Virtual Summit: Responding to Racism on College and University Campuses

The Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania is home to Penn Summit, a series of daylong professional development experiences for educators and educational leaders.

Over the past decade, Center researchers have conducted dozens of campus racial climate studies at predominantly white postsecondary institutions across the United States. In response to recent college student prote

Race & Equity

sts, the Center is offering a special four-part Virtual Penn Summit that will help higher education administrators and faculty better understand and respond more effectively to racism on their campuses. Educators can register for a single online module or for the full series.

Content for each virtual module will be delivered live via Google Hangout . To bolster engagement, participants will be encouraged to pose questions through Facebook, Twitter, and Google Hangout. Presenters will periodically read and respond aloud to questions posed by persons tuned into the live broadcast.

Professor Shaun R. Harper, founder and executive director of the Center, will lead these four modules in the Virtual Penn Summit:

Join the Summit:

Visit the Eventbrite website for this event and pay $25.00 for each module. Because the Institute is virtual, a webcam is required for participation. Please direct all inquiries about the Penn Summit on Responding to Racism on College and University Campuses to or (215) 898-7820.

**NOTE: Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education has stated that the summit is intended for individual registration and not group registration. Therefore, we will not be hosting a group viewing on campus. To participate in the virtual summit and view on your own visit the registration website for this event and pay $25.00 for each module. **

Call for Proposals 17th Annual Midwest SoTL Conference

The 17th Annual Midwest Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Save the Date: Friday, April 1, 2016 @ Indiana University South Bend.

2016 Theme: “Transforming Teaching through SoTL”

How has engaging in SoTL improved your teaching and student learning?
Proposals on other teaching and learning topics will be considered, but preference will be given to those focused on the conference theme.

This year’s keynote speaker will be David Pace. David Pace is an emeritus professor of European History at Indiana University, a co-founder of the Freshman Learning Project, and the president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History. His talk for this year’s SoTL conference is titled, “Empowering Teachers and Teaching through SoTL Communities: Past, Present, and Future.”

Visit the Submit a Proposal website for the University Center for Excellence in Teaching at Indiana University South Bend

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: Monday, January 25, 2016 by 5:00 pm EST

You will be notified of the outcome before/on Monday, February 22, 2016.

One Week of Instruction. One Week of Finals.

I see it on the horizon and know it is coming- but the somewhat frenetic few weeks at the end of the semester always seems to catch me a bit off-guard. One of the things I have tried to implement over the past few semesters is to think purposefully about how I want to wrap up my course. Rather than just be swept along with the pressure of limited time and energy to finish the course, I’ve reflected on the arc of the course over the semester and have led my students through doing the same thing. We did this activity in class just this past Tuesday. I asked them to think about where their skills and abilities were back in August compared to the where they were when they completed their last project before Thanksgiving. I reiterated some of the learning outcomes I had for the course and how they achieved them giving specific examples of assignments they completed. We talked about bigger picture issues like how what they accomplished in this course will prepare them for being professionals in the industry. We laughed about some of the funny things that happened during the semester too. And, as I looked around the room I could see from their expressions they too comprehended what they had accomplished as a result of their effort and engagement in the course. I’ve found this activity helps give both the students and me a sense of closure.

If you haven’t already done it, I encourage you to think about how you want to wrap up your course and what message you want to leave with your students. If you’re not sure where to start or are looking for new ideas take a look at Ball State’s Ending a Course for some suggestions.

First ISU Course Certified by Quality Matters

ISU just had our first course certified through Quality Matters: VMPM 378 Case Studies IV: Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals/Initial Accreditation Training. CELT is a subscriber to a national non-profit quality assurance program for online and blended learning called Quality Matters (QM) Quality Matters is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online course design and online components. Instructors can submit their course to QM for review and if it meets their standards the course is awarded a certification.

