[UTLC] New This Fall with the UTLC and Online Learning Level Two Starts Soon! UTLC Newsletter 8-14-18


Teaching Tips

Happy first day of classes! We’ve got a longer than usual newsletter to get things started, but if you power through the updates with us then you’ll find a link for a book raffle.

We start the semester with some thoughts about student motivation, perception of the value of learning, and how we communicate value throughout the semester. The following exercise idea comes from a colleague at Temple University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching:

  • Communicating the value of your course. Imagine a student can choose between your course and another course to fulfill a requirement. Using only a discussion about the value of the course, convince this student to take your class. Try writing down your argument. Think about how course content connects to student interests, the skills students will learn, the habits of mind they will develop. Then, build this imagined discussion of value into this first week of class.
  • Communicate value day one and beyond.Don’t let the benefits of this reflective exercise end with the first week of class. You may start communicating that value on day one through your syllabus, but also find ways to return to it throughout the semester. You may see your students’ motivation increase as they make clear connections in their learning.

For more, you might look at this guide from Carnegie Mellon to help you with some key strategies for approaching student motivation and engagement.

Upcoming with the UTLC


You can find a downloadable copy of our 2018-19 event calendar on our website.

Starting Next Week: Online Learning Level Two

If you have taught online before you are ready to explore new approaches and strategies, Level Two is the Online Learning course for you. Participants review the latest research about what works in online environments, learn new ways for students to collaborate online, create new resources with media tools, explore new ways to facilitate and create assessments and experience a variety of communication tools from the viewpoint of a student.

Current participants emphasize that the course is an important source of accountability as they work on an upcoming course. Click on the link below to sign up for the Fall Session!

Online Learning Level Two – Fall Session: August 20 – October 5

Teaching Station Demonstrations

Join ITS Learning Technology in Bryan 209 from 1-2pm this Thursday and Friday (8/16 & 8/17) for an overview of the UNCG teaching station with practical support to get your semester started smoothly!

Save the Date, September 10: The Spark of Learning with Sarah Rose Cavanagh

The Teaching Innovations Office, in collaboration with the Title III Intentional Futures Grant, is excited to welcome to campus Sarah Rose Cavanagh, author of The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion, on the morning of Monday for a visiting lecture and workshop.

In the meantime, you can find out more about her book here!

New This Fall with the UTLC


If you are looking for ways to get engaged with the great work around teaching and learning that is happening on our campus, consider some of these new opportunities for this year:

Viewpoints of Inclusive Student Experiences (VOISES) Panels

From students, for faculty: a panel of student experiences

Join us for dialogue about UNCG student experiences in the classroom and beyond. In collaboration with the Office of Intercultural Engagement, VOISES panels provide a venue for faculty to hear the perspective of students from marginalized identity groups on campus.

Our first panel is Wednesday, August 29th from 1-2:15pm in the Faculty Center and the focus will be on LGBTQA experiences at UNCG.

Click here to sign up for this and other VOISES panels.

Faculty Literary Circles

Literary Circles unite faculty around a reading related to the scholarship of teaching and learning. We provide the books, and you provide the thoughtful conversation!

There will be four literary circles for Fall 2018, starting September 4th. Check out the options below and then sign up here. Once groups start in September, they will set their own schedules for the semester.

On Course by James M. Lang – A week-by-week guide to your first semester of college teaching.

Experience on Demand by Jeremy Bailenson – What virtual reality is, how it works, and what it can do

Minds Online by Michelle D. Miller – Teaching Effectively with Technology

Knowledge for Social Change by Benson et al. – Bacon, Dewey, and the revolutionary transformation of research universities in the twenty-first century

Teaching Tips Podcast

On August 28th, the UTLC will release its new Teaching Tips Podcast, hosted by Ben Peterson in the Teaching Innovations Office. The podcast brings guests from across the UNCG community to talk about key topics related to learning and student success on our campus.

Email teachingtipsguy@uncg.edu if you have ideas for a topic or someone you’d like to hear as a guest!

