2019 UCTLT Conference: Adapting Our Teaching Practices: Meeting Today’s Learners Where They Are

Keynote Address by Lorna Rivera

Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts & Director of Gastón Institute for Latino Public Policy

Innovative Teaching Awards

Presented by Emily McDermott, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor


Session Recordings

1.1 Using 100-Level Coures to Provide an On-ramp for Student Veterans (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4100)

  • Presenter: Paul Dyson

UMass Boston has over five hundred veterans on campus—the second highest number of student veterans in the state, yet only eight students veterans are graduating in 2019. This reflects a national trend: a significant number of student veterans—a much higher percentage than the national average—do not complete baccalaureate degrees in four years; many of them never do. This session will present ways in which instructors of lower-level courses can help student veterans gain comfort and confidence as college students. Utilizing pedagogy, methods and materials used in United States Army Instructor courseware, this session will help instructors build a bridge between military life/military education and civilian higher education.

Watch the Session

1.2 Co-Teaching with Practicioners as a Form of Pedagogical Transformation (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4110)

  • Presenters: Tony Van Der Meer, Gloretta Baynes, and Cynthia Orellana

In a new UMB initiative, Practitioner-Scholars Program (PSP), four UMB faculty members partnered with community practitioners to form co-teaching pairs – each faculty member with a different community practitioner – to enhance student learning through direct engagement with community-based experts in a Spring 2019 undergraduate course. In this session, one of the PSP pairs explore how collaborative planning and teaching, community engagement, and technical and pedagogical support from UMB offices resulted in project-based learning that is student centered and transformative. At the same time, the collaboration ensured that our community was included as equal experts in academy-based learning, so that our students have equitable access to transformative learning and network building opportunities.

Watch the Session

1.3 Using OER to Promote the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4120)

  • Presenters: Iris Jahng, Hsin-liang Chen, and Rrezarta Hyseni

Higher education institutions across the country are embarking on programs to use Open Educational Resources (OER) for teaching and learning. OER are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. According to a 2018 study conducted by Achieving the Dream (ATD), OER helps colleges not only reduce the financial burden on students, but also improve curriculum and pedagogy. In this study, students who used OER rather than traditional textbooks found them “accessible, relevant and engaging.” Members of the OpenUMB team will demonstrate how to discover quality OER materials via various online repositories, re-use and re-package the materials on UMB’s learning management system, Blackboard, as well as answer key OER questions on copyright, Creative Commons licensing, and accessibility. Understanding these components will help faculty facilitate effective learning experiences for their students.

Watch the Session

1.4 Online Courses: Friend and Foe (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4130)

  • Presenter: David Pruett

With the popularity of and access to online courses for much of UMB’s largely commuter student population, enrollments in online courses have increased significantly over the past two decades. Although technological advancements have provided a wealth of advantages for our online students, the double-edged sword of technology has presented some disadvantages. This multi-media presentation engages both the benefits and challenges of online learning, particularly among general education courses, using MUSIC 117 (History of Country Music) as a case study in both small and large enrollment online formats since fall 2016. This research highlights many of the advantages of such courses, while addressing the very real challenges associated therewith in the form of time constraints for both student and instructor, copyright, and the frequent examples of academic dishonesty that accompany online learning.

Watch the Session

2.1 Team-Based Learning for STEM (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4100)

  • Presenter: Alexia Pollack

Team-Based Learning is a flipped classroom approach that requires students come to class prepared having read the assigned material. Student understanding is evaluated through low-stakes, closed-book quizzes taken individually, then as a Team. Afterward, the instructor clarifies the most challenging material for the entire class. Teams of four-seven students are formed at the beginning of the semester and remain in place for the entire semester. Teams represent a source of knowledge and a safe space for students to ask questions and debate ideas. Students report that they feel responsible to attend class and to be prepared so that they do not let their teammates down. Self-defined shy students say they have a voice and support within Teams. With Teams in place, instructors can challenge them with questions and collaborative assignments that require problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Watch the Session

2.2 Challenging the “Banking” Concept of Education: Community-Engaged Pedagogical Practices (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4110)

  • Presenters: Amy Cook, Robert Gracia, Madeline Brodt, Alise Murray, Ruth Lydon, Elizabeth Goncalves, and Arysa Sutherland

Transform your teaching practices to bring the community into the classroom and the classroom into the community. Session presenters will share ways they challenge the traditional “banking” concept of education to emphasize students’ unique culture, experience, and knowledge. School-community partners from Tech Boston Academy, counseling graduate students, and faculty will share about their experiences of conducting counseling fieldwork as a group model at Tech Boston. The presenters will also describe community-engaged teaching approaches applied to diversity-focused content-based coursework. The guiding theme of this session is to strengthen community-engaged pedagogy in meaningful and impactful ways for students and school-community partners.

