Faculty Learning Communities explore educational concepts and technology

Faculty Learning Communities explore educational concepts and technology

Effective teaching and learning methods are at the heart of what makes Penn State a leader in higher education. Those methods constantly evolve in an effort to match the rapid emergence of new technology that has the potential to transform education. Ideally, those evolutions will increasingly make a Penn State education more accessible and beneficial.

Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) annually provides a resource that allows University faculty to be at the forefront of investigating how new technologies can support innovative pedagogy. Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are open to tenure-track and teaching faculty at any Penn State campus, and each small cohort works together for a year toward a shared goal. Also, these groups can be formed cross-college, cross-campus, and/or cross-discipline.

Each FLC is created and led by a full-time Penn State faculty member with support coming from TLT. Leaders of these communities receive a $500 stipend and up to an additional $500 in funding to conduct lunches, tech tools sessions, guest speaker appearances, and other meetings with their FLC.

The group of FLC leaders for the 2018-19 academic year met a number of criteria in order to secure their roles. Along with enthusiasm for their topics, they were able to bring along at least three peers to participate in their FLC, collaborate with a TLT staff member on a kickoff meeting, schedule and facilitate regular meetings, and share their FLC’s outcomes at the TLT Symposium.

This year’s FLCs reach across Pennsylvania from Erie to Berks County and cover a broad range of topics from teaching data visualization to global learning in agriculture.

Here is the full list of 2018-19 Faculty Learning Communities at Penn State and their respective leaders:

FLC Leader                          Campus               Topic

Benjamin Lear                    University Park    Teaching of Data Visualizations

Dawn Pfeifer Reitz             Berks                   Innovative Instructional Technologies in the Classroom

Heather Cole                      Erie                       Digital Fluency and Content Development

Lara LaDage                       Altoona               Mentoring Undergraduate Student Researchers

Melanie Miller Foster &

Noel Habashy                     University Park    Global Learning in Agriculture

Neyda Abreu                      DuBois                 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Chemistry

Beth Egan                           University Park    Open Education Resources: Local & Global Appeal

Penn State leads CoAction Learning Lab–a community that will drive education innovation

Penn State leads CoAction Learning Lab–a community that will drive education innovation

A worldwide collection of universities and colleges have joined together to explore technology’s potential to define the prospects of teaching and learning. With its debut, this collaboratory called the CoAction Learning Lab will create an online library of original and curated resources that will support higher education innovators.

“Emerging technology has outstanding potential to advance the vision of equal access, high-quality learning experiences, and continuous innovation in higher education,” said Michael Kubit, Penn State chief information officer. “By continuously exchanging ideas, the CoAction Learning Lab community expects to establish and grow resources that support meaningful ways to leverage emerging technology to advance teaching and learning.”

Penn State launched a call for community partners in April 2018, and a diverse group of 18 universities and colleges across four continents signed on to participate. Currently, the group is establishing a shared set of core values that can drive decision-making around how technology can support teaching, learning, and pedagogy in higher education.

The following institutions have representation in the CoAction Learning Lab:

  • Penn State – leader and founding member
  • Arizona State University
  • Charles Sturt University, u!magine Digital Learning Innovation Laboratory
  • Conestoga College
  • California State University Channel Islands, Teaching & Learning Innovations
  • Curtin University Learning Futures
  • Full Sail University Media Communications & Full Sail Labs
  • Ithaca College
  • State University of New York (SUNY) System Administration
  • Taylor’s University
  • University at Buffalo
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Connecticut Digital Media & Design
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Plymouth
  • University of Tennessee Libraries
  • University of West Florida
  • Western Governors University

Each community partner is represented by a team consisting of at least one technology leader, one learning facilitator, and one student. By including each of these voices, diverse perspectives from across higher education will shape the foundation of the online library.

Additionally, the public will have opportunities to provide feedback as the CoAction Learning Lab identifies its values and compiles a list of technologies that enable and support those values.

Ultimately, the library’s resources will be freely accessible online for the worldwide higher education community. The resources will support students, instructors, instructional designers, and technology leaders on issues like creating student-centered learning experiences, advancing effective digital pedagogies, and more. These resources will be available on the CoAction Learning Lab’s website.

Bestselling author Dan Heath to give keynote at 2019 Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology

Bestselling author Dan Heath to give keynote at 2019 Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology

Author of four New York Times bestselling books, Dan Heath will deliver the keynote address at the 2019 Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology.

Symposium is scheduled for Saturday, March 16, 2019 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. It is a free event for all Penn State faculty, students, and staff.

Dan Heath head shot

Keynote speaker Dan Heath

Dan, along with his brother Chip Heath, has co-authored four of the most-read business books of the last decade. Including their most recent work, The Power of Moments—an exploration of why certain experiences can jolt, elevate, and change people, the Heath brothers’ books have sold over two million copies and been translated into 33 languages.

A senior fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Dan Heath has given keynotes for leaders in government, healthcare, defense, and business across 26 countries and six continents. In 2013, he was named one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company Magazine and was ranked among the 50 most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50.