VMPM 378, the Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals (EEDA) web-based course was developed between 2000-2002 by Iowa State University, the University of Georgia, the University of California, Davis and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It has been used since 2002 at U.S. veterinary schools to raise awareness of foreign, emerging, and exotic animal diseases and the appropriate response if an unusual disease is suspected. The course is currently used at all United States veterinary schools and serves as the Initial Accreditation Training that must be completed as part of the USDA Accreditation process.

Quality Matters promotes a peer review process and provides a database of trained QM Peer Reviewers eligible for assignment to a peer review team. Any subscribing institution may conduct internal or informal reviews or contract with Quality Matters to conduct an official review. Official course reviews may also be conducted by eligible subscribers according to the terms in the appropriate subscription agreement. Courses that meet QM Review Standards are listed in the Quality Matters’ Registry of Courses. Please visit the QM website for more information about QM course reviews. Courses that successfully meet QM Review Standards in an official course review are eligible to carry the QM Certification Mark that is specific to the QM Rubric version used in the course review. The following is an example of a certification mark issued for a course that successfully met standards in an official QM Course Review in 2015.

For more information about Quality Matters at ISU contact: Allan Schmidt, 294-5357 or

Game-based learning is fun and games, and that’s OK (Inside Iowa State)

Larysa Nadolny had a problem and she needed to fix it.

When she came to Iowa State four years ago, Nadolny, an assistant professor in the School of Education, began teaching Curriculum and Instruction 202 (CI 202), a large technology course required for all students in secondary education programs. She approached the class traditionally — lectures a couple times a week and smaller lab sessions.

It wasn’t working. Nadolny estimated only 50 to 75 percent of the students were coming to class.

“I found that I wasn’t getting the response back from the students that I wanted,” she said. “They weren’t engaged, they weren’t coming to class. So there was this problem and I had to figure out how to solve it.”

Nadolny turned to game-based learning, or GBL, for the fix.

Junior Nettie Payne, right, and Larysa Nadolny, assistant professor in the School of Education, review a project for Curriculum and Instruction 202, a course Nadolny redesigned using game-based learning. Photo by Christopher Gannon.


What is GBL?

GBL is an approach to designing curriculum that, at its core, is structured like a game. One design might include levels that unlock as a student earns points, and another may focus on role-playing and teamwork. Students in these environments are allowed to make mistakes and, through experimentation, they actively learn and practice to reach success.

GBL is not a new concept, but its foray into higher education has been fairly recent.

“People who develop games have known for a long time what motivates people, and as educators we haven’t always focused on what motivates the students. Now we’re realizing how important that is to their learning,” Nadolny said.

Her class structure

The content of Nadolny’s class is the same today as it was four years ago. Her students still arrive at the same place at the end of each semester, but GBL makes the journey more interesting.

Using Blackboard, Nadolny gives students 10 “quests” to complete by the end of the semester; she doesn’t let them work ahead. Each quest is structured with the same pattern, and each activity builds on one another. Within each quest, there are several challenges students must complete before they can advance to the next quest.

Each quest begins with the students preparing in advance for the once-a-week lecture with readings, discussions and an online quiz. They get three chances to take the quiz, which includes a random set of questions. Only the highest score is recorded. By the time the students meet with Nadolny in class, they’ve already immersed themselves in the content.

“They have the ability to talk about it, whereas before, if they hadn’t done the readings, they would just sit there trying to catch up,” she said.

During the lecture period, students are divided into small groups to participate in reviews, case studies and small games. Fridays are dedicated to labs, where — again in small groups — the students work together to complete three challenges. They aren’t allowed to move on to the next challenge until they’ve correctly completed the first one, and so on.

“There’s lots of collaboration, there’s some competition, there’s freedom to fail and retry until they’re successful,” Nadolny said. “These are all gaming principles that are really important.”

The results speak for themselves. After implementing GBL, Nadolny said class participation in all activities is up to 90 percent.

Junior Marissa Donahue is enrolled in Nadolny’s course this semester and enjoys the class format.

