COFFEE CHAT: Canvas Course Share (Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 3:30-4:30 pm)

This Coffee Chat gives instructors a chance to share effective uses of Canvas and learn from others as well. Instructors will be grouped by area of interest (home page design, module structures, innovative assignments, effective discussions, etc.) to show and discuss something they’ve done in their Canvas course that’s working well. CTL staff will also be on hand to answer questions, suggest alternatives, and point out new features. Bring a laptop or borrow one of ours to make this a highly interactive session!   Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Friday, February 17.  Click here to register.

LUNCH AND LEARN – Textbooks: Changing Costs, Content, and Student Use (Tuesday, February 28, 2017, Noon-1:00 pm)

As textbooks change to include homework systems, alternate media, and open source items, changing cost structures and other factors influence the way students purchase and use them.  This luncheon event brings together the work of on-campus student, faculty, and staff groups who have been exploring ways to help ensure that textbooks are accessible as an important learning resource to all students. Participants will be asked to view online presentations from each group prior to attending, and come ready to engage in brainstorming and a panel discussion surrounding this issue.  Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, February 24. Click here to register.


COFFEE CHAT: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Thursday, January 19, 2017, 3:30-4:30 pm)

Join us for a coffee chat to discuss initiatives which advance the scholarship of teaching and learning on Michigan Tech’s campus. We’ll consider new opportunities available through the RISE Institute to support faculty in education research and STEM initiatives. We’ll also discuss how best to foster collaborative interdisciplinary “reflective practices” to advance research efforts and academic writing approaches regarding pedagogical innovations.  Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, January 16. Click here to register.

LUNCH AND LEARN: Teaching Accessibly: Attending to the Needs of All Students (Tuesday, January 24, 2017, Noon-1:00 pm)

When we think about accessibility, we often focus on students with specific disabilities. The growing discussion about accessibility, however, focuses on making information available to as many students as possible. Teaching involves using many types of media (written documents, videos, presentations, websites, etc.), all of which have unique accessibility concerns.  In this workshop, we’ll explore time-efficient ways to design course materials that meet the needs of students with a widening range of abilities. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, January 20. Click here to register.


LUNCH AND LEARN: Student Perceptions of Tech Teaching (Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Noon-1:00 pm)

The Jackson CTL has an undergraduate student intern this semester.  Amy Joy Patterson has spent this semester collecting student perceptions about what helps them learn and what doesn’t.  Amy Joy will share her data and reactions.  Participants will have a chance to consider whether student preferences might warrant changing teaching practice, or how instructors can better implement needed strategies that aren’t well liked. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, November 4. Click here to register.


COFFEE CHAT: Making a Difference: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions – Dr. Linda Vanasupa (Guest Speaker) (Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 10:30-11:30 am)

Dr. Linda Vanasupa, a Tech alum with experience as a Materials Science Professor and Chair, is now the Founding Co-Director for the Center for Sustainability at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. She received the 2016 Women in Engineering Proactive Network (WEPAN) Leader in Engineering Education award this summer.   In this session, co-hosted by the Jackson CTL and WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), Dr. Vanasupa will focus on how instructors practice under noble conditions and ultimately profoundly condition the learning that takes place in their classrooms. She will provide an honest reflection on a career once guided by the “making a difference” ideology.  Participants are invited to hear stories of the unintended consequences of success: the ups and downs, emergence and transformation.  Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, October 10. Click here to register.

LUNCH AND LEARN: Students on the Autism Spectrum (Tuesday, October 18, 2016, Noon-1:00 pm)

In this collaborative CTL and Student Disabilities Services event, participants will first explore traits typical of students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and why such students might be more common at Michigan Tech.  We’ll then explore instructional strategies that best serve the needs of these learners.  Staff from Michigan Rehabilitation Services will join the luncheon to offer a broader perspective related to both education and employment. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, October 14. Click here to register.

COFFEE CHAT: The Other Half of Evaluating Teaching (Thursday, October 27, 2016, 3:30-4:30 pm)

Senate policy indicates that “no more than 50%” of the evaluation of teaching used for tenure/promotion and raises should come from end-of-term student ratings of instruction. In this Coffee Chat session, we’ll discuss how “the other half” is currently accomplished in various departments, and suggest some alternatives for future departmental consideration.  (The Provost, Deans, and Chairs have already seen these, and agree that it’s best for each department to decide whether and how to have this discussion.)  The Provost’s goal is to consider ways to move the focus from “judgment” to continuous improvement. Please join us as we kick off these conversations!   Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, October 24. Click here to register.






