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Welcome to my blog at Penn State York. This is the place where I reflect on what I’m learning within the course of my day as an instructional designer.

I try to post every time I try something new – or learn something significant. It has been a big change for me professionally to actually document my learning. I have found it to be a very useful professional practice that allows me to review and reflect continually on what I’m learning and how it can be applied to what we do in higher education. Taking the time to think about what I’m learning, and writing it down, has changed me as a professional in this field.

It is a practice that I value and see as integral to my own learning process. It not only gives me the space to reflect – but a venue to share and invite feedback!

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I JUST finished an IRB submission in the new CATS system…and it was daunting – I guess anything the first time thru is…

Part of my initial reason to do some studies requiring IRB was so that I could work out the kinks and then help other faculty thru the process and this has been a good strategy!!  Case in point – I helped with 2 faculty studies this summer – I was able to really help them thru their first IRB submissions with few headaches – both were approved in the first round – so I must have learned something!!!! That was a huge feel good!

Suggestions for doing the proposal in CATS:

1) Go to the CATS library FIRST (after logging into the system – http://irb.psu.edu) and complete the human subjects protocol FIRST – It is a Word document – gray boxes in each section are guides to completing each section. DO NOT fill anything in the gray boxes – you must delete these before submitting… Fill in your answers for each numbered section – above the gray boxes – following the guidelines – then delete the gray boxes.

2) There are several forms from the IRB library you will need for a general classroom-based study.. the informed consent form – which didn’t need to be submitted in PRAMS for exempt studies – but this time it asked for it to be uploaded – and the study team members qualifications form.  Have these ready to go.

3) Have your data collection instruments ready to upload

4) Now create your study in CATS – I did NOT see any way to “Save” my work while moving along the steps.. In fact, I actually lost the original submission, b/c I didn’t have the protocol form ready and needed to come back another day to finish it up and then needed to start all over again… so have it all ready to go, and then sit down to go through the steps.

5) Revision request #1 -  On the consent form… if you are collecting academic data covered by FERPA (grades, GPAs, etc) add a second signature line on the consent form so that students sign separately to participate in the study AND agree to allow you to use their academic data….


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Thoughts on the Gen-ed Updates

I’ve been thinking about gen-eds now for some time…

  1. See one of my newsletter articles from Fall 2012 based on a project I completed for Hi ED 840, Assessing Student Outcomes and Evaluating Academic Programs SP 2012
  2. Access a recording of the ppt presentation at a workshop I did on campus for tapping into the power of the gen-eds… June 2012

What follows are thoughts I shared with the campus and posted on the  PSU gen-ed blog . I think it is important to add value, simplify the process, use what’s already out there in terms of research and best practice, align with Middle States standards for gen-eds… and in the end have something that is flexible, scalable,  and sustainable.. that provides choice (for all stakeholders) and opportunities that make a difference…

Models & Research
1) I am a proponent of George Kuh’s work on High Impact Practices – http://www.aacu.org/leap/hip.cfm (summary attached) things like service learning, first-year seminars, internships, collaborative projects, etc… please take a look at the list…
a) the research has already been done on the impact of these practices for improved retention and student learning
b) this approach to changes in the gen-ed would focus on incorporation of high impact practices while maintaining the current gen-ed curriculum with its existing goals that are already aligned with Middle States standards and could:
i) simplify the change process – by not dismantling what exists – but by adding practices that have value and importance – i.e. students would be required to complete the gen-ed requirements as they stand
Courses would receive HIP (High Impact Practices) designations if they incorporate one of the HIPS.A course can be a HIP course and a gen-ed course at the same time (or a course in the major).Students are required to have at least 2 HIP courses (what research shows starts to make a difference) – one in the first 2 years, one in the second 2 years… or one only for 2-year degrees.HIP courses can be carried as students move from campus to campus
ii) This model allows for flexibility at the course, program, college, campus level; allows for integration of already proven practices; allows for faculty autonomy and choice; allows students to have choice; creates a designation that is simple to transfer across campuses; creates a straightforward designation that can be checked for gradation requirements.

