Allegheny River with bridges, Pittsburgh

Resources from the POD Network Conference, 2023

Last month, a small group of faculty and staff from the Faculty Center for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship attended the 48th Annual POD Network Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. The conference brings together educational developers to share strategies and approaches to supporting faculty and staff in higher education. This year, the conference theme was Envisioning the Future: Developing Equitable Opportunities for Success.

With pedagogy support in mind, I prioritized sessions that offered resources I could bring back to our faculty. Caroline Egan, Project Manager at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation, hosted one of my favorites, on inclusive teaching strategies. JHU’s center has developed a deck of cards that synthesizes research-based practices for fostering an inclusive classroom. The deck includes familiar suggestions (diversify your content, learn students’ names) alongside more novel ones (create groups so that minoritized students form a majority in any one group). It also reminds us that good teaching is often inclusive teaching. Caroline not only shared this resource; she also invited conversation about how to modify or augment some of these strategies.

Another compelling session focused on student attention in the age of social media. University of Georgia’s Ruth Poproski began by asking what attention is and led us through a discussion of what we do and don’t know about it. While we often assume that attention spans have decreased over the past two decades, for instance, research shows that is not the case, even as distractions abound. Ruth shared some key findings from recent studies (I was surprised to learn that multitasking isn’t necessarily problematic!) and guided a conversation about teaching strategies associated with attention. These included helping students train their own attention through purposeful and meta-reflective class activities.

If you’re interested in learning more, I’m looking forward to planning workshops related to these resources in the coming months.





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