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Two-day Teaching Effectiveness Institute plans sessions on students’ focus, digital classrooms

November 29, 2012
Saundra McGuire

Saundra McGuire

Northern Illinois University’s 2013 Teaching Effectiveness Institute will start with the traditional – the first day is devoted to strategies on motivating students and convincing them to focus on learning rather than grades – before racing to modern times with sessions on optimizing the digital classroom.

What’s more, the day of digital talk will take place online – a first for the annual institute hosted by the NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.

Scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 10, and Friday, Jan. 11, the free institute is for NIU faculty, instructors and teaching SPS and operating staff only. Teaching assistants are welcome to participate on Day Two.

The registration deadline for both days is Friday, Dec. 14.

Registered participants will receive institute materials and a certificate of participation. Plan to attend the entire day. Those who register and then are unable to attend should email [email protected] by Friday, Jan. 4, so that those on the waiting list can be given the opportunity to attend the institute and/or institute costs can be reduced.

Day One features Saundra McGuire, assistant vice chancellor and professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University.

Her presentations will include “Getting Students to Focus on Learning Instead of Grades: Teach Them How to Learn” and “Increasing Student Motivation: Strategies that Work.” Both take place in the Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center.

Photo of an A+ report cardFaculty often lament that 21st century students are focused on achieving high grades, McGuire says, but are not willing to invest much time or effort in learning. This workshop will focus on the importance of helping students acquire simple-but-effective learning strategies based on cognitive science principles.

McGuire’s work with faculty involves the development of pedagogical techniques that facilitate mastery learning and helping them implement pedagogical techniques that maximize student learning outcomes.

She served as the director of LSU’s nationally recognized campus-wide learning center, the Center for Academic Success, from 1999 to 2009. Prior to joining LSU in August of 1999, McGuire spent 11 years at Cornell University, where she received the highly coveted Clark Distinguished Teaching Award. In November 2007, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring was presented to her in a White House Oval Office Ceremony.

Photo of classroom with whiteboard technologyDay Two will cover “Teaching in the Digital Classroom: Tools, Tips, and Strategies.”

Contemporary instructional approaches continue to evolve to meet the expectations of today’s students while also being shaped by the latest affordances of instructional technology.

Faculty have an ever-increasing selection of tools to choose from in their quest to offer the highest quality learning experience possible for students. The “digital classroom” more and more extends far beyond the walls of a physical classroom and encompasses a wide array of traditional and emerging teaching and learning methods. The result can be a truly rigorous yet flexible learning environment that engages students both in and outside the classroom.

During this interactive institute, NIU faculty and teaching staff will learn how to actively engage students in the learning process through the use of best practices and readily available technologies.

Faculty Development staff will lead the sessions and facilitate conversations to provide an opportunity for participants to network and share ideas before, during and after the institute.

Thanks to the online format, participants can absorb the material from the comfort and convenience of their own homes, offices or other locations.

All that is needed to participate is a computer and an Internet connection, as all live sessions will be conducted using Blackboard Collaborate. Additionally, those with iOS mobile devices will have the option to download and install the Blackboard Collaborate mobile app to participate from their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

On the Jan. 11 schedule:

  • 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. Log-in to Blackboard Collaborate online session
  • 8:45 to 9 a.m. Opening remarks and logistics for the day and beyond
  • 9 to 10 a.m. Understanding Today’s Active Learner
  • 10:30 a.m. to noon. Integrating Online Tools in Your Classroom
  • 1 to 2:30 p.m. Using Mobile Learning to Extend Your Classroom
  • 3 to 4 p.m. Adding a Social Layer to Your Classroom

For more information on the 2013 Teaching Effectiveness Institute, call (815) 753-0595 or email [email protected].