Past Events and Event-Related Resources

 

The Harte Center for Teaching and Learning hosts and sponsors various events at W&L throughout the year. See below for past workshops and events as well as resources ranging from session recordings, worksheets, and other helpful items provided by event facilitators. 

2023

Thursday, January 12, 2022

Wicked Conversations Part 3: exploring Wicked Course Design

As a means of priming everyone for the work of the General Education Implementation Committee, the Harte Center is running a series of informal sessions on wicked problems and their implications for course design, teaching, and student work.

This third session will explore aspects of course design: if we want to graduate students who can respond to complex problems with a lot of moving parts, what are the implications of that for, say, text selection, or syllabus construction? Where and how does grading play a part? How do we hand agency over to students to allow them to develop their own skills?

 

2022

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Leading Difficult Conversations in the Classroom

Given the fraught nature of this moment in history, how can we have some of the difficult conversations necessary for preparing our students for the complexities of life after graduation? Are there ways to have these conversations that are both civil and productive without whitewashing realities that demand our attention? What’s more, are there ways to structure our classes so that our students understand not just how to have a productive conversation, but why—and further, that allows them to understand how, they might move into the world as deliberative, thoughtful ambassadors for meaningful, powerful change in a nation desperately in need of such citizens?

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Wicked Conversations Part II: Exploring Wicked Teaching

 As a means of priming everyone for the work of the General Education Implementation Committee, the Harte Center ran a series of informal sessions on wicked problems and their implications for course design, teaching, and student work. This second session explored the implications of bringing a wicked world into our classrooms: if our students are to have the competencies and capacities to solve these problems, what does that mean for our teaching? For our day-to-day practices? For the assignments we give students?

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Creating Opportunities for Effective Peer Response in Our Classes

 

We all know that peer-to-peer instruction can be incredibly powerful. Done well, students will learn both from receiving feedback and from providing it. Done poorly, it can leave both students and instructors frustrated. This session was designed to provide some core concepts for faculty interested in bringing peer responding—for papers, for posters, for oral presentations, for anything, really!–into their classes. Attendees come away with useful tips, but also with a sense of the range of possibilities available to them as they seek to implement this powerful learning tool.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Finding the Balance: Supporting Student Well-being and Student Learning

 

The pandemic taught us many lessons about higher education, one of which was to pay attention to the well-being of our students, many of whom are struggling much of the time. As the world shifts to a “new normal,” how do we balance that need with our desire to ensure that our carefully-designed courses are challenging and impactful, that student learning isn’t undermined by any number of uncontrollable personal circumstances? This highly interactive workshop—co-sponsored by the Harte Center, the AIM program, and University Counseling- explored a number of complex scenarios as a means of prompting all of us to find solutions that meet all of the needs of our students, reflect our individual work in the classroom, and achieve the mission of a liberal arts college.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Wicked Conversations Part I: What the Heck IS a Wicked Problem Anyway?

As a means of priming everyone for the work of the General Education Implementation Committee, the Harte Center ran a series of informal sessions on wicked problems and their implications for course design, teaching, and student work. This first session took a 10,000-foot view: what is a wicked problem? What wicked problems will our students face? What wicked problems exist in our disciplines and fields—and what does it mean to bring those problems into our classrooms?

    Tuesday, April 12, 2022

    Growth Mindset: Harnessing Resilience and Success

      Monday, April 11, 2022

      Leveraging the Power of Science to Harness Resilience and Success

        Tuesday, March 22, 2022

        Sarah Rose Cavanagh: Energizing and Motivating Students to Learn in Uncertain Times

        Historically we have constructed our classrooms with the assumption that learning is a dry, staid affair best conducted in quiet tones and ruled by an unemotional consideration of the facts. The pedagogical world, however, is beginning to awaken to the potential power of emotions to fuel learning, informed by contributions from psychology and neuroscience.

