The SoTL Advocate

Supporting efforts to make public the reflection and study of teaching and learning at Illinois State University and beyond…

SoTL at the Teaching and Learning Symposium, January 7, 2015

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Written by Claire Lamonica, Director, CTLT at Illinois State University

Readers who are regular visitors to this blog know that at Illinois State University, we define the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as the “systematic reflection/study on teaching and learning [of our ISU students] made public” (emphasis added). One of the most exciting opportunities to make public the various SoTL studies that take place on our campus is the annual Teaching and Learning Symposium, held each January on the Wednesday before classes begin at a conference center adjacent to our campus.

Organized by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, the day includes a nationally-known keynote speaker, the announcement of several university-level teaching awards, a poster session, and almost three dozen faculty-led breakout sessions. Recent years have seen registration for the event climb to well over 300 participants (as I write this, there are about 390 faculty, staff, and graduate students registered for the 2015 event), making it the largest single conversation about teaching and learning at Illinois State University to take place at in any given year.

While many of the faculty-led breakout sessions focus on lessons learned through reflection on teaching innovations and experiences (good and bad), a number of sessions each year are proposed by faculty who have engaged in formal studies of teaching and learning and who are ready to share their findings publicly with their peers. In 2015, the Symposium will include seven opportunities to listen to and learn from SoTL scholars who conducted their studies with the help of grants provided by the Office of the Cross Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, as follows:

SoTL Posters

  • Professors Miranda Lin and Alan Bates of the School of Teaching and Learning will share a poster entitled, “Learning through Service: The Contribution of Service-Learning to First Year Pre-Service Teachers.” The poster showcases the results of early childhood pre-service teachers’ service learning experiences, offering insights in to the ways service learning contributes to these pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward teaching diverse student populations as well as their understanding of social justice.
  • Professor Lydia Kyei-Blankson, Educational Administration and Foundations, and Parul Gupta, a master’s candidate in the Technology Department, will present a poster entitled “Student-Faculty Research Mentorships and Collaborations: Practices, Challenges, and Lessons Learned.” The poster explores practices, challenges and lessons learned by master’s and doctoral level students as they negotiate research roles, tasks, and workload in a student-faculty research mentorship or collaborative relationship that culminates in academic publication(s).
  • Professors Emelio Lobato, Corinne Zimmerman, and Thomas Critchfield; Department of Psychology; will offer a poster entitled “Psychology Students’ Beliefs about the Nature of Science: The Role of Research Experience.” The poster reports on the effect of students’ research involvement, noting differences in attitudes about science, endorsement of science myths, and attitudes about psychology as a science for students with and without such research experience.

Posters will be available for viewing throughout the day, but their authors will be present to discuss the research and findings from 11:00-11:45 in Redbird Room E.

SoTL Sessions

  • Professor Lou Reifschneider, Technology Department, will present “Opportunities and Constraints of a Cross-discipline Course Using 3D Printing to Develop Marketable Innovations,” discussing the mechanics of an interdisciplinary (technology and business) product development course and offering a detailed explanation of one student team’s project that culminated with an alpha prototype created through the use of a 3-D printer. The presentation will also offer student feedback on the experience. The session will take place in Fell B from 8:30-9:20.
  • In “Creativity and Innovative Teaching Strategies,” Professor Shelley Clevenger, Criminal Justice Sciences, will highlight the most successful of a series of “outside the box” teaching activities used during two semesters of a Victimology course in 2013. Assignments included having students draw pictures to define terms, role playing, creating various media artifacts (videos, children’s books, comic books, brochures, posters, or art work), interacting with victims, and traveling off campus to tour facilities that serve victims. Results from a student survey, including qualitative comments, will be presented. The session will take place in Redbird A from 10:10-11:00 am.
  • A panel from Educational Administration and Foundations will offer a session entitled “Moving Beyond the Classroom: Effects of Out-of-Class Research on Student Learning,” sharing both the process used to structure an out-of-class research opportunity for students and the learning outcomes that students reported through participation in the research team. The purpose of the study was to understand what types of learning occur when students, with the assistance and guidance of a faculty member, participate in a research project that takes place outside of the structured curriculum and regularly scheduled class time. Panelists are Professor Phyllis McCluskey-Titus and students Anne McDowell, Skylar Guimond, Erin Kuntz, and Sean Creedon. The session will take place in Fell C from 2:00-2:50 pm.
  • Professor Erin Mickulec, School of Teaching and Learning, will present “More than Just a School Visit: Learning Outcomes of an Intensive Field Experience for Pre-service Secondary Teachers,” examining the impact of an intensive clinical experience in a unique educational environment. Results indicated that the experience influenced the participants in terms of working with diverse student populations, having a deeper perspective on the effects of bullying, negotiating power and control in the classroom, and working with middle school students. The session will take place in Fell C from 4:10-5:00 pm.

CTLT is pleased to be starting 2015 with a bang by offering these and many other presentations during the annual Teaching and Learning Symposium. To see a complete schedule for the day, go to the CTLT website or download the new, free Symposium guidebook app. It’s available for both iOS and Android devices.

In the meantime, we wish you the very best for a happy holiday season and a truly restorative winter break!


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