Utah Tech University

6th Annual Teaching, Learning and Student Success Conference

March 19th 8:30 am – 12pm: Schedule

 Times Sessions
 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Welcome and Keynote Speakers

President Williams, Provost Lacourse, Janice Hayden & Vinodh Chellamuthu


9:00a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Design Thinking in the Multimodal Classroom

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Writing Across curriculums

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Finding a Common Language Through Great Texts

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Using Music to Help Teach Family Processes

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9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. How to Turn a Boring Lecture into an Active Teaching Class in Times of COVID-19

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Using VR to Augment Teaching of Concepts in Exercise Science

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The Power of Practice – Providing Multiple Ways for Students to Practice New Skills and Concepts

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Panel Discussion: Is Diversity Important at Dixie?

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10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Blazing Trails in St. George: Student Writers in the City

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Accelerated Transfer of Learning


Taking Away Grades to Focus on Student Learning and Success

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“Show your Project Without Using a Powerpoint”: Alternatives to Present Student Class Projects

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10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. DSU Librarian’s Help Trailblaze the Best Path for Student Learning & Success

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Know Your Rights: Copyright & Creative Commons

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Mastering Time: Teaching Students How to Apply Metacognition to Time Management

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Puzzling Teaching Methods: Crossing Disciplines with the Rubik’s Cube

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11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Virtual Reality in the Classroom

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Teaching Students to Look Up from Their Feet: The Path from a Different Perspective

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Project FLIP – Feasibility of “C-OERS”

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Lessons I Learned from Mike: Seeing the Capabilities of Remote Teaching Outside of Higher Education

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11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Student Services

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Exploring Ways to Develop Teacher Candidates’ Noticing and Reflection Ability in Elementary Math Instruction

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Assessing Deep Understanding with Oral Exams vs Exposure with Open-Book Exams in an Upper-Division Psychology Course

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Discussion as a Way of Teaching: A Constructivist View

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11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Boxed Lunch pickup at the Gardner

Presentations and Speakers

DSU Librarians Help Trailblaze the Best Path for Student Learning & Success

Presented by John Burns

Each full-time professional librarian at DSU has subject expertise and content to teach your students information literacy and research skills so as to support all academic departments, general education objectives, student learning, and student success. Often, faculty do not know how a librarian can serve their students or why having a librarian teach your students in your classroom is worth the time. In this session, see how a subject librarian can teach your students in your classroom.

John Burns, Associate Librarian – Reference and Electronic Resources: Electronic Resources Librarian. Art and Science Librarian. I have been at DSU as a full time librarian for over 8 years. I hold a Master’s in Library and Information Science and have taught in higher education for many years both online and F2F.

Writing Across Curriculums

Presented by Chelsea Hicken

Writing Across Curriculums (WAC) was born in the late 60’s as a child of student-centered learning models. It has emerged as an interdisciplinary, compositional form of learning design. Quantitative studies show that introducing writing elements to non-composition courses improves student performance and program retention. Writing to Learn has emerged as a powerful tool in active learning. By incorporating this process, you can expect to see improved classroom involvement and learning retention.

Chelsea is a Utah native who fell in love with the Southwest while working at the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. She completed her Bachelor of Science in History at Southern Utah University graduating Magna Cum Laude. She currently attends Dixie State University as a grad student enrolled in the MA of Technical Writing & Digital Rhetoric program. Her research focuses on improving and creating ways for students to engage with and analyze the world around them. Her home office supports a lovely array of houseplants interspersed with an adorable collection of unicorns.

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Presented by Jordan Ellsworth and Rajnish Kumar

In education, there are often highly three-dimensional concepts, processes, and objects which are difficult to understand in a two-dimensional context, yet, this is how we usually attempt to teach them. For example, when teaching chemistry we may attempt to describe an atom by drawing it on a whiteboard and describing it. Although this method can be beneficial, it leaves much up to the imagination and can often leave many students confused. However, virtual reality (VR) can be leveraged to help students not only visualize three-dimensional objects and ideas but interact with them in a meaningful way. It provides many affordances, such as recreating existing aspects of the physical world in a controlled environment or allowing visibility of things normally invisible to the naked eye. Using sound design principles and relevant engineering education content, we are creating a VR experience using the Oculus Quest 2 headset to provide a more immersive, unique, and memorable learning experience for engineering students.

