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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Oktoberbest 2023

Oktoberbest Call for Proposals

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) team seeks engaging and informative presentations that feature innovative approaches, research, practical advice, and exploratory perspectives on effective teaching practices. We highly encourage presentations that focus on innovative assessment methods, prioritizing academic quality as a driver of student success, also.

By promoting evidence-based teaching practices and recognizing the value of research, we strive to enhance the overall quality of teaching and learning at our institution. To flesh out your proposal ideas, email CTE at and we can connect you with a CTE instructional designer or faculty mentor for proposal assistance.

Proposal Submission Timeline

  • Submissions Open: Monday, May 1, 2023
  • Submission Deadlines: Friday, September 1, 2023
  • Acceptance Notifications: Friday, September 15, 2023

Session Formats

Each concurrent session will be limited to 30 minutes. 

Lightning Round sessions will last 10 minutes.  In this format, presenters take 10 minutes to summarize their teaching best practices, strategies, and/or research. The lightning round is similar to an elevator pitch. This presentation format challenges scholars to highlight their work and explain its importance in a very brief span of time. If you are selected to participate in a lightning round, it is expected that you will attend and remain present for the entirety of your assigned lightening round session. This shows consideration for all the presenters and indicates your dedication to the entire session. 

Distributed and Online Learning

This track invites contributors to present distributed and online learning research, best practices or strategies that support noncentralized learning environments that occurs independent of time and space. Presentations can include effective course design for distributed and online learning, the future of distributed and online learning, the use of technology that supports effective learning online, developing active student engagement, and effectively incorporating pedagogical strategies into distributed and online courses.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This track invites contributors to present research and practice related to aspects of diversity and inclusion in higher education. It will include, but not limited to, the practices and development of effective inclusion, the incorporation of pedagogy principles with a theoretical framework in course design, and classroom setting and teaching methodology. Example topics include development of effective inclusion of first-generation college students, learning challenges, LBGTQ+ and Veterans population, race, and cultural aspects/considerations.    

Education Technology

This track addresses the method and practices of how technology can be used to transform teaching and learning. Topics may include best practices of how to incorporate educational technology in the classroom, identifying affordable and accessible technology tools that students can use to enhance their learning experience. This track also explores the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in teaching and learning, focusing on the methods and practices that can be employed to facilitate transformation, best practices for incorporating educational technology into course development and teaching.

Global Learning

This track addresses how as an educational process global learning enhances one’s competencies for participating productively and responsibly in the diverse, international, intercultural, and interdependent world. Global learning opportunities exist in the academic curriculum and in co-curricular experiences that can be pursued both at home and abroad.

Integrative and Experiential Learning

This track addresses how instructors can develop opportunities for their students to engage in integrative and experiential learning.  Topics may include best practices of how learning experiences can help students make connections among their various courses and non-academic activities. 

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This track addresses the methods and practices of teaching using theoretical concepts. These concepts and strategies involve students working together during class but may also involve individual work and/or reflection. These teaching approaches range from short, simple activities like journal writing, problem solving and paired discussions, to longer, involved activities or pedagogical frameworks like case studies, educational technology, role plays, and structured team-based learning.

Please submit the following information through the Online Application.

Presentation Title: Create an appealing title that accurately reflects your presentation and makes the reader want to learn more.  (10 word maximum)

Identification of All Presenters: Full contact information includes name, title, department, and email.  Maximum of two speakers.  (Please note:  the first presenter listed will serve as the primary contact.)

Identify Session Format: Concurrent Session, Lightning Round Session or Both

Identify Symposium Track: Select the appropriate Symposium Track with which your proposed presentation aligns.

Proposal Abstract: Review proposal review criteria listed below and address the four questions within your proposal abstract. (300 words maximum)

  1. Description: What is your session about?  
  2. Value: Why does this topic matter?
  3. Relevance: How will this session improve teaching and learning at the University of South Carolina?
  4. References: May include scholarly sources that demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach or strategy, such as peer-reviewed articles, books, and reports.

Session Learning Outcomes: List at least one learning outcome that describes what knowledge, skills, or abilities participants will gain from this session.

Participant Engagement:  Describe how you will engage participants.  

On the Online Application you will be asked to indicate which Concurrent or Lightning Round Sessions you are available to present, if selected.

Kindly specify your availability for presenting in case you are selected. If you have a co-presenter, please confirm their availability before selecting availability options. We are requesting you to choose all the timeslots when you are available to present, as this will aid in scheduling options. Kindly select all the slots when you are available to present.

Concurrent Sessions

Session Time Slot

Concurrent I:

11:10 - 11:40 a.m.

Concurrent II: 

11:50 – 12:20 p.m.

Concurrent III: 

1:20 PM – 1:50 p.m.

Concurrent IV: 

2:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Concurrent V:

2:40 – 3:10 p.m.

 Lightning Round Sessions


Time Slot 1

Time Slot 2

Lightning Round I: 

11:10 – 11:20 a.m.

11:25 – 11:35 a.m.

Lightning Round II:

11:50 a.m.  - 12:00 p.m.

12:05 – 12:15 p.m.

Lightning Round III:

1:20 – 1:30 p.m.

1:35 – 1:45 p.m.

Lightning Round IV:

2:00 – 2:10 p.m.

2:15 – 2:25 p.m.

Lightning Round V:

2:40 - 2:50 p.m.

2:55 – 3:05 p.m.


Review Criteria:  How are Proposals Reviewed?

The review committee will evaluate proposals using the criteria below. Availability of space, presentation type, and topic coverage will be considered.

  1. Models Effective Teaching: As much as possible, we prefer sessions that model effective teaching. If you are advising people to use technology, use that technology to show us. If you are advising the use of active learning, be sure to tell us how you will use it in your session.
  2. Achieves Stated Outcomes: In line with our interest in modeling effective teaching, we also want to model achievable learning outcomes. Please be realistic about what your participants and you will achieve in your session.
  3. Demonstrates Scholarly Teaching: Where possible, include references to scholarship that you believe supports the topic of the proposed session. Sometimes all you will have (and need) is your own experience but provide references if possible.
  4. Provides Value: Always keep in mind the value of your session to the participants. What will they take away from the session? What will they be able to use in their own practice?
  5. Adheres to Word Count: To judge proposals fairly, proposers should adhere to the 300-word limit. Reviewers will only consider content within the maximum limit.

Submit Oktoberbest 2023 Online Application


Contact Interim Director,  Nate Carnes at for more information.

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

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.