2012 Lilly North Conference Participant Remarks
"There were several things I learned at the Lilly Conference that I immediately applied to my courses, but the increase in my understanding of the importance of teaching metacognition has led to a shift in my focus in this area that I think will benefit my students. Instead of feeling frustrated at students’ ‘lack of preparedness’ for college level work, I have refocused on being more intentional in promoting recognition on the part of the learner that learning has taken place, or is taking place. I learned and am using prompts that encourage metacognitive thinking - at the beginning of each class session, in the middle of class and at the end of each class session. I have already noticed an improvement in the quality of students’ exit responses at the end class – even though they still groan at having to do it. There was so much to learn at the Lilly Conference that it was inspiring to know how many people are committed to continuous improvement in teaching and learning. I highly recommend it to any faculty who could use some inspiration, and after all, who couldn’t?"
-- Judy Goth-Owens, Child Development and Early Education
"The 2012 Lilly Conference was a fantastic experience. As a new member of the LCC family, I was thankful for the opportunity to attend. Having the opportunity to meet other LCC faculty members as well as educators from around the country was extremely beneficial. The variety of sessions offered by the conference will definitely improve my teaching skills. The sessions offering specific techniques to use in the classroom such as evidence based teaching, active learning, whole brain teaching and using low-tech activities that will help me to improve my teaching techniques. Other sessions such as negotiating generational challenges and teaching students to reframe their successes and failures will help me to connect better with my students to help them be more successful. I definitely recommend the Lilly Conference to any instructor who is new to education as well as one with many years of experience who is looking to improve their classroom experiences."
-- Dale Goerge, Electrical Technology
"The Lilly North Conference on Teaching and Learning was more valuable than I could have imagined. I attended many sessions that provided me with tools that I have already been able to apply, either in direct practice or in theory. One was about project-centered learning, and it reaffirmed my commitment to building exploration and uncertainty into my classroom. I teach English for The Early College at LCC, and far too often my students want to know the right answer. By equipping my students with critical reading strategies, I enable them to approach texts in a way that is exploratory and that encourages them to be comfortable with a degree of uncertainty.
Student engagement is an end to which many conference sessions sought to provide the means. One such session was facilitated by an animated instructor who demonstrated a handful of quick and easy classroom tools that bring out student voices and that discourage passivity. I successfully used two of them within my first week back on campus. The facilitator called one "mild pressure." It is a simple tool; an instructor can apply mild pressure by writing three guiding questions on the board (or by posting them onto a discussion board, projecting them onto a screen, etc.) at the start of class. The instructor can begin a lesson knowing that, on some level at least, students will be thinking about the guiding questions. During that lesson, these questions can be addressed directly or indirectly. On the two days I used this strategy, my students were more readily able to productively focus their comments about the texts we were discussing.
I encourage my LCC colleagues to attend next year’s Lilly North Conference on Teaching and Learning. It was a fast-paced conference that has reinvigorated my classroom and my desire to teach."
--Tony Greenburg, The Early College
"I really found the Class Session Planning and Facilitation Template, and information on Conducting and Debriefing Classroom Activities from the workshop "Lesson Structure and Student Engagement: Bringing Classroom Activities to Life" a great tool. I used it to design a lesson plan on passive voice structures when I returned.
Sometimes I feel like I’m teaching in a vacuum and I thirst for new ideas to improve my classes, but often find myself caught up in the fast-pace of keeping one-step ahead of my students. During the busy part of my semester when essays begin rolling in, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to seek out new lesson plans. The conference was a like a fresh breath of air, talking to colleagues and gathering new ideas from different areas of expertise has helped me mix things up in the classroom.
I really enjoyed the tips I learned about how to build community in an online class. One idea was to have students do a first day introduction discussion board (something I already do in my online classes) but then take the information from their introductions, such as their recent work experience, a favorite, or something unique about them. This information is compiled into a Google spreadsheet. During the semester, I drop the students little encouraging notes using information from their spreadsheet. For example, if they are a Spartan fan, you might write a little note congratulating them on their team’s recent win. I plan to implement this strategy when I teach my next online course. The spreadsheet can also help you keep track of replies to the student on discussion forums, encouragement you sent them, or personal notes.
I definitely think it is worthwhile to attend future Lilly Conferences; the venue was great, and there was a wide variety of workshops (a little something for everyone’s interest) in both F2F and online instruction. There was a mix of university and community college instructors, so it was nice to get the viewpoint of someone teaching at the university level. I was surprised to find that at one university, if students do not fill out their teacher evaluation at the end of an online class session, they can be dropped from the course or not receive a grade until they have submitted the evaluation. (It’s a requirement of the course.) I also liked that some of the conference sessions were shorter, rather than having too many long sessions. It gave me the chance to gather many new ideas to bring back to my classroom."
-- Rosalie Sanara Petrouske, Writing
"Wow, the Lilly Conference. That was the best experience I’ve had in a long time. I have attended other conferences, for other purposes, but this was the first that I could really apply information gained from the conference to my actual practice. Since I have joined the LCC community, I have learned a lot of information from our CTE courses. Going to the Lilly conference provided reinforcement of that information. It also provided clarity and additional tools to utilize. Some of the suggestions were "put on hold" for now so that I can begin a class with the methods I would like to apply. Many of the ideas I could easily put into practice in my courses that are already in progress.
Our courses are very much team oriented (nurse aide classes). So we have been adapting more group work into the face to face class time. We can see over the course that students can even get bored with these – so changing it up is very important. During the first week after the Lilly conference, I began doing more Pair/Share (rather than 6-8 student group activities). At first the students were a bit lost since they couldn’t rely on others that would do their work for them, and it encouraged those who don’t speak up much to participate. You could also easily see which students were less prepared than desired (they then became more prepared for the follow up class). Accountability is essential for our courses and we see students holding each other more accountable the more we challenge them to be active participants.
I was excited to share with my colleagues that we were on the right track. Students need to be actively involved in their own learning. It was nice to see that this can be applied to any area of learning on campus.
Students will continue to benefit from us attending Lilly conferences because we are all learners. If the faculty does not continue to grow then we are not providing a good example for the students. We need to continue to be excited about our fields, and learning a variety of ways of getting through to our varied students so that each can be impacted with the "bug" of learning excitement. Active learning will "stick" with the student far beyond their college years.
I truly appreciate the opportunity of attending the Lilly conference this year, and hope that I will be able to attend again. But more importantly I hope that other faculty will have the opportunity, and choose to grow and share!
-- Susan Schneider, Community Health and Nursing
"I found the conference to be informative and would recommend the conference. There was duplication of seminars, however, learned from each that you can have the same classroom activity and it is the instructions and presentation style that makes the difference and enhances learning. I brought back ideas to use in different courses across the program and will share this at the faculty meeting this month."
-- Janet Marion, Human Services