Jordan Ellsworth is an learning designer, engineer, teacher, and people-person. He received a Master’s in Instructional Psychology and Technology from BYU, preceded by a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering from the same university. He’s happy to be back at Dixie State where he got his associate degree. He now, among other things, works with faculty to design and develop online courses. He loves creating and improving learning experiences of all kinds, most recently with the help of virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Mastering Time: Teaching Students How to Apply Metacognition to Time Management

Presented by Jamie Kearra, Hailey Nailor, and Madison Wawrzyniak

Time Management is a cornerstone of college success and yet many students at Dixie State University find it difficult to master this skill. This presentation will cover how the Student Success Program adapted to a hyflex teaching environment by increasing the practice of metacognition and expanding it to time management as an active strategy to help students become better learners. This presentation will cover how we taught students to utilize metacognitive strategies and a planner to assess their time, academic success, test taking and study sessions; teaching students how to master their time and improve their success.

Jamie Kearra is the Director of Structured Enrollment and teaches Student Success courses. She has a MS in Counseling Psychology and is pursing her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.

Exploring Ways to Develop Teacher Candidates’ Noticing and Reflection Ability in Elementary Math Instruction

Presented by Byungeun Pak

In this presentation, I would like to demonstrate potential ways for instructors to support students to develop their noticing and reflection ability in the context of elementary mathematics instruction. I build on the presentation on an ongoing semester project, which has two purposes. First, the project is to support novice teachers to notice important teaching practices that support student learning (e.g., probing students’ thinking). Second, it is to help novice teachers to reflect on their teaching in relationships to student learning. To achieve these goals, I integrate GoReact into instructional activities in my content methods courses and supervision. In the courses, teacher candidates use the software to provide real-time feedback on each other’s teaching videos and use the feedback as the central part of class discussion. I use the software to provide evaluative feedback on 12 teacher candidates’ teaching performances in the supervision. I use the feedback as a resource of reflection in the post-teaching conferences. In this presentation, I will present how I try to support my teacher candidates to develop their noticing and reflection ability using GoReact. This presentation will inform the department of ways to use the software in the courses and supervision effectively. It may also have a potential impact on learning in other departments (e.g., nursing, communication, and American Sign Language) that works with practitioners at DSU.

I am an Assistant Professor of Education in the Department of Education. I teach elementary mathematics methods courses and the multicultural education course. My research interested is in exploring ways to support novice teachers to learn to implement effective teaching practices. I am currently working on investigating ways beginning teachers use mathematics curriculum and how beginning teachers implement Number Talk, a teaching approach to mental math, in ambitious and equitable ways.

Discussion as a Way of Teaching: A Constructivist View

Presented by David Salisbury

Constructivist and student-centered methods have come to dominate current thinking in all areas of the curriculum. The basic premise of constructivism is that students must construct knowledge in their own minds for cognitive change to occur. Constructivist methods such as peer-to-peer teaching, small group discussion and reciprocal teaching have been shown to be effective methods for increasing interest, motivation and long-term retention of material. This workshop will suggest strategies for small group learning, including peer-assisted learning, cooperative strategies and structures for informal small group discussion. The workshop will also suggest exercises for starting whole class discussions, strategies for maintaining their momentum, and ways to elicit diverse views and voices. Also included is information for adapting discussion methods in online teaching.

David F. Salisbury is a former professor of educational research and instructional design at Florida State University and currently an adjunct professor at Dixie State University teaching courses in education and political science. He also works part-time in DSU’s Office of Undergraduate Research.

Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Student Services

Presented by Dr. Jeff Hoyt, AVP Student Success; and Rob Gray, Director of Learning Services

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a nontraditional form of tutoring that focuses on collaboration, group study and peer interaction outside of the classroom. Its purpose is to assist students taking “traditionally difficult” courses. SI sessions are facilitated by academically successful students known as SI leaders. These individuals have previously excelled in the course and have received training on guiding collaborative group study sessions. SI leaders attend all of the assigned lectures, take thorough notes, and participate as any other student within the course does. SI leaders plan and use a variety of teaching and learning methods within an additional 50-minute session each week to help students with study skills and course subject matter. These SI leaders facilitate active-learning activities to engage students in their own learning. Students participating in SI sessions score, on average, one grade point higher than those who do not participate. SI course professors enjoy SI because their students gain a higher level of learning, and SI sessions bring active-learning strategies into their courses.

Jeff Hoyt, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Co-Curricular Assessment at DSU, earned his doctoral degree from the University of Utah in Educational Leadership & Policy, higher education emphasis. He has twenty-two years working in higher education at Utah Valley State University, the University of Utah, Middle Tennessee State University and recently came from Florida Atlantic University, serving for about three years in his current position at DSU.

Rob Gray is the Director of Learning Services at Dixie State University. He has a bachelor’s degree in Professional and Technical Writing from DSU and an MFA degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. Rob has worked as an instructor in the English Department for the past ten years and in the DSU tutoring centers for the past four.

Taking Away Grades to Focus on Student Learning and Success

Presented by Lauren DiSalvo with student panelists Elliott Hong, Karina Larsen, and Allie McGlothlen

I am proposing to discuss “ungrading,” which is a pedagogy that redirects time and attention away from grades and towards learning, feedback for improvement, and reflective processes. This is an approach that removes grades from the classroom, so far as possible, with students providing their own final grade instead. By removing grades, “ungrading” advocates a learning forward approach that emphasizes students’ learning and risk-taking in the classroom. This pedagogy encourages students to think about and implement extensive feedback on assignments, which they reported making them feel relevant and seen, inspired to continue assignments, and focused on self-improvement and reflection.

In this presentation, I will discuss how I laid the framework for this very different approach so students might understand why I was trying something so different. I also will relay how I created assignments to emphasize learning, how I approached giving comprehensive feedback, and how students formulated and reported their own grades. The last component of this presentation will be a student panel who will consider the advantages and challenges of this pedagogy from a student perspective.

Lauren DiSalvo is an Assistant Professor of Art History at DSU. An archaeologist turned art historian, her interests lay at the intersections of these two disciplines in the field of classical reception. She has published and presented on topics of classical reception including plaster casts used at world’s fairs in the 20th century, souvenirs associated with Rome and the Grand Tour in the 18th and 19th centuries, and portraiture of women in the 18th and 19th centuries that was inspired by Roman wall painting.

Using Music to Help Teach Family Processes

Presented by Jason Wilde

In this session, I will demonstrate how I use popular music (some older, some more recent) to illustrate the conceptual theory of Love Styles, proposed by John Lee. The format is a mini-lecture, giving the definitions of Lee’s main six love styles, then a music-based game to familiarize students with the love styles and get them thinking about the pros and cons of each style, then small group work. Once students are familiarized with the styles I push for deeper cognition by having students personalize the material, identifying the styles that most resonate with them and why. Students have the opportunity to learn from their classmates through small group discussions. Learning is further enhanced by critically examining the potential pros and cons of each style and having students consider what their ideal would be and how they might move toward that ideal, thus planning specific processes to enhance their relationships. More small group discussion work helps each student participate more and have exposure to the diverse thoughts of their group-mates.

Dr. Jason L. Wilde is an Assistant Professor of Family Studies and Human Development at Dixie State University. Dr. Wilde specializes in family life education, particularly marriage and parent education. He teaches courses in marriage preparation and enhancement, family relationships, and human development. Students are the focus of his teaching–Dr. Wilde says he “teaches students, not material.” For fun, other than teaching which Jason thoroughly enjoys, he spends time playing with his family, doing long-distance trail runs, and playing games like chess.

Blazing Trails in St. George: Student Writers in the City

Presented by Cindy King

The CTL grant-funded project, Blazing Trails in St. George: Student Writers in the City, is a collaboration between DSU students and faculty, and clients of Encircle, a non-profit LGBTQ+ family and youth resource center located in St. George. The project fosters student learning by allowing students enrolled in ENGL 3141: Poetry Writing, in addition to regular classroom instruction, to demonstrate what they learn in the classroom by conducting poetry workshops with LGBTQ+ youth (ages 12-25).

