“Liberal Arts Teaching Online in Zoom” Online Webinar: Tuesday, March 17 and Thursday, March 19

Join a live LACOL webinar and hands-on practice with five experienced liberal arts teachers from Swarthmore College, Vassar College, Williams College, and Washington and Lee University.  This team regularly collaborates to deliver online/hybrid classes for the liberal arts.

Many liberal arts colleges are asking faculty to consider how they may temporarily move their teaching online as part of emergency preparedness in the face of COVID-19 or other disruptions to regular classroom teaching.  Tips and guides are circulating, and faculty get lots of support from their local IT and teaching and learning centers.

This interactive Zoom session will highlight five liberal arts colleagues (including our very own Moataz Khalifa, Assistant Professor and Director of Data Education, and Assistant Professor of Biology, Natalia Toporikova!) to explore the ways they’ve learned to teach effectively online while maintaining a liberal arts approach that emphasizes personal interactions and critical thinking. Bring your ideas and questions!

Webinar Hosts
Webinar Hosts

Two live sessions: 

  • Tuesday, March 17, 2020 – 1:00pm-2:00pm EST
  • Thursday, March 19, 2020 – 11:00am-12:00pm EST

Recordings will be shared afterwards.

Webinar Agenda:

  • Min 00 – 10: Welcome and Self-Introductions
    • Learning goals for this session
    • A little background about the LACOL summer online class
  • Min 10 – 35: Hands-on practice in Zoom 
    • Encouraging Student Participation
    • Sharing Screens / Remote Screen Control
    • Using the Chat panel for conversations
    • Breakouts – great for small group work and discussion
  • Min 35 – 45: Group reflections on keeping a liberal arts approach online that emphasizes personal interactions and critical thinking
  • Min 45 – 55: Open Discussion / Q&A

Sign Up: https://forms.gle/HxRbWe5cvMubcZzA7 
Additional Resources: http://bit.ly/lacol-teach-online

Resources from Stephen Lind’s “Designing and Assessing Presentation Assignments”

Our second Pedagogy and (not) Pizza session, “Designing and Assessing Presentation Assignments” was led by Stephen Lind, Assistant Professor of Business Administration and author of “A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz“.

a person trying to communicate to another person but the message is jumbled upWe want our students to have effective communication skills, but, truthfully, designing and assessing these activities in class can be incredibly challenging. So, we want to again offer our heartfelt thanks to Stephen for sharing essential questions and criteria to consider when designing unique speaking assignments, a turn-key model that faculty can build on, and an assessment tool to give student feedback.

Lastly, in case you missed it, here’s a link to all of the super helpful workshop materials (must sign in with W&L credentials) in Box.

Is there a topic or issue you’d like CARPE and Academic Technologies to address in Pedagogy and (not) Pizza? Let us know

When’s the Last Time You Cleaned Your Keyboard and Mouse? 🤔

“Yay, it’s flu season!”

—No one, ever

Sanitize your keyboard and evict that nasty grime and bacteria – stat!

https://www.totaljobs.com/insidejob/workplace-hygiene-6-office-germ-hotspots/
Ewwwww, right???

Using disinfectant wipes to clean your keyboard and mouse — along with other measures like keeping your distance from sick people and thoroughly washing your hands before eating and after using the toilet — can help to prevent the spread of colds and flu.

Protect yourself and do your part to help prevent the spread of any viruses!

Keep an eye out for packs of disinfectant wipes in classrooms. Over Feb Break, we took the liberty of wiping down keyboards and mice and are making wipes available so you can continue to sanitize these devices before you use them.

Recap of the POGIL Training Seminar

POGIL is an acronym for Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning.

As a student-centered instructional approach, in a POGIL classroom, students work in small groups/teams on specially designed activities that follow a learning cycle paradigm of exploration, concept invention, and application, with the instructor acting as a facilitator.

Developed in Chemistry before expanding to fields throughout the disciplines, the POGIL approach has two broad aims: to develop content mastery through student construction of their own understanding, and to develop and improve important process skills such as information processing, communication, critical thinking, problem solving and metacognition and assessment.

Matt Tuchler and Gail Webster

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Gail Webster, Professor and Chair of Chemistry at Guilford College, and our very own Matt Tuchler, Associate Professor of Chemistry, acted as the facilitators, leading us though the organization of a POGIL course, how guided inquiry is structured in a POGIL classroom, several POGIL activities, as well as considerations for classroom facilitation.

Attendees who experienced a POGIL-based learning environment included faculty and staff members from Accounting, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Computer Science, ITS, Journalism and Mass Communications, Physics and Engineering, and the University Library. 

Many thanks to both Gail and Matt, and all who took the time to attend. We’re always thrilled to offer provide training in new teaching pedagogies and even more elated when faculty are interested and willing to learn to use these methods.

BONUS: Find the Enhancing Learning by Improving Process Skills in STEM (ELIPSS) rubrics helpful? We did, too! View and/or download all the rubrics.

  • CT = Critical Thinking
  • IC = Interpersonal Communication
  • IP = Information Processing
  • MC = Metacognition
  • MG = Management
  • PS = Problem Solving
  • WC = Written Communication
  • TW = Teamwork 

The files with “feedback” in the title — CT, IC, IP, TW — are those with suggestions for improvement. This new style is not available for all rubrics yet.

Interested in future pedagogy workshops? Sign up for the Academic Technologies once-per-term newsletter or reach out to Julie Knudson, Director of Academic Technologies, or Paul Hanstedt, Director of the Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (CARPE).

