2021 Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment: Plenary Sessions

Conference Welcome and Keynote Address

Thursday, February 11 from 1:00-2:00 pm ET

Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Enhance Quality and Equity

Scholars long have demonstrated how interactions with peers, faculty, and staff profoundly influence learning, belonging, and achievement for all undergraduates, and particularly for new majority students. Educational relationships contribute to everything from motivation to identity development in college, and also have lasting professional, civic, and personal legacies. Yet too often we do not make meaningful human connections a defining feature of our classrooms, our general education programs, and our institutions. Drawing on nearly 400 interviews with students, faculty, and staff from colleges and universities across the United States, I will identify core principles and practical, research-informed approaches to cultivate educationally powerful interactions that enhance quality and equity in and beyond the curriculum.

Plenary Session

Friday, February 12 from 1:15-2:15 pm ET

Stepping Back to Move Forward: Assessment Focused on Quality and Equity

Student success, retention, equity, and quality are at the forefront of conversations on many campuses and in higher education itself. Ways to engage campus-wide participation focused on these concerns will continue to be part of larger strategic conversations as higher education moves beyond this moment and into other challenges that await. These conversations are ripe with opportunity to bake assessment into our institutions as an internal process that is focused on student learning and continuous improvement as a mechanism to live out our institutional mission and values. This plenary session will focus on the narrative surrounding assessment and how we can pause, reflect, evaluate, and innovate as assessment practices are adapted to face the challenges related to equity and quality. Come join in this discussion of the challenges and opportunities for assessment to take the initiative in these conversations.

Closing Plenary

Saturday, February 13 from 12:45-1:45 pm ET

Small Teaching Online: Practical Strategies to Increase Student Engagement and Learning in Covid-19 and Beyond

For many, the pandemic resulted in the quick adoption of new teaching strategies leveraging an array of technologies, and for those teaching general education courses, the challenges were often quite pronounced. With that said, whether you’re new to hybrid and online learning or experienced, you can make small but impactful adjustments that significantly boost student engagement and learning. In this plenary session, we’ll discuss brief learning activities, minor course design modifications, and simple changes to your interactions with online students based on the approach outlined in Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes (2019). Those teaching in synchronous online, blended and in-person formats also will gain teaching with technology strategies that enhance the in-class experience. Together, we’ll discover how rewarding online teaching and learning can be.

  • Flower Darby

    Author, Small Teaching Online