item scale. Based on a rational review of the content of the items contained within each, we labeled Factor 1 as, attending to student characteristics in developing a teaching approach, and Factor 2 as, demonstrating passion and enthusiasm. Despite a restricted range on the self-assessment measure of effective teaching we employed, the correlation between this measure and Factor 2 scores approached significance (p = .051). Implications for future research and applications will be discussed, including the ways in which the survey or the didactic dozen can be utilized along with other real world measures of good teaching.  

  • Addressing the needs of 21st century learners by using technology in teacher preparation: A pecha kucha session

    By: Dennis Garland

    PechaKucha or Pecha Kucha (Japanese:chit-chat) is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). The use of online tools and tablet technology in education is growing and can provide a personalized learning environment for students. This presentation provides examples of web-based applications and tablet apps teacher educators can use, model, and incorporate into activities, assignments, and assessment. Using and modeling use of a variety of apps can enhance instruction and learning in higher education. Further, the use of tablets and apps in teacher education supports student abilities to select and consider how they will use them in their own practice. Teachers in 21st century classrooms are challenged to work together to meet the educational needs of every student. In addition, state and national standards require that teachers use various technologies to support teaching and learning. Examples throughout this session will be provided in ways that technology can be integrated into the classroom as either an instructional teaching tool or by offering additional support to all students. By implementing various technologies into the classroom, teachers can easily adapt and choose appropriate and motivating ways to create meaningful learning opportunities for general education students as well as students with special needs. The aim and scope of this session will embrace the need for creativity and improvement of technological applications within the classroom, and provide teachers with information that can be taken and applied to the classroom. Participants will: 1) be provided details of 20 technological tools for use in teacher preparation to support pre-service teacher knowledge of technology. 2) be provided details of 20 technological tools for pre-service teachers who can generalize use for inclusive classrooms.

  • Immediate Feedback: Experiments in Turning a Test into a Student Learning Opportunity

    By: Ann Rensel, Kris Principe

    We evaluate the relative effectiveness of using an immediate feedback learning assessment technique (IF-AT) on learning in two courses (one freshman and one junior/senior level) in the College of Business core curriculum. We piloted this technique during the spring 2015 semester. We now seek to apply this method in a controlled experiment to measure the impact on learning in business students over a semester. We mix the use of the IF-AT method with the use of traditional multiple choice exams throughout the semester but use only the traditional multiple choice method for the final exam. We measure the impact of IF-AT by evaluating student performance on the same course content questions on the cumulative final exam, to determine if the level of retention was higher when the students received immediate feedback on a concept during a prior exam. We will also use multivariate regression to determine the relative effectiveness of this technique for various student populations. Here our dependent variable is the improvement in learning, as measured by the change in test scores between the in class exam and the questions on the final pertaining to that content. Our independent variables will be academic standing (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior), course level (introductory or upper level), gender and either GPA or a student’s SAT (or ACT) score to control for overall academic ability. The audience will complete a short quiz based on the authors’ presentation using the IF-AT technique

  • Sustained structured mentoring program

    By:Carrie Teresa, Christopher Aquino, Paula Kot

    Niagara University’s Committee on College Teaching and Learning (CCTL) hopes to develop a sustained structured mentoring program in which junior faculty members are paired with teaching mentors who assist them in honing their teaching craft. From active learning techniques to effective dialogic lecturing, the mentorship program will be designed to facilitate active and meaningful development of teaching and learning among Niagara University’s faculty community. Mentorship duties would involve some or all of the following activities: classroom observations, assistance with syllabus design, active reflection and discussion of classroom strategies and lesson plans, and development of scholarship of teaching and learning. This initiative is commensurate with CCTL’s stated mission of creating a “learning community of faculty who are committed to exploring, developing, and implementing active learning/teaching strategies.” The sub-committee that has been formed to create this program has three goals in mind: (1) Building community among faculty across departments and colleges within Niagara University; (2) Promoting the professional development of junior faculty members seeking to strengthen their teaching as a part of their tenure portfolios; and (3) Encouraging more experienced faculty members to reflect on their own teaching styles through mentoring junior faculty. The purpose of this interactive panel discussion is to seek feedback from conference attendees on the structure and viability of this program. In particular, the panelists are hoping to garner feedback in the following areas: (1) Program structure and troubleshooting. Do attendees at other institutions have experiences with similar programs, and if so, how were these programs designed and implemented? (2) Promoting faculty participation. What are some incentives CCTL might offer to both mentors and mentees to participate in this program? (3) Vetting potential mentors. What qualifications should potential mentors possess, and what are some best practices for vetting potential mentors?

