Teachers on Teaching Presentation Series

Teachers on Teaching is a faculty presentation series in which RIT faculty share the emerging teaching and learning practices they are using at RIT.

Past Presentations

Jessamy Comer is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts.

Your students watch in bored silence as you lecture. Your questions to the class are met with blank stares and lowered hands. You wonder if anyone is learning anything at all. You want to create an engaging and interactive classroom, but you just don’t know how to make it happen. So let’s talk about it! In this presentation, we’ll discuss the benefits of active learning over the traditional “sage on the stage” style of lecturing. In addition, we will demonstrate and discuss a variety of strategies you can use to increase student engagement and shift your class from a boring lecture into a fun and exciting active learning experience.

I’d be surprised if you'll have 3 square meals today. Did you remember to take the dog out this morning? Did you put soap on your toothbrush again? Not to worry. I have searched my mindbrary and unearthed the 10 golden teaching “hacks”--10 low-investment classroom strategies or mantras that I have stumbled into (or stolen) and that you are probably already doing. So come to my talk and feel good about that. By the way, as you read this, it looks like you are already late to 3 simultaneous Zoom meetings, one in-person meeting, and your oven is beeping. I’ll let you go now.

A 2021 recipient of an Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching, Nate Barlow received his Ph.D. in 2009 from Clarkson University in Mechanical Engineering. His research background is in hydrodynamic stability analysis (particularly absolute/convective instability classification) and the long-time behavior of dispersive waves in fluids. From 2010-2014, Nate was an NSF CI-TraCS Postdoctoral Fellow, splitting his time between the Chemical Engineering Department and the Center for Computational Research at SUNY Buffalo. As a post-doc, Nate helped create the method of asymptotic approximants, a re-summation technique used to analytically continue truncated and/or divergent series. Since joining RIT, Nate has partnered with his long-time collaborator and co-creator of asymptotic approximants, Steve Weinstein, to build a research group of students and faculty with the goal of progressing efforts in asymptotic analysis in general.

Teaching and learning can be understood as a co-occurring phenomenon (as opposed to a transactional one) that materializes in the classroom through meaningful connections and active engagement with the subject matter, both individually and communally. Offering students freedom to discover subject matter through their own particular interests and goals presents an opportunity for individual learning, but the particular also offers opportunities for discovery within the community of the classroom; individual student learning exposes their peers, as well as the faculty teaching, to more skills or ideas than in a fixed demonstration or lesson.

Joshua Thorson is an Associate Professor in the School of Photographic Arts & Sciences, College of Art and Design; Program Director, MFA in Photography & Related Media; and Acting Program Director, BFA Fine Art Photography. Joshua is the 2019-2020 recipient of the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching. He created the live video projections for the Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, which won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Learn more about Joshua's work in teaching and photography.

Hye-Jin Nae
Assistant Professor, School of Design, College of Art and Design

All teachers have to organize visual content at some point, whether in presentation slides, document formatting, or even email. How can non-designers apply visual design principles to achieve clarity and impact?

Hye-Jin Nae, Assistant Professor in the College of Art and Design, demonstrated how to use the tools you already know to achieve the greatest impact in your communication.

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Demonstration Slides (PPT)
Additional Notes (PDF)

Robert Barbato
Professor, Department of Management, International Business, and Entrepreneurship

Bob Barbato, Professor of Management in Saunders College of Business, describes his approaching to teaching ACT: "Students can acquire and improve critical thinking skills from observing those behaviors in a role model. As an instructor, I am often that role model. In order to model critical thinking skills, I often create situations that allow me to behave as an exemplar." During this session, he uses examples to share some of the classroom techniques that result in modeled critical thinking skills that students can then practice.

Bob Barbato is a Professor of Management in the Saunders College of Business. His primary teaching and research interests are in the areas of business ethics, entrepreneurship, and organizational behavior. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at RIT, Bob has taught or lectured in Kosovo, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, Ethiopia, and England.

There is no recording of this presentation.

David Simkins
Associate Professor, School of Interactive Games and Media

David Simkins, assistant professor in Interactive Games and Media, talks about the effective uses of role play in classrooms. Commonly used in pre-service and ongoing training in fields as diverse as social work, medicine, emergency response, and military preparation, its applications are much broader.

Role play is a form of experiential learning that engages contextualized critical thinking in practice. Good role play creates learning opportunities, enhances uptake, encourages ongoing engagement, creates opportunities to put critical reasoning into practice, and improves comprehension of complex topics. It is particularly useful when teaching how to participate within complex systems.

If you have used role play in classrooms, have thought about using it, or simply want to learn more about an innovative technique, this guided conversation provides techniques and best practices for applying role play across disciplines and practices.

There is no recording of this presentation.

John Capps
Professor, Department of Philosophy

Wade Robison
Ezra A Hale Professorship, College of Liberal Arts

Discussion is a powerful pedagogical tool that can increase student engagement and comprehension of course material. Discussion encourages our students to think critically, to consider a variety of perspectives, and to give reasons in support of their conclusions. But we aren’t always clear on what discussion is, how to incorporate discussion into our classes, or how to assess it. For the last two years the Philosophy Department has been piloting “discussion-intensive” (DI) courses that use discussion to enhance student understanding, collaboration, and interaction. This session delivers findings as well as tips for successful discussions.

John Capps is Professor of Philosophy and Wade L. Robison is the Ezra A. Hale Professor of Applied Ethics; both are in the Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts.

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Carol Marchetti
Professor, School of Mathematical Sciences

For years, instructors have heard that assigning group work is a good teaching strategy. Research shows that by working together in small groups, students can develop critical thinking skills, exchange knowledge, share expertise, increase motivation, and improve their attitudes toward learning. Yet, when asked, many students describe negative experiences with group work and may even declare that they prefer individual work. In this session, Carol Marchetti discusses ways to implement student teams in a variety of environments and for a variety of tasks. She addresses approaches to creating student teams, instructional supports, tools for communication, and the instructor’s role in managing teamwork.

Dr. Marchetti is a professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences, College of Science; an associate faculty member in the Research Center for Teaching and Learning, National Technical Institute for the Deaf; and a recipient of RIT's Provost Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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Miguel Cardona
Assistant Professor, School of Design

Whether presenting in the classroom, facilitating a critique, or setting up your myCourses shell, there are several ways to enable faster, clearer communication with students.

RIT College of Art and Design instructor Miguel Cardona gives an overview of the ways he uses myCourses, Dropbox Paper, and OS X's built-in accessibility tools to make learning experiences accessible and collaborative.

Miguel Cardona is an Assistant Professor in New Media Design and Visual Communication Design. He is a 2013 MFA graduate of RIT's Industrial Design program.

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Mike Palanski
Associate Professor, Department of Management, International Business, and Entrepreneurship

Mike Palanski, associate professor of management, discusses his experience collaborating with faculty at other campuses and talks about how he and his partner, Maja Vidovic from RIT Croatia, developed a cross-cultural virtual student project by repurposing a “tried-and-true” in-class project, and what happened when they invited other faculty from RIT and other universities to join them.

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