Individual Session Descriptions
The following schedule will be updated until the start of the conference. All sessions will take place in Zoom.
Tuesday, May 11
9:40-10:50am | 15-minute Presentations and Lightning Talks
Opening TONIC Panel: Educational Development
Kaitlyn Farrell Rodriguez, PhD Candidate in English, Graduate Teaching Consultant (Faculty Innovation Center) Kathleen Holloway, PhD Candidate in Human Development and Family Sciences, Provost’s Teaching Fellows Program Assistant (Faculty Innovation Center) Sarah Schoonhoven, Associate Project Manager (Faculty Innovation Center) and Program Coordinator (Provost’s Teaching Fellows)
In the transition to large-scale online and hybrid teaching and learning over the past year, teaching and learning centers like the Faculty Innovation Center have pivoted towards creating resources and programming that support faculty in their online teaching efforts and support holistic wellness and success of their students in these new formats and methodologies. In this session we’ll reflect on two different Faculty Innovation Center projects created over the past year for a university-wide audience, and discuss both the distinguishing differences and the overlapping similarities between such projects and course-based or discipline-based innovations.
1. "Constructing Resources for Active Online Learning" (15-minute presentation)
Dr. Robert van de Geijn and Dr. Maggie Myers (Department of Computer Science, College of Natural Science0
Eight years ago, we began creating a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the edX platform with the goal to share with the world a course that was focused on learning. Building on that and subsequent experiences, we now use an open-source authoring tool, PreTeXt, to develop, pacage, and teach our current UT courses. The online textbooks (or downloadable PDF documents) invite active learning by interleaving short videos, text, scaffolded exercises, and activities in easy to consume chunks. The resulting environments are designed to be appropriate for different learning styles, yet don’t overwhelm. They allow students to decide (to a degree) when, where, how, and in what order they access content. The materials, together with two of us closely collaborating to provide timely interaction with our students on discussion boards, have created experiences that one of our graduate students described with “I felt more engaged and involved than any other online or even on-campus class I have ever attempted."
2. "Micro-credentials: Using Badges to Promote Learner Outcomes and Engagement" (15-minute presentation)
Dr. Lucas Horton and Dr. Karen French (Office of Instructional Innovation, College of Education)
In summer 2020, the Office of Instructional Innovation developed a series of short asynchronous professional learning modules called Camp OI2. We designed these modules to prepare instructors to negotiate emergency online instruction in response to the pandemic. They focused on critical aspects of successful online instruction, including the instructional design principles, strategies for developing learning communities, techniques for facilitating discourse, and methods for assessing student learning. To recognize the successful completion of these modules, encourage participation, track engagement, and make visible the preparation of our instructors in the lead-up to the fall semester, we decided to integrate a service to award digital badges. We selected Badgr, a well-known and widely adopted digital badge network that awards micro-credentials based on outcomes within Canvas. Upon successfully passing a 10 question quiz at the conclusion of each module, course participants received an associated badge. A number of faculty received badges for successfully completing the course modules.
Based on our nascent efforts in microcredentials, we expanded the use of badges in subsequent semesters. In fall 2021, we will conduct a pilot on the use of Badgr within the context of our teacher preparation programs to award credentials associated with state-mandated digital literacy instruction. The digital literacy requirement is unique. It is highly personalized, well-integrated across the teacher education curriculum, and addressable by students through a wide range of learning experiences. To meet the needs of this program and further explore the potential of microcredentials, we are pursuing the adoption of Badgr Pro.
3. "Flagging Concerns: Proctorio and Other Unlearned Lessons from 2020" (15-minute presentation)
Emily Emison (Department of Rhetoric and Writing, College of Liberal Arts)
The mid-semester outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic sent instructors, administrators, and students alike into a mad dash of digital migration. While the chaos of those early days of forced remote teaching/learning yielded myriad object lessons in resilient design, the stress of adapting to extreme pedagogical and institutional insecurity led many in higher ed to adopt surveillance software such as Proctorio, a third-party test monitoring system that integrates with the Canvas LMS. In spite of early, frequent, vociferous protests from students, parents, and civil liberties watchdogs like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ubiquity of misleading and demonstrably biased educational technologies (EdTech) appears cemented as we embark on the next academic year. This presentation takes the compelling case of Proctorio and demonstrates how a course in rhetoric and writing can empower undergraduate students to better understand the risks institutions unthinkingly or unknowingly expose them to.