  • Teaching and Learning about Diversity: Valuable Lessons from Peers

    By: Natalia Albul

    An application of event production as a tool to integrate course content and real life has been implemented in academia. It creates an integrated curriculum that engages multidisciplinary students and develops active teaching environment (Johnson & Pate, 2014). Recent studies confirmed effectiveness of this methodology (Lei, Lam, & Lourenço, 2015; Kim, Lin, & Qiu, 2015). A case study was based on an active learning method of event production to promote leadership development in Honors seminars for undergraduate mixed-major Honors students. The events production process focused on creating a fundraiser to benefit organizations that fit criteria of Villa Maria College core values. Implementation of the event production process allowed a transfer from passive learning environment to active engagement. This format assisted with achieving course objectives, and provided service learning experience for students. The event production was student-led, and comprised of brainstorming sessions, in- and out-of-classroom small groups meetings, large and small task completion, and culminated in the actual event. Students worked toward reaching the common goal in an enjoyable environment that stimulated their critical thinking and collaboration. Collaboration is one of the essential components for successful learning (Head, 2003). The case study demonstrated that as a result of event production process, leaders emerged and students developed higher awareness of responsibilities. In addition, they formed meaningful relationships that promoted academic success and retention. In conclusion, the event production process engaged students in achieving meaningful realistic goals, which mobilized students' potential to solve and plan for the tasks successfully by reaching course objectives. The audience will be engaged via the presenter demonstration of the mini event production.

  • The Resume is Dead: Online Profiles Matter

    By: Anthony Perrotta

    With an active understanding that the traditional paper resume is quickly becoming obsolete, "The Resume is Dead" addresses the "why and how" of creating digital portfolios and leveraging social media to build, connect and share teaching, learning and student voice. Importantly, within this conversation, a focus on the growing significance of social profiles will be shared as it pertains to post-industrial economic models; social media including the portfolio is a new and significant literacy that requires growing proficiency. Participants will take part in an active conversation and will be provided with tools to ensure that technology is actively used to create, connect and share. For more on presenter Anthony Perrotta, visit:

  • Evaluation of Case Studies and Learning Groups in teaching Analytical Chemistry

    By: Robyn Goacher

    This poster will describe how case studies were integrated into Analytical Chemistry, a content-rich sophomore level science course. The cases used posed situations in which the students needed to learn important (and often dry) concepts about data quality, calibration methods and statistics and apply them to laboratory-based situations which mimicked career-relevant scenarios. The intended outcomes of integrating case studies were for the students to have more fun, explicitly link course content to important real-world applications, recall the concepts at greater depth in the future, envision greater career relevance of the course material, and build research and communication skills. It was also hoped that they would gain a greater sense of classroom community through permanent learning groups, who did group quizzes in class, as well as the lab-based case studies together. The success in meeting these ideals is evaluated based on how case studies did or did not impact student grades, and how students viewed the case studies and learning groups as assessed through student perception surveys.

