Preconference Workshops


The Teaching Professor Technology Conference offers a selection of optional, half-day preconference workshops. These workshops are intensive, hands-on learning experiences that help participants develop new teaching skills and competencies.

The cost is $205 for each workshop, and you can add them to your account when you register for the conference. Workshops are held in the morning and afternoon on Friday, September 30, 2016.


Friday, September 30

8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Level Up: Including Game Elements in Your Online and Face-to-Face Courses

Presenters: Oliver Dreon, associate professor and director for the Center for Academic Excellence at Millersville University of Pennsylvania; and Greg Szczyrbak, learning technologies librarian at Millersville University of Pennsylvania

As an educational method, gamification can better engage and motivate students in the learning process. Gamification involves incorporating game elements, such as badges, leaderboards, and levels, to promote involvement and increase student participation. To newbies, however, gamification may seem complicated. Some instructors hesitate to gamify their classrooms because they feel they may not be enough of a “techie.” Others worry that they would need to drastically change their learning environment to make game elements work. In this workshop, we will demonstrate how game elements can be used to increase engagement, with only minor tweaks to existing learning objectives and course activities. To more fully appreciate and understand the idea, participants will take part in a gamified workshop where gaming principles and elements will be applied. Join us for this active and fun workshop!

After this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Identify educational opportunities for incorporating game elements into your classroom
  • Modify existing class activities to include game elements
  • Design learning activities that incorporate game elements
  • Choose appropriate game elements to increase student engagement

About the Presenters

Oliver DreonOliver Dreon is an associate professor and director of the Center for Academic Excellence at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He teaches a wide variety of education and instructional technology courses in both face-to-face and online formats, and serves as co-director of the university’s Digital Learning Studio. His research interests include understanding how technology can support student development in physical, online, and hybrid learning spaces. Dr. Dreon also examines the role that technology plays in supporting communities of practice for educators across the educational landscape. You can follow him on Twitter at @OllieD.

Greg SzczyrbakGreg Szczyrbak is the learning technologies librarian at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, where he enjoys partnering with stakeholders in the university community and contributing to professional development initiatives as an advisory board member of the Center for Academic Excellence. He is also co-director of the Digital Learning Studio. Szczyrback presents on libraries and learning technologies including learning space design, and innovative and creative approaches to online learning. He has a master’s degree in library and information science from Drexel University and a master’s in distance education from the University of Maryland. You can follow him on Twitter at @libmandu.


Friday, September 30

8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Don’t Waste a Minute of Class Time: How to Use Focusing Activities in the Flipped Classroom

Presenter: Barbi Honeycutt, the owner of FLIP It Consulting and an adjunct assistant professor at North Carolina State University

Two of the most frequently asked questions about the flipped classroom are (1) “How do you encourage students to actually DO the pre-class work and come to class prepared?”, and (2) “How do I make time in my class for flipped activities—and still cover the required material?”

The flipped classroom, problem-based learning, team-based learning, experiential learning, inquiry guided learning, case-based learning . . . all of these learner-centered teaching models place students at the center of the learning experience. As such, their success depends on students coming to class ready to participate and engage.

One of the simplest yet most powerful ways to encourage student preparation, promote engagement, and maximize class time is to integrate focusing activities. Focusing activities help you and your students make connections between the pre-class work and the in-class work. They set the stage for learning and establish a routine of engagement.

In this highly interactive workshop, you will participate in a variety of high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech focusing activities. You will analyze each activity and develop at least one focusing activity you can use with your students. In addition, you will receive a packet with resources, worksheets, and articles, as well as access to other tools and templates to help you flip your classroom successfully.

After this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of integrating focusing activities
  • Explain how establishing a “routine of engagement” can increase student preparation, encourage participation, and maximize class time
  • Analyze a variety of high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech focusing activities

About the Presenter

Barbi HoneycuttBarbi Honeycutt is the owner of FLIP It Consulting in Raleigh, N.C. and an adjunct assistant professor at North Carolina State University. She facilitates workshops, shares strategies, and develops resources to support educators in designing learning environments where both the instructor and the students are involved, engaged, and successful. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Honeycutt has facilitated more than 3,000 workshops, presentations, and professional development events. Her most recent book is titled FLIP the First 5 Minutes of Class: 50 Focusing Activities to Engage Your Students. You can follow her on Twitter at @BarbiHoneycutt.


Friday, September 30

1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Focus, Remember, Take Charge: Equipping Students to Learn in the Age of Technology

Presenter: Michelle D. Miller, professor of psychological sciences, Northern Arizona University

Students today have unprecedented opportunities for higher learning. Online courses, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and blended learning are just some of the innovations bringing down barriers that traditionally stood between students and their educational goals.

However, these approaches place higher demands on students to be savvy, self-directed learners. Furthermore, some of the same technologies that can be powerful tools for learning are also notoriously distracting, leading students to divide their attention in counterproductive ways.

To thrive in today’s technology-rich educational settings, students need to understand how to manage their own learning processes, especially those dealing with attention and memory. This workshop teaches faculty how to address this need through interactive activities—grounded in research—that develop students’ metacognitive awareness and build their commitment to effective study practices.

After this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Explain the motivational and metacognitive barriers that keep students from achieving their learning goals in online, blended, and related types of digital learning environments
  • Deploy learning activities from the Attention Matters!™ online module in your own courses in order to raise student awareness about multitasking, attention, and learning
  • Effectively teach students evidence-based techniques for boosting memory
  • Help students choose the most effective study techniques for different kinds of situations and material
  • Motivate students to put in the effort they need to succeed

About the Presenter

Michelle D. MillerMichelle D. Miller is a professor of psychological sciences and the director of the First-Year Learning Initiative at Northern Arizona University (NAU). Her scholarly interests include applied memory research, psychological impacts of technology, and student success in the early college career. Dr. Miller is active in course redesign, serving as a redesign scholar for the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT). She currently serves as a president's distinguished teaching fellow at NAU. In addition, she is the author of Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology (2014, Harvard University Press). You can follow her on Twitter at @MDMillerPHD.


Friday, September 30

1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Incorporating Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles in Your Tech-Enhanced Courses

Presenter: Thomas J. Tobin, coordinator of learning technologies at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Northeastern Illinois University

To help make educational materials and practices inclusive for all learners, this interactive workshop radically reflects on how faculty members and designers can adopt Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to broaden their focus beyond learners with disabilities and toward a larger ease-of-use and general diversity framework.

During this hands-on workshop, participants will examine and share their own and their institution’s perspectives on UDL adoption, discuss why some faculty colleagues might be reluctant to adopt UDL principles, and interact with UDL-designed content via their Internet-connected devices.

After this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Add UDL elements to your tech-enhanced courses
  • Design or retrofit existing course components using UDL principles
  • Become “secret evangelists” who motivate colleagues to adopt UDL as part of your wider campus culture
  • Expand your own, your department’s, and your institution’s use of UDL elements beyond the legally required minimum

About the Presenter

Thomas J. TobinThomas J. Tobin is the coordinator of learning technologies at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Dr. Tobin advocates for the educational rights of people with disabilities and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. He is currently writing Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: A Practitioner’s Guide to Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (West Virginia University Press, forthcoming) and is an internationally recognized speaker and author on topics related to quality in distance education, with a particular focus on copyright, evaluation of teaching practice, academic integrity, and accessibility/universal design for learning. You can follow him on Twitter at @ThomasJTobin.