Fall Teaching Conference – 5 Transformative Teaching Practices

IMG_4259FTLC Fall Teaching Conference
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
8:30 am – 1 pm
Eberhard Conference Center
Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Session Description: Whether deepsignificanttransformational, or transformative, teaching and learning are about growth and perpetual change. How can faculty create learning environments and craft activities that foster change in students and promote learning that transcends the classroom? This conference will describe a framework for designing significant learning experiences and provide concrete examples of the framework’s application.

The opening presentation was facilitated by Dr. Stewart Ross, currently a senior member of Dee Fink & Associates, and the founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU). He holds a Ph.D. in Music Education from Northwestern University.


  • High impact = transformative practices.
  • NSSE – A focus on student engagement.  In 2008, 5 high impact practices emerged:
    1. First Year Seminars
    2. Learning Communities
    3. Service Learning
    4. Undergrad Research
    5. Capstone Courses and Projects

We cannot improve student learning without improving our own teaching!

  •  How do we get better over time… the quality of teaching begins when you start teaching and into the future.  Continuously improving practice, going to workshops, connecting and sharing with others to collaborate and learn new skills.  Trial and error is part of teaching.  Keep getting better, don’t let people tell you you don’t have time.  Work and work to become a better teacher because there is more joy as students get better and better.
  1. Change Students View of Learning
  2. Learning-Centered Course Design
    • Taxonomy of Significant Learning
    • Understand and remember the key concepts, know how to use the content, relate the subject to other subjects, understand the personal and social implications of knowing the subject, value the subject and further learning about it, keep on learning about the subject after the course is over.
  3. Team Based Learning
    • A special way of using small groups.  Social constructivism is part, but not all ways of using small groups are equally good.
  4. Be a Leader with your Students
    • Ken Bain
    • Knowledge of the Subject Matter, Interact with Students, Designing Learning Experiences, and Managing the Course.
    • Leadership – Motivating and enabling other to do something important well.
    • Interact in such a way that shows you care!
    • Interact in a way that motivates students.
    • KEY > Care about the subject and care about the students.
    • Give praise in a way that motivates.
    • Listen well to the learners.
    • Celebrate achievements.
    • Give power to students to make their own decisions.
  5. Students Reflecting on their own Learning
    • Portfolios are commonly used – the best way to deploy is for the entire department to use them…

High Impact Teaching Strategies

Slides – 5 High Impact Teaching Practices

The opening session highlighted the following examples of how transformative teaching practices are being applied on our own campus. Highlights were be shared by:

  • Kurt Ellenberger, Professor of Music, Frederik Meijer Honors College
    • Office hours are not well attended by students. Most faculty report no use or less than %25. 2% of grade was assigned if the students visited the faculty office within the first 2 weeks.  Pre-class survey questions is another idea. (Blackboard is a good solution for pre-class surveys as the results can be tied to the gradebook for points as well as the ability to have the survey “turn off” after the class begins. Bb Collaborate or Instant Messenger could also be used for online office hours.)
  • Julie White, Affiliate Professor, Writing
    • 3rd week check up – take 5 minutes to hang around if the students wanted to chat.  To create unit and community with the students.  Helping to learn student’s names. (Blackboard photo roster is a potential option in the future.)
  • Chasity Bailey-Fakhoury, Assistant Professor, Special Education, Foundations, and Technology
  • Susan Harrington, Assistant Professor, Nursing
  • Nancy Schoofs, Professor, Nursing
  • Mary Bair, Associate Professor, Special Education, Foundations, and Technology
  • Judy Whipps, Professor, Liberal Studies and Philosophy
    • ePortfolios are a unique way to showcase learning. (Blackboard ePortfolios is a potential option in the near future.)
  • Danielle Lake, Assistant Professor, Liberal Studies

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