On Wednesday, June 19, freshly popped popcorn, scores of balloons, and a red carpet welcomed attendees inside The Dreamery for the first-ever Research Carnival focused on teaching and learning with technology.
The event was organized and hosted by Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) in partnership with the Center for Excellence in Science Education, Institutional Review Board, Liberal Arts Teaching Group, Office of Information Security, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, and University Libraries.
“[Faculty] come to our research group with many questions about the process of teaching and learning scholarship. Because it tends to be different from the research to which they’re accustomed, many don’t know where to begin when they want to research what’s happening in their class,” said TLT’s faculty programs manager, Crystal Ramsay.
Teaching and learning scholarship (TLS) is understood as systematic investigation into subject matter related to teaching and learning. TLS projects can be smaller in scale, such as answering questions about the impact of specific teaching interventions during a particular semester of a course. They can also be more substantial, like an exploration of emerging technology’s impact on an entire discipline.
Ramsay and her team had a clear vision for how they intended to address the concerns related to TLS expressed by University faculty.
“We wanted to create an inviting, informal, and fun opportunity for faculty, and those who support their teaching mission, to meet with people in the Penn State community who could answer questions and support teaching and learning scholarship efforts,” she said.
By all metrics, it appears as though the Research Carnival hit its marks. Ultimately, 128 guests visited the carnival, and while formal feedback has yet to be collected, the initial reactions were overwhelmingly positive.
“We heard things like, ‘It was great to have these resources in one place,’ ‘Conversations were fun and partners were approachable,’ and ‘[We] got takeaways that can be put to use right away,'” noted Ramsay.
The Research Carnival took place over two months before the start of the fall semester, and it’s clear from the faculty turnout and volunteers who hosted the event that the University community is always striving to deliver the best possible experience for its students.
“[This event] was another reminder of how much people at Penn State really do care about the learning experiences of our students,” Ramsay said, in closing. “It’s great to be a part of a community that is committed to supporting their efforts.”