BU Lightning Talks 2020

Lightning Talks: Remote Teaching & Learning Speaker Series 2020

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 will adhere to a maximum two-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.

Topic: Fostering Classroom Community

Remote instruction requires more than slides and discussions—it requires interaction and connectivity with students. The faculty panel will share their experiences and offer strategies to strengthen classroom community.

Date: Friday, May 29, 2020

Time: 10:00-11:00 AM

About the Presenters

Joshua DuttweilerJosh Duttweiler, Lecturer, Graphic Design

College of Fine Arts & College of Communications

Overview: 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

Overview: 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

Overview: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.


ShivelySmithDr. Shively T. J. Smith, Assistant Professor of New Testament

School of Theology

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


Tom UnderwoodDr. Thomas A. Underwood, Master Lecturer

College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program

College of General Studies, Spring and Summer 2020

Overview: 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

Topic: Student Voices—Examining Successes and Identifying Areas of Opportunity

Remote teaching is only half the story. Students in leadership roles, athletics, graduate students and members of BU’s Cross-Disability Club, and more, share their remote learning experiences, discuss what they miss about the on-campus experience, and elements of remote instruction they most appreciate.

Date: Friday, June 12, 2020

Time: 10:00-11:00 AM

Topic: Building the Inclusive Classroom

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

Date: Thursday, June 25, 2020

Time: 10:00-11:00 AM

Topic: Special Cases: Long Block & Large Lecture Classes

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

Date: Friday, July 17, 2020

Time: 10:00-11:00 AM

Topic: Hands-on Teaching

A hands-on classroom experience is the academic foundation for many disciplines. But how can faculty inject experiential learning techniques when teaching online? The faculty panel will share their challenges and successes in the lab, studio, music and art rooms, and highlight ways to bring the “hands-on” experience to the online classroom.

Date: Friday, July 31, 2020

Time: 10:00-11:00 AM

Topic: Project-based Learning 

Many classes across both BU campuses incorporate elements of project-based, team, and experiential learning. What are the challenges for faculty working with these pedagogical models in the remote-learning space? The faculty panel will share their strategies for adapting these active-learning approaches to the remote-teaching environment.

Date: Friday, August 14, 2020

Time: 10:00-11:00 AM

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