4. "Can You Choose Your Own Adventure? The Debate about Gamifying your Classroom Content" (15-minute presentation)
Dr. Morgan Stewart and Dr. Kathryn Litten (College of Pharmacy)
All games are fun, but are all games educational? Active learning strategies are constantly evolving to ensure students remain engaged and invested in their educational endeavors, which has been especially true in the virtual environment. Gamification of educational content is an interactive way of delivering materials in a fun, low-stakes manner. Integrating multiple games into a course can stretch student creativity, enhance critical thinking skills, and cater to different learning styles. ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ (CYOA) books were developed in the 1970s as a popular interactive gamebook for leisure reading, and the concept has since been adapted in educational curricula. The concept of CYOA is non-linear storytelling where the participant determines their own storyline through a series of choices. Because of the choicebased nature of CYOA, this type of learning activity can mimic real-life scenarios, reinforce newly learned concepts through application, and provide instant feedback if a student made a choice down a path that is not the “ideal” answer.
Two faculty members from the UT College of Pharmacy will share their experiences and lessons learned delivering educational content in the form of a CYOA game, discuss future directions of how CYOA can serve as a building block to enhance application of material, and overview how debates and simulations will be used in the pharmacy curriculum moving forward. The presenters will discuss their example of creating a diabetes elective that incorporates a CYOA activity followed by team-based debates regarding clinical “grey” areas applied to a patient case, and a clinical simulation day requiring students to assess and make on-demand therapeutic decision-making. This step-wise fashion is being designed to help learners meet outcomes of the course including developing confidence in their clinical knowledge and analysis. The incorporation of games and activities further develops soft skills required for pharmacists including teamwork, communication, and decision-making skills that could not be assessed on a test nor practiced in a passive-learning setting. We believe these games/activities may be applied across a variety of diverse topics, appropriate for many classes and colleges.
5. "Best Apps for Multimodal, Inclusive Dialogue" (15-minute presentation)
Dr. Sarah Ropp (Difficult Dialogues Program Coordinator, Humanities Institute)
This 15-minute session will introduce participants to four key digital applications for facilitating classroom dialogues in multimodal, inclusive ways. Those applications include Mentimeter (an interactive visual presentation tool), Aggie.io (a collaborative digital drawing tool), Hypo.thesis (a collaborative annotation tool), and Jamboard (a collaborative digital whiteboard tool). For each application, participants will first be introduced to its general characteristics (what it is, how to access and use it, and main functions). Then I will demonstrate, with examples from my own practice, how the app can be used in the specific context of classroom dialogue, both in an online and face-to-face setting, to increase equity and inclusion. I will explain that these apps can contribute to increased equity and inclusion by diversifying modality (e.g. introducing visual, non-verbal, non-oral, and asynchronous structures for participating in dialogue) and thereby expanding what we consider to be productive and meaningful “dialogue.” An infographic I have prepared summarizes the information contained in the presentation for easy reference.
6. "Supporting Students' Technical and Creative Projects through Collaborative Online Learning" (Lightning Talk)
Dr. MJ Johns (School of Design and Creative Technologies, College of Fine Arts)
In a course that relies on hands-on instruction utilizing technical hardware and software, a transition to online felt almost insurmountable. Creating a Community of Learning and collaborative support system enabled students to continue to make technical and creative projects for my classes in a fully online modality. Together we explored and experimented with different approaches and tools to create a compelling learning environment and to help everyone find success.