        In this interactive presentation, Sarah Rose Cavanagh will argued that if you as an educator want to capture your students’ attention, enhance their motivation, harness their working memory, bolster their long-term retention, and encourage habits related to good mental health, you should consider the emotional impact of your teaching style and course design. To make this argument, she brought to bear empirical evidence from the study of education, psychology, and neuroscience. The presentation concluded with practical examples of activities and assignments that capitalize on this research that could be implemented in your next class.

        Link to Resource Guide (must log in with W&L credentials)

        “Epistemic Vexation”: Leading Students to Embrace “Not-Knowing” in Quantitative Classes

        Our young people are experiencing an epidemic of mental health problems. College students report anxiety during the processes of assessment, feedback, and grading more than any other aspect of the learning experience, and these feelings of anxiety seem to emerge especially in quantitative fields. How can we craft learning experiences that stimulate but also support? How can we lead students to not only tolerate the experience of not-knowing but to embrace it?

        In this interactive workshop, Sarah Rose Cavanagh argued that we first need to build vibrant learning spaces where students feel that they belong, where they feel it is safe to take risks, where they can take on new challenges, and where we model open, curious behaviors for them.

        We will brainstormed and discussed strategies for building such spaces, with a focus on our assessment, feedback, and grading practices that launched us on a path of resilience and achievement, students need to learn in environments that are both compassionate and challenging.

        Link to Resource Guide (must log in with W&L credentials)

        Tuesday, March 01, 2022

        Nobody is Neutral: What it Means to be “Objective” Teacher/Scholars

        What does it mean to “bring ourselves” into our scholarship? What happens when we as teachers and scholars “bring ourselves” into our research and into our classrooms? How might this approach – which challenges unexamined notions of academic neutrality – open different avenues for teaching our students deeper methods of historical rigor and inquiry?

        Friday, January 28, 2022

        Rethinking Our Writing Assignments from the Student Perspective: An Interactive Workshop

        Ever hand out a paper assignment, ask “Any questions?” only to be met with silence—and then spend the next two weeks answering e-mail inquiries about this very same assignment? Or, ever get a stack of papers from your students and wonder “Did they even read the assignment?” What’s going on here?

        This workshop was designed to answer those questions and gave the inside track on how to ensure that your assignments are designed and written to avoid student confusion and maximize student learning.

        Led by Carter Chandler (Writing Center Peer Consultant, UG class of 2023) and Judy Strang (Writing Consultant, Harte Center for Teaching and Learning), this workshop will presented a student’s perspectives on common assignment prompt problems and provided practical approaches for better writing assignment design. Through this discussion and small group work on participants’ assignments, this workshop shed light on the cognitive and creative facets of any writing task in any class at any level. In other words? This is a workshop that helped all of us better help our students.

        Link to Google Slides

        2021

        Tuesday, March 30, 2021

        Co-Writing ‘Our’ Classes: Engaging Students in the Course Design Process

        Tuesday, March 9, 2021

        Building a Collaborative Community in the Classroom

        Friday, March 5, 2021

        Student Writing in the Quantitative Disciplines: Assessing and Responding to Student Writing

        Link to Box folder with related handouts (must log in with W&L credentials)

        Thursday, February 18, 2021

        We’ve got the Data. Now What?

        Every three years, W&L participates in a nationwide effort to collect data on student engagement inside and outside of the classroom. Some of it’s interesting and surprising, but . . . simply having surprising and interesting data doesn’t deepen engagement and improve the experience of our students. The purpose of this session is to explore what’s next: drawing from W&L’s participation in The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Kristy Crickenberger will highlight several key findings from our results in 2020. Our role is to take what we know from our students’ feedback on NSSE and brainstorm ways to improve their experiences at W&L. What can we do institutionally? Individually? What are our collective next steps? If you’re interested in being a part of ongoing conversations about improving our learning environment, this is the session for you!

        Link to Box folder with NSSE data and PowerPoint slides (must log in with W&L credentials)

        Tuesday, February 2, 2021

        Small Teaching: From Minor Changes to Major Learning

        Research from the learning sciences and from a variety of educational settings suggests that a small number of key principles can improve learning in almost any type of college or university course, from traditional lectures to flipped classrooms. This workshop will introduce some of those principles, offer practical suggestions for how they might foster positive change in higher education teaching and learning, and guide faculty participants to consider how these principles might manifest themselves in their current and upcoming courses.

