Center for Teaching Excellence

The Center for Teaching Excellence and Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning promotes and provides professional development for faculty with a focus on the incorporation of Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning and a Christian Biblical worldview. The Center supports excellence in teaching which enhances student learning, and collaborates with faculty respecting a wide variety of instructional approaches, recognizing the need for individual differences among faculty and disciplines.

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me,for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Psalm 25:4-5

The Center provides: 

  • Focus on the incorporation of Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning and a Christian Biblical Worldview into all courses
  • Collaboration among university personnel: Adhoc Faculty Advisory, McKee Library, Southern Online Campus, and Information Technology 
  • Faculty Showcases, Teach³ (Professor Study Circles), Summer Institute for Curriculum Design, and requested workshops
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) Subcmomittee of Academic Research Committe (ARC) support for faculty and student research, maintains an IRB website, an IRB eClass site, an ARC website, and an IRB PowerPoint for research classes
  • Access to peer mentors through a New Faculty Mentoring Program
  • Confidential coaching consultations regarding the teaching process and the incorporation of learning experiences from a Christian Biblical Worldview as connected to the individual disciplines
  • Collaboration to assist with curriculum design and redesign support for millennial student needs
  • Comfortable space for small faculty group collaborative meetings
  • Resources for supporting biblical foundations for teaching excellence, classroom teaching, student learning, and assessing options

CTE Flowchart

Contact Information:
Cynthia Gettys, Ph.D., Director
423-236-2285 office
423-236-2085 office fax
423-227-2352 cell

5071-B Colcord Drive
Collegedale, TN 37315

Faculty Resources

The Center of Teaching Excellence (CTE) supports faculty  ( Professors, Associate/Assistant Professors and Instructors ) on Southern's  Campus in academic affairs, which includes all schools and departments. 

Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Professional Development

Faculty may be interested in the following opportunities, which promote and facilitate collegiate, interdisciplinary interaction:

Quick Tips: Helpful tips to get you on the right track to a great semester.

Faculty Showcase: Faculty Showcases are scheduled the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every school month September through April, except for the 4th Wednesday in November and December. These showcases feature faculty sharing ideas for teaching Biblical Foundations and a pedagogy item each showcase. Biblical foundations for faith and learning, opportunities will be present to share what you are doing, what has worked well, and what you have learned about teaching from a Biblical perspective within your discipline.

Teach3: Teach3 (Teachers Teaching Teachers) have been designed to provide faculty a forum for discussing ways to strengthen teaching pedagogy, and educational strategies.

Summer Institute: The Summer Institute is a one week faculty development opportunity offered each summer with a focus on the incorporation of Biblical foundations for faith and learning incourse development, student-centered pedagogies will be showcased. Also emphasized are use of university resources and technology to support learner outcomes. Participating faculty will design or redesign one course of their choosing to create a highly interactive learning environment.

Professional Development Videos: The center office has a small collection of videos that can be checked out for individual viewing. Magna's video-based programs designed to answer a specific question related to teaching and learning. They deliver actionable insights in highly focused presentations designed to fit busy schedules.

CTE Show Case 1

CTE Show Case 2

Faculty Showcase
Faculty Showcases are scheduled the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every school month September through April, except for the 4th Wednesday in November and December. These showcases feature faculty sharing ideas for teaching Biblical Foundations and a pedagogy item each showcase. 

2016 - 2017 Dates - At a Glance

FALL 2016 WINTER 2017
September 14 January 11
September 28 January 25
October 12 February 8
October 26 February 22
November 9 March 22
November 30 April 12

Topic and Dates 

April 13

Google Docs Across Courses; Encouraging Student Collaboration: From collecting and analyzing large data sets across lab sections to preparing poster presentations for research courses, Google Docs presents an easy and accessible platform through which student can collaborate on class and research projects. Tim Trott will showcase how he has been using Google Docs this year.

I’ve Flipped and it’s Working! Medical Terminology is an important course, but generally on the lower end of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This semester, professor Rod Bussey wanted to flip things around and try something different. Rod will share his process of choosing what to move out of classroom and what his in-class time looks like now—using a variety of active learning techniques—from jeopardy, case studies, activity stations to “speed dating”—to make the in-class time engaging, and at the same time challenging.

March 22 

The Next Step:  Kathy Goddard spent the last three years redesigning her individual English courses from a biblical perspective.  But what comes next? Come hear a discussion on working strategies for designing  multi-teacher courses from a biblical perspective.

An Old Dog Trying New Tricks:  Reflections on Using New Pedagogical Methods. Steve Bauer will share his journey this year as he implemented new active learning strategies learned through Summer Institute.

February 22

Intersections of History, Concept, and Practice: Teaching 20th Century Literature in the 21st Century: Through an analysis of her pedagogical practice, Linda Tym will discuss the ways that teaching twentieth-century literature and theory not only facilitates students’ conscientious participation in the contemporary world, but also encourages students’ active and personal engagement in their daily spiritual lives.

Customer Service - The 'Other' Focused: Becoming more aware of millennial needs will likely mean making some changes in how we teach! It did for the Modern Languages Department. During this showcase, Adrienne Royo, shares what happened during Summer Institute 2016 when department personnel explored the two ends of the spectrum: keeping education as a pedagogical endeavor to prepare today's students for tomorrow, but making changes with respect to millennials’ expectations and in some cases, demands.

February 8

Finding the True Principles of Psychology in the Bible: For many, the Bible and Psychology may seem like strange bedfellows. However, as Ellen White indicated, “The true principles of psychology are found in the Holy Scriptures.” Tron Wilder will show how he teaches Abnormal Psychology from a Biblical perspective and helps his students gain a better understanding of the fallen nature of human beings through the study of mental illnesses.

Early Stage Assessment of Adopting MindTap: Business Strategies is the capstone class for senior Business majors. Cengage Learning, the textbook publisher, has an e-learning instructional platform called MindTap that can be integrated with eClass. Leon Weeks will describe MindTap, giving an early stage assessment of the advantages and challenges for students and instructor in migrating to this digital platform.

January 25 

Wrapping Up Exams: To help students get more out of their returned exams, Dennis Steele is incorporating exam wrappers. Exam wrappers contain a set of guided questions that encourage students to review their exams, determine where and why they lost points, and how they could improve studying. In his first semester of use, come hear what he has done along with some of the initial student data and both professor and student reflections

Predicting Success: Have you ever wondered if there was a factor to determine student success in your course-before they start. Aaron Corbit did more than wonder. In this Showcase, Aaron will share some analysis he’s done that that looks at how well factors like high-school GPA and ACT scores predict student success in A&P and General Biology courses.  His research could help other professors when advising students.

January 11

The Pop Culture Journey: While linking the study of the healthcare of a community with a biblical foundation,
Beth Scott and Beckie Retzer have implemented interactive learning strategies to foster a wholistic healthcare approach. They believe this is more congruent with the cultural belief system and practices of individuals, communities, and families; thus empowering the student to love across the boundaries. Professors Scott and Retzer will share how they restructured the curriculum across Population Community Health and Cultural Diversity in Nursing describing initial student reactions and responses to these activities.

2014-2015 Faculty Showcase Topics

September 10

Flipping the Classroom by Ronda Christman

You have heard about the Flipped Classroom; now, come hear how Ronda is flipping a nursing class. L earn how she divides up the content and activities, and be ready to ask any questions you might have.

Southern Scholars: What We Are Not, What We Are, and What We Do by Mark Peach

September 24

 Revisiting Circle Square by Marc Boyson 

Does a student centered pedagogy promote a Christ centered pedagogy? or Gone  Fishing...

