Lightning Talks Recordings

Lightning Talks: Recordings

The Remote Teaching & Learning Lightning Talks Summer Series 2020 is a reflection and learning forum where Boston University faculty and invited guests identify areas of challenge and opportunity and share strategies for engaging educational experiences in the remote-learning environment. The Summer 2020 speaker series, co-hosted by Digital Learning & Innovation and The Center for Teaching & Learning, is open to BU faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars.

About the Lightning Talk Format

Fast, peer-driven, and information-rich: Lightning Talks will showcase four-to-five presenters, specifically discussing the topic of remote teaching and learning at BU. Each speaker adheres to a maximum two-slide format for a short and focused, five-minute presentation.

At the conclusion of all presentations, the moderator encourages and facilitates cross-disciplinary conversation on the topic.

The following includes Lightning Talk recordings and event presentations. Thank you to our Lightning Talk presenters, moderators, and attendees for your time and contributions to the Summer 2020 Remote Teaching & Learning at BU speaker series.

Recorded Topics Include:

Fostering Classroom Community

Student Voices | Examining Successes and Identifying Areas of Opportunity

Building the Inclusive Classroom

Special Cases: Long Block & Large Lecture Classes

Assessment and Assignments (coming soon)

Hands-on Teaching (available after August 4, 2020)

Project-based Learning (available August 14, 2020)

Remote instruction requires more than slides and discussions—it requires interaction and connectivity with students. In this Lightning Talk, the faculty panel shared their experiences and offer strategies to strengthen classroom community.

View the Fostering Classroom Community Presentation

About the Lightning Talk Presenters

Joshua DuttweilerJoshua Duttweiler

College of Fine Arts & College of Communications

With students scattered across the globe, staying connected has been a challenge as we seek to create opportunities for thoughtful engagement and community. Integrated into the classroom, Slack, a communication platform, is the perfect tool for everyone to stay in touch. It also serves as a hub for resources, formal and informal communication, and collaboration.


Sophie GodleySophie Godley

Clinical Assistant Professor 

School of Public Health

Teaching both in person and now remotely requires a shared creation of an experience. By providing structure, guidance, and organization, and with the development of a relationship between faculty and the student, and the students amongst each other, faculty facilitate learning and personal growth. This requires personalized attention and feedback and an openness to changing direction when needed.


Gregory PageGregory Page

Senior Lecturer

MET Administrative Sciences Department

As for fostering online community, online office hours will be the main focus of this presentation. Using Zoom to re-create an “office hours”-type setting can be incredibly effective. Discussion will detail how an unscripted, freewheeling style of the office hours session will help build rapport and community among those students who become the regulars.


ShivelySmithShively T. J. Smith

Assistant Professor of New Testament

School of Theology

The presentation will explore some strategies for building community online by attending to course design at the beginning and ending of class convenings. 


Tom UnderwoodThomas A. Underwood

Master Lecturer

College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program

College of General Studies, Spring and Summer 2020

The “Don’t Put Your Icebreaker Away: Creating and Sustaining Community in ZOOM Classrooms” presentation will address the challenges on Zoom to maintaining an interactive classroom in which all students are acknowledged and motivated. After discussing icebreakers strategies, discussion will focus on the sustained use of such devices, including Instagram pep talks, in order to maintain a communal ethos and student morale during remote classes over the course of a full semester.


Fostering Classroom Community Moderator

Samantha Myers

Master Lecturer  

College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program

 

Presenter Follow-up: Questions & Answers

The following are responses to several questions shared via the Fostering Classroom Community Lightning Talk chat. Many thanks to our presenters for providing this content.

 

Tom UnderwoodDr. Thomas A. Underwood

Master Lecturer

College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program

College of General Studies, Spring and Summer 2020

Topic: Icebreakers

Tell us about your icebreaker approach and could you share your list of icebreakers?

I was so proud of my students for the way they rose to the occasion and adjusted to distance education.  Many students were understandably shell-shocked — especially those in quarantine, those in difficult living circumstances, and those who endured taxing return travel to China and elsewhere — and they were in need of both continuity and support. To boost morale, I began a practice of asking a student in each class to volunteer to deliver a brief (roughly three-minute long)  “show and tell for morale”presentation at the outset of class before we turned to the day’s lessons.  Below are ten options I offered them:

1. Introduce us to your family pet.
2.  Teach us a happy phrase in a language other than English.
3.  Sing a song or play an instrument.
4.  Explain your hobby.
5.  Share screen and show us images of your hometown.
6.  Read a soliloquy from Shakespeare or a brief passage from your favorite book.
7.  Play one of your favorite songs and then explain its meaning.
8.  Share your favorite recipe for comfort food.
9.  Do an imitation of a famous rhetorician speaking.
10. Tell us about a moment when you witnessed an individual exhibiting courage
or moral leadership.

