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Winter Teaching Institute Storrs 2009


The Institute for Teaching & Learning held its second annual Winter Teaching Institute. This years theme was Inclusive Teaching. Nearly 60 faculty and administrators drawn from all of the UConn campuses, gathered in Storrs, Connecticut on January 16th, 2009 for a day of seminars and workshops on teaching and learning in undergraduate education. The Institute focused on issues of both pedagogy and technology.

The information below includes an overview of each presentation as well as any handouts or links that were supplied during the presentations


Remarks from Veronica

Veronica Makowsky                   January 16, 2009

Welcome Remarks
Winter Teaching Institute

       Welcome!  I’d like to begin my remarks by thanking you very much for being here this morning. You are clearly dedicated teachers and colleagues, and we and our students are very fortunate to have you all here at UConn.
      The topic of inclusive teaching is essential to the art of teaching. Indeed, can we really use the word “teaching” and intend something that is exclusive, not inclusive? Consequently, I’ve been pondering what exclusion means in these and other contexts. I keep returning to one of literature’s most famous statements about exclusion. Near the end of his famous early work, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce’s protagonist, Stephen Daedalus, declares, before leaving his home in Ireland for the continent:
“I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use, silence, exile, and cunning.”
Joyce, like many modernist writers—another would be Faulkner—tried to make a virtue of necessity, arguing that you needed to be exiled from your home, whether Ireland or the South, in order to get enough perspective to understand it. The corollary of that idea, however, is that you have to endure exile in order to gain that broader perspective and greater knowledge.
Like these modernist writers, many of our students face the challenge or problem of exiling themselves from their familiar backgrounds and coming to UConn to gain a wider view of themselves, their homes, and the world. But I don’t want them to feel at UConn, like Joyce’s Stephen Daedalus on the continent, that they can only survive through “silence, exile, and cunning.” Silence implies that we don’t want to hear from them and it’s just safer to keep your mouth shut in class; exile would mean that the classroom is a foreign country in many respects: and cunning suggest that not only is the classroom foreign territory but that the inhabitants are hostile and cannot be trusted with honest responses.
This sounds ludicrous—or I hope it does—when we think of our classrooms, yet for some students, whether it’s a dedicated artist in a math or science class or a first-generation college student in any class, our classrooms could be perceived, through no intention of our own, as places of exclusion and exile.
What I hope for you all this morning is that you can help your students find new or second homes in your classrooms. We don’t want them to fall back on “silence, exile, and cunning” as necessary responses to the classroom experience at UConn, but rather, through inclusive teaching methods, provide them with the tools for full participation and engagement. Thank you very much for your willingness to take the time today to do. Have a wonderful day!


Opening Panel Discussion

Who are UConn Students?
In order to think about teaching inclusively, we need to start with our students, to find out who they are. What are their strengths? What are their passions?  What skills do they bring with them into our classrooms? We will begin this conversation with our panelists, who bring their extensive knowledge of and experience with student life and culture, to frame our day-long exploration of inclusive teaching. Moderator: Catherine Ross
Panelists: Lee Williams, Dean of Students; David Ouimette, First Year Programs; and Cathy Love, Office of Diversity & Equity


Leaving Up the Scaffolding: Showing students how we got there

When we present difficult technical material, there is a real temptation to polish our presentations, clean up our derivations, and eliminate everything nonessential.  The result is that we build structures that are beautiful, self-supporting, and often inaccessible to our students. 
As experienced problem solvers, we know that the path to a solution is often convoluted, with false starts, dead ends, and temporary partial solutions we no longer need once we have solved the full problem.  Students do not always know this, and by showing them only polished final products, we risk having them decide this is something they cannot do themselves.  This workshop will examine the possibility that by showing our students some of the messier parts of the problem-solving process, we can help them become better problem solvers themselves.
Learning Outcomes:
1) Participants will learn some strategies for showing the problem-solving process, rather than just problem solutions.
2) Participants will get some ideas for including students with a wide range of problem-solving ability in the problem-solving process.
Presented by Eric W. Anderson
PowerPoint: Leaving Up the Scaffolding [178KB]


Create a Culturally Responsive learning environment in your large science classroom

This presentation (workshop) will discuss methods for teaching inclusively by focusing on two critical aspects for student learning: the flow of information and the student's perceptions of the instructor and the class.
Learning Outcomes
1) Participants will discuss how to reach more students by controlling the flow of information in their classroom.
2) Participants learn strategies for convincing students that you are working with them, not against them.
3) Participants will discuss methods for eliminating review sessions, practice questions, and practice exams while averting a classroom revolt.
Presented by Adam Fry .


Universal Design for Instruction: Using Utilitarian Technologies to Create Accessible Instruction for Diverse Students

Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) proposes the creation of learning environments that promote maximum usability by the largest number of users without the need to retrofit instruction with adaptations and modifications to accommodate the diversity of learner needs. Features within commonly used utilitarian technologies such as Microsoft suite, Adobe Acrobat Standard, and Audacity can be integrated with evidence-based instructional pedagogies to create UDI learning environments.

Presentation Outcomes: Using the principles of UDI as its theoretical underpinning, this session will share ways to incorporate freeware, down loadable vendor demoware and other low cost technologies to create supported/scaffolded instructional environments that are inclusive of differences in approach, background, and abilities among college students. Participants will be introduced to technology mediated strategies that specifically address access issues for students with disabilities.
Presented by Joan McGuire , Manjushri Banarjee.