Let’s talk about using short daily quizzes for attendance and feedback by Laurie Stanavich

Laurie uses open-ended reflective questions that teach her a lot about how students are engaging with course content, and that they came to class. Come see how you can apply it to your classroom.

October 8

A new method for active learning : Collaborative meta-analysis in the general physics laboratory made possible by the cloud by Blake Laing
Blake will demonstrate how the ability for an entire class to simultaneously access and edit a single cloud-based spreadsheet enables a new method for active learning in a quantitative laboratory. In addition to the practical benefit of more meaningful statistics due to an increased sample, this method can be used to explicitly modeling how the scientific community works. It is now possible, within the span of two laboratory periods, to let the class engage in a meta-analysis of data from individual groups, correcting mistakes and arriving at a new conclusion.

 The pros and cons of using online publisher's supportive materials by Verlyne Starr

October 22

Close Reading of Scripture with Krystal Bishop Melanie DiBiase

This faculty showcase will demonstrate the impact of close reading of Scripture as it was demonstrated by graduate students in literacy education. A high school biology teacher will be a co-presenter and will share how close reading of Scripture has transformed her teaching. Discussion will include the impact of the Common Core Standards on higher education.

Observing Art and Observing Life. Giselle Hasel

Giselle will feature a small art journal she has developed for students to enjoy when visiting museums.  

November 12

Science: Developed and Performed by Christians by Ken Caviness

Although science and religion are often considered incompatible, modern science was actually built upon the Judeo-Christian worldview, and many of the great scientists throughout history saw themselves as honoring God by their exploration of His creation.  Not only can science be done from this standpoint, during the development of science it was done in this way.  Far from being an integral part of science, the atheistic materialistic paradigm is a late and inconsistent graft.

Working with ESL Students by Sonja Fordham

As our classrooms become more diverse, there is a greater need to understand and adapt to the needs of the changing student population. This presentation will focus on how to support and assess students whose native language is not English.

2013-2014 Faculty Showcase Topics

September 11

Transmitting Faith in the Classroom by Kathy Goddard

A vital key to transmitting our faith in the classroom and specific methods that can be used to integrate faith & learning. Plus favorite teaching strategies that involve each student.

Using Windows 8  by Mike McClug

September 25

 iPads in the Classroom! By Katie McGarth and Marge Seifert

In this session, we will showcase some of the fun and exciting ways we have been integrating iPad and cloud-based technology into our library instruction sessions.  Come with your own connected device (iPad, SmartPhone, Tablet, Windows 8 device…) to get in on the action!

 Thoughts about sharing Jesus and Seventh-day Adventist Christianity in the classroom by Robert Montague

October 9

School in the Spotlight! with Faculty from the School of Nursing
 Come and meet at the School of Nursing—Lunch will be catered there. Then, we will take a peek at how they are incorporating our Biblical Worldview right when you walk into the building. Plus, they will showcase some innovative teaching strategies and new uses of technology—including Lecture Capture!

October 23

 Use of an embedded librarian and the rubric feature in Eclass by Chris Hansen                                                                                                           Use of an embedded librarian and the rubric feature in Eclass to improve the pedagogy of research and grading efficiency for classroom writing assignments.

 Teaching literature, writing, grammar, etc., from the standpoint of Revelation 14: 6-12 by Jan Haluska

November 13

 Out-of-the-Box Global Learning Program Model with Sharon Pittman and Pegi Flynt

This faculty showcase will share the process and products developed for the new Master’s in Global Community Development (GCD). 

Among the items shared will be the: 

  • Experiential focused learning model;
  • Faith and values integration across the entire curriculum.
  • Creative e-class design; and
  • Student engagement in online learning, assessment & outcome documentation.

December 11

Using Scriptural Foundations for Business: A Rationale by Michael Cafferky

 Maximizing Your iPad in the Classroom, Including using it as a Document Camera by Pegi Flynt

January 15

 Use of Praise Songs for Language Practice by Pierre Nzokizwa

 Using the Kaltura by Verlyne Starr: Using the Kaltura option in Eclass assignments to take students beyond YouTube.  The Kaltura option in Eclass provides a technologically rich avenue for students to upload short video clips of an assignment we would have done in class.  The results indicated—well, just come and see the results.

February 26

Worldviews, Wacky Ideas and Spiritual Journeys by Alan Parker

Sharing ideas about how to get students to open up about their spiritual journeys and connect with a Biblical worldview using traditional and wacky techniques.

 Socrative and Lecture Capture: Engaging Students Both In and Out of the Classroom by Loren Bernhurst 

The Socrative Student Response System is a simple and accessible clicker platform which uses smartphones, tablets, or laptops as a means of input.  Socrative supports a multitude of question types, is flexible and easy to use for the professor and student alike, and promotes active learning on the part of the student while communicating instant feedback to the professor regarding the effectiveness of their presentation.

Lecture Capture using a Tablet PC is an invaluable tool which can reach students outside of the traditional classroom environment.  Whether your interest is in making traditional lecture recordings, supplementary tutorials, or developing an online course, this tool is an effective way to ensure your content is accessible on-demand to students 24/7.

March 12

Department in the Spotlight! Come meet in the Biology Department! Lunch will be catered in the department. Biology Faculty will showcase some innovative strategies they are trying this year, and showcase how they are showcasing our Biblical Worldview from the moment you step in the building!

March 26

Consistent with the “Living in Balance: Physical Activity” with Pegi Flynt, Ryan Harrel, Dag Pontvik, Joseph Cartwright, Mike Aldridge, Anthony Simon, Leslie Evenson, Judy Sloan

QEP which is centered on student learning outcomes that enhance wholeness through physical activity PEAC 125 was redesigned to include interactive modules available ONLINE.  This session will showcase the collaborative approach between the School of Health and Wellness faculty and the Online Campus to redesign the course.

The session will identify how Faith & Learning was addressed in the design and creation process; identify the pedagogical planning used as part of the design process; and, share the technologies used in the creation process. 

Come see a demo of the final product!

April 9

Searching for God in Curriculum Content by Cheryl Des Jarlais

Is the goal of trying to cover content distracting us from what our students really need? How liberal arts traditions may derail real education, and what we can do differently.

Formative Assessment by Bonnie Eder

 Harnessing the power of YouTube as an effective teaching and learning tool with Pegi Flynt and Marc Simon

April 26

Computer Science rests on the foundation of logic by Scot Anderson 

Computer Science rests on the foundation of logic and naturally draws students to fundamental questions about truth, reality and meaning; especially as computer scientists create the illusion of these last two. The mathematical and scientific concepts taught in Computer Science resist any imposition of religion. However, the moment you take those theoretical constructs and try to do something with them, or extract meaning from them, you come face-to-face with logic, truth and the systems of truth that computer scientists build on.

Like nature, logic reflects God and this can be found in computer science. In the short time we have, we’ll touch on some of these topics and present a short illustration from networking class that illuminates the futility of lying.

 Harnessing the power of student response systems, and Using Simulations in the Classroom—Let’s Play, Online Learning Family Feud! with Greg Merchant, Ryan Harrell and Pegi Flynt

Professional Development Videos

Magna's video-based programs designed to answer a specific question related to teaching and learning. They deliver actionable insights in highly focused presentations designed to fit busy schedules.

If you are interested in watching any of the video presentations listed below, send an email to stating which video you would like a copy of. 

