Stitching Up Success: A Recap of the IQ Center’s Inaugural Sewing Workshop

Learn to Sew a Tote Bag! Tuesday, September 19, 2023.What happens when you combine a state-of-the-art space, enthusiastic students, and sewing machines? Pure magic!

Last week, 17 W&L students came to the IQ Center with curiosity, excitement, and a penchant for crafting—ready to transform squares of fabric into tote bags. The buzz was palpable, the energy infectious.

And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be excited? 

Setting the Stage for Creativity

Hosted by the Academic Technologies team, the night was designed to be an immersive experience. Taking place in Science Addition 202A, the room was divided into four bustling workstations.

Each station was equipped with cutting-edge sewing machines, including the latest addition to our tech lineup—the Singer 4452 Heavy Duty electronic sewing machine, fabric shears, heat-erasable pens for fabric, rulers, and sewing pins, lots and lots of sewing pins!

Academic Technologists Julie Knudson, Dave Pfaff, Mickie Brown, and Helen MacDermott, walked around the room to answer questions and offer tips as students worked. And yes, for the curious minds and eager hands, there were pre-cut 18″ x 18″ fabric squares in a variety of fun prints and colors and pre-threaded machines—because, at the IQ Center, we believe in eliminating barriers to innovation. Most of the fabric came through donations from the W&L Theater costume shop! Fabric that once may have been curtains on a stage set were converted to market totes.

Imagine having a 3D instruction manual that you could touch, feel, and refer to. To provide a multi-dimensional learning experience, Julie created prototypes of each step, pinned to foam boards for reference. This approach elevated the traditional instruction method, providing students with a tangible guide to navigate the tasks that lay ahead.  

Individual foam boards with finished pieces from each step for reference The workshop was more than just a fun night; it was an incubator of versatile skills. Our students gained hands-on experience in cutting fabric, measuring, pinning, pressing, backtacking, and sewing straight seams. 

By the close of the workshop, a crescendo of pride filled the room. Every participant left with a tangible representation of their learning—a meticulously crafted tote bag. It was not just an accessory but a physical manifestation of applied knowledge, collaborative effort, and creative expression.

Final Stitches

This inaugural sewing workshop is a testament to the IQ Center’s commitment to fostering multidisciplinary skills and community engagement. It was a watershed moment for the IQ Center, reinforcing its role as a sanctuary for interdisciplinary innovation. And if the smiles and the stunning tote bags were any measure, we’re confident this is the start of something groundbreaking.

We’re just getting started, and we’re threaded up for greatness!

You’re Invited! THIS Wednesday (9/27) at 12:00 PM in Sydney Lewis Hall Classroom C


AI’s advancements have been revolutionary, offering unprecedented capabilities and opportunities across diverse domains. In the legal sector, AI can analyze vast datasets, predict legal outcomes, and automate routine tasks, thereby enhancing efficiency and reducing costs. However, the rise of AI also brings forth existential inquiries about the roles and responsibilities of humans in a world increasingly governed by intelligent machines.

The Uncharted Territory of AI and Common Law

Common law, a system of law based on judicial decisions and precedents, is dynamic and continually evolving. The integration of AI in this system raises critical questions about the interpretation and development of laws in the future. Will AI contribute to the formation of legal principles, or will it merely be a tool to assist human judges and lawyers in their decision-making processes?

The Role of Humans in AI-Driven Legal Systems

As AI technologies become more sophisticated, the legal profession must grapple with the ethical, moral, and practical aspects of incorporating AI into legal processes. What will be the role of human judgment, intuition, and ethics in a legal landscape increasingly influenced by algorithms? How can legal practitioners maintain the human touch in delivering justice in an AI-driven world?

Join William Donald Bain Family Professor of Law Josh Fairfield on Wednesday, September 27 at 12 pm in Sydney Lewis Hall Classroom C for a discussion on the future of artificial intelligence and its implications for the legal profession. Professor Fairfield will delve into the intricate relationship between AI and law, exploring how AI could shape the evolution of the common law and what it means for legal practitioners. 

3 Techniques to Keep Your Students’ Attention

Insights from “3 Ways to Keep Your Audience Focused During a Presentation” by Matt Abrahams, lecturer in organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business and author of “Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot.”

Harvard Business Publishing Education | A blue coffee mug and teal tea cup | The Faculty Loungepurple ball stuck in a wire coil

1. Find opportunities for physical engagement

“Where the body goes, the brain will follow,” says Abrahams. Anything that gets your students doing something with their bodies will create engagement. So whether you are teaching in person or virtually, think about how you can include physical engagement in your class—and, of course, always consider your students with limited mobility.