No Recording Available

2.3 Exploring Alternative Approaches to Assessment in the Higher Education Classroom: Cross-Disciplinary Implications (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4120)

  • Presenters: Kimberly Buescher and Nina Kositsky

Assessment is an integral part of getting to know where students are. In this presentation, we introduce the concept of Dynamic Assessment (DA) – an instructional approach that allows us to assess both what students do and do not understand and, therefore, to attune our teaching so that they are each better able to understand and use a particular concept to guide their thinking and participation. We provide background on how we came to understand and use DA in our classrooms, outline the key scholarly concepts related to Dynamic Assessment, and highlight its key features. We also present illustrations that demonstrate why Dynamic Assessment is needed, what it can provide that traditional assessment cannot, and what it looks like when appropriate forms of support are provided in real time for students according to their needs. These illustrations come from different discipline areas so that participants can see a variety of applications of Dynamic Assessment and consider its relevance to their own classrooms.

No Recording Available

2.4 Passionate Online Teaching: Ideas for Engaging Students (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4130)

  • Presenters: Serra Acar, Chris Denning, Ellen Foust, and Carol Sharicz

Online education by definition meets students where they are by providing virtual accessibility to all students, including those who are non-traditional or work full time. But how can the online environment be leveraged to engage students with course content, peers and the instructor when detractors argue that it is harder to get to know your students in the asynchronous classroom? Come share your experiences and learn from your colleagues and students how to create captivating online instruction. Both novice and experienced online instructors will leave this forum with concrete ideas and resources to bring your course[s] to the next level of engagement!

Watch the Session

3.1 Everybody Up! Learning from Teaching in the Active Learning Center (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4100)

  • Presenters: Sarah Shapiro, Len von Morze, and Charles Wibiralske

This session will explore how the Active Learning Center (ALC) puts both students and faculty at ease with its unique environment, encouraging faculty to meet students where they are as learners and people. Bucket chairs, movable furniture, a plethora of outlets, and diverse teaching technologies leverage student knowledge and experience through creating a connective community environment, from the first day. The physical capabilities of the ALC encourage faculty to adapt their teaching strategies to include group work, personal whiteboards, and reorganizing the space, in order to meet the potential of this active and student-centered environment. Presenters share student feedback and reflections to show how the ALC allows for more daring critical thinking, active engagement and participation, and connection with one another.

Watch the Session

3.2 Upward Bound and the Makerspace for STEM Skills and Entrepreneurial Spirit (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4110)

  • Presenters: Luckson Omoaregba and John Mazzarella

More than ever before, today’s learners are creators. Often this is just creating content for their friends on social media, but what about creating something that makes a difference in the real world? Who better than the young learners of today to know the needs of their community, and what a better time than this age of technology and entrepreneurship to teach them the skills to do it! In this session, we show how UMass Boston’s Upward Bound program teamed up with the UMass Boston Makerspace to present an 8-week program to area High School students on the practical skills of CAD design, 3D printing, marketing, and product design, but more importantly, to engage these learners to put their existing creativity towards filling needs of their peers and their wider community. Come to learn about this project, as well as other ways that UMass faculty are using UMass Boston’s free 3D printing and virtual reality makerspace lab with their own students, and how you can too!

Watch the Session

3.3 Student Centered Learning: Teaching from/with Student Anecdotes in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4120)

  • Presenter: Layla Brown-Vincent

This presentation interrogates the notion that students offer anecdotes in humanities/social science classrooms as a way of avoiding critical engagements with class texts. In this presentation, I suggest that as teachers adapting to 21st century students we must learn to allow such anecdotes in the classroom and be flexible and intellectually agile enough to treat such anecdotes as a genuine attempt on the part of the student to engage with the course material. Secondly, we must learn to make room from them in our own pedagogical practices, we must in fact create a classroom that calls these anecdotes into class discussion rather than pushing them away.

No Recording Available

3.4 Doctoral Student Writing for Scholarly Career-Building: Teaching Experiences and Student Outcomes in a Doctoral Research Methods Class (Located in University Hall, Fl. 4, Rm 4130)

  • Presenter: Michael Johnson

The Public Policy PhD course PPOL-G 704 Research Methods II was originally designed as a guided tour of analytic methods for second-year students that included a paper that highlighted an application of methods presented in the class to a subject of their choosing. When I inherited this course in Fall 2012, I changed the focus of the final paper requirement to one that reflected original research, using any convenient analytic method and research design, that aspired to the quality of a peer-reviewed conference or journal submission. I also redesigned the class experience to include ongoing student reviews of each others’ evolving papers, in the spirit of a writing group, and weekly discussion of peer-reviewed papers that provided varied examples of successful applied scholarship. While doing original data collection and analysis in the space of a single semester can be a stressful experience, students report generally high satisfaction with their experience in the class, and the class’ contribution to their subsequent progress in the doctoral program. In addition, some students report that papers they wrote in my class have been the basis of conference presentations and peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as successful dissertation proposals. This presentation will include two former students who will discuss their experiences in this class, and the contributions their class papers have made to their development as scholars.

Watch the Session (low audio)

For questions or comments please email Faculty.Development@umb.edu