  • My Very Own Surface: Incorporating a Matlab-based Semester-long Project in Calculus III

    By: Michael Barg

    While stopping short of providing my Calculus III students with a physical model of a surface, student groups of two select a surface to be their own throughout the semester. Their surface is the star performer in a semester-long Matlab-based project that I recently designed and implemented in my course. By giving each group of students just one surface to become intimately acquainted with, I believe that each individual will develop a deeper understanding of many course concepts. Moreover, by being asked to take a real interest in their surface, to study and explore it, and to get to know it, the students will be invested in the development of their surface from its infancy as an equation through its growth as a manipulative computer image and finally to its re-parameterization in a more advanced coordinate system. Ultimately, the project provides a way for students to take greater ownership of their learning in a course where many of the ideas seem quite abstract at first glance. Understanding and describing objects in three-dimensional space is a main objective of Calculus III. However, students often struggle with the necessary visualization. Using pencil and paper to sketch objects in three-dimensional space using perspective can be challenging. Computer software often alleviates this hurdle. Matlab is a powerful mathematics software package used for research and teaching in academia and industry. My project requires students to work with Matlab as a visualization aid. In this talk, I will describe the project and its implementation. Participants will have an opportunity to engage with Matlab during the presentation. I will share some student commentary as anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of the project.

  • Pathways to Enhance Learning Experiences: Discourses, Formative Assessment, and Critiques

    By: Bernie Murray, Pat Atkinson

    Studio classes provide theoretical and practical learning opportunities in lectures, critiques, and demonstrations. Integrated practice in studio learning environments requires that students share ideas and design solutions with peers and faculty industry professionals. Engaging conversations and critical analysis of products are interactive activities that promote deep learning and help students develop their identity as future professionals in the field. Critique discussions focus on design, quality, product saleability, creativity, marketing, or work in progress. Sessions for critique may be individual, small groups, or with the entire class. Discourse involves both the students and teachers who have opportunities to reflect as a group on their work and work in process. Four components of critiques include a focus on work; reflection on meaning and expression; verbal interaction; and discussion that describes future work and envisioning new possibilities. Students identify as professionals in this artistic domain as a result of discourse in critiques. Individual critiques provide students with constructive criticism to continue the development of a product from the conceptual stage to the final product. Small group and class critiques are used to involve the entire class as well as offer students with an opportunity to contribute by giving constructive feedback to peers. Faculty members act as facilitators encouraging participation from the entire class. Industry professionals offer alternative perspectives on student’s designs. Ultimately, the goal of a critique is providing experience for learning, growth, and the development of students’ work. This poster will contain information about the critique structure, assessment process, reflective questions as well as benefits to the students and the faculty members.

  • Grade Grubbing – the anatomy of a grade change request

    By: Mark Gallo, Christina Taylor

    Today there is no shortage of internet resources that describe in detail the myriad ways that students can get professors to change their grades. For some students, a desire to request a change in grade may emanate from family or cultural pressures; for others, it may stem from a sense of entitlement or simply unrealistic expectations. Regardless of the reason, grade change requests can adversely affect the quality of life of a faculty member. In most instances, a request for a grade change likely just produces a temporary feeling of uneasiness or discomfort; in other cases, it may provoke anxiety and result in a professor inflating grades to avoid such situations in the future. In a worst case scenario, professors could actually experience an acute sense of fear with the occasional student who is unrelenting and aggressive. The good news is that while a few students have perfected the art of grade grubbing, the typical request for a grade change often follows a familiar cycle, and if a professor can recognize that cycle, he or she can take steps to intervene proactively. This session will describe the presenters’ personal experiences with grade grubbing as well stories that have been collected from their peers and offer reflections and strategies for new instructors on how to address this issue at the beginning of the semester, during the term, and after the course has concluded. Participants are asked to bring their tales of grade grubbing as well as their own approaches. This promises to be a great session for both new and experienced faculty to engage in a much needed discussion of this phenomenon.

  • Improving Critical Thinking Through Team-Based Collaborative Discussion

    By: Michael Barnwell

    In a philosophy class, standard philosophical arguments and problems were presented. Instead of the professor explaining the canonical replies to those arguments and problems, students were separated into groups and prompted to arrive at those replies themselves. The aim was to improve active critical thinking skills in the students. The project achieved limited success. This presentation will explore the pitfalls this project encountered. It is hoped that members of the audience will be able to provide useful feedback and suggestions for future implementation.