Alongside their study and practice of poetry writing techniques, DSU students learn from reading, discussion, and classroom activities about how to successfully engage with and inspire young writers. This project gives students opportunities to engage in active, hands-on learning as they demonstrate a mastery of course content through the application of lessons and skills learned in the classroom.

The practical application of academic skills in a “real-world” setting instills personal responsibility, self-awareness, and accountability in students. That the project is goal-oriented, wherein students collaborate to develop not only writing workshops, but also a tangible product (a poetry anthology), increases students’ overall investment in the course, thus motivating them to successfully complete assignments and meet Student Learning Outcomes. Furthermore, a student-centered classroom, one in which students have agency to determine, in part, course content and activities, solidifies their commitment to understanding and applying class material. Exercising practical, useable skills in the classroom promotes student engagement and internalization of course lessons. Given the opportunity to demonstrate and hone marketable skills, such as the ability to proofread and edit written texts, students are compelled to succeed. A broader consequence of the responsibility and accountability developed through the completion of the project and course learning objectives is increased student retention, matriculation rates, and ultimately, future employment.

Cindy King’s work appears in The Sun, Callaloo, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, River Styx, Cincinnati Review, Gettysburg Review, North American Review, and elsewhere. Her book, Zoonotic, is forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions in 2021. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she currently lives in St. George, where she is an assistant professor of creative writing at Dixie State University and faculty editor of The Southern Quill.

The Power of Practice – Providing Multiple Ways for Students to Practice New Skills and Concepts

Presented by Sarah Black

The best way to learn something is to practice it. After new concepts or skills have been presented, explained, and modeled, learners must have opportunities to practice. Learning works best when practice takes place at multiple levels of accountability and using as many different types as possible and practical. This presentation will explore a variety of ways in which students can be given opportunities to practice.

Sarah Black has been facilitating foundational learning in chemistry for nonmajor students at DSU since 1999. She’d like to think she’s getting pretty darn good at it.

Assessing Deep Understanding with Oral Exams versus Exposure with Open-book Exams in an Upper-Division Psychology Course

Presented by Spencer Bell

Although typically a rarely-used assessment technique in the undergraduate classroom, oral examination has been shown to have various advantages over written or multiple-choice exams, including learning gains and the ability to assess student understanding on a relatively deeper level (Roeker 2007; Luckie et al 2013). Behavioral Neuroscience is a course I have taught at Dixie State University for 3 semesters. In previous semesters, I have provided students with long and comprehensive lists of learning objectives (LO’s) with no explicit designation of which learning objectives were more important or which required more in-depth understanding; multiple-choice, closed-resource exams were used to assess all LO’s. This semester I have instead divided my learning objectives into two categories 1) those requiring superficial exposure and assessed using an open-book exam versus 2) those requiring deep understanding and assessed using an individual oral exam. I have identified 6 Core Learning Objectives that I will assess via oral exams which represent foundational concepts and critical processes in neuroscience. Oral exams will be graded as either “pass” or “fail” with unlimited attempts allowed. The LO’s assessed with open-book exams will cover a broad range of topics and will be relatively numerous, as in previous semesters. I anticipate that this adjustment will have several benefits. First, it will clarify for students where they should focus their time and energy when studying. Second, it will foster valuable skills of deep learning and effective communication. Third, frequent individual meetings with students throughout the semester will strengthen student-instructor connections and will allow me to more effectively monitor student well-being in my course. I plan to collect student feedback specifically regarding this adjustment at mid-term and end-of-term to assess whether these and other benefits are being realized.

Spencer Bell started teaching at Dixie State in Fall 2019 and has taught courses in Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Statistics, General Psychology, and Senior Capstone. He came to DSU after completing a teaching postdoc at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Prior to that, Spencer Bell completed a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. His bachelor’s degree was also in Neuroscience from Brigham Young University.