10 Ways to Improve Blended Learning Course Design

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Dr. Ike Shibley

March 11, 2009

1 hr 30 min

This seminar will prepare you to create combinations of online and face-to-face teaching, the kind of combinations that keep students engaged in their own learning and driven toward improved outcomes. More specifically, this seminar:

  • Shows you how to integrate learning before, during, and after face-to-face activities
  • Replaces the notion of learning as content delivery with the notion of learning as an active process
  • Prepares you to adroitly combine content, technology, and pedagogy in educationally effective configurations
  • Reinforces and demonstrates the importance of establishing and working toward clear learning objectives

After participating in 10 Ways to Improve Blended Learning Course Design, you will be able to:

  • Analyze your own courses to determine whether and how to create a blended course
  • Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to select learning activities that are best accomplished in class and those best accomplished online
  • Implement strategies to create synergy between in-class and out-of-class activities
  • Incorporate more learner-centered teaching strategies into their own pedagogy

This is an information-packed seminar that delivers 10 accessible and adaptable methods to improve the quality of existing blended courses or to effectively redesign a traditional course into a blended format.

23 Practical Strategies to Help New Faculty Thrive

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Ivan A. (Ike) Shibley, Jr., Ph.D.

November 22, 2010

1 hr 30 min

New faculty members need practical help to achieve lasting classroom success. The average college professor knows his or her subject matter very well, but receives very little training in how to teach it effectively. That’s because most graduate programs provide minimal instruction on classroom pedagogy. It’s not surprising that many new faculty members struggle when they are first asked to lead their own classes. Bad habits picked up early in a teaching career can become self-defeating in the long term. Often, new faculty members try to do too much and wind up overextending themselves, which diminishes their enthusiasm. This can lead to frustration and ineffectiveness. The best way to confront these problems is to provide new faculty members with practical guidance and seasoned advice early on. In 23 Practical Strategies to Help New Faculty Thrive, award-winning professor and faculty mentor Dr. Ike Shibley of Penn State shares effective strategies for success in college teaching. Drawing upon his 15 years of teaching and mentoring experience, Professor Shibley offers compelling and realistic advice on day-to-day teaching and improving student learning to guide new faculty members around predictable pitfalls and set them on the path to a rewarding teaching career.

This white paper covers:

• Deliberate course design

 • Writing a strong syllabus—and sticking to it

• Improving student ratings

• High- versus low-stakes grades

• Finding the right pacing

• The reality behind teaching “myths”

• How to start and end each class

• How and why to find a faculty mentor

• Strategies for working with colleagues

• Ways to increase classroom efficiency

• Maintaining psychological health

• The rewards of teaching

• And more

Building a Comprehensive Professional Development Program


Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Denise Swett, Ed.D.

April 5, 2011

1 hr 30 min

Higher education administrators and faculty face a host of new challenges:

  • An increasingly diverse student body and campus community, with different learning and working styles
  • Incoming students more familiar with technology than college prep courses
  • Changing accreditation standards and student needs
  • Growing emphasis on evolving educational technology.

You know the tools are out there to help you and your colleagues successfully meet these challenges and more. But how can you get this information to those who need it?

Learn how with this 90-minute seminar as Dr. Denise Swett draws on her extensive and wide-ranging background in higher education instruction and administration and gives you the framework you need to develop and implement a successful professional development program.

A Framework You Can Build On

We show you how to develop a comprehensive professional development program for your campus with her all-inclusive approach:

  • Essential first steps to initiate a professional development program
  • The workshops you need to get your program off to a great start
  • How to find and hire top-notch presenters
  • Techniques to schedule, coordinate and track participation in professional development
  • How to market your professional development program to maximize participation by faculty, staff and administrators
  • The importance of professional development for accreditation.

Creatively Engaging Online Students: Models & Activities

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Curt Bonk, Ph. D.

October 16, 2009

1 hr 30 min

We fondly recall one former professor who was in the habit of firing rubber bands at snoozing students, or sneaking up on them and poking them with a knitting needle.

Aside from the risks those tactics pose to tenure nowadays, they’re also not transferable to the online classroom. Not that they aren’t needed: Student engagement–or, rather, the lack of it–is a critical problem in distance learning today.

Fortunately, you do have tools at your disposal (albeit not pointy ones) to keep your students interested, involved, engaged, and firmly on the path to successful learning.

You can learn about them in Creatively Engaging Online Students: Models & Activities, Dr. Curt Bonk provides a wealth of tips and techniques you can put to work in your online classroom right now. In this idea-filled presentation, you’ll:

• Learn how to address student learning preferences online.
• Discover ways to motivate students in online environments with Dr. Bonk’s innovative TEC-VARIETY model.
• Take home a minimum of a dozen ideas you can use in your classrooms and programs.
• Get the facts on two unique ways of thinking about teaching and learning in online environments.
• Hear about a wealth of low-risk, low-cost, low-time activities.
• Create a vision of what you would like your classroom to be, and develop a plan to achieve it.
• See how to use the “R2D2 model” for thinking about diverse learning needs. 
• Understand how the example you set online can help (or harm) your students.
• Learn to build peer and expert feedback into your online classes with techniques like critical friends and cross-institutional mentoring.
• Find out how to successfully prepare students for the rigors of online learning.

Designing an Effective Collaborative Wiki Project

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Rhonda Ficek, Ph. D.

December 2,, 2009

90 min

How can students work collaboratively if they can't even show up in the same place at the same time? Fortunately, technology offers some solutions, and there's one web-based tool in particular that can help you eliminate the scheduling headaches associated with collaborative projects and make them convenient, simple and efficient. In this Magna online Seminar on CD Rhonda Ficek, Ph.D., Director of Instructional Technology Services at Minnesota State University Moorhead, demonstrates how well-suited wiki projects are for collaborative learning, and shares with you a web-based application that's easy to learn, easy to implement, and absolutely free.

This seminar discusses:

  • Elements of a successful instructional wiki project.
  • Recommended wiki project types for the classroom.
  • How wikis streamline and support the collaborative process.
  • How to create the all-important opening page.
  • Best practices for page structure.
  • How wikis help develop student organizational skills for digital and other assets.
  • How to monitor and troubleshoot wiki project.

Engaging the Disengaged with Experiential Learning

Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Jim La Prad, Ph.D

Andy Mink

April 16, 2009

1 hr 30 min

Jim La Prad and Andy Mink provide an instructional framework for getting full participation from all students, and encourage educators to think about why some students might be disengaged. (Hint: it’s not all on the student.)

The presenters believe that experiential education “has the potential to help educators transform their pedagogical practices to more deeply engage their students and improve learning outcomes.” In this seminar, they use a combination of video vignettes and commentary to discuss what they call the ECHO model of experiential education.

The ECHO model includes the following four components:
   Explore – An initial inquiry based approach to what a participant knows and wants to learn.

   Create – An opportunity for participants to have common a experience.

   Harvest – An invitation for participants to reflect on their common experience.

   Own – A suggestion for participants to transform and transfer their experiences for use in their contexts.

Mink and La Prad also introduce the concept of an Experiential Learning Compass, a set of guiding principles for authentic learning in classroom and community activities that can be incorporated into a variety of courses, and include activities beyond the physical, outdoor adventures that are most often associated with experiential education.

Finding the Right Technology to Support Learning Outcomes

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Ivan A. (Ike) Shibley, Jr., Ph.D.

October 20, 2011

90 min

Technology is a part of life on campus and off. Even if your school doesn't offer any online programs or degrees, you know that the Internet, in particular, plays a big role in higher education.

What you might not know is that sometimes blending classroom and online instruction can actually improve student performance while managing cost and maximizing student and instructor time. And if adopting technology leads to better outcomes, what are you waiting for?

