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Center for Teaching Excellence

Teaching Topics

Throughout the year, CTE offers a series of timely programs open to the entire SMU teaching community.  Topics range from the theoretical to the practical, from time-tested to ripped from the headlines.  The programs are presented by recognized experts from within the SMU faculty, and are designed to foster discussion about teaching and learning issues.  

Spring 2017 Programs


Information Session: Online Teaching Training Course
Wednesday, March 29
12:00 - 1:00 pm
Harold Clark Simmons Hall, Room 317
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In this session, faculty will learn more about the Online Teaching Faculty Training Course, which is designed to train faculty on how to teach online and showcases tools currently available to SMU faculty. This session is presented by Addy Tolliver, an instructional designer and facilitator of the Online Teaching Training Course. Lunch will be provided.

Mini Session: Canvas - 3 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do
Monday, April 3
12:15 - 12:45 pm
Harold Clark Simmons Hall, Room 207
Register Now!

In this 30-minute workshop, gain insights into Canvas functionalities you might have missed when the learning management system was first introduced. This session is conducted by the newest member of the Center for Teaching Excellence staff, instructional designer Doug Wilson. No HTML programming experience required!

Sample of Past Programs

The Art of Leading Discussion

This session offers a unique set of ideas and strategies for getting the most out of a classroom discussion. In a discussion style format, attendees will have the opportunity to see first hand how to implement effective strategies that seamlessly carry a discussion from start to finish.

Topics covered will include different types of discussions, increasing student participation, sharing authority, using silence to your advantage, and responding to student comments. Participants will leave with a new toolbox of ready to implement discussion strategies.

Carrots & Sticks: Motivating Students to Learn

Do you struggle with getting students to do homework? Wonder how to get effective work out of groups, or encourage consistent progress on a semester-long project? Need new strategies to support critical thinking and encourage students to take risks?

Join seven award-winning professors from arts, humanities, social science, STEM, and professional programs to discuss successful techniques for dealing with these and other teaching issues. Guide your students from showing up to showing off subject mastery.

One Size Does Not Fit All:
Success in Courses with Online Components

The use of online components in higher ed runs the gamut from handouts on Blackboard to the flipped classroom to blended courses to fully online courses and even MOOCs. There is no one-size-fits-all model for all students and all disciplines.  Rather, faculty members should strategically consider which online techniques and technologies could best help their students succeed. 

Reflecting both on the speaker’s day-to-day teaching experiences and on his empirical studies of online outcomes, this session will explore the challenges and opportunities presented by various models, and will give attendees the opportunity to discuss these cutting-edge issues.

All the Content, Fewer Calendar Days

Normally our courses are a full semester long, but SMU provides opportunities for faculty members to teach and students to learn in settings in which the entire course may unfold in a matter of two to three weeks.  This presents both challenges and opportunities, as faculty use innovative methods to engage students in that intense environment.  Come hear from colleagues who have successfully taught in Taos, May Term,  J Term, and summer school: what creative teaching methods did they adopt? How did what they learned in the short-form environment give them ideas that opened up new possibilities for full semester courses?

This panel discussion, followed by Q&A, will provide ideas that we can all use.  And those who are inspired to want to try "condensed" teaching will have the opportunity to visit with representatives of SMU-in-Taos, May Term, J Term, and summer school about proposing new courses.

Experiential Learning: SMU-in-Taos

SMU-in-Taos offers a venue for faculty to offer courses using the benefits offered by experiential learning. Research on teaching has shown experiential education can improve student understanding of course concepts. This session will examine the research supporting experiential education and how faculty can take advantage of the Taos campus to support undergraduate and graduate courses.

View the Presentations from the seminar:
Mike Adler
Sheri Kunovich
Andrew Quicksall

Flipping Your Classroom with Just-in-Time Teaching

Much has been made of the flipped classroom as an approach that facilitates active learning. A growing volume of evidence shows that the flipped classroom technique helps students to better learn and better retain material. There are many ways for "flipping the classroom", that is, for switching the order of learning activities that traditionally take place inside and outside of the classroom, and for making the in-class time more interactive. We will describe one particular realization based on a method called “Just-in-Time Teaching" (JiTT). In the JiTT approach, students not only read or watch the new material before the class, but also complete a simple assignment that is reviewed by the instructor prior to the class and used to introduce various learning activities. jiTT is great for enhancing two-way communications between the instructor and students. We will summarize our experience with using the JiTT method in SMU physics and statistics courses and provide practical examples.

