This post was co-authored by Jessica Morris, Lynnette Clement, Nick Gogno, Peggy McCoey, and Regina Hierholzer.

On Tuesday, May 21, over 60 members of the La Salle University community participated in the second annual Faculty Development Summer Institute.  The Institute is a daylong event that highlights tools and techniques for engaging students with technology. This year, it featured four hands-on workshops, a panel, and a facilitated discussion.

2013 Faculty Development Summer Institute

For those of you that couldn’t join us, here are some of the day’s highlights. If you want to learn more about any of the tools or topics mentioned here, get in touch with the Instructional Design team!

Morning Panel: From Face-to-Face to Blended and Online Teaching

The day started off with a panel of four faculty members who had transitioned their teaching from face-to-face to either blended or fully online:

  • LeeAnn Cardaciotto, Psychology
  • Swee-Lim Chia, Marketing
  • Jennifer Sipe, School of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Rhonda Hazell, Biology

Each panelist had valuable insights to share about which tools they use, what successes they have had with technology, how their expectations have changed over time, and the lessons they had learned. Thoughtful questions from the audience also prompted interesting discussions about assessing learners online, peer-to-peer review and support, and the best tools for recording lectures, among other topics.

Morning Workshop: Great Videos on a Tight Budget

Tonya Ellis (Station Manager for La Salle TV and Assistant Chair of the Communication Department) and John Caputo (Executive Director of Academic Computing) led this workshop on free and low cost techniques for creating videos. Attendees learned the value of preparing the right recording environment. They were introduced to the principles of setting up good lighting, choosing the right type of shot, and framing their shots to best capture their subjects. Tonya and John also showcased the various devices that can be used to create videos, including most smart phones.

Rebecca Goldman (Media and Digital Services Librarian) reviewed the importance of copyright, fair use, and video storage when it comes to creating your own videos or using content created by others for instructional purposes.

Morning Workshop: Getting Started with Blackboard – Facilitating Student Centered Learning

This workshop was led by Greer Richardson (Associate Professor of Education) and Jessica Morris (Instructional Designer).

Greer introduced various ways that instructors can use student-centered learning principles in both face-to-face classes and web-based activities delivered through Blackboard.  The workshop participants discussed a wide range of activities that allow for different types of interactions, including teacher-to-student, student-to-content, and teacher-to-content. Providing students with these different types of interactions can result in deeper and more meaningful learning experiences.

Finally, the participants had the opportunity build discussions, journals, and Collaborate web-conferencing sessions in Blackboard, so that they can begin using these tools to create student-centered activities in their classes.

You can review the slides from this workshop here.

Lunchtime Chat: Technology Use and Expectations

During lunch, Greer Richardson (Associate Professor of Education) and Peggy McCoey (Assistant Professor of Computer Science) reviewed the results of two surveys: the Faculty Technology Use Survey and Portal poll questions that focused on students’ expectations.

During the review of the Technology Review Survey, the attendees discussed many of the tools that are currently being used on campus by their peers and how these tools might possibly benefit their own instruction.

Then, the students’ responses to the portal polls sparked some interesting conversations. The attendees found it notable that 37% of the students wanted class updates through text messages. While some instructors shared examples of how they use text messages with their classes, many expressed their reluctance to exchange text messages with their students. Also, when students were asked about how they like to receive feedback from their instructors, 52% of students said they preferred face-to-face feedback. Many instructors felt that this would be hard to manage in an online class and that it seemed incompatible with students’ infrequent visits during office hours.

The Planning Committee for the Engaging Learners series hopes to continue this conversation in the Fall by offering students and faculty the opportunity to discuss their potentially differing expectations when it comes to communication and feedback.

Afternoon Workshop: Interacting with Your Students Using Social Media

This workshop featured presentations by Amy Cranston of University Communications, Bill Weaver of ISBT, Carolyn Plump of the School of Business, and Nick Gogno of Academic Computing.

To start the session, Amy discussed the prevalence of social media in today’s society, an overview of various social media platforms, and the role of social media here at La Salle University. Nick then gave a quick tour of Twitter, and reviewed the basics in using the popular micro-blogging platform, all while participants signed up for their own Twitter accounts and sent out tweets to the Summer Institute hashtag #LaSalleSI.

Next, Bill delved deeper into the origins of sites like Wikipedia and Twitter. He shared some cool real-time maps that show how much each platform is updated ( and and discussed the student projects involving social media that he has integrated into his instruction. Picking up on this thread, Carolyn showcased the La Salle created social media app, Course Ticker, and how she uses it in class. Some highlights include how Course Ticker can be integrated into PowerPoint slides for conducting real-time student polls and collecting questions. Both Carolyn and Bill concurred that social media can help involve more students in your class interactions so long as you pick the right social media platform for the instructional goals.

Click here to view the slides from this presentation. There will be another faculty training on using social media for brand management and audience engagement on June 11, 2013. Please sign up here if you are interested.

Afternoon Workshop: Giving Students Something to Talk About – Engaging Students in Face-to-Face, Hybrid and Fully Online Learning

This workshop was led by Peggy McCoey (Assistant Professor of Computer Science), Regina Hierholzer (Director of Online Programs for CPCS), and Lynnette Clement (Coordinator of Online Programs for CPCS).

Peggy McCoey described the use of discussion boards, wikis, and blogs along with effective strategies for employing these tools in traditional, hybrid, and online delivery methods.  Regina Hierholzer demonstrated the best strategies for engaging the students with these tools, along with the pros and cons of each tool.  Regina also helped attendees build student accounts which could be used to see the student view of the course.  Lynnette Clement provided an overview of resources available for students in the online environment.  She demonstrated other strategies for using these tools outside of a course (i.e., surveys, orientations, and online meeting rooms).

Finally, the participants had the opportunity to use the tools as both instructors and students.  They were divided into groups and asked to build a collaboration activity on a discussion forum, a wiki, or a blog.  After the collaboration activities were built, each group was asked to log into Blackboard with their student accounts and respond to the three types of activities. Finally, participants went back into the tools as instructors and graded the responses.

This workshop also included a demonstration of the Blackboard group tools.  The participants discussed strategies for engaging students using group tools and activities in Blackboard.

About the Summer Institute

The Faculty Development Summer Institute is an opportunity for the La Salle University community to share strategies, tools, and resources related to engaging learners with technology tools. It is usually a daylong event that consists of hands-on workshops and is held shortly after the end of the Spring semester.

The Summer Institute is made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Provost’s Office, the Faculty Development Committee, the Arts & Sciences Technology Committee, Academic Computing’s Instructional Design Team, and Online Learning (CPCS).

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