Smaller promotional image for the Teaching & Learning Spring Conference

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Please check in outside D-101 before attending sessions.

Tweet along! Share insights, notes, pictures, and reflections on Twitter by using the hashtag #ITeachMSU throughout the conference.

Light Breakfast & Registration

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Wells Hall, Room D101

Presentations 8:30-9:15 a.m.

Library FAQ: What Students Ask About the Library

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 8:30-9:15 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B102

Presenter: Emilia Marcyk,

Additional Presenter: Members of the Libraries’ Teaching & Learning Unit

Description: What do undergraduate students know about the library? Where are they confused? How can faculty support a successful transition to college-level information literacy? The Teaching & Learning Unit at the MSU Libraries works with over 2,400 first year students every semester as a part of the First Year Writing (WRA 101) curriculum. This presentation will identify common conceptions that students have about the library, conducting academic information searching, and using information to write effective papers. It will also discuss frequent questions that students ask about the library, as well as areas where they are often confused. The presentation will be informed by student questions collected during spring 2018, as well as the extensive professional experience of the Teaching & Learning librarians. Participants will leave the session with a greater understanding of how to support undergraduate students making the transition to college-level writing and information literacy.

Designing a Course Using Student-Selected Learning Assessment Strategies

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 8:30-9:15 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B104

Presenter: Ruth A. Chaplen,

Description: The purpose of education is learning, and the primary responsibility for accomplishing this purpose rests on the student. However, in most courses, the student has little, if any, input into determining whether or how well learning is accomplished. Weimer (2013) suggests a strategy that empowers the student to participate in the decision-making process for assessing learning outcomes. Intrigued by this concept, I decided to design a course based on this strategy. The course, Professional Issues in Nursing, was well-suited for this strategy as it was a required introductory survey course. As such, this course highlighted important issues relevant to professional nurses; topics that would be reinforced throughout the remainder of the nursing program. This innovative method of course design included weekly topic discussions that were moderated primarily by students and a “cafeteria-style” assortment of assessment strategies that the student would select based on the course grade they wanted to achieve. This presentation will focus primarily on the implementation of the assessment smorgasbord, and will include the concept design, point structure, and student selection method. Types of learning assessment techniques include objective multiple-option exams, brief two-three page papers, more in-depth research papers, patient assessment and concept maps, development of multiple-choice quizzes, group presentations, and developing and enactment of a courtroom malpractice case. Although most of these assessment activities would be done independently by students, there were also opportunities (and requirement) for group work. A handout of the assessment techniques and scoring sheet for the strategy will be provided for participants to adapt, if desired.

Teaching Entrepreneurship—and Why It Matters

Track: Understanding the University Context

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 8:30-9:15 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B106

Presenter: Neil Kane,

Additional Presenter: Ken Szymusiak

Description: Helping our students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset–that is, to be more resourceful and innovative–are becoming essential professional skills in the 21st century regardless of a student’s chosen career path. Further, studies show that students graduating today will change careers six times and over 50% of them will be self-employed at some point. And we all understand how technology is changing the nature of work. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is a critical skill for our students to have. In this session we’ll explain why and will also go into some depth about the myriad offerings at MSU that develop this capability.

Presentation 9:30-10:15 a.m.

Standardized Patients beyond Healthcare: Simulated Participants to Teach and Assess Your Students

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 9:30-10:15 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B106

Presenter: Kimberly Patterson,

Additional Presenter: Sarah Garnaat

Description: “Human simulation is a recognized methodology that involves human role players interacting with learners in a wide range of experiential learning and assessment contexts.” (Lewis et al., 2017) Since its inception in the 1960’s the use of this methodology has been well-established, researched, and evidence supports its utilization in education.

At MSU’s Learning and Assessment Center, we use Simulated Participants primarily in our medical and nursing schools. The scope and role of Simulated Participants has expanded to include colleges such as social work, education, criminal justice, law, human resources, and kinesiology.

In healthcare, Simulated Patients are trained to portray specific illnesses or disorders and are uniquely qualified to give feedback on communication skills. The use of Simulated Participants in your curriculum can give the students the opportunity to practice communication skills in a variety of scenarios, including low-frequency high-risk situations.