These went so well — and got students focused the academic content to follow in class!


Gregory PageGreg Page

Senior Lecturer

MET Administrative Sciences Department

Topic: Office Hours

Do you ever allow time for one-on-one office hours in addition to the group sessions? Or would you just make extra appointments for that? [Please explain.]

For students who wish to meet one-on-one via Zoom, yes, that’s something I’m always glad to offer.  When this happens, it’s most commonly a scheduling thing — if a student works full-time, he or she might not be able to attend the regularly-scheduled office hours.  Another issue that can come up is time zones; again, I’m always okay with accommodating a student’s request to meet at another time.

Do you think NOT having a waiting room for office hours is more effective than using a waiting room?

Definitely yes, with the caveat that what works for my students and my style may not be best for everyone.  Using a totally open, “come as you are”, no-appointment-needed format helps to maintain an informal spirit and culture to the sessions.  Any barrier to that, such as a waiting room, or a requirement that students make appointments, would stifle the spirit of these sessions.

I imagine you password these. How do you communicate that information to your class?

I haven’t used passwords, and this has not been a problem.  I often use the same office hours periods for multiple sections across multiple classes, and I have even asked recent alums who are looking for resume or career advice to drop into my office hours.  The openness is a feature, not a bug!

Is there a crowd control issue? I have tried Zoom office hours with “waiting room” feature so that the visiting student can have a private conversation.

I have not had any crowd control problems.  I will typically rotate through questions in a first-come, first-served sort of way, but since there are often several students from the same class in attendance, someone’s question might be answered before he/she has had a chance to ask it.  If I sense that I’m spending too much time on a particular student or a particular question — which can sometimes happen with a vexing code troubleshooting situation — I might just say “let’s circle back to this” so that I can move on to another question.

 


Joshua DuttweilerJosh Duttweiller

Lecturer, Graphic Design

College of Fine Arts & College of Communications

Topic: Slack

What percentage of your students are familiar with Slack at the beginning of class?

I found that about 20% of the students in my class were already familiar from using it other classes or in professional positions. However, because Slack is similar in usability to social media platforms, the students learned the application quickly.

Is it possible to use Slack and Zoom simultaneously?

Yes it is and quite often I should share the Slack screen on Zoom in order to walk students through project briefs, comments, readings, etc.

Has anyone used Slack in a class of 35-40 students? What do students expect of the professor? Quick answers?

I’ve only used Slack in classes with 20-25 students. From that experience I don’t think scaling up to 40 would make much of a difference. I believe Slack lowered the barrier for students to reach out via the chat function rather than an email. To that end, I typically replied to students within 24 hours as I would have done in email. This seemed to meet the students expectations.

Security is another factor to think about in deciding between Slack, Signal, WebEx Teams, MS Teams, etc. Please share your thoughts.

Yes, security is really important as we introduce new tools for students. I would strongly recommend thorough research into any new tools you want to introduce to the classroom. Slack meets many industry regulations and international security and data privacy standards. Learn more at https://slack.com/security.

Remote teaching is only half the story. Students in leadership roles, undergraduate and graduate students, share their remote learning experiences, discussed what they miss about the on-campus experience, and elements of remote instruction they most appreciate.

View the Student Voices: Examining Successes & Identifying Areas of Opportunity presentation.

About the Lightning Talk Presenters

Hessann Farooqi BU Lightning TalkHessann Farooqi

Economics, College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2022

Senator, BU Student Government

Chair, Expect More Committee

Communications & Outreach Intern, BU Sustainability

Technology Beyond the Pandemic

Given that broad majorities of the population are now familiar with online platforms, such as Zoom, we have the opportunity to continue their use beyond this pandemic. Online learning is particularly beneficial for people with mobility challenges or other disabilities. It can also be used extensively to foster collaboration with people across the world, as well as for maintaining productivity when weather or illness may otherwise prohibit it. Using recording equipment in every classroom, faculty can continue to broadcast their lectures, even with some students present in the room.


Elizabeth Foster BU Lightning TalksElizabeth Foster

Master of Divinity (MDiv) program

Member, Cross-Disability Club

School of Theology, Class of 2022

Implications of Remote Learning for Access

I will focus on how we can build on our sudden communal experience with remote learning to provide greater access going forward, as well as some potential areas of concern. I will explain how this experience relates to the social model of disability, which is the idea that much of what we think of as disability stems from one’s surroundings. We can use remote learning as a powerful technical tool for access even after the COVID-19 crisis, but more generally, the creativity, understanding, and flexibility shown by our community during this time is a good approach to access overall. I will also touch on potential concerns about remote learning as an access tool, including difficulties experienced by Deaf and blind students, and the importance of a physical classroom experience.


