New Chalk Talk Newsletter
CLT's biweekly newsletter with short contributions by faculty and staff members on innovative pedagogies and technologies.
Paul Desmerais and Nadine Aboulmagd, Center for Learning and Teaching
Many faculty who either want or need to teach online or blended courses have never been online or blended learners themselves and may not necessarily have grounding in the pedagogies proven effective in teaching in those modalities. While CLT offers a number of workshops and other programs focused on the design of online and blended courses, this course was created to focus on the critical differences in how online and blended courses are taught. Read more
Maha Bali and Hoda Mostafa, Center for Learning and Teaching
CLT hosted a Campus Conversation on Digital Education on Wednesday, October 9, held in Moataz Al Alfi Hall. The event included over 60 AUC faculty, chairs, deans and staff, some of whom had previous experience with digital education at AUC as pioneers or enablers. Campus Conversations aim to bring diverse stakeholders to the same learning space to share ideas and communicate directly. These campus conversations enable us at CLT to better understand our faculty and learning the landscape, build insights and connect these learnings to action. Read more
Hoda Mostafa (Center for Learning and Teaching) and Fady Morcos (School of Science and Engineering and Center for Learning and Teaching)
Design Thinking is a process that starts with discovery and ends with a user-centered offering that solves one of the user’s most pressing problems. In its simplest form, design thinking is an iterative process that starts with finding inspiration by immersing in the challenge space and truly understanding the user’s tensions and pains, to generating multiple solutions, designed to alleviate those pains, to implement the most promising solutions through an iterative build-test-evolve cycle. Read more
Khalil ElKhodary, mechanical engineering, School of Sciences and Engineering
Motivation. The engineering sense is a widely accepted notion. It suggests the existence of a latent sense that, when developed in students would enable them, as clever practitioners of engineering, to recognize the kinds of solutions that might be successfully applied to problems in their fields. Read more
Hoda Mostafa, director, Center for Learning and Teaching
The mission of the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) has always been to foster a stimulating learning environment by promoting excellence in teaching at AUC, by facilitating the effective application of technology to the teaching and learning process, providing support and resources and by engaging in outreach activities. We do this by offering a supportive environment for faculty who wish to learn, consult, innovate, collect feedback from students, or integrate technology in new ways. We also support the institution’s strategic goals of quality of education and innovation. Read more
Nermeen Shehata (ACCT) and Khaled Dahawy (ACCT)
Teaching a course that has the prerequisite(s) is surprisingly difficult, especially when courses are in the same subject. We start teaching more advanced topics, assuming by default that students remember and have digested materials that they studied in the prerequisite courses. But the reality is often different. Read more
Aziza Ellozy, associate provost for transformative teaching and learning, founding director for the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT)
Quality of education is one of the five pillars in AUC’s new strategic plan. What follows is a summary of the main findings of the provost’s task force on the quality of undergraduate education for those who have not attended the various presentations on the subject or read the report. We recommend that you refer to the full report for many more details (found online under the Provost’s initiatives). All forthcoming references are to pages and sections in this report. Read more
Zeinab Amin, professor and director of the Actuarial Science program, Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies, School of Sciences and Engineering
In summer 2018, AUC's bachelor of science program in actuarial science received ABET accreditation for the duration of six years until 2024. ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. This accomplishment serves as official recognition that the program meets the rigorous standards and criteria for accreditation established by ABET: program educational objectives, student outcomes, continuous improvement, curriculum, faculty, facilities and institutional support. Read more
Kevin Gannon, professor of history and director of Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Grand View University
For the first 18 years of my academic career, I ran into the same problem every semester. It happened at about the 13-week mark: I would share a tearful farewell with my family and begin serving my sentence in Grading Jail. At that moment, I would look back on a career of repeat offenses against efficient and timely grading of student work, and see clearly that I had no one to blame but myself. I was a hopeless recidivist. Read more
Firas Al-Atraqchi, associate professor of practice, Caravan advisor and chair, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
The old adage says that when you fail at something, try, try again. What it doesn't tell you is that you'd better equip yourself with new knowledge and skills before you try again. And that sums up the often frustrating road - bumps and pitfalls galore - we at the Journalism and Mass Communication department (JRMC) have had to endure before achieving success in our bid to align our multi-sectional core courses. Read more
Bernard Bull, Vice Provost for Curriculum and Academic Innovation and Associate Professor of Education at Concordia University Wisconsin.
As this is the time of year when teachers and professors are writing final exams and students are studying for them (at least some of them), it is the opportune time to offer a few suggestions on how we can make final exams more humane.
Reham Niazi, Hoda Mostafa, and Maha Bali, The Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT).
The Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) at AUC, in collaboration with the AMICAL consortium, organized a three-day event in February featuring CLT’s annual symposium, 15th-anniversary celebration and a Teaching and Learning Innovation Exchange (TALIX) day. The event was attended by AUC faculty, staff, and students, as well as guests from other Egyptian universities and international participants from various AMICAL institutions. Read more
Doris Jones, senior instructor, Department of Rhetoric and Composition
Quantitative Reasoning (QR) combines critical thinking with mathematical competence to examine vast amounts of data within a real-world context (Elrod, 2014). Numerous clarion calls to teach these skills merits keen attention in an era of information overload and “big data” (Lutsky, 2009). In consultation with the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT), I reexamined the “Now You See It” Pathways II course I designed and have been teaching. Read more
Mahmoud Shaltout, PhD, visiting assistant professor, Core Curriculum
In July 2017, I traveled to the USA as part of the Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Program, along with six other faculty members from various universities across Egypt. The seven of us were part of a Public Health cohort, and the program aimed at enhancing our pedagogical and research skills, as well as providing opportunities for future collaborations, and for intercultural exchange. Read more
Aziza Ellzoy, founding director, Center for Learning and Teaching.