Neat tools we heard about at CHEP

Last week, Julie and Brandon attended the 12th Annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy (CHEP), hosted by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech. The conference showcases the best pedagogical practice and research in higher education. Sessions address disciplinary and interdisciplinary instructional strategies, outcomes, and research.

The following are just a few handy resources they came across …

Simple, and low-tech way to get quick feedback or check understanding without the need to have students use devices or even paper and pencil. Each student is assigned a unique Plickers card with a black and white image similar to a QR code. The letters A, B, C, and D are written in small print around the edge of the image, with one letter on each side of the card. Instructors display a multiple-choice or true-false question and students rotate and hold up their Plickers to indicate their answer. Using the Plickers app on a mobile device, all Plicker cards are scanned so you can instantly see student responses and assessment data. FREE!


A video discussion platform that gives all students a voice with the creation of videos around prompts or discussion questions and uploading of those videos for sharing and feedback. Instructors create a “grid” — an online meeting place — that includes a question or prompt. Students record short response using their smartphone, tablet, or computer to share with others. FREE!


Interested in getting your novel, memoir, poetry collection, or other project in eBook and print-ready formats? Or what publishing student work or group projects? Pressbooks is an online book publishing platform that allows users to create professional-quality eTexts, which can be viewed through a web browser, downloaded as a print-ready PDF, or exported as another digital-ready format (such as EPUB). Pressbooks also offers the ability to work with collaborators such as editors, co-authors, and publishers. FREE!


Quizzing yourself is a highly effective study technique. Known for its digital version of traditional paper flashcards, Quizlet adds to the studying and knowledge-retention process through its interactive learning activities. Students can create their own study sets or use study sets created by others, including their peers, to test their knowledge. FREE!


A super minimalist and easy-to-use note-taking app you can use on your computer or smartphone that simplifies the process of sharing ideas across multiple devices. FREE!

  • If you rely heavily on Gmail, Google Drive, or Google Docs, you can easily share items in Keep between platforms, from inside the Keep app or through a Google program that supports Keep.
  • Items in your Keep app can be shared directly with other users without having to go through the typical share menu you may see in other programs. Select a note or image you wish to share and choose the person icon. You will then be able to add a user’s email address or their name from your contacts.
  • With the Google Keep app, you can dictate a note into your device, and the recording will be transcribed into a searchable, editable note.

Interested in trying out any of these tools? Have questions about how you might make use of them? Let us know what you think! We are here to help.

Another (good) angle to the lecture/active learning debate by the author of the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s “Pedagogy Unbound” column

https://twitter.com/dgooblar/status/1191367533648994304

David Gooblar is Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Temple University and the author of The Missing Course: Everything They Never Taught You About College Teaching. Since 2013, he’s written a regular column on college teaching for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Gooblar posits that to grow and improve one’s teaching means adopting the right mindset vs. finding the “right” set of instructional strategies. In “Do Students Really Learn Nothing From a Lecture?“, Gooblar writes,

“A lecture delivered to students you see as fixed quantities — you think some are smart enough to handle the material while others aren’t and never will be — is going to take a certain shape. A lecture designed with the understanding that students can improve with the right combination of practice and feedback will probably look a lot different …

You are more likely to give an effective lecture if you are thinking about how students learn as you prepare it. If you compose and deliver a lecture thinking that you can just pour knowledge into students’ heads, you’re not going to succeed nearly as well. And that’s not because you “lectured.” It’s because you were working off of faulty pedagogical assumptions (and/or couldn’t be bothered to teach more effectively).

Learning works through active engagement by the learner. Only students can do the work of learning; all the instructor can do is try to create the conditions within which students are more likely to do that work.”

Read the entire article at https://www.chronicle.com/article/Do-Students-Really-Learn/247433.

The NY Times nailed it: “Why You Need a Password Manager. Yes, You.”

graphic of computer monitor with key in front of it
Everyone should use a password manager. It’s the most important thing you can do — alongside two-factor authentication — to keep your data safe.

You probably know that it’s not a good idea to use “password” as a password, or your pet’s name, or your birthday. But the worst thing you can do with your passwords — and something that more than 50 percent of people are doing, according to a recent Virginia Tech study — is to reuse the same ones across multiple sites. If even one of those accounts is compromised in a data breach, it doesn’t matter how strong your password is — hackers can easily use it to get into your other accounts.

But even though I should know better, up until a few months ago I was still reusing the same dozen or so passwords across all of my everything (though at least I had turned on two-factor authentication where I could). It’s just too difficult to come up with (and remember) unique, strong passwords for dozens of sites. That’s why, after much cajoling from co-workers, I started using a password manager — and it’s why you should be using one, too. Aside from using two-factor authentication and keeping your operating system and Web browser up-to-date, it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself online.

Hear, hear! Read more at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/smarter-living/wirecutter/why-you-need-a-password-manager-yes-you.html or go download LastPass Free straight away!

There’s only ONE first day of class …

The first day of class is a once-in-a-semester opportunity to, well, set the stage for a great semester!

So what’s on your agenda?

Do you plan to create an open friendly classroom environment? Hope to handle administrative matters? Set course expectations and standards?group of hands giving the "thumbs up" gesture

Here are some resources you may find helpful to prepare for this all-important day:

If you’re unfamiliar with the technology in your classroom or just need a refresher, contact help@wlu.edu to request a classroom orientation. We’ve got you.