Rafael Kriger BU Lightning TalkRafael Kriger 

Political Science and Economics

College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2023

Sharing The Learning Environment

In my presentation, I am going to talk about sharing your learning environment with siblings. I have three brothers and both parents working/studying from home. I am going to include tips and solutions related to time zones and problems with broadband.


Cheyenne Watts BU Lightning Talk

Cheyenne Watts

Learning Assistant

Neurobiology, College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2022

Remaining Cognizant of Mental Health During Unprecedented Times

For my presentation, I want to highlight the importance of faculty remaining cognizant of their student’s mental health during times of uncertainty and stress. Though many students are returning to safe, stable living situations, there are some that are returning to abusive or oppressive households, sick family members, or an increase in financial responsibility. Online learning is not only a challenge in terms of structure or curriculum, it is also a mental challenge. The luxuries of a campus community and accessibility to resources is removed from the equation, leaving many students feeling helpless and alone.

It was difficult as an Learning Assistant to walk the line between empathy and unfairness to the other students, but I found that the more often I got in touch with students and requested updates from the class as a whole, I could gauge whether I should ask my Teaching Fellow to give a possible extension on an assignment, or give a heads up if a student is sick and there may be a decline in the quality of their work. By keeping the lines of communication open, students will feel less isolated at home, and faculty will have a better understanding of how to efficiently yet empathetically conduct their online learning courses.


Talin Yaghoobian

Talin Yaghoobian

Assistant to the Dean, Pardee School of Global Studies

Questrom School of Business, MBA, January 2021

The Importance of Breaks in the Remote Learning Environment

Breaks are a game-changer in virtual classes. Here you will hear a student perspective on how many and how long these breaks should be. We’ll also cover timing and organization of break-out rooms, as well as how to structure and plan your course while keeping technology snafus and other variables in mind.


R Spekman BU Lightning TalksModerator: Rachel Spekman

Director of Business Ventures, Innovate@BU

Rachel Spekman is the Program Director of Business Ventures at the Innovate@BU initiative. At Boston University, she manages programming for the for-profit ventures and works across the university on a variety of initiatives. This summer she is overseeing the (Virtual) Summer Accelerator where 14 teams receive $10,000 each to scale their businesses.

 

Inclusive learning environments promote connectivity and growth while creating experiences and spaces for all learners to thrive. The campus-wide faculty panel shared their diversity, equity and inclusion perspectives for the remote teaching and learning landscape, and offered a variety of inclusive teaching strategies.

View the Building the Inclusive Classroom presentation.

About the Lightning Talk Presenters

Paula AustinPaula Austin

Assistant Professor, History and African American Studies

College of Arts & Sciences

Minding (Disciplinary) Power and Privilege in the Classroom

Every discipline has a history. Most were professionalized in the late 19th century, as the country continued an ideological and legislative civil war that yielded decades of racial segregation and white supremacist violence (and “science.”) Understanding the history of our disciplines and how that history manifests in its foundational texts, intellectual forebears, and current syllabi content and outcomes is an important first component of implementing equity, diversity, and inclusion in our classrooms.


Jessica Kent BU Lightning Talk

Jessica Kent

Senior Lecturer, College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program

Trauma-Informed Practices in the Age of COVID-19

The Lightning Talk will discuss the definitions and symptoms of trauma as well as concrete suggestions about how to integrate trauma-informed practices into our classrooms and our lives.

Luz Lopez BU Lightning Talk Luz M. López

Clinical Professor & Director of the Global Health Core

Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health

Boston University School of Social Work

Advancing an Intercultural Inclusive Practice in the Classroom

Intercultural relationships describes communities and a classroom environment of mutual respect, where no one is left unchanged because we learn and grow sharing each other’s cultural perspectives and experiences. Intercultural practice is deeper than multicultural or cross cultural approaches and it promotes individual and collective transformations. 


Hamid Nawab BU Lightning TalkHamid Nawab

Professor

1993 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching

Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

Inclusive Engineering Classroom: Multidimensional Paths from Within and from Without

As an engineering professor of color, I am struck by the continuing lack of diversity in our faculty and its reflection in the form of not-so-benign neglect of inclusivity in the classroom as well as in the meeting room. This has a negative impact on (1) the learning outcomes for our students and on (2) the pace of evolution and paradigm shifts needed to catalyze discovery, innovation, and creativity within the field. I wonder what paths we might take from within and from without to help bring the multidimensional vitality and benefits of inclusion into the engineering classroom.