2) Use the Principles of Excellence as an overarching guide to approaching HIP work – http://www.aacu.org/leap/documents/PrinciplesExcellence_chart.pdf

1) I don’t see notations (although I’m assuming the focus on learning outcomes is related to this) about Middle States standards for the gen-eds… We don’t need to reinvent that wheel – a framework/standard is already there -  Standard 12 in (pg 61 of the pdf) attached describes the gen-ed standard – another reason NOT to change the Gen-ed curriculum as it stands which is already in compliance
2) What constitutes evidence of learning for Middle States? Another resource: Examples of evidence of learning doc is here https://www.msche.org/publications/examples-of-evidence-of-student-learning.pdf
3) AAC&U’s Project LEAP VALUE Rubrics can also be used… http://www.aacu.org/leap/vision.cfm

Implementation Challenges
1) Create a process whereby courses can be designated HIP courses
2) Make sure that students have enough options across the course offerings to get their HIP requirements done in a timely fashion
3) Change academic plans to include HIP requirements
4) Create opportunities to share ideas about creating courses with HIP elements.


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SENCER Summer Institute

Just returned with Jorge Santiago-Blay from 5 wonderful days in Asheville, NC at the University of NC A for the SENCER Summer Institute. SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements & Responsibilities) is an NSF funded program whose mission is to strengthen student learning and interest in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics by connecting course topics to issues of critical local, national, and global importance.

What a wonderful experience. The participants were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Each day had a keynote speaker and workshops to help you plan a SENCER course or program. We were assigned a coach – ours was a fantastic faculty  member, Dr. Garon Smith from the University of Montana – who worked with us each day to get our fledgling ideas into concrete form. By the end of the institute, we had the beginnings of a project to get started with. We met many engaged faculty members in the sciences and humanities (SENCER is multidisciplinary in nature) from across the US. It was really energizing and incredibly practical! With our PSU gen-ed re-design conversations on-going, this could be a great model!

David Burns, Principal Investigator of the NSF grant, opened the institute with a special 3 hour orientation for new participants giving a background for SENCER and introductions to the regional coordinators and other helpful folks – very useful!!  Goal is to help students overcome BOTH unfounded fears and unquestioning awe of science. Involve students in finding real questions that they are interested in solving. SENCER ideals are worth a look! David was a great ambassador for SENCER – he talked about 4 promises:

1) Responsibility of what it means to know or learn s/thing – brings with it the moral imperative to use it to do something good

2) Use what we know to enlarge what we all know – not to tear down – to assume there is much that we all don’t know…so we add, not subtract from others….

3) If we increase the risk for people to try something, we also should increase the protection/support

4) Help students and ourselves to stick with hard things longer – point is to pursue things – not just to persuade people – sticking with it longer gives more opportunities to make connections to other disciplines and larger goals like critical thinking and ethics.

Highlights of other sessions were:

1) Importance of communicating scientific ideas effectively which are audience appropriate.  How often does the message get misconstrued or lost because it isn’t written so that it can be understood by the intended audience?

2) Dan Kahan, Professor of Law and Psychology at Yale was the first keynote speaker – Difficult realization… that often knowledge about science still doesn’t impact beliefs… Belief and comprehension do not correlate!!!

So students can understand the concepts underlying global warming or evolution, but still not believe in them…so how is this possible??

Because our beliefs are deeply held parts of our identities and changing them is risky business – threatens belonging to important groups in our lives… and therefore sense of security…so changing them is unlikely. So is it impossible to change opinions? Not exactly… What is needed is a local approach – what problems in the local community need addressed – like flooding due to rising sea levels… get local leaders (who may be non-believers in global warming) together with all concerned citizens to solve the problem… in the end, that’s what is important and people will act (even if they say they don’t’ believe) and people will change their beliefs when leaders in their cultural group say it is a good idea to do so.

So at the end of your course, you shouldn’t ask student whether they now believe in global warming, but rather ask something like this, “According to climate scientists, the most important notion about global warming is x,y,z..” That way, students can answer the question without it challenging their own beliefs and group identification.  This was a fascinating talk!

