Class in the Classroom Lightning Talk

Lightning Talks: Remote & Hybrid Teaching & Learning Spring 2021 Speaker Series

The Remote & Hybrid Teaching & Learning Lightning Talks series 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 and hybrid learning environment. The Spring 2021 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 showcase four-to-five presenters—each discussing the topic of remote and hybrid teaching and learning at BU. All speakers will adhere to a maximum three-slide format for a short and focused, five minute presentation.

At the conclusion of all presentations, the moderator will encourage and facilitate cross-disciplinary conversation on the topic.

BU Lightning Talk Class in the ClassroomCOMPLETE: Class in the Classroom

Remote and hybrid classrooms have highlighted the kind of class inequities that have always existed but have been easy to ignore in higher education.

This Lightning Talk session, offered in collaboration with BU Diversity & Inclusion and its Learn More series’ theme of social class, will focus on areas of practice and content that help us understand the myriad ways that class plays out in our classrooms, with strategies to create more inclusive classes.

Date: Friday, April 9, 2021

Time: 12:15-1:15 PM

About the Presenters, Moderator & Topics

Pablo Buitron de la VegaPablo Buitron de la Vega

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Program Director, Preventive Medicine Residency

Clinician Lead, THRIVE Social Determinants of Health Program

Boston Medical Center | BU School of Medicine

Virtual Worlds, Virtual Reality and Mind Mapping to Engage Learners in the Remote-Hybrid Environment

Overview: In this presentation, Professor Buitron de la Vega shares examples of using emerging educational technologies, including virtual worlds, virtual reality, and mind mapping, to develop interdisciplinary experiences to teach about health equity and social determinants of health (SDOH).

Heba GowayedHeba Gowayed

Moorman-Simon Assistant Professor of Sociology

BU College of Arts & Sciences


Three Strategies for Inclusion

Overview: In this presentation, Professor Gowayed will address three strategies she deploys in her classroom in the context of the intersecting inequalities of class and race. She will outline ways to 1) encourage student access to office hours, 2) facilitate access to the class’ physical and virtual space, and 3) create avenues for student voices.  

Christina MichaudChristina Michaud

Interim Associate Director of ESL Writing

BU College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program


Teaching to All: Creating Classrooms Inclusive of First-Gen Students 

Overview: What assumptions do we make about the students in our classrooms, and how do those assumptions affect students’ experiences? What special considerations come into play for first-generation college students, or first gen/low income (FGLI) students? This presentation addresses these questions and others, and offers strategies for teaching to reach all the students in your classroom—regardless of their background.

Steve RamirezSteve Ramirez

Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

BU College of Arts and Sciences 

Teaching With and Without a Classroom 

Overview: Professor Ramirez will discuss strategies for effective teaching both in the classroom and virtually, as well as provide an overview on how to promote and champion inclusivity with students. 

Jerry M. WhitmoreJerry M. Whitmore, Jr.

Clinical Assistant Professor

BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development


WE Have One Job! Be Inclusive!

Overview: This session will focus on inclusive teaching practices, which acknowledge that students are not all the same, and show up in class with vastly different experiences from their social and physical identities. Creating open and supportive interpersonal relationships in an inclusive class environment are key in successfully supporting the whole individual student and recognizing the lived learning experiences.

Maria DykemaModerator: Maria Dykema Erb, M.Ed. 

Director, BU Newbury Center

Maria Dykema Erb is the inaugural director of the Newbury Center which was established to foster the success of first-generation undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at Boston University. Prior to joining BU, Maria has held numerous positions at The University of Vermont, Elon University, and Duke University. Most recently, she served as Co-Director of Diversity & Student Success in The Graduate School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she established multiple diversity and inclusion initiatives at the graduate education level, including the Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS for first-generation graduate and professional students. She has a BS from the University of New Hampshire and an MEd in Interdisciplinary Studies from The University of Vermont.

BU Lightning Talk: Student VoicesCOMPLETE Student Voices: Part 2

Teaching and learning in LfA modalities presents new challenges for faculty and students. Undergraduate students in leadership roles and across different disciplines share their remote and hybrid learning experiences, and discuss challenges, successes, and elements of LfA instruction they most appreciate.

Date: Friday, January 29, 2021

Time: 12:15-1:15 PM

About the Student Presenters & Topics

Aaron Hwang BU Lightning TalkAaron Hwang

Major: Mechanical Engineering

BU College of Engineering ’21

How Are Hands-on Engineering Classes Adapting To LfA?

The hallmark of many mechanical engineering classes are often their hands-on components, be it labs or projects. To adapt, Engineering professors have all derived different solutions to strive for the same level of education but from home, with varying levels of success. This student presentation will break down these strategies based on Fall 2020 experiences.

Stephannie Joseph BU Lightning TalkStephannie Joseph

Major: Journalism

BU College of Communication ’23

LfA Through A Hybrid Lens

Students and professors completed their first semester of LfA last fall and it was a learning experience for both. Students adapted to virtual learning and navigated through technical difficulties while juggling personal responsibilities. Meanwhile, professors introduced new elements and aides to accommodate the learning preferences of their students during the coronavirus pandemic. This presentation will discuss some benefits and challenges of learning remotely and in-person, and highlight which tools allowed professors to effectively emulate the in-person learning experience online without compromising student engagement.