“___ On College” Video Series

The end of the month also brings our new video series, “___ On College,” in which we steal some moments to talk teaching and learning on College Ave with great teachers. Come see what new things you’ll learn from Spartans who think deeply about pedagogy and student learning as we talk with someone new On College each month!

New Faculty Center Gatherings: Biergarten, New Faculty Brown Bag, and Soda Shop

This year, the UTLC is changing up our existing weekly Coffeehouses in order to reach a broader set of tastes and schedules! Coffeehouses will continue to happen as usual on the first Wednesday of every month, but every other week will have a new theme with new options to enjoy with your colleagues in the Faculty Center!

Biergarten: On the third Wednesday of every month, join us from 4-5 for our new Biergarten! The Biergarten is a nice way to shift gears at the end of the day and catch up with friends in the center of campus. Our first Biergarten is next week, so we’ll see you on August 22nd!

New Faculty Brown Bag: On the second Thursday of every month, the UTLC invites faculty new and seasoned to bring their lunch to the Faculty Center from noon-1pm and chat about the challenges that new faculty confront in their careers.

Soda Shop: On the fourth Thursday of every month, the Faculty Center goes back to its roots as the campus Soda Shop, but this time it is the faculty who will be the focus of some classic ice cream and soda. Join the UTLC from 2-3pm for an afternoon pick-me-up with a nostalgic touch!

If you’ve made it this far in our extended start-of-the-semester newsletter, then click here to enter into a raffle for one of five books on the science of learning!


Other Upcoming Events Around Campus

Elon Teaching & Learning Conference 2018

Thursday, August 16

This week, Elon University welcomes area university and college educators to the 15th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference on Thursday, August 16, 2018. The conference is jointly sponsored by Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) and Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT), and attendance costs are covered by these sponsors, so all you have to do is sign up and show up!

This year’s conference theme is Busting the Myths of Teaching and Learning. In interactive sessions and pedagogy presentations – including several from folks at UNCG – attendees will challenge myths, misconceptions, and hidden assumptions related to teaching and learning, and explore the evidence-based research that debunks them. Attendees will also reflect on how these ideas have influenced both our practice, our discipline, and our students.

“Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” Workshop, hosted by UNCG Online

Friday, September 28 – 9am-4:30pm in Bryan 209

You are invited to participate in the “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” face-to-face, 1-day workshop at UNCG, which will be taught by certified Quality Matters instructor Dr. Racheal Brooks of NCCU. UNCG Online has organized this workshop for faculty and staff. Materials and lunch will be provided, so there is no cost to you!

For instructions on how to register for this opportunity, click here.

Teacher and student playing in a mud kitchen
Master’s student and preschool teacher Kathy Spivey plays with a child at the mud kitchen, part of the new sensory garden at UNC Greensboro’s Child Care Education Program.

UNC Greensboro researchers and child care professionals know that inclusive opportunity for intellectual stimulation begins long before elementary school, and that the best opportunities occur through a multiplicity of sensory experiences that encourage make-believe.

This knowledge is the source of a project recently completed by Kathy Spivey, a teacher at UNCG’s Child Care Education Program and a master’s student in UNCG’s Birth through Kindergarten Interdisciplinary Studies in Education and Development Program, offered jointly through the Department of Specialized Education Services in the School of Education and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the School of Health and Human Sciences.

Garden with rocks as a border and small plants in the middle

With the understanding that outdoor play reduces stress and increases confidence in young children, Spivey developed a plan to enhance the outdoor area at UNCG’s child care center by building a sensory garden that would give children more opportunities to create and lead their own play.

“Sensory gardens are known to help children with and without disabilities with tactile stimulation, improving sensory integration and processing skills,” Spivey observed in her proposal. She intended for the garden to be accessible to children with differing abilities, and it would be her capstone project for her internship in inclusive early education, which was to reflect leadership and contribution to community.

In planning and constructing the sensory garden, Spivey not only worked with her advisor Dr. Linda Hestenes and her internship professor, Dr. Susan Kingsley, but also Dr. Judy Kinney in the Department of Community and Therapeutic Recreation, director of UNCG’s Child Care Education Program Dr. Sharon Mims, the grounds crew from UNCG Facilities, cross-campus partners Beyond Academics and the very families whose children would eventually play in the garden, and, perhaps most importantly, the children themselves.

