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Center for Teaching Excellence


Center for Teaching Excellence

Events Calendar

Throughout the year, the CTE hosts events catered to USC Faculty and Staff. Our events allow participants to explore a broad range of topics important to both novice and veteran college teachers. Most workshops are facilitated by veteran faculty from USC and are designed to be highly interactive.

Click on the "+" sign next to each event to see description.


January 2018

The Virtual Reality Interest Group is planning ways to bring virtual reality and augmented reality into teaching and learning environments at USC.  We will meet twice a month on different days of the week so more can participate.  The agenda for this meeting is as follows: 

  1. Steps in establishing a space for experimenting with VR
  2. Selection of a platform to use for VR experiments
  3. Discussion of specific courses that can be taught experimentally with VR
  4. Tentative agenda for a VR training week in June
  5. Best way to share literature, links, etc. so we can have a common knowledge base

Join us to help make a virtual environment a reality. Register

FLIP is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

The Darla Moore School of Business (DMSB) is recognized globally as a top tier business school. Recently, DMSB implemented a challenging Undergraduate Excellence Initiative in which the level of rigor and relevance in course offerings is being greatly enhanced. Growth in the student population at DMSB is occurring in tandem with the need to provide more coverage of relevant subject matter given today’s dynamic, highly competitive global business environment. At the same time, demonstrated proficiency with advanced technologies is an imperative for success in today’s competitive business context. MGMT 371 –Principles of Management is the first step in the students’ journey through DMSB; as such, this Principles of Management course must set the standard with regard to the level of rigor, relevance and engagement required for DMSB students. This presentation will reveal how adaptive learning technology is being employed in a large online section of MGMT 371 to increase student engagement, improve mastery of content and significantly transform the learning environment.  Register

You'll feel more comfortable using copyrighted material when you know what you can and can't do. Come explore how to use copyrighted materials in instruction, including posting copyrighted materials to Blackboard. We will also discuss the practical application of Fair Use and examine how the library can assist you with posting materials for your class.  Register

In any given semester, the graduate teaching assistant wears several hats - That of the teacher who is responsible for conveying information and providing guidance to his/her students, that of the researcher who is expected to be productive in their own scholarly pursuits, and finally, that of the student, who is still in need of guidance and training him/herself from a mentor. Is it realistic to expect that anyone can excel in juggling all three responsibilities effectively? In this workshop, Evelyn shares some of her experiences and tips in managing the many facets of being a graduate teaching assistant and finding a balance between all three important responsibilities.  Register

How do you Assess and Assist Students in Crisis workshop is designed to provide faculty valuable information, resources, skills and tips to identify and assist students who may struggle with adjusting to college, academics expectation or performance.   Register

Effective leadership requires strategic planning, creative thinking and the ability to adapt when things don't go as planned. However, these high-level skills rest on a foundation of successfully managing the nitty-gritty details of everyday life. Join Janet Hudson for a practical introduction to strategies that can help you plan your day with intention, manage daily distractions including email, balance competing demands, and combat procrastination so that you can increase your productivity AND peace of mind. Register

This session is an introduction to Blackboard. Participants will learn how to log in, add course content, create assignments, add announcements, send email, and basic Grade Center management. Perfect for those new to Blackboard or a great refresher for users with any level of experience. Register

Exams, quizzes, and other assessments are a way to test students comprehension of the material, but can serve many additional purposes. Such assessments motivate students to study, and inform you (and your students) of how much they have learned, or perhaps what additional learning needs to occur. Effective and fair testing questions have many properties that should be considered when developing them.

  • What level of knowledge are you assessing, and how do you assess that level effectively and objectively?
  • Does the exam provide equal opportunity for students of different learning abilities to show their learning and skill development?
  • Is there a mix of question levels contributing to building meaningful rather than just surface knowledge?
  • Do the questions actually address what you are trying to evaluate?

