2011 Conference

Best Practices for Improving Student Learning 

A "Teaching and Learning Collective" Conference
Friday, January 21, 2011
Powers Hall Ballroom

The Conference on Best Practices for Improving Student Learning was co-sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Faculty Center for Innovative Teaching (FaCIT) for all CMU faculty and teaching graduate students.

The conference focused on providing faculty with evidence-based best-practices and tools for:

  • Strengthening learning
  • Improving students' academic performance and confidence, and
  • Teaching students strategies for becoming independent learners

Participants chose from breakout workshop sessions that focus on practical teaching strategies that can be easily integrated into existing classes and that are effective without making excessive demands on teachers' time.

 

Keynote Speaker

Below the Bar: Findings on Academic Behaviors of CMU Students

Jason Bentley
Director, First Year Experience
Central Michigan University
 
Jason Bentley will present research on CMU students' adjustment to college life, which measured factors that most influence student retention for comparison against peer institutions. This address will focus on students' perceptions of their academic skills, confidence and challenges. Bentley will be joined by students for an open discussion with conference attendees.

 

 

Breakout Sessions

Breakout A: "Integrating Writing-to-Learn Assignments Across the Disciplines"

Facilitators presented strategies for designing and easily evaluating writing assignments that increase students' engagement with and learning of course material. The session was interactive, and participants left with materials, assignments, and rubrics that they can adapt to their own courses.
 
Facilitators: MaryAnn Crawford and Marcy Taylor
 

Breakout B: "Integrating Writing-to-Learn Assignments Across the Disciplines"
(this breakout's content will be identical to Breakout A
)

Facilitators presented strategies for designing and easily evaluating writing assignments that increase students' engagement with and learning of course material. The session was interactive, and participants left with materials, assignments, and rubrics that they can adapt to their own courses.
 
Facilitators: Elizabeth Brockman and Melinda Kreth
 

Breakout C: "Manufacturing Environment: Teaching Critical and Sustained Reading"
 
Jack Drolet facilitated a discussion on in-class exercises to optimize critical reading skills, and Blake addressed the impact of multi-tasking/multi-media on students' ability to engage in sustained reading.
 
Facilitators: Allegra Blake and Jack Drolet
 

Breakout D: "Break it Down to Put it Together: Assignments that Build Analytical Reading Skills"
 
Facilitators presented some "best practices" for designing assignments that help readers analyze content to find the main ideas and then see how those "main pieces" fit together to make a "coherent whole." Participants were encouraged to contribute materials which describe reading assignments they have used that have proven successful in enhancing student reading skills and comprehension. They also discussed how/why some reading assignments prove ineffective.
 
Facilitators: Merlyn Mowrey and John Wright
 

 

 

Event photos

Keynote speaker Jason Bentley

Student panelists

Dr. Merlyn Mowrey