New Chalk Talk Newsletter

CLT's biweekly newsletter with short contributions by faculty and staff members on innovative pedagogies and technologies.

Issue Two: How are you keeping your students engaged in the online classes?

Alex Lewko, Amira Abdallah, Amira Rashad, Hagar Seddiek, Iman Baza, Laila Kamal, Mona El Saady and Noha Khafagi (ELI)

Neighbors and Bridges Day (N&B Day) is a professional development day where the ELI faculty share their ideas and resources, learn about professional development opportunities available and inspire each other through different presentations and collaborative activities. Our mandate is to “explore, identify and organize activities for teachers’ development to keep abreast of the latest in the field”. Read more

Issue One: Students can’t, won’t, don’t want to read. We can change that.

Melanie Carter (RHET)

One of my favorite short stories, by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, opens with a scene of an enormous drowned man washing up on a beach. After the children play with him and the adults in the village take him in, the story traces the ways they accommodate his presence. Paraphrased, especially in language as common as this, the idea is both absurd and horrifying. And yet the story is beautiful: not least because this man, a being who is no longer alive, speaks. Just once. And quietly. With that voice, the alreadyawed reader is pulled even further into the realm of magical realism, a genre in which supernatural events are completely natural. Read more

Issue Ten: Inspiration and Innovation: From Emergency Remote Teaching to Emerging Pedagogy in Our Next Normal

CLT 2021 Virtual Symposium Re-cap - By CLT Team

In case you missed it, this year, CLT’s annual symposium was fully virtual and extended over three half-days March 8 - 10. The theme was “Inspiration and Innovation: Conversations Around Emerging Pedagogy in Our Next Normal”, and it included keynotes, workshops and a forum by international speakers, as well as an AUC faculty panel and two AUC faculty showcase sessions. Read more

Issue Nine: Inspired Learning, a Common Goal for Many Stakeholders

Firas Al-Atraqchi (Journalism and Mass Communication)

The pandemic, though tragic and debilitating, does nonetheless provide an opportunity for us to reexamine our approach to education, the ways we engage our students, and whether we are meeting our goals of quality learning. We shouldn’t let the difficult circumstances of the past year deter us from seizing the initiative to improve on pre-pandemic pedagogies and create new paradigms and formats. Read more

Issue Eight: AUC Faculty Perspectives on Online Assessment

Adam Yassine (Mathematics and Actuarial Science), Rania Jabr (Department of English Language Instruction), Mona Moustafa (Center for Learning and Teaching)

In this issue, we summarize two faculty members' assessment practices, which they each discussed with CLT
in an interview, and which we then transcribed and summarized. Read more

Issue Seven: Making Online Teaching Work for You and Your Students: Insights from AUC Faculty

Contributors (alphabetical order of last name): Karim Addas (Physics), Firas Al-Atraqchi (Journalism and Mass Communication), Ramy Aly (SEA), Maha Bali (Center for Learning and Teaching/CORE), Khalil elKhodary (Mechanical Engineering), Nellie el Enany (Management), Sophie Farag (Department of English Language Instruction), Matthew Hendershot (Rhetoric and Composition), Maurice Hines (Libraries and Learning Technologies), Rania Jabr (Department of English Language Instruction), Elisabeth Kennedy (History), Tarek elSayed (Physics), Yasmine Motawy (Rhetoric and Composition), Hoda Mostafa (Center for Learning and Teaching), Magda Mostafa (Architectural Engineering), Iman Soliman (Department of Arabic Language Instruction), Ahmed Tolba (Management), Thomas Wolsey (Graduate School of Education), Alyssa Young (Rhetoric and Composition/Department of English Language Instruction).

This year has been an exceptionally challenging one for students and faculty alike. We have been preparing for it, sharing experiences and tips, making recommendations and inviting feedback from faculty members throughout the period of online instruction with the goal of improving the student learning experience as well as supporting faculty in their efforts to enhance the online class experience.
In acknowledging the good work that faculty members at AUC have been doing, we asked them for tips in the Spring (Showcase of AUC Faculty Teaching During Emergency Online Instruction - Spring 2020) and Summer (AUC Faculty Online Teaching Reflections Part 1 and Part 2) . We also invited ideas on how faculty started off the fall semester and are now continuing this conversation with insights crafted from our engagement with faculty across several learning communities Read more