For example, you can have your class click something on their screens, raise their hands, or use virtual reactions. All of these require students to become participants in your communication, not just observers, says Abrahams.

“A simple invitation to ‘Turn to the person next to you and greet them’ or ‘Read what is on the slide and share your thoughts’ can get them involved,” he says.

To learn more about how to physically engage your students either in person or virtually, read the Inspiring Minds article “10 Creative Ways to Better Engage Your Students.”

2. Foster consistent mental stimulation

Our students have a lot on their minds, so it’s easy for them to zone out or multitask during class time. We must foster cognitive engagement to overcome this. Abrahams recommends these simple approaches:

  • Ask questions throughout class. “When you ask a question, people almost automatically start to consider their answer, thereby moving them from passive listening to active participation,” he says.
  • Incorporate provocative statements and data. “Provocative statements or compelling data ignite curiosity and encourage your audience to internally ask their own questions,” he says. When introducing an idea to your class, try leading with a story that is personal or has engrossing details.
  • Introduce smart analogies. “Analogies are where we compare what we know to what we don’t know; in other words, we use the familiar to explain the unfamiliar,” he says. “Invoking analogies invites involvement by making us actively think.” Just make sure to use analogies that your students can relate to or understand.

To learn more about the power of good storytelling in the classroom, read the Inspiring Minds article “Educators’ Most Effective Attention-Grabbing Techniques.”

3. Use compelling language

Linguistic engagement is when you use inclusive words, language that conjures the past or future, and references to shared perspectives or experiences, says Abrahams. Let’s examine all three:

  • Inclusive wording means inviting people into your communication. “For instance, we’re hardwired to perk up when we hear our own name, as well as when we hear the word ‘you,’” says Abrahams. Mention students’ names, “and use phrases like ‘As you know…’ or ‘You may be wondering…’ or ‘Today, you will learn…’”
  • Time-traveling language takes people from the present into the future or the past. “You can use phrases like ‘Imagine…’ or ‘What if you could…’ or ‘Picture this…’ to take people into the future,” says Abrahams. “‘Remember when…’ or ‘Think back to when…’ will take people into the past.”
  • Shared experiences or beliefs create common ground with students. For instance, highlighting your own personal values or referencing a past shared experience can draw students in, much like when you and your friends or family share old stories and jokes, says Abrahams.

To learn more about engaging students through language, read the Inspiring Minds article “What Educators Can Learn from Comedians.”

Combine these techniques for better engagement

If you combine these three techniques in your classroom, it’ll enhance their effect.

Using polls is a prime example, says Abrahams. “Polling is a great way to get both brains and bodies involved with a triple-whammy of activity,” he says. “It works with a poll question as simple as ‘By show of hands, which of the following do you believe is the most important element of XYZ?’ The synergy of the physical, mental, and linguistic engagement techniques deployed in this one question gets attendees out of neutral and in the flow with you.”

Abrahams notes that when polling, it’s imperative to do the following:

  • Tell your students how to respond (e.g., “By show of hands…” or “Type into the chat…”).
  • Comment on the responses you get (e.g., “That’s what I expected . . . about half of you,” or “Wow, that is everyone”). If you fail to comment, your class “might feel tricked into complying, or worse, that you did not care about the answer and were just using the poll as a gimmick.” Interested in polling in the classroom? Request a Poll Everywhere account!

Conveying your message in the most compelling way

Our work and our words are important; we’re training the next generation of leaders. So we must make an effort to ensure that our teachings are not just heard, but also resonate. These physical, mental, and linguistic engagement techniques will help you gain your students’ attention—and sustain it.

Free AAC&U Webinar about the AI’s impact on the workforce and higher education!

The AI Revolution: Transforming Higher Education for the Workforce of Tomorrow

Wednesday, September 13, 2023  at 2:00 p.m. ET.

While much of the discussion surrounding higher education and artificial intelligence (AI) has focused on scaling up AI research and adapting teaching methods in the face of tools such as ChatGPT, another side to AI’s impact on higher education is also compelling action. AI and machine learning are reshaping the world of work. It is predicted that over the next five years, new career paths will emerge, many existing paths will be reshaped, and some will end because of AI adoption and innovation. Higher education has entered a pivotal moment of challenge and opportunity to respond to this rapidly changing employability landscape.