This 90-minute Magna Online seminar, led by Ike Shibley, Ph.D., offers proven strategies for technology to increase flexibility and access, improve student performance, and manage costs.

Flipped Classroom 4-pack

How Can I Structure a Flipped Lesson?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

20 min

Relieve some of your fears and concerns by using this four-part lesson plan model to organize your flipped classroom and ensure that you’re connecting the pre-class work to the flipped learning experience. It’s an effective and versatile approach that you can easily replicate and adapt to any discipline.

How Can I Structure a Flipped Lesson? doesn’t stop at showing you how to divide a lesson into four parts.

You also will learn how to organize the lesson to ensure that pre-class work and in-class activities align, and you’ll discover how to integrate flipped lessons into the overall course for a seamless learning experience for your students.

This is a great video for anyone ready to flip for the first time or for instructors who love to flip and need some fresh ideas and some strategies to tighten the structure of their lessons and courses overall.

When you are finished with this program, you will:

  • Be able to explain how flipping is grounded in active learning
  • Know how to divide a flipped lesson into four parts to maintain a dynamic learning experience but also to add structure and control to the learning environment
  • Be able to integrate all the components of flipped classrooms to create a successful learning environment for your students
  • Have a tool to organize your flipped lesson that can be replicated in future classes
What is Storyboarding? And How Can It Help Me Flip My Class?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Sarah Egan Warren, Ph.D.

20 min

Storyboards are valuable tools that help you make more powerful videos in less time and with fewer resources. That’s important because better videos are more engaging and help promote higher levels of learning.

This session will present three distinct strategies for storyboarding and how to use each to create a video for a flipped class.

You will finish this program with the ability to:

  • Articulate the value of storyboarding to flipped instruction
  • Outline the structure of a storyboard by detailing the things to be seen, heard, and done in the video
  • Use the storyboard concept to organize content to better focus on learning outcomes
What Are 5 FAQs About Faculty Roles in the Flipped Class?

Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Sarah Egan Warren

20 min

Honeycutt and Warren discuss the most common questions they have been asked about flipping.

During What Are 5 FAQs about Faculty Roles in the Flipped Class? they discuss, in their friendly and engaging style:

  • How to adapt a course to the changing role of the instructor in a flipped classroom
  • Why instructors shouldn’t flip everything
  • How to identify flippable moments in any course
  • How to reframe flipping as an educational philosophy and mind-set rather than as a teaching strategy
  • How to address any student resistance to the flipped classroom

Overall, the program will prepare you not only to flip more confidently but also to serve as a resource for your colleagues who face similar reservations and concerns about the new approach.

Where Can I Find Flippable Moments in My Classes?

Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Sarah Egan Warren

20 min

Discover flipping insights and strategies you can employ in any lesson in any course. Honeycutt and Warren ensure that after participating in this program, every participant can:

  • Define the flip using Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Recognize a flippable moment in any class
  • Identify three places to look for a flippable moment in any course
  • Know when to flip and when to skip

To help you decide when to flip and when to skip, Honeycutt and Warren will share their own experiences of what they’ve tried, what worked, and what didn’t.

These tales from the trenches will help you see the parallels to your own courses so that you can integrate flipping for greater success.

Helping Introverts Thrive in an Active Learning Classroom

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Nicki Monahan, M.Ed.

January 21, 2014

1 hr

Nicki Monahan, M.Ed., faculty advisor for staff development at George Brown College in Toronto, shares a developmental approach to active learning that helps you create a comfortable environment for introverts and extroverts alike.

You’ll develop a deeper understanding of the characteristics of introverts and extroverts, gain insights to help you uncover and remediate any bias in your existing participation policies, and learn optimal methods for introducing and expanding active learning over the course of a semester. It’s information you can put to work right way in your classroom.

Active learning can be a rewarding experience for every student—even the introverts. Discover how you can create a robust learning environment that works for all the personalities in your classroom.

How Can Google Docs Help Foster Productive Collaboration?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

James M. Lang, Ph.D.

20 min

This session will show you specific ways the teaching tools of the 21st century can help you be the sort of instructor you always wanted to be.

Employing a very direct and easy-to-follow speaking style, Lang, a widely published author, will discuss:

  • The three main challenges of group work and how Google Docs helps you meet them
  • The three key decisions you need to make when starting to work with Google Docs
  • The four characteristics of a well-designed group work task
  • The four most useful Google Docs teaching tools for collaborative learning

After participating in this presentation, you’ll be able to:

  • Use features of Google Docs, especially monitoring and commenting, to promote collaboration
  • Recognize opportunities that will make effective group work projects for collaborative learning
  • Design a collaborative learning project that can be started and completed in a single class or continue for several classes

How Can I Create Effective Mini-lectures?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Christy Price, Ed.D.

20 min

Active learning is the name of the game in higher education today, but no matter how much emphasis your curriculum places on engaging students, sometimes you still have to disseminate information. Learn how to deliver effective mini-lectures that resonate with your students.

Based on research in cognitive and educational psychology, and integrating best practices from business and teaching theories, this fast and focused session offers you the insights you need to upgrade your teaching and the practical guidance to help you get started.

You’ll learn proven techniques you can use immediately to transform your lectures from necessary evils to persuasive presentations. Drawing on her extensive classroom and faculty development experience, presenter Christy Price, Ed.D., an award-winning educator from Dalton State College, demonstrates how educating and motivating students gets easier when you develop mini-lectures that are based on how the brain works. She’ll also show you how to help students retain what you teach through:

  • Guided practice
  • “Zen presentations”
  • Relevant course content
  • Embedded classroom assessment techniques
  • Positive experiences for student learners

You’ll also learn how to avoid “death by PowerPoint.”

The human brain is, by nature, a novelty seeker. In this session you’ll discover how to stop fighting the brain’s natural tendencies and, instead, put them to work engaging students. Price’s tips are so practical you’ll be able to use them in your next class session!

How Can I Improve Lessons with a 4-step Plan?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Dr. Mary C. Clement

20 min

Do you ever wish creating a lesson plan was as easy as asking yourself: “What am I going to teach today?”

But the reality is that it is a much more complex process that can take hours and hours of your time.

You need to answer the question: “What are my students going to learn today?”

Mary Clement, Ed.D., has mastered the lesson planning process and developed a four-step plan that simplifies how you plan and creates even stronger, more engaging lessons.

She shares her secrets in this Magna 20-Minute Mentor How Can I Improve Lessons with a 4-step Plan?

Learn how to save time and create lesson plans that effectively present new material to your students, apply the information, and review the topics that were covered.

This tip-filled seminar follows the four steps of lesson planning, exploring:

  • How to use focus questions to engage students in the first few minutes of class
  • The importance of using visuals and moments of interaction when presenting new information
  • Suggestions for practicing application of new material in class
  • Techniques for linking review of one class with a preview of the next

Learning goals

After viewing this Magna 20-Minute Mentor, you’ll be able to:

  1. Get students focused and thinking immediately when class begins
  2. Plan multiple ways to present new material
  3. Increase student engagement through applications and interaction with the material
  4. Include reviews in each class that help students to understand and remember material

How Can I Use Frequent Student Feedback to Improve My Courses?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Dr. Mary C. Clement

20 min

Mary Clement, Ed.D., shares the five times in the semester when getting student feedback is valuable and provides practical ways to obtain that information.