English as a Classroom Language: how to help students with "ESL" needs

This interactive workshop will provide best practices for faculty with students who have English language issues.  Students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels bring a variety of language backgrounds to our classrooms.  They also bring diverse experiences with the use of the English language.  Through an exploration of these various relationships to English, we will answer the question of what specific instructional approaches best support “ESL” students.  Faculty will be provided with concrete guidelines applicable to different instructional formats, i.e., lecture, discussion, assignment, and assessment.
Presented by Mary Romney .



Organizing and Supporting Students Study Groups

Research has shown that student study groups can play an important role in student success. This informal discussion will offer ideas on ways that faculty can encourage and support the use of study groups for the students in their classes.
Presented by Kevin Sullivan


"Disorderly Conduct"

An experienced instructor with ADHD discusses strategies for including and working with students with learning disabilities. This session will help you to:
- Understand how students with learning disabilities think and act differently from other students;
- Create a classroom environment that includes students with learning disabilities and takes advantage of their strengths and perspectives;
- Extend these ideas to help students of all kinds become more successful.
Presented by Sarah Rasher


UsingHuskyCT to provide early and frequent learning feedback to students

Research indicates that “good (pedagogical) practice gives prompt feedback” to students.   This hands-on workshop will focus on how to use the tools in HuskyCT to provide prompt feedback to students and promote interaction around learning in your course.    (Chickering and Gamson, http://www.tltgroup.org/programs/seven.html)
Learning Outcomes:
·        Participants will be able to identify which tools in HuskyCT they could use to give prompt feedback to students.
·        Participants will be able to demonstrate how to use 3 HuskyCT tools to give prompt feedback.
Presented by Kim Chambers


Enhancing Teaching and Learning with Audio Files

Participants in this hands on session will learn how to create MP3 files using Audacity and how to add them to HuskyCT sites and PowerPoints. Web sites which offer open source audio files will be explored and ideas for course materials and student activities which incorporate audio files will be discussed.  
Learning Objectives:
1.      Participants will record themselves using Audacity, export their recording as an MP3 file, and add it to a HuskyCT Learning Module.
2.      Participants will find an open source audio file on the Internet and add it to a PowerPoint presentation.
3.      Participants will be able to describe two ways audio files could be used to enhance their course materials and activities.
Presented by Janet Jordan


What We Learned: A Look at Generational Differences

Over the last two semesters, faculty from the Storrs and Avery point campuses have been reading and discussing the latest research and books on generational differences in the college classroom. Join us for an informal discussion of what we have learned from our readings, from our discussions and from our students as we tried out ideas and suggestions in our classes.
-Participants will learn about the key generational challenges that are at play in our classrooms
-Participants will receive advice and suggestions on how to meet these classroom challenges.
Presented by Susan Payne, Adam Fry, Joy Erickson and Catherine Ross


Creating a learning community in a science laboratory: what is "this science for all" thing?

  • Science laboratories offer exciting opportunities for an all-inclusive classroom.  This hands-on workshop will model and discuss some techniques and activities, as well as a driving philosophy, for creating a science experience for all our students.  Participants will:
    • Discuss and exchange laboratory experiences across the different science disciplines.
    • Formulate a guiding philosophy for science labs.  
    • Define the characteristics of a laboratory learning community.
    • Identify a techniques and skills to be used in a laboratory environment to create a learning community.  
    • Identify and formulate practices that are not conducive to creating a learning  community.
    • Create a community of practice with other participants.

    Presented by Carol Artacho Guerra .


Teching Inclusively: The basics of good pedagogy

What does it mean to teach inclusively? What are concrete pedagogical techniques that work to create better learning for all students, regardless of course content or size of class? In this workshop we will examine foundational assumptions about teaching and learning and look at how these assumptions can promote or prevent learning for our diverse students.  You will leave this session with:

    • Several core pedagogical techniques that can be used in any class
    • A better understanding of your own assumptions about teaching and learning
    • Several ideas on how to make your teaching more inclusive

    Presented by Catherine Ross.


Learning Styles

Educators tend to present material in the way they learn best, but does that meet the needs of their students? We will discuss the ways learners take in and process information and the impact that has on the way we teach.  In this session you will:

    • Identify your preferred learning styles.
    • Consider common traits of each learning style.
    • Discuss the impact of learning styles on teaching and learning.

    Presented by Cathy Healy.


Full-Day Session: Designing for Inclusion - Getting Started in Instructional Design

The overall purpose of this hands-on workshop is to empower faculty through the instructional design process to develop “[a] learning experience result[ing] in something that is truly significant in terms of the students’ lives” (Fink, 2003). Instructional design is the systematic practice of aligning course components in order to maximize teaching effectiveness and student learning.  The Instructional Design and Development (IDD) group will use a combination of presentation methods, group work, discussion, and peer interaction to achieve the outcomes stated below. Faculty are encouraged to come to the workshop prepared to review an existing course and/or envision the development of a new course.  The IDD group further encourages faculty to participate in follow up workshops and/or one-on-one meetings to continue the design process.  

As a result of participating in this workshop, faculty will be able to:

  1. Define significant learning
  2. Explain the value of comprehensively designing a course of study
  3. Identify clear course goals and objectives for their students
  4. Develop an assessment plan that matches goals and objectives to assessment methods
  5. Identify teaching and learning activities that allow students to meet course goals and objectives
  6. Describe processes for evaluating the course’s effectiveness

Fink , L. Dee (2003). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Presented by Desmond McCaffrey, Cathy Healy, and Marny Lawton




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