Child looking at herb garden

“The most unexpected and important partners I had throughout the process were the children,” said Spivey. “The children were excited to participate in each step. They showed enthusiasm as things were in progress and completed, and they especially encouraged me with their kind words and excitement as we accomplished each milestone together.”

Spivey issued surveys to the families about their children’s outdoor play and what they would like to see on a playground. Spivey also planned work days during which families and children participated, as well as volunteers from Beyond Academics, and undergraduate therapeutic recreation student Norma Rodriguez, who focused her senior honors project on her work on the sensory garden.

An outdoor path made of different materials.

Spivey also created an evaluation tool – a quantitative playground assessment using the Best Practice Indicators and the Preschool Outdoor Environment Measurement Scale. With her team of volunteers, Spivey constructed three sensory pathways, sun catchers, a mud kitchen and a unique music wall made of donated pots and pans. Children were invited to select the plants that would grow alongside safe herbs – labeled with pictures to help them more easily begin to identify them.

“Including children in the decisions motivates them to take pride in the space,” explained Spivey.

When the children used their new outdoor play-space, multiple teachers noticed that they were more engaged in the play spaces ‒ using their senses to explore, describing their learning in expressive language and requiring less redirection. The enhancements also revitalized the children’s interest in pre-existing structures, such as the stage near the music wall. Spivey also noticed that children who didn’t typically play together were doing so, with new camaraderie through their enjoyment of the space.

Child and teacher playing on the music wall with spoons banging on pot

“They’re excited to walk along the pathways, and to feel and smell the herbs. Some are interested in collecting rocks to add to the pathways. Many love to “cook” in the mud kitchen and play music with their friends at the music wall,” said Spivey.

a wooden wall with pots and pans hanging on it - a music wall

“Kathy clearly understands that children learn through all their senses, and by creating these new outdoor settings she is opening up the opportunity for higher levels of learning,” said Hestenes, a  researcher who studies outdoor learning environments for young children. “I am thrilled that she has taken the knowledge and skills she has acquired from her master’s degree program at UNCG and transformed it into a project that is directly impacting our youngest Spartans.”

Child holding up a spoon


Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications, and Norma Rodriguez

You only need to walk through the doors of the UNCG School of Education’s SELF Design Studio Makerspace to know innovative things are happening there.
Newly created robots of various shapes and sizes line the walls. Drawings with spinning flowers, historical story boxes and “augmented reality” postcards occupy shelves. Hanging on the back of a chair is a talking sports coat. Here, in the SELF studio, in-service and pre-service teachers learn to use a variety of emerging technologies and tools including 3D printers, microcomputers, robotics and circuitry kits, as well as traditional art supplies.

A School of Education student performing an experiment at the Science Everywhere festival.

Makerspaces are a growing part of school environments, and the UNCG School of Education is ahead of the curve with the SELF Design Studio (SDS). It has been in operation for more than five years and is always moving forward with new ideas and contributions to educational environments.
“We figure out how to use technology in the classroom and use it in practical and meaningful ways,” said SDS Assistant Director Matt Fisher. “Someone has an idea, and we make it once, and then we figure out how to make it better.”

Each semester, several UNCG students serve as “makers in residence.” During their weekly volunteer hours, they learn to use a variety of makerspace tools and mentor other pre-service teachers.

The Spartans who develop their skills at the SELF studio expand “maker” culture throughout local schools as they move into teaching internships. Through the Transforming Teaching Through Technology (T4) grant, UNCG has installed makerspaces in four elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school in Guilford and Forsyth Counties. The newest will be at the Moss Street Partnership School, opening in August 2018.

SDS makers and faculty advisors ensure that creation and exploration continue through an ever-expanding variety of mediums. One day, UNCG pre-service teachers may be helping elementary school students write non-linear stories with technological enhancements and the next day, taking them on adventures via virtual reality technology ‒ to coral reef ecosystems, the International Space Station, inside a human heart or to the Great Wall of China.

