Concurrent Sessions

The Teaching Professor Annual Conference brings teachers just like you from around the country to present their best thinking, solutions, and strategies on teaching and learning topics faced by educators today. Concurrent sessions are peer selected in several ways. Outstanding presenters from the previous conference—as evaluated by conference attendees—return for invited sessions with either an updated or reprised version of their top-scoring presentation. After an open call for proposals, the conference advisory board members choose selected sessions through a rigorous blind review process. Finally, the advisory board determines trends or topics not addressed by the selected sessions and creates content in these areas. 

Look for sessions in the tracks: Preparing Your Course, Assessing Learning, Student Engagement, Technology Tools for Teaching, Online Teaching and Learning, Teaching Specific Student Populations, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Teaching in the Health Sciences, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), Instructional Vitality: Ways to Keep Teaching Fresh and Invigorated, For New Faculty, and Faculty Support.


Preparing Your Course

Invited Session
How Can I Use Backward Design to Create a Well-Aligned Course?
Erin Malone, professor of large animal surgery and assistant dean of curriculum, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
Length: 60 Minutes

Backward design is a very powerful tool for aligning assessments, course content and objectives and for focusing content on what students need to understand, do and apply. With backward design, the tests are created first. This makes it easier to ensure important concepts are covered thoroughly, practiced effectively, and are not crammed into the last session or left for students to cover on their own. Effective backward design is reassuring to instructors, students and administrators as outcomes are clear and directly related to personal or professional goals. This session will use CPR and driver’s license programs to highlight backward design and will include the speaker’s favorite tips. We will practice by using participants’ upcoming classes or courses to ensure everyone is ready to backwards design their future lessons.

Learning Outcomes:
Participants will develop a class or course using backwards design, including:

  • Creating an authentic but doable test
  • Writing measurable objectives
  • Designing the course format to match

Invited Session
Design to Align: How to Craft an Elegant, Intentional, and Powerful Syllabus
Tona Hangen, history professor, Worcester State University
Length: 60 Minutes

A well-designed course incorporates backward design to align all the course elements with what students should know or be able to do. An elegant syllabus translates the instructor's intentional designs into a format that students find accessible and which engages their motivation to learn. But a well-designed course doesn't always have an elegant syllabus, and vice versa. This workshop session connects course and syllabus design together, focusing first on how to convert learning outcome statements into strong course components, and then how to align those components to relevant knowledge dimensions, cognitive processes, and assessment expectations. Once the course is "designed to align," the syllabus becomes much more than a list of policies and course calendars. Participants will practice this iterative process using a planning matrix and syllabus design template, adaptable to any learning environment or level of teaching experience.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Translate learning outcome statements into practical elements of course design
  • Utilize a planning matrix to align learning outcomes to assessments, knowledge dimensions, and cognitive processes
  • Incorporate effective backwards-design principles to improve your course's syllabus

Invited Session
How can I use analogies to help faculty with backward design?
Erin Malone, professor of large animal surgery and assistant dean of curriculum, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
20-Minute Mentor Session

Backward design is often a foreign concept and typically requires a bold spirit. Most instructors have inherited courses designed in a forward manner. These courses were often given by the same person for years and have been well received by students. Making small tweaks seems much safer than throwing out the entire course design. Similarly, as students, most of our courses seemed to follow a forward design. So, we pull out the textbook, mark out chapters by class session and create our exam after we provide content. Backwards design can be a big scary step. By using analogies to well designed and easily recognizable programs, we may be able to make backwards design more accessible to instructors. This session will focus on how analogies might help your faculty make that step.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify barriers to backwards design
  • Find the components of backwards design in CPR and driving license programs
  • Share stories on what has worked
  • Create a plan to help faculty move to backwards design lesson planning

Student Engagement

Invited Session
Putting Students in the Driver’s Seat: Equip and Empower through Metacognition
Cathy Box, director for the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship, Lubbock Christian University
Length: 60 Minutes

Students often enter college underprepared, lacking the metacognitive skills needed to regulate their own learning as they are faced with the rigors of higher education. There are easy-to-implement, practical strategies that faculty can use to equip and empower students in their own learning, putting them squarely in the driver’s seat. Proficient self-regulation by students results in deeper learning, higher achievement, and increased engagement and motivation, equipping them for success in the classroom and beyond. This session will provide concrete strategies that can be used to develop metacognitive acuity in students based around three fundamental questions: Where am I going? Where am I now?, and How can I close the gap?.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Determine what metacognition is and is not
  • Discover the purpose and benefits of promoting metacognition
  • Investigate practical ways to implement metacognitive strategies in the classroom

Technology Tools for Teaching

Invited Session
Flip into Flipgrid: Engaging the Snapchat Generation of Learners
Robb Beane, instructor of education and student teaching supervisor, William Penn University
Length: 60 Minutes

Flipgrid is the leading video discussion platform for millions of Pre-K to PhD educators, students, and families in 180+ countries. Students record short, authentic videos and can reply to each other’s videos. Educators are 100% in control with video moderation, access controls, and much more. Students can capture widescreen videos, pause while recording, add more after reviewing, and trim to perfect. From 15 seconds to five minutes, your students can perfect the elevator pitch or give a short presentation.