On March 2, 2017, The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched a two-year capacity-building program promoting online learning in the Arab World with AUC and AUB as the first partners. The program is entitled “Transforming Teaching and Learning in the Arab Region through Online Learning” and involves a commitment from all partners to develop blended courses and promote an online learning agenda institutionally and regionally. Read more
Aziza Ellzoy, founding director, Center for Learning and Teaching
This year, we are celebrating a major milestone at our Center for Learning and Teaching — September 2017 marked our 15th anniversary. It also marks the 15th anniversary of our newsletter, New Chalk Talk. Of all the numerous activities of our center, it seems befitting to start our celebration with the publication of this collection of 150 issues of New Chalk Talk. Read more
Caroline Mitry and Reham Niazi, Center for Learning and Teaching.
In October 2016, the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) surveyed AUC faculty to explore the challenges they encountered in their day-to-day classroom teaching. The survey used was adapted from one conducted by Faculty Focus in which they surveyed instructors across the world including the United States, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, and the Philippines (Bart, 2016). The questions on the survey were modified to fit the AUC context and help CLT better tailor its services to the various needs of AUC faculty. Read more
Mahmoud Shaltout PhD, visiting assistant professor, Core Curriculum
In April 2017, Center for Learning and Teaching, in collaboration with the Center for Transforming Undergraduate Education at the University of Delaware, ran AUC's first Problem-based Learning (PBL) Institute. This institute was attended by over 20 faculty members from across the schools, breaking down the disciplinary divides and bringing innovative faculty together to explore how PBL can best be implemented in AUC classrooms. Read more
Mark A. Serva, PhD, University of Delawar
Problem-based learning (PBL) as well as other inquiry-based pedagogies enhances student learning by engaging students in the learning process. Students engaging in PBL solve problems, think analytically and work with ambiguous information. Research consistently demonstrates the effectiveness of PBL ( as well as the ineffectiveness of more passive approaches, such as a lecture. Read more
Carol Clark (ELI), Ghada Elshimi (RHET), Doris Jones (RHET), Tamer Shoeib (CHEM), Alessandro Topa (PHIL)
Typically, students in liberal arts universities receive their formal education in two discrete parts - their courses of major, which prepare them for their chosen career, and a core curriculum, which introduces them to the liberal arts, widens their worldviews and cultivates critical inquiry, communication skills and intellectual habits of the mind. While this separation is practical in terms of structural efficiency, concerns about this artificial divide have preoccupied educators for some time, as it implies to students and faculty that liberal education examines abstract or theoretical areas of study, while content related learning is relevant to real-world industries and careers. Read more
Sean Michael Morris, instructional designer, Middlebury College
This article was originally published at Middlebury College’s blog MiddCreate and is republished with permission of the author. I was perhaps more an instructional designer as the English Program chair at the Community Colleges of Colorado Online than I was in my first job under that title. Instructional design has a long history outside of formal education; it’s been used by businesses for decades as a scaffold upon which to build skills training for employees. Read more
Maha Bali, associate professor of practice, Center for Learning and Teaching and Steve Greenlaw, professor of economics, University of Mary Washington.
It started with a blog post Maha wrote about how we often reproduce marginality in open online spaces (Bali, 2016a) This got Steve thinking about ways of being more inclusive in regular classrooms, and our discussion led to some of these (noncomprehensive) tips for creating classroom atmospheres that are inclusive of students who are minorities, uncomfortable speaking in class, or non-native speakers. It is important for the instructor to determine what the problem is for each particular class. Are some students uncomfortable speaking because they have little experience doing so? Read more
Doris Jones, senior instructor, Department of Rhetoric and Composition, Director, Common Reading Program
Advances in information and communication technologies have created a surge of interest in data literacy visualization courses for their potential to help students critically interrogate, design and communicate complex information effectively (Osterman, 2013). This rise in data literacy has also been influenced by the increasing availability of data visualization tools (Lankow, et al., 2012). Read more
Aziza Ellozy, founding director, Center for Learning and Teaching, Associate Dean for Learning Technologies and Caroline Mitry, Senior CLT officer, Pedagogy and Assessment
One of the biggest challenges that faculty developers face in the US (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada & Freeman, 2014) and elsewhere is to enhance the digital literacy of faculty, and more often than not the benchmark by which faculty measure themselves is by the use of a Learning Management System (LMS). Read more
Ghada El Shimi, associate dean of Undergraduate Studies, Academy of Liberal Arts
The word “mentoring” conjures up in my mind images of the young apprentice in a medieval blacksmith’s shop. The young boy observes intently as the craftsman’s strong arms raise the hammer and bring it down to strike the metal rod. Sparks fly. By the end of the day, the deafening sounds of clanging are hardly noticed. Memorable conversations take place in this dark little shop - they talk about the day’s work, the clients and their families, the rising price of coal, and the workshop the boy dreams of having. Read more
Hoda Mostafa MD, Associate Professor of Practice, Associate Director, Center for Learning and Teaching
Anyone teaching in higher education is familiar with the debate around end-of-semester student evaluation. Student participation is often low, student perceptions of the utility of these evaluations can sometimes deter them from actively participating and faculty frustration with the somewhat biased results adds to the dilemma. Read More
Ezzeldin Yazeed Sayed Ahmed, professor and graduate director, Department of Construction Engineering
I always ask myself this question: am I really fairly and effectively assessing my students’ learning outcomes by examinations? The answer never fails to put me ill-at-ease! Read more