At the same time, asking yourself, “Are you measuring the right thing when looking for data on learning gains?” – i.e – why do conversations about tough topics like global warming often get sidetracked into polar political opposites? Because the questions being asked are the wrong questions – about belief rather than comprehension…and that’s a much stickier problem…change happens locally, when it impacts people directly and they have to act.

3)  Scientific Endeavors and Human Rights – Jessica Wyndham, a lawyer with AAAS, gave a presentation on scientific responsibility, human rights, and the law which created a new awareness by many in the audience about how we think about science and human rights – rights for scientists and rights for those impacted by science or the lack of access to the benefits of science. It made me think about the story recently in the news about the US medical doctors being treated with a special drug for Ebola virus and the questions being raised about who has access to the drug, and who doesn’t and why… Awareness… I wouldn’t have thought of this perhaps as a human rights issue if I hadn’t heard Jessica’s talk…

4) Assessment and SENCER SALG – This is a free survey tool with a pre- and post-test – researched over 10 years and found to to be reliable and valid to measure learning gains in STEM courses. It is being used on the West Coast and accepted by their accrediting body for evidence of learning gains. Read more at http://www.sencer.net/assessment/sencersalg.cfm

5) Barbara Tewksbury, Hamilton College – did a NICE job on course design, implementation, and assessment. A professor of geology with a natural bent for instructional design. It was a practical working session and focused on getting to the underlying areas of meaning and importance of the course! Assess what you value!

She added the idea of concept sketches... Draw a picture to illustrate what a process or concept IS… then add a caption to explain what’s happening – the process.

6) KQED San Francisco presentation on using media in STEM courses: Resources and 2 good ideas for using video/media – 1) watching videos silently and filling in what you think is happening…generating questions about what’s happening…. and 2) DO NOW Projects – create resources around an activity that you ask them to do  or question to answer at the beginning of class to get everyone on the same page… and 3) Resources – medialit.org – good resources for using media in classes, http://blogs.kqed.org/science/, and http://science.kqed.org/quest/ are all good resources!!!!

What will we do with all of this???? Ahhhhh well, stay tuned to find out :)

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Bb Pilot – UPDATE!


Bb pilot is on hold due to significant upcoming changes to the platform…Fall pilot rescheduled for Summer 2015… stay tuned!

The Blackboard pilot launch is here! We have several faculty from our campus participating in the pilot. I’ll be going to UP Aug 12-14 for Bb training. Stay tuned!

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20+ Apps

Thanks to Jeffrey Bradshaw at the Network of Trainers event at UP on the 16th!! He gave us a run down of 20 cool apps for the classroom – ooooh the possibilities! Most are free; many have PC, Mac, iPad, or Android options.. Check them out and have some fun!

When you click the link below, fast-forward by clicking on any of the apps listed on the left margin.


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ELLI Updates

A big shout out to Vicky, Keira, and Zoe from the UK at VitalPartnerships!! I’ve been talking with faculty at Cornell, Cal State Fullerton, and other institutions in the US about how we used ELLI last year and it has been wonderful getting to know folks with these same interests/questions about student success!  about using ELLI – nice

We’ve been putting our heads together about how to get the word out to folks in the US about how the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory has been used. Since we had such good results with our students from last fall, they’ve kindly asked me to share some of our experiences with other interested parties on this side of the Atlantic. We’ve done a few test runs with webinar software and thinking about doing a Q & A in early fall to start the ball rolling.

I’ve made a short video about our experience here: Get in touch if you need a transcript of the video.

A more detailed video about how we approached the learning dimensions to come! Details from last year’s project can be found here

Fall 2015, I’ll be using ELLI again with my paired college reading course that this year we’ll pair with an intro to anthropology course. Should be another interesting semester!

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Spencer Foundation Small Research Grants: Update

Every day is a new learning opportunity. I submitted a small grant to the Spencer Foundation to purchase a set of iPad Minis to use in my fall college reading course (Fall 2015) for later use by other faculty. It was a great experience, working with Lisa Wiedemer in University College Grant Relations. What a tremendous help she was! Now we wait and cross our fingers!

