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Center for Teaching and Learning Spring 2015 Events


Making a Micro-Change in Teaching:  Improving the First Five Minutes of Class

The standard advice on New Year’s resolutions points out that making a small, specific change is the best path to lasting improvement.  In teaching, enriching the first five minutes of class is an area where small changes can have big pay-offs. Not only do the first few minutes of a class session set the tone for the day, but they are also one of the times when students are most attentive.  Join colleagues to share ideas on making the most of the first five minutes.

Discussion moderator:  Trey Guinn (Comm. Arts)  
Thursday January 29 (8-9 am with breakfast) or Monday February 2 (12-1 pm with lunch) AD 212


Building a Bridge from Tweets to Journal Articles

Surprisingly, research suggests that college students today read more than they did a few decades ago. However, relatively little of that reading is “long form reading.” Reading strategies that work for short, online texts are often automatic to students, but work poorly for challenging academic or literary texts.  An annotated text or two can alert students to the reading strategies needed in university work. Instructors can model effective highlighting and annotation, point out an article’s organizational structure, and help with key terms. Crocodoc Personal is a free, online tool that makes it easy to annotate and share any digital text (PDFs and Word documents both work fine). Bring a digital version of an article, short story or other text for one of your courses and annotate it during the session. If you have a laptop, please bring it. Cold drinks will be served.

Presenter: Stephanie Grote-Garcia (Education)  

Monday February 9 (12-1 pm) or Tuesday February 10 (12-1 pm) AD 212


Grading Student Papers:  Burn Less Midnight Oil

Marking papers can take a lot of faculty time, and research suggests that the time invested may do little to improve student writing. This session will try to make paper grading more effective and less of an ordeal. Participants will learn to distinguish more important errors from less important ones, they will practice using “minimal marking” approaches, and they will learn strategies for helping students understand and use feedback.   If you wish, bring a student paper for practice—but please remove the name.  First 10 faculty participants teaching undergraduate level courses will receive a Title V stipend of $100.00

Presenter:  Amanda Johnston (WLC)  

Tuesday February 17 (8-9 am with breakfast) or Wednesday February 18 (4:30-5:30 wine/cheese) AD 212


Why Won’t They Talk? Helping English Language Learning Students Participate in Class

New international students sometimes find the American classroom a bit of a shock.  The cultural norms frequently differ radically from what they have previously experienced.  These students--often outstanding English students at home—sometimes find that their oral English is not as strong as they had believed.  As a result, they may retreat into silence. Participants will learn practical strategies for engaging English Language Learning (ELL) students in class activities.  These approaches can also help draw more reticent native speakers into class discussion, too.

Presenters:  Letitia Harding (English)

Wednesday March 4 (12-1 pm with lunch) or Thursday March 5 (8-9 am with breakfast) AD 212


Writing Reunion

Did you attend Barbara Walvoord’s workshop on teaching writing last May?  Join with colleagues to discuss how you implemented ideas from the workshop.  Participants will have an opportunity to share what worked, what didn’t, and what can be tweaked.  Even if you didn’t attend the May workshop, this informal session should give you lots of ideas for using writing to teach your content, for designing writing activities, and for responding to student writing.

Facilitators:  Matthias Schubnell (English) Wednesday March 18 (12-1 pm with lunch)

                    Randall Griffiths (Sports Management) Thursday March 19 (4:30-5:30 with wine/cheese) AD 212


Student Response Groups:  Students Helping Students Write Better

Feedback helps any writer improve, but not all feedback needs to come from an instructor.  When used well, various types of student response groups can increase the amount of useful feedback students get on their writing. Participants will learn the most helpful kinds of peer feedback, practical strategies for implementing response groups, and pitfalls to avoid. First 10 faculty participants teaching undergraduate level courses will receive a Title V stipend of $100.00

Presenters:  Amanda Johnston (WLC) and Susan Hall (CTL)

Tuesday March 31 (12-1 pm with lunch) or Wednesday April 1 (8-9 am with breakfast) AD 212


