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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.


August 2017

The USC Division of Information Technology (formerly University Technology Services) will host the annual BEST Institute from August 22–23. BEST (Blackboard Educational Software Technologies) provides faculty and instructors the opportunity to explore new technologies and broaden their skills in Blackboard, VoiceThread, i>Clicker and more! Sessions will be held across the Columbia campus during the two-day conference. Be prepared to meet and interact with colleagues while learning to take your classroom instruction to a different level.  More Information

The USC Division of Information Technology (formerly University Technology Services) will host the annual BEST Institute from August 22–23. BEST (Blackboard Educational Software Technologies) provides faculty and instructors the opportunity to explore new technologies and broaden their skills in Blackboard, VoiceThread, i>Clicker and more! Sessions will be held across the Columbia campus during the two-day conference. Be prepared to meet and interact with colleagues while learning to take your classroom instruction to a different level.  More Information

College classrooms are intended to be places where students learn to engage in reasoned discussion about complex issues and learn from others' perspectives. In fact, research has demonstrated that engagement with controversial topics can enhance students' learning and critical reasoning skills. Many faculty members are reluctant, however, to include discussions of controversial topics in their courses because of the challenges that can arise if disagreements become emotionally charged. 

Join facilitator Nicole Fisk for an interactive session that explores strategies for fostering productive classroom discussions. Topics will include identifying course content that may provoke controversy, setting discussion guidelines, introducing sensitive topics and establishing a civil, inclusive classroom environment in which issues are discussed respectfully. The session will end with an open question-and-answer session and a discussion of issues that have arisen in attendees' own teaching.  Register

As higher education evolves and our student body diversifies, teaching today’s undergraduate students has significantly increased in complexity. This interactive workshop will explore research and best practices in engaging and supporting “Generation Z” — students born after 1995 — in the classroom and beyond, addressing motivation, expectations, technology use and approaches to learning.  Register

September 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

Research has demonstrated a strong connection between effective reading habits and academic success.  And yet, if you are like most college instructors, you probably have students in your classes who try to get by without doing any of the assigned reading, who read only very superficially, or only right before the exam.  Alternatively, you may have students who struggle to even glean the main points from a reading assignment. What are the most effective ways to deal with the challenge of students who don’t—or can’t—read? Join facilitator Michelle Hardee for an interactive workshop that will explore recent research on the reading process, discuss reasons why students find academic reading so daunting, and share hands-on strategies for designing assignments that encourage students to become more motivated, effective readers. The workshop will end with an open question-and-answer session and discussion of challenges participants have faced in their own teaching.  Register

An inclusive classroom is one that promotes diversity of thought and perspective based on students’ background, experiences and individual differences. In this interactive workshop, Moryah Jackson will lead a discussion on the importance of inclusivity in the classroom, share ten practical approaches that will help foster an inclusive classroom and provide resources for additional guidance.  Register

Are you looking for light at the end of a long, dark, tunnel of grading?  Searching for a more efficient way to evaluate student work while providing meaningful feedback?  Then, this session is for you!  A rubric is a pre-determined set of content and quality guidelines that can speed up grading, as well as provide consistency and richer feedback in your courses.  Join us to see how you can develop a simple grading rubric and use the interactive rubric feature in Blackboard to simplify grading.  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

Writing is one of the most difficult tasks that every student must face in college. Mastering the skills and conventions of university-level composition can be frustrating for undergraduates. This workshop will explore strategies that instructors can use to empower their students to engage the writing process and  to effectively employ compositional principles in writing assignments.  Register

Information Literacy is popular buzzword but do your students really know what it means? Do you feel like your students do not know how information is created and disseminated? Do your students struggle to identify source types? Do your students have difficulty locating credible sources? Do they have a hard time knowing when to cite their sources?

The way in which information is created and disseminated is evolving at a rapid pace and coupled with this is the increasing need to ensure students have information literacy skills that will help them to succeed in academic and lifelong learning pursuits.  This workshop will cover the changing concept of information literacy and the ways in which information literacy encompasses more than a discrete set of library skills.  We will look at information literacy through the lens of disciplinary contexts as well as focus on strategies to use when developing assignments and other course materials that integrate information literacy in a meaningful way for students.  Register

Research suggests that more than half of all college students admit to cheating. The apparently limitless potential for dishonest behavior in online courses has caused some higher education professionals to become pseudo-vigilantes, while others seem only vaguely aware that a problem exists. Is there a balanced approach to reducing the opportunities for dishonest behavior in our distributed learning courses? Careful course design, appropriate tools, and fostering a culture of ethics can reduce the likelihood of these behaviors occurring. In this session, the presenters will share the latest tools as well as time-tested best practices for “keeping it clean” in your online course.  Register

We invite staff advisors, faculty advisors and students to join us for lunch and discussion as we explore common expectations in the academic advising relationship. Advisors- find out from the students themselves what’s working and what’s not. In turn, you’ll be able to share what you expect and hope for from them. We also invite students to share ways that advisers have helped you—or that you wish that they’d helped you. We value your opinion and hope that you’ll join this lively discussion with facilitators and faculty advisers about advisement.

We’ll have FREE lunch for everyone!