“It gives me a chance to come to class prepared. I know what to expect,” Donahue said.

Sophomore Joseph Tompulis likes both the large- and small-group atmosphere.

“I enjoy both settings and it’s fun to experience them both for one class,” he said.

What GBL isn’t

Nadolny cautions instructors who think incorporating one gaming principle into a class makes it game-based learning.

“A lot of people think adding badges (like electronic gold stars for certain achievements) or adding one little piece of gaming is game-based learning. It’s not,” she said. “In game-based learning, you have to gamify the entire environment. It doesn’t have to be a whole semester like mine, it could be just a unit.”

The key, she said, is motivation. She recommends faculty examine their entire class, determine what will motivate their students and then add extras, like the badges, if it makes sense.

“You need to see what works for your content, your students, for the whole context of your classroom,” Nadolny said.

She added that GBL works well for any curriculum, not just technology courses such as hers.

GBL resources

Nadolny is considered a GBL pioneer at Iowa State. Three years ago, when she converted CI 202 to GBL, there were few campus resources. She tackled the task of redesigning the entire course herself, with the help of her lab instructors.

“I’ve always been interested in games and part of my research is games, immersive learning and virtual environments — things that get youth and students into learning,” she said.

Nadolny shared what she was doing with the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). Today, CELT offers faculty and staff several GBL resources, including a teaching and learning community, access to GBL articles and scholarly reports from other institutions, and instructional design professionals who can assist with course redesign. For more information on how to get started with GBL, contact CELT at 294-5357.

For those with a penchant for reading, Nadolny suggests The Multiplayer Classroom, by Lee Sheldon, and Gamify Your Classroom, by Matthew Farber, for a solid introduction to game-based learning.

Worth the effort

Nadolny admits converting a traditional lecture class into a GBL format was not an easy task, but well worth it.

“No matter how hard the class was to build, I find it fun and motivating. I think that’s just as important as meeting the needs of the students because they see that in me,” Nadolny said. “It’s a way for me to keep my passion semester after semester. It’s challenging and it’s fun, and hopefully the students feel the same way.”


Source: Van Brocklin, P. (2015, November 19). Game-based learning is fun and games, and that’s OK (Inside Iowa State)

Workshop: Incorporating Universal Design in Your Classroom

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
2004 Black Engineering

Iowa State is hosting a panel on tools and techniques to incorporate Universal Design into your classroom. The term Universal Design (often inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce products and environments that are inherently accessible to people with a broad range of (in this case, learning) abilities. We invite you to attend and learn what you can easily do in your classroom to enable students to learn content better.

Visit this Qualtrics survey website to RSVP for the event. A light lunch will be served.


  • 12:30 p.m., Allison Lombardi, University of Connecticut (presenting remotely), evaluation of UD efforts
  • 1:00 p.m., Kimberly Bigelow, University of Dayton (presenting remotely), UD in engineering courses
  • 1:30 p.m., Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), Iowa State, resources/tools available for UD via Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
  • 2:00 p.m., Rema Nilakanta, Engineering-LAS Online Learning, Iowa State, tools for UD via Engineering LAS Online Learning

An Iowa EPSCoR event.

Call for Proposals: ISCORE welcomes proposals relevant to race and ethnicity

The Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE) is a comprehensive forum on issues of race and ethnicity at Iowa State University and beyond. The local conference* is designed to model the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE). Visit the ISCORE website to learn more about ISCORE and NCORE.
ISCORE Call for Proposals logo

ISCORE is currently welcoming proposals for the March 4, 2016 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. annual event at the Iowa State Memorial Union. The proposals should include the items listed below. All concurrent sessions are 50 minutes in length.

Proposal Requirements:

  • Title of presentation
  • Name of presenters exactly as it (they) should appear in the printed conference program
  • Job title or academic classification (graduate, senior, junior, etc.) of presenter(s)
  • Department or Major
  • Complete mailing address of presenter(s)
  • Telephone of presenter(s)
  • Email of presenter(s)


  • An abstract of 200 words or less to be used in the conference program.

