After attending a conference, please provide a review of the conference for others at NMC. Provide a ranking from 1 – 5 stars and short review of the positives and negatives of the conference with consideration on how the conference experience will impact curriculum, teaching and learning, and your personal scholarship.
I always enjoy the MichMATYC conference. This year the conference provided information about the new MTA, as well as discussions about accelerated models, and the success of those. Additionally, teaching strategies for Calculus, and for online math courses were discussed. I'll be able to incorporate some of the online teaching ideas into my course immediately, and some strategies will need to be implemented next semester.
Assessing and Managing Caries Risk - Fluorides, ACP, Restorative and Other Strategies
An excellent summary of new fluoride guidelines and assessing caries risk - stressing prevention and not treatment. Will be able to incorporate new recommendations on fluoride applications into Preventive Dentistry course.
International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics
This was my third year attending ICTCM, and this was the best of the three. Event planners modeled the use of many of the technologies being presented in ipad apps, note-taking technologies, and electronic scheduling.
Individual sessions featured new apps such as Explain Everything and Notability. Several sessions dealt with new and refined technologies, smart pens, smart boards, virtual keyboards, and other gizmos and gadgets, some just fun to look at, others possibly useable.
I was most interested in, and would be most likely to implement, technologies like Explain Everything that not only allowed for online presentations, but integrated organizational schemes.
Several sessions provided projects and ideas for Quantitative Reasoning courses such as NMC will be developing this summer in line with MTA requirements.
San Antonio was warm and the food and service were great, even with NCAA tournament crowds in town.
Conference on College Composition and Communication
Thursday, March 20
Opening General Session--4Cs Chair Howard Tinberg, Bristol Community College
“The Loss of the Public: Two Tales of Indiana”
Tinberg spoke about the corporate “takeover” of public schools, and in a memorable phrase, referred to the public as the “spectral public,” which continues to withdraw its attention and resources for educational matters. Tinberg argued that our discipline’s goals have a clear public purpose; despite this, Tinberg sees similarities between present conditions and those of the late 70s, when open admissions was being challenged. Re-engaging with the public should begin with re-committing to literacy instruction at all levels. Tinberg also argued that “we need to embrace the opportunity to teach all student writers” and to really hear their stories.
“Teaching in and through the Classroom”
Don Jones of the University of Hartford delivered a presentation titled “Teaching Source Citation as the Postmodern Practice of Fair Use,” the main claim of which is that it is more effective to “teach positive conventions, not punitive rules,” and he offered four examples to use in class: the controversy over a Wordsworth poem, former boxer Mike Tyson’s face tattoo, J.D. Salinger vs. Frederik Colting (The Catcher in the Rye, 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, respectively), and Houghton Mifflin vs. Alice Randall (Gone With the Wind, The Wind Done Gone).
Jones also emphasized how teaching citation this way links up with other, current practices, like 1. teaching the conflict (Dewey on active learning), 2. Make the Issue Real (Intellectual and Affective Knowledge, Carol Gilligan), Present Conventions for Membership, not Rules for Punishment (David Bartholomae), Provide Guidelines for Appropriate Behavior (Bruce Ballenger) and Position Students as Novice Experts among Other Writers (Nancy Sommers and Laura Saltz).
Joe Hardin and Bradley Wiggins, both of University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, spoke about their efforts to create course offerings that merge composition and journalism, in what they called a “multimodal” future for composition and journalism. Their problem was low enrollment in both the rhetoric and composition and communication classes; their presentation was about the steps they took to create programs of study that merged media communications (interesting course titles: Media Communication, Writing for the Media), speech communication and composition.
“Hybrid Pedagogies: HYC Formats, Asynchronous Peer Review, and Open Collaboration”
Presenters Robin Fowler and Stephanie Sheffield, both of U of M-Ann Arbor, spoke about the benefits of moving student conversations online, having qualified their results by saying that it is difficult to measure actual participation in face-to-face formats, and what they were measuring was student perception of the feedback. They found that 1. participation was more evenly distributed among “team members” online than in F2F, and the hypothesis, supported by qualitative data, was that online discussion help “deal” with people who “dominate” the conversation; 2. online discussion groups spent more time discussing what to create, while the F2F groups spent more time off-topic; and 3. students were more likely to disagree online.