Issue Six: Ideas for Incorporating Podcasting into Your Pedagogy

Kim Fox, Journalism and Mass Communication

The time is right to begin incorporating podcasts into your courses, but before we dig into why and how, I’d like to share a brief story of my own experience teaching with podcasts at the American University in Cairo (AUC). My podcast journey began at AUC the day I arrived on the New Cairo campus in fall 2009. That’s when I learned that my Radio Production course would be held in a room with only a white board. Read more

Issue Five: Developing Student Skills using Design Thinking

Sophie Farag, Department of English Language Instruction

I was a participant in the yearlong Design Thinking for Educators Program launched by CLT in January 2019. This involved participation in a series of bootcamps and workshops which introduced the participants to the Design Thinking process and how it can be used to solve real-life, authentic problems. Read more

Issue Four: How I Started My Fall 2020 Semester

Reflections of AUC Faculty

CLT invited faculty from across the disciplines to tell us how they started their fall semester. These are their contributions. Read more

Issue Three: AUC Faculty Summer Online Teaching Reflections-Part 2

Naila Hamdy, Associate Professor of Journalism - Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research - School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
Ahmed Abdel-Meguid, Associate Professor of Accounting and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Administration - School of Business

In this special two part issue of CLT's New Chalk Talk, we share the stories of four AUC faculty who are teaching online this summer, and comparing how this experience has been different from the emergency remote teaching experience of the spring semester. You will find a few faculty referring to a CLT workshop. This was our June Online Teaching Institute, which accompanied our Blackboard course that provided guidelines and resources on summer teaching online. If you are teaching in the fall, we are offering a similar Online Teaching Institute to help faculty prepare for the fall several times in July and August. This is also accompanied by a Blackboard resource on teaching online for fall 2020. Read more

Issue Two: AUC Faculty Summer Online Teaching Reflections-Part 1

Firas Al-Atraqchi, Chair and Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Journalism - School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
Kate Ellis, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology - School of Humanities and Social Sciences

In this special two part issue of CLT's New Chalk Talk, we share the stories of four AUC faculty who are teaching online this summer and comparing how this experience has been different from the emergency remote teaching experience of the spring semester. You will find a few faculty referring to a CLT workshop. This was our June Online Teaching Institute, which accompanied our Blackboard course that provided guidelines and resources on summer teaching online. If you are teaching in the fall, we are offering a similar Online Teaching Institute to help faculty prepare for the fall several times in July and August. This is also accompanied by a Blackboard resource on teaching online for fall 2020. Read more

Issue One: Literacies Teachers Need During Covid-19

Maha Bali, Center for Learning and Teaching

What are teachers’ priorities during the Covid-19 global pandemic that has forced almost the entire world to close educational institutions and move to emergency remote/online teaching? I come to this question from the perspective of someone who has been working in the field of online and blended learning for over 18 years now, one who has supported my institution, the American University in Cairo, in its efforts to move teaching online during the crisis. Read more

Issue Ten: Showcase of AUC Faculty Teaching During Emergency Online Instructions - Spring 2020

Compiled and edited by Maha Bali, Center for Learning and Teaching

It has been a whirlwind, since AUC moved to emergency online instruction in March 2020 and we want to applaud faculty and students who have been working in this way. CLT has been collecting samples of good teaching practices from AUC faculty during the period of emergency online instruction. Although there are many known good practices for online teaching, we felt it would be useful to collect stories of what faculty feel has worked well in their courses in these particular circumstances. Read more

Issue Nine: Online Instruction Survey Feedback: Tips for Faculty After the First Week

We hope the tips we offer here can help you maintain the right balance for you and your students. We recognize every teacher has their own unique style, relationship with students, and that each subject matter requires different approaches to teaching online. Read more

Issue Eight: The Journey from a Workshop to a Published Paper in a Top International Journal

Nermeen Shehata, Department of Accounting

In 2019, I published an article entitled “Incorporating Nearpodin Undergraduate Financial Accounting Classes in Egypt” in Accounting Education (A-ranked according to ABDC list). The journey to co-authoring this paper started with one workshop and two emails. Read more

Issue Seven: Why I have a problem with our use of Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs).. .and what we can do about it

Aziza Ellozy, associate provost for transformative teaching and learning, founding director for the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT)

Last November, I attended a conference in Dubai, the theme of which was “Continuous Learning in the Journey of Education: Using Analytics to Measure Progress and Inform Strategic Decisions.”My main interest in the conference stemmed from the effort we have undertaken to redesign the student evaluation survey and to find out how we can better leverage the new platform (Blue) that is being used for these evaluations. Read more