Gabriel Ramos BU Lightning TalksGabriel Alejandro Ramos Rivera

Major: Computer Engineering

BU College of Engineering ’21

Global Learning Community: Challenges Of Transitioning From In-person Classes To The Digital Landscape

This student presentation will discuss the challenges of transitioning from in-person classes to the digital landscape with a focus on group projects while jumping over the hurdles of procrastination and distractions. The talk will address scheduling classes and team meetings both in-person and on Zoom with students who are in the area and who are around the world.

Zhiquan Shen BU Lightning TalkZhiquan Shen (Sheila)

Major: Statistics 

BU College of Arts and Sciences ’23

International Students: Living Like Vampires During Covid-19

Due to the spread of Covid-19, international students are experiencing unique challenges while learning remotely. In order to take Zoom classes synchronously, students have to modify their usual routine time to an unusual one, which is always not consistent with their friends and family. This student presentation will address how the lack of social connection and a lack of sunlight may prompt psychological challenges for international students.

Noor Siddiqui BU Lightning TalksNoor Siddiqui

Major: Human Physiology

Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences ’21

A Student’s Perspective: Why Are Residential Students Not Attending In-person Classes?

This talk will highlight the reasons why students are not attending in-person classes, from fear of exposure to the possible feeling of isolation in the classroom. The presentation will include suggested resolutions to make the classroom environment feel more inviting for students and professors.


Kenneth Elmore BU Lightning TalksStudent Voices Part 2 Moderator: Associate Provost and Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore

As Associate Provost and Dean of Students, Kenneth Elmore coordinates University efforts to provide a safe environment, where students can find their way within a vibrant academic community. He additionally works with the President and Provost to raise philanthropic support for undergraduate student scholarships, and shares leadership and management of projects associated with student-focused facilities, physical infrastructure, and capital projects. Read more.

BU Lightning Talk Anti-racist PedagogyAnti-racist Pedagogy

Contributing to positive change in the national conversation about race is a clear goal for BU. The Day of Collective Engagement in June 2020, the appointment of Professor Ibram X. Kendi, and the opening of the Center for Anti-Racist Research are all part of getting that conversation started within the University.

What does this commitment look like in our classrooms? Join us to hear how instructors build an anti-racist curriculum within their classes.

Date: Friday, March 5, 2021

Time: 12:15-1:15 PM

About the Presenters & Moderator

Fadie Coleman, BU Lightning TalksFadie T. Coleman, Director

Biomedical Laboratory & Clinical Sciences Program

BU School of Medicine

Mapping the Landscape of Implicit Bias in STEM Education

Academic achievement can be greatly influenced by an educator’s beliefs and attitudes around race/ethnicity. The talk will discuss some of the inequalities that exist in STEM education, perpetuated by implicit biases and how educators can foster learning environments that are equitable, inclusive, and supportive for all learners.


Maria Datel BU Lightning TalksMaría Datel, Senior Lecturer in Spanish

Department of Romance Studies

BU College of Arts & Sciences

Building an Anti-Racism Curriculum for Spanish Courses

This presentation discusses how to represent the racial diversity of Hispanic countries in the Spanish curriculum, so that students can make intercultural connections and think critically about racism from a global perspective.


Roscoe Giles, Professor

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

BU College of Engineering



Santiago Gomez, Graduate Student

Computer Engineering, May 2022

BU College of Engineering



Freeing the “Slave” and the “Master”: Removing Racism from Engineering

This presentation examines how one letter initiated systemic change at the world’s largest textbook publisher. The importance of inclusive language ensures that students remain engaged and stay committed to solving society’s toughest engineering problems. 


Teddy Hickman-Maynard, Associate Dean

Students & Community Life

BU School of Theology

Racial Justice as Religious Practice

BU School of Theology course, “Dismantling White Privilege, Power, and Supremacy,” situates the study of racism within the context of STH’s mission to prepare religious leaders. This presentation will discuss this course and how STH investigates the role of theological narratives in sustaining racialized social systems and explore models for reconceiving theology and religious practice in service of racial justice.

Dawn Belkin Martinez BU Lightning TalksDawn Belkin Martinez, Clinical Associate Professor

Associate Dean Equity and Inclusion

BU School of Social Work

All in for Racial Justice! Reflections on Building Antiracist Curriculum and Practice

What are the factors that help build justice focused curriculum? What stakeholders need to be involved to create change? Join Dawn Belkin Martinez, Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion at the School of Social Work as she shares strategies, opportunities, and challenges around creating an antiracist culture and community.


About the Moderator:

BU Swati Rani

Swati Kshama Rani, Lecturer

BU College of Arts of Sciences Writing Program

Dr. Swati Rani is the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee in the College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program, a member of the CAS DEI Action Team, and serves on the SAFEBUDS Leadership Board with BU D & I. Her courses as a Lecturer focus at the nexus of literacies, critical race theory, and serving the strong and vibrant BIPOC student population.

Missed a 2020 Remote Teaching at BU Lightning Talk? Access the Lightning Talks Video Library

Check out the library of recordings and learn how Boston University faculty foster classroom community, build an inclusive classroom, manage long block or large lecture classes, and more. View the Lightning Talk recordings and presentations here.

Learn more about Boston University’s Digital Learning & Innovation and The Center for Teaching & Learning. Questions? Email