Title: Using a Paired Course Model and Reflective Exercises on a Mobile Device to Improve First-Year Success for Underprepared Commuter Students

Interested in submitting a small grant (<$50,000.00) to Spencer? See their guidelines

School of hard knocks… we didn’t get the grant… Lisa Wiedemer at the Office of Sponsored Programs who helped us tremendously, was so gracious and encouraging…She said most do not get funded – but if you never try, you’ll never get… so keep plugging away – I’ll look for other venues to submit….perhaps a local donor for a worthy cause!!!

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GRIT and New Student Orientation

We are trying out the use of the GRIT survey (Duckworth @ U. of Pennsylvania – https://sites.sas.upenn.edu/duckworth) with our new students. Every student coming through New Student Orientation (NSO) this year is watching the Duckworth Ted.com video and taking the GRIT survey. Our hope is to use the data to see if we can build a predictive model to more quickly identify students at risk, based on their GRIT scores and other admissions data. Stay tuned…

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Network of Trainers & Learning Design Summer Camp 2014

Just about to head up to UP for our annual summer events: Network of Trainers event and Learning Design Summer Camp 2014. I’ll get a chance to learn some new things and also present a new abbreviated workshop on incorporating reflection which I hope will be well-received.

I’ve been practicing to get it into the 30 minute time frame! Here are the recordings in 8-10 minute chunks:

Title: Using self-knowledge and purposeful reflection to encourage positive change in the college years

Experience without reflection can soon be forgotten – this session presents a variety of ways to create reflective activities that are purposeful, meaningful, and can lead to positive change.

Part I – Intro, Goals, Background:

Part II – Examples:

Part III – Try it! Self-knowledge & Crafting Reflective Responses:

Part IV – Action Planning, Coaching, and References:

For those interested in reading more on the topic, this is a good place to to mention Dr. Cora Dzubak’s article, highlighted last year in the fall newsletter on reflection! A Purposeful Pause:The Role of Active Reflection in Learning http://www.myatp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/A-Purposeful-Pause.pdf

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Network of Trainers & Learning Design Summer Camp 2014

Just about to head up to UP for our annual summer events: Network of Trainers event and Learning Design Summer Camp 2014. I’ll get a chance to learn some new things and also present a new abbreviated workshop on incorporating reflection which I hope will be well-received.

I’ve been practicing to get it into the 30 minute time frame! Here are the recordings in 8-10 minute chunks:

Title: Using self-knowledge and purposeful reflection to encourage positive change in the college years

Experience without reflection can soon be forgotten – this session presents a variety of ways to create reflective activities that are purposeful, meaningful, and can lead to positive change.

Part I – Intro, Goals, Background:

Part II – Examples:

Part III – Try it! Self-knowledge & Crafting Reflective Responses:

Part IV – Action Planning, Coaching, and References:

For those interested in reading more on the topic, this is a good place to to mention Dr. Cora Dzubak’s article, highlighted last year in the fall newsletter on reflection! A Purposeful Pause:The Role of Active Reflection in Learning http://www.myatp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/A-Purposeful-Pause.pdf

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Ethics Resources

The question of students’ ethical behavior came up last year a few times in conversations with faculty, so I wanted to gather some resources in case people wanted to embed some activities/discussions into their classes.Please let me know what you are already doing in this area – I would love to hear from you!
I’ll build this out into a resource webpage, too, so for faculty experts in the area, a request: please share any resources you use now or know about (comment here or shoot me an e-mail scs15@psu.edu), and I’ll add them to the webpage as well as give credit for the contribution! Thanks!! Also, please get in touch, as I’d benefit tremendously from a conversation with you!
Where does this fit into what we do? From the draft of our most recent strategic plan:


Education is the foundation of an enlightened, productive, and prosperous society.

  • The best education produces knowledgeable, critical, creative, and ethical students.

1) Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University has some great resources! See their approach at
http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/#sthash.z6ZSz5HU.dpbs including an app!

2) They also have 2 MOOCS starting August 18th – They are free, open, and can be completed any time through July 2015.  Suggested completion time is 4 weeks each – They are self-paced.


Find out more and register at  http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/business/moocs.html#sthash.3N2JpHz6.dpbs

3) AAC&U VALUE Rubric on ethical reasoninghttp://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics/ethicalreasoning.cfm which could be used to assess students in this area.

4) Possible Conversations in Teaching topic in the fall – Any interest??????

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Shippensburg 2014: Innovations in Faculty Development Symposium

Barb Eshbach and I presented something we are calling “springboarding” which is a model of faculty professional development in which faculty members who are interested in learning a new approach or process shadow an existing project, participate in the project, and then springboard into their own project, using lessons learned in the springboard project. This style of PD works well for complex, multifaceted processes such as a SoTL projects or re-design of F2F into online or blended courses. Here is the presentation which was well-received.

Here are a few great ideas that I gleaned by attending the conference that I’d like to share:

1) Serving Adjuncts – Into the Driver’s Seat: Enabling Adjunct Faculty Leadership in Faculty Development Programming

A rich array of Saturday events, pre-semester trainings, adjunct leadership opportunities, monthly dinner conversations, driven by adjuncts, for adjuncts. In addition, faculty mini-grants, conference travel, online course development funding, faculty excellence awards, and mentoring opportunities make College of Southern Maryland a great place for adjuncts! http://csmd.edu/dlf/ I’m meeting with our campus ADAA soon to see if we can replicate some of this goodness on our own campus!!!

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Lilly Conference 2014

This was a really wonderful event once again – I can’t recommend this conference highly enough. This was the first year I started to feel a sense of community here which was nice – recognizing old friends – Leslie Felbain who came to our campus last year to present Teaching as Performance – and the folks who did the lightening round tech demos. Barb Eshbach and I presented the ELLI project that we did with Jorge in the fall and had a few folks really interested – from CUNY. Serendipity…..a presenter from U. of Bristol was there who actually works with Ruth Deakin Crick and knows ELLI- Dr. Phil Langton – talking about GRIT as a predictor of student success.

So what can I share from what I learned?

1) For those thinking of publishing in SoTL – a new open access journal at SUNY Plattsburgh called The Common Good.

Editor-in-Chief: Becky Kasper, Ph.D., Director of SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Teaching Excellence
Managing Editor: Jessamyn Neuhaus, Ph.D., Associate Professor, SUNY Plattsburgh History Department

They just sent out a call for papers for a special issue on Using Popular Culture in the Classroom – deadline January 1, 2015 – contact Jessamyn Neuhaus at neuhauj@plattsburgh.edu

2) Threshold Concepts & Troublesome Knowledge: A Transformational Approach to Learning with Ray Land – keynote – Durham University UK

http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html for more detailed info

* Threshold concepts take you into a new intellectual spaces – which in turn opens up access to new concepts

* Integration of new understandings starts to happen in the unsettling liminal state which follows – the betwixt and between stage – encounter with knowledge that unsettles you – feel sense of loss – feels like a state of in-authenticity or mimicry as the brain tries to integrate the new knowledge

Oscillation happens between states – knowledge – being – language..epistemological and ontological change

Troublesome knowledge is a provoker of change – it cannot be assimilated with what is currently known – it is the instigator of new learning and ontological change – instructors should look for trouble -should cause this kind of trouble….

This is not a hotel.. it is a gymnasium and you have to work!

* Episteme: the underlying game – ways of knowing in the disciplines

What can faculty do?

  1. Help students to tolerate uncertainty as they go back and forth through the states of uncertanity
  2. Be a provoker of change!
  3. Identify the jewels in the curriculum – what are the threshold concepts – revisit them throughout the curriculum – learning is recursive
  4. Realize it takes time for the changes that will occur – epistemological and ontological change
  5. Listen for understanding – students can help you identify the concepts that are hard!

Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning (2010) Edited by Jan H. F. Meyer, Ray Land and Caroline Baillie; Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2010
[Educational Futures: Rethinking Theory and Practice, Peters, M.A. (Ed), Volume 42]
The majority of chapters in this book are developments of talks first presented at the Threshold Concepts Conference: from theory to practice, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, 18th – 20th June 2008.