7. "How I Used Perusall to Flip Actuarial Math Courses" (Lightning Talk)
Dr. Shinko Harper (Department of Mathematics, College of Natural Sciences)
During the Fall 20 and Spring 21 semesters, I used Perusall as a platform for students to complete pre-class reading assignments. I would like to share what worked, what did not work, and what I wish I knew before using Perusall as a tool to flip math courses.
Tuesday, May 11
11:00am-12:15pm | 15-minute Presentations and Lightning Talks
Special Session: Leveraging Hypothes.is Social Annotation for Student Engagement"
Dr. Rikke Cortsen, Lecturer, Department of Germanic Studies, Dr. Jeremy Dean, Chief Academic Officer, Hypothesis (Ph.D., UT Austin), Dr. José Izaguirre III, Assistant Professor, Department of Rhetoric and Writing, Mary Poteet, Lecturer, Department of Geological Sciences, Sara Williams, Graduate Student, School of Nursing
Hypothes.is is a social annotation tool that enables instructors to create annotable digital readings for their courses. The margins of these texts can be used by instructors to guide students through a reading or post prompts for class discussion on top of the content. Students can use annotations to ask their own questions and share comments about a reading with both classmates and instructors. This fall, UT Austin will be officially piloting the Hypothesis social annotation tool in Canvas. This past spring, several courses got a head start with the learning technology. This roundtable features instructors and students from a range of disciplines reflecting on these early experiments with social annotation for teaching and learning.
8. “Global Shakespeares: A Transatlantic Tempest”
Dr. James Loehlin, Clayton Stromberger (Department of English, College of Liberal Arts) and Dr. Christopher Thurman (Department of English, University of Witwatersrand)
Our goal with “Global Shakespeares”, a teaching collaboration between UT and Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa, was to inspire our students to seek together for who and what Shakespeare is today, through sharing performances, reflections, and discussion. The teaching philosophy of UT’s Shakespeare at Winedale program – grounded in approaching Shakespeare through ensemble play and group invention – has much to offer students whose previous experiences with Shakespeare have mostly been book-centered and deskbound. On the South African side, the Wits perspective presents unique insights into the literary and cultural impact and legacy of Shakespeare. We connected in a Covid context that enabled a different form of interaction between our students, using Shakespeare’s play The Tempest as our focal point.
9. "Visualizing the Molecular World in 3D with AR and VR" (15-minute presentation)
Dr. Kristen Procko (Department of Molecular Biosciences, College of Natural Sciences)
The fields of biochemistry and molecular biology are rich with images of the microscopic and submicroscopic world. Students are provided representations of cells, cellular organelles, and various biological molecules. Textbooks are limited to presenting these as two-dimensional objects; however, the three-dimensional shapes of these biological structures are paramount to an understanding of their function. To bridge this gap, the department of molecular biosciences is integrating 3D molecular modeling across the curriculum, beginning in sophomore year. During spring of 2021, students were trained in biomolecular modeling using the PyMOL software in their discussion sections. Scaffolded lessons guided students through the very basics of protein structure to projects exploring the complexity of metabolism and medicine. Computerized biomolecular modeling is a powerful tool for helping students connect structure to biological function, and has exciting extensions. The MERGE Cube Object Viewer allows the user to explore three-dimensional structures using augmented reality, and the Nanome technology brings the molecular world into the virtual reality sphere. The use of 3D molecular modeling in the online classroom will be discussed, as well as the potential for this technology in immersive environments.
10. "Developing & Delivering Scalable, Interactive, Technologically-Enhanced, Hybrid Introductory Courses" (15-minute presentation)
Dr. Steven Mintz (Department of History, College of Liberal Arts)
This presentation will discuss what it takes to design, develop, and deliver a scaled, interactive, technology-enhanced general education gateway course that can be delivered in a hyflex format. I deployed this model in Fall 2020, when over 1,450 students took my section of HiS 315K: The United States to 1865.
The course included:
1) Interactive courseware, which students navigated asynchronously, and which contained rich multimedia content, embedded activities, simulations, and low-stakes assessments that included document-based multiple-choice questions, activity-based assessments, and writing prompts that could be hand-graded, auto-graded, and peer-evaluated.
