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Faculty Showcase panel on Strategies for Effective Group Activities
Faculty Showcase panel on Strategies for Effective Group Activities. Photo: Lars Sahl

More than 200 members of the campus community attended the CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching on November 2.

Held every year and a half, the CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching brings together faculty members from all over campus to celebrate teaching at Carolina. The all-day event at the Carolina Club provides an opportunity for instructors to learn from each other about promising teaching practices and to make new contacts with colleagues across disciplines.

ITS Teaching & Learning organized the Showcase along with the Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) and the Office of Arts & Sciences Information Services (OASIS).

Serving on the event’s planning committee from ITS were Bob Henshaw, ITS Liaison to the Center for Faculty Excellence, and Thao Nghi Tu, Learning Technologies Administrator with ITS Teaching & Learning. Henshaw took the lead on gathering all session proposals and ideas and worked with faculty to create the program. Tu, meanwhile, handled all the event technology, including tech for a session on extended reality (XR), which is a term that includes virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and XR. ITS Managed Desktop Services provided all the laptops used for the sessions.

Attendees praised event

Organizers said they were very pleased with the Showcase and, based on survey results, felt it was highly successful.

All faculty members who responded to the event survey said they had picked up new ideas during the Showcase that they could apply to one or more courses they teach. In addition, 80 percent said they made new contacts with peers from other disciplines.

Provost Bob Blouin
Provost Bob Blouin. Photo: Lars Sahl

“I always enjoy hearing what’s going on across campus,” one faculty member wrote in the feedback form. “There are lots of great ideas out there, but it’s difficult to share because we’re all in our silos.”

This faculty member’s comment “describes well the idea behind holding this event,” said Tu of Teaching & Learning. “It brings together faculty members from all across campus to learn about the different tools, teaching techniques, and practices they’re using in their classrooms and how their peers can adopt some of these same ideas into their own teaching.”

Most instructors, Tu added, “don’t have a lot of time to focus on much more than their classes and research so bringing them all together at this one-day event is a good, quick way to pick up new innovative ideas. They also may not get many chances to meet faculty outside of their department, so the Showcase is a great opportunity for them to meet colleagues with similar ideas and build new relationships. It’s about making those connections.”

Registration capped at 313

Some 313 people registered for the event before organizers had to cut off new registrations because of space limits. In eight years of putting on the event, it was the first time in which interest for the Showcase exceeded space. Some 220 people attended, made up of 151 faculty members, 60 staff members and nine graduate students.

The event featured an address by Provost Bob Blouin. He connected with faculty members as he spoke about his past experiences teaching in the classroom and how technology and teaching practices have evolved significantly over time.

Joy Gaston Gayles
Joy Gaston Gayles. Photo: Lars Sahl

The keynote speaker was Joy Gaston Gayles, Professor of Higher Education and Program Coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development at North Carolina State University. She shared strategies for maximizing student learning and creating environments in which all students feel safe, supported and encouraged to engage in the knowledge discovery process.

The event’s concurrent session topics included:

  • Teaching in challenging times
  • Designing effective student writing prompts
  • Alternative approaches to teaching evaluations
  • Teaching demonstrations
  • Tech tools round-up

The best attended sessions were the Provost and keynote talks, Technology Tools Roundup, Strategies for Effective Group Activities and Best Practices in Online Course Design.

The Technology Tools Roundup included a presentation by Professor Viji Sathy of Psychology and Neuroscience on the UNC Check-In App, developed by the Teaching & Learning team, and a presentation by Religious Studies Professor Todd Ochoa on Zoom, the new video web conferencing tool that ITS rolled out to campus in August.

Faculty member Duane Deardorff, Physics and Astronomy, tries out virtual reality
Faculty member Duane Deardorff, Physics and Astronomy, tries out virtual reality. Photo: Lars Sahl

VR demos provided

As a new component this year, organizers added hands-on virtual reality demonstrations throughout the day. Faculty members were able to stop by the booths to learn how they could start using augmented reality and virtual reality with their students.

In additional contributions from ITS, Suzanne Cadwell, Director of Teaching & Learning, co-facilitated a session on plagiarism deterrent tools. Kerry O’Sullivan, also of Teaching & Learning, designed the event flier.

The next Showcase will be in Spring 2020. People have already started submitting ideas for the next Showcase, Tu said.




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