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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.


October 2018

Assessments and exams test student comprehension of the material but can serve many valuable functions. While assessments tend to be what motivates students to study, they provide information to the instructor regarding what additional learning needs to occur and should be crafted to guide the student through meaningful, deep learning. Effective assessments should engage student learning in “real time” while ensuring that they are measurable and directly linked to specific learning outcomes.

Considerations in developing assessments include:

  • What level of knowledge are you assessing, and how do you assess that level effectively?
  • Does it provide equal opportunity for students of different learning abilities to show their learning and skill development?
  • Do the questions actually address what you are trying to evaluate?

Such considerations will be discussed in this workshop, highlighting strategies that effectively and objectively measure learning, along with pros and cons of different types of questions and practice in doing so.  Register

Wondering why you can't seem to reach all of your students? Finding it difficult to engage a diverse set of learners in your online or hybrid courses? Research shows that many common educational and social practices reinforce inequities and work against the success of students from underrepresented groups. Let's unpack why this might happen and work together to develop solutions to engage all learners in our courses - with a particular focus on online instruction.  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

Have you heard of using mindfulness practice in the classroom or workplace? Are you curious about how to put this into practice? Do you wonder whether and how this could benefit your students? This workshop will share research on the benefits and strategies for using mindfulness in the classroom and workplace and provide a primer on mindfulness practice and meditation. Finally, workshop participants will partake in mindfulness exercises and discuss concrete ways to integrate this practice in their classrooms.  Register

Are you a graduate teaching assistant looking to have a greater impact on your students’ learning? Do you wish you knew strategies to do your job more efficiently and effectively? Whether you are a new or returning TA, this interactive workshop will provide you with tips to enhance your teaching. Participants will discuss best practices for TAs, including how to provide timely feedback to students and balance TA work with other responsibilities.  Register

Planning an online course is not about technology, it’s about pedagogy. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to online teaching and develop their knowledge and ability to implement and teach online courses. Participants will be guided through the 3 phases of online course design, Design, Development, and Delivery, without the need to do any online building. Participants will learn about how online teaching differs from face-to-face and the Design, Development, and Delivery phases of online course design. By the end of the workshop, participants will design online learning activities and student interactions, and create a plan for online course delivery.  Register

It has almost become a truism in higher education 'We aim to increase critical thinking skills.' Or perhaps, 'We want students to be change agents.' 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 Knowledge Lens for instruction. This lens is intended to change how instructors see their classrooms and the students within them. As with any camera lens, it corrects for inaccuracies in the picture. When this picture comes through more clearly, critical thinking and innovation can occur within the classroom. Instead of waiting for students to be change agents when they graduate, we ask them to do it while they're here.

Questions include:

  • What does it mean to see classrooms as complex systems?
  • What does it mean to see students as creative and autonomous agents?
  • What is the importance of conversation and dialogue?
  • How can instructors inspire student action?
  • Can we turn classrooms into Communities of Practice?  Register

Ever walked around the historic Horseshoe and wished the buildings could tell you their story? Or walked in a forest and wondered the name of the tree with strange foliage? Would you like to hold an elephant in your hand? By blending the physical world with the digital world, augmented and mixed reality can tell the stories, can provide data, and even introduce virtual elephants into your real world. Join us to learn more about possibilities with augmented and mixed reality.  Register

An instructor can often make small changes to his or her documents and presentations to make them more inclusive and accessible by all students. Bring your own mobile device for this hands-on session to learn best practices to make your course materials more usable by all students.  Register

In this session we will discuss the academic misconduct trends we are seeing online and in person with our students. Additionally, we will discuss how to identify and address these common violations while maintaining a productive instructor/student relationship.  Register

Hear from USCPD what to do to keep your students and yourself safe. This seminar is designed to provide guidance on what to do in a shooting incident, how to be prepared, how to think safely and how to recognize a potential problem, specifically in campus and classroom contexts.  Register

All USC faculty, instructors and graduate teaching assistants are invited to participate in the ninth annual Oktoberbest: A Symposium on Teaching on Friday, October 12, 2018. Join colleagues from across USC campuses for this free one-day symposium focused on sharing best practices in teaching.

