Reflecting on the 2023 Instructional Development Institute

On January 10, 2023, we gathered virtually for the annual Instructional Development Institute hosted by CATL and the Instructional Development Council. This year included attendance and presentations by educators from UWGB, UW System, K-12 schools, and the private sector for the 2023 Instructional Development Institute: Cultivating Student Success. The conference was a huge success, with over 140 in attendance for our keynote session and strong momentum throughout the rest of the day. In this blog post, we will reflect on the Insitute and share teaching resources, materials, and takeaways from this year’s Institute.  

Keynote & Workshop Leaders

2023 Instructional Development Institute: "Cultivating Student Success" Keynote Speakers Dr. Stephen L Chew & Dr. Bill CerbinThis year’s IDI included two keynote speakers, Dr. Stephen L. Chew, 2011 Carnegie Professor of the Year and 2018 recipient of the American Psychological Association’s national award for distinguished teaching, and Dr. Bill Cerbin, the founding director of the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning at UW-La Crosse and a nationally recognized expert on lesson study and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Stephen and Dr. Cerbin’s keynote and workshop presentations explore the nine main cognitive challenges of student learning and how we, as educators, can address each of these nine challenges to better support our students.  

We encourage you to watch the recording of the keynote and both keynote workshops to learn more about the cognitive challenges students experience and ways educators can address these challenges. In addition to the keynote presentations, Dr. Bill Cerbin has created a self-paced, self-directed, ungraded Canvas course, Cognitive Challenges of Lectures, that is available for IDI attendees and those who enroll in the IDI Canvas course. The Cognitive Challenges of Lectures course expands upon the keynote’s research and presentation and provides instructors with tangible takeaways to improve student learning and success.  

Presentations, Roundtables, and Panels on Student Success

The theme this year was centered on “Cultivating Student Success,” and presentations highlighted the many ways all university community members support the success of students. Sessions throughout the day covered topics such as using universal design for learning (UDL), information literacy, fostering growth mindset in high-tech classrooms, best practices for handling hot-button topics in the classroom, and reflections on student internship experiences. All sessions were recorded and are available to view from the 2023 IDI Canvas Course. We encourage you to watch the recordings to hear from our presenters and enroll in the Canvas course if you have not done so already! Below are some resources from a variety of different IDI presentations for you to explore.  

The session, “Teaching Students to Evaluate Website Credibility” led by three members of the UW-Green Bay Libraries’ team, Jodi Pierre, Renee Ettinger, and Carli Reinecke included a demonstration on lateral reading and additional resources for instructors teaching an FYS or a research focused course to help students identify credible websites for their research purposes.  

Instructors can use the resources available through the UWGB Libraries FYS Integration Kits which include pre-built learning objects, lesson plans, and simple assignments that can be integrated into their courses to support a variety of information literacy learning outcomes. Additional resources provided are the Civic Online Reasoning website which provides lesson plans, assessments, and videos on evaluating online information as well as the SIFT framework used to evaluate websites. As a reminder, UW-Green Bay libraries offer a wide range of research and information literacy resources, including library instruction for your classes.  

The session, “Inner Tracking: A Reflective Practice for Holistic Learning” led by David Voelker included a discussion on implementing written reflective learning practices for students that help students reflect on how their learning is affecting them as a person. An additional resource from this session includes the Inner Tracking exercise which instructors can incorporate into their course. 

The IDI hosted a special podcast episode of Psychology & Stuff, “How to Build Community” with co-hosts Ryan Martin and Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges. In this thought-provoking discussion, Ryan and Georjeanna discuss approaches to creating meaningful connections and building community among university staff in higher education. Watch the recording to learn more as Psychology & Stuff hosts apply research and principles from urban planning and environmental psychology to the building of community in our workplaces and learning communities 

The session, “Using Universal Design (UDL) to Create Access and Increase Student Success,” led by Lynn Niemi and Alison Gates provided a useful hand-out for instructors to use in their instruction for Further Resources for Universal Access Design for Learning.

Wrap-up & Conclusion

This year’s Institute was a huge success, and we thank everyone who attended our teaching and learning conference and supported all our thoughtful presenters. The presentations and conversations throughout the day offered us some important themes, which CATL director Kris Vespia shares in the wrap-up of the day, that we can take into the spring semester. One is the importance of empathy and perspective-taking, as throughout the day we were asked to put ourselves in a student’s shoes and struggle to understand in new learning contexts. Another theme of the day focused on the importance of communities, whether that is in the classroom to create inclusive environments or building communities amongst faculty and staff. The communities we build in higher education will directly affect students’ paths to success in individual courses and in their educational endeavors. We hope to see you at the 2024 Instructional Development Institute!  

In case you missed it

If you were not able to attend the Instructional Development Institute this year, we welcome you to self-enroll in the IDI Canvas course (select “UW Employee / Faculty / Student”). Enrolling will grant you full access to the IDI Canvas course until May 2023, including the session recordings.  

Co-Writing Community (Spring 2023)

Tara DaPra, one of CATL’s 2022-23 Instructional Development Consultants, will lead a “Co-Writing Community” this spring. A co-writing community is a shared time and space to work in the company of others, either virtually or in person. We gather as a community, quickly share what we’re working on, and then work individually on our writing for about an hour. Gathering as a co-writing community reserves space in your schedule for the projects you wish to work on but might otherwise get pushed aside. A community of fellow writers provides space and support to prioritize your creative and academic writing projects.