        James M. Lang is a Professor of English and the Director of the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He is the author of five books, the most recent of which is Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2016). Lang also writes a monthly column on teaching and learning for The Chronicle of Higher Education and edits a series of books on teaching and learning in higher education for West Virginia University Press.

         

        Wednesday, January 27, 2021

        Teaching Distracted Students

        As faculty struggle with the problem of distracted students, they have become increasingly frustrated by the ways in which digital devices can interfere with student learning. But are students today more distracted than they were in the past? This lecture draws upon scholarship from history, neuroscience, and education in order to provide productive new pathways for faculty to work with students to moderate the effects of distraction in their learning and even leverage the distractible nature of our minds for new forms of connected and creative thinking.

        James M. Lang is a Professor of English and the Director of the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He is the author of five books, the most recent of which is Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2016). Lang also writes a monthly column on teaching and learning for The Chronicle of Higher Education and edits a series of books on teaching and learning in higher education for West Virginia University Press.

        Tuesday, January 12, 2021

        There Is Work to be Done: Disrupting Systems in Academia

        In the final session of our decolonization and anti-racism series, we will discuss strategies to disrupt systems of educational oppression and mobilize against the status quo. Undergraduate students, involved in decolonizing anti-racist work, will join us to share their experiences and support our process. Please bring any work/notes that you have on your process, along with questions for student participants that will inform/guide small group sessions. Students will facilitate these gatherings, providing consultative feedback to participants from the student perspective. Our hope is that you will leave the space energized and inspired to continue in your transformational journey.

        Dr. Chanelle Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Education and Director of Africana Studies, at Bryn Mawr College. With over ten years of experience, and a lifelong commitment to revolutionizing education for justice, Dr. Wilson supports self-introspection for outer transformation and guides with the steady underlying premise of love, joy, and hope.

         

        2020

        Thursday, November 19, 2020

        Ungrading in a Pandemic…and the Rest of the Time, Too

        Wednesday, November 18, 2020

        The Work Continues: Deconstructing Colonization and Racism in the Classroom

        Session 2 in the series on Deconstructing Colonization and Racism in the Classroom will focus on exploring our positionality and locating ourselves in oppressive structures with the analysis of current syllabi and classroom practices. Dr. Chanelle Wilson will guide us through her evolving process for decolonization and implementing anti-racist practice. And, together, we will use principles of decolonization, Critical Race Theory, and Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture to analyze our contexts and professional documents as we continue deconstructing to rebuild. The work continues.

        Dr. Chanelle Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Education and Director of Africana Studies, at Bryn Mawr College. With over ten years of experience, and a lifelong commitment to revolutionizing education for justice, Dr. Wilson supports self-introspection for outer transformation and guides with the steady underlying premise of love, joy, and hope.

        This event is co-sponsored by Academic Technologies, Africana Studies, the Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Office of Inclusion and Engagement.

        Ungrading in a Pandemic…and the Rest of the Time, Too

        In this workshop we discuss some of the research on motivation and learning and the reasons many educators have moved to ungrading—the WHY. Then we move to talk about the practical dimensions of moving toward ungrading, whether completely or partially—the HOW. Participants will workshop some revisions of their own assignments and course structures.

        Susan D Blum is a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, currently fixated on education and pedagogical praxis. She is the author of “I Love Learning; I Hate School”: An Anthropology of College (Cornell, 2016) and the editor of the forthcoming volume Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) (West Virginia University Press, 2002).

         

        Tuesday, November 17, 2020

        Small Contemplative Teaching for Focus, De-Stressing, and Building Community 

        We’re teaching college in some of the most demanding conditions most of us have ever seen. How can we reclaim scattered attention, or help ourselves and our students manage our stress, or nurture classroom relationships when there’s no classroom? This workshop offers an introduction to the field of contemplative pedagogy, an approach that combines contemplative and mindful practices with academic inquiry across all fields that offers ways to turn our problems into occasions for new possibilities. In the spirit of James Lang’s and Flower Darby’s Small Teaching books, this workshop will focus on simple, easily incorporated practices that you can start using right away, whether in chemistry or creative writing.