These questions and many other considerations will be discussed, along with pros and cons of different types of test questions, guidance in writing good test items, and practice in doing so. Alternative modes of assessment will also be presented and discussed. If you've ever wanted to learn how to make an exam that truly validates what students are learning, this is the workshop for you.  Register

Do you see untapped leadership potential in some of your students? Have you considered that a spark in the classroom may ultimately lead to a students' deeper engagement in learning from research, internships, or other beyond the classroom experiences? While students often make their own choices regarding their beyond the classroom engagement (e.g., research, internships, study abroad), faculty can provide the necessary connection between these experiences and student's major and professional goals. This is especially true as we encourage students to take advantage of all of the opportunities at a major public research university. This session will share our experience in supporting students' professional and leadership development through mentorship and engagement in research, professional practice, and study abroad. We also invite participants to share their experiences and discuss how we can support achieving students' goals.  Register

In this workshop, we will look at lecture in two different ways: as something to be avoided and something to be utilized. We will discuss research on lectures, active learning techniques, and alternatives to lecture in both the online and face-to-face classrooms. We will then discuss the best ways to utilize lecture as a content delivery method and ways to incorporate active learning into the lecture itself.  Register

February 2018

Accelerated Study Plans. Winter Session. Full-time students in the Summer Semester! Come learn how the Office of On Your Time Initiatives in the Provost's Office is helping students graduate on time (and even early!) by taking advantage of multiple opportunities for degree progression. Learn how you and your department can encourage students to stay on track, how you can provide flexible opportunities to assist students in their degree completio, and how other areas of the university are here to help YOU as you help your STUDENTS.  Register

FLIP is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

This workshop session will explore ways to improve education for employable professionals in a changing world. It will include:

  • Advocating for teaching and learning scientific understanding
  • Reanalyzing the skills and abilities of a liberal arts education to demonstrate its compatibility with sustainable learning outcomes and market demands
  • Forming meaningful partnerships with local communities   Register

This workshop provides business educators who teach retailing, entrepreneurship, business and services courses with an innovative way to encourage students to engage in problem-based learning solving by incorporating reality television into their curricula. Dr. Rosenbaum explores the reality television genre from several theoretical perspectives to lend support to the conclusion that reality programs easily captivate their audiences by stimulating self-involvement. Dr. Rosenbaum presents an assignment based on B. S. Bloom's (1956) revised taxonomy that educators can employ when incorporating reality programming into their courses. He also provides data to demonstrate direct and indirect measures of learning outcomes associated with reality programming in business curricula.  Register

Hands-on experimentation is an important (and fun) part of introductory undergraduate-level science courses, typically counting for one credit hour in a four-hour course. How can instructors effectively teach this component online? This session will discuss strategies for converting a traditional science lecture and lab into a successful online course - complete with the hands-on experience.  Register

While the term 'lesson plan' conjures up images of teaching in K-12, this concept is both directly applicable and valuable in the college classroom as well. Class time and lesson planning for the undergraduate class requires consideration of different aspects of instruction at different stages in the lesson. How much content should be discussed in a class period? Should content dictate how you design your class time and teach the material? How can you structure class sessions to ensure accommodating varied levels of knowledge and learning abilities? What teaching elements and resources should be included in the class time to better facilitate student learning? Methods for developing both structured and flexible lesson plans, and styles for teaching a variety of classes will be presented, and participants will design a class lesson plan of their own based on the model most suited for their discipline.  Register

First Generation College students are now, more than ever before, a recognized segment of the student population on university campuses. Have you, as an instructor/professor pondered about the best ways to engage these students who are the first in their families to attend a four year college?  In this interactive workshop, Florencia Cornet will share her experience teaching First Generation College Students, and provide you with tips and strategies on how to cultivate an effective pedagogical style to support high performance and retention of First Generation College Students. Participants will explore interactive approaches, integrative curriculum design, active and collaborative teaching-learning styles and inclusive strategies for teaching First Generation College students. The session will conclude with an informal question-and-answer session focused on participants' take away for their own classrooms.  Register

