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
- 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.
- 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.
- Avoid a meeting you do not want to attend with the excuse “I can’t make it, I need to attend a conference.”
- 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.
- 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.
- Get better at teaching.
- 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.
- 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.
- Support your colleagues. Most of you know someone who is presenting or invested in one or more presentations.
- 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.
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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 soundcloud, itunes, overcast, or follow the podcast on facebook.
My favorite part about Faculty Development has been learning about the innovations and great work going on across campus. I get to hear about new developments all the time, but I want you to share with the whole campus and region at the 2016 CELT conference. Don’t keep your idea a secret. Today’s tip is an encouragement to share your innovations. The submission deadline is on Friday, but submitting is easy. To get you started, I have a list of things I have heard about the past few years I would love to see at the conference.
- Team teaching including interdisciplinary education is something we talk about at meetings, but very few of us know how to do it well. Teach us!
- Are you utilizing a new technology? Faculty across campus are experimenting with Zoom video and finding their own open source software. Tell us about it!
- Who has had a great idea go bad? I once participated in a redesign that went almost nowhere and many of us have good ideas that don’t work. Share your failure with the group (I promise it is therapeutic)!
- Who is already working with the new University priorities on Civic Engagement and Diversity in their classroom? Enlighten us with your vision!
- Are you struggling with how to manage political conversations in your classroom? Put together a panel on teaching in a divisive election season!
- Got something to say on national controversies? Put together a few people with opposing ideas on affirmative action, campus speech codes, or reconciling institutional history with contemporary goals!
- Textbooks are getting more expensive every year. Tell us about how you found open source material or pieced together course readings out of available research!
- Do you work with graduate students or mentors? Share best practices with us!
- Is your classroom a dimly lit dungeon with chairs bolted to the floor? Put together a group on teaching in difficult spaces and places!
- Are you collaborating with Advising or Student Life and Leadership to improve learning? Tell us about how you are building bridges!
The CELT conference is a free opportunity to share your innovations and thoughts on critical campus and national issues. In 2015 we averaged 15 attendees per session and we are looking for even broader exposure this year. Last year I learned things about personal productivity from Dustin Bakkie and what it takes for students to turn around their education after struggling from Josh Whittinghill and students in EOP that have changed my behavior this year. Don’t miss your opportunity to make your voice heard. Submission takes a few minutes, but the lessons learned can last a lifetime.
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Don’t forget to subscribe to the Caffeinated Cats podcast! The newest episode is on the strike that wasn’t. Link to it on soundcloud, itunes, overcast, or follow the podcast on facebook.
Exams have been central to higher education for as long as there has been higher education. We often take them as a given in our course planning and structure the end of the semester around a comprehensive final. Take a moment to ask yourself why you give exams.
Got an answer?
It may be a very good answer. Sometimes accrediting bodies demand specific objectives be met through exams or the exams may prepare students for a particular goal. However, for many of us, we do not have a good answer or we may give exams assuming they assure students learn concepts. A growing community is questioning the relationship between exams and learning (Jaffee, 2012; Struyven, Dochy, & Janssens, 2005) while proposing alternatives like low-stakes assignments and clicker quizzes (Dobson, 2008; Leeming, 2002; Weimer, 2011). These are not great fits for all classrooms, but we should take a minute and ask ourselves: Why do I keep doing that?
A more creative take on a similar topic appeared recently in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Follow the link if you want to make a choice: Final Exams or Epic Finales
It was spring cleaning time at my house last weekend, complete with an elaborate 30-point color-coded checklist taped to the refrigerator that was pleasing to no one in the family but me. By the end of the day, though, we all noticed how much the quality of light in the living room had been improved just by washing windows that hadn’t been cleaned in years for a while. Here’s a modest checklist for spring cleaning your courses:
- Review and update Student Learning Outcomes. Of course, some of these are determined by departmental and/or General Education requirements, but where you have options, consider what you really want students to remember from the course when you run into them five years from now. Is the course set up to focus on and achieve those most meaningful ends?
- Replace outdated materials. Readings and films that were cutting-edge in the 1990s can be hard to give up, especially with limited budgets for replacing them. But a couple of hours spent seeking out fresher content pays off well in student engagement and our own sense of currency. (And eliminates those cringe-worthy moments in class watching videos with Clinton-era soundtracks.)
- Improve accessibility. Whether it’s reformatting an article PDF, or adding a statement about accommodating students with disabilities to a syllabus, making our courses more universally accessible is the right thing to do, and it’s not very difficult. Help is available from both TLP’s accessibility guide and the Accessibility Resource Center’s faculty support services.
- Plan ahead for funding next year’s projects. There are good campus sources of faculty funding for course innovation, conference travel, and research, but you have to be ready when the calls come. Don’t get caught by unexpected deadlines. We’ve put together a handy one-page Faculty Funding Sources at a Glance; post it prominently and get the jump on next year’s proposals.
* Authored by Dr. Katherine McCarthy.