Learn grading and feedback techniques you can implement immediately, or with your next class, such as:

  • Conduct a “Student Interest Inventory” early on, to learn about students’ subject-specific knowledge and how they like to learn
  • Use ungraded “One-Minute Papers” to find out what your students feel they’d need to study if there was a test tomorrow
  • Survey students after the first exam or paper to see how they prepared for it and to find out whether their grades matched their expectations
  • Share feedback with students when you’re ready to implement changes based on their input

You’ll learn how to:

  • Select optimal times to solicit student feedback
  • Develop easy-to-use instruments for student feedback
  • Ascertain the quality of student feedback
  • Use student feedback to generate collegial discussions about teaching
  • Make course improvements based on student feedback

How Do I Include Introverts in Class Discussions?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Nicki Monahan, MEd.

20 min

This session will show you effective strategies to engage introverted students where they are and how to guide them beyond their comfort zones.

You’ll start by enhancing your understanding of your students’ learning preferences, which will help you set effective learning goals for the class and identify students who could benefit from additional support.  Then, you’ll learn practical methods to provide that support, including:

  • Three alternative ways you can use technology to help introverted students feel comfortable while contributing to class discussions
  • Three low- or no-tech ways you can encourage introverted students to participate in group learning
  • Three techniques to help introverted students develop their verbal skills and move beyond their comfort zones

You’ll see how you can use Twitter, “exit passes,” and low-risk, low-stakes paired activities to build confidence in introverted students and show them the importance of their contributions.

To help you apply what you’ve learned, you’ll receive a Classroom Participation Inventory and Goal Setting Template, along with discussion guides and a list of recommended resources.

After participating in this presentation, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the meanings of “introversion” and “extroversion”
  • Recognize how temperament can affect a student’s participation in a large class discussion
  • Design alternative methods to help introverted students contribute to classroom learning
  • Employ specific techniques to encourage introverted students to participate in classroom discussions

How Good Is Good Enough? Setting Benchmarks or Standards


Featured Higher Education Presenter:
Linda Suskie
September 16, 2009
1 hr 30 min

This online seminar will enable you to analyze and apply your assessment results to help convey strengths and accountability and also to identify areas that need improvement.

In this seminar, Suskie gives you the tools to maximize the assessment data you already have. You will learn to:

  • Identify and differentiate several kinds of standards and benchmarks;
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of various standards;
  • Develop processes to set standards for individual student performance and targets for collective student performance;
  • Find standards that are appropriate for your campus and circumstances;
  • Engage colleagues in standard setting;
  • Determine when to vary targets or incorporate student work samples in standards discussions; and
  • View standard setting as an ongoing process.

Suskie will explain how to use multiple standards to gain a more complete, balanced picture of student learning. Ultimately you will come away with the ability to leverage assessment results to improve student learning and show accountability. 

In Blended Courses, What Should Students Do Online?

Featured Higher Education Presenters:
Dr. Ike Shibley
Dr. Tim Wilson
20 min

This fast and focused professional development session will help you make the most of the opportunities presented by blended learning.  Drawing from Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning, they recommend:

  • Using online technology for the lowest-level learning, before class
  • Emphasizing student engagement during face-to-face teaching, building on the facts and focusing on mid-level learning skills (application and analysis)
  • Pursuing your highest-level learning objectives through online activities, after class.

After following their step-by-step approach, you’ll be able to:

  • Determine which of your lower-level cognitive tasks should be completed before class
  • Describe activities suitable for drawing students into mid-level learning during face-to-face instruction
  • Identify after-class online activities exercising the highest levels of cognitive function

Be confident that your selection of which materials to present online and which to present in the classroom will provide the best learning experience for your students.

Interactive Teaching: Promoting Better Learning Using Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time Teaching

Featuring Harvard Physics Professor Eric Mazur

How can you engage your students and be sure they are learning the conceptual foundations of a lecture course? “INTERACTIVE TEACHING” introduces Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time Teaching—two innovative techniques for lectures that use in-class discussion and immediate feedback to improve student learning. These techniques are now being used successfully in many disciplines.

In this DVD, Harvard University physicist Eric Mazur demonstrates the use of Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time Teaching. The DVD serves as an interactive workshop that can be used by individual teachers or in group training sessions to learn about these techniques. New and experienced teachers can navigate at their own pace and focus on what interests them most. This DVD will also help you implement interactive teaching in your own classroom.

Is There a Solution to Students Multitasking in Class?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D.

20 min

This program debunks commonly held notions about students’ capacities to multitask, and then it evaluates three distinct approaches you could adopt to help limit multitasking in your classrooms.

Weimer backs up her assertions with current research, and she shares her sources so you can delve into findings in greater depth on your own.

When you are finished with this program, you will:

  • Understand how multitasking affects learning
  • Know how to develop policies that limit distractions during class
  • Recognize opportunities to incorporate personal devices into class for learning purposes
  • Know how to engage students in the problem and steer them toward solutions that they help craft and that work for them

Learning is a sophisticated process that is easily compromised with multitasking. In this session you can learn how to keep your students focused on the task at hand – and not on the devices in their hands

Practicing Learner-Centered Teaching in Large Classes

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Carol Hurney, Ph.D.

July 15, 2010

1 hr 15 min

The “learner-centered” approach to teaching does much more than focus on students. It puts them front and center, allowing their decisions to shape the experience, the content, their involvement, and ultimately, the depth of their personal learning outcomes. While implementing such an approach can seem daunting, especially in large, lecture-style classes, a larger class doesn’t have to mean an instructor-centered class.

Take the guesswork out of lesson plans and classroom time. This 75-minute audio online seminar will help instructors visualize learner-centered teaching through real-world case studies and proven techniques. Learn how to shift the balance of power to the students and prepare for incredible results

This seminar presents a multi-level method that can be tailored to fit any teaching style and classroom.
Topics include:

  • Making gradual and effective learner-centered adjustments to any course
  • Refining the grading process to allow students to flourish and achieve
  • Evaluating student feedback
  • Assessing the effectiveness and impact of learner-centered teaching

Prepared Students 3-pack

How Do I Get Students to Come to Class Prepared?

Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Robert Gillette, Ph.D.
Lynn Gillette, Ph.D.

20 min

Twin brothers and flipped course design experts Gillette and Gillette will present the interactive teaching model they use—and have used for years—that supports deep learning and skill development.

Their interactive teaching and learning model first exposes students to course material before class. Then during class, you will work with your students to apply, analyze, and evaluate the course content.

Gillette and Gillette will explain how a definitional grading system will support this model and ensure that the vast majority of your students come to class prepared the vast majority of the time.

You will also learn classroom strategies that move you away from the lecture, which you won’t need as much—or maybe at all—with this model.

How Do I Get Students to Come to Class Prepared? shows you what you can do to create the kind of courses that naturally encourage student preparation and eliminate some of the common frustrations of higher education.

When you are finished with this program, you will know how to:

  • Design courses using an interactive teaching model that has students encounter course material before working with it in class
  • Write class preparation assignments that guide students through reading assignments and then inform and stimulate class discussion
  • Design and incorporate a definitional grading system for any course
  • Incorporate student preparation in that definitional grading system
  • Require student writing without overburdening your own workload
  • Design an interactive course that gives students space and time to express their voices, demonstrate their preparation, and exercise their intellectual abilities
How Can I Effectively Use Class Preparation Assignments?

Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Robert Gillette, Ph.D.
Lynn Gillette, Ph.D.

20 min

This session will prepare you to create class preparation assignments that will transform the classroom experience for you and your students.

Gillette and Gillette will guide you through writing CPA questions that hit the mark and using those CPAs as a foundation for class discussion and learning activities.