“Show Your Project without Using a PowerPoint”: Alternatives to Present Student Class Project

Presented by Hengjun Lin

Entertainment education has been prevalent in the field of education, especially health education that can improve behavioral intention toward health-related activities (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004). Entertainment education, especially information with stories and vivid pictures, is more likely to increase the audience’s knowledge retention and behavioral intention and is considered as one of the important methods to disseminate information among the target audience (Moyer-Guse´, 2008). Traditionally, PowerPoint has been widely used in higher education (Eves & Davis, 2008; Klemm, 2007). Despite its advantages in ease of organization and preparation, students often faced with common issues such as going overtime, lack of visual illustration, information overload on each slide, dearth of coherence, etc. Based upon the theory in entertainment education, this project aims at improving students’ experience and learning outcomes in the term-project presentation in class, using two alternatives to PowerPoint: Moovly and Pecha Kucha. Moovly is a cloud-based platform that enables users to generate animated multimedia content and Pecha Kucha is a visual storytelling platform where the presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary each. I plan to implement this project in my community health class, starting in the spring semester of 2021. Students will be asked to work on a health campaign project and present the project to the class, which makes it a good scenario to incorporate alternative presentation methods. By the end of the spring semester, students in the project will be able to create both animated videos and present their project ideas in a more narrative way using Pecha Kucha and Moovly, which will help students gain substantial presentation skills in their future career after the funding period ended.

Hengjun Lin is a health communication scholar

Know Your Rights: Copyright & Creative Commons

Presented by Emma Lanners and Kathleen Broeder

This presentation will go over what faculty’s rights under DSU policy and law are in regards to copyright. General copyright knowledge will be presented as well as an overview of Creative Commons licensing that relates back to the adoption, adaptation, and creation of OERs. This presentation will empower faculty to understand more fully what they can and cannot do in regards to teaching with OERs and copyrighted material to foster student learning in the classroom.

Emma Lanners has been the interim OER Librarian since late 2020. Emma graduated with her MLIS from the University of South Carolina and has previous experience in administration and strategic communications. She is focusing on coordinating OER activities on the DSU campus and providing support for faculty in this area.

Kathleen Broeder is the Head of Special Collections & Archives at Dixie State University where she maintains a collection of primary source materials s on local history. Her goal is to help make these rare resources available to as large an audience as possible, which often includes copyright analysis.

Teaching students to look up from their feet: The path from a different perspective

Presented by Kathy Rose

Reflection, although an integral part of the Personalized Active Learning Model (PALM), may not always be considered when teachers develop course activities and assignments to deliberately include active learning strategies. However, research has long shown that learning cannot effectively happen without reflection. Learning transfer, which allows a student to adapt prior knowledge to new situations, is facilitated by metacognitive practices like reflection (Perkins and Salomon, 1992; Yancey, 1998). Reflection is learner-centered and requires students to interrogate their classroom practices and project their thinking towards future tasks they might encounter. Carefully prompted reflection allows students to raise their eyes from the path at their feet to see where the path is going as well as how far they have come. It helps them make connections between what might otherwise seem disparate activities and see relevance in classroom assignments. It helps students combine theory with practice and asks them to become more active learners.

In my session I will briefly explain transfer of learning and how reflection is crucial to the process. Then I will offer practical suggestions for a variety of reflective activities and assignments that I have used in English classes but can be adapted to any discipline.

Some include activities that focus on general course outcomes, such as writing a helpful letter to future students who take the course, or an activity where students explain course outcomes to each other, or, after an assignment, relate how that assignment helped them achieve specific learning outcomes for the class.

I will also demonstrate and/or describe activities that help students focus on their learning during specific assignments, such as:

  • brainstorming and pre-writing activities;
  • showing their revision process by using an online platform that allows me to see their document while listening to their recorded comments about what they did;
  • engaging in a “gallery walk” where students walk around the room to post comments on sheets that contain reflective questions, then go around and read each other’s comments;
  • writing formal reflections where they discuss what choices they made, what they see as their strengths and weaknesses in their finished assignment, what their challenges were, how they would handle similar challenges in the future, and how this assignment is different from what they’ve done in the past;
  • writing a letter to their past self after finishing a project, telling the past self what to be careful about as they begin the project;
  • drawing a diagram of the process they went through as they accomplished a project, including bogs, pitfalls and “lightbulb” moments;
  • reviewing the feedback they got on a project, discussing how/whether it helped them and how they might improve on their next project.