Follow on Facebook – search Threshold Concepts

3) What’s in a 1st Year Toolbox – Parson’s School of Design The New School University - Mariah Doren

How has the notion of “foundational” knowledge and skills [in the arts] changed over time?

  1. Talent lens – you either have it or you don’t
  2. Creativity can be uncovered through introspection
  3. Dispositions – becoming an effective thinker (critical and creative – engaged in real world problems), effective actor in the world (entrepreneurial, setting goals) – with effective relationships (emotional intelligence, teamwork, ethics)

Learn what you need as it becomes relevant to a project – deep disciplinary dive vs surfing a content landscape

Taught at Pasron’s thru a paired course “Words & Works” = “Critical Studio” – ideas to think about translates into a project to “make” everyday + writing – language of rich descriptions. Writing + making and writing + gestures. ex…. create a prosthetic object that extends or limits a gesture – perform with it – write about it.

4) Critical Thinking as “Defamiliarization”

  1. Take a familiar object and make it “strange”
  2. Student struggles to “see” it in the new way
  3. Formation of new critical persepctive

Example – Shklovsky = http://www.thenation.com/article/172675/making-strange-victor-shklovsky#

Cause them to doubt what they have taken for granted…

5) Are you Flipping Engaged? Kim Van Orman SUNY Albany

What do you do during in-class time when flipping?

Suggests only 10% of the course be flipped to start – 3 lessons – and do one very early on in the course, so students know what to expect.

  1. Students “do” the content ahead of time – readings and/or SHORT videos (10 minutes max)
  2. Students take a quiz in CMS
  3. Critical “tinkering” – get them to “play” with content – make authentic mistakes – Team-based learning/activity in class – Michaelson’s 4S’s: Significant problem, all students have same problem, students must make a specific decision/judgment, simultaneously report out
    Devl. process: see it – mimic it – tinker with it – play with it – fight over it – slowly learn how to use it
  4. Do debrief of conversation
  5. THEN show the answer

Examples of tasks

  • given a study, predict the results and why
  • given a graph with data – assign list of labels to the bars of data – explain why
  • report out – m/c, ranking, best answer, single value, sequence, limited word test: in 10 words or less, describe…, sorting, what does not belong

6) Peter Seldin – keynote – College Teaching: Myths, Evaluation, Improvement

Great teachers:

  • take risks
  • are themselves
  • bring a positive attitude to class

Percentage of types of info used in teacher evals comparison (1983 to 2013)

*************************************1983                        2013

Student Ratings                                                 68%                       96%

Classroom observations                                   19%                        62%

Review of Teaching Materials                        20%                        44%

Self-evaluations                                                25%                         70%

 7) Group Homework and Take-Home Exams -in a science info literacy course Dr. Carol Anelli – Ohio State University

* Homework assignments are designed to be completed by individuals but OK to work cooperatively

* Group contract for take home exams that regulates attendance at meetings, communication policy of group, completion of tasks on time, agreement about final upload of exam, non-compliance policy, dissension form for group  members who want a different answer than the group’s

* Peer-assessment form

* Self-assessment form

* Pre- and post-course questionnaire – course expectations, baseline knowledge, course satisfaction, self-reflection

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Spring/Summer Presentations

Well, we just finished an extended road trip, presenting our findings at various conferences. Copies of the presentations are below:

Learning Design Summer Camp (July 17, 2014); Using self-knowledge and purposeful reflection to encourage positive change in the college years; Penn State University; State College, PA.

Innovations in Faculty Development Symposium (June 3, 2014); Co-Presenter: Barbara Eshbach, Head Librarian, Penn State York; Springboarding as a Faculty Professional Development Model; Shippensburg University; Shippensburg, PA.

The Lilly Conference on College Teaching & Learning (May 30, 2014); Co-Presenter: Barbara Eshbach, Head Librarian, Penn State York; Building Lifelong Learning Attributes in First-Semester Students Using the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI); Bethesda, MD.

