CSU Teaching Symposium This Spring

Every spring, the CSU offers a 2-day symposium focused on effective teaching and learning. This spring, the symposium is scheduled on March 13-14, 2020, at CSU-Fullerton and sessions will focus on inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and student success (see attached flier for more info). The call for proposals is open until November 26. If you are passionate about teaching, consider attending or proposing a presentation.

Teaching in Today’s California

The theme of the CELT Conference this year is “Teaching and Learning in Today’s California.” The changing demographics of California and the evolving priorities of the State should compel us all to take a moment and consider how the University has changed and will change in the coming years. The 22nd annual CELT Conference is just such an opportunity. President Gayle Hutchinson will be sharing her thoughts in the Awards Luncheon and Keynote on Thursday. The Conference runs 10/6-10/7, is on campus, and is free.

Check out the CELT conference program here.

Register for the conference here.

Top 10 reasons to register for the CELT conference

  1. Looking at teaching posters while eating a breakfast burrito, is literally my perfect morning. Join us on Friday 7:30-9:00am in Colusa for the catered poster session.
  2. Heard the buzz about e-Portfolios, but not sure what to make of them? Check out nationally recognized e-Portfolio leader Kathleen Yancey on Friday at 3pm for a presentation or join her for a workshop 12-2pm, please register for the separate workshop.
  3. Avoid a meeting you do not want to attend with the excuse “I can’t make it, I need to attend a conference.”
  4. Check out the great work of our colleagues from San Jose State who are coming to share their work on a prestigious First in the World Grant on Friday at 1pm.
  5. We are making outreach to our local community colleges a priority, help us make the conference a regional centerpiece by promoting it to your friends at other institutions.
  6. Get better at teaching.
  7. Learn from the successes and mistakes of others in course redesign. Join colleagues from Business focused on course redesign at 9am on Friday. A separate session on Friday at 10am explores the relationship between our own Academy-e Learning and the CSU funded program to support quality online instruction.
  8. Join us for student focused sessions like the Students in Crisis workshop/presentation on Thursday at 9:30am or the Writing for First-Year Students session at 11am on Friday.
  9. Support your colleagues. Most of you know someone who is presenting or invested in one or more presentations.
  10. See and be seen. The CELT conference is the networking opportunity of a lifetime, or at least the best one you will have on Thursday/Friday.

Dr. Sara Cooper has provided addition Book in Common Material. Check out this section of the CELT page for regular synopsis updates, discussion questions, and other resources.

Got feedback on this tip? Got an idea for a tip? Send it along. Check out our new and improved wordpress site here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Caffeinated Cats podcast! The first episode of the semester is up online. Mary, Tracy, and I explore diversity and protest on campus and off. Link to it on soundclouditunesovercast, or follow the podcast on facebook.

Final Presentations

When they return from spring break, many of our students will begin work on final projects that they will present to the class. These can be remarkable works of creativity and collaboration demonstrating powerful learning outcomes. They can also be grueling exercises in PowerPoint reading that make the semester end with neither bang nor whimper but with “I already gave my presentation, do I still have to come to class?”

When done right, final presentations—by individuals or groups—are an excellent way for students to synthesize and extend learning and practice the real-world skill of getting a group of people to understand something important.  There are many resources for designing good final project assignments; this overview from Stanford’s Teaching Commons lays out some good guidelines and creative ideas.  And since you have been modeling good presentation techniques all semester, your students know what an effective presentation looks like.  But how useful are these final presentations for the rest of the class?  Too often the rest of the class checks out, literally or mentally, from sessions devoted to presentations other than their own. But those last class sessions need not be a waste for all but presenter and instructor.  If the presentations are good—and should we presume anything else?—they should be just as valuable to the students as any other class session.  You may need to help them see this, though.  Here are a few possible strategies:

  • Make completion of a response to the other presentations a required component of the student’s own project. This can be as simple as asking them to fill out a feedback form with “One thing I found interesting in this presentation…” for each project, or as elaborate as requiring peer feedback on each presentation.  If you score the presentations with a rubric, consider having the students complete one for each other.
  • Beyond attaching points to paying attention, try giving added legitimacy to student presentations by entrusting them with real course content. With adequate guidance, students can do the heavy lifting on key course concepts or applications, which makes real the students’ transition from novice to something-beyond-novice learners.  If appropriate, you can use material from the presentations in a final exam.
  • Foreground the importance of interacting with other students’ projects by moving the presentations online and devoting class time to responding to and connecting the projects. PowerPoint, video or other presentation formats can be attached to blogs or discussion threads in Blackboard to facilitate responses. Students might also post viewing guides or follow-up questions for their presentations, so that in-class discussions are primed and ready. Here’s an article from Faculty Focus that lays out this process.

This time next week you may have toes in the sand, hands in the garden, or at least a triple latte at your side while you move through the next stack of papers.  Keep your eyes on the prize.

*  Authored by Dr. Katherine McCarthy.