Smaller promotional image for the Teaching & Learning Spring Conference

Wednesday, May 9

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

Using Formative Assessments from Students to Improve a Large Online Course in Real Time

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

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

Room: Wells Hall, B100

Presenter: Adán Quan,

Description: Getting a feel for how students are doing in online courses – particularly large ones – can be challenging. Even more challenging is getting student assessments of their learning environment at different points during the course, and then acting upon this student feedback while the course is being taught. This presentation will describe and assess a simple process for collecting, analyzing and acting upon student feedback to improve a course in the same term as it is being taught. For this 200 person online course, the instructor asked students to provide feedback about the course using Google Forms, and then used various simple ways to handle the large body of data generated by eliciting this type of student feedback. Two smaller areas of focus will be the benefits and limitations of using open-ended, qualitative responses for this purpose, and the subsidiary benefits entailed in having students reflect on their learning periodically throughout a course.

The Whole Spartan: New Collaborations for Accessible Learning

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

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

Place: Wells Hall, Room B102

Presenter: Jeremy Van Hof,

Additional Presenters: Kate Sonka, Stephen Thomas

Description: This session will detail the various ways that several colleges on campus are working together to advocate for the implementation of accessible practices in all forms of teaching. The session will focus on detailing the specific ways that teaching can be made accessible, in both the online and physical classroom. Thinking beyond universal design for learning, the presenters will focus on universal implementation for learning, underscoring the policies and practices that serve to create an equitable learning environment. The session will highlight the value of inter-college collaboration in these areas, and will detail the mechanisms that aid in creating and maintaining such collaborative efforts. Furthermore, presenters will share emerging work around structuring a (tentatively titled) ˜Whole Spartan” program based on K-12’s ˜Whole Child’ approach. Considering the long-term development of MSU students, Whole Spartan is exploring the incorporation of healthy, engaged, safe, supported, and challenging learning environments for student success.

The Case for the Lecture, Past and Present

Track: Developing Disciplinary Teaching Strategies

Date & Time: Wed., May 9 from 8:30-9:15 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, B104

Presenter: Steven Weiland,

Description: In the past two decades “The Death of the Lecture” has been the hope of academic reformers determined to make constructivist pedagogical theory and “active learning” central to course design and teaching. Still, defenders of the lecture remind us that it is a timeless and timely format. Thus, a recent New York Times Op-Ed asserted that the lecture is particularly useful when we face digital media saturation and ubiquitous cognitive distraction. Among other lessons for learning, the lecture teaches “the art of attention” and the making of extended arguments. And it “communicates the emotional vitality of the intellectual endeavor.” True enough, lectures vary according to the needs of disciplines. But much can still be said about their durability across the curriculum. This presentation is organized in three parts: historical, epistemological, and empirical. It first highlights what the nineteenth century German university, in revising faculty roles and classroom discourse, contributed to our own institutions. The lecture also reflects a theory of cognition, more than what is dismissed as mere “transmission.” Instead the lecture can be understood as interactive in what it prompts in the organization of ideas and reflection about them. Recent empirical accounts of lecturing also contribute to identifying its value as part of teaching’s complex patterns of practice, and even in globally popular MOOCs despite their providers’ claims for “disrupting” academic conventions. Finally, the case for the lecture includes what is always necessary in faculty learning, or finding the best relations of tradition and innovation.

Agility as Our Structure: Locating Interdisciplinarity as Emergent Team-Teaching and Learning

Track: Developing Interdisciplinary Teaching Strategies

Date & Time: Wed., May 9 from 8:30-9:15 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B106

Presenter: Sandra Logan,

Additional Presenters: Bill Heinrich, Ron Iwaszkiewicz, Benjamin Lauren, Clara Lepard, Robert Montgomery

Description: Useful approaches for engaging with wicked problems is certainly an emergent area of need for both instructors and students. We, as faculty and staff of the Snares to Wares course, plan to focus our presentation on the structure and function of our course, and the implications of the concept of “agility” for both student and faculty learning in this context. We’ll also discuss the interactive problem-solving model we’ve been teaching to the students that draws from Agile project management techniques, and thereby tell our own stories about recognizing and responding to the students as learners, and designing effective classroom interactions to emphasize “higher order thinking” (Ivanitskaya, Clark, Montgomery, Primeau, 2002). We’ll share some student insights and comments about their learning in the course, and give an overview of some of the projects student teams have developed in support of the Snares to Wares initiative. Our overall aim is to introduce this innovative course design, and highlight some of its challenges and successes. We would also like to introduce a new conceptual model that we’ve been thinking through as we work on this course, one that offers an alternative to the “T” model that has gained such traction in recent years. This idea, the “H’ model, takes as a premise the same starting place as the T model “that each student acquires deep knowledge and skills in their primary field of study” but proposes a different way of thinking about how that student can become more effective as a team member in collaborative project development.

Presentations 9:30–11:00 a.m.

Methods in Course Design: Storytelling, Ethnography, and the Hero’s Journey

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

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

Place:  Wells Hall, B100

Presenter: Jessica Knott,

Additional Presenters: Angela Gunder

Description: Situating online course design within a narrative framework serves as a powerful tool for creating an environment that supports experiential, student-centered learning. This workshop highlights how a structure that establishes a course as a “hero’s journey” can be leveraged to build an engaging, constructivist learning environment in online, blended, or face-to-face modalities.

Utilizing the resources and tools provided at we will walk attendees through creating a course design plan that leverages the hero’s journey framework as a means of provoking student-centered pedagogical design.

The Anatomy of a Learning Objective: Creation, Implementation, and Assessment

Track: Developing Disciplinary Teaching Strategies

Date & Time: Wed., May 9 from 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Place:  Wells Hall, B104

Presenter: Graham Atkin,

Additional Presenters: Lindsay Jenny

Description: Learning objectives are the backbone of any effective learning event.  Without these, students may easily become misguided about how or what to study and will likely waste effort, resulting in faculty who feel frustrated that their students “just aren’t getting it.” Yet many faculty aren’t sure how to write effective learning objectives that guide students to the most efficient and impactful use of their own time – and faculty time. Nor are these faculty necessarily confident in their ability to create learning events that key in on these objectives, or to design assessments that truly capture and reflect how well students have mastered them. The Division of Anatomy has made this an area of focus over the last four years, intensely reworking the learning objectives used for the nearly 2,000 students we teach per year. These include both osteopathic and allopathic medical students, as well as a wide array of undergraduate pre-health professional students in both large classroom, small group, and laboratory-based learning modalities. This diversity of teaching requires us to have learning objectives that are the right fit and complexity for the right population and the right setting. Now, we are looking to share what we have discovered with the larger community of educators at Michigan State University. In this workshop, participants will work alongside faculty from the Division of Human Anatomy to write effective learning objectives, design learning events for their implementation, and create assessments that accurately report student success linked to learning objectives.

Adding New Dimensions to Your Classroom Curricula: 3D Modelling and Printing

Track: Incorporating Technology in Teaching

Date & Time: Wed., May 9 from 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Place:  Wells Hall, B110G

Presenter: Erica Ervin,

Additional Presenters: Amanda Tickner, Sean Davis

Description: Curious about how 3D printing can be a part of your class curriculum? Join us to explore the history of 3D printing, basics of hardware, software and materials, and resources available for design and production in Hollander MakeCentral. We will also present examples of how we have supported courses from a variety of disciplines using 3D printing and design at MSU. In this hands-on session, participants will design a model using beginner level cloud based software.

We Teach MSU: Building an Online Teaching Commons for All Faculty

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time: Wed., May 9 from 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Place: Wells Hall, B106

Presenter: Michael Ristich,

Additional Presenters: Cheryl Caesar, Rachel Morris, Ben Oberdick, Stokes Schwartz, Arthur Ward, Sharon Ladenson, Nicholas Gisholt

Description: This session will discuss the results of a university-wide “Survey of Faculty Attitudes towards Teaching at MSU” which was made in February 2018. Drawing on the responses received, we will examine faculty and staff’s self-assessment of their: preparedness and training as educators; strengths and areas for improvement; use of inquiry- or evidence-based teaching strategies, e.g. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) or Disciplinary-Based Education Research (DBER). We will situate our findings within the broader literature in order to make some suggestions for an online Teaching Commons, where all teaching faculty and staff could share resources, ideas, questions and concerns.

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

Course-Based Learning Analytics: Findings of the 2017-18 Learning Community

Track: Assessing Student Learning

Date & Time: Wed., May 9, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, B100

Presenter: Scott Schopieray,

Additional Presenter: Becky Matz, Nicola Imbrascio

Description: The 2017-18 learning community on course-based learning analytics focused on a large number of topics relating to teaching and learning data available to faculty in their courses. Evaluating our work, we found three main topical areas emerged, with a common thread of ethical uses of data woven through them. This presentation is a partner to our poster presentation and will consist of three small panels discussing the topical areas of Ethical Issues, Faculty and Staff Issues, and Student Issues surrounding data analytics and data use.

