• News & Announcements

CTE News and Announcements

Want to keep up with new events and updates from the Center for Teaching Excellence? Check this news and announcements page for information on recent workshops, events, and happenings at CTE!

September 11, 2012

Differentiation and Larger Classes

Today, Katie Linder and Kirsten Behling (Director of Disability Services) offered a workshop on how to effectively teach and engage students in large classes in ways that will reach students with various learning styles and abilities. Katie and Kirsten “modeled the method” for participants by engaging them in multiple ways of learning including offering personal responses to a set of opening questions, working with a partner to consider strategies for teaching diverse learners in large classes, brainstorming – as a group – the different factors contributing to the diversity that students bring to the class, and offering some focused teaching using powerpoint. All participants were encouraged to try out some of the many strategies for differentiated instruction that were shared during the paired exercise. All participants left with a few handouts giving them a wealth of tips and strategies to consider using when they want to convey class content in multiple ways to engage the multiple learning styles represented in their classrooms.

October 27, 2011

Using Blackboard to Increase Student Interactivity

Today, the CTE held a seminar titled “Using Blackboard to Increase Student Interactivity.” Hosted my Michelle Bolser, the Instructional Technologist for the CAS, the lecture was designed to inform teachers about many of Blackboards tools that usually go unnoticed. Bolser talked about how to privately communicate with students via journals, embed videos, and use discussion boards and course blogs. She also discussed open source alternatives to Blackboard, like the student created Canvas.

            Overall, it was a very informative afternoon at the CTE. The extensive resources of Blackboard were revealed to those in attendance, who said that they learned a lot. Any teacher interested in learning more should contact Michelle Bolser of the CAS at mbolser@suffolk.edu .

October 13, 2011

Using Wikis as Part of the Classroom

Today, several teachers came to a seminar conducted by Mish McIntyre at the CTE about using Wikis in the classroom. Attendees received much information about Wikis, which are websites that allow the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser. Mish explained how using Wikis in the classroom can introduce teachers to new kinds of performance assessment, and could help both teachers and students with visual and technological literacy. She also informed the audience on how Wikis have made Blackboard an obsolete program, and why everyone should use Wikis over Blackboard.

Teachers were encouraged to experiment with Wikis before implementing them in their classes. For anyone interested in implementing Wikis into their classes, but have questions or are not sure where to start, please contact Mish McIntrye @ mmcintyre@suffolk.edu or on twitter @mishmcintyre.


October 5, 2011

A Class Act: Teaching as Acting

Representatives from the Sawyer Business School and the College of Arts and Sciences listened to a riveting lecture by law Professor Allan Tow on how to use acting theory in the classroom. To go along with his lecture, Professor Tow also passed out a detailed packet that included structured notes about acting and textual examples of how to use acting in the classroom.

Professor Tow told the attendees to treat each class as a performance, as teaching is a performance based activity. Plan each class by thinking about how to act it out, or even writing out a script for yourself. The professor also recommended that teachers assess their strong and weak points before and after each class. His final word of advice on how to blend acting and teaching was simple: loosen up before each class and have fun with it. After all, you are supposed to love what you do.

If you want to join us at an upcoming CTE event, register online.

March 22, 2011

The Center for Teaching Excellence Invites your to enjoy a Lunchtime Presentation with Acclaimed Educational expert

Howard Garnder
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences: Implications for Teaching

In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences. In contrast to the standard view of intelligence as a single, measurable, entity, Gardner contends that human beings possess a number of relatively autonomous cognitive abilities called the multiple intelligences. In his presentation, Gardner will review the background and major claims of the theory; its educational implications; the way that the theory has evolved  over a quarter-century; and his thoughts about further changes in, and current and future applications of, the theory for which he is best known.

Date: Tuesday, April 12th
Registration: 12:30pm
Luncheon: 1:00pm
Location: Omni Parker House, Kennedy Room

Click here for Invitation (pdf)

RSVP to Christina DiRico at cdirico@suffolk.edu or online by Wednesday, April 6th!

March 21, 2011

Faculty and part-time lecturers representing all three schools enjoyed a workshop on “Engaging the Quiet Learner” facilitated by Diane D-Souza, a part-time lecturer in the Sociology Department.

After sharing their experiences with quiet learners in the classroom, participants brainstormed reasons that might account for silent students.

This discussion was followed by a small group activity in which instructors from different disciplines worked together to come up with strategies for responding to silent students. For some of these strategies, click here to download Diane’s helpful handout.