The SELF Design Studio is also an integral part of UNCG’s annual Science Everywhere festival. The 2018 festival drew more than 4,000 kids to campus to participate in hands-on learning projects in many different locations.

Kiser Middle School students and SELF Design Studio collaborators watch as a high-altitude weather balloon and spacecraft ascend.

But that’s not all; SDS is the host of the Writing and Robotics summer camp and in May, the studio staff and makers-in-residence helped Kiser Middle School’s meteorology club launch a high-altitude weather balloon into the stratosphere for the second year. The SELF team plans to work with the meteorology club for another launch in 2019.

For more information about SELF Design Studio workshops, which include coding, 3D printing, video game design, “augmented reality” and more, visit the website.

“With the students and all their ideas,” Fisher says, “no day here is every the same.”

Picture of Dr. Perko

When are Dr. Mike Perko’s students ready to engage in their field as professionals?

The professor in UNCG’s Department of Public Health Education says it’s the first time they enter his classroom and make an observation about health.
He operates with “the truly simple notion that my students and I are in this together, both in and out of the classroom.”
Perko received the 2018 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, an honor bestowed on only 17 recipients representing all of North Carolina’s public universities.

“I deeply appreciate the BOG selection committee embracing my own story of fighting for the underdog,” said Perko. “And my personal creed of ‘once a student of Perko’s, always a student of Perko’s.’”

Perko works with a set of core values that he passes down to his students – he calls it “The Seven Cs.” Courage, community, conceptualization, creativity, collaboration, collegiality, compassion. And the students respond to his approach. They comment on his generosity, his approachability and how his ability to tell a good story piques their interest and supports their engagement in a topic.
“To know Dr. Perko (‘Dr. Mike’) is to know that he is a purposeful teacher,” observed Dr. Sharon Morrison. “He believes in empowering students for learning outside the classroom.”

“He encouraged us to think BIG,” recalled one former student. “So, I thought BIG. Really BIG. I could do anything I set my mind to, because that is how Mike Perko inspires his students to succeed – to reach his or her highest potential.”

Perko has served as graduate program director for both the master’s and doctoral programs in public health and teaches in both undergraduate and graduate program. He has been the advisor for dissertations on such diverse topics as opioid overdose prevention, the physical activity of nurses and how organization structure affects the physical health of long-haul truck drivers.

His own research activity spans from worksite wellness and health initiatives to athletes’ use of dietary supplements and performance enhancing drugs to diabetes prevention to smoking cessation studies and programs. He is the author of “The Secrets of America’s Healthiest Companies” and “Can You Win Without Supplements?” as well as a children’s book, “Cornered!” ‒ in which a turtle named Sheldon addresses a bullying problem.

“Because health is such a broad field, and impacts our lives so much, it’s almost impossible to not get interested in a variety of things,” said Perko. “I like to always remember that scholarship in academia should focus on new discoveries, creation of new and or unique knowledge, have application in teaching and involve stakeholders, including students.”

instructor working with a student outside

Skilled graduate and undergraduate mentors reinforce the productive and welcoming atmosphere that defines UNC Greensboro. An open connection between faculty and students also fuels student accomplishments in research, and propels the academic programs to new heights. Quality mentorship is present throughout the campus in all schools and fields of study. Two mentors were recognized this year by the provost and chancellor for their dedication to UNCG graduate and undergraduate research.

Read more…

The Office of the Provost is soliciting proposals for a course design or redesign using innovative teaching strategies tied to adaptive learning. Courses may be online, hybrid, or face-to-face in mode of delivery.

Courses (undergraduate or graduate) should employ innovative practices and strategies that emphasize student mastery of content. This project should amplify the impact of personalized learning approaches through the use of adaptive learning systems. These systems use data-driven approaches to student learning by adjusting students’ learning paths through content based on their understanding and mastery of content. The course design or redesign should connect data-driven teaching approaches derived from the diagnostic capabilities of the adaptive learning system to course delivery and content. Particular attention should be given to the scaffolding of course content utilizing the adaptive learning system to reinforce foundations of course topics. This approach has the potential to transform student learning, our campus, and the community. For more on adaptive learning, read the included Educause Learning Initiative article.

Read more…