By utilizing video and audio recording, these encounters can be used for both formative and summative assessments of course objectives. The use of Simulated Participants allows the students to engage in active learning in a safe environment.

This session describes how the utilization of a well-established Simulated Participant program can make a positive impact on your course outcomes.

Presentations 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Building from Where They Come: A Workshop on Teaching International Students

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B100

Presenter: Joyce Meier,

Additional Presenter: Carol Arnold

Description: This panel derives from a cross-departmental collaborations that supported international student learning on our campus. Instructors from the English Language Center and Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures will briefly describe this collaboration as the basis of ongoing examination of how best to connect with the international students on our campus. Based in culturally sustaining theory that recognizes students’ languages and cultures as assets, they will engage participants in classroom exercises supporting international student learning that are adaptable to other contexts, subjects, and levels university-wide.  Research indicates that students learn on the edge of what they already know; students learn by putting new information in relationship to former knowledge. Tied to this research, these teachers demonstrate how instructors can leverage international students’ existing languages and cultures in the interest of further learning.  Specifically, such activities may include but will not be limited to:

  • exercises that an instructor uses to set up Culture Circles in her class’ circles that emphasize where the students come from in relationship to course material
  • the strategic formation of small-group roles to enhance international student contributions;
  • “preflective” opportunities that allow international students to create historical timelines and parallel examples of course concepts from within their own cultural frameworks;
  • a translation exercise that helps increase student mobility in language use and enhances their understanding of word meanings in English.

Participants will be then invited to consider how as instructors, they might apply such activities to their own teaching.

Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) and the LON-CAPA Learning Management System

Track: Incorporating Technology in Teaching

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B110G

Presenter: Stuart Raeburn,

Description: LON-CAPA is one of the Learning Management Systems (LMS) available at MSU, and has particular strengths in individualized assessment. Each student can receive a unique (randomized) version of an assessment item, and LON-CAPA provides instructors with 15 different response types to use as building blocks when assembling composite assessment objects.  Reuse is facilitated via content settings in course context which cause different rendering, depending on whether the context is a printed exam/quiz, an online exam/quiz, an online homework set, or a practice problem.

LON-CAPA version 2.12 can operate as a Tool Consumer, i.e., it permits incorporation of external tools such as the Piazza discussion tool within a LON-CAPA course, but LON-CAPA 2.12 can also operate as a Tool Provider, i.e., it allows other LMSs to incorporate LON-CAPA assessment items into that system’s courses. The Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) standard defines a mechanism for passing user and grade data between the Tool Provider and the Tool Consumer.

Teaching Relatively Small Classes: Effective Techniques and Positive Outcomes

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B102

Presenter: Premlata Vaishnava,

Description: Less Commonly Taught Languages face many challenges and small class size is one of them.  I approach this challenging situation as a learning and creative opportunity.  What is it that can bring liveliness and engaging atmosphere in the classroom?  What methods and techniques could offer positive teaching-learning experience for both the teacher and the students?  With some current and past examples, I will discuss the practices that I have successfully implied in my language classes.  From tweaking the syllabus to selecting the teaching materials, from designing the assignments and quizzes to final exams, from class activities to working with peers, from using the recent technology to completely going old-school, this presentation touches most points that a foreign language teacher of less commonly taught language might face. The presentation, in a form of a roundtable discussion, is a good environment to suggest improvements.

Presentations 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Growth with Student Learning Objectives

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B100

Presenter: Rachel Kopke,

Description: In accordance with Michigan teacher evaluations, licensed teachers are required to demonstrate student growth as part of individual teacher evaluations. In Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) settings, this can be challenging as the curriculum is often developmental, behaviors and attendance are sporadic, and students are learning what it means to be in school. Come see how one local ISD implemented SLOs using a triage approach, developmental growth targets, and inclusive environments. Working as a team, all birth to five ECSE teachers targeted pre-literacy skills in order to document student growth across the classroom, home, and community settings. Individual and class wide targets were established and monthly data dives on instructional practices and teaching strategies were held to ensure explicit instruction and use of evidence based interventions were being implemented with high fidelity. At the cornerstone of instructional practices were the Essential Practices in Early Literacy from General Education Leadership Network (GELN) and Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA). Adopted by the state of Michigan to address the current literacy reform efforts to ensure consistent and ongoing support for high quality literacy instruction, these practices aim to improve literacy skills for all students within the state. Within the early childhood setting, these practices were carried out across environments, across teaching partners, and across daily routines to demonstrate student growth.