When you are finished with this program, you will know how to:

  • Use course design to incentivize students to come to class prepared
  • Clearly and carefully explain your definitional grading system
  • Reinforce student preparation by covering CPA questions in class
  • Incorporate CPA questions on tests to reinforce the importance of coming to class prepared
  • Use CPA questions to engage all students in class

This session will illustrate the difference between CPAs and what we used to call homework.

The presenters’ 30 years of knowledge and experience using this course design will also help you avoid common pitfalls and frustrations that many instructors face when beginning to use CPAs.

How Do Prepared Students Change the Way I Teach?

Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Robert Gillette, Ph.D.
Lynn Gillette, Ph.D.

20 min

When students come to class prepared, you can—actually, you must—adjust how you teach. Instead of lecturing, you will employ effective new strategies that help your students process and master course content. These engaging new approaches also celebrate and reward your students for the effort they put into preparation. 

The techniques and tools you discover in this session will make you a more effective teacher. Whatever your discipline, you will be better able to engage your students in course material.

When you are finished with this program, you will be able to:

  • Describe how student preparation for class transforms the student learning experience and invigorates teaching
  • Create at least two in-class active learning activities that rely on student preparation
  • Identify in-class activities that rely on student preparation and lead to higher-level learning
  • Describe how class preparation assignments show students respect and also create space and time for students to share their voices
  • Validate student preparation and reinforce its importance with your in-class activities
  • Use student preparation to increase students’ critical thinking

Universal Design 4-pack

How Can I Make My Couse Content More Accessible?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Beth Harrison, Ph.D.
20 min

Designed for faculty who are new to the subject of accessibility and making accommodations, this session combines a conceptual approach with real-world tested practical advice.

You’ll enhance your awareness of the drawbacks inherent in the most common ways of presenting course content and learn specific techniques for making material more accessible.

Instructions for assignments, your volume level during lectures, and even a simple “Click here” in an online document can present significant obstacles to a student with a disability.

Presenter Beth Harrison, Ph.D., director of the Office of Learning Resources at the University of Dayton, will share practices known to improve accessibility, including:

  • Five tips for removing learning barriers found in print materials
  • Guidelines for keeping electronic materials accessible to students with a disability
  • Four ways to make sure multimedia presentations provide equitable opportunity to all students
  • Effective ways to discuss accommodations with a student with a disability
How Can I Make the Activities in My Course More Inclusive?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Beth Harrison, Ph.D.
20 min

This fast and focused session will show you a practical approach to making accommodations and promoting equitable opportunity for learning and engagement for all your students.

Harrison shows you how to evaluate course activities based on:

  • The learning goals the activity is designed to achieve
  • Your reasons for selecting a particular activity
  • Student takeaways from the activity
  • The assumptions you’re making about what students can do

Designed to help you give all your students an equitable opportunity to engage with course activities, this program shows you how to think about your course in a more inclusive way.

You’ll see this process applied in common classroom situations and learn practical tips to help you revise modes of engagement in light of learner differences. You’ll explore effective ways to discuss course requirements with students who may need accommodations.

This concise course design focused program will take you from comprehension to evaluation. After viewing, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify and appraise your assumptions about how students should engage in a course
  • Formulate appropriate ways to discuss accommodations with a student who has disabilities
  • Demonstrate practical techniques to remove barriers to learning

A list of do’s and don’ts and recommended resources helps you implement what you learn with your next class.

No matter what sort of institution you teach in – public, private, two-year, four-year, online, or brick and mortar – providing equitable opportunity for all your students should be a priority.

How Can Backward Design Make My Courses More Accessible?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Beth Harrison, Ph.D.
20 min

Backward design, in which you plan a course by defining your end goals before developing course content, is an extremely effective tool in supporting accessibility. Presenter Beth Harrison, Ph.D., director of the Office of Learning and Education at the University of Dayton, will show you how to:

  • Respond to the three key questions of backward design
  • Use summative and creative products for demonstration of learning
  • Build flexibility into assignments to support accessibility
  • Factor course context into your goal-setting

Focusing on what you want students to get out of your course, through backward design, will help you develop creative and accessible assignments that help all students, whether or not they have a disability. 

This programwill help you improve your teaching and make your course more accessible by asking you to answer two key questions:

  • What do students need to spend their time on in order to meet my course’s learning goals?
  • How can I give all students an equitable opportunity to do that?

This fast and focused session goes on to describe and demonstrate a process for giving students more accessible assignments, which enhances student learning and reduces the need for accommodations. You’ll explore:

  • Effective ways to give students choice about the course products they develop
  • Guidelines for assessing multiple products
  • Examples of flexible demonstration of learning
  • Respectful methods to discuss accommodations with students who have a disability
How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible?

Featured Higher Education Presenter:

Beth Harrison, Ph.D.
20 min

Use exams to give students a chance to demonstrate their learning. But, as presenter Beth Harrison, Ph.D., director of the Office of Learning and Education at the University of Dayton, points out, before instructors draft questions for students, they should ask themselves, “What do I want students to demonstrate?”

This concise and content-rich CD shows the creative, accessible, and more focused assessment of student learning that can result when faculty adopt this approach.

In less time than you might spend grading one paper, you’ll learn about:

  • Three key issues to consider when developing exams
  • The importance of teaching context in assessment of student learning
  • Instructor assumptions that can create barriers to learning
  • The most challenging, yet frequently irrelevant, aspects of exams for students with disabilities
  • Techniques to make exams more accessible

Making accommodations does not mean making concessions in academic rigor. In fact, designing exams with accessibility in mind can help you improve your assessment of student learning for all students, whether or not they have a disability.

Focusing on what you want students to be able to demonstrate will help you expand beyond traditional structures for exams, which can create barriers to learning, and develop more creative assessments, which will offer all students an equitable opportunity to show what they’ve learned.

What Works and What Doesn’t When Teaching Large Classes?


Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Kenneth L. Alford, Ph.D.
Tyler J. Griffin, Ph.D.

20 min

Topics Covered

Alford and Griffin will walk through several tactics that will improve your effectiveness when teaching a large class. They share ideas on how to invest in the class before the semester begins, how to manage cognitive overload, how to engage introverts, how to use technology to make the class feel smaller, how to keep track of students—especially those trying to fly under the radar—and ways to create ongoing accountability to keep students invested, engaged, and headed in the right direction.

That’s a wealth of practical insights and information, and you get it all in just 20 minutes.

What Works & What Doesn’t Work When Teaching a Large Class? presents proven solutions that will help instructors in any discipline at any kind of institution identify ways to improve their teaching in large classrooms.

Learning Goals

When you are finished with this program, you will:

  • Fully appreciate the value of preparation
  • Know how to simplify the grading process and minimize your workload
  • Know some proven principles and practices that you can immediately incorporate into your large classes for greater effectiveness and learning
  • Identify opportunities to use technology to “shrink” the classroom for you and your students
  • Recognize opportunities to learn by observing colleagues and by having them observe you 

You don’t have to compromise your expectations when you teach large classes, but you might need to alter your approach.

Learn what you can do to make a large class feel small and to help all students maximize their learning in What Works & What Doesn’t Work When Teaching a Large Class?

Classroom Management 101: Working with Difficult Students

Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D.

Jason Ebbeling, Edq.

1hr 30min

Difficult students present a variety of challenges. Some are disruptive. Some repeatedly fail to complete assignments. While others have unreasonably high expectations for themselves. With all of the different challenges posed by these students, which approach does one take to attempt to work successfully with them? Learn proven methods for overcoming challenging student behavior and successfully engaging students in learning in this Magna Online Seminar on CD. 