At the end of the workshop, Diane also explained the relationship between quiet students and learning styles. She shared a brief YouTube clip [www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNxCporOofo&feature=related] on how to teach to different learning styles and also offered an online resource to help learn about your own learning style. Because teacher’s often teach to the learning style that they are the most comfortable with (their own), these resources can help instructors develop dynamic classroom techniques that can engage students with diverse learning needs.

Thank you to Diane and to all the participants who fostered a great discussion. If you want to join us at an upcoming CTE event, register online.

March 3, 2011

March at CTE started off with a great workshop led by Mark Lehrer on teaching using simulations. Mark shared about his use of Capsim, a business simulation in which students compete against one another in teams to create successful companies. To check out Mark’s syllabus, which incorporates relevant content with his students’ simulation experience, click here (pdf).

For more information about games, technology, and learning, take a look at Jane McGonigal’s article 'This Is Not a Game': Immersive Aesthetics and Collective Play


February 23, 2011

Special Afternoon Tea Dicussion: From Tahreer Square to the Classroom

Out of the tragedy taking place in Egypt, Magid Mazen, Professor, Management, SBS felt like this was a great opportunity to learn from and turn this into a teaching moment to share with his fellow colleagues. Together with the CTE, Professor Mazen facilitated a Special Tea Event to address the events taking place in Egypt. Professor Mazen who was born in Cairo and had just returned from Tahreer Square a couple of weeks before the Egyptian Revolution gave a closer look at some of the intimate details of the happenings and together with his colleagues facilitated a discussion on lessons that can be useful for our teaching here at Suffolk.

Click here to listen to Professor Mazen's interview with Emily Rooney from February 10, 2011.

February 22, 2011

Grading Papers Afternoon Tea Faciliated Great Discussion

The most recent CTE afternoon tea “Grading Papers: How Much is Too Much,” sparked some great discussion about grading concerns and strategies for efficient grading practices. Jim Johnson, a part-time lecturer from the English department who facilitated the event, offered a wonderful handout with additional resources.

If you would like to join us for an upcoming CTE workshop or afternoon tea, check out our events calendar. We hope to see you at an upcoming event!


February 17, 2011

Great turnout for the 1st Faculty Lunch Series of the Semester

Over 15 faculty members came by to enjoy lunch provided by the CTE as part of the Faculty Lunch Series which provides a great way for faculty to meet colleagues in other departments across campus and enjoy great conversation!

Upcoming lunches are scheduled for March 10th & April 28th!  

February 15, 2011

Best Practices for Online Course Design Workshop Well Attended

We had our largest group of participants so far this semester at the Technology and Teaching Series event on “Best Practices for Online and Hybrid Learning.”

Elaine Garofoli, Academic Learning Technologist for the Sawyer Business School, shared some rubric standards for online and hybrid course design as well as some examples for best practices with Blackboard learning environments. To learn more about the rubrics Elaine shared, click [here] and [here].

Thanks to everyone who joined us. If you would like to learn more about upcoming events at CTE, make sure to check out our online Events Calendar.

February 10, 2011

It’s that time again! Midterm Feedback Sessions are now available to be scheduled. Spring 2011 semester sessions will be conducted the weeks of February 28th and March 7th. Requests must be recieved by Friday, February 18th so sign up today. Email cdirico@suffolk.edu  to sign-up or for more information.

February 9, 2011

Afternoon Tea on Can Experts Teach Novice Learners?

Participants from the Sawyer Business School, the Law School, and the College of Arts and Sciences gathered at our recent afternoon tea event about expert and novice learners. CTE assistant director Katie Linder facilitated the event, offering information from the National Research Foundation’s text How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School .

Drawing from the chapter “How Experts Differ from Novices,” the group discussed six key principles of experts’ knowledge:

1) Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices.

2) Experts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter.

3) Experts’ knowledge cannot be reduced to a set of isolated facts or propositions, but, instead, reflects contexts of applicability: that is, the knowledge is ‘conditionalized’ on a set of circumstances.

4) Experts are able to flexibly retrieve important aspects of their knowledge with little attentional effort.

5) Though experts know their disciplines thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others.

6) Experts have varying levels of flexibility in their approach to new situations.

The group discussed these ideas by focusing on two questions:

1) What does this mean for my students?

2) What does this mean for how I teach?

Thank you to all the participants who fostered a great discussion. If you want to join us at an upcoming CTE event register online.