The Oktoberbest schedule has a wide variety of workshops on topics ranging from active learning and online course development to critical thinking and integrative learning. The event will include:

  • Breakfast with our keynote speaker, Pamela E. Barnett
  • Panel discussion on the 'Implications of the Horizon Report' facilitated by Debbie Yoho, a doctoral candidate in Library and Information Sciences
  • Choice of Concurrent Sessions presented by your colleagues at USC
  • Closing reception featuring door prizes and traditional Oktoberfest fare

Oktoberbest is free to all who teach or support teaching at USC, but is not open to the general public.  Register

Learn the differences among the blog, journal, wiki and discussion board tools in Blackboard. In addition to encouraging class communication and collaboration, these tools can allow students to share information in creative ways. Register

Are you looking for ways to make your formative and summative assessments more effective? Join us to learn how to use Office 365 tools, including Forms, PowerPoint, OneNote and Sway, to create authentic assessments from the beginning to the end of a unit.  Register

The benefits from the faculty mentor-GTA relationship is primarily contingent on the experience of the mentor. Being a good mentor takes time, conscious active effort, and recognition of the guiding, facilitator role rather than the dictatorial role. To ensure that the relationship between the faculty member and the graduate assistant is mutually beneficial, serious consideration must be given to how faculty develop and evaluate graduate student teaching. Faculty, how are you implementing your mentoring role? What level of interaction and guidance will you be providing? How are you contributing to your GTA’s intellectual and professional development? Join us in this webinar to discuss important aspects of faculty GTA mentoring, and bring your experiences and issues to help others reflect on their own roles and GTA needs.  Register

Do you wish you could better help your students with their career decision making? When you talk with students about their career plans, do you wish you had some tangible tools in your toolbox? Become a Career Champion! Career Champion is a campus wide program designed to visibly identify faculty and staff who are especially equipped to assist students with career decision making.

The Career Champion training workshop engages participants in a tailored curriculum designed to provide them with knowledge about the career development process and the foundations of employability, as well as teaching best practices for having career conversations with students. Participants will learn valuable helping skills, goal setting techniques, ethical practices, and how best to make referrals to available resources.

Career Champions will also leave with resources they can use in their own professional career. Those who complete the training program will receive a Career Champion decal to display in their office, inviting students to approach them to discuss career related issues. (NOTE: This is a 2 part workshop)  Register

What happens to student engagement, interaction and learning when you incorporate educational technologies? Participants will explore easy and inexpensive technologies available for incorporation into the classroom bringing boring lecture content to life and actively engaging learners. In this interactive workshop, we will discuss and demonstrate several tools, share examples of in-class active learning, successes and challenges and identify future steps for successful implementation.  Register

Existing scholarship on co-teaching lauds its virtues within university contexts. While it manifests itself through multiple formats, participating faculty members and graduate teaching assistants must consider resources and contexts to which it might be applied. In this interactive workshop, the presenters will engage participants in a “lived experience” and present 3- 4 models of co- teaching. There will be multiple opportunities for discussions and questions throughout and at the end of the presentation.  Register

Learn how to post assignments, load files, receive student input and files, organize information, and grade assignments using the Assignment Manager. Discover how to check for plagiarism using SafeAssign.  Register

Do you wish you could better help your students with their career decision making? When you talk with students about their career plans, do you wish you had some tangible tools in your toolbox? Become a Career Champion! Career Champion is a campus wide program designed to visibly identify faculty and staff who are especially equipped to assist students with career decision making.

The Career Champion training workshop engages participants in a tailored curriculum designed to provide them with knowledge about the career development process and the foundations of employability, as well as teaching best practices for having career conversations with students. Participants will learn valuable helping skills, goal setting techniques, ethical practices, and how best to make referrals to available resources.

Career Champions will also leave with resources they can use in their own professional career. Those who complete the training program will receive a Career Champion decal to display in their office, inviting students to approach them to discuss career related issues. (NOTE: This is a 2 part workshop)  Register

Are you able to recognize campus microaggressions or subtle discrimination and make a difference in their consequences? In this workshop, we will work collaboratively to identify how the dynamics of power, privilege and marginalization impact ways that microaggressions happen among our faculty, staff and students as individuals and as part of policy formation. Owning our prejudices and partialities will help us to consciously increase awareness about the impact of organizational culture and job stress on exacerbating unconscious bias behaviors in administration, teaching and staff management.