Transforming Teaching through Reflective Writing Experiences: Reflections of MSU

Track: Developing Disciplinary Teaching Strategies

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B102

Presenter: Denise Acevedo,

Additional Presenter: Joyce Meier

Description: TTRWE is a professional development project that facilitates faculty in identifying and bonding with their authentic personal and professional selves via collaboration, reflection, and writing. Through individual and shared contemplation of participant-driven topics, faculty are transformed into more actively engaged teachers who become more self-aware and apply evidence-based instructional, assessment, and research practices to strengthen their professional growth while developing authentic, transformative, and communities-inclusive relationships.

Online Exam Proctoring, It Is the Time

Track: Incorporating Technology in Teaching

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B104

Presenter: Bei Zhang,

Additional Presenter: Jane Maddox

Description: Many strategies and procedures have been applied to online testing to mitigate cheating.  However, students’ creativity constantly surpasses instructors’ efforts to thwart cheating.

A variety of daunting issues related to proctor-supervised online exams, including time and cost, technical difficulties, loss of enrollment, etc., steer many institutions and instructors away from proctoring their online exams.  The non-proctor alternatives to maintain integrity in most online exams, no matter how well controlled, are not convincingly effective.  With technologies developing rapidly in recent years, online proctoring tools have improved and increased dramatically.  These advances make us believe it is now time to consider wider adoption of proctors for online exams.  In this presentation, panelists with a variety of experiences in online proctoring from different programs at MSU will showcase how they plan and adopt online proctoring to their courses or programs, and share with the audience their experiences and lessons learned with different proctoring tools such as Proctorio, Examity, Proctor Now, etc.  A Software engineer who writes a proctoring program is also invited, via teleconference, to the panel.  He will shed light on the design and function of the tool, its integration with the LMS, as well as its role in the collaborative effort between faculty and students in maintaining academic integrity and credibility online.

Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Perspectives on Flipped Courses

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B106

Presenter: Danielle M. Kaminski,

Additional Presenters: Ahrom Kim, Nicole Geske

Description: Flipped classroom and active learning modalities have recently gained popularity with instructors and students. This is partially due to research that demonstrates the benefits of active learning for students, as well as additional resources provided by academic networks. However, redesigning a class to a flipped learning style not only impacts instructors and students but also the teaching assistants for those courses. In this session, graduate teaching assistants for flipped courses in anatomy, biology, and human resource management in agri-food industries will offer their perspectives on working in these unique course environments. Attendees will be introduced to a variety of approaches to flipped classroom design used at MSU. Additionally, this session will foster a discussion of how teaching assistants can be most effectively included in flipped courses and their design so that all parties participating in the course (instructors, TAs, and students) can be successful.

Lunch and Twitter EdChat

Time: 12:00-1:15 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room D-101

Presentations 1:30-2:15 p.m.

Improving Classroom Assessment with Six Sigma

Track: Assessing Student Learning

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 1:30-2:15 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B100

Presenter: Chris Shaltry,

Additional Presenter: John Zubek

Description: In this presentation we will demonstrate how a simple process mapping technique called Six Sigma can improve the consistency and efficiency of assessing open-ended questions.

Many instructors struggle with ensuring consistency and fairness in assessing student responses to open-ended questions. This issue is often compounded when multiple sections of a course and/or multiple teaching assistants are involved.  While a variety of solutions such as rubrics, model answers, and direct written feedback are commonly implemented, the time required to ensure the quality and consistency often goes beyond that which is available to most instructors.  Standardizing processes involved in assessing student work improves consistency, which is especially helpful when working with student teaching assistants.  Students benefit as well by receiving grades which accurately reflect competence.

Balancing standardization and the need for efficiency with the recognition that many skills, such as professionalism, creativity, and problem solving often cannot be assessed in standardized ways is paramount to the successful integration of Six Sigma into the assessment process.  When integrated in an appropriately balanced manner, this approach can offer instructors increased efficiency and consistency in assessment leaving more time to focus on student learning.

Participants will learn strategies for integrating Six Sigma tools into the classroom immediately and how this integration can improve the learning experience for students.