I will use these suggestions as a springboard for brainstorming and discussion with participants about other types of simple but effective reflective classroom activities and assignments. I will also explain how I assess reflective assignments by emphasizing critical thinking and detail in student responses rather than typical writing conventions.

Kathy Rose is an Instructor of the Practice who has been at DSU for two years. She graduated with her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from Iowa State University, where she specialized in writing pedagogy. Kathy’s research interests include the transfer of learning and also dual-credit enrollment programs. She enjoys working with and mentoring students at DSU, especially as they begin learning the language of academia.

Design thinking in the multimodal classroom

Presented by Kristy Grayson

Active learning is a pedagogical philosophy that enables students to translate theory into practice. It provides an opportunity for students to use critical thinking and decision-making skills that are necessary for a successful career. Incorporating the core elements of design thinking including empathy, expansive thinking, and experimentation into the classroom provides students with an opportunity to use creativity, imagination, and critical thinking skills through hands-on activities to solve complex problems.

As active learning enhances the student experience, many instructors struggle with delivering active learning opportunities to remote students. Keeping the design thinking spirit alive in multimodal formats is challenging but not impossible. Through a design thinking process called problem storming, this session introduces faculty to strategies to transition active learning design thinking tools traditionally used in a face-to-face classroom into a multimodal format.

Kristy Grayson is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Udvar-Hazy College of Business. She received her Doctor of Business Administration from Creighton University, Heider College of Business. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies and political science from the University of Minnesota, and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas, Opus School of Business with an emphasis in marketing management. Her primary research interests are consumer behavior, marketing ethics in big data, and brand love. Dr. Grayson has over twenty-five years of marketing experience in a variety of industries. Most recently, she was the Direct-to-Consumer Leader for Honeywell International’s residential homes division where she developed and launched Honeywell’s first consumer e-Commerce channel.

Lessons I Learned from Mike: Seeing the Capabilities of Remote Teaching Outside of Higher Education

Presented by Jim Haendiges

In my presentation, I will discuss how my experience with online music lessons provided a model for an effective remote teacher. In searching for pedagogical guidance to teach remote and hybrid formats during the Covid-19 pandemic, I discovered an unlikely pedagogical resource through an online drum lesson site called Mikeslessons.com. This site, managed by professional drummer Mike Johnston and his wife Amber Johnston, reaches students across the world, building skills and community through pre-recorded courses, live sessions with students, video upload opportunities, and social media connections. While this teaching format is unfamiliar to many higher education teachers, sites such as Mikeslessons.com have provided an intimate and pedagogically enriching experience in a remote format for many years prior to the pandemic. Therefore, I recently committed to growing as a musician and as a teacher by using this site.

My presentation will discuss three core lessons I learned from Johnston’s pedagogical approach to remote teaching. First of all, Johnston views video courses, streaming sessions, and response videos as opportunities to reach students and grow their abilities; he does not view videos as a poor substitute for the classroom but a means to guide students and push them to work outside of classroom contact. Second, Johnston emphasizes encouragement in his students. Through personal video responses and live sessions with Q & A sessions, Johnston acknowledges that learning is difficult in itself and he uses the remote format to encourage students to pursue excellence. Finally, Johnston makes a strong effort to build a community of learners, which diverts students away from relying solely on Johnston for musical instruction and creates a community environment in which other students have opportunities to mentor, encourage, and contribute to the learning experience.

Overall, my presentation will discuss how my experience as a student at Mikeslessons.com has helped me become a stronger remote teacher.

Jim Haendiges is an Associate Professor of English and the current Director of First Year Experience.