This webinar will feature a panel of experts who will contemplate the impact AI will have on the near-term future of employment in the United States and consider the most important changes higher education can make to develop a well-prepared workforce. This discussion will also focus on partnership, curricular, and pedagogical opportunities that will enable higher education to prepare our students for an increasingly AI-rich future.

Register now!


C. Edward Watson
Associate Vice President for Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation, Executive Director for Open Educational Resources and Digital Innovation, AAC&U


Earl Buford
President, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)

Brian Haugabrook
Specialist Leader, Deloitte

William J. McKinney
Senior Fellow, AAC&U

Krystal Rawls
Workforce Integration Network Director, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Registration is now open for Technology and Tacos!

Capstone Projects, Thursday, Sept 21, 2023 12-1:30 pm, Leyburn 119; ePortfolios, Thursday, October 5, 2023 12-1:30 pm, Leyburn 119; Collaborative Assignments, Thursday, Nov 9, 2023 12-1:30 pm, Leyburn 119.

The essence of academia lies in the continuous exchange of knowledge. In this spirit, the Fall 2023 Technology and Tacos luncheon series puts the spotlight on High-Impact Practices (HIPs) that have been game-changers in our very own classrooms.

HIPs refer to a set of teaching and learning initiatives that research has demonstrated have a significant positive influence on student engagement, retention, and overall learning. These practices require students to invest considerable time and effort into purposeful tasks, encouraging deeper learning experiences. While applicable across all student demographics, HIPs have shown to be particularly beneficial for historically underserved students, bridging the gaps in achievement and ensuring a comprehensive educational experience.

We’ll focus on three HIPs:

  • Capstone Projects with Joel Kuehner, Physics and Engineering, and Dave Pfaff, IQ Center;
  • ePortfolios with Jared Macary, Journalism and Mass Communications, and Jayne Reino, Romance Languages; and
  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects with Elisabeth Gilbert, Business Administration, and Matt Tuchler, Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Registration is now open for all THREE Technology and Tacos sessions at Sign up now! Space is limited.

Thinking about updating your syllabus for ChatGPT?

a series of yellow lightbulbs from the leftmost one being the most tangled in its cord to the lightbulb on the far right that shines brightly

Not so long ago, in a classroom not so far away …. generative AI tools like ChatGPT stood ready, waiting for their moment to shine.

But before they can rise to the challenge to assist, or maybe over-assist, our students, it might be prudent to edit our syllabi to ensure it offers clear guidance on how and when (if ever) the use of AI in your class assignments and projects is acceptable.

A glance at syllabi from various institutions reveals that instructors and administrators are diligently crafting policies to guide AI’s use in their classrooms. These statements can be broadly grouped into four main categories:

  1. Content-generating AI is NOT Allowed:
    • Under this category, the use of AI tools is strictly prohibited. These syllabi are clear that work produced by students must be entirely original, and the use of AI-generated content will be considered academic misconduct.
    • Statements falling into this category emphasize the core value of academic originality and stress the importance of mastering subjects without undue reliance on technological shortcuts.
  2. Content-generating AI is Allowed with Appropriate Attribution:
    • Policies in this grouping permit the use of AI for certain tasks or specific assignments, provided it is properly attributed. Students must clearly identify any writing, text, or media generated by AI when submitting work. They are also responsible for the accuracy of any generated content.
    • Syllabi in this group might specify, for instance, that if a student employs AI tools like ChatGPT to generate content, this fact must be clearly indicated in their submission. The emphasis is on transparency and understanding the origin of academic materials.
  3. Content-generating AI Use is Allowed in LIMITED Instances:
    • This grouping offers a middle ground. While AI is not entirely banned, its use is curtailed to very specific instances or types of assignments.
    • Syllabi in this category might allow AI tools for preliminary stages of research, brainstorming, or concept development, but not for final submissions. Here, AI is viewed as an assistant rather than a creator, helping students in the preparation and formulation, but not execution of their academic tasks.
  4. Content-generating AI Use is Encouraged Broadly:
    • The most progressive of the groupings, these policies embrace AI as a significant component of a rapidly evolving tech landscape.
    • These syllabi might encourage students to explore AI’s capabilities, suggesting that they employ these tools in various assignments to understand their potential and limitations. However, they still emphasize the importance of integrity, ensuring students do not misuse AI, but rather incorporate it as part of a holistic learning experience.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of links to sample syllabi statements/AI policies being employed at other institutions of higher education:

University of Iowa Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology – “What do I put in my syllabus about AI-generated and other externally generated content?

