Plenary Sessions

The 2015 Teacher Professor Technology Conference has ended


Opening Plenary Session

Friday, October 2, 2015   5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Can Online Education Make Us Better Teachers?

Marie Norman, co-author of How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching

Why is it that more than 30 years of learning research has not had a wider impact on classroom practices in higher education? Can the design considerations of online education shift the dominant paradigm once and for all?

In this presentation, we’ll discuss ways in which the affordances of online learning and the limitations of technologies used in online courses can push us toward more dynamic, creative, and effective teaching practices — not just online but face-to-face as well.

You don’t have to teach online to benefit from or contribute to the conversation!

We’ll talk about some of the powerful ways that learning research can inform teaching, and look at why online courses provide an ideal incubator for bringing this research into practice. We’ll examine examples of effective online courses and brainstorm ways to put learning research to work in our own teaching contexts.

By the end of the session, you will be able to:

    • Explain why online courses are well positioned to utilize learning research (and why face-to-face courses can too!).
    • Identify insights from learning research that we can leverage to create dynamic and effective courses.
    • Discuss examples of creative online courses and brainstorm ways to bring learning research to bear in your own teaching, whether on- or offline.
Marie Norman

About the Presenter:

Marie Norman is co-author of the book How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, which distills learning research into practical strategies for classroom teaching. She has taught cultural anthropology for more than 20 years, first at the University of Pittsburgh and then at Carnegie Mellon University, where she also served as the associate director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. Marie is currently the senior director of Educational Excellence at Acatar, a CMU-based start-up that offers a technology platform and a flexible, faculty-driven process for helping universities develop high-quality online programs. She has worked in Colombia, Qatar, Russia, and Nepal, and is particularly interested in the challenges and opportunities of teaching and learning across cultures.


Breakfast Plenary

Saturday, October 3, 2015   8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Changing Space, Changing Practice, Changing Culture

Ollie Dreon, Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Learning spaces come in many sizes, styles, and arrangements. Walk across any campus and you’re bound to encounter a variety of classrooms. There are those large lecture rooms where introductory courses are taught and smaller, more intimate environments where labs or upper-level classes are scheduled. Extend the lens to the variety of online class arrangements and you’re bound to see a diversity of design. But what impact do these learning spaces have on overall classroom culture and instructional practice?

In this plenary address, Ollie Dreon will engage audience members to consider how the design of physical and online spaces can impact learning and pedagogy. By looking at case studies and examples from real college classrooms and online courses, we introduce different principles that can inform the design of learning spaces that support more student-centered practices.

Ollie Dreon

About the Presenter:

Oliver “Ollie” Dreon is an associate professor at Millersville University of Pennsylvania in the School of Education. Ollie teaches a wide variety of education and instructional technology courses both in face-to-face and online formats. He also coordinates the university’s Digital Learning Studio and is the director of the Center for Academic Excellence on campus. He is the co-author of the book Authentic Instruction with Technology: A Student-Centered Approach, and has published in various journals including the Middle Level Journal, TechTrends, and Teachers and Teaching.