Facilitating Accessible Note-taking for Students with Disabilities

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time: Wed., May 9, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, B102

Presenter: Leslie Johnson,

Additional Presenter: Angela Sebald

Description: This presentation on facilitating accessible notetaking for students with disabilities is meant to provide information to faculty on how they can implement accommodation requests for notetaking assistance. At MSU, there are approximately 2,200 students registered with accommodations due to a disability, and about 40% of those students require some type of note taking assistance accommodations. We will share what accessible note taking is and the different types of accommodations for note taking assistance. Faculty are frequently concerned with how to implement notetaking assistance accommodations, so we will review best practice strategies, notetaking tips, how to overcome concerns with sharing notes, and provide a sample notetaking agreement form faculty can use with students. A major part of our presentation will be talking about different types of notetaking technology such as, Live Scribe Smart Pen, Microsoft OneNote, and Braille Touch Note. Our hope by presenting is to give faculty background knowledge and clarity on one of our more common accommodations, so they are prepared to provide accessible notetaking options for students with disabilities.

Teaching Writing within Your Discipline

Track: Developing Disciplinary Strategies

Date & Time: Wed., May 9, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, B104

Presenter: Rachel Morris,

Description: Developing and teaching disciplinary writing curriculum can be challenging. Many of us feel uncomfortable with our own writing, and this can make teaching those skills to our students pretty daunting. Although teaching writing may not come naturally to many of us, our students need to enter the workforce with the ability to communicate in the modes that their field requires. My husband was once told by his supervisor, “There are two kinds of engineers, engineers who can write and engineers who work for them.” We want our students to be the employees who can write, whatever their profession.

Over the past four years, I have developed a graduate level communication course for our master’s programs and reworked our Tier II writing course. I am no expert on teaching writing, but I have learned a lot in the past three years. Reflecting on my experience, evidence-based practices I’ve learned about, and various training sessions that I have attended, I will share resources and planning tips, as well as lead brainstorming and reflections, to help faculty who are teaching communication within their discipline. Whether they want to bring a new course online or just up their game, this session will give them ideas and tools to move forward with their plan.

Classroom Management of Student Teams in Large Enrollment Classes

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time: Wed., May 9, 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, B106

Presenter: Andrea Bierema,

Additional Presenter: Jon Stoltzfus

Description: The incorporation of student teams in the college classroom can foster active learning in which students work with each other to understand and apply course concepts. This session will focus on how to manage student teams in large-enrollment courses. Management includes set up of the teams, use of teamwork in class, and assessment of teamwork. We will describe the multiple ways in which we have approached each component. For instance, in setting up teams, we have used self-selected teams that can change each class period or semester-long assigned teams. We have also varied how often teamwork is used, from just having a handful of class periods to fully flipping a course in which every day is largely teamwork. Different approaches also exist in assessment. Within assessment, one question is how will the team’s work be collected? If working with multiple choice questions, then clickers can be used but how do we gather written responses? We have used D2L and Google Drive to make collection of written work relatively easy. For grading, we have primarily graded based on completeness, but we have used various techniques for providing individual feedback to every team via a rubric to quickly skimming through each submission and giving a participation grade. During this session, we will describe our management techniques in more detail, including the pros and cons of different techniques, and address audience questions so that attendees can learn how to incorporate teamwork into their courses.


12:00-1:30 p.m.

Wells Hall, Room D-101

Presentation 12:00-3:00 p.m.

Teaching Test Kitchen

Track: Incorporating Technology in Teaching

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 12:00-3:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room D101

Presenter: Madeline Shellgren,

Description: New to the MSU Teaching and Learning Spring Conference, the Teaching Test Kitchen will feature demonstrations and allow space for participants to engage with, try out, ask questions about, and explore free technologies available at MSU. This year, the Teaching Test Kitchen will focus on five technologies in particular: Zoom, Google Drive, Kaltura, Desire2Learn, and Office 365. In addition to overviewing the technologies, facilitators will embed them and their use within a broader conversation around Moore’s (1993) Model of Interaction, looking at the ways in which these technologies can be contextualized and effectively utilized to support learners’ experiences with materials, learning from and growing with peers, and opportunities for connecting learners and educators. By visiting the Teaching Test Kitchen, participants will not only have the opportunity to network with others engaged in thinking about educational technologies, but will additionally leave with practical strategies and takeaway resources meant to help orient them to technologies available at MSU (through detailing where to find them and providing ‘getting started’-styled suggestions on how they might be utilized in teaching and learning spaces).