Aly Schweigert of Ball State University shared her findings on “asynchronous feedback,” qualifying them by sharing student perspectives on “peer review,” which she said they see as mere “marking” of papers or “reading and then talking” about the writing. It was clear to her that students need to have a meaningful construct within which to “do” peer review. Schweigert found that online peer review is seen as less helpful and less plentiful than face-to-face review. She advised that we need to investigate techniques to encourage student involvement and critical thinking beyond simple reading and marking of each other’s work. She advised that teachers use F2F peer review before online peer review, so that students have a better idea to whom they are writing.
Daniel Singer of UC-Boulder, whose area of research is “genre studies,” pointed out that there is only minimal research on hybrid formats, and that there are a number of assumptions to be addressed, including that we know what a hybrid class is. He shared that his students have described them as “an online class that meets sometimes,” and “a F2F class that meets rarely, and has a lot of homework.” Singer observed that when experimental forms stabilize, “the norm becomes problematized,” and that online instruction, having been delivered for nearly 20 years, is now the norm, and so the discussion about hybrid coursework has framed it as an antidote for problems arising from online instruction--mainly the challenges related to creating collaboration and to persistence and completion rates. Again, lack of research limits the conclusions one can make about hybrid coursework in composition.
“College Readiness, Web Writing, and First-Year Composition: Opening Access in the Transition from High School to College Writing”
Molly Bardine, writing teacher at Chaminade Julienne high School in Dayton, Ohio, talked about using “web writing and social justice” to develop college readiness, part of which involves giving students the opportunity to develop “habits of mind” like “curiosity, openness, creativity, persistence, responsibility, flexibility, and metacognition” that would help them to succeed in college. Bardine argued a “changed context for writing,” requires writing instruction to equip students with the tools and skills needed to “produce documents appropriate to the global dispersed reach of the web.” Her presentation was helpful in that it presented the Common Core standards for literacy, one of which includes language on the use of technology to produce individual or shared writing projects. The idea that “writing is no longer merely words on a printed page” seemed to be only a part of the justification for a move to “web writing.” Another was that web writing “gets students interested in writing,” and in a way that prepares them for college-level writing. The following examples of student work from her classes were presented: http://racialachievementgap.weebly.com/, http://fightthethirst.weebly.com, and http://seventeenmagazine.weebly.com/.
Dr. Bryan A. Bardine, of the University of Dayton, presented his web writing class--Heavy Metal Music, Globalization, and Popular Culture -- a “variable theme composition course,” intended for second-semester, honors writing students. Dr. Bardine mentioned the need to “meet students where they are,” and how his course “uses metal music and culture as the lens by which to improve student writing… .” The final project is entitled “Final Research Paper/ Website Assignment,” of which I have a copy. Dr. Bardine said that the class was “really engaged,” but that they “ended up spending a lot of time on the website, and less on the actual writing.”
“Permission to Write: Teachers, Writing, and the Effects of Volition”
Kathleen Yancey, Nancy Sommers and Doug Hesse shared personal stories about what motivates them to write, and about how their own motivation can be shared with their students. Yancey talked about “object stories”, Sommers about the importance of “treating students as fellow writers” in maintaining her own motivation, and Hesse talked about how writing about rural regions (where he himself grew up) keeps him motivated. One idea that they shared was that writers experience “permission” to write in an “episodic” fashion, and that this idea should be shared with students.
“Writing in the Service of Change: Activism, Critical Consciousness, and the Working Class”
Panelist Maria Conti, of Kent State University, presented the results of her experience incorporating inter-disciplinarity into service learning and into composition as a way to expand the critical consciousness of students.
Panelists Ashley Burns and Megan Hall of NC State University spoke about the importance of incorporating social justice in first-year writing, as a remedy for the move away from “education for democratic citizenship” and towards “occupational readiness.” They found that “using real-world examples,” “having students make personal connections,” and “focusing their attention on pragmatic steps” help student learning of social justice principles. Burns and Hall advised that assignments ask students to “interrogate their own identities,” before moving on to “institutional levels of analysis,” a worthy piece of advice offered by panelists to give structure to long, meandering “blame-rants” that such writing can become.
