Seminars For Excellence in Teaching

Since 2008, the Academy for Teaching and Learning has hosted a series of one-hour Seminars for Excellence in Teaching (SET) to help colleagues meet the historic expectations of excellence in teaching at Baylor. For new Teachers of Record (TOR), SET satisfy SACS requirements for professional development in teaching. For more experienced TOR, SET facilitate the sharing of ideas and insights about teaching and learning today and encourage participants to renew their commitments to inspirational teaching. SET are also a valuable resource in the preparation of graduate student Teachers of Record.

All members of the Baylor community are invited to attend SET in accord with our core commitments to seek learning and apply knowledge and to pursue excellence through continuous improvement.

All Fall 2020 Seminars for Excellence in Teaching
will be conducted online in Zoom.

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Can We Make Group Work Work Online?

Laine Scales (Social Work)

Monday, August 17

Student collaboration, projects, discussion, and other forms of group work significantly enrich the learning experience. Although many instructors’ notions of group work are tied to the face-to-face class setting, the basic principles of group work apply online. Accounting for the shift in context in online teaching, this session will offer suggestions on making good teams, supporting student working groups, and assessing both group dynamics and students’ products. Participants will also receive tips for handling live breakout discussions and asynchronous online discussion groups that support group work.

(Note: this session is limited to 12 participants)

Exploring Pandemic in Your Classes

Philip Jenkins (History and Institute for Studies of Religion), Jason Pitts (Biology), Anne-Marie Schultz (Philosophy and Baylor Interdisciplinary Core)

Tuesday, August 18

COVID-19 presents an unparalleled opportunity for instructors to practice the integrated and holistic education that is at the heart of Baylor’s liberal arts tradition. Not only is the study of pandemic “relevant” for our students, but it is a window into the deepest concerns at the intersection of the natural world and human meaning-making. No academic discipline escapes its reach. In this SET, distinguished Baylor colleagues will discuss approaches and perspectives on exploring pandemic with students through the materials of philosophy, literature, history, religion, biology, and more.

Discussion Technologies for Online, Hybrid, and Face-to-Face Classes

Nicole Kenley (English), Jon Lawson (Biology), Mia Moody Ramirez (Journalism, Public Relations and New Media)

Thursday, August 20

Discussion as a pedagogical tool helps students refine, articulate, and argue their knowledge, exposes students to varied viewpoints, and provides instructors insight into student comprehension. Instructors can enlist technological tools for discussion—not only as a matter of necessity for online classes but to expand and enrich the learning experience in hybrid and face-to-face courses, as research shows that online discussions encourage deeper reflection and greater participation than traditional classroom discussions. In this SET, a panel of Baylor faculty teaching a range of course types will discuss the varied technologies they have used to facilitate discussion. Participants will have opportunities to brainstorm and will be directed to further resources to explore discussion technologies in more depth.

Teaching Culturally Sensitive Topics

Malcolm Foley (Truett Seminary), Laura Hernandez (Law), Sam Perry (Baylor Interdisciplinary Core)

Friday, September 11

Education aims to foster critical thinking in students, an aim that requires students to examine complex issues. These complex issues can include thorny moral problems, controversial social practices, and culturally sensitive topics: immigration, race relations, and gender equality. Teaching culturally sensitive topics is especially challenging in an era of social upheaval and polarization. Although critical thinking transcends religious commitments, Christian higher education can equip students to approach controversial issues with humility and compassion. This SET will present varied approaches to teaching culturally sensitive topics through historical, rhetorical, and legal perspectives, sparking participants’ imaginations and encouraging exploration of effective ways to teach complex issues in other disciplines.

How COVID-19 Is Making Me a Better Teacher

Brianna Lemmons (Social Work), Karenna Malavanti (Psychology and Neuroscience), Thomas Spitzer-Hanks (Baylor Interdisciplinary Core)

Wednesday, September 23

The shifts in teaching and learning we have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been disruptive and difficult. Although some students have been frustrated and some instructors have been discouraged, many faculty have found in this crisis unexpected potential to refine and improve teaching. The collective trauma may impel us to ask questions about our students that have never occurred to us before. The loss of contact time with students may re-center our teaching around learning objectives rather than content and assignments. The interruption of our normal routines and practices may press us to more intentionality, transparency, and support for our course objectives. In short, COVID-19 may make us all better teachers. Join an interdisciplinary panel of Baylor faculty as they discuss the work in progress of their own teaching in light of the pandemic and the hopeful ways even crisis can strengthen the mission of transformational education.

Rethinking Academic Integrity Online

Perry Glanzer (School of Education), Lori Kanitz (Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty), Wes Null (Provost’s Office), Ken Van Treuren (Mechanical Engineering)

Thursday, October 8

As many instructors are administering assessments online, they must consider implications for academic integrity. In making assessment decisions, instructors will benefit from a robust picture of academic integrity broadly and online aspects specifically. In this session, participants will hear a range of perspectives, addressing factors contributing to academic dishonesty, instructors’ role in fostering students’ wisdom and virtue, institutional ramifications, and tools of interest to students and faculty.

Minimizing Zoom Fatigue

Meredith David (Marketing), Christopher Richmann (Academy for Teaching and Learning)

Wednesday, October 14

The well-documented phenomenon known as “Zoom fatigue” is especially prevalent and costly for instructors. As we come to the mid-point in the semester, faculty who are regularly using Zoom (or other videoconferencing tools) for classes or student meetings can evaluate their habits and approach to these tools, ensuring a balanced and healthy practice that benefits instructor and students. This session will describe the varieties of Zoom fatigue and their causes, giving tips for reducing or eliminating tiring elements of Zoom use generally and with students specifically. Participants will be equipped with tools for tracking Zoom use and mental energy and tactics for creating space on Zoom for enlivening interactions rather than draining encounters.