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

Games to Promote and Enhance Learning

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B100

Presenter: Anne Violin-Wigent,

Additional Presenter: Lucie Lecocq-Aussignargues

Description: Games are often thought to be incompatible with learning past early childhood. A lot of us think that higher education involves serious matters that cannot be fun. But can adult students learn and play at the same time? The presenters will briefly review research showing that using games in the classroom helps create an effective learning environment by promoting engagement among students. Games also help with memorization and building diverse competences. At the same time, it is crucial to recognize that not all games are equally valid for learning and that they can be difficult to implement. In this workshop, attendees will discover the benefits and the limits of games in the classroom. In particular, they will explore which formats are best suited for what purpose and be given tools to evaluate the effectiveness of games to enhance learning. Participants will also experience concrete examples of games that the presenters, two language and content instructors, use in class to promote active engagement and learning of language skills, but also of information and content from upper-level classes. At the same time, these examples will be adapted so that these games can be applied to other subjects. Finally, participants will be invited to reflect on their own teaching practices and develop ideas to be used in their own classes

Learning from Experience: Teaching Case Studies with Big Ideas

Track: Developing Disciplinary Teaching Strategies

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B104

Presenter: Justin Bruner,

Description: Have you ever wanted to build more case-based instruction into your teaching? Case studies are one of the most versatile teaching methods you can have in your toolbox. Not only do they provide your students with real world examples of your content but they can also be used in any discipline and for any topic. Bring some topics you would like to explore for use as a case study as we learn to help promote:

  • Teaching with big ideas
  • Student collaboration
  • Impactful discussions
  • Quantitative reasoning skills

Web-based Mapping for the Classroom

Track: Incorporating Teaching in Technology

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B110G

Presenter: Amanda Tickner,

Additional Presenter: Kasey Wilson

Description: This workshop will present some simple GIS lite applications and databases with low learning curves which can be easily brought into classroom curricula. Participants will explore SimplyAnalytics and Social Explorer, two easy to use mapping and data applications. We will also learn how to use StoryMaps, a free tool which can provide a new way to create a spatially based narrative which is shared on the web.

Increase Student Motivation, Engagement, and Foster Greater Student Success in IAH Courses

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B102

Presenter: Stokes Schwartz,

Description: IAH courses populated by late millennials present a number of challenges to instructors. Distracted by technological conveniences, many of these students typically find it difficult to pay attention and lose interest quickly, in particular when they feel a subject has little to do with their specific academic and career. Student attitudes toward general education courses compound the problem. Many undergraduates do not necessarily grasp the rationale behind such core requirements and, thus, see little reason for them. Poor attitudes, low motivation, and corresponding weak grades often result. On a campus the size of MSU, class size too contributes to the problem of student motivation and success, making it tempting for students to tune out, attend sporadically, or disappear. Last, when courses are large, it might be all too easy for instructors to make lecturing the default mode of information delivery although that is not necessarily the optimum way to teach late millennials. Faced with challenges like these, it comes as no surprise that many instructors might feel less than enthusiastic about the prospect of teaching IAH courses.  My presentation and discussion examine a possible way through the metaphoric deep, dark forest of teaching general education course in a way that might foster a more effective learning environment, motivate more students to engage and, ultimately, succeed.

Presentations 3:15-4:00 p.m.

Shaping a Classroom without Walls: Closing Gaps, Optimizing Opportunity

Track: Understanding the University Context

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 3:15-4:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B100

Presenter: MaryBeth Heeder,

Additional Presenter: Lorelei Blackburn

Description: Analytics and anecdotal data support the fact that first-year students who connect with faculty, staff, and current students more successfully transition to college and earn better grades. Creating a culture of encounter that requires building trust and making connections is necessary to managing the college transition. Unless faculty and staff begin to close gaps between their work, it will be difficult to close opportunity gaps between student populations. This mission requires faculty, staff, and students, who are acclimated to different cultures and interact within an organizational structure that promotes functional silos, to trust each other, practice empathy, and listen to one another. It requires creating a culture that results in shaping a “curriculum for human beings” (Greene) and classrooms without walls.

The Spartans Transition to Excellence Program (STEP) for first-year students, takes place throughout the academic year in a classroom without walls. STEP has as its mission building trust, making connections, developing a sense of belonging, and inspiring passion and purpose.

During this session participants will learn about:

  • The STEP curriculum, including inquiry, reflection, storytelling, empathy, listening, and resilience
  • The pedagogy and practical tools used to develop trust, connections, belonging, and shape a classroom without walls
  • How students, faculty, and staff are navigating within a culture of encounter
  • The role teaching and learning scholarship including inquiry, discovery, communication plays in creating a culture of encounter
  • How to inspire passion and purpose while working to fuse silos

The “Kids These Days” Fallacy

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 3:15-4:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B102

Presenter: Brandy Ellison,

Additional Presenter: A. Brent Donnellan

Description: With the ubiquity of articles and books similar to Jean M. Twenge’s recently published “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood and What That Means for the Rest of Us”, college instructors may have the sense that many or most of the traditional-aged students in their classes are fragile, depressed, and immature. However, other researchers (including one of our co-presenters) have found several of the disheartening claims made in this branch of research to be overstated or analytically questionable. In this presentation, we will examine the conflicting evidence, ask attendees to share their own perceptions, and engage with MSU students’ perspectives on the research and how it shapes instructors’ perceptions of and interactions with them. We will utilize the concept of “funds of knowledge” (González, Moll, & Amanti 2005) to reframe the negative narratives of contemporary young adults in a manner that avoids catastrophizing, essentializing, or alienating them and focuses instead on their individuality, the skills and resources they possess, and the structural and institutional environments they inhabit. We will offer recommendations to help instructors develop and maintain resource-based perspectives in their courses and solicit additional suggestions from participants.

Implementing Competency-Based Education in Programs and Courses: Three Perspectives

Track: Developing Disciplinary Teaching Strategies

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 3:15-4:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B104

Presenter: Brian Mavis,

Additional Presenters: Julie Funk, Stephen R. Thomas

Description: Nationally, medical education has been moving to a Competency Based Education (CBE) model. CBE is a mastery model that focuses on knowledge in action and the attainment of defined competencies, compared to more traditional approaches that focus on knowledge acquisition.  Ideally, implemented CBE provides curricular flexibility for learners to move at their own pace.  More practically, CBE focuses training on the specific knowledge and skills needed in an environment of exponentially growth in the biomedical knowledge base.

At MSU multiple units have moved in the direction of more CBE. The College of Human Medicine has moved towards an integrated curriculum organized by patients’ complaints and concerns.  The College of Veterinary Medicine is in the midst of a curricular revision that is organ-systems based.  In both cases, this change required faculty to reconceptualize their objectives to fit within the competency framework and adopt more active learning pedagogies.  Additionally, the change has made transparent to faculty and students the linkage between objectives, assessment and content, and which enhances buy-in and authenticity.

In this session, representatives from the College of Human Medicine and the College of Veterinary Medicine will discuss their approaches to their curriculum redesign, specific strategies adopted, and the impacts of those decisions for each unit to achieve their goals.

Lessons learned from their experiences will be translated to approaches that faculty can apply to individual courses and how they can think about a shift from cognitive objectives to competencies.

Teaching and Assessing Professionalism in the College Classroom: Is it Our Job?

Track: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Date & Time, Wed., May 9, 3:15-4:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room B106

Presenter: Erica Wehrwein,

Additional Presenters: Chris Shaltry, Adele Denison, John Zubek, Anthony Paganini, Lori Seischab

Description: In this presentation we will demonstrate why professionalism is important to teach, possible to incorporate, and has the potential to be assessed in a wide variety of college classrooms.

Professionalism has been defined in numerous ways but collectively refers to the many soft skills and behaviors representative of a professional.

Regardless of the profession, recognized characteristics such as the ability to work in teams, thinking critically, sound ethics and communicating effectively are seen as important for career success.

Professional competencies such as interpersonal, intrapersonal, thinking and reasoning, and science skills are deemed essential for entering medical students In addition, multiple national and governmental guiding documents stress the importance of broad and transferable skills are keys to success in the workplace (STEM 2.0 An imperative for our future workforce &

Career readiness resources such as NACE can narrow down the prerequisite soft skills your students may need for a successful career in their chosen field.

Since college instructors are often a gateway to a student’s first job, it is important that we understand our broad role in their professional growth. Students express interest in a well-rounded education which includes marketable skills besides discipline specific competence. Employers also state interest in these versatile students for entry level and mid-level positions.

#ITeachMSU Network Conversation

Date & Time: Wed., May 9, 3:15-4:00 p.m.

Place: Wells Hall, Room D101

Description: A focus group of educators who have begun to form the #ITeachMSU educator development network.