Burns and Hall then presented two interesting assignments that are designed to encourage students to “think critically about their environments, cultures, histories and peers.” The first comes from sociolinguistics; a discussion of dialect equality (and inequality) is followed by a language survey, carried out by students, to compile language differences. Students were asked to write a paper explaining their methods and analysis. The second assignment was “autoethnography,” defined as a “qualitative research method that analyzes personal experiences to help explain and understand cultural and societal experiences.” The unit begins by asking students to “build a wall” in Padlet (http://padlet.com/) and as they do so, to think about the social groups they belong to; students are asked to read the great Gordon Allport’s “The Formation of In-Groups” (1954), and to prepare a “multi-genre” composition in which students narrate and analyze their involvement in social groups--this is backed up by research and interview components. The assignment concludes with a class presentation. The panelists argued that social justice and autoethnography have a place in FYW. An interesting and touted benefit of the assignment format, noted at the end of the presentation, was that it “facilitates organic learning processes to play out.” A very interesting assignment; one that I valued because it offers students a chance to “work” in multimodal, has simple but significant entryways into research, and preserves academic “product,” the essay and the speech.
Friday, March 21
“How Do Dual-Credit Students Do on College Writing Tasks After They Matriculate at a University? Empirical Data from a Large-Scale Study”
Members of BYU’s English composed the panel; the first speaker presented a review of the state of dual-credit (also known as concurrent-credit, dual-enrolled, early college) programs across the nation, quoted the president of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) who claimed at their October conference that there are now 1.4 million students nationwide participating in this programming--a figure which surpasses the number who took AP English. Forty-six of 50 states have legislation that allows dual-credit, 29 of these have regulations intended to ensure equivalence, and, in the words of the panelist, state governors are the “biggest promoters” of the option, who typically claim that they both nurture innovation and cut costs--both for the state and for the student. Common concerns mentioned about the programming included that they are merely “cash cows” for financially-insecure districts and institutions, that they may contribute to “credit laundering,” and that measures of the influence dual-credit programs have on persistence later on in college, which focus mostly on the relationship between earned credit across settings and over time, do not measure actual readiness nor actual educational performance.
The study began by emailing a survey (http://writing.byu.edu/150assess2011/) to 750 respondents (BYU students) who had enrolled in the university’s second-semester writing program. Those who agreed to participate were given two writing tasks (each about 800 words) to complete, the prompts were created by panelists (one asked students to consider the relationship between government and liberty) and TAs scored the writing. The two writing tasks were delivered during the semester. The researchers noted that conclusions were difficult to make because incoming GPAs were so strong (mean 3.78 and higher!). There was no statistically significant difference in performance found between the students who took AP and those who took a dual-credit course. The researchers then asked students who had completed the two tasks to be interviewed in a focus group format; 222 students participated, and the researchers reported that a few students said they chose the college course because they “thought it would be easy to get a good grade,” most students said that their motivation was to “improve their writing.”
The panelists emphasized that this kind of research needs to be done at other “levels,” meaning at other institutions and with a different student population; they also concluded that cognitive development and maturation (at the time of program delivery) are key factors in predicting success in writing later on in education. Other interesting results: Most students interviewed either weren’t aware of or attached no importance to the difference between lit-based and argumentative curricula. From this the researchers concluded that it is necessary to communicate to students 1. the need to have a college class in writing, 2. to speak of the college writing as offering them unique opportunities to improve as a writer, and 3. that writing acumen develops over time and with practice. The session was valuable because it made attendees aware, once again, of the dearth of empirical research on concurrent enrollment programs that bridge high schools and two-year colleges.
“Is Open the Same as Access? Teaching Writing in the Two-year College”
This was a fascinating session, the panelists composed to heighten the disparate experiences that academic chairs have had with open admissions, placement, and “early college” programs.
Lisa Mahle-Grisez, academic chair of English for Sinclair Community College (enrollment 18,000) spoke first, and offered a summary of legislative changes and challenges, and spoke about the leading role of “venture philanthropy” initiatives, like for example “Completion by Design,” a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation effort to increase completion rates among community college students. The Completion by Design website has a “Knowledge Center” with hundreds of documents, many written by the Community College Research Center of the Teachers College at Columbia University, others written by education research centers, still others seem to come from websites of vague provenance. Therein, the language and prerogatives of “Completion by Design” are fully on display.
Mahle-Grisez stated that 80 percent of students who took the “Accuplacer” placement test for writing placed into “developmental” English; according to her 60 percent of CCs use Accuplacer.
The second speaker, Assistant Professor Lucia Elden of Mid-Michigan Community College (located in Harrison), reported that 20 percent of the student body is high school students, and that she has partnerships with 10 different high schools in the region surrounding MMCC. She mentioned her efforts, started in 2009, to get to know the high school English teachers (many of whom expected to be faced with college instructors who were highly critical of H.S. pedagogy) by hosting a conference. Elden stated that “alignment” between high schools and her institution could be seen in a positive light, as a way to work on writing challenges shared by HS and CC students, including resistance to revision, peer review, and analysis. Elden’s experience, which unfolded at a very different institution, offered an interesting contrast to Mahle-Grisez’s.
Barry Alford, also of MMCC, gave the concluding statement, in which he argued that 1. this conversation is still dominated by four-year schools, 2. we need to look at what these placement regimes give our students access to, 3. there is an alternative to having an elaborate conversation about a technical issue related to a broken system, 4. that this alternative is to discuss the ways we use language to, as he put it, “sort people,” 5. that English departments are structurally well-positioned at most institutions to be proactive in making changes on access and placement, and finally, 6. teachers need to think of themselves as “engaging the other [student] as a co-equal in bring forward a new world.” The discussion period that followed was rich, insightful and too short. The session was worthwhile because it helped to connect (and see the distance between!) large trends and specific decisions; I also learned the names of in-state contacts who are thinking deeply about these issues.
“Ethics of Assessing Multimodal Student Composition”
In a refreshing change, attendees were given four different rubrics with which to assess a student-created multimodal composition (a flyer, pamphlet, and website) that promotes an organization offering support for family of those serving in the military or those who have recently returned from war. The room was divided into groups, each asked to assess the student work using one of the following rubrics 1. design 2. rhetorical 3. agency 4. self-identification.
The purpose of the exercise was to get attendees thinking about how course material, rubrics, and key terms used in instruction need to be clear and consistent so that the assessment is meaningful to the student. I was in the “design” group, and our scoring rubric was limited to design considerations (contrast, repetition, alignment) that prevented the group from assessing use of language or audience awareness; other groups were limited to making assessments of those very factors. The exercise was exciting because attendees were asked to assess a piece using criteria that may have been new to them.
The “agency” rubric is the most different from the design rubric, and interesting in that it attempts to assess process, includes an array devoted to the student’s reflective writing, and foregrounds choices made that pertain to exigence, support, strategy, audience. The block of “text”ual assessment included criteria like “high degree of agency” and “some degree of complexity,” which seemed vague, and when compared to our rubrics, relatively silent about the “writerly” criteria we use, and also silent about actual support strategies and sourcing. Overall, it was the most interesting and perhaps useful piece from the session, which was valuable because 1. it revealed where the gaps are between the different modes of multimodal assessment and 2. got instructors to think about what would be involved in teaching and assessing the final product.
“Think-Tank for Newcomers Developing Papers and Sessions for CCCC 2015”
This session was run by Joonna Trapp of Emory University, and it was an interesting and refreshing discussion about what to expect from next year’s conference--Trapp urged us to generate proposals for “roundtables, debates, and more interactive sessions,” which was a view expressed by many people I spoke with--a general desire for more interaction and generative discussion and fewer “panel formats.”
The theme of the next year’s conference is “Innovation,” to which the presenter added the idea of “Risk and Reward,” meaning that next year’s conference will aim to highlight risks taken in our discipline--new assignments, new pedagogy, new programs, offering MOOCs, writing a textbook, etc. One justification for this theme and for the call for variety in formats is that our own members have been urging ourselves to “get out of our comfort zone,” and that this will help us engage with government, the press, and the public. This session was very valuable as it gave me a look “behind the scenes” to see the underlying order and goals of this conference.
Saturday, March 22
“Are Writers Whistling Vivaldi? Empirical Research on the Role of Stereotype Threat in First-Year Composition”
First panelist Dr. Carmen Manning, from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, spoke about problems with their former composition program (placement, curriculum, staffing, and student learning and assessment, and what to do with all of the ‘basic writers?’) and discussed the changes that took effect in her department just last fall: they eliminated ENG 99, “mainstreamed” basic writers into four equivalent courses, and gave the entire enterprise the label “Blugold Seminar” (see https://www.uwec.edu/Blugoldseminar/index.htm and related links below) in an attempt to move toward what they called a “sustainable model.” The material online devoted to their English program is vast and worth reviewing. The connection between this material and that which followed was a bit of intra-institutional history and problems with placement.
Manning and Assistant Professor Shevaun Watson, also of UW-Eau Claire, took turns discussing their research on “stereotype threat,” which is the “fear that one might confirm negative stereotypes held by others about one’s group. Watson emphasized that the research shows that this phenomenon is especially likely in “achievement settings” that the individual cares about, and offered a surprising reason to listen on: stereotype threat is the result of working memory capacity being taken up by concern over confirming stereotypes; the phenomenon is associated with cardiovascular reactivity. offered by the presenters: when asked to identify race/ethnicity before taking the GRE Verbal exam, black students performed significantly lower than did white students; white men did worse on a math test when they thought they were being compared to Asian men; students asked to indicate a history of mental illness performed worse; women asked to identify gender before taking a math test underperformed those who had not been.
The presenters used this research to justify a move toward “non-diagnostic assessments,” use of role models that disconfirm stereotypes, use of “values affirmation” and “wise feedback,” which is feedback that conveys high expectations and emphasizes hard work and dedication. Among the results that they reported on: students in “wise feedback” groups reported “significantly higher levels of trust” in the teacher and the class; speculation that these changes, when taken together, likely helped to erase the performance gap between male and female students (women had been outperforming men for some time), and resulted in “increased trust in the university and the program” according to exit surveys. The final presenter, director of the writing center at UW-Eau Claire, spoke about ways to encourage participation by understanding stereotype threat.
I asked a question about the when “stereotype threat” could be induced, and whether or not there was research on social class, setting, and intensity of the phenomenon. Manning and Watson did not know of any, and emphasized stereotype threat is very much about “functioning in the moment, and dependent upon the task and setting,” and that induction would depend on whether or not the stereotype was pertinent and relevant.
A final, interesting idea from this session: the speakers talked about using a short writing task (10-15 minutes) prior to placement testing that asked the student to write about “the three most important things in the world to them” as a way to dampen possible “threat” and to build trust with the process and the institution.
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire writing program:
UW-Eau Claire, “UWENGL” English placement test contents: http://www.testing.wisc.edu/centerpages/englishtest.html
Completion by Design “research” bank:
National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships:
AP English Language and Composition Free Response Questions:
The MICNP Advanced Nursing Practice Conference presented a challenging variety of patient care experiences with competent, current, evidence based review of key topics in health care impacting patients who are cared for by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in Primary Care. The purpose for my attendance was an update on current, pertinent topics in a constantly changing health care environment in an attempt to stay up to date on the latest research and trends in caring for patients and to communicate appropriate health related topics at the bedside level. With this information learned, I hope to also transfer pertinent information to fellow colleagues and second year student nurses.
The content of each session was quite extensive and addressed the role of the nurse in early recognition and management of disorders such as thyroid emergencies, including the significance of the health care challenge, overview of path physiologic derangements early recognition of signs and symptoms of thyroid storm and myxedemic coma. Additionally, case studies, using clinical scenarios, will be extremely helpful in challenging students and novice nurses in their evolvement of critical thinking and clinical reasoning abilities.
The next session on the agenda focused on hypertensive emergencies. The desired effect was to make an impact on cardiovascular risk reduction in the context of patient assessment and management of care with patient focused outcomes.
During an afternoon session, the speaker offered very an impacting topic of concussion assessment, management and return to the sports arena for injured younger individuals. The speaker addressed 4 groups of concussions along with clinical tools schools need to consider following head trauma on the field.
A pertinent session presented by another critical care advanced practice registered nurse was interesting and applicable to clinical practice. Here we looked at achieving safe use of opiods, along with risks of overdose and documentation of patient interactions, assessments and patient responses, very applicable to patients and nurses working in the acute care setting. Accomplished speakers were extremely knowledgeable, practicing advanced practice nurse practitioners, many of whom are nationally recognized for their knowledge and clinical expertise.
A final session looked at health care fraud, and current enforcement trends impacting advanced practice nurses along with nurse practitioner liability.
A.This Conference was “designed for nurses caring for patients in the primary care setting and with patients admitted to the acute care setting. With the high acuity of patients entering the health care system currently, I believe keeping current on the constantly changing health care environment with different types of clinical problems, such as presented during this weekend conference was time very well spent. This conference goal was met. I learned a great deal from the time spent attending this educational offering as briefly summarized above. Networking with fellow nurse practitioners and colleagues was an added bonus.
B. Since I am currently in the clinical arena as an adjunct instructor with second year nursing students nearing graduation, I plan to integrate this timely knowledge into my nursing practice and appropriately share pertinent information with my clinical students. Further, part of my goal as a nursing instructor is to challenge students to think critically and use knowledge they have integrated into their practice, they may benefit as I have.
C. I believe my students, NMC, and I have unquestionably benefited from this conference. This conference exceeded my expectations. Not only were presenters current and competent, they challenged the audience to continue to learn and remain vital to the nursing profession. I thank NMC for providing the support, so that I am able to attend and grow from the knowledge learned.
International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics
This was a great conference in a great location. It was snowy and cold in Traverse City while it was 80° in San Antonio.
This was a technology conference and I was not disappointed. I went to some very good sessions on using the ipad and came home with some ideas that I am working on implementing. The main apps that I will be using are TI-Nspire, Notability and Explain Everything. We were also introduced to Nearpod which I will be investigating further on my own.
I went to several sessions on redesigning math classes. I found that most schools are stressing acceleration in their redesigns (we currently are not).
There were many other good session, many that I was not able to attend, but look forward to having access to the materials presented when the proceedings are posted.
Teaching Professor Technology, Atlanta, GA. - October 2013
Teaching Professor conferences are great, and this was no exception. This was the first Teaching Professor geared specifically toward the use of "Technology" in the classroom. The sessions were inclusive of many new or revised techniques/methods of teaching. The focus was about the use of these methods in teaching, and not just online or hybrid courses. Several sessions detailed the use of technology to provide small, quick, attention-grabbing lessons, or momentary "breaks" from a particular task in an effort to maintain or change focus. The "Flipped Classroom" was a large focus as well. In each of the Teaching Professor conferences I have attended, I also participated in the "Pre-Conference" sessions on Friday morning/afternoon. These are longer, half-day sessions that are well worth the time. I found each of the pre-conference sessions to be well presented and informational. Over all, I would recommend this conference to all the folks looking to enhance and upgrade their use of, or command of, technology in the classroom. Many good opportunities, and mostly high quality presenters. "Dinner on your own" each evening offers opportunities to signup and dine with conference attendees based on a topic of interest. This conference is held Friday through Sunday morning, so it may have little or no impact on class schedule.
Lilly Conference - Traverse City; October 2013
This was an excellent conference. I attended as many sessions as possible that pertained to various aspects of critical thinking. A session that was particularly interesting was taught by an instructor of acting techniques; she emphasized that a significant portion of an instructor’s communication to his or her students is nonverbal. Another session emphasized the importance of providing additional encouragement and guidance to students in courses that are especially difficult.
Concept Based Curriculum
In February several nursing faculty attended a conference on concept based curriculum. It was a very good conference to introduce everyone to this topic. The speaker gave several practical suggestions that could be used to help us improve our program.
In November I attended the international ACTFL conference for 3 days. I attended a workshop on integrated performance-based assessments (IPA) and was able to support our on-going work in World Languages developing students' abilities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in the target language. The goal of our department is to have instructors act as facilitators in the classroom and design authentic opportunities for students to engage in the language while they are in class. This is contrary to the typical higher ed model of language instruction. Our goal at NMC is for students to become proficient in the language and research supports integrating the 4 skills in order to achieve this. It was wonderful to get concrete examples with rubrics to support our goal. I intend to slowly implement IPA in all levels of instruction with the help of our talented adjunct instructors.