        Dr. Chris Phillips is Professor of English at Lafayette College, where he specializes in early American literature, book history, and spiritual writing. He is the author of The Hymnal: A Reading History (Johns Hopkins, 2018) and the editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the American Renaissance (Cambridge, 2018).

        Wednesday, November 4, 2020

        Pedagogy and (perhaps you have) Pizza #3:

        Student Voices: Finding the Bright Spots

        The idea for this session is very simple. Several students will talk about approaches to virtual/blended instruction that have been working for them. This is an opportunity to take our thinking beyond the stress and pressure of the summer and get a clear sense of how our efforts are landing: in the chaos of this crazy fall, what’s actually working?

        Tuesday, October 13, 2020

         

        Pedagogy and (perhaps you have) Pizza #2:

        “There is work to be done”: Deconstructing Colonization and Racism in the Classroom

        Join Dr. Chanelle Wilson as she facilitates a journey toward deconstructing colonization and racism in the classroom. The session series will provide background information about the intersections of colonization and race, specifically in the context of classrooms and social interactions, at small liberal arts institutions. We will further our exploration with the opportunity to engage in subsequent interactive small group sessions to deepen engagement, skill exploration, and strategy building. The follow-up sessions will focus on locating ourselves in oppressive structures with the analysis of current syllabi and classroom practices and working collaboratively to implement principles and practices of decolonization and anti-racism to disrupt and dismantle institutionalized systems. Participants will leave this series with products ready to implement, immediately, or at minimum, in Spring 2020. There is work to be done, and you are invited into the movement.

        Dr. Chanelle Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Education and Director of Africana Studies, at Bryn Mawr College. With over ten years of experience, and a lifelong commitment to revolutionizing education for justice, Dr. Wilson supports self-introspection for outer transformation and guides with the steady underlying premise of love, joy, and hope.

        This event is co-sponsored by Academic Technologies, Africana Studies, CARPE, and the Office of Inclusion and Engagement.

        Padlet URL: https://padlet.com/cwilsonedd/WLUWork

        Wednesday, September 9, 2020

        Pedagogy and (perhaps you have) Pizza #1:

        Creating Classroom Joy in the Time of COVID

        After an unusual and chaotic spring and summer, it’s good to return to teaching! Now that we’re back, whether it’s in an outdoor space, a virtual space, or a concert hall, how do we create a sense of community and add a spark of joy to our teaching? To start, three professors will talk about activities they’ve done to engage students, virtually and in-person. After that, we’ll transition to sharing ideas. What steps have you taken to help students feel the joy of learning, even if it’s not in a conventional classroom?

        Presenters: Lynny Chin, Sociology; Mikki Brock, History; and Diego Millan, English

        Thursday, Apr 23, 2020

        Spring Term Course Workshop

        Developing Course Goals for Spring 2020 Courses

        Teaching a Spring Term course in the age of COVID presents some unique challenges: how do we teach the “experiential” in a virtual way? That in mind, setting course goals that are manageable but also meet our best expectations for our students is no easy task. This one hour workshop is designed to give faculty a chance to consider these challenges and to draft and receive feedback on goals that will drive the entire course, helping us make thoughtful decisions as we prepare for Spring Term.

        An interesting version of Bloom’s Taxonomy that incorporates knowledge dimensions

        Structuring Our Spring Term Courses to Maximize Productivity and Decrease Stress

        This session looks at ways to manage an “experiential” course in a virtual setting: how do we structure the days/weeks to ensure that students learn what they need to learn? This session will offer several initial framing ideas, then ask participants to apply these approaches to the particular challenges of their own courses.