  • EntrepreNU: Engaging Students Across the Curriculum and Outside the Classroom

    By: Mitchell Alegre, Kevin Blair, Corey Bower, Robert De Jaray, David Taylor

    Recent reports point to a dramatic increase among students in some of the top business schools across the country for entrepreneurship-related offerings. This may only be exceeded by the interest and growth in social entrepreneurship, capped off in summer 2015 with Forbes’ $1 Million “Under 30 Change the World Competition.” This presentation will describe the design and implementation of EntrepreNU, a social entrepreneurship competition that asks students to use business principles and practices to address some of the most pressing social issues facing the local community. The presentation will also describe the response to the competition by students, some of the challenges and benefits, and the potential for initiatives like EntrepreNU to engage students across the curriculum and outside the classroom. The session will include reflections and observations on the competition from a student perspective.

  • Real Project-based Collaborative Learning: A Case Study

    By: Yonghong Tong

    In Fall 2015, I initiated a real project-based collaborative learning, a new and challenging teaching and learning approach in teaching “CIS490A: Mobile App Development II”. The prominent characteristic of this course lies in the creation of some advanced technologies in mobile app development. Traditionally, each component is taught separately, and students may not integrate these components together with previously learned knowledge. The real project-based collaborative learning approach is a solution to this problem. The class is divided into teams of 2 students. Each team has a real mobile app project from a client. Each group has a meeting with the client and agrees on requirements for the project, and submits a plan for design and development. I give students guidelines and suggestions about the proposal. Students have their own after-class schedule for group meetings to collaborate on their projects. I make myself available in case students have questions or ideas to discuss. Each team presents the progress 3 times in class to get feedback and suggestions from the clients, peers, and the professor. By the end of the semester, students submit a project report, make a presentation, and demonstrate their developed applications in a teamwork format. Part of the team grade is given by the client. Using this real project-based collaborative learning approach, students gain many benefits. Students exchange ideas actively, creatively, and critically with peers and clients. This new approach increases students’ motivation and awareness of challenging real-life problems, improves teamwork skills, and engages students in learning and community services. Preliminary surveys indicate students like this teaching and learning approach (formal survey data will be collected at the end of this semester).

  • Educators' Perspective of Institutional Shift in Focus to Online Programs: Discussion of Findings

    By: Joseph Winter, Lei Han, Christopher Aquino, and Danyelle Moore

    Online courses and programs have become increasingly common in higher education. Some universities have opted to redefine themselves from predominately “brick and mortar” to predominantly online in a very short period of time. Compared to traditional face-to-face course delivery, online offers greater flexibility in terms of time and location and has the potential to reach students in every corner of the world. The implementation of online delivery in traditional colleges often requires a large capital outlay for infrastructure and significant training of educators. A small liberal arts school that has invested heavily in teaching and learning resources, emphasizes active and integrated learning in its classrooms, and believes good teaching can make a difference in learning effectiveness is poised to fully embrace online delivery. However, before embarking on such a massive shift in strategy it was determined by our group that it may be wise that data be collected and analyzed inquiring about the views of the educators who would be affected by the decision and who could affect its outcome. Based on feedback about the survey, presented at two conferences (including CCTL 2015), the researchers deployed the survey to a diverse set of institutions in the summer of 2015. The study, intended to gather information from educators across institutions to provide decision makers with greater insight on how best to structure and achieve buy-in for such a change. The survey included questions related to the choice of technology, appropriate implementation strategy, issues of academic integrity, challenges and opportunities for an additional focus, costs and benefits, etc. During our presentation, we will present the top findings the researchers found most interesting or surprising. The session will be informal, involve much open discussion about the findings and small group work relating to opportunities and experiences the session attendees have to contribute

  • Mentoring and being mentored: Collaboration is a two-way street!