The Flat World Swung Open: Now WE-ALL-LEARN With Web Technology

Featured Higher Education Presenters:

Curt Bonk, Ph.D.

1hr 30min

If you have an interest in online education–where it stands today and how it will look tomorrow–you'll get answers to some important questions from one of the nation’s leading e-learning experts.

Dr. Curt Bonk, Professor of Instructional Systems Technology atIndiana University, is an author, international speaker and respected authority on educational technology. He was recently named “one of the top 10 U.S. e-learning gurus.” During this seminar, he addresses what the future holds for online education.

The Flat World Swung Open: Now WE-ALL-LEARN with Web Technology takes a fascinating look at where the online classroom is headed. In this session, Dr. Bonk reviews the ten educational openers that form the acronym “WE-ALL-LEARN”:

Web Searching in the World of e-Books 
E-Learning and Blended Learning
Availability of Open Source and Free Software 
Leveraged Resources and Open CourseWare 
Learning Object Repositories and Portals
Larner Participation in Open Information Communities 
Electronic Collaboration 
Alternate Reality Learning 
Real-Time Mobility and Portability 
Networks of Personalized Learning

You’ll gain important insight into how these and other issues are changing academia from the perspective of teachers, students and administrators alike. This session will help you:

  • Understand how technology is impacting learning around the world.
  • Sort out and choose among parallel trends in learning technologies.
  • Extend from pervasive ideas about a flatter economic world to a more open one for education.
  • Fully appreciate the recent explosion in global and cross-cultural education.
  • Learn about a wealth of resources for strategic planning.
  • Follow the trend toward more virtual, collaborative, personal, and mobile learning environments.
  • Grasp new directions in open education and open educational resources.
  • Appreciate how faculty jobs are changing–forever.

Who will benefit from this seminar:

  • Professors, instructors, educators, lecturers
  • Online facilitators, tutors, mentors, moderators
  • Teaching and learning center personnel
  • Instructional designers and media specialists
  • E-learning evaluators
  • E-learning program developers
  • Other e-learning specialists and administrators
  • Those interested in emerging learning technologies
  • University administrators, strategic planning personnel

Preparing for the First Day of Class

Here are some tips to help you plan and to facilitate a successful first day of class. 

Create an Inviting Classroom 

Introduce yourself, talk about where you are from, you family, education, your teaching experience, etc.. Be personable!

This gives students some background information about you, and allows students to identify with their professor's intellectual journey, triumphs, frustration, and failures; Encouraging students to be similarly reflective and candid.

-From the chapter "How Do They Treat Their Students"in Ken Bain's What The Best College Teachers Do 
(Harvard Press, 2004)

Establish what you will provide them with in order to succeed in class.

Course Overview: Explain what you expect them to understand at the end this course.

Let your students know what aid you will be giving them ( Ex. study guides, handouts etc.)

  • Do they need to bring their textbooks to class? 

Inform them on the best way to communicate with you.

  • What are your office hours?
  • The time(s) at which you are available 

Provide your students with enough information so they can plan accordingly.

Discuss Course Expectations and Requirements

Explain what is expected of them in and outside of the classroom

Make students of aware of policies on absences, make ups, emergencies, grades, etc.

  • What is your policy for quizzes and tests?
  • If attendance is required?
  • Is participation mandatory?

Give your students an idea of what they will need to prepare for the course outside of class.

  • How much time ( on average ) should they dedicate for this class?

Explain the use of eClass and how to locate it.

  • Are there online assignments to be turn in?
  • When are they due?
  • What is Turnitin ?

 " Teachers and students want the same thing on the first day-a good course, a positive constructive learning environment, [and] the chance to succeed.." - Maryellen Weimer, PhD

-Center for Teaching. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016,

-The First Day of Class: A Once-a-Semester Opportunity. (2015). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from
Syllabus Introduced

Save time during your first class for learning by walking your students through your course syllabus in a video which can be viewed before the first day of class.

Going through the syllabus is a necessary task at the beginning of every new semester, but often this takes up a good portion of the first class – valuable time that could be spent learning. Instead of using valuable learning time during your first class period of the semester, create a video that explains your syllabus. Extra perks: Your students can watch it as many times as they need to. You can be certain that everyone hears the same message, even those who add the class later. You can begin with your academic specialty.

Why would I want to do this?

Students need to know and hear you set the tone for the learning journey ahead; to know where to find resources; to know how you will be evaluating them; and to know just what to expect from your course

How do I get started?

Steps for making your video:

TIP #1: You can add your webcam, so students can see your face as you walk them through the syllabus.

TIP #2: You can emphasize syllabus areas by using your cursor to point to exact parts as you go through the syllabus.


1. Identify a quiet space with minimal background noise for the recording session.

2. Open up your course syllabus.

3. Use the crosshairs in either Panopto or Camtasia to select the top portion of your syllabus. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to scroll down to the rest of the syllabus when you need to.

4. Click on the blue camcorder icon or the red Record button and then talk through your syllabus, as if your students are in the room in front of you.

5. When you’re finished, press the square Stop button, and then save your video.

6. Trim out anything that you don’t want, then share your video by uploading it to eClass.   

Want to know if your students watched your walk through?

  • Create and place quiz questions throughout the video.
  • Repeat these questions and assign as your first (eClass) online quiz. 

Original Idea Shared By Lauren Buskirk August 10, 2015

Encouraging Students in the Classroom

"How do you encourage students to actually do the pre-class work and come to class prepared?' 


Often times professors assign some type of homework and there is always a group of students who do not come prepared to class. In order for professors to motivate students to come prepared to class ready to learn they need to FLIP their classroom.  

FLIP stands for ...

"Focus on your Learners by involving them in the Process."

In FLIP professors assign pre-class work that focuses on the lower levels of Bloom's Taxonomy ( Understand, and Remember), and in-class work that focuses on the higher levels of of Bloom's ( create, evaluate, analyze, apply).

Quick Tips

Here are some helpful tips to get you on the right track to a great semester

Helpful Material

  • Faculty Glossary: A list of terms (and acronyms) related to teaching at Southern.
  • Policies and Procedures: There are numerous university policies you should be aware of, in addition to others that might be specific to your College or department.
  • Syllabus Checklist: A Southern specific checklist of what is required in your syllabus.
  • Syllabus Template: A Southern specific template with lots of instructions and examples to help you craft your Southern  syllabus.
  • Using eClass: Our learning management system (LMS) software offers many advanced features, but we recommend you view this simple tutorial on getting stated as a minimum.
Teach3 (Teachers Teaching Teachers)

Educational delivery in Higher Education is changing rapidly, but the paramount question at an Adventist Christian university remains, "How are you sharing your faith within the framework of a Biblical worldview" and "How does your Biblical perspective shape your classroom teaching?" Teach3 (Professor Study Circles) have been designed to provide faculty a forum for discussing ways to strengthen Biblical foundations for faith and learning, teaching pedagogy, and educational strategies. Opportunities will be present to share what you are doing, what has worked well, and what you have learned about teaching from a Biblical perspective within your discipline.

2016-2017 Topics and Dates

April 5th 

How Can I Incorporate a Group Poster Session into my Class? 

Virginia Johnson Anderson, Ed.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, Towson University

Poster sessions are a common teaching tool for professional meetings and conference presentations; but, they can also be an extremely effective group assignment in the classroom environment.Learn how to successfully implement in the first few weeks of a semester group poster sessions. Go away with the tools and information  you need to incorporate this impactful learning tool into your classroom.In this presentation you will receive practical teaching strategies, planning forms, dos and don’ts, and sample evaluative forms and/or examples to “tweak” the assignment for your own classroom.