A Gaming Aid to Learning

Do you want to help students do better in your course?  Frequent formative assessment—informal but specific information on what has been learned and what remains to be learned—can build achievement.  Kahoot is a free, online tool that uses a game format to provide formative feedback.  Instructors can embed a few Kahoot questions into a session, build a review around a Kahoot game, or ask students to create the games. The software is very easy to use and runs on most smart phones, laptops, or tablets.   Participants will have time to create a short Kahoot game. Bring notes on a topic that your students find challenging and leave with a short Kahoot game you can use later. You will be able to play the demonstration game with any device, but if you have a laptop or tablet please bring it to create your game. Cold drinks will be served.

Presenter:  Susan Hall (CTL)

Wednesday April 8 (12-1 pm) or Friday April 10 (1-2 pm) AD 212


Getting Started with Service Learning

Research into student success has identified service learning as a “high impact practice” that is strongly associated with student retention and academic success.  At its best, service learning addresses community needs and helps students meet course outcomes—while being practical for a busy faculty member to implement.  This workshop will offer examples of service learning at UIW and suggest efficient strategies for planning and implementing an effective service learning component to a course. 

Presenters: Chris Edelman (Philosophy) and Sherry Herbers (Education)

Tuesday April 14 (4:30 to 5:30 with wine/cheese) or Thursday April 16 (12-1 pm with lunch) AD 212


Oh What a Tangled Web They Weave: Helping Students Write Clearer Sentences

We’ve all read them—sentences of mind-numbing complexity that collapse into a heap of grammatical errors.  We’ve all struggled to respond to them, finally shrugging our shoulders and writing “awk” or “unclear” in the margin.  In his perennially popular book, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, Joseph Williams offers specific lessons for producing clear sentences.  Instead of giving advice like “be specific” or “be clear,” Williams presents actual procedures for producing clear writing. In this session, participants will learn Williams’s first lesson for clarity.  It’s easy to teach to students, and it’s easy to apply to our own writing, too. First 10 faculty participants teaching undergraduate level courses will receive a Title V stipend of  $100.00

Presenters:  Amanda Johnston (WLC) and Susan Hall (CTL) 

Monday March 23 (4:30-5:30 with wine and cheese) or Thursday March 26 (8-9 am with breakfast) AD 212


Spring Semester Book Club:  What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

                Bain conducted a fifteen-year study of outstanding college professors, individuals who were particularly successful at fostering student learning.  He argues that their success did not come from particular techniques—some are master lecturers and others teach through discussion. Instead, he found that they shared four basic concepts about the nature of human learning, even though they implemented these ideas in different ways. Bain’s book is a classic in the literature on college teaching, and in 2004 won the Stone Prize awarded annually by Harvard University Press for the best book on education and society.

This book club will meet four times during the month of April. We will conduct an online Doodle poll to identify the best meeting day and time.  Participants will get their own copy of the book and a meal at their first and last meetings.

Facilitator:  Sushma Ramsinghani (Pharmacy)



May Book Club:  Mindset by Carol Dweck

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has studied how our beliefs about traits like intelligence influence our success. Those with a fixed mindset believe that individuals are born with a certain levels of talent, and that little can be done to change that inheritance.  Those with a growth mindset believe that individuals can develop their intelligence and other talents. Emerging evidence suggests that those with a growth mindset are correct.  As Dweck comments, “The fixed mindset stands in the way of development and change. The growth mindset is a starting point for change, but people need to decide for themselves where their efforts toward change would be most valuable.”  In Mindset, Dweck presents her influential research in a format that is readable and interesting to a general audience.  The book club will discuss Dweck’s research and strategies for using it in teaching and advising.

This book club will meet from 4:00 to 5:00 on May 19, 22, 26, and 29. Participants will get their own copy of the book and a meal at their first and last meetings.

Facilitator: Maria Felix-Ortiz



Register at  For more information, contact Dr. Susan Hall ( or 283-5030) or Kathy Allwein ( or 283-6359).