    By: Dennis Garland, and Paul Vermette

    Synergy amongst colleagues in higher education is critical to organizational, personal, and professional growth. Seasoned faculty members have a wealth of experience and practical insight to share with their more neophyte counterparts in terms of rapport building, teaching methodology, and theoretical perspectives. In turn, newcomers in the field of higher education are often more equipped to integrate 21st century technologies into their practice. This session is the manifestation of a novice professor seeking mentorship from a veteran colleague and the reciprocity that was sought in the form of support with technology integration. The presenters will discuss their collaboration in a secondary teaching methods course in the College of Education. Participants will: (1) examine the details of this specific collaboration in order to, (2) tailor to their own context. In addition, materials will be distributed to guide colleagues seeking to strengthen their teaching practice and professional relationships.

  • Reflective Journaling in the Humanities

    By: Stefanie Wichhart

    Reflective journaling has long been used in the field of education and in pre-professional programs to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on what they are learning or to reflect on practicum experiences. This technique is far less common in the humanities. I would like to share my experience with incorporating reflective journaling into a history research seminar, as well as some of the research that highlights the benefits of this technique. Journaling exercises have helped me to tackle two major challenges students face in writing a major research paper for the first time. 1) Students often express anxiety at various stages of the research process as they struggle with how to tackle such a complex and largely unstructured project. Journaling exercises help students to “embrace the creative chaos” rather than letting it paralyze them and also provide me with timely insight into their thought process so that I can better assist them. 2) Major research projects require sustained periods of concentration and the instant gratification culture in which we work makes these projects particularly challenging. Students have trouble moving from concrete information gathered from their sources to formulating arguments and engaging in higher-order analysis, and the period of reflection is often the crucial missing step. Journaling is an effective active learning strategy that fosters an on-going dialogue with students and gives them a more informal writing space for working through ideas. During the session I will have participants complete a brief journaling exercise to begin our discussion. I will share what I’ve learned and leave ample time to hear from attendees about their experiences so that together we can explore how we might use this technique in creative ways to help students engage more deeply with challenging assignments.

  • Increasing Student Understanding of Text with Reading Guides

    By: Sharon Green

    When students read “just to get it done,” their understanding may be compromised. I provide Reading Guides for some articles in my integrated reading-writing course. They are modeled after a sample in John Bean’s "Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom." Reading Guides suggest strategies such pre-reading; noticing textual organization; asking questions; annotating; locating main ideas; increasing vocabulary; and allocating adequate time for reading. I will share results of a student assessment, and we will discuss using Reading Guides with a variety of texts. Participants will receive sample Reading Guides Detailed summary (260 words): Some students have a limited reading background; some dislike reading; others read quickly “just to get it done.” Recent studies suggest that young people are reading fewer books; if so, some students enter college with limited reading experiences. This may compromise their understanding of complex college texts. In my integrated reading-writing course for first-year students, I assign one or two short articles per class. This regular reading provides students with continual opportunities to practice reading skills, it increases students’ exposure to college-level vocabulary, and it helps students develop a reading habit. To provide more guidance for reading college texts, I wrote “Reading Guides” to accompany the first ten articles. My Reading Guides are modeled after a sample in John C. Bean’s "Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom" (2011). Reading Guides give students direction in how to read each article so they can begin to read in new and different ways. Embedded in my Reading Guides are strategies such as previewing and pre-reading; predicting; noticing textual organization; asking questions; annotating; locating main ideas; allocating adequate time for reading; and increasing college-level vocabulary. My Reading Guides also include information about the author and the source of the article. This presentation will describe how I integrate Reading Guides into my course. I will distribute sample Reading Guides, I will describe how my students use them, and I will summarize results of a student assessment of the Reading Guides. I will invite participants to consider how they might use Reading Guides in their courses

  • Integrating the TeachLivE Simulation Classroom into teacher preparation curricula for enhancing best practices

    By: Dennis and Krista Vince Garland

    Demonstration of the mixed reality classroom will include an introduction to the setting, the virtual students, and the opportunities for attendees to engage with the students. Reflections on how to use virtual classrooms to better teaching practice will be shared.