Submit proposals:

Visit the ISCORE Proposal website to submit your proposal for ISCORE 2016.

Submission and Notification Schedule:

Complete proposals must be received by Friday, November 20, 2015.
Notification of acceptance will be sent by Friday, December 18, 2015.

*ISCORE participation is restricted to Iowa State University community members and guests. Please contact the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs for more information about ISCORE and the NCORE-ISCORE Project.

A Time to Celebrate

In November 2014, we launched the CELT Online Learning Innovation Hub. The Hub is a central resource for ISU faculty, staff, and graduate students and focuses on promoting best practices for teaching and learning in today’s online environment. The Hub supports faculty initiatives in all areas of online and blended learning including: new online course development; blended/hybrid courses; and innovative course designs and teaching methods that enhance quality of instruction and increase accessibility and responsiveness to student needs.

A signature program for the Online Learning Innovation Hub this year has been the President’s Flipped Classroom Initiative. Through this initiative, sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, CELT has worked with over 60 faculty and staff from 25 academic departments across all seven colleges on 22 individual projects. Participants worked in collaboration with the CELT Online Learning Innovation Hub to develop high quality “flipped classroom” learning experiences that will impact more than 80 courses with a projected annual enrollment of over 12,000students. The first courses from this initiative launched in Fall 2015.

Please join us for an event to showcase these outstanding projects on Thursday, November 19th from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm in the Campanile Room, Iowa State Memorial Union.

Universal Design for Learning Benefits All Learners

Universal design for learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific and research-based insights into how humans learn. The tenets of UDL support learners across the spectrum of abilities, and at its core align with good teaching practices. UDL addresses three learning networks of the brain including the affective network, the recognition network, and the strategic network. The affective network pertains to how students get engaged and stay motivated relative to learning. The recognition network pertains to how students gather facts and categorize what they see, hear, and read. It impacts how they create a network of new knowledge and connect it with existing knowledge. The strategic network pertains to how students plan and perform tasks such as writing an essay or solving a math problem. For each student, these three networks work uniquely in concert to support their learning.

To bring more awareness to the concepts of universal design for learning, CELT is collaborating with a number of partners across campus to sponsor a series of three workshops on UDL. The first session is October 19, 2015 from 3:10-5:00 in 2019 Morrill Hall and will feature: Sheryl Burgstahler, Director, Disability, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT) Center, University of Washington; Maureen De Armond, Associate Counsel, ISU Office of University Counsel; and Steven Moats, ISU Student Disability Resource Office. Details for the other workshops will be posted soon on the ISU Calendar. We are also in the process of updating our web resources on this topic.

We hope you can join us for these important conversations about the impact of universal design for learning on all of our students.

Supporting and Promoting Self-Directed Learners

Midterm. A word that can cause anxiety in even the most prepared student. I’ve talked to a number of faculty since midterms were posted, and the conversation often centered on how to support students who either received a midterm in the course they teach, or how to support a student they advise who received a midterm.

Last spring I referred to a 2012 article by Deslauriers, et al. that described effective student success intervention strategies. Receiving a personalized email from the instructor, and meeting with the instructor were the two interventions that resulted in the most significant increases in the average score between a first and second exam. In addition to instructor interaction, there are also a number of resources available to support students through the ISU Academic Success Center. This video by Susan Rhoades, Director of the Academic Success Center gives a quick overview of student resources. If you meet with a student who received a midterm, or have students in your course who received one, consider directing them to the Academic Success Center so they can work toward a positive outcome for the course. After all, everyone needs a little encouragement now and then.


Reference: Transforming the Lowest-Performing Students: An Intervention That Worked. Journal of College Science Teaching; Jul/Aug2012, Vol. 41 Issue 6, p76-84