We all know how drab online discussion formats can be for both student and teacher. Flipgrid is a free application that gives the ability to create simple online video discussion boards. Imagine the ability to interact with one another’s discussions in video format instead of text. Students and instructors record short, authentic videos on any topic. Instructors can provide feedback via text or video and Flipgrid also allows for peer to peer responses. Using video discussion boards is about engaging learning. Learning that is social, personal, without boundaries, about networking, and about promoting that we are all teachers and learners.

Within the session, participants will learn how to use Flipgrid the application, how to integrate Flipgrid into their teaching, and how students participate.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Leave with a knowledge of how to use the Flipgrid application
  • Learn the use of Flipgrid pedagogically in the classroom, both face to face and online, including real-world examples from several content areas
  • Participate in completing a Flipgrid just as a student would

Online Teaching and Learning

Invited Session
Small Online Teaching Strategies that Engage Students and Improve Learning
Flower Darby, director, teaching for student success, Northern Arizona University
Length: 60 Minutes

Do you want practical recommendations to dramatically improve online student engagement and learning, recommendations that don't require too much of your teaching time? If so, join me to explore practical, evidence-based changes you can make in your online teaching practice, small but impactful adjustments that result in significant gains in student engagement and learning. Whether you are new or experienced online faculty, you’ll leave with brief learning activities, small course design modifications, and simple changes to your communication with online students, based on the approach outlined in Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes.

Invited Session
Creating Community Online: Teaching Strategies to Help All Students Succeed
Courtney Plotts, national chair, CASEPS
Length: 60 Minutes

After you’ve developed a great online course, have you ever questioned why students aren’t participating? Have you wondered about how students are navigating online classrooms or how they perceive your instruction? Or maybe you thought: How can I build a better sense of community or increase student engagement in a way that makes sense? This interactive session will assist you in understanding what might be keeping nontraditional students from fully participating in your online class, and what you can do to create a learning environment that works for all students.

Learning Objectives:
After this session, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss general challenges associated with teaching in online spaces
  • Identify various attributes of social presence that support specific motivators for course completion
  • Learn strategies that help students perceive a strong sense of community
  • Explore the ecology of virtual classroom environments
  • Learn best teaching practices for online spaces that increase student motivation and trust in online spaces and ease your grading load
  • Explore cultural considerations for best teaching and learning practices in online spaces

Teaching Specific Student Populations

Invited Session
Learning from Men of Color: Constructing Culturally Responsive Academic and Student Service Systems
Newton Miller, associate dean, Ashford University
Length: 60 Minutes

This professional development session is based on experimental and experiential data that considers cognitive and non-cognitive factors which contribute to low retention and high failure rates of at-potential students. Using findings from this study we will offer an explanation to why, and suggestions of how, to combat these negative trends.
This information is impactful to how teaching and learning in higher education occurs as it focuses on two major objectives that are valuable to many institutions:

  • Evaluating factors that contribute to constructing culturally responsive academic and student-serving systems that enhance the support of success of at-potential populations 
  • Generating insight on data to provide a unique approach to academic factors such as course design, assignments and assessment, based on strategies and methodologies specific to at-potential populations, particularly men of color successfully navigating their academic programs

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

The Future of Gender is Now: Creating Gender Friendly Classroom Spaces
Nicki Monahan, faculty advisor, and Margrit Talpalaru, professor, George Brown College
Length: 60 Minutes

The landscape of gender is shifting. In this interactive session, participants will explore emerging understandings of gender, discuss how assumptions about gender influence our teaching and learning practices, and explore approaches to creating gender friendly classroom environments.
By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • distinguish between cisgender, transgender, and non-binary gender identities
  • identify ways in which assumptions about gender influence classroom practices
  • select options for supporting use of preferred, rather than assumed, pronouns
  • take specific actions toward creating more gender-friendly classrooms

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Invited Session
Advancing Your Scholarly Teaching into Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Cynthia Haynes, associate professor, Sara Marcketti, professor, and Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost, Iowa State University
Length: 60 Minutes

SoTL involves framing a research question related to student learning and systematically investigating it. The research methodology may include qualitative and quantitative data collection as well as direct and indirect measures. Data analysis may take multiple forms as well. Similar to disciplinary focused research, an important end goal of SoTL is to communicate research findings with members of the professional community so they in turn can build on the work and advance the practice of teaching beyond an individual classroom.

The learning goal for this session is to outline a framework and provide a stepwise process to guide faculty in developing a SoTL project. Specific goals for participants include: identify a researchable question; develop a framework and protocol for data collection; and create a SoTL project timeline including completion milestones.