Issue Six: From Brick and Mortar to Virtual Classrooms. A Prototype of Online and Blended instructor Education at AUC

Paul Desmarais 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 a grounding in the pedagogies proven effective in teaching in those modalities. While CLT offers many 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

Issue Five: In Case You Missed It: CLT Digital Education Campus Conversation

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

Issue Four: Academic Integration of Design Thinking Innovative Pedagogies in Action

Fady Morcos (School of Science and Engineering and Center for Learning and Teaching) and Hoda Mostafa (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 genuinely 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

Issue Three: Two 2-mm Shifts with CLT, in Preparation for VR

Khalil ElKhodary, Mechanical Engineering, School of Sciences and Engineering

The engineering sense is a widely accepted notion. It suggests the existence of an underlying 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

Issue Two Supplement: Welcome Message and Fall 2019 CLT Workshops Schedule

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

Issue Two: "Was it covered in the Prerequisite Course? I Forgot!": The Prerequisite Memory Challenge

Nermeen Shehata (ACCT) and Khaled Dahawy (ACCT)

Teaching a course that has the prerequisite(s) is surprisingly tricky, especially when courses are on 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

Issue One Supplement: Spring 2019 Faculty Development Institutes and Workshops
Issue One: Reporting Results of the Task Force on Quality of Undergraduate Education

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 future references are two pages and sections in this report. Read more

Issue Ten: Can Accreditation Stimulate Change?

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 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

Issue Nine: How to Escape Grading Jail?  

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

Issue Eight: How CLT Helped JRMC Beat the Course Design Blues

Firas Al-Atraqchi, associate professor of practice, caravan advisor, and chair, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication

The 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

Issue Seven Supplement: Launching AUC’s Faculty Learning Community: Leading Innovation in Teaching and Learning at AUC
Issue Seven: 10 Steps to More Humane Final Exams

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. 

Issue Six: Three Days of Celebrating Learning and Teaching at AUC 

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, a 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

Issue Five: Mapping it Out: Quantitative Reasoning within a Project-Based Learning Context

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

Issue Four: Fulfilling Fulbright: "An AUC Faculty's Personal Account of the Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Program 2017"

Mahmoud Shaltout, Ph.D., 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 intercultural exchange. Read more

Issue Three: MIT Office of Digital Learning Conducts Design Camp for AUC and AUB faculty

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.” It involves a commitment from all partners to develop blended courses and promote an online learning plan institutionally and regionally. Read more

Issue Three Supplement: Spring 2018 Faculty Development Institutes and Workshops 
Issue Two: CLT is Celebrating 15 Years of Promoting Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Aziza Ellzoy, founding director, Center for Learning and Teaching

This year, we are celebrating a significant 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

Issue One: Exploring Teaching Challenges at AUC

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

Issue Ten: New Chalk Talk Special Illustrated Edition

Mahmoud Shaltout Ph.D., 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

Issue Ten Supplement: Fall 2017 Faculty Development Institutes and Workshops
Issue Nine: Challenging Faculty Assumptions about Content When Adopting Problem-based Learning

Mark A. Serva, Ph.D., University of Delaware

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

Issue Eight: What is Integrative Learning and Why Does it Matter? An Integrative Learning Ecology

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. At the same time, content-related learning is relevant to real-world industries and careers. Read more

Issue Seven: Best Feet Forward Instructional Designers as Pedagogical Consultants

Sean Michael Morris, instructional designer, Middlebury College

This article was initially published at Middlebury College’s blog MiddCreate and is republished with the 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

Issue Six: Tips for Inclusive Teaching

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 crucial for the instructor to determine what the problem is for each particular class. Are some uncomfortable students speaking because they have little experience doing so? Read more

Issue Six Supplement: Faculty Development Institutes and Workshops
Issue Five: Data-Driven Visual Communication: A Data Literacy Framework

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

Issue Four: A Snapshot of AUC’s Faculty Use of Blackboard: Are Data Analytics a Measure of Our Faculty’s Digital Literacy?

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

Issue Three: Empowering Students through Mentoring

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 loud 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

Issue Two: Reflections on End-of-Semester Evaluation

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

Issue Two Supplement: Faculty Development Institutes
Issue One: Examinations: Are we Assessing Our Learning Outcomes?

Ezzeldin Yazeed Sayed Ahmed, professor and graduate director, Department of Construction Engineering

I always ask myself this question: am I fairly and effectively assessing my students’ learning outcomes by examinations? The answer never fails to put me ill-at-ease! Read more

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