Finding a Common Language Through Great Texts

Presented by John Wolfe

As small, regional universities begin to expand their marketing beyond their traditional target demographics there develops several new concerns for community enrichment and student retention. These challenges are especially noticeable if the regional institution’s historically served population is relatively culturally homogenous. One university wrestling with this situation is Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. A state-focused community college until the early 2010s, DSU has started making concentrated recruitment efforts in Los Vegas, Los Angeles, and the southern California region. At the same time, DSU has also been following the state-mandated goal of remaining an open-enrollment institution. The result of these campaigns is a student population that consists of nearly fifty percent first-generation college attendees who have had minimal exposure to university life. As former Dean Don Hinton described, is that the institution becomes “a community of outsiders.” Students from outside the region encounter the local culture and immediately feel disconnected. Students from the region feel ignored. The university becomes ‘unified’ in its mistrust. This environment provides a unique opportunity to explore the idea of finding a common ‘language’ through the use of Great Text teaching. I argue that Great Texts, notably Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and Descartes’ Discourse on Method provide a framework for students to both begin developing positive notions of terms like ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’ while at the same time reflect on the nature of social division and faction. To put it another way, great texts give ‘outsiders’ a common language to understand themselves and others.

This discussion will consist of three general parts. First, we begin by exploring the problem of “a community of outsiders”. We look at the history of this institution, the shift away from the regional institution identity, and the current climate at the university and in the community at large. The claim we put forward is that what is found at DSU represents a microcosm for a larger cultural shift that is going on in the region, and that ‘community of outsiders’ represents not just DSU, but the area of St. George as a whole. Second, we examine how great texts can provide a distinct language framework that allows for cross-cultural communication. As stated above, the emphasis on great texts is intended to both develop dialogue and reduce faction. Finally, we will discuss the preliminary results of these pedagogical and social efforts, and consider how these tactics might be applicable to other institutions and social environments.

John Wolfe is an Associate Professor of Philosophy who works with integrating historical philosophy into the contemporary academic sphere. As such, his research focuses on the pedagogy and philosophy of popular culture. When not at work, he’s usually at home with his kids, playing the latest Super Mario game.

Puzzling Teaching Methods: Crossing Disciplines with the Rubik’s Cube

Presented by McKay Sullivan and Jameson Hardy

Aside from being a rewarding and challenging puzzle, the Rubik’s Cube has interesting and deep connections to several disciplines. We show how to utilize some of these connections to build low threshold high ceiling activities for students of a wide variety of ages from elementary school to upper-division college students. In particular, we provide an example of an activity which relates Rubik’s cubes to color choice in art and computer science as well as chameleon color changing in biology. Other examples involving chemistry and mathematics will also be provided.

Jameson and McKay both work in the math department, and share an affinity for puzzles. They love finding new ways to use puzzles and manipulatives to teach.

How to turn a Boring Lecture into an Active Teaching Class in times of Covid-19

Presented by Lucia Taylor

We all have faced a boring lecture and wonder how we can turn it into something more exciting or active for the students. In this presentation, we will present multiple ideas to turn lectures into a more student-driven classroom. We will learn activities and techniques that are used in Content-Based Instruction classrooms where the language is just driven by the content. Although used in foreign language courses, these techniques can be applied to any type of course. We will look into merging teaching and technology so we can make it out of this pandemic.

Dr. Taylor is an Associate professor of Spanish, and Department Chair of History, Humanities and Modern Languages.. She’s a certified Oral Proficiency Interview tester and a Bridge program adviser for the state of Utah.

Project FLIP – Feasibility of “C-OERs”

Presented by Md Sazib Hasan and Vinodh Kumar Chellamuthu

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the strategy to foster active learners through the creation of a “customized” OERs (C-OERs)” curriculum that provides deeper conceptual understanding. In this presentation, we will share how we are developing C-OERs in collaboration with our students and a sample of student experiences in developing the C-OERs, along with sample artifacts. We will also discuss the rationale, challenges, and benefits of C-OERs and how it impacted their learning process through this authentic learning environment.

Md Sazib Hasan is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics at Dixie State University. He completed his doctoral degree in Statistics from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2019. His doctoral dissertation was in statistical inference for zero-inflated Log-normal distribution. His study was focused on real-world problems in environmental sciences, pollution studies, etc. His research interests are on small sample problems, statistical inference, and data science. He always looks for cross-disciplinary collaboration and is passionate about undergraduate research.