This workshop will present a series of Metacognition Mini-Lecture learning modules that introduce principles of brain science and how human memory works. The mini-lectures can be incorporated into courses in any discipline. They present evidence-based learning strategies and explain why those learning strategies work in light of the brain's design. We know a lot about how the human brain works to store and recall memories during the process of learning. These principles of brain science can be applied to teaching, learning, note-taking, studying and test-taking. This process of 'thinking about thinking' is known as metacognition. Both instructors and students need to be familiar with metacognition, which can help us align learning activities and practices with how our brains work. Metacognition can encourage us to use evidence-based practices that are more effective because they are based on the science of learning and take advantage of how the brain learns. This doesn't make studying and learning easier, learning is always hard, but it can make the time spent studying more effective so that the same amount of time spent learning can lead to better learning results.  Register

The Carolina Intercultural Training (CIT) program developed by International Student Services focuses on faculty and staff understanding cross-cultural communication styles and exploring strategies for increasing intercultural competence. This workshop includes information and activities to help navigate common miscommunications between cultures both in the office and classroom setting. Those who complete this program will receive a certificate and an “International Friendly Zone” card. You will leave the workshop better-equipped to provide and promote an inclusive environment on campus for more than 1,800 international Gamecocks.  Register

In this interactive workshop, participants will be introduced to current research on cognitive learning principles and how it can help us  as teachers better understand student learning both in and outside the classroom. Based on a discussion of these principles and an examination of case studies, participants will be guided to develop specific teaching strategies they can use in their own courses to better promote deep and durable learning. Participants will design a teaching strategy or assessment tool that aligns with these cognitive principles which will then be workshopped in small groups.  Register

FLIP is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

How do we engage students in online courses and move them beyond simply reading, viewing lectures, and taking multiple-choice tests? Come to this workshop to learn how to design online activities and assessments to motivate students and help them develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. You will see examples of effective learning activities and evidence of goal attainment. There will be opportunities for discussion and brainstorming with colleagues.  Register

The purpose of this workshop is to provide students and instructors an opportunity to establish clear expectations for faculty and students in facilitating discussions in the classroom. Open and mutually respected discussions in the classroom should allow a variety of opinions and viewpoints to be articulated in a comfortable and safe environment.  Register

What is the most effective way of engaging online students? As online instructors, we use discussion forums, chat, responses, blogs, group activities, debate formats, labs and other means of engaging students in online classes. But what is most effective for different learning environments and circumstances? What do students expect and get out of the different engagements tools and methods? Dick will reflect on the different tools and methods he has used in his online classes. He will share what worked and didn't and how he adjusts to meet the students' learning needs. Participants will share and reflect on what they find effective for their classes.  Register

Looking for some great tools for your face to face, distance, or hybrid instruction? This is the session for you! Heather Moorefield-Lang from the School of Library and Information Science will take you through favorite digital tools and apps for instruction, organization and classroom collaboration. Bring your technology for hands-on interaction, bring your own favorite digital tools and applications to further the discussion.  Register

March 2018

This workshop is about becoming comfortable as a teacher, and appreciating the rewards  expected and unexpected. It is based on a presentation developed by Dr. Campbell when he served on the national Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. At this point, while the songs might not change, he admits the presentation is evolving. Bring your songs and let's enjoy the music that is teaching.  Register

Educating Every Gamecock - Reaching All Students will explore diversity from the perspective of class content, syllabi development, classroom discussion, course assignments and how cultural assumptions may influence the learning experience for all students.  Register

What makes a teacher excellent? Why do some of us inspire students to work hard, while others inspire students to skip class? This seminar engages the award winning professors in a panel discussion about good teaching. Panelists share teaching strategies that work for them and have contributed to their success as members of the University of South Carolina faculty.  Register