Presentations 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Teaching Integrated Studies Concepts Using Programming and Jupyter Notebooks

Track: Incorporating Technology in Teaching

Date & Time, Thurs., May 10, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B102  (changed from B110H)

Presenter: Dirk Colbry,

Description: The newly formed Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering department at MSU has embraced Jupyter notebooks as an ideal tool to facilitate the flipped classroom style of instruction and most of our classes use Jupyter notebooks exclusively for all formal communication between students and instructors.

In this discussion we will share with the audience some of the unique instructional opportunities that can be facilitated using Jupyter notebooks.  These notebooks make it easy for instructors to focus on the rich and diverse goals of this integrated studies platforms. When possible, instructors avoid “toy” programming problems and, instead, activities are grounded in real-world scientific examples gathered from multiple disciplines. Examples include Schelling model of segregation, bag-of-words analysis of presidential candidate’s twitter feeds, agent-based viral load models, Fourier analysis of NOAA temperature data, linear algebra, scientific Image analysis and evolutionary models of bacterial mutation.

We will also share with the audience some of the “nuts and bolts” lessons we have learned when using notebooks for student instruction including the use of video and animation in Jupyter notebooks, installing and running Jupyter on a wide range of student laptops and systems, recording and presenting lectures inside of Jupyter notebooks, and student assessment using embedded Google forms. Example notebooks for will be provided and will run under a standard installation of Anaconda with Python3.


Sustaining the Integrity of Experiential Learning through All-Community Programmatic Reflection

Date & Time: Thurs., May 10: 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B106

Presenter: Jennifer Rivera,

The Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program (BSP) is an integrated learning and leadership community at Michigan State University. To authentically embody Kolb’s model of experiential learning, both locally (in class) and globally (across the program), BSP has engaged in an intentional, all-community programmatic reflection on our principles. This work is necessary for the success and sustainability of experiential learning communities, and is especially vital for maintaining the integrity of programs boasting to be student driven.

BSP was established to foster a diverse learning community where students learn with and from one another while practicing self-directed learning. As a program we recently revised our community values toward program principles focused on our individual scholars, collaborative learning community, and forward-focused radical influence. As diversity and inclusion are forefront in our curriculum, this revisioning constituted necessary reflection to ensure all individuals felt welcome and supported in their learning journeys.

To fully engage in Kolb’s model of experiential learning, it was important that the entire BSP community engaged in intentional thinking about the ways our newly revised program principles are enacted throughout the program. During this presentation, we will discuss our process of critical reflection and what steps we have taken thus far (and those we intend to take) to implement our key findings. Through this session, we will engage participants in dialogue about the ways educators, administrators, and programs might move towards more holistic engagement of Kolb’s model by involving all community members as partners in the process of thinking, planning, doing, and reflecting. We utilize BSP as an example of one experiential education program working to ensure the integrity and sustainability of its student-driven vision through reflection.

#ITeachMSU Digital Commons Prototyping Session

Date & Time: Thurs., May 10, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room D101

Presenter: Erik Skogsberg,

Additional Presenters: Dave Goodrich, Hanna Kielar, Rashad Muhammad, Maddie Shellgren

Description: The #ITeachMSU Digital Commons is culmination of multiple years of work and wide reaching conversations about educator development and the building of a personal/professional/personalized learning network (PLN) for supporting educators across MSU (Faculty, Graduate Teaching Assistants, Instructional Designers, Academic Specialists, Advisors, Administrators, Deans, and Chairs) and their connected units of The Graduate School, The Academic Advancement Network, and The Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology. The #ITeachMSU Digital Commons provides an initial response to heard needs for further resource-sharing and community-building spaces for educators–widely defined inside/outside traditional classroom spaces–and the challenge of building cultures of value around teaching, learning, and student success across MSU. In this session, participants will test an initial prototype of the #ITeachMSU Digital Commons and provide feedback to inform its ongoing design.


The 2018 Conference and Summit have been a collaboration between the following units:

  • The Academic Advancement Network
  • The Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
  • The Neighborhoods Student Success Collaborative
  • The Graduate School
  • The Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology
  • The Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives
  • IT Services Teaching and Learning
  • MSU Libraries

Thanks also to all of our participants!