  • Scholarly Literature to Modify Higher Educational Math Courses: An Exploration

    By: Amanda and Chad Mangum

    Scholarly Literature to Modify Higher Educational Math Courses: An Exploration Amanda Mangum, Niagara University Chad Mangum, Niagara University This project began with the presenters reading Ambrose et. al’s How Learning Works: 7 Research Based—Principles for Smart Teaching and Benedict Carey’s How We Learn. After journaling on each chapter with a focus on how the presenters could make positive changes to their courses and discussing these ideas, several modifications were made to the way these professors taught Calculus I and Intro to Statistics in the Fall 2015 semester. Surveys were given to these courses mid-semester in order to gauge student perception of the course modifications. We will discuss the literature that influenced changes to our courses, the changes we implemented, and student perceptions of these changes. The presenters will also lead a discussion regarding changes that professors may make to their courses.

  • Physical Models for Active Engagement and Improved Conceptual Understanding of Genetic Information Flow

    By: Leslie Kate Wright

    “Information flow, exchange and storage”, the foundation for modern genetics and genomics research and applications, has been described as one of the five core concepts required for undergraduate biology literacy by AAAS and the National Science Foundation. Topics related to information flow are visited numerous times throughout a biology curriculum but research shows that many students struggle to conceptualize and learn topics linked to information flow. In order to investigate this phenomenon more deeply, we have embarked on several long-term research projects investigating student understanding of information flow. Our results reveal that students routinely confuse building blocks (e.g. nucleotides) with macromolecules (e.g. nucleic acid), interchange molecules when speaking and/or writing (e.g. nucleic acids vs. amino acids) and have difficulty conceptualizing how information molecules (e.g. DNA, RNA, and protein) are actually put together/synthesized by the cellular machinery. In order to help students overcome these challenges we have incorporated numerous hand-held, dynamic, physical models in introductory and mid-level courses to let students explore topics about information molecules, their building blocks and processes of information flow. Using the validated Central Dogma Concept Inventory (CDCI) assessment tool, we have evidence to support incorporation of models into student-centered classroom activities improves learning on a number of topics related to information flow. In this session participants will mimic the role of the student learner and use various hand-held, dynamic models to explore a variety of topics that are essential for learning about information flow. The session is designed to introduce instructors to models and elicit discussion on how they may be used in a variety of biology classrooms to support learning.

  • How structured should student research courses be? - A chemistry case study

    By: Robyn Goacher

    Every Chemistry and Biochemistry major at Niagara University is required to do between 4 and 6 credit hours of supervised research as part of their degree. The independent research requirement is motivated by the desire to have students take ownership over a project, engage in active reading and synthesis of the literature, design and execute hands-on experiments at the lab bench or on the computer, troubleshoot problems, criticize weaknesses and strengths of their approaches, interpret and evaluate the quality of the outcomes, and propose next steps. In my mind, nothing could be more close to true active integrated learning in science than doing research where the answers truly are unknown! This is what scientists do! However, student research in our department takes the form of independent studies, and is not taught as a regular “research methods” class. Some students seem to thrive in the independence of this setup, and illustrate a high level of self-motivation to keep their projects on track, while others flounder in procrastination despite high academic potential. Sometimes, the research endeavors, although they are of equal credit-hour weighting to other courses, are pushed to the back burner. I therefore struggle with the question of “how much structure should I impose on my research students?” It is an important skill to learn time management and self-motivation but do I actually help students create a goals mindset? Should I offer students carrots and sticks if that is what they need? How structured should student research courses be? This talk will focus on preliminary data obtained from a poll of recent department graduates about their research experiences. Furthermore, current students were asked to generate a syllabus with what they viewed to be appropriate expectations for supervised research, which included aspects of safety, ethics, record-keeping and quality of reports and presentations.