Dr. Hasan is involved in many active learning groups at the national level. He is a Project NExT fellow. Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program for new or recent Ph. D.s in the mathematical sciences. It addresses all aspects of an academic career: improving the teaching and learning of mathematics, engaging in research and scholarship, finding exciting and interesting service opportunities, and participating in professional activities. There are different workshops held on Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM, the largest international conference of Mathematicians) and MathFest, a conference hosted by the Mathematics Association of America (MAA). Dr. Hasan received the Mini Trailblazer award as a recognition for his dedication for teaching and service.

Vinodh Chellamuthu joined Dixie State University in Fall 2015 as an assistant professor of Mathematics. The process of beginning with a small concept and ending with a mathematical model that mimics the real-world scenario has always motivated his work. Interacting with students and teaching them life skills through mathematics is something that brings him great joy.

Vinodh is very passionate and determined about digging out every tiny bit of students’ curiosity. As a passionate proponent of undergraduate research, he is firmly committed to promoting the quality education of future scientists by creating opportunity channels for career development through research as a high-impact teaching pedagogy. During his tenure at DSU, he has mentored over 40 undergraduates in 28 research projects. These projects have led to over 60 presentations at various conferences across the country, including several awards for outstanding student presentations and three publications in peer-reviewed journals.

During his tenure at DSU, Vinodh has incorporated various SoTL projects related to “Active Learning. Active Life” with the support of Learning Innovation Grants through DSU’s CTL. In recognition of his success as a teacher-mentor, Vinodh has received the Early Career Mentoring Award from the Council on Undergraduate Research, the Distinguished Teaching Award for Beginning Faculty from the Mathematical Association of America’s Intermountain Section and the Project SLOPE fellowship from AMATYC.

Panel discussion: Is Diversity Important at Dixie?

Presented by Lisa Welch and Brione Lockett

Panel discussion presenting faculty, and administrative viewpoints about if, how, and why fostering diversity at Dixie is important for current and future student preparation for the workforce.

Using VR to Augment Teaching of Concepts in Exercise Science: Effects on Student Motivation to Learn, Confidence in Real-World Application of Knowledge, and the Development of Empathy for Clients with Special Needs

Presented by Lori Newell and Susan Hart

For Exercise Science students to be successful in their careers they need to be well versed in anatomy, physiology, and pathology, especially from the standpoint of exercise programming for fitness and rehabilitation. The use of the VR equipment purchased from the CTL grant will not only support students in allowing them to manipulate bones, muscles, organs, and other anatomical structures in 3D space, but it will also provide an immersive experience into pathological conditions that would require exercise programming modifications for specific clients. In addition, recently developed VR applications provide experiences aimed at developing a better understanding of what individuals with Alzheimer’s, Autism, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, chronic pain and other conditions experience on a daily basis. This “walk in my shoes” approach can help students better understand how best to support their clients. Given that our students are already engaged in outreach efforts through collaboration with community partners, having classroom experience with VR applications can help them to have more confidence in making appropriate choices about activity programming for our community-based participants/clients. Further, as students become comfortable with using the VR equipment, applications for client usage through DSU student-lead teaching and demonstration, can prove to be mutually beneficial for student learning as well as for seniors in care-centers who are unable to attend face-to-face group fitness classes. Data will be collected in order to assess the value of the VR experiences regarding: (1) student motivation to learn, (2) the development of confidence in determining safe and optimal activity programming for selected populations, and (3) the development of empathy toward individuals with specific degenerative/pathological conditions.

Lori Newell holds a Master’s degree in exercise physiology and has 40 years of experience teaching fitness, dance and wellness programs to both healthy adults and children as well as those living with physical challenges and chronic illness.

Susan Hart Ph.D. joined the Dixie State University faculty in 2013, and since that time has developed the Exercise Science degree program, and helped to develop the Department of Health & Human Performance (HHP), where she currently serves as Associate Professor and Chair. Dr. Hart also serves as director of the Fitness, Adventure, and Sport Skills (FAST) program (a.k.a., “physical activity program”), offering approximately 70 activity courses a semester for DSU students from all academic disciplines. Dr. Hart’s current research interests include the use of VR technology for optimizing instruction and teaching client/patient empathy, as well as the use of technology for facilitating fitness behaviors in populations unable to meet face-to-face instruction