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Inclusive Classrooms: Webinar on engaging a multicultural classroom

students working in groupWhat resources are available to Elon faculty as they try to create inclusive classrooms?

Every year CATL sponsors a number of workshops and discussions. One excellent resource, the webinar “Four Strategies to Engage the Multicultural Classroom,” is now available even for those who missed the original event.

Mathew Ouellet and Christine Stanley hosted this webinar, which provides:

  • a broad definition framework of diversity;
  • a conceptual framework with which one might approach designing a multicultural classroom;
  • ideas from participants for assignments and activities;
  • pedagogical strategies for handling difficult situations in the classroom.

Continue reading »

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Getting started with Google+

Are you looking for a way to virtually meet and share links, videos and resources with your students? You may want to consider Google+.


Google’s social media tool offers unique collaboration and control features that make it very appealing to instructors in higher education. It also works well with Google’s other applications like Google Drive and YouTube. This post provides an overview of Google+ and how it can be used in higher education. You can learn more about Google+ by clicking on the “+You” link at the top of Google.com. Continue reading »

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Travel Grants: Maggie Castor leads roundtable conversation at the 2011 International Society of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference

Maggie Castor (’12) was involved with CATL’s first Elon Research Seminar from 2009-2011. This three-year seminar on Teaching Democratic Thinking brought together faculty, staff, and students from across the nation to develop interdisciplinary research projects on the selected theme. One project that Maggie was involved with was a reading group on radical research methods. The term radical research was used by the group to indicate research practices that stray from traditional academic methods, such as having non-academic co-investigators and publishing for non-academic audiences.

Over the course of a year, Elon faculty, a UNC-G graduate student, and Maggie met to share resources on alternative researching methods with democratic goals in mind. Each time the group would meet a different member would select the materials and facilitate a conversation regarding how these methods could be taken up in their respective contexts. Maggie then proposed the group expand their conversations by having a roundtable conversation at the 2011 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference in Milwaukee from October 20-23. She was able to attend the conference thanks to funding through a CATL Travel Reimbursement Grant. Continue reading »

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Diversity Infusion Project: Sport and Event Management

calendarThe Department of Sport and Event Management has developed a Diversity Inclusion Mentoring Program. With a database of over 35 regional minority leaders in the industry, the department is able to deepen conversations about diversity within the field while also creating meaningful relationships between students and working professionals. Continue reading »

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This Week in Tweets: November 16th, 2012

In case you missed it, here’s what @elontechnology and @elonteaching haveTwitter Bird beentweetingthis week. If you aren’t using using Twitter yet, learn how to get started.

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Professor Mark Courtright uses clickers for peer evaluation

Written by Caroline Klidonas, junior Acting major and Creative Writing minor

Professor Mark Courtright is finding ways to amp up student involvement in class presentations in his Business Communications class. How? You guessed it—with clickers! I met with him to find out firsthand just how he’s managed this.

Q: What specific ways have you used the clickers in class?

Professor Courtright’s Business Communications class explored doing business in other cultures. The class was divided into five groups of four for a project that culminated in a class presentation. Prior to the presentation, he gave the students a rubric with six categories on which to be evaluated.

Class presentation categories included:

1. Collaboration
2. Organization
3. Content and Preparedness
4. Visuals
5. Mechanics and Formatting
6. Question and Answer Techniques

Class Evaluation
At the end of the presentations, Professor Courtright showed the class a PowerPoint presentation with slides for each of the team country names, and the categories from the rubric. When he flashed a slide with a specific rubric category, the students rated the team in question from one to four with their clickers (four being the best). They completed this for each element of evaluation on the rubric, for each team.

Comparison of Scores
Professor Courtright didn’t stop there, however. Taking into consideration that students were evaluating their peers, Professor Courtright compared an indexed value of the average scores with his indexed value. He then weighted their index value at 30% and his at 70% and calculated a weighted score for each team’s presentation evaluation. “The way it really worked well was the fact that…they sort of flattened out the results by mostly fours and threes,” Professor Courtright reflects. “It made me go back in a couple cases, where I really downgraded my evaluation. I didn’t change my evaluation, but their moderating effect pulled the grade up.” Overall, Professor Courtright thinks, “it was a good balancing compensation aspect.”

When all of the normalizing calculations, as well as other parts of the team project were said and done, the student clicker evaluations weighed in at 20% of the overall project grade.

Q: Do you plan on applying the clickers in this way again?

“Yes, probably in about two weeks,” Professor Courtright responds without hesitation, but he will be tweaking the process this time.

Formal Business Analysis
This assignment is a formal business analysis, resulting in an individual presentation on whether or not students think they should buy a particular, randomly assigned company. For this assignment, Professor Courtright says that the rubric will be more “outcome-based,” asking the ultimate question, “were they credible?” The rest of the class will be on a hypothetical company board, deciding if they agree with the presentation to buy or not. Each student will receive the class feedback on the effectiveness of their argument. In addition, this time the student evaluations will account for closer to 40% of their final project grade.

Student Responses
Here is where things get interesting: whereas before the clicker evaluations were anonymous, now they will be assigned. In addition, the last question on the rubric will ask the students if they are willing to switch their grade with the student they have just evaluated. “It’s a reality check,” Professor Courtright explains. “If you say all these [rubric categories] are fours, and then you say you wouldn’t take the grade, that gives me an indication when I go back and weight it.”

Q: What difficulties did you or the students have with the clickers?

As a warm up for the students, Professor Courtright employed some of the exercises Dan Reis, Instructional Technologist in TLT, showed him in the clicker training session; the students caught on quickly, without any specific issues.

“My difficulty was when I went back to get the data, I didn’t know that there was a little app that you clicked on that pulled it all up, refined. At first I couldn’t find it; I found only raw data. I was panicking,” Professor Courtright says. To resolve this issue, he called Dan Reis, and learned that “iClicker Grader” was the app that he was looking for. Professor Courtright had the application installed but was unaware of how to locate the data.

Final Thoughts
Professor Courtright is still trying to work out ways to compensate for the students’ tendency to grade towards the four on the rubric. “I haven’t figured out if there’s a way to…say you’re limited to “x” number of fours. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to put a ceiling on it, but I do want some realism.”

In addition, due to the formal nature of business writing, in which opinion-stating is null, Professor Courtright has yet to find a way to apply the clickers to “free-flow information.” He hopes to tackle this more “on-the-fly” application of the clickers next semester. “But for evaluating the performance, I think it’s really good,” Professor Courtright concludes.

The questions Professor Courtright is asking demonstrate that clicker use in the classroom is a dynamic learning process for both professors and students. All it takes is some healthy curiosity and a willingness to try new things in order to uncover the true benefits of this classroom tool.

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Teaching and Learning Grants: The Faces of Welfare

Elon’s Program for Ethnographic Research and Community Studies (PERCS) and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology are offering ANT386 Faces of Welfare. Fall 2012 marks the start of Project PERC’s second iteration, and The Faces of Welfare serves as the gateway course for a three-year, collaborative research opportunity for students. As a service-learning course students will ground their introduction to collaborative ethnographic research through recording the stories Alamance County residents tell about public assistance.

During the course students will collaborate with community partners to collect and analyze data for the production of resources jointly developed by the community partners and the research team. Students will ultimately engage in the necessary research and fieldwork to produce a project that is both collaborative and suitable for public audiences. Funds for recording equipment and other materials necessary in recording narratives were received through a $4,950 CATL Teaching and Learning Grant to Associate Professor Tom Mould. Continue reading »

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