How Can I Assess Critical Thinking with Objective Items?

Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D., Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University

Learn how to assess most critical thinking skills using an assortment of objective methods, such as true/false, matching, multiple choice, and multiple true/false tests. Receive step-by-step instruction for designing objective items to assess particular cognitive operations in critical thinking skills for a wide range of disciplines and easy-to-follow guidelines for integrating and measuring CT in the classroom. 

You also get a set of sample documents, dos and don'ts, recommended resources, and questions that guide you in developing good objective items.

How Can I Communicate to Engage Students and Encourage Learning?

 Jennifer Waldeck, Ph.D. Chapman University

Maximize student motivation, improve the learning outcomes of your students, and attain stronger evaluations from your students. Learn how to self-assess your communication skills in the instructional context to see what works best for you and your students—and pick up new techniques to broaden your abilities. Dr. Waldeck will present a series of specific behaviors and how to incorporate them into your instructional activities. You will also walk away with checklists, dos and don'ts, discussion questions and guides, and recommended resources.

Is There a Solution to Students Multitasking in Class?

Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D Editor of The Teaching Professor

Distracted learning is, at times, hardly learning at all. Understand how multitasking during class affects learning and what you can do to change student behaviors and attitudes about dividing attention during class time. Program takeaways include:

  • Knowing how to develop policies that limit distractions during class;
  • Recognizing opportunities to incorporate personal devices into class for learning purposes;
  • Knowing how to engage students in the problem and steering them toward solutions that they help craft and that work for them; and,
  • Supplemental materials that include a website where students can “test” their multitasking abilities. 

How Do I Create and Implement Microlectures?

Jean Mandernach, Ph.D.,Professor of Psychology and Senior Research Associate. In this idea-filled presentation, Dr. Mandernach will show you how to use fast, focused video microlectures to deliver critical course content, create a personal connection with students, and engage them fully in the course material. She identifies the three goals microlectures will help you achieve, discusses sources of externally produced lectures, and outlines the process for developing your own microlectures.

How Can I Use Technology to Create Custom Automated Feedback?

Jean Mandernach, Ph.D.,Professor of Psychology and Senior Research Associate High-quality, individualized feedback is essential for effective teaching. Learn how to use feedback banks, feedback technology, and automated feedback to improve your comments to students. In the process, you’ll also improve your students’ experience with online components, increasing their learning, motivation, and satisfaction. This information can be used in both face-to-face andonline classes.

What Is the Best Way to Grade Participation?

Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D Editor of The Teaching Professor  You know how essential it is for students to be active participants in their education. But how do you grade them on it? In this program, you’ll learn an overview of what not to do when grading participation, activities worth doing, how to do them, and how to evaluate your own process. You will learn something you can take back and use in your classroom at your next class session!


2015-2016 Topics

How Do I Include Introverts in Class Discussions?

 Learn the characteristics of introversion in the classroom and how it affects student participation.  Then discuss alternative contributions, including, Twitter and Todays Meet, to discussions by all students and other strategies you can use to encourage student participation in classroom.

How Can I Effectively Teach Unprepared Students?

 Learn principles and practices you can implement immediately to provide learning opportunities for unprepared students and motivate them to become engaged learners. This program takes a broad-spectrum approach, addressing motivation, responsibility, and communication practices and provides tested techniques to address these key issues.

How Can I Help Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills?         

 Developing critical thinking skills is the real business of higher education – teaching students to analyze and dissect every idea, ruminate about it, and arrive at thoughtful, informed opinions. This fast, focused program will show you how to incorporate active learning components into every aspect of your courses, from lectures to labs, from writing assignments to tests.

How Can I Improve My PowerPoint Presentation Skills?

 Poorly designed PowerPoint presentations distract and detract from your teaching. The proven presentation techniques you’ll learn in this program will help you improve your classroom teaching and enhance student learning.

How Can I Use Student Feedback to Improve My Teaching?

Student evaluations can affect promotions, and departmental dynamics. This program will show you how you can employ student feedback to hone your teaching, improve student learning, and create a more positive classroom environment.

What Key Concepts Improve Student Learning and Memory?

a Magna 20-Minute Program with Kristin L. Roush, Ph.D. Improve learning with five memory-boosting strategies in a fast-paced, 20 minute, video presentation followed by short table discussions. You will learn something you can take back and use in your classroom that very afternoon

2014-2015 Topics

Teaching Stratiges

Active Teaching Strategies will be the topic of choice.   Each month table members will look at one or two teaching strategies; reading about them and discuss how to use them in the classroom. Then, teachers will practice using the strategies during the month and report back the results when they meet again, before moving on to a new strategy for the month.

What has worked well?  and What have you done?  

This table will be answering the basic questions:  What has worked well?  and What have you done?  The topics are fluid in that faculty who attend this table will decide ahead of time just which one or two questions they will choose to address each month.  Table participants will decide each month what to focus on in the upcoming month, such as: Evaluation, Overall Purposes and Goals, Classroom Instruction, and/or Classroom Management.

Exploring the book:  "Understanding by Design*

This table will operate a “Book Club”, exploring the book:  Understanding by Design*.  The table participants will be discussing and practicing the Backwards Curriculum Design Model of Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.
  1. The Backwards design first and foremost determines what students need to know, understand, and able to do.
  2.  Next is to determine acceptable evidence showing that students have in fact learned, and
  3.  Instructional activities are planned to achieve goals set.

Also discussed:  how to apply Biblical principles to guide our practice.

Using Technology Tools for Teaching 

 Using Technology Tools for Teaching.  Table participants will be sharing what is happening in the classroom with technology tools, as well as learning and practicing new ways of using classroom technology tools.

Designing and Implementing a Belonging Intervention

 Designing and Implementing a Belonging Intervention. A student who questions whether they belong in a course or in a career track may interpret the normal challenges of coursework as reinforcing their fears. Consider, for example, how a student who thinks she “doesn't have a mind for math” may react to bombing her first physics test.  We will examine the claim that a simple one-time “belonging intervention” can lead to incredible (as in, hard to believe) long-term positive effects and design our own interventions.

Exploring the book:  "Student Engagement Techniques* by Elizabeth Barkley

This table will operate a “Book Club”, exploring the book:  Student Engagement Techniques* by Elizabeth Barkley. The table participants will be discussing and practicing how to engage students, thus motivating them to learn.
Please go through the regular cafeteria line and charge it to “CTE.”

The Summer Institute
The Summer Institute is a faculty development opportunity with a focus on the incorporation of Biblical foundations for faith and learning. Student-centered pedagogies will be showcased and emphasize the use of university resources and technology to support learner outcomes. Participating faculty will design or redesign one course of their choosing to create a highly interactive learning environment. This program is offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence and Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning, in partnership with McKee Library and Southern Online Campus.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:9-10 (NIV)

Program Incentives

Academic Administration is partnering with the Center to provide each professor a $500 stipend once their course design/redesign is completed. The newly designed/redesigned course documents are to be electronically submitted to the Center for Teaching Excellence and Biblical Foundations for Faith and Learning before the stipend request will be processed.

How to Register

Who is Eligible? Full-time Southern Adventist University professors.

Application Deadline: May 5, 2016

Application Process: Send complete application, include a copy of current course syllabus and a letter of recommendation and support from the dean or departmental chair. Then, email all to Cynthia Gettys and Elaine Plemons at