  • Using a co-teaching experience to analyze the effectiveness of instructional frameworks: Improving teacher skills and increasing student learning

    By: Paul Vermette, and Danyelle Moore

    Many higher education instructors are continuously searching to improve their teaching practice. The co-teaching model used allows each of the individual teachers to share skills with one another and the class using Chickering and Gamson (1987) and Vermette (2009) ENGAGING frameworks. Chickering and Gamson provide seven principles of a good professor while Vermette introduces eight keys to student success. Using the frameworks allowed the co-teachers to evaluate the student learning experience and practice specific teaching techniques. Information was collected through class observations, student reflections, and notes from co-teachers over the fifteen week course. Students reported believing the co-teaching model was effective in providing a deeper learning experience because of the skills each co-teacher brought to the classroom. The findings indicate that use of the ENGAGING framework was more applicable and enabled the students to play an active role in their own learning. This session begins with the case of a co-taught secondary teaching methods class with a diverse student and instructor population. The instructors set out to accomplish three goals through co-teaching. 1) Use the frameworks to guide development of course activities. 2) Reflect on teaching techniques and provide feedback for each other. 3) Use weekly student reflections to shape the class and as feedback on teaching techniques. The facilitators will introduce the frameworks, how they impacted planning, and student reflections. The participants will then participate in a chalk walk where they will be asked to work with groups to analyze the case study before creating applications for their classroom for each of the ENGAGING keys to success. The final time will be a debriefing and open for questions. Attendees will leave with overviews of the frameworks and best practices for integrating them into practice in higher education classrooms.

  • Teaching the Language of Mathematics

    By: Debbie Bond

    Teaching the Language of Mathematics Professor Debbie Bond Villa Maria College “Mathematics is a language and should be taught as such.” There are many theories as to how one acquires a first and second languages. We have behaviorists, constructivists, empiricists, nativists and sociologists, all attempting to define how one acquires language and/or how one learns a foreign language. In many cases students see mathematics as a language learning experience; thus for many children, mathematics is seen as a foreign language; the symbols and expressions provide a formidable barrier to understanding of mathematical concepts. In mathematics students are introduced to new symbols, vocabulary, grammar and new systems of analyzing their first language. The components of learning mathematics don’t simply involve procedures; mathematics involves a complex set of symbols that may not always have a one to one correspondence when translated into a student’s native language. Beyond symbols, mathematics contains word problems, in which new types of vocabulary are involved: mathematical, procedural and descriptive vocabulary. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate how one can explore mathematical language using multiple theories of language learning, second language learning and linguistics. The presentation will focus on procedural vocabulary, mathematical vocabulary and descriptive vocabulary. Further, it will examine both the syntax, semantics and symbolic representation of mathematics and how one teaches the interpretation of those symbols. The presentation will demonstrate how instructors can implement mathematical language learning within their classrooms without sacrificing content or class time. - Engagements will include discussion of symbols commonly used in mathematics. Further it will discuss how some of the most common symbols do not have a one to one correspondence as many languages do. - Session will be interactive using the participants to help decipher application problems that involve mathematical terminology.

  • Writing the Future: Integrating Ideas, Active Learning, and Solving Problems

    By: Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa api

    With a NU CCTL grant, two fall writing courses were redesigned. One emphasized Deep Reading and Active Learning (DRAL) methods focused on students’ chosen interest areas, while the other centered on Problem-Based Learning (PBL) instructional methods grounded in a variety of “real world” scenarios. The goals were to 1) incorporate complex critical thinking tasks into the process of reading and writing, 2) comprehend the ways different disciplines use evidence to support claims, 3) foster deep integrated learning, and 4) compare the effectiveness of DRAL and PBL methods on student learning. A combination of informal and formal writing assignments, small group work, thought-provokers questions, collaborative learning, and other active learning strategies were used to engage students in both classes. Pre- and post-tests measured prior knowledge and skills and the extent of learning over the semester. The DRAL class formed deep reading habits through reading journals; informal reflective papers; formal writing assignments; and small group work on research projects, debates, and presentations. The PBL class explored current concerns across the disciplines, establishing links between reading and writing through solving real world tasks such as raising awareness of issues such as bullying in school by creating public service announcements, developing position papers on junk food in vending machines, legal briefs on the benefits and drawbacks of technology, and debating genetically modified organisms. The results of both methods’ effectiveness in engaging students and improving their cognitive skills will be discussed. Additionally, as this will be a hands-on session the audience will participate in actual small group exercises used in the writing classes to foster active and integrative learning. The exercises were constructed to contain some curricular links suitable for faculty to integrate into a variety of other disciplines.