        1. Go to the ACUE website and scroll down to the section entitled “Organize Your Course
        2. Crowdsourced active research in multiple fields: Zooniverse
        3. Bard’s Center for Experimental Humanities, which contains ideas that can be applied in any field.
        4. A good site on Problem-Based Learning from the University of Illinois.
        Managing Community and Student Interaction Workshop

        How do we build a virtual class from scratch? How do we ensure that the relationships that are so valuable on campus exist in a virtual realm. This workshop will explore topics ranging from managing online discussions to ensuring that group work is occurring productively. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore a range of possibilities determined by the particular goals of their course. 

        1. Go to the ACUE website and scroll down to the section entitled “Welcome Students
        2. How to use Breakout Rooms. (Please note: you must set up Breakout Rooms before you begin your Zoom session!)
        3. Go to the ACUE website and scroll down to the section entitled “Plan and facilitating quality discussions
        Making Sure We Survive: Managing the Workload Workshop

        How do we shift agency in learning over to students to ensure that: a) they learn course material more deeply; and b) we don’t die trying to facilitate our courses? Further, how do we do this in a Credit/No Credit context to ensure that students actually engage the material? This session explores these questions, seeking best-practices answers that might eventually even inform our approaches once we return to a face-to-face format.

        1. Links for Ungrading:
        2. Links for grading contracts:
        3. Responding to student work using audio comments:

         

        March 16-24, 2020

        Virtual Instruction Academy

        Pedagogy and Purell: Alternatives for Assignments, Activities, and Assessments
        In this session, professors, librarians, and academic technologists will team up to answer your questions about your course and virtual instruction. Do you need alternatives for a face-to-face activity? Is there an assignment or end-of-term project that has you stumped? Arrive with questions, leave with options!

        Liberal Arts Values in the Virtual Classroom
        In a campus-based, liberal arts setting faculty and students alike value community and small group interaction. As courses and interactions move online, we need to find new ways to represent core values of personal connection and inclusive engagement despite the challenges of inter-personal distance and mid-term disruptions. Guest presenter, Jeanine Stewart will share specific suggestions and open a discussion related to techniques professors can use to maintain a sense of community and foster robust engagement in the virtual classroom. 

        Putting the Personal in the Virtual
        Workplaces are communities that play a larger role in our lives than filling the time from 9-5 and offering a paycheck. This session will focus on providing a common language and framework for identifying and meeting our own social needs as well as supporting community members who are temporarily working remotely. The focus will be on how we might embed small but significant connection points into our daily work. Guest presenter, Jeanine Stewart will share specific suggestions and open a discussion related to how each person can contribute to a sense of community and foster robust engagement while working virtually. 

        Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020

        POGIL Training Seminar: Strengthening Student Learning through a Proven Classroom Approach

        POGIL is an acronym for Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning. Because POGIL is a student-centered instructional approach, in a typical POGIL classroom or laboratory students work in small teams with the instructor acting as a facilitator. The student teams use specially designed activities that generally follow a learning cycle paradigm. Developed in Chemistry before expanding to fields throughout the disciplines, the POGIL approach has two broad aims: to develop content mastery through student construction of their own understanding, and to develop and improve important learning skills such as information processing, communication, critical thinking, problem solving and metacognition and assessment.

        Faculty from all disciplines are invited to attend this comprehensive, full-day workshop over winter break led by experienced POGIL facilitator and Professor of Chemistry Gail Webster of Guilford College.

        Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020

        Teaching Writing in the Sciences: Exploring Alternative Methods for Teaching Lab Report Writing 

        Teaching students to write effective lab reports can be challenging and often tedious work: we explain our expectations over and over again, dutifully respond to drafts, and still improvement seems to arrive at a glacial pace. This presentation, by Col. Stacia K. Vargas Professor, of Physics and Astronomy at VMI, explores an alternative approach that shifts the responsibility for revision onto the students, engaging them in a series of metacognitive reflections that deepen their thinking, their learning, and their sense of agency–and improves the quality of their work! Though by no means a panacea, Vargas’s discussion provides a useful starting place for an important discussion.

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