Fun Tools for In-Class Assessment

In this session, CTE’s Instructional Designer Dr. Addy Tolliver will highlight three free tools for formative assessment: Socrative, Quizizz, and Plickers   as well as practical/low-stress ways in which these tools can be integrated into your courses immediately.

Using Twitter for Classroom Engagement

Twitter is here to stay. However, how do we integrate it into our teaching in an effective way? In this mini-session, CTE’s Dr. Addy Tolliver will show you a variety of ways in which you can integrate twitter into your classroom for student engagement, research, subject matter showcase, and the promotion of good digital practices by your students.

Collaborative Activities for the Face-to-Face Classroom

In this mini-session, CTE’s Dr. Addy Tolliver will feature two collaborative strategies for the face-to-face classroom: Jigsaw and Carrousel Brainstorming. 

Teaching with Videos: How to Get Started and Be Successful

Have you thought about using videos in your classroom? Have you ever created your own? Have you heard of the flipped classroom model? Come to the session and learn about different strategies and tools that can be used to teach with videos. 

The Road to Tenure Workshop

SMU’s tenure policy provides that "tenure should be awarded only to those who are outstanding in either teaching or research . . . and whose performance in the other is of high quality." Departments and schools have policies that supplement these standards, but it is always clear that both teaching and research must be strong before tenure will be awarded.  This program provides information about tenure standards and processes.  It also shares important time management advice to help you be sure that short term deadlines don’t overwhelm longer term requirements for excellence in research as well as teaching. 

Untethered Teaching: Using Your iPad to Present and Annotate

Are you tired of being stuck behind the podium during your lectures? Do you want to move around the classroom and make notes on your presentations? Do you want to walk around the class, interacting with your students, and get them to interact with the content? Then this is the workshop for you! In this workshop you will learn about different strategies and technologies that can help you achieve your goals. Learn more about Addy Tolliver.

Hands On Workshop: Creating Videos for Your Students

In this hands-on workshop you will work on creating a video for students in your class and learn about best practices and tools that might assist you in that process.

Inquiry Models of Teaching: Understanding the Socratic Method

You have probably heard about Socratic seminars, but have you lead one? Do you know what are the parameters of this inquiry-based teaching model? Come to this workshop to find out. Learn more about Addy Tolliver.

Understanding the 2016 Horizon Report

Do you know the technologies are are likely to impact higher education in the near, midterm and long-term horizons? In this session, we will explore the NMC/Educause’s Horizon Report and how it might impact SMU and its students. Learn more about Addy Tolliver.

Design Jam: Re-Designing the Classroom in the Age of Technology

This workshop takes its name from a fabulous book by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson, Rethinking Education in The Age of Technology. The 90-minute workshop will explore a process for innovation in classroom teaching through participation in a design jam. In this hands-on session, participants work individually and in groups to turn ideas into actionable strategies that will improve teaching and learning. This cyclical design process is common in the high-tech industry that focuses on innovation, ideation, and implementation. This session is presented by CTE's new instructional designer, Doug Wilson. 

Mini Program: What is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The Art of Storytelling Using the One Button Studio
In this hands-on workshop, learn tips and strategies to produce an outstanding on-camera performance using the One Button Studio, a new way to produce engaging videos quickly and easily for your students. SMU instructional designer and former television news reporter Dr. Doug Wilson will walk workshop participants through the One Button Studio setup and give pointers for making a strong on-camera performance. Faculty will also be introduced to Kaltura, an easy to use but powerful video sharing application now being piloted on campus. Workshop participants will also be enrolled in the One Button Studio online workshop community where they can get ongoing feedback on their videos from other SMU One Button Studio users and from Dr. Wilson.