This workshop will provide training to facilitate equitable decision-making across myriad of campus contexts. We will explore the depth and breadth of students, staff, and faculty celebrating similarities and differences or assimilating to the dominant group’s preferences at the personal, interpersonal, institutional/systemic and cultural levels. In doing so, this workshop will create an important dialogue centered around the impact of subtle forms of discrimination and microaggressions, as well as how we can best support our university community to unmask and address unconscious bias. The behavioral skills gained in this workshop will be a nexus to deepen our understanding of diversity and action at both individual and structural levels.  Register

Blackboard Organizations provide a forum for communication with members of a specific academic community. Leaders of an organization can add participants, create internal groups, share and secure information, conduct discussions, and email group members. Organizations function like Blackboard courses but are generally used for administrative processes. Organizations may be created for faculty and staff based on specific needs, such as providing information to academic departments and committees, and providing space for work group collaboration.  Register

Want to help students develop their most creative and innovative abilities? Introduce them to digital storytelling, regardless of their digital device! Students can use digital tools to create and share their own stories or experiences or reflect on what they've learned. Join us as we learn about how you can use Sway, a NEW innovative web-based learning tool that can be used on any device your students may have access to in the classroom.  Register

We invite faculty, staff, and students to join us for a interesting discussion on how to have open and mutually respected conversations in the classroom. In this workshop, students, faculty and staff will explore expectations on classroom discussion, especially when the topic may be one where there are many opposing viewpoints. We hope to help find common ground on how we converse and engage with one another respectfully. We value your opinion, and hope that you’ll join this lively discussion with facilitators and participants. We’ll have a free lunch for everyone!  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

Tired of looking out at a classroom full of glazed-over stares? Do "snores happen"? You CAN push students out of their comfort zone and pull them right into the learning process. Join us for this fun and fast-paced session in which you will learn how to set the stage for student engagement, integrate active learning techniques into your courses, and get your students involved in the learning process.  Register

November 2018

Are you looking for ways to make your formative and summative assessments more effective? Join us to learn how to use Office 365 tools, including Forms, PowerPoint, OneNote and Sway, to create authentic assessments from the beginning to the end of a unit.  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

Creating an environment of integrity within the classroom truly takes a village. Faculty, administrators, and students all play a role in maintaining an ethical campus community. This workshop will explore preventative tools to address classroom roadblocks.  Register

Are you stressed? Who isn’t? Do you realize that “stressed” spelled backward is “desserts”? We sometimes turn to unhealthy behaviors to put a Band-Aid on stress. But there’s a better way.

In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore the body’s stress response and how to handle it. We’ll also discuss and practice long-term stress management strategies. You’ll learn how to debunk some stress myths and create practices that will help you sail through turbulent times.  Register

Open Educational Resources (OER), teaching tools that can be customized by faculty and freely-accessed by students, have proven to positively impact student success. This interactive workshop will provide an overview of OER and other affordable course materials. Participants will practice locating OER, evaluating free resources, and interpreting copyright permissions. In addition, attendees will discover resources and techniques for modifying and creating open course content. This workshop will conclude with an overview of affordable learning services offered through the library and will include time for participant discussion.  Register

In 1956, Benjamin S. Bloom and his associates published a framework for reasons that included the establishment of congruence between learning expectations and assessment of learning. This contribution became highly visible in the education community as a hierarchy displayed in a triangular diagram. Many years later, scholars whom Bloom mentored developed a more robust framework, known as the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, to capture the complexities of teaching and learning. Participants will consider an overview of this matrix to reflect on their planning, teaching, and assessment activities. There will be opportunity to apply use of the matrix to at least one course objective and assessment. So, participants are encouraged to bring a course syllabus.  Register

Are you thinking of teaching an online course? Do you need help recording and producing lectures for online courses? The Office of Distributed Learning assists faculty and academic units with online course needs. In this workshop, learn more about the services we provide to deliver exceptional courses to students regardless of location, classroom availability, or time constraints. These services include:

  • Scheduling (through Banner) all distributed learning courses (> 50% online or 100% online)
  • Producing online lectures or other media in our on-site, professional production suites with advanced studio-level and audio equipment
  • Producing transcription/closed captioning to meet course accessibility needs
  • Providing test proctoring options for paper and computer-based formats at approved on- or off-campus testing sites or through a secure online proctoring service
  • Promoting courses taught each semester in various distributed learning formats with our easy to search website.  Register

The purpose of this workshop is to help faculty and instructors recognize emergencies and make appropriate decisions for first aid care. This workshop provides basic first aid knowledge when dealing with breathing, diabetic, fainting, and injuries that participants need to know in order to provide immediate care for a suddenly ill or injured person until more advanced medical care arrives to take over. This workshop is not designed to certify participants in first aid. This workshop is basic and general first aid knowledge.  Register