2) Tools to monitor student engagement and learning and which identify student confusions, misunderstandings, and instances of academic dishonesty.
3) Interactive synchronous sessions emphasizing active learning and problem solving, which make use of UT Instapoll, a student response system.
4) Breakout sessions that deploy tools that allow students to collaboratively annotate readings, visualize data, interpret various kinds of primary sources, and construct timelines.
Rather than simply “show and tell,” this presentation will discuss this approach’s challenges and costs, lessons learned, areas for improvement, and whether UT should invest in scaling this approach.
11. "Simulated Clinical Experiences (SCEs) in Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) at Dell Medical School" (15-minute presentation)
Mary Myers, MA (Dell Medical School)
In Spring 2020, the COVID pandemic forced Dell Medical School students out of their clinic assignments and into remote settings that dramatically changed opportunities for clinical skills practice with standardized and real-life patients. As face-to-face encounters typically held in the classrooms and Standardized Patent suite of the Health Learning Building were cancelled, we needed to find new methods to maintain training and assessment requirements for learners and quickly pivoted to innovative remote solutions. We implemented a series of technology enhanced learning platforms that replaced the in-person encounters with Simulated Clinical Experiences (SCE) in Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) like Zoom, CAE Learning Space and Oxford Medical Simulation.
Instead of halting the development and assessment of clinical skills and derailing graduation for the first cohort of Dell Medical School students, we were able to successfully modify curriculum for remote delivery. A global pandemic became an opportunity for faculty and students to activate novel and authentic engagement in clinical training and practice without risk while still identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, clinical skills faculty and mentors reported learning benefits from technology enhanced curriculum design and learner confidence gained from telehealth patient encounters.
In Spring 2021 and beyond the pandemic, we will continue the use of VLEs for technical and non-technical clinical skills attainment. We will further investigate the effectiveness of SCEs in strengthening procedural practice and patient care skills for both in-person and remote learners.
12. "Medieval Histories Meet Modern Technologies" (15-minute presentation)
Dr. Martha Newman (Department of History, College of Liberal Arts)
In the Fall 2020 semester, I employed two new tools to make learning more engaging in my Medieval History course. I will talk about how I used these two tools (Scalar and Timeline JS) helped students make more in-depth explorations.
13. "From Textbook to SuperPowerPoint: Delivering Course Content More Effectively" (15-minute presentation)
Dr. Louis Waldman (Department of Art and Art History, College of Fine Arts)
The pandemic and online teaching have intensified the search for new ways to deliver content in ways that are effective and user-friendly. The proliferation of online teaching resources over the past decade has given teachers an ever-increasing array of tools in a variety of media. On its own, however, the modules of a Learning Management System (such as Canvas) has little functionality for shaping the way students use and experience the diversity of media making up a single learning module. A new and highly empowering solution to this problem—appropriate for instructors across a vast range of disciplines--is a system integration tool known as the SuperPowerPoint.
The SuperPowerPoint is an enhanced PowerPoint (.pptx) file which organizes the entire materials of a module into a single dossier. For each module, students only have to download and study one file, in which materials born in a range of different digital formats can be curated sequentially or in dialogic combinations according to the instructor’s pedagogical intent. Rather than a disjointed array of different media that they open one by one, students experience a structured progression of materials and media customized and shaped to reinforce the lesson plan. By framing the materials of each module as part of a unified and coherent learning experience, the deceptively simple SuperPowerPoint offers an easy to use technique for bringing course material to life in the digital, post-textbook era.