February 8, 2011















CTE Workshop on “Taming Students” Informative &Thought-Provoking

    Adam Glesser, assistant professor in Math and Computer Science, facilitated a fascinating workshop called “Stop the Excuses! A Teacher’s Guide to Taming Students” that was attended by seven Suffolk faculty members and staff.

Following a rousing discussion of the various kinds of excuses that students offer for coming to class late, not turning in homework, or missing an exam, Adam showcased a method of standards-based grading that he uses in his class to help curb student excuses.

First, Adam shared three key questions that have guided his teaching: 
    - What am I trying to accomplish as a teacher? 
    - What do my students need to know? 
    - How do I get them there?

Then, he offered some suggestions for how teachers can stop student excuses: 

1) Develop a list of standards (or topics) that you cover in your course

2) Hand out this list to students so they know what they are expected to learn

3) Incorporate these standards/topics into your gradebook (for example, rather than just listing Quiz # 1, instead create a column for the topic(s) that the quiz covered) to track students’ progress in learning particular concepts or ideas

4) Assess early and often and get creative with your assessment. Adam recommends not just assessing students through tests and quizzes, but through listening to their answers during discussions or in conversations during office hours

5) Tell students what standards/topics are being assessed on each quiz or exam and ask students to estimate their grade for a particular standard/topic. This will show you what students think they know versus what they actually know.

6) Offer students a rubric. Here is an example that Adam uses.

7) Give students feedback on their work to help them see what they do and don’t know and then give them a chance to improve. Allow “do-overs” when possible so that students can be re-assessed.

If you are interested in learning more about standards-based grading, Adam has offered a list of helpful resources . You can also check out his course website to see standards-based grading in action!

Thanks to Adam for a great presentation! If you want to join us at an upcoming CTE event, Register Online.


February 3, 2011

The CTE Assistant Director mentioned in an E-Campus News article: To ‘friend’ or not to ‘friend’: Professor-student Facebook relationships


January 31, 2011

Afternoon Tea on Sharing Teaching Techniques a Great Success!

Our first Spring event at CTE was a great success!  Eight faculty members came together over hot drinks and cookies to share teaching techniques.

Monika Raesch, assistant professor in the Communication and Journalism department, facilitated the event and shared her own technique of bringing artifacts to class (such as short interviews, articles, images, or comics) and then asking students to relate those artifacts to course terms and theories in small groups.  This technique is a great method for having students begin to practice critically thinking about what they’ve learned by applying it to objects outside of the course.

Adam Glesser, assistant professor in the Math and Computer Science department, shared his idea of having students form “buddy groups” on the first day of class.  Adam asks students to exchange email addresses and other contact information with a  few of their peers so that they can check in with each other if they miss class or if they want to form a study group before exams.

Diana D’Souza part-time lecturer from the Sociology department also shared a great idea for exam preparation.  She recommended offering students a large bank of exam questions (300+ with no answers included) that students can study from, knowing that the exam will be constructed from the list.  Diane pointed out that this gives students the opportunity to study as much or as little as they like and it also gives the instructor the chance to frequently change-up the course exam to keep it fresh.

Katie Linder, the new assistant director of the CTE, also shared a tip for exam preparation.  She suggested having students write example questions for an upcoming exam that can then be compiled by the instructor as a study guide for the whole class.  Instructors can even choose questions that students develop to include on the exam.

Another great teaching idea was shared by Laurie Levesque, associate dean at the Sawyer Business School, who uses name cards in her class to create a dialogue with her students.  Laurie gives each of her students a card that is blank on one side (for students to write their names) and that has a table on the other side where students can offer reactions and feedback about each class session and where Laurie can keep track of attendance and comment back to students.  She explains, “cards are either distributed to each person as my opportunity to greet them individually before class starts, or they are at the front for students to grab on the way in. Those not picked up at the start of class are marked L for late. Later I convert that to an ‘A’ for Absent (in pen, before I leave the room).”

The cards are also used for Laurie to gather student impressions of their participation level for each class and are a place where students can communicate one-on-one with their instructor.  Laurie further describes the purpose of the cards when she says, “the goal isn’t to get the deepest/truest feedback on the course, but rather allow for additional back and forth with each person outside of the regular and post-class conversation. “

Want to see an example of Laurie’s name card technique? Click here to download a version in PDF.
We hope you can join us for one of our upcoming afternoon tea or workshop events. Make sure to check the events page to see what is coming up next!

January 3, 2011

The CTE's new Assistant Director, Katie Linder has started. Come by the CTE to say hello and meet the newest CTE member.