  • Creative Education and Students’ Ideas about Learning Individually and in Groups: Understanding Creative Identities, Diversity and Assessment

    By: Bernie Murray

    Creative Education and Students’ Ideas about Learning Individually and in Groups: Understanding Creative Identities, Diversity and Assessment Bernie Murray Ryerson University Associate Professor This qualitative study explored design and communication students’ perspectives about creativity, diversity, and assessment in higher education. The purpose was to understand this specific group of creative learners and obtain essential criteria for product evaluation in order to develop appropriate assessment rubrics. The study examined their experiences being evaluated individually and in group work. The research questions focused on creativity, diversity in their program, and assessment. Personal interviews with the participants provided insights into their experiences as undergraduate students. Additionally, they revealed ideas about learning and being assessed in group work. They described challenges that existed working in teams and ways that group work can be incorporated into class activities. All of the participants described their creative identities and what they were communicating in their work. They said that the assignments contained copious guidelines limiting their inspiration and expression. Design and communication students wanted criteria that guided them to be successful graduates of the program. Themes emerged about the criteria for assessment rubrics including the preparation, process, and product of work. Participants requested criteria such as inspiration; process of work; work effort and ethic; skill or quality; and application of techniques. Continual feedback was critical to enable them to achieve higher grades. Therefore, teachers’ written comments were essential as well as assignments that allowed them to incorporate new ideas, interests, and creative expression. They wanted opportunities for exploration, risk-taking, and problem finding. Specifically, the conference participants will engage in discussion in this session on the following: - Strategies for successful individual and group work; - Examine ideas about creativity and how it should be assessed; and - Reflect on assignments or activities that engage students providing opportunities for creative expression of ideas and interests.

  • This is ground control to candidates anywhere: Piloting virtual seminar discourse in a capstone course in special education.

    By: Dennis Garland, and Alice Kozen

    In a global economy, innovative approaches preparing teacher candidates to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become high quality special educators are mandatory. Many educational programs are offered completely online. This paradigm allows candidates to have flexibility with their scheduling and geographic location. However, disrupting the status quo of face-to-face content delivery presents unique challenges to faculty at institutions of higher learning. Foci such as delivering a high quality curriculum, measuring the acquisition of knowledge and skills among candidates, and engaging them in meaningful contexts often manifest themselves in unforeseen ways. To ameliorate these challenges, the researchers examined the effects of using a virtual learning environment to co-facilitate a seminar course to graduate teacher candidates in special education. This session explores the views of both instructors and candidates as they traversed a capstone class through a pilot virtual classroom. From planning the online syllabus to candidates’ impressions regarding their participation, the audience will be taken through the positive opportunities that were afforded as well as issues that still remain. As more and more students get acquainted with virtual classrooms, we will look at the true potential of interaction in these settings. The leaders of this session will share their experiences of co-facilitating an online graduate seminar course in a virtual environment and demonstrate the environment’s use. Topics will include elements of co-teaching and mentorship, technological considerations for using virtual learning interfaces, and enhancing student engagement.

  • Teaching Nonviolently: A Practical Guide for College Instructors

    By: George Payne, Finger Lakes Community College

    In this interactive workshop participants will learn about several practical strategies which can foster classrooms of mutual awareness, creative engagement, and other humane values. Topics will include the counter-productivity of letter grades, assessing without judging, responding to students as humans with feelings and needs, and ways to create genuine trust between instructors and students and between the students and their peers. Participants can expect to openly share about their unique experiences in the classroom.

  • Gamification in the Classroom – How to Incorporate Game Elements into Your Teaching

    By: Jeremiah Grabowski

  • Increasing Student Engagement in Reading by Creating YouTube Videos

    By: Sharon Green