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Center for Teaching Excellence


Center for Teaching Excellence

Events Calendar

Throughout the year, the CTE hosts events catered to USC Faculty and Staff. Our events allow participants to explore a broad range of topics important to both novice and veteran college teachers. Most workshops are facilitated by veteran faculty from USC and are designed to be highly interactive.

Click on the "+" sign next to each event to see description.


November 2017

Typically, we think of student feedback as coming at the end of the semester in the form of course evaluations, but students provide feedback to instructors and assistants every day. In this workshop we will talk about how to recognize student feedback and the variety of forms it may take, both solicited and unsolicited. We will discuss and collaboratively create strategies for mid-semester evaluations, evaluate existing tools for soliciting student feedback, and explore case studies where student feedback has been solicited to improve existing and future courses.  Register

FLIP: Focus on Learning, Innovation and Pedagogy is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

Today’s Generation Z students are constantly communicating through the use of video and audio. This interactive workshop will discuss the benefits of and demonstrate using VoiceThread (a free multimedia tool build into the Blackboard LMS).  Using VoiceThread, faculty members and learners can help create a better social presence in the online environment.   Research has shown that if social presence increases, so does the learner’s overall course satisfaction.  During the session, Drs. Ryan Rucker and Marianne Bickle will demonstrate how the implementation of VoiceThread technology that brings student interaction in a distributed learning course to a humanistic level between learners and between the learners and the instructor. The teaching strategies used by the researchers mimics the face-to-face course outcomes used for decades when instructors enhance students (a) speaking, (b) writing and (c) responding to others. The breakthrough in this scenario is that learners are achieving these outcomes in a distributed learning course.  Register

Active learning is a student-centered approach in which pre-planned activities are used to engage the student as an active participant in their learning. Techniques such as think-pair-share, one-minute paper and other such exercises have been shown to improve student learning and retention of material and can enhance the presentation format of a course. However, active learning strategies can be difficult for new instructors to implement because they require preparation and skills in guiding and moderating the learning activity.  In this workshop, we will examine the three fundamental principles of learning integrated into active learning techniques, explore the planning system necessary to incorporate them and attendees will actively participate in numerous active learning techniques applicable to a wide range of classroom settings. Join us to learn helpful tips on what you can do, how to do it, and why active learning in the classroom is important to student learning.  Register

The ability to ask "good" questions - thought-provoking, critical thinking, at a deeper level of thinking - and the application of this technique in discussion sections and courses, is often an overlooked and underdeveloped skill of instructors. With experience, what instructors find is that even discussion sessions take significant planning and preparation as well as practice. In this workshop, effective methodologies and best practices for asking good questions, techniques and styles for leading and facilitating classroom discussions as well as directing student responses will be addressed and modeled. Instructors at all levels of teaching and experience are welcome!  Register

Do you wish you knew how to meet the needs of the international students in your classes without diminishing the experience of your domestic students?  The international student population is rapidly increasing at USC, and with this increase comes some notable benefits to our university, our domestic students, and the overall classroom climate.  These students typically have very strong motivation to succeed but very specific challenges that make classroom content more difficult to access and professor expectations more difficult to understand and meet.  In this workshop, you will learn about the difficulties that international students typically experience and tips on how to facilitate their learning. Participants will develop a plan for making their course content more accessible to international students while also enhancing learning for their domestic students.  Register

Are USC undergraduate student attitudes, priorities and behaviors different from what you are accustomed?  International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) must learn to interpret and handle our students' actions appropriately, but seldom have the opportunity for this learning before stepping into the classroom. This workshop and panel discussion is designed to provide graduate students with the chance to discuss some of the difficulties they might have encountered in American academic culture. This is not a lecture – each workshop participant will identify peculiar aspects of American academic life that s/he has encountered, discuss similarities and differences in ideas, beliefs, or expectations with other participants, and develop a deeper understanding of the role culture plays in academic behavior.  Discussions will be facilitated by a panel of experienced and successful ITAs and faculty members.  Register

News of threatening and tragic events involving college students and campuses may lead us to wonder how we would respond in a similar situation. Hear from the USC Division of Law Enforcement and Safety what to do to keep your students and yourself safe. Response to an active shooter should be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. This seminar is designed to provide guidance on what to do in a shooting incident, how to be prepared, how to think safely and how to recognize a potential problem, specifically in campus and classroom contexts.  Register

Do you want to know the secrets to being an effective online teacher?  In this webinar, Dr. Sher Downing will share these with you to help you be the best teacher you can in your online classes!  Join us for the Seven Habits of Online Teachers, where you will learn what great faculty members do to engage their online students and ensure successful learning outcomes.  Register

FLIP: Focus on Learning, Innovation and Pedagogy is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information

Many of our instructors tell us that they wish they’d been provided guidance in developing a syllabus before they taught their first course. In this workshop, we’ll begin to develop a syllabus for the course of your choosing. We will discuss the importance of learning outcomes, and participants will interactively craft one as we discuss their role in the syllabus. Using the backwards design model and the development of a thoughtfully designed learning outcome, you will then create a quality learning activity or assignment, formulate the appropriate assessment, and finally, determine your most effective method for teaching that activity. Other tips and advice for syllabus development, along with examples of good and bad syllabus construction, will be discussed with other participants in a small group setting.  Register

Virtual reality (VR) gives students the opportunity to explore at their own pace, to experience distant places any time, any where at little or no cost and to understand a different perspective.  VR has been shown to engage students and enhance learning.  So how can we provide these opportunities to our students? Join us to see how VR has been used in classes and explore possibilities for additional opportunities.   Register

December 2017

FLIP: Focus on Learning, Innovation and Pedagogy is a faculty discussion group, ideas lab and learning community focused on topics related to the theory and practice of teaching and learning. FLIP is open to faculty members, instructors, postdocs and graduate students who want to study, discuss and try out various evidence-based approaches to instruction, including student-centered learning, discipline-based education research, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning (PBL), case studies and other forms of active learning.  More Information