SSI 2015 Monday Workshop Sign-up

  • 03 Aug 2015
  • 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute


This form will allow you to secure a spot in a 3-hour workshop for Monday morning at the SENCER Summer Institute.

Please note that there is no need to fill out this form if you have already registered for the Enduring Understandings workshop at SSI 2015. If you are still interested in the Enduring Understandings workshop but did not register for it, you may participate in a webinar following SSI. Learn more here.

The choices for this year are:

Pearls of Practice: Identifying the Pearls in your Courses

Karin Matchett,

Tomorrow’s Footprint                                                 

Pearls are small activities or assignments that SENCER instructors use to engage students in learning scientific concepts through social/civic questions or in making deeper use of their scientific knowledge by connecting it with real-world questions in their communities or daily lives.

In this workshop we will examine several newly minted Pearls, focusing on their key components and their connections to the SENCER ideals and College Board’s enduring understandings. We then will open the discussion to participants’ ideas for new Pearls. Working in small groups as well as the large group, participants will help one another explore structures and focuses that can lead to the development of strong Pearls in the coming year.

Portfolios and Career Development

Monica Devanas,

Rutgers University

This workshop will investigate the flexibility of the portfolio format for describing and documenting many academic functions, i.e., course portfolio, student portfolio, and administrative portfolio. The session will illustrate how the three basic components of the portfolio structure—what, why, and how well—can be adapted to serve various needs of faculty, student and administrators and others interested in quality and accountability. Formats for these various types of portfolios will be briefly presented followed by discussion and development of portfolio components customized to suit needs and interests of the participants.

A variety of portfolio applications will be presented. The participants will determine the directions and depth of discussion of applications of portfolio structure. Participants will be able to successfully practice applying the core elements of portfolios to their own needs, courses, programs, or institutions, as well as for their own professional development.

Writing Good Proposals to Support your SENCER Work

Wm. David Burns,

National Center for Science and Civic Engagement                   

The goal of this workshop is to equip participants with knowledge that will make them more competitive in the NSF grants competitions for education projects. Participants will engage in several brief exercises, and will read an authentic NSF proposal, evaluate it individually, and then discuss it in groups of five to eight people, the size of typical review panels in the division of undergraduate education.

Students and Social Media: Participating in Broader Conversations

Andrea Aust,


This session will address the implementation of social media and simple media production as  tools to engage students in civic discourse through KQED’s Do Now project. Do Now provides students with a platform to discuss current, engaging scientific issues, like de-extinction, fracking and genetically modified organisms, through social media. Students research topics, share their thoughts, respond to each other's ideas, craft multimedia arguments and search for online publications to support their claims. They move from being purely consumers of media to active participants in conversations, often times looking at a national issue through the lens of their local communities.

Participants in this session will walk through the Do Now process, which includes reading a short article about a current scientific topic, reviewing a featured media resource and then responding to a question about the topic via Twitter or a comment on the KQED website. Various forms of student responses (e.g. tweets, comments, blog posts, infographics) from high school classrooms that are currently participating in Do Now will be reviewed as examples. Session participants will be introduced to ways that students can illustrate their viewpoints using a variety of free media-making tools. Best practices for using Do Now with students will also be discussed.

A small group of professors and classrooms in the SENCER community will be piloting the development of Do Now posts in Fall 2015, as well as participating in the discussions. This workshop will provide information for others interested in joining the pilot in the fall or spring semesters.

Note: Please bring your computer and/or mobile device (tablet, smartphone) to fully participate in this session.

Facilitating Learning Conversations - The Focused Conversation Method

Jonathan Bucki,

The Dendros Group                           

Many SENCER SSI attendees have participated in planning workshop facilitated by Jonathan Bucki of the Dendros Group. Over the last several SSI's received many requests for information about the participatory facilitation techniques he uses. Now is your chance to explore a very different approach to facilitating learning conversations using the Focused Conversation Method. In this interactive workshop, you'll learn a "meta method" for structuring a learning conversation, practice using the method, and design a conversation for use in your work as an educator or leader. A good time will be had by all.

Inquiring Into Our Students’ Learning: Developing Your Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Project

Matt Fisher,

Saint Vincent College                                   

This workshop is designed for SSI participants who have an idea for a question related to student learning that they want to investigate. Through examination of the work of faculty who have been actively involved in SENCER and participated in SoTL workshops at past Summer Institutes, participants will develop an understanding of important characteristics of the scholarship of teaching and learning that will be helpful in the continued development of project ideas. Time will also be provided for participants to start framing the question(s) for their own SoTL work and to identify forms of evidence that would be appropriate to collect. The workshop will include a short introduction to qualitative evidence and its analysis as part of the wider discussion of types of evidence. A significant part of the workshop is structured around individual reflection and small group discussion to help participants develop and revise their project ideas. Information about resource and tools for continuing to engage in this work will also be examined. Participants will leave the workshop with a more developed project and a list of specific “next steps” to take.

Essential Elements of Online and Blended Courses

Adrienne Wootters,

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts                 

Online and blended (hybrid) courses are being offered with increasing frequency at all levels, from introductory to graduate courses. Typically, online STEM courses are offered as traditional introductory courses, with the students watching online lectures and taking traditional exams online. Teaching courses with SENCER ideals in an online format is a challenge, but creative use of available technology and development of the online class community can make for a rich and rewarding course. In this task-oriented workshop, we will explore the basic elements of successful online and blended courses, which include use of finding and creating resources for students, creating and nurturing an online community, and assessment of student work.

Note: Please bring a laptop computer to the workshop for full participation.

Developing Curriculum Using Real World Data

Cindy Kaus,

Metropolitan State University                                       

In this session, participants will be given data on a civic/social/environmental issue and will work in groups to develop mathematics and interdisciplinary class activities based on the data. Faculty from all disciplines are welcome to join this session and contribute their expertise to the discussion and the development of the curriculum. Each group will develop activities appropriate for one of the following courses: developmental mathematics, college algebra, statistics, calculus, or an interdisciplinary course of the group’s choice. In addition to developing the curriculum, the groups will discuss the vocabulary, numeracy and computation skills necessary for the students to complete the activity and how the curriculum aligns with the current curriculum in these courses. The results of this three hour workshop will be concrete ideas on how to incorporate civic engagement into mathematics or mathematics related courses. Curriculum generated from this workshop will be enhanced by the Engaging Mathematics team and publicly available to all faculty on the Engaging Mathematics website.

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