14. "Welcome to My Living Room: Teaching Teachers During a Pandemic" (Lightning Talk)
Dr. Roxanne Schroeder-Arce (Associate Dean of UTeach Fine Arts, College of Fine Arts)
In this Lightening Talk, Roxanne Schroeder-Arce speaks to some of the ways students in UTeach Fine Arts have adapted to teaching the fine arts online— to young people in their homes. While being challenged at every turn, students training to be fine arts teachers have pivoted with grace while gaining important skills for teaching online and supporting students during difficult times. These students have shown tremendous creativity and resiliency over the past year. Schroeder-Arce will share some of the innovative teaching strategies demonstrated through courses as well as partnerships with schools and community organizations such as Del Valle Independent School District, the Indigenous Cultures Institute, Texas Cultural Trust, and the Center for Educator Development in the Fine Arts. Participants will consider ways of engaging online through embodied learning through a variety of technology and use of the full screen on zoom, taking advantage of being in young people’s living rooms rather than trying to pretend we are not.
15. "Implementing UDL in a Latinx classroom" (Lightning Talk)
Elena Perez-Zetune (Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, College of Liberal Arts)
This semester I taught MAS 311: Ethnicity & Gender: Afro-Latinas, Latinas, and Chicanas. I was intentional on creating an accessible and flexible classroom, implementing a Universal Design of Learning. I will speak to what worked and what didn’t work.
In terms of UDL, some concrete examples of how I provide an accessible classroom: most, if not all, videos/audios viewed in class have transcripts, all required videos/audios have transcripts; assignments have flexible due dates, there are no timed exams, presentations are made accessible after each lecture, providing time to work on group projects during class time, and all materials are provided by instructor (to ease financial burden). In addition, I made changes in order to support students during the winter storm in which we lost water and power. Once UT opened, I made the first class after reopening optional, and about 10 students attended, many of whom said it was one of their favorite lessons. I provided space for students to either regroup from the storm or come together and share space over zoom.
Lastly, student interests can be taken into account when developing lectures and inclass materials. For mid-semester feedback, I asked if there were topics they were interested in further exploring, and some stated they would appreciate more materials by and about Afro-Latinxs and trans Latinas. This is where flexibility comes in, at the end of each class I do a 5-minute artist or activist highlight, this is where I centered more Afro-Latinas and trans Latinas.
16. "FlipGrid Bingo to help students connect" (Lightning Talk)
Dr. Dan Puperi (Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering)
One of the important activities that naturally occurs with first-year college students physically present in a classroom is informally meeting their peers. Those opportunities were lost after a transition to Zoombased classes. Students in BME 303L, Introduction to Biomedical Engineering, were given an assignment to make a video using FlipGrid to introduce themselves to each other. A second assignment was given to encourage students to watch videos from their peers. The class size is typically greater than 100 students, so rather than requiring students to watch all other student videos (multiple hours of content), a “bingo card” was used so that students would watch some of the videos and be able to complete the bingo assignment. Informal student response to the activity was overwhelmingly favorable and it will continue to be used after returning to in-person learning. Resources to help other instructors replicate the activity will be included in the presentation.
17. "Samples of Caring in First-Year Chemistry: Lessons Learned" (Lightning Talk)
Dr. Deborah Rush Walker (Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences)
Stress, depression, and anxiety are on the rise among our students—and exacerbated by the current pandemic. Research is available to guide instructors’ many decisions when leading a course. This talk is a sharing session (1) of principles from that research and (2) of one faculty member’s successes and failures implementing some of those practices during fall 2020 and spring 2021.
Tuesday, May 11
2:00pm-3:00pm | 60-Minute Hands-On Workshops
18. "From Remote Teaching to Innovative Learning Experiences”
Komal Gandhi, MEd and Kasey Ford, MA (Center for Health Communications, VALUE Institute for Health and Care, Dell Medical School)
In a matter of days, the COVID-19 pandemic changed how students are educated around the world. The post-pandemic transition provides us with an opportunity to move from last-minute remote teaching to organized and innovative learning experiences. We all hope we can use what we’ve learned to seek a “better normal” for students, staff, and faculty, but what would that process look like? Join us for an interactive workshop in which we will reflect on the challenges we faced, the lessons we learned, and the opportunities we discovered during the last year in the context of existing distance learning models. Through a series of scenarios focused on learners, faculty, and the larger instructional system, we will use our collective experiences to envision our ideal learning environment together. In a series of small group conversations, we will ideate and commiserate to solve real problems. Though technology will inevitably be a part of these solutions, we hope to draw on the vast wealth of teaching and institutional experience we all bring to this session to envision new paths forward. During this conversation, we will open the door to campus collaborations that will help us attain our University’s core values of learning and discovery. Finally, we will brainstorm structures and solutions that can help us create an academic environment that promotes student creativity and faculty innovation together.