 


Dr. Swati Rani BU Lightning Talk

Swati Rani

Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff Network Leadership Team, SAFEBUDS, Office of Diversity and Inclusion 

Honesty, Safety, and Creativity:  Fostering Inclusion and Intersectionality In A Course Focused on Race Relations

The qualities of honesty, safety, and creativity are emphasized in this presentation on inclusion. In support of these principles, I established a new course on writing at BU entitled “Are Asians People of Color” in the Fall of 2019. The course requires students to learn tenets of critical race relations, while learning how writing is a set of tools for decolonizing. Version 0.5 (when the pandemic hit) reflected trauma sensitive pedagogy. I am currently teaching version 1.0, entirely online, with students in five time zones, across seven countries. In this global context of connection, I continue to prioritize how dominant systems of oppression impact day to day relations, the politics of inclusion. I am using a diverse set of tools to engage students. In the midst of centering Black Lives Matter, students are finding creative ways to address writer’s block and support one another as they learn, write, and protest.  


Lorre Wolf BU Lightning TalkModerator: Lorre Wolf

Lorre Wolf is the director of Disability & Access Services at BU. She holds faculty appointments at Sargent College and in the School of Medicine. Lorre is trained as a basic and applied developmental neuropsychologist with a focus on invisible cognitive disabilities, college students with autism and creating broad access for inclusive education.

 


Crystal Williams BU Lightning Talk

Closing Remarks: Crystal Williams

Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion, Professor of English

Long block and large lecture classes can pose challenges for maintaining student engagement. The faculty panel reflected on lessons learned from the Spring semester, discussed synchronous vs. asynchronous instruction, offered guidance to flip the class, and more.

View the Special Cases: Long Block & Large Lecture Classes presentation.

About the Lightning Talk Presenters

Lightning Talk Binyomin AbramsBinyomin Abrams

Director of General Chemistry, Master Lecturer

College of Arts & Sciences Chemistry

Student Engagement and Interaction During Remote Instruction in Large Lecture Courses

Large lectures can create an undesirable distance between instructor and students. For years, we have introduced pedagogies in attempts to create a more interactive classroom feeling.  In moving to remote teaching, we were surprised to discover meaningful ways to capture the closeness of the in-person experience, and even some approaches that led to greater engagement than what we experienced in the classroom. We hope to capture these features when we return to the classroom.


Pary Fassihi

Senior Lecturer, Consultant on Digital Learning Modules 

College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program

Flipping the Class in a Remote Environment 

One of the goals of a Flipped Model approach is to ensure students engage in activities that require higher cognitive thinking skills during class. The transition to a remote environment, however, may pose some technical and logistical challenges, so designing the in-class activities in the most versatile way would ensure all students’ access as well as engagement with the content. This session will provide tips and tools for flipping your synchronous sessions in a productive and accessible way.


Matt MarxMatt Marx

Associate Professor

Strategy & Innovation Group, Questrom School of Business

Zooming Through Long-Block Classes

Last semester I taught two “long block” courses online: one with 3-hour sessions and another with 8-hour sessions. I’ll share techniques for keeping students engaged for extended periods of time, how to avoid gimmicks that backfire, etc. 


Caterina Scaramelli

Research Assistant Professor

Anthropology – Earth and Environment

Experiential Strategies for Enlivening the Large Remote Lecture

Lecturing remotely to dozens and dozens of small Zoom icons, not being able to know if our students are laughing, gasping, or yawning can feel pedagogically alienating. In this talk, I share some strategies and quick experiential exercises for breaking the monotony and anonymity of a large remote lecture course, and for nurturing student-to-student engagement. I also reflect on some issues of equity that different modalities of engagement might raise, as our students are attending the large remote lecture course in a variety of spaces and socio-political contexts.


James Wolff

Associate Professor

Department of Global Health, School of Public Health

12 Best Practices for Redesigning and Delivering Practice-based Courses Completely Online

I am a practice-based teacher and like all of you, the COVID-19 pandemic forced me to scramble to deliver my courses remotely. What did I learn from this experience? In this lightning talk, I’ll present twelve best practices for communication, student engagement, and the use of technology distilled from my experience in successfully transforming two practice-based courses from in-person to online.


Benjamin Siegel, Moderator

Assistant Professor

Department of History

College of Arts & Sciences

Benjamin Siegel teaches South Asian and global history in the Department of History; he is the recipient of the 2020 Frank and Lynne Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching.