Category Archives: Professional development

How to Connect with the Modern Learner

“If you want to change a relationship, change the way you act in it.”

When Dr. Christy Price, psychology professor from Dalton State College, began her keynote speech at Macomb Community College’s Faculty Development Day, her intent was to inspire continued action toward the increasing students’ successful behaviors. Price’s research on modern learners provided insight as to who our students are as a population and how instructors can reach them.

picture of President Jim Jacobs at Faculty Development Day

President Jim Jacobs reviewing the College Highlights at Faculty Development Day

She organized her findings into the five following categories for engaging Millennials.

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Free Textbooks, Quality Courses, Student Engagement, and More!

(What You Missed at ETOM 2014)

Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM) Theater graphic. The running headliner is the keynote speech, titled "Open Educational Resources"November was an especially stimulating month for several Macomb faculty and members of the CTL staff. On November 7th, we trekked northeast to attend the 2014 Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM) Fall Conference at St. Clair County Community College. Through a multitude of breakout sessions, this conference spotlighted faculty and staff from Michigan colleges and universities, giving them a space to share how they use technology to enrich education.

We tracked down a couple of participants and asked them to share their experience.

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The Scholarly Professor: Evidence-based Practice and Student Learning

classroomexperimentThis academic year we set our focus on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: an approach that uses discovery, reflection, and evidence-based methods to research effective teaching and student learning. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is an outgrowth of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and its conviction that teaching in higher education can and should be scholarly work. We’ll have much more to say about SoTL … its origins, its methods, its benefits, and how to get started in your classroom … but this month we’d simply like to introduce you to the approach.

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Shape Up Your Syllabus!

The beginning of fall semester is a constant battle to redefine the balance among school, work, family, and personal time. It can be overwhelming, but there is a simple step you can take to help lighten that load. Update your First Day Handout!

Syllabus …Thrilled? You should be! The most effective syllabi are integral resources and communication documents for students and instructors alike. Revising your first day handout will help keep you organized for each class session and ward away repetitive questions about assignment due dates and absence policies. Here we offer some helpful resources to make updating your first day handout more efficient.

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The Best Recipe for Most Effective Lectures

RecipeWhen it comes to brain food, higher education offers the richest dishes. Instructors are master chefs in a fully stocked kitchen with a main course in mind and a hundred different ways to prepare it.
And, as you know, the preparation of a lesson is just as important as the delivery. It can make the difference between a bland dish and one bursting with flavor. Here’s one recipe to help you brew up a memorable course.

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Eight Tips for Writing Good Multiple-Choice Questions

multiplechoiceDo a quick Google search on “worst multiple choice questions” and you’ll come up with something like this:

Macbeth was probably written to honor:

(a) Macbeth; (b) Shakespeare; (c) James I; (d) God whose ancestors came from Scotland

With the half-way point of the semester behind us, and final exams around the corner, we thought we’d provide some tips for writing good multiple-choice questions. The eight tips below, drawn from the Teaching Professor’s Faculty Focus Blog, are based on Maryellen Weimer’s years of experience as a faculty member and from Kansas State University’s IDEA Paper No. 16: Improving Multiple-Choice Tests.

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MACUL to the Rescue! A Professional Organization for Educators

This post comes to us from guest Blogger Heather Mayernik, Professor of Reading.   If you are a Macomb faculty and have an idea you’d like to share, contact us!  We are always looking for writers.   -CTL staff

It’s dark, an internal cave, there’s a light, gleaming at the edge. Trying to escape from this cave can be near impossible, but when you’re guided, it suddenly becomes much simpler. The same can be said for learning, which is why there are teachers. But sometimes, even teachers need help, need something to supplement their fallible knowledge. There are places that can help educate the educators, show them new techniques to then use in the classroom. One of these is MACUL, the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning.

The Organization
MACUL is a free professional organization.  The staff and members support teachers who desire to learn about technology and integrate it into their classrooms.  Our classrooms at Macomb are full of digital learners, and classroom teaching is enhanced with new media such as video clips and informational slides.  Teachers require students to continue academic conversations outside of the classroom using social media, for example Twitter and Tumblr.  Students share with classmates, and even get help from free internet resources.  As a teacher of these students, we can look to MACUL for help as we master the use of new technology tools and explore ways technology can support instruction with our students.  The best things about MACUL are the website, conferences, and journal, all of which are free to members.

The MACUL Website
The MACUL website offers opportunities to learn and share with other teachers. The website can be accessed at  After signing up, a teacher can read and participate in discussion forums in MACUL SPACE.  Here you can see  some of the current discussions.


Also, there is a link to the Michigan Electronic Library  on the resources page of the MACUL website.  Becoming a member is easy if you have a Michigan library card or driver’s licence.  Here a teacher can find resources and webinars about technology. They can also share this tool with students, and provide them with easily accessible ebooks and databases.

Another helpful link on the MACUL site is The 21 Things for the 21st Century Educator.  This is a free professional development training created by MACUL members and a few ISDs around the state.  Topics including flipping the classroom, online interactive learning tools and computer basics are explored in a hands-on, easy to follow format.  Below are some of the topics to choose from:

  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • Digital story telling
  • Digital Images
  • Virtual Session Recordings
  • Content Area Tools

The MACUL Conference
MACUL offers many small conferences throughout the year; however, the largest conference is located in Detroit’s Cobo Hall over the weekend of March 20-22, 2013.  The theme this year is Blending Technology & Curriculum for Today’s Learner.  This conference attracts national speakers and exhibitors, and more information about the conference is on the MACUL website.
Conference Link

When members sign up for MACUL they have the opportunity to join a special interest group (SIG).  At a MACUL conference SIG’s hold special meetings and pre-conference sessions. These are usually smaller sessions for more individual discussion. This is a great time to meet other teachers interested in similar technologies.
Special Interest Group Sessions

The MACUL Journal
The MACUL quarterly publication that comes with the MACUL membership is delivered to member’s homes.  It is full of helpful articles on current classroom technology practices. Examples of these articles are….
Spring 2013 MACUL Journal
Winter 2013 MACUL Journal

Ultimately, MACUL offers various ways for teachers to better their ability to use technology in the classroom and find new ideas to try. Whether a teacher visits a conference and holds discussions with their fellow educators or reads articles on technology in the available journal, there are multiple ways to learn. It’s always helpful to have a hand guiding through an ever-growing expanse of new ideas, and whether a teacher prefers reading online or talking in person, there is a way for everyone to grow.

Show and Tell: Guest Speakers in the Digital Age

It’s past midterms, it’s right before spring break. Even your best students are card-carrying members of the Apathy Club and come to think of it … you’ve started your own count down to the end of the semester.

Well, SNAP OUT OF IT! Or better yet find a guest speaker. Bringing in a guest speaker can change-up the pace and add insights or knowledge that differ from your own.   Thanks to technology,  your guest doesn’t have to travel at all or you can record their one time talk and use it over again next semester or for online.

skype interview

Through the magic of technology, Professor Steinborn is able to interview speakers from Switzerland, Germany, and France while his students were here in the Detroit Metro-area.  How perfect for an international  business course!  Think of the possibilities of Skyping with peers in Mexico or Egypt for language courses.   Interviewing the author of the course textbook. Artists, CEO’s, Scientists, even your Grandmother in Florida, who know what stories and experiences are out there to share!

Cools tools to use:

  • Adobe Connect – for web Conferencing.
  • Skype – It’s easy and almost everyone has it.  Click here for Skyping in Education.
  • Panopto – use it to capture your live or virtual speaker.

Need to find someone? Check out these options

For tips on this subject check out this website:

Need help setting up the tools to connect with your guest speaker, let us know.  Have you brought in a guest speaker into your class? How did it go? Let us know in the comments.

That’s my Philosophy

More colleges and universities are including a Statement of Teaching Philosophy as part of their applications.  Even if you have a stellar Curriculum Vitae and mastered the art of the cover letter, this piece of your dossier requires preparation, research, and some good old fashioned self-reflection. The importance of self-reflection is to improve your teaching. The exercise of writing your teaching philosophy is not entirely because of the product itself, but also the act of creating it. It forces you to have to construct what your core teaching values are.

What is a Statement of Teaching Philosophy?

A teaching philosophy is a statement of your beliefs about teaching and learning.  Your philosophy should discuss how you put your beliefs, pedagogy, and methodology into practice by including concrete examples of what you do or anticipate doing in the classroom.

Do I have a teaching philosophy?

If you have spent any time in a classroom as an instructor or even as a student, you have opinions of teaching and learning.  Philosophy is a kind of epistemology—the science of how we know what we know.  Your teaching philosophy should state what you know about effective teaching and how you learned it (what your experiences are).

Where to start?

Try thinking of great teachers that inspired you, or maybe those instructors who did the opposite.  Find copies of your syllabi; what methods do you use to facilitate learning?  Haul out copies of your students assessments;  read your students comments:  what did you do to address their issues?  Include specific experiences that are germane to your field of study.

Not applying for a job any time soon?

Like a CV, your Teaching Philosophy is a living document that changes with your experiences.   You can assemble the documents that one day may come in handy such as student evaluations, personal letters from colleagues or students, or teaching materials that you have created.  Having these items handy when the time does come will make the experience a lot easier.  Who knows, if you present at a conference, or win a prestigious teaching award you might be asked to explain your success!

For more information click here to access articles and guides for writing your Teaching Philosophy: