Past Events - Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

For earlier events (1998 - 2012), information can be downloaded from this PDF: Discovery Learning's Past Seminars

Spring 2014 Dates

April 10, 2014, 12pm - 1:30pm, Texas Union Santa Rita Suite, 3.502 - Center for Teaching and Learning, Canvas Project Managers

Title: Canvas

Abstract: Canvas, a next generation Learning Management System (LMS), has been approved to replace Blackboard as the University's centrally supported LMS. With over 900 instructors and 1000 courses using Canvas this semester, we have already seen it used in several innovative ways. At this Discovery Learning session, Drs. Dee Silverthorn and Gail Grabner will present how they use Canvas, what helped them learn Canvas, and how they've taken advantage of its many features. The Canvas Training team will also be present to speak about the services available to help with the transition and to answer any questions you may have.


Additionally, Discovery Learning will be assisting Associate Dean Sacha Kopp to help bring you four lunchtime presentations for those interested in student persistence and success in STEM disciplines. Please contact Sharon Williams if you are interested in attending these seminars:

February 20th, 12:15-1:30pm, POB 2.402 Professor David Yeager (Department of Psychology, UT) will present his research on student beliefs about learning, how innate ability vs "grit to learn" influences persistence, and how faculty beliefs influence student beliefs. His research with collaborator Carol Dweck (Stanford) is based on tens of thousands of STEM students across multiple college campuses and will be sure to be of interest.

March 25, 12:15-1:30pm, POB 2.402 Motivation, Grades, Assessment, and Faculty Mentoring. We all know that scores given in courses serve a multitude of purposes, from assessing a student's performance, to motivating students to progress consistently in courses, to giving a faculty member an opportunity to recognize students of high caliber, to identifying students who require additional help. In this meeting, a faculty panel from across the college will discuss their approaches to students' progress in courses and how motivation to excel or improve is cultivated.

April 1, 12:15-1:30pm, POB 2.402 Structuring In-class Activities to Increase Student Engagement. We hear about how flipped classes and other forms of inquiry-based teaching are supposed to transform the in-class experience to become active discussions and problem-solving sessions. But what does one actually do in an "active" class? In this seminar, we will hear from some of our colleagues who have developed innovative strategies to teach through active techniques.

April 22, 12:15-1:30pm, POB 2.402 CNS Freshman Communities. Colleges and universities nationwide have conducted a variety of freshman seminars and community-building experiences for new students. Here in CNS, we have long instituted a collection of "Freshman Interest Groups" (FIGs), honors programs, departmental 1credit courses, and other cohorts. These are seen to positively impact rates of persistence toward a degree in our college. As part of the strategic plan, it was recommended to review these community programs and integrate best practices from across the college in to a unified approach. In this seminar, I will present ideas from the strategic planning process.


Fall 2013

November 6, 2013, 12pm - 1:30pm, Texas Union Santa Rita Room - Dr. Sacha Kopp, Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences, University of Texas at Austin

Title: The New BSA Degree Plans in College of Natural Sciences

October 10th, 2013, 12pm - 1:30pm, Texas Union Santa Rita Room - Dr. Harrison Keller, Vice Provost for Higher Education Policy and Research, University of Texas at Austin

Title: The State's OnRamps Initiative and the Implications for Natural Sciences

Abstract: OnRamps is a pioneering blended-learning initiative supported by the Texas Legislature, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, National Science Foundation, and Lumina Foundation to create courses and course materials that can be delivered in a variety of educational settings, including traditional university settings, community colleges, or high schools as dual credit. UT faculty designed OnRamps courses to emphasize project-based learning, critical thinking, and discovery and application of new knowledge. By providing opportunities for immersive in-class and out-of-class learning experiences that align with the rigor of a leading research university, OnRamps aims specifically to increase academic achievement among UT students enrolled in large gateway courses. OnRamps also incorporates cutting-edge technologies that support blended learning and features powerful learning analytics instructors can use to improve course materials over time. A robust instructor support infrastructure frames OnRamps, including training seminars designed with invaluable assistance from UTeach. In this presentation, we will report on the overall OnRamps initiative, showcase the Computer Science and Mathematics courses being piloted in Texas educational settings in 2013-2014, and discuss plans for future OnRamps courses in STEM.

September 25, 2013, 12pm - 1:30pm, Texas Union Santa Rita Suite, 3.502

Title: It's Just Lunch

Abstract: Our goal for this lunch is to pose some questions to attendees regarding how attendees might adjust the courses they are teaching in order to make them more engaging for students. Attendees will informally speak to each other and communicate thoughts and ideas to the entire group. We hope this forum gives each participant a chance to reflect upon teaching goals and teaching methodology in an effort to enhance undergraduate instruction in general.


Spring 2013

April 25, 2013, 12pm - 1:30pm, Texas Union Quadrangle Room - Stan Yoshinobu, Mathematics Professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Director of The Academy of Inquiry Based Learning (AIBL)

Title: Inquiry-Based Learning and Changing Educational Paradigms

Abstract: Changing educational paradigms is a major challenge facing schools and colleges. Indeed all nations are undergoing reform efforts in their school systems, as it is well understood in the "Google Era" that effective thinking and problem solving are critically important domains for all students.In this talk, I will discuss the interconnectedness of our K-college school system, and explore some of its strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, I will highlight data that supports implementing active, student-centered teaching methods, and how a bottom-up approach supported by The Educational Advancement Foundation and The Academy of Inquiry Based Learning can be a model

March 27, 2013, 12pm to 1:30, Texas Union Santa Rita Room - A panel consisting of University of Texas at Austin Mathematics faculty members Mike Starbird, Lorenzo Sadun, Elizabeth Stepp, and John Meth will discuss:

Title: The Calculus Reform Project at UT Austin

Abstract: A prestigious panel of faculty in mathematics led by committee chair John Meth will discuss and answer questions about the current Calculus Reform project in mathematics. This reform effort will affect the Calculus courses taken by all students in the College of Natural Sciences.

February 28, 2013, 12pm - 1:30pm Noon to 1:30pm, Texas Union Santa Rita Room - Mike Starbird, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics at UT Austin.

Title: Dr. Starbird will be speaking about his new book (co-authored with Edward Burger) entitled "The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking."

Abstract: Discovery Learning and Inquiry Based Learning aim to teach students to think better. This book describes some of the thinking strategies that we hope our students will learn and use throughout their lives.