Tips and Hints from a Teaching Professor Conference




Faruk Yildiz

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I am new to The Teaching Professor Conference and took an opportunity to participate with the help of PACE Center Odyssey Grant. The conference traditionally offered in GA and LA every year, and I attended the one in Atlanta, GA June 3-5, 2022). I highly recommend this conference to my colleagues especially to junior faculty members. The next conference will take place in New Orleans, LA between June 9-11, 2023. All the presentations (workshops and sessions) are shared with the participants after the conference which is not typical for conferences I usually attend (I can share the presentations upon request). My participation in this conference equipped me with new skills and strategies that will augment my strengths as a teacher and mentor.

Most of the conference content and/or sessions were the cutting-edge of the best pedagogical practices and supported with half-day workshops (fee required for the workshops). The conference featured plenary sessions, workshops, and non-stop networking through which I discovered researched-based techniques on how to connect with today’s students, use new technology, and apply active-learning strategies from nationally recognized experts.

Some of the benefits - Learn theoretically sound ideas covering these topics:
• Preparing Your Course • Assessing Learning • Student Engagement • Technology Tools for Teaching • Online Teaching and Learning • Teaching Specific Student Populations • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion • Teaching in the Health Services • Instructional Vitality: Ways to Keep Teaching Fresh and Invigorated • New Faculty • Faculty Support

Workshop: I attended a half-day workshop about “Social and Emotional Connections in All Classes to Help Students Learn and Engage”. The workshop was a refresher where I had a chance to learn from other in the session and their experiences. The presenters discussed the literature relating to connectedness and academic success describing how attending to student’s sociality and harnessing the power of emotions can boost learning; identify a range of practical strategies to increase social and emotional connections to promote equitable student success for all class modes and subjects (Forms attached).

A Session: Rubrics: A Win-Win I had an opportunity to practice preparing rubrics based on student learning outcomes (SLOs). The presenter discussed timesaving, assessment-improving strategies. This session is especially very good for the junior faculty members who are asked to prepare rubrics for their classes and program/degree, accreditation assessment plans. The details of benefits of a simple and powerful rubric, creation process, LMS and best practices were discussed during the session. The goals for the session was mainly a) gaining working vocabulary for SLO based rubric development, b) describe the basic components of SLO based rubrics. The Backward Design of rubric development was discussed which is helpful in rubric construction • Identify Desired Results • Determine Acceptable Evidence • Plan Learning Experiences

Moreover, best practices for rubric developments were discussed

• Start with your course SLOs • Components should be well defined • Specific rather than general • Use “student-friendly” language • Emphasize rubric before/during/after a task • Students should always have access prior to beginning a task • Return marked rubrics to students • Refine

Notes from the Conference (Lessons Learned) • Reduced Civility and empathy due to Covid Pandemic – It is time to re-connect • Consider: How we can support our students and ourselves • Minding Bodies (2021) Students are not brains on sticks. Neither we are. • Belonginess, emotions, and positive relationships boosts learning or may shut-down learning • Better teaching leads to better learning • Book idea: Relationship Rich Education by Peter Felton and Leo M. Lambert • Book idea: Feeling a sense of belongings by Lisa Muns, PhD • Book idea: Belongings predicts success more than GPA by Bryan Dewsbury, PhD (Florida International University) • No need to ask students to turn on camera but highly recommend • Sometimes it helps to turn of the camera and watch others in the class. Do not look at yourself. • Socially anxiety is very important to research and understand. • Strategies for social connections – It is hard to manage in STEM fields due to content level • Help your students get to know you and get to know your students • Ask students about their strength and values – class survey • Share one or more phots with students • Design for emotions • Asynchronous online classes may not be a good way to deliver • The content I have/teach is not anxiety promoting. Instead, is FUN • Design for relevance • Tell Stories (Case study, related to topic, personal experience etc.)

Outside the Classroom – Scholarship Advice for Teachers

• Reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; writing makes a ready, full, and exact professor (Sir Francis Bacon). • Why research and write o Keeps you current in the field o Keeps you interested o Keeps you from getting o Keeps you curious • Read as much as you can (audible books) • Start small • Write about what you find interesting • Write small (a paragraph) every weekday 52 (weeks) X 5 days = 260 days • Collaborate with others ( • https://www.Teaching • Be willing to try something new • Learn the power of the revisions (words have power) • Learn the power of the peer reviews • Keep a list of future research projects • Peer review the work of others • Editing is easier than initial draft • Write while you research • Get and stay organized • Schedule research and writing time • Know when to stop researching • Have several projects in the pipeline • Break projects into sub-tasks • Network with authors in your field • “Done” is better than perfect • Do thorough literature reviews • Learn from specialists (Librarians) • Make things easy for your publisher (Follow the guidelines) • Track your submission • Be daring when submitting • Be grateful for the opportunity to teach and write

Online Teaching and Learning

• Creating and Implementing Multimodal instructions • Synchronous and Asynchronous learning options • How to track if instructors spend 2.5 hours/weekly (Meeting Carnegie unit) • The virtual/video factor • The transition team (champions, mentors, training, student support services) • A checklist is a must for multimodal/hybrid classes