FLIP is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

Addressing disruptive behavior within the classroom can be a challenge for even the most experienced instructors. This workshop will focus on proactive and reactive strategies to assist instructors in creating a positive academic environment and addressing negative behaviors. The facilitators will guide instructors through scenarios and facilitate discussion on the various strategies to address disruptive behavior. Instructors will be able to develop the competencies necessary to effectively handle cheating concerns, erratic behavior and classroom disruption.  Register

Have you considered flipping your classroom? Are you unsure of how this technique compares to the traditional classroom? Nina Moreno will discuss her experience flipping the traditional format of the beginner Spanish courses of the Spanish curriculum from the perspectives of an instructor, an administrator, and a researcher. We will also discuss a few concrete ways that you can start to flip elements of your class now.  Register

Active learning instructional strategies engage students in teamwork through application and evaluation, foster professional soft skills and problem-solving experiences and improve discipline-specific competencies. Taught incrementally, teamwork is an accessible context for students to encounter a variety of topics and assignments.

How does all of this actually work in the classroom? A series of assignments appealing to a range of learning styles and strengths moves student teams ahead in course benchmarks and team development, and students actively create and evaluate their interactions, contributions, and goals, increasing the likelihood of productive knowledge transfer and fortifying their time management, communication, leadership, and conflict resolution skill sets. Lindsay McManus will share experiences with active learning deliverables that support characteristics of successful team participation and product.  Register

FLIP is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

At the University of South Carolina, we have a diverse group of students entering our learning environments. Students are enrolling into our courses with various characteristics, needs and disabilities; both invisible and visible. It's important for educators to create universally designed, usable and accessible materials that can be accessed and used by a wide variety of individuals. Within this hands-on workshop, you will create an accessible and usable Word document.  Register

Learn to create tests with and without pools of questions, and to modify the deployment rules for individuals or groups of students. See a live demonstration of the test creation and deployment process. Whether or not you've used Blackboard to give tests before, this course will help you to understand the tool and the many options you have for creating and managing tests online.  Register

Do students in your classroom currently use assistive technology? Do you understand the importance of Assistive Technology for students with disabilities to be successful in the classroom? Do you ever have
students who are struggling in your class that could possibly benefit from Assistive Technology?

In this workshop, Tammy will share the definition of Assistive Technology and explore different types of assistive technology that is available for college students to assist with reading and writing. The session will conclude with an informal question-and-answer session related to the content of the workshop.  Register

Are you ready to move forward on the road to meeting all students’ needs? Learn how you can use the principles of Universal Design for Learning (providing all individuals an equal opportunity to learn) to make your course welcoming and usable for all of your students.  Register

How do you make students in large lecture halls feel like they are in a smaller venue? Do you hope to connect your research to your teaching more effectively? Lauren Sklaroff will explain methods of 'shrinking' survey classes to enhance student experiences and familiarity with the professor, in addition to teaching assistants. Participants will discuss their current research and ways to engage students more fully. Participants should bring something to the workshop (an article, conference paper, or some form of their research) that students could potentially learn from.  Register

Interested in teaching online but aren't certain what you need to do or what the steps are to create an online course? The Instructional Design Team at the Center for Teaching Excellence is here to support you throughout the process-from online delivery approval to teaching online. In this workshop, we will discuss:

  • The university process to convert a class from face-to-face to online delivery
  • Basic steps of creating a high quality online course, and
  • University offices available to support faculty who teach online

We'll also answer any question you have about teaching online at UofSC. At the end of the workshop, we'll also be glad to set up individual consultations with you to help you take the next step.  Register

In this session, participants will learn how to use the Blackboard Grade Center to their advantage and manage grades more efficiently. Creating and managing categories, weighting grades, dropping grades, downloading grades to work offline and using Smart Views are some of the topics to be covered. We welcome users with any level of experience, but this course is designed for instructors or graders who are already comfortable with Grade Center basics.  Register

Are you interested in exploring ways that you can implement more integrative learning concepts and reflective writing into your courses? Are you interested in learning more about the principles of integrative learning? The increasing emphasis on integrative and experiential learning in higher education illuminates the opportunities for academic disciplines to support students’ synthesis of course concepts and their application into real-world settings.

In this interactive, hands-on workshop, the presenters will provide proven examples for guiding reflection in their classes. Participants will then consider their own curricula/courses and how they can introduce concepts of integrative learning through reflection-based assignments to help students articulate the significance of their within and beyond the classroom experiences throughout their college career.  Register

It has almost become a truism in higher education 'We aim to increase critical thinking skills.' Yet, how do instructors actually do this? What does this look like in different disciplines? How does this inform actual practice?In this interactive workshop, Darin Freeburg will walk participants through a framework of critical thinking that centers the discussion around information literacy. Participants will be asked to consider the application of various questions in their own classrooms, including:

  • What is the impact of humans in the development and implementation of this material?
  • How can we engage students in double-loop learning with this material?
  • What groups of people are potentially underserved by existing practices and assumptions in this area?
  • How can courses challenge these assumptions to create new discourses that are more relevant, useful, and socially just?

To help move students from information exposure to action based on this exposure, participants will co-create a guidebook for turning their classrooms into Communities of Practice. Register

April 2018

FLIP is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

Selection. Flexibility. Incentive. Support. Retailers have long provided these services in residential stores and now provide online options that offer alternatives to the shopping experience. Whether entirely online or a blended atmosphere of online and store shopping, retailers utilize technology to identify and track interests, needs/wants and identify how to provide the best opportunities to the consumer through personalized selection. Sound familiar?

It should as the efforts described could define the world of online learning. For the past three decades, higher education institutions have strived to create educational opportunities that provide similar options such as alternative approaches to learning and continuous enrollment options to meet student demand. So, what else can higher education learn from the retail industry?

Join Sher Downing as she discusses methods to integrate learning patterns and inquiry options in online courses with lessons learned from the retail industry. Topics will include the consumer/student perception, identifying their interest point in education and how to help them create a ‘wish list’ for learning through exploration using adaptive learning.

The ability to ask 'good' questions - thought-provoking, critical thinking, at a deeper level of thinking - and the application of this technique in class discussions, is often an overlooked and underdeveloped skill of instructors. With experience, what instructors find is that even discussion sessions take significant planning, preparation, and practice.

In this workshop, effective methodologies and best practices for asking good questions, techniques and styles for leading and facilitating classroom discussions as well as directing student responses will be addressed and modeled. Instructors at all levels of teaching and experience are welcome.  Register

Use streaming film, articles, book chapters and more from the library in your classes. Not only do we have resources, we also have services! Don't want to find the suitable links yourself? The library can put the links and scanned items directly into Blackboard.

Copyright questions? No problem. We're happy to help with copyright information. Curious about open educational resources or making your class textbook cost-free for your students? Our librarians can review your syllabus and suggest open educational and library resources for your class, or even help you find materials for teaching during your course development phase.  Register

Learn how to design and integrate student work and assignments that are relevant and applicable to professional practice. In this workshop, Associate Professor Lucy Green from the School of Library and Information Science, will take you through practical instructional design strategies for developing course work that not only helps you evaluate student growth, but results in projects that students can immediately integrate into their own professional lives.  Register

This workshop is designed for faculty interested in raising their scholarly profile and increasing the impact of their work. Participants will learn specific strategies to improve the discoverability of their research and publicize their scholarship to targeted audiences. Participants will also discuss the separation between personal and professional social media use in the world of academia including how to take part in scholarly conversations using social media.  Register

FLIP is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

We know that active learning can give students a richer learning experience compared to traditional lecture-based college courses. But who are today's undergraduate students, and how can we engage them meaningfully in our face-to-face courses? Join us for this zesty workshop in which we delve into the mindset of Generation Z, and learn how to apply active learning techniques to facilitate better learning.  Register

May 2018

FLIP is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information