COFFEE CHAT: Testing Center Scheduling Process (Thursday, September, 15)

The Michigan Tech Testing Center has grown by leaps and bounds over the past three years, prompting changes in staffing, software, and process. The changes have tried to better serve instructors, offer more flexibility to students, and allow a broader array of sponsored exams. In this Coffee Chat on Thursday, September 15, from 3:30-4:30pm, we’ll discuss the new registration process implemented this fall and get feedback about how the Testing Center can continue to improve. Refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, September 12. Click here to register.

LUNCH AND LEARN: Academic Integrity Student Survey Results (Tuesday, September 20)

In spring 2016, the Academic Integrity Committee surveyed Michigan Tech students from all levels and majors. In the more than 1500 responses received, students rated a variety of behaviors in terms of seriousness, and indicated how often they were observed.   In this luncheon event on Tuesday, September 20 from noon to 1pm, we’ll review aggregated responses and comments.  We’ll then highlight some surprising lessons for instructors regarding current student expectations in a learning environment. Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, September 16. Click here to register.

LUNCH AND LEARN: How Students Learn –  Dr. Stephen DiCarlo (Professor in the School of Medicine, Wayne State University) (Thursday, September 29)

 A Pretty Model is, in Itself, More Engaging and Inspiring than Copious Content Extracted from our Minds:  Teachers often overrate the importance of their content and underrate their influence.  However, students forget much of the content that they memorize.  Thus, attempts to teach students all that they will need to know is futile.  Rather, it is important that students develop an interest and love for lifelong learning.  Inspiring and motivating students is critical because unless students are inspired and motivated our efforts are pointless.  Once students are inspired and motivated, there are countless resources available to learn more about a subject.  During this luncheon session, September 29, noon to 1:00pm, we will discuss the background and use of three strategies that are documented to inspire, engage and motivate our students. This event is co-sponsored by the Jackson CTL and the Department of Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology.   Click here to register.

PEDAGOGY WORKSHOP: How Students Learn – Dr. Stephen DiCarlo (Professor in the School of Medicine, Wayne State University) (Thursday, September 29)

Shock and Awe Pedagogy: “Building” Bonds and Brains: The success of shock and awe pedagogy may be attributable, in part, to a powerful emotional connection.  Basic emotions including shock, anger, fear and sadness are shared by all humans.  When we experience emotion in our lives we tend to remember the experience.  In fact, the more emotional impact an experience has, the more intensely we remember its details and the more likely it will be stored in long-term memory.  In this workshop, September 29, 2:00 to 3:15pm, participants will be assigned to small groups based on similar expertise and develop and share one memorable pedagogical experience based on a model, humor or shocking performance. This event is co-sponsored by the Jackson CTL and the Department of Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology.   Click here to register.

KINESIOLOGY AND INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY DEPARTMENT SEMINAR: How Students Learn – Dr. Stephen DiCarlo (Professor in the School of Medicine, Wayne State University) (Friday, September 30)

Too Much Content, Not Enough Thinking, and Too Little Fun: Henry Ford, stated “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is why so few people engage in it.”  This is also true in the classroom where the content driven curriculum leaves little time for thinking.  In this setting, information is transferred from the notes of one person to the notes of another person without going through the minds of either person.  That is, we spend too little time thinking about the information.  This is important because active processing of information, not just passive reception of that information, leads to learning. Specifically, we understand the information we think about because understanding is the residue of thinking.  Therefore, in this seminar, September 29, 3:00 to 4:00pm, we will discuss strategies to create a joy, an excitement, and a love for learning.  By making learning fun, our students will be impatient to run home, study, and contemplate–to really learn. No registration is required for the Friday KIP Department Seminar to be held in 101 ATDC.




Examining a Teaching Life

E-learning folks and others –  the article referenced (heavily) in this post was written by Christa Walck in 1997.  MaryEllen Weimer identifies it as “one of a very few pedagogical articles worth re-reading.”    I went out and found the article, and I heartily agree!

Maryellen Weimer is the head of the umbrella organization that runs “The Teaching Professor” newsletter we circulate, author of a number of books that have been at the center of higher-ed conversations on teaching – including “Learner Centered Teaching” fairly recently.   Her praise is no small compliment.

Kudos to Christa for this work, which is not only being recognized as excellent, but also has such staying power!

Examining a Teaching Life


From: Faculty Focus
By: Maryellen Weimer, PhD