Heath’s keynote address is presented in partnership with Penn State University Libraries.

The Penn State Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology annually brings together ideas and people with the power to transform education. The day’s events include presentations, discussions, networking, awards, and more.

Registration for the 2019 Symposium is now open.

Teaching and Learning with Technology introduces new Faculty Fellows

Teaching and Learning with Technology introduces new Faculty Fellows

Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State is excited to introduce its four TLT Faculty Fellows for the 2018-19 academic year—David Hunter, Kathryn W. Jablokow, Karen Kackley-Dutt, and Alan Wagner.

“We have a sensational group of Faculty Fellows this year. They are exceptional scholars in their respective disciplines, and their innovative ideas have the power to create positive change at Penn State and beyond,” said Kyle Bowen, director of innovation with TLT. “Our staff is eager to support their projects and help bring them to life.”

This year the TLT Faculty Fellows were chosen from dozens of applicants. Each fellow will work for one year with a dedicated team of TLT staff in order to realize the goals set forth by each of their projects. The undertakings by this year’s fellows include topics covering data science, digital fluency, immersive experiences, and robotics.

David Hunter – Data Science

A professor of statistics in the Eberly College of Science at University Park, Hunter aims to mobilize a data science community encompassing all of Penn State.

“Data science has developed into a discipline that influences nearly all modern academic fields,” Hunter said. “Despite its pervasive reach at Penn State, we are lacking a cohesive presence that can bring together faculty and students who are working toward similar goals.”

His project intends to deliver a web presence that will aggregate all the data science activities throughout the University and publicize programs that are ready to accept students. Additionally, Hunter plans to create a database of faculty members that would enable students interested in data science to locate scholars within their disciplines.

Kathryn W. Jablokow – Digital Fluency

Digital fluency is commonly understood as the ability to use technology to create new knowledge, while also using problem solving to resolve challenges brought about by that knowledge. At Penn State Great Valley, Jablokow, professor of engineering design and mechanical engineering, wants to help instructors avoid reinventing materials designed to develop students’ fluency in creative thinking and problem-solving.

“As someone who has taught in the domain of creativity from an engineering perspective at University Park and Great Valley for more than 25 years combined, I’ve observed this pattern time after time. A faculty member wants to encourage creative thinking in their classroom and hurriedly creates materials to do so. However, they don’t realize that something similar already exists within another department or campus at Penn State,” she said.

In order to disrupt that pattern, Jablokow aspires to create a “Compendium of Creative Fluency” that will make concepts, practices, activities, and materials covering creative fluency available to all Penn State students and faculty. Additionally, because creative fluency is important across disciplines, the materials will be functional for all subjects.

Karen Kackley-Dutt – Immersive Experiences

Kackley-Dutt, a biology professor at Penn State Lehigh Valley, believes that threats to Earth’s biomes—large regions that share similar climates and communities of organisms—can be neutralized, in part, by increased advocacy. To inspire new advocates, she will use her project to create immersive environments that let students experience far-away places through interactive 360-degree video and virtual reality.

“Marilyn Vos Savant stated that, ‘To acquire knowledge, one must study, but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.’ This project will provide students the chance to observe Earth’s biomes for themselves. By observing and virtually experiencing a variety of biomes they will become more connected to them,” said Kackley-Dutt.

Field researchers world-wide will help Kackley-Dutt compile resources for her immersive environments. They will receive Biome Boxes filled with cameras, tripods, instructions for using and returning the equipment, and recommended best practices.

Alan Wagner – Robotics

An assistant professor of aerospace engineering at University Park, Wagner wants to utilize robots in social situations, such as interactive games, to study their influence on ethical behavior in their human counterparts. His project intends to use findings from these studies to inform the development of explicit programming that can combat academic integrity issues in modern classrooms.

Research has shown that educators work in an environment where up to 30 percent of students attempt to use unpermitted technology-based resources on tests. Additionally, online services exist that offer to complete students’ academic work. Wagner and his team will explore how robotics, artificial intelligence, and targeted programming can slow the erosion of academic integrity.

“Our hope is that these systems can generate ‘nudges’ that encourage ethical behavior among students, or possibly cause them to reflect on the ethical implications of their actions,” Wagner said.

Faculty panel to examine active learning at Penn State

Faculty panel to examine active learning at Penn State

On Tuesday, October 9th, Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) will host a faculty panel discussion on shared active learning strategies and faculty use cases. Participants will have an opportunity to hear how the panel members approach using active learning with their students, can ask specific questions during the Q&A portion of the session, and network with colleagues.

The active learning faculty panel discussion will take place at 2:30 p.m. in The Dreamery located on the ground floor of Shields Building. Light refreshments will be offered. For those who cannot attend in person, the panel discussion will be available via Zoom: https://psu.zoom.us/j/231652323.

Pre-registration for the event is required. Register online by October 8th.

The faculty panel will include:

Dr. Daniel Foster
Associate Professor
Agricultural Teacher Educator

Dr. Laura Guertin
Professor
Earth Science

Dr. Matthew Beckman
Assistant Research Professor
Director of Undergraduate Programs
Department of Statistics