Do you find your interactions with American students and colleagues frustrating due to your accent?  Do you struggle to convey course material and explanations in English with clarity? In this workshop, Ann Janosik will share insights from the field of accent reduction about the features of American English pronunciation that have the greatest impact on comprehensibility and about concrete strategies for mastering those critical features. Participants will collaborate to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their own spoken English, and all participants will create a personal plan for effectively changing their accents.  Register

Are USC undergraduate student attitudes, priorities and behaviors different from what you are accustomed? International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) must learn to interpret and handle American students' actions appropriately, but seldom have the opportunity for this learning before stepping into the classroom. This workshop and discussion is designed to provide graduate students with the chance to discuss some of the difficulties they might have encountered in American academic culture. This is not a lecture – workshop participants will identify peculiar aspects of American academic life that s/he has encountered, discuss similarities and differences in ideas, beliefs, or expectations with other participants, and develop a deeper understanding of the role culture plays in academic behavior. This workshop is open to all nationalities, not just International graduate students.  Register

The Carolina Intercultural Training focuses on understanding cross-cultural communication styles and exploring strategies for increasing intercultural competence. The workshop includes information, activities, and discussion to help navigate common miscommunications between cultures both in the office and classroom setting. Participants will leave the workshop better equipped to provide and promote an inclusive environment on campus for all international Gamecocks. Those who complete this workshop will receive an “International Friendly Zone” card.

Why should you attend?

  • To increase intercultural competency for the office and classroom
  • To explore and compare cultural models
  • To gain tools to navigate common cultural misunderstandings
  • To prepare for your future career

With any questions about the program, feel free to contact Julie Medlin at medlin3@mailbox.sc.edu.  Register

We invite faculty, staff, and students to join us for this informal and informative conversation about civility and academic integrity in the classroom. In this workshop, students and faculty will explore common expectations when it comes to civility and integrity on the college campus in the 21st century. Find out from students themselves what’s working and what’s not when it comes to this crucial topic. In turn, faculty will be able to share what they expect from students. We’ll have a free lunch for everyone!  Register

Hear from USCPD what to do to keep your students and yourself safe. This seminar is designed to provide guidance on what to do in a shooting incident, how to be prepared, how to think safely and how to recognize a potential problem, specifically in campus and classroom contexts.  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

In this webinar, the presenter will provide an overview of both Adobe Connect and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and discuss the differences between the two web conferencing technologies. Also, the presenter will give suggestions for when to use which one. Both technologies are supported by the Division of Information Technology (DoIT).  Register

Most have heard the famous line “Help me, help you” from Jerry McGuire. The Division of IT wants to help you. Come and learn how to find answers to your technology questions, how to request something, or how to report something that is not working by using the DoIT Service Portal at sc.edu/ithelp.  Register

As you prepare for a new semester, don’t let Blackboard get the best of you! Let us show you some tips and tricks to help you get off on the right foot. We will also cover best practices for using Blackboard as a teaching tool, who to contact for help, and how to access our Knowledge Base.  Register

Engaging in conflict is challenging whether you are an experienced instructor or new to your role. A likely strategy is to ignore the behavior due to our own discomfort, concern over retaliation or fear that our intervention may cause more harm or disruption. Through case study examples this workshop will explore Gerald Amada's research from Coping with Misconduct in the College Classroom and provide participants with tangible strategies to disruptive behavior in a confident and fair manner.  Register

December 2018

Come develop a deeper understanding of inclusive excellence and why it is central not only to how we prepare students to lead, but also to how we engage all members of our USC community. Learn about the ways in which the Office of Diversity and Inclusion seeks to operationalize inclusive excellence, as well as how we intend to use our equity and inclusion strategy to track the University’s effectiveness in four primary areas: compositional diversity, achievement, engagement and inclusion.  Register

Are you looking for a presentation tool? PowerPoint is one of the most popular presentation tools. However, there are alternatives, such as Google Slides, Emaze, and PowToon. With Google Slides, you can create, edit, collaborate, and present wherever you are and at no cost. Emaze is a cloud-based presentation tool for creating visually engaging rich media presentations. Powtoon is another online presentation tool that allows you to create animated videos and presentations. Come learn about these presentation tools to move beyond PowerPoint.  Register