SFCC Library Faculty Help: ChatGPT Comprehensive Resource Guide: Syllabus Statements & Course Policies

Cleveland State University Center for Faculty Excellence – Example Policy Statements for AI in Higher Education

Classroom Policies for AI Generative Tools

Course Policies related to ChatGPT and other AI Tools

Montclair State University AI Course Policies and Assignment Guidelines

University of Minnesota’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost ChatGPT Syllabus Statements

Inside Higher Ed, “A Guide to Generative AI Policy Making”

As you read through these syllabi statements and begin writing your own, consider these questions:

  1. What kind of relationship do you hope to foster with your students? Knowing this will help guide the tone and structure of your syllabus.
  2. What do you want students to know about your teaching philosophy? This can influence the rules you set regarding AI.
  3. How can you build trust with students regarding use of AI? Being transparent about your own views and experiences with AI can be a start.
  4. How much AI assistance crosses the line? Define clear boundaries for your students.
  5. Where and how should AI use be disclosed? This can influence how students approach assignments and how you grade them.

If there’s one thing Academic Technologies has come to appreciate deeply in the dynamic world of teaching and learning, it’s that there’s rarely a “one size fits all” solution. Our classrooms are diverse, our students multifaceted, and our approaches varied.

As you consider the role of AI in your syllabus, remember: it’s about finding what fits for you and your learners. 

🧵🧶✂️🪡 Craft, Create, Collaborate: Fiber Arts at the IQ Center!🪡✂️🧶🧵

Attention craft enthusiasts and fabric aficionados! The IQ Center is thrilled to announce its recent expansion into the wonderful world of fiber arts.

Singer Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine

Unleash your creativity with our newly installed sewing station, complete with a state-of-the-art Singer 4452 Heavy Duty electronic sewing machine and a curated starter kit of assorted fabrics and threads.

Got some spare sewing supplies? We’d be thrilled to incorporate them into our space. From fabrics and buttons to threads and trims, your generous donations will make all the difference. 

If you can contribute — especially clean fabrics of at least 1/4 yard — please connect with Julie Knudson at Your support sew matters to us! 

Yes, AI Can Help with Syllabus Design!

AI robot typing on a laptop. Image generated by Adobe Firefly.


Figuring out how best to structure or restructure a course can be challenging. How do we organize all the salient information—topics, assignments, deadlines, learning objectives—into a specific number of sessions? How do we do it in a way that’s clear and digestible for our students? And how do we make it great?

Generative AI can help us do these jobs. Large language models like ChatGPT can help generate session topics, suggest materials or teaching objectives, and even draft a syllabus you can use as a jumping-off point.

While you should never rely solely on AI to do this work, Harvard Business School professor Mitchell Weiss shares some ways you can experiment with AI to help you elevate your courses.

(Remember: You are ultimately the one driving your course’s creation—so make sure to be thoughtful and creative as you query the AI and to thoroughly vet AI’s output.)

Read the full article, “If Your Syllabus Needs a Refresh, Generative AI Can Help“.

FREE Webinar: Will AI Replace the Educator?

Will AI Replace the Educator?

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET, Thursday, August 10, 2023

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming how students learn and even how educators teach. While we’re still in the early stages of realizing the vast potential of these new technologies, it doesn’t feel too soon to wonder, will AI replace teachers?

In this webinar, join esteemed professors David Lefevre and David Shrier from Imperial College Business School as they embark on an enlightening exploration of AI’s potential and its profound impact on the educational landscape.

Through their expertise and insights, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the following topics:

  • Unlocking the potential: demystifying AI and its applications
  • Revolutionizing higher education: harnessing AI’s transformative power
  • From theory to practice: examining the current landscape of AI adoption in education
  • Navigating the future: exploring the impact of AI and automation in education

Register now! All registrants will be provided access to the webinar recording.

Free Resource from Equity Unbound/OneHE: Annotate the Syllabus with Remi Kalir

Annotating the syllabus helps learners to read, make sense of, question, and discuss their learning.

This is a great way of getting students to engage with, make sense of, question and discuss their course and learning – all in one go. Get started by providing your syllabus in an accessible online format and seed the annotations with a few of your own. By modeling what is expected, you take students past the intimidating “blank page” and set them up for a fruitful sharing of ideas.

This activity is one of a series of activities from Equity Unbound, focused on equitable online community building. 

Visit the OneHE site for more information, instructions, and resources about Annotating the Syllabus.