Registration is required for this event.  Register

Do you have plans to develop and implement globally-themed content into your course? Are you interested in the International Education Week Faculty Mini-Grant? In this hands-on workshop, you will learn what is included in a globalized course design and how to implement these themes through incorporation of global content in your learning objectives, activities, and assignments.  Register

Why should teachers know about how theatre is made? Theatre is a focusing of stories, movement, voice, conflict, and visual and aural elements to embody critical human questions. This workshop shares a few techniques, principles and strategies that theatre makers utilize to create theatre. This on-your-feet workshop will show the links between theatre techniques and classroom instruction that professors can use to activate their instruction.   Register

October 2017

"Stop!  You've played enough video games today!  Stop!"  Has any parent not experienced the video game syndrome?  Wish your students were as engaged with your class as they are with the game?  Want to know why they keep playing?  Is it only fun and games or do students learn skills that can be applied to school?  Do games offer elements that could be incorporated into a class to advance learning?  Join us to understand more about games and education.  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

In this interactive workshop, Clayton Copeland will share results from recent research exploring the impact of course accessibility and the integration of tools and resources that facilitate multimodal learning for all students. She will then present concrete strategies for implementing accessibility and multimodal tools and resources into courses. Participants will discuss and collaboratively practice skills for creating accessible courses designed to meet student needs, and the session will conclude with an informal question-and-answer session.  Register

Even the most experienced speakers and most talented teachers get nervous about public speaking, but we all want our class lectures and activities to be more effective. This workshop will share practical strategies to help you plan and deliver more engaging, organized and dynamic lectures. Participants will have the opportunity to briefly practice and receive constructive feedback about their presentation style.  Register

A student's cell phone buzzes while you're lecturing. The other students look at you expectantly as the student checks it and sends a text in front of you. In a classroom discussion, a student uses charged language and other students become visibly distressed. Grades have been posted, and an upset student sends you an email challenging his final project and class grade. What do you do in these situations? How do you handle other challenging classroom disruptions? This seminar will provide examples of scenarios that can (and will) happen, along with the best (and worst) ways for handling and defusing situations, and best practices for ensuring these scenarios do not occur during your teaching.   Register

The purpose of the Carolina Intercultural Training is to create a space for faculty and staff to explore strategies for increasing intercultural competence and further understand cross-cultural communication styles. The two-hour workshop is highly interactive and includes information to help navigate common miscommunications between cultures both in the office and classroom setting. 

Topics to address

Statistics and International Student Trends at USC and beyond

What is International Student Services?

Cultural Dimensions and Differences 

Cross-Cultural Case Studies and Discussion

How does this relate to my position?

Those who complete this program will receive a certificate and an “International Friendly Zone” card. The goal of this workshop is for all attendees to become better equipped to promote an inclusive environment on campus for the more than 1,800 international Gamecocks at USC.

Who Should Attend: All USC Columbia faculty and staff   Register

Do you want effective techniques for increasing accessibility and engagement for all learners? Accessibility in course design is often limited to documents, slides, and captioning. By applying the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to course design from the beginning, we can enhance learning for all learners, not just those with documented disabilities. In this workshop, you will learn about the principles of UDL, and how you can align UDL with all course elements. We will finish the session by designing a course module using UDL principles.  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

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

Discouraging plagiarism and cheating behaviors is a responsibility of all Carolinians—students, faculty, and staff.  This session will focus on trends related to academic misconduct and how instructors can develop a culture of integrity within their classroom environment. Concrete strategies on how to prevent and how to respond to cheating behaviors will be shared during this interactive workshop.  Register

We invite faculty and students join us for this informal and informative conversation about civility and academic integrity in the classroom. Find out from the students themselves what’s working and what’s not when it comes to this crucial topic. In turn, you’ll be able to share what you expect from them. In this workshop, students and faculty will explore common expectations when it comes to civility and integrity on the college campus in the 21st century. We value your opinion, and hope that you’ll join this lively facilitated discussion with faculty and students. We’ll have a free lunch for everyone and great raffle prizes for a lucky few!  Register

Teaching online classes, face to face, hybrid? Interested in new and exciting ways to deliver content to your students? Looking for technologies in which to engage your students? Then this is a session for you! Heather Moorefield-Lang from the School of Library and Information Science will take you through some of her favorite online tools for teaching and learning. This will be a jam-packed session of great online tools and applications. Join us during this webinar with your favorite technology nearby to interact with the instruction more fully during the session.  Register

Are you interested in service-learning? Would you like to learn how to develop a service-learning course? Using the National Youth Leadership Council’s Service-Learning Cycle as a framework, Jabari Bodrick will provide workshop attendees with step-by-step instructions on how to create a service-learning course.

Jabari will also explain how service-learning is defined at USC, provide USC service-learning assessment data, and highlight the benefits of service-learning to students, faculty members and community agency representatives. In addition, Minuette Floyd will share her experiences as a service-learning course instructor and, in conjunction with Jabari, answer any questions workshop attendees may have about teaching a service-learning course.  Register

Are you stressed? Who isn’t? Do you realize that “stressed” spelled backward is “desserts”? We sometimes turn to unhealthy behaviors to put a Band-Aid on stress. But there’s a better way.

In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore the body’s stress response and how to handle it. We’ll also discuss and practice long-term stress management strategies. You’ll learn how to debunk some stress myths and create practices that will help you sail through turbulent times.  Register

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

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

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