Center for Teaching Excellence Business Professor Teaching Summit; (May 15, 2014); Co-Presenter: Dr. Samir Shah, Associate Clinical Professor in MIS, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University; Measuring of Student Growth as Lifelong Learners in Global Information Systems Classroom Projects; Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Excellence: Gateway Course Experience Conference (March 24, 2014); Using Adaptive Learning Technology and Reflective Exercises to Improve First-Year Success in a Paired Developmental College Reading/Environmental Science Course; Indianapolis, IN.

Teaching & Learning with Technology Symposium; Penn State University; (March 22, 2014); Co-Presenters: Barbara Eshbach, Head Librarian, Penn State York & Dr. Jorge Santiago-Blay, Biology Instructor, Penn State York; Using Adaptive Learning Technology and Reflective Exercises to Improve First-Year Success in a Paired Developmental College Reading/Environmental Science Course; State College, PA.

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What’s Happening Summer 2014?

Well, this is finals week…tomorrow is graduation. Another academic year has come and gone, but before we can catch our breath, the activities of the summer are almost upon us!!

Here’s what’s coming up!


Flipping the Classroom Summer Cohort

Session 1 (June 13th) – 9:00 – 11:00 am
Participants prepare by reviewing overview of flipping before the session (websites and short video). During the session, we will start to talk about applications + the book + goal setting
Session 2 (June 20th)  – 9:00 – 11:00 am
A. Walter Arnold presents his experiences flipping the classroom
B. Start unit re-design session
C. Round robin debrief
D. Determine group needs regarding technology + plan for Week of June 23rd tech training
Week of June 23rd (I know it is FTCAP) but we can plan on these sessions later in the day – tech sessions as needed
Session 3 (July 11th9:00 – 11:00 am
A. Round robin presentations of design so far
B. Pairing and assignments to partners of the “at home” work to be completed in prep for session 4
Session 4 (July 18th)
A. Partners “do” the flipped “in class” session activities
B. Round robin debrief with everyone.

SENCER Summer Institute

Dr. Jorge Santiago-Blay and I will be traveling to The University of North Carolina at Asheville for 5 days in early August to attend the SENCER Institute. We’ll be working on a gen-ed science course re-design – either environmental science or human genetics, using the SENCER principles.


1) Spencer Foundation (not to be confused with SENCER – above) small grant application submitted to University College Grant Relations to purchase a set of iPad Minis for use in the classroom – June 2014

2) Advisory Board grant submitted and awarded received to purchase another year of the campus license for using ELLI. Because I am helping VitalPartnerships by talking to folks who are interested in using the tool in the US – explaining how we used it – they are giving us the upcoming year campus license and the advisory board grant them will be used starting in summer 2015.


1) Shaffer, S.C., Eshbach, B.E., Santiago-Blay, J.A. (2014). Fostering first-semester success for academically at-risk students in a   science general education course using a paired reading course model. Manuscript submitted for publication to Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, March 2014.

2) Shaffer, S.C. (2014). Building Student Capacity for Reflective Thinking. Manuscript submitted for publication to The Common Good: A SUNY Plattsburgh Journal on Teaching and Learning, June 2014.

Presentations galore!

Pathways 2014! Hundreds of 7th grade girls will be on campus for a day of exploring STEM careers. Barb Eshbach and I are doing our Gadgets, Gizmos, and Gigabytes session which we tweak every year… This year, they’ll explore QR Codes, Tellagami videos, Augmented Reality and binary code in a quasi game format using iPad minis.

Drexel’s Business Faculty Teaching Summit – Dr. Samir Shah and I are presenting work on using reflection to help students build a soft skills set of aptitudes making them ready to work successfully in a global world.

Lilly International Spring Conference – College and University Teaching and Learning: Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning – May 30, 2014 – Barb and I are presenting our project (with Dr. Jorge Santiago-Blay) using the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) with first semester students.

Innovations in Faculty Development Symposium – Shippensburg University – June 3, 2014 – We are presenting the idea of Springboarding as a faculty professional development model.

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