Summer institute starts with tech talk

The 11th Summer Institute for Teaching and Technology began on Monday, kicking off a week of presentations and workshops about teaching and educational technology at UC Davis.

More than 100 people have signed up for SITT this summer.

An ample breakfast—and an equally substantial agenda—welcomed attendees at the institute's greet-and-meet in 25 Wellman.

Topics included how to improve PowerPoint presentations; a look at "clickers"; new developments in teaching and learning research—and that was just the first day. For faculty who cannot attend all the events, the institute provides full notes and documentation.

Institute coordinator Andy Jones introduced the first session Monday. He was followed by SITT director Jon Wagner, who outlined the goals of the Teaching Resources Center (the center sponsors the summer institute).

Liz Gibson, director of IET-Mediaworks, finished the morning's introductions with a rundown of campus resources available for faculty seeking technological help or advice. The resources will soon include, she said, a new campus Web site for instructors looking for technical training and support for their teaching and research. The site should be ready this week.

One of the main attractions at the institute this year is SmartSite, the new campus course-management system. Program manager Kirk Alexander showed off SmartSite's features and how easily users can adapt them to their projects and classes. Some instructors who tried SmartSite this spring shared their experiences during the morning sessions.

Haruko Sakakibara, lecturer in Japanese, has gone to SITT before. She returned this year to keep current on the new tools and research in teaching.

"Curiosity for new information is vital for teaching," she said. "To be a lear ner ourselves is an important aspect to guiding students to learn."

Coming Tuesday: Coverage on SmartSite continues with a presentation on using it for research. Also scheduled: a talk on teaching large classes effectively, and an introduction to Almagest, a media file depository designed for instructional uses.

For a complete list of events, please see the SITT agenda. Visit and this year's preview for more information about SITT.