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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Oktoberbest 2022

Oktoberbest: A Symposium On Teaching

Friday, October 6, 2023 7:45 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.

The Center for Teaching Excellence is pleased to announce that the 14th Annual Oktoberbest: A Symposium on Teaching  will be Friday, October 6, 2023 at the University Conference Center. Registration and a networking breakfast is from 7:45 - 8:45 a.m. in the lobby of the University Conference Center. The welcome  is at 8:45 a.m. and the keynote address is scheduled to start at 9:05 a.m.

The Oktoberbest Agenda features engaging and informative presentations on innovative approaches to teaching, assessments, course design, creative student learning opportunities, and successful implementation of new strategies and best practices implemented by your USC colleagues. 

All USC faculty, instructors and graduate teaching assistants are invited to attend this free one-day event. Oktoberbest is free to all who teach or support teaching at USC, but is not open to the general public.

Register for Oktoberbest: A Teaching Symposium


Keynote Speaker

Ray Schroeder is UIS Professor Emeritus of Communication and Senior Fellow at the University Professional Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).  Holding degrees in Speech from Augustana College and Radio and Television from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Schroeder began his academic career as a part time instructor of Radio-TV in 1972.  He quickly expanded his academic appointment, becoming a full-time instructor in 1975.  Two years later, Schroeder was hired at Sangamon State University (SSU) as an Assistant Professor of Communication.  

In 1997, Schroeder took a leadership role in the emerging field of online learning, establishing the Univeristy of Illinois Springfield Office of Technology Enhanced Learning (OTEL). The strength and reputation of the UIS online programs grew quickly.  Both Schroeder and the university received many national awards and recognitions.  Most notably the university was recognized repeatedly by the Sloan-Consortium (Sloan-C), later re-named the Online Learning Consortium (OLC).  In 2009, UIS Provost Harry Berman joined Schroeder in conceptualizing and establishing the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) to create a unique holistic approach to integrating the Internet into the three-part mission of faculty members.  This UIS approach to online learning is often emulated at other leading universities.

Schroeder was individually honored nationally with the 2002 Sloan-C Most Outstanding Achievement in Asynchronous Learning Networks. Further, he received the 2002-2003 Sloan-C Distinguished Scholar in Online Learning award and, in 2010, he joined 15 other national leaders, including Burks Oakley and UIS Professor Karen Swan, as the Sloan-C Inaugural Fellows.  Also, in 2010, he received the Sloan-C Inaugural A. Frank Mayadas Leadership Award.  The following year, Schroeder received the University of Illinois Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.  In the summer of 2011, he and the COLRS unit launched the innovative eduMOOC, which was, at the time, the largest online class with 2,700 students located in 70 countries worldwide.

In 2016, the American Journal of Distance Education and the University of Wisconsin, Madison awarded Schroeder the prestigious Mildred B. and Charles A. Wedemeyer Award for Outstanding Practitioner in Distance Education, and also that year, the United States Distance Teaching and Learning Association (USDLA) Hall of Fame Award for “significant contributions to the field of distance learning through leadership, technology, research and teaching.”  In recognition of his innovation and leadership in online learning over the past quarter century, Schroeder received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Illinois Springfield on May 13, 2023.

Schroeder continues his highly-productive career as Senior Fellow of UPCEA.  In that capacity he publishes nationally and internationally, daily curated reading lists on professional, continuing and online education as well as the popular bi-weekly column “Online: Trending Now” column in Inside Higher Education.  This year he continues his leadership through delivering national keynotes, workshops and conference presentations on the impact of generative AI in higher education. 

Keynote Address

Teaching and Learning with Generative AI

The keynote address will examine the current and future impact of Generative AI on teaching and learning at the college level.  Among the topics that will be touched upon are how course instructors might take advantage of the emerging Generative Artificial Intelligence innovations to engage students in critical thinking, writing, and analysis. How these technologies can also be used by instructors in the creation of course material, grading, and providing feedback on student work, generating lecture materials and exam questions, and conducting literature reviews and data analysis will also be considered. Looking ahead, Ray Schroeder's keynote will consider employer expectations of graduate knowledge and facility with Generative AI in making hiring decisions.  Finally, he will look ahead to the impact of AI more broadly in both higher education and the workplace.

Oktoberbest is co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence, Division of Information Technology and University Libraries.

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