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Spring 2022 Schedule

Grab your lunch and join us for the Online Teaching and Leadership Series Brown Bag Fridays in which UT instructional faculty share strategies, tips, and recommendations for successful teaching and learning online.

Brown Bag sessions run from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST. See below for details.
Click on the session title to go to the description and registration page.

Maximizing Student Engagement and Satisfaction in an Online Class

Amy Billone
Department of English

This Brown Bag will cover the means by which instructors can achieve the highest possible levels of student learning and student satisfaction in asynchronous classes. Dr. Amy Billone will discuss different strategies she has used in her asynchronous classes that students have identified as contributing the most significantly to their learning outcomes. She will also highlight which methods she has used to give the students what they have identified in their course evaluations the greatest level of satisfaction. Dr. Billone will explain how these particular methods have made her students feel that her asynchronous classes have many of the benefits of face-to-face classes and she will illustrate how other instructors might make use of some of the same instructional strategies. 

Engagement Strategies in Asynchronous Courses  

Brad Areheart
Professor of Law
University of Tennessee College of Law

This session will cover strategies for engagement in courses where the format is largely asynchronous. Professor Areheart will share some of what he has learned in teaching asynchronously over the last two years, from tips on structuring modules to making use of discussions to providing individualized feedback. 

Gone Fishin’ – Building a hook to reel in your students.” 

Benjamin White

Getting students engaged in remote (zoom) and online (asynchronous) classes can be a challenge! One way to get students thinking about the content is to start with a question that gets them curious and then build the conversation on what your students say. In this workshop, we will discuss the use of the Assertation-Evidence Model to help promote engagement in your students and introduce a few strategies to help get you started using this model in your online classes. By creating a thought-provoking question and listening to your students (and them listening to each other) you can create an environment where students are more curious, more engaged, and ready to learn. 

Creating Optimal Conditions in Student Team Learning 

Greg Kaplan
Professor of Spanish
Distinguished Professor in the Humanities
Affiliated Faculty Member, Department of Religious Studies

In this Brown Bag, Dr. Gregory Kaplan will present strategies for facilitating online group work that has been successfully implemented in Spanish 331, a required course for majors and minors that is currently being delivered at UT in an asynchronous format. Dr. Kaplan will open the brown bag by describing the design of asynchronous 331 and the components of the course that involve group work before turning to the topic of Student Team Learning. Scholars have demonstrated that Student Team Learning can occur in the physical classroom when “new material is presented by the teacher and then the students work within their groups to master the lesson. Teammates must assist one another in learning because the success of the group depends on the mastery of the lesson by each member” (Carolyn Szostek, 1994, 254). Dr. Kaplan will explain how Student Team Learning can also occur in the virtual classroom during activities that groups complete using Google Docs. 

Distracted: How to win the battle for Students’ attention in class 

Beth Cooper
Distinguished Lecturer
Department of Psychology

Dr. Beth Cooper will lead a discussion based on the book “Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It” by Dr. James Lang. Lang provides several concrete steps we can take to improve student attention and engagement. Dr. Cooper will share her experience of having implemented some of Lang’s advice after many years of banning electronics in her classes. Lang’s advice is relevant for both face-to-face and online courses.  

Engagement and Accountability in an Asynchronous Course

Heidi Stolz
Child and Family Studies

In this session, Dr. Heidi Stolz, Professor of Child and Family Studies will discuss strategies to encourage and reward student participation with course materials and ideas in an asynchronous course. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ organizational and time management skills, creating accountability-based assignments, offering flexibility within bottom-line limits, and maintaining a culture of high expectations, personal responsibility, and fairness. 

Delving the Dungeon of Virtue: Using Game-Based Learning to teach Ethical Theory in the Asynchronous Classroom

Ryan Windeknecht
Senior Lecturer
Department of Philosophy 

In this session, Dr. Windeknecht shows participants how he transitioned his PHIL 244: Professional Responsibility course from an in-person to an online environment. He’ll explain how he uses “dungeon crawls” (i.e., gamified quizzes) to help students conceptualize and understand the course material; “monster encounters” (i.e., gamified cases) to help students experiment with and apply the course material; and “quest logs” (i.e., gamified journals) to help students reflect on, analyze, and evaluate the course material and their own beliefs. By the end of this session, participants will see how an intentionally designed course, like a game, can be both fun and educational! 

Leveraging Canvas Quizzes and Discussions as Study Tools 

Michelle Swenson
Senior Lecturer
Associate Lower Division Chair
Assistant Director of The Math Place
Math Online Teaching Coordinator 

Providing a student with tailored, timely tools to identify and bridge gaps in understanding can take an already successful student to the next level and, for a struggling student, can be the difference between success and failure. Creating such individualized tools for a small class can be a daunting task and can seem impossible when working with hundreds of students in a single semester. In the second half of this session, Dr. Shel Swenson, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics, will discuss scalable strategies to provide students with valuable, detailed feedback on their course work and encourage them to engage more deeply with challenging material as they prepare for assessments. 

A Vol from afar: Insights from OLAP’s “Demographics+” survey 

Josh Steele
Assistant Vice Provost
Online Learning & Academic Programs

What do we know about the students who enroll in UTK Distance Education programs? In Fall 2021, the office of Online Learning & Academic Programs conducted a demographics survey to learn more about the outside the classroom lives of the university’s DE students, receiving more than 400 responses (over 20% response rate). Come learn about the survey results, including demographics, motivations for enrollment, and student feedback on support services that can help them be successful. 

Using a Universal Design for Learning Framework within Online and Hybrid Courses to Meet the Needs of all Learners 

Lori Caudle
Assistant Professor
Implementation Science for Early Learning Lab Co-Director
Dept. of Child and Family Studies

This session led by Dr. Lori Caudle will focus on creating and facilitating online experiences for all learners that are built from a Universal Design for Learning (CAST, 2013) set of principles. Specifically, attendees will explore how to intentionally design and facilitate activities that provide learners with various ways to acquire information through multimodal cycles of inquiry. When students engage in this type of inquiry, it fosters comprehension of course-specific knowledge through acquisition, application, reflection, and identification of connections across concepts. This session will also highlight ways to keep online learners motivated and engaged by providing options for recruiting interest, sustaining effort and persistence, and promoting self-regulation. 

Effective & Efficient Feedback 

Alex Feldt
Distinguished Lecturer
Department of Philosophy

In this session, Dr. Feldt will highlight the varied ways in which he approached student feedback in the development of his asynchronous bioethics course.  In the initial course development, it was clear that some assignments and things needed to be broken apart in smaller chunks or new activities needed to be created to adjust for the asynchronous nature of the course.  However, this also led to significant concerns on his part about his ability to give feedback to help guide the students – as his courses in person are driven by discussion, allowing him to give immediate feedback and help nudge the students in the right direction.  These concerns were not just about how he would provide effective feedback, but also how he could do it in an efficient manner (especially since he was creating more moments of submitted work).  Dr. Feldt will highlight how he initially worked to create feedback opportunities in the first iteration of the course, and adjustments that he has made since.  While he has achieved a reasonable balance between efficient and effective feedback, he’ll highlight new concerns he has discovered that open the door to strive for continued improvements and adjustments. 

No one left behindTips and strategies for maintaining scholar engagement in an increasingly disconnected world.

Jeremy Chandler
Senior Lecturer
Dept. of Microbiology/ Division of Biology

This session will cover scalable tips, strategies and tools employed in large lecture classes to make certain scholars stay engaged in course materials and are motivated to put forth their best efforts. 

Brown Bags begin at noon. If you are trying to register for a session that has already started, please email Igor Akpovo at for access.