The Co-Writing Community will meet twice a week from Jan. 23 through May 5: Mondays 3:30–4:30 p.m., both on Zoom and in the CATL conference room, Cofrin Library 405, and Fridays, 7–8 a.m., on Zoom only. (No meeting the week of Spring Break.) Feel free to join early or late, weekly, or when your schedule allows! Simply drop in with this Zoom link which will be reused for each session.

Revising—and Reframing—Your Teaching Philosophy

Article by Tara DaPra

Why should you write a teaching philosophy? Chances are, you already have, even if it was way back in graduate school or when you applied for the job you now hold. But if you are going up for promotion, as many of us in the teaching professor category may now do, or if—happy days—someone nominates you for a teaching award, your teaching philosophy may need updating. You may be dreading this. You may continually move it to the end of a long list of more pressing tasks. You may ask yourself if anyone will really read this. Leonard Cassuto says what many of us are thinking when he writes, “Teaching philosophies account for some of the most tiresome reading that academe has to offer (and that’s saying something).” But must they be? Rather than a chore or a high-stakes assessment, why not re-frame what a teaching philosophy can—or perhaps should—be? What if you instead treated your teaching philosophy as a celebration of your time in the classroom and a vision for the future?

In an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, James Lang argues that teaching philosophies “fall under the genre of creative nonfiction,” a genre of writing that privileges techniques like voice, narrative arc, and compelling details while insisting on a non-negotiable commitment to the truth. Lang warns writers of teaching philosophies not to fall into the default mode we so often see in student writing—telling rather than showing. So instead of regurgitating your course learning objectives or points from your CV, Lang advises that we zoom in and describe a day when those objectives were lived in a particularly meaningful way. He writes, “Readers remember and respond to your stories, not your explanations.”

Another hallmark of creative nonfiction is to distinguish between what the writer knows and does not know—and to lean in to the latter. In her essay “Memory and Imagination,” Patricia Hampl writes, “It still comes as a shock to realize that I don’t write about what I know: I write in order to find out what I know.” Teaching philosophies are, essentially, a personal essay, a space for writers to puzzle over a complicated question and attempt to answer it from many angles. The word essay itself means “trial.” What, then, is the question you most want to discover, as it relates to your teaching? What parts of that question have you answered and what parts remain a mystery?

Writing a teaching philosophy can help us to reflect upon and articulate our ideas about what makes for effective teaching. And doing this can help to ensure that what we do in our classes is consistent with those beliefs—but it can also acknowledge pieces of the teaching puzzle that we have yet to fit together. And so, while teaching philosophies should certainly highlight a teacher’s strengths and successes, good teachers might also acknowledge what they hope to learn next.

If you’d like to read more about writing effective and reflective teaching philosophies, CATL has gathered some resources.

LITE 115 Course: Enhancing Course Videos with PlayPosit

Is there a teaching technology that you’ve heard CATL talk about but haven’t gotten the chance to try out yet? Want to learn a new tool alongside fellow instructors so you can swap ideas and tips? In addition to the three courses in the DE Certificate, CATL is offering supplemental professional development training courses that explore certain teaching tools and techniques in more depth!

Learning and Integrating Technology for Education (LITE) 115: Enhancing Course Videos with PlayPosit will equip you with the guidance you need to start building interactive videos, called “bulbs,” for your own courses. Work through each module at your own pace as you discover the basics of PlayPosit, build your first bulb, and finally implement PlayPosit bulbs in one of your courses. Participants will also learn how to monitor bulbs and use PlayPosit’s analytics to reveal data on student engagement and achievement that may be informative for planning future iterations of a course.

Prerequisites: None (though completion of LITE 101 is recommended)

When: Registration from the Winter/Spring 2023 cohort is now closed. Stay tuned for registration information for future semesters!

Badges

Participants will earn a digital badge for completing each of the three modules in LITE 115 that you can include in your email signature or embed in online portfolios or resumes as evidence of your commitment to professional development! Participants will not be obligated to complete all three modules and may participate at whichever level fits their interest and capacity.

Questions?

If you have any questions about LITE 115 or PlayPosit in general, please contact CATL (CATL@uwgb.edu). You can also check out our blog resources on PlayPosit as well as a selection of step-by-step guides in the UWGB IT Knowledgebase.

Call for Faculty College 2023 (Applications Due Jan. 4)

A group of instructors standing in a grassy area near a body of water; the caption reads "Faculty College 2022"

Faculty College is an annual professional development institute and retreat for faculty, instructors, and lecturers in the University of Wisconsin System led by the Office of Professional & Instructional Development (OPID). The 43rd Annual Faculty College will be held at the Osthoff Resort at Elkhart Lake (close to three of our four locations in Sheboygan County) from May 30 through June 2, 2023, and the theme this year is Teaching & Learning with a Social Justice Lens. Back by popular demand as a guest facilitator is Dr. Lisa Brock, Founding Academic Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Learn More About Faculty College

Apply

Selected participants will be joined by UWGB’s OPID Advisory Council members and the 2023-24 Wisconsin Teaching Fellows & Scholars program participants. If you are interested in being one of UW-Green Bay’s instructor representatives for Faculty College 2023 (travel expenses will be paid), please send an email to CATL@uwgb.edu with:

  • Your name and department
  • Your commitment/availability to travel from May 30 to June 2, 2023
  • A brief one-paragraph explanation of why you wish to be a part of this team

Applications are due to CATL by the end of the day Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

Questions?

Please contact CATL if you have any questions about the application process. Programmatic inquiries may be directed to Fay Akindes, Director of Systemwide Professional and Instructional Development, UW System, fakindes@uwsa.edu, (608) 263-2684.