- Identify models for designing and delivering positive learning experiences
- Ideate approaches to various instructional scenarios
- Discuss how our institution can support students, staff, and faculty in creating an innovative learning environment
19. "I Didn’t Know They DID That! Canvas Quizzes are the Feedback App You’ve Been Searching For”
Dr. Karen French (Office of Instructional Innovation, College of Education)
This hands-on workshop takes a closer look at feedback - how students can use feedback to learn, we use feedback to improve instruction, and Canvas provides tools to do both. We will start with a discussion of learning checks, or brief, low-stakes quizzes after a reading or other activity that let students know if they understood what they just did. When the learning check quiz includes meaningful feedback, that student can then go back quickly to fill the knowledge gap before it gets worse. If the instructor knows the common misconceptions, even better. In the second part of the session, we explore the New Quizzes interface. It offers additional question types, but the two interfaces make adding feedback a bit more complicated. Finally, we will look at quiz statistics - the feedback that tells you as an instructor the patterns of correct and incorrect responses on an assessment. Those patterns of correct and incorrect responses tell you as much about what you can do to improve your teaching as it does about what your students find challenging. At the end, I will share a Canvas site that overviews the topics covered in the session.
At the end of this session, participants should expect to:
- Be familiar with some of the benefits of feedback for both students and instructors,
- be familiar with how to add feedback to quizzes in Canvas,
- be able to identify the differences between Classic Quizzes and New Quizzes, and
- be familiar with Canvas Quiz statistics and how those can help guide instruction
20. "Role-Playing Design Thinking through Zoom"
Dr. Honoria Starbuck (Foundations Courses, College of Fine Arts)
Last spring teachers made the pivot to online classes. This fall teachers pivot to a hybrid model. In this workshop participants will role-play steps of Design Thinking to collaboratively build a learning activity for a hybrid course.
I think this will be a fun + useful activity.
The roles are Detective, Inner Child, Alien, Nerd, Magician, and Crash Test Dummy based on Sarabeth Berk's technique to teach Design Thinking.
Wednesday, May 12
1:00-2:00pm | 60-Minute Hands-On Workshops
21. "Concept mapping-based learning assessment with Sero!"
Brian Moon, Chief Technical Officer, Perigean Technologies
Concept mapping-based learning assessment with Sero!. Concept mapping has proven a valuable tool to enable meaningful learning for over 50 years. Recent interest in using the technique for assessment has inspired development of Sero!, a software tool for authoring, disseminating, taking, and grading concept map-based assessments at the diagnostic, formative, and summative levels. This workshop will introduce concept mapping and its use for assessment, and provide a hands-on introduction to Sero!. UT is a research partner for Sero!, and all UT instructors have complimentary, ongoing access.
22. "Communities of Care: Digital Archiving as Community-Engaged Learning"
Sarah Schuster and Hannah Foltz (Department of Rhetoric and Writing, College of Liberal Arts)
"Communities of Care: Documenting Voices of Healing and Endurance" is a website and digital archive created as a part of a National Endowment for the Humanities Discovery Grant, aiming to discover, document, and enhance how community organizations utilize narrative practices as both a resource and a form of data for health research. This website is a collaboration between the Humanities Institute and multiple partnering community organizations utilizing Mukurtu, an open-source CMS managed by the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at Washington State University. In its current form, Communities of Care serves as a repository for organizations’ stories and materials related to health challenges and resiliency as well as a means of further engaging the public in important conversations through discussion posts and comments, with the goal of discussing topics at the many intersections of health, medicine, and healing, including topics around the current COVID-19 crisis.