If this year's Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology (SITT) were to be described in one word, a good one might be "timely."
First, the Teaching Resources Center, which organizes the annual event, moved it from July to Sept. 8-11 so that faculty who have returned to campus to prepare for fall classes could attend. Now it has announced this year's themes--and they focus on issues relevant to today's students and classes.
The themes, "Teaching Large Classes" and "Teaching With and For Networked Collaborators," will be explored through panel discussions, workshops in computer classrooms, demonstrations, and presentations by fellow faculty members. Two related subtopics address reading and "Capturing Course Content."
The "large classes" strand will offer strategies for organizing lectures, integrating media, creating presentations, and keeping students engaged. The topics vary from presentation pitfalls to the best use of visuals. One topic for discussion is described as "Slide vs. Flash vs. Web vs. Chalk vs. Whiteboard vs. Gestures."
The "networked" strand addresses today's millennial students, and how they use social networking technology to work together in classes. It will include strategies on working with profiles and avatars on Facebook (and similar sites), blogging, wikis, instant messaging, and more.
The subtopics will build on the main themes by taking a fresh look at reading and its continued relevance to class discussion and student learning; and by encouraging the thoughtful use of YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts and similar media, both to prepare for classes and to capture class presentations.The institute offers "valuable resources and a supportive community of innovative and reflective teachers," said Andy Jones, SITT co-coordinator and faculty liaison for the T eaching Resources Center. "[It] also provides a great point of departure for extended networking, project design and course development."