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The inspiration your classroom needs…

We’re here to bring instructors and teachers inspiration, energy, and creative strategies that they can utilize in their everyday teaching. We hope the following tips, tricks, and pedagogy techniques give teachers and instructors an extra boost of creativity and motivation.  These episodes are perfect for your drive to work or can be integrated as a 15-minute think session to get your wheels turning before stepping into the classroom or “zooming” onto the computer screen.


Episode 26: Live with Sara Rutledge: Fostering a Trickle Effect of Happiness on Campus for Both Faculty and Students

There’s a trickle effect with happiness. When teachers are mindful and intentional about practicing happiness and spreading joy, students also reap the benefits. In this episode, Sara Rutledge talks about several things that herself, the instructors on campus, and her overall university, Mount Aloysius College, are doing to foster positivity despite the hurdles campuses worldwide are facing. From walk and talk office hours, a hot chocolate bar, tea with the teacher, customized camping chairs and class outside, to virtual study nights, volunteering with the students, and alumni panels, there are numerous ideas to inspire faculty and students, and bring a sense of community to your campus again.

This week’s episode is sponsored by The Wellbeing Elixir, Magna’s brand-new wellness course for educators, where experts will help guide you through wellbeing and resilience. 

  • Dr. Sara Rutledge serves as the coordinator of the Newer Faculty Mentoring Program and as Chair-Elect for Faculty Assembly. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators, the Editorial Review Board for the Kappa Delta Pi Record, the Journal of the International Honor Society in Education, and on the Technology and Teacher Education Committee of the Association of Teacher Educators. 

To download the episode 26 transcript, click here.

Episode 25: Zoom into Your Online Course with Mindful and Effective Techniques

As we enter the new year your list of goals and intentions for the year may be a well-crafted and well-thought-out plan. And perhaps on that list of yours are ways to be more mindful and effective when teaching online, specifically if you’re using Zoom or other alternatives. If that’s the case, stay tuned, because this episode will cover mindful techniques you can implement into your online classroom. We’ll even dive into specific Zoom features and other techniques that can help increase student interactivity, from polling to the annotate function to the Wheel of Names.

Recommended resources:

To download the episode 25 transcript, click here.

Episode 24: Live with Carine and Christine: Using Risk, Creativity, and Rituals to Uncover a World of Teaching Possibilities

“We can choose to look at the current teaching situation as a risky situation where anything could go wrong, or we can look at it as an opportunity to have courage and take risks and try new things. The more you dare to be creative, the better you become,” Carine Chisu says.

In this episode, Carine Chisu and Christine Boyko-Head explain how entrepreneurial thinking can be applied to learning and teaching when assessing the risks educators and learners are taking–especially now with new codes of virtual learning and teaching. Additionally, they dive into reciprocal teaching, where learning and teaching has become more of a continuum because teachers are learning and learners are teaching.  “I can teach students something, but they can certainly teach me. Let’s share in the knowledge and the places we’re at,” Boyko-Head says.

Lastly, they explain how turning an activity, no matter how small or how big, into a ritualized activity is by 3D-briefing it. They dive into the 3D-briefing process where you ask students: “What?” “So what?” “Now what?”  Where the “What?” is an identification question. The “So what?” is part of the analysis and interpretation. And the “Now what?” is the evaluation and creation stage. Fundamentally, this process helps students understand what they are doing and why they are doing something. “It’s more like a bridge that gives you an opportunity to transform from one state to another state,” Chisu says.

Recommended resources:

To download the episode 24 transcript, click here.

Episode 23: What Fun! How to Implement Gamification Strategies and Play-based Activities Into Your Course

Almost everyone loves a good game. In this episode, we’ll go through specific gamification strategies and play-based activities you can implement into your own class. From creating badges and leaderboards to playing word associations or the “sometimes, always, never” game, you’ll have a toolbox full of ideas you can bring back to your courses.

Additionally, we’ll discuss how gamification, when integrated correctly, can increase student persistence and student engagement. Although gamification can be an adventure of fails and successes, it’s important to have fun and embrace the power of failure throughout your gaming adventure.

Recommended resources:

To download the episode 23 transcript, click here.

Episode 22: Live with David Sandler: Getting the Butterflies to Fly in Formation While Public Speaking

When it comes to public speaking and the constant butterflies your students may get from presenting, “it’s all about trying to get the butterflies to fly in formation,” David Sandler says.

We practice public speaking as a waiter at a restaurant, in a Teams meeting for a job, on a podcast, and yes, in front of a podium, which is what we may associate most with the word “public speaking,” but every day we perform different acts of public speaking. Sandler says this is one reason why teaching public speaking skills to students is so vital. “The world loses out on whatever good ideas students may have to share. The ability to articulate what’s going on in your unique mind—it’s a life skill and that’s the paradigm I use to have people think about my course.”

From working on eye contact while reciting the ABCs to practicing walking up to the podium to a Q&A session, Sandler offers advice on how you can help students find their voice. Additionally, Sandler talks about how people tend to think they’re either an extrovert or introvert and the impact that may have on their speaking abilities, but there’s been research on another category called an ambivert. An ambivert lands in the middle but leans toward a side of being an extrovert or introvert. Sandler reminds us that wherever you are on that “timeline,” you can still be a good public speaker. 

Recommended resources:

To download the episode 22 transcript, click here.

Episode 21: Creating Pockets of Joy, Humor, and Positivity in Your Face-to-Face and Online Class

Humor in the classroom, it’s definitely not as easy as we think. For instance, making a joke can fall flat in an online class. You may not see the reactions from your students in their blank, virtual boxes, or your audio might freeze and they miss the joke. But despite these hurdles, it doesn’t mean you should give up on fostering humor and positivity into your class—no matter if you’re face-to-face or online.

Humor can improve memory, comprehension, and can even improve engagement. In this episode, we’ll dive into different tactics you can use to integrate humor into your course, such as memes which can be used as an assessment, as a learning tool, and can provide you with content that you can use later on, and how you can leverage both humor and positivity to achieve this. And finally, we’ll discuss how you can be successful at this in an online environment.

Recommended Resources:

To download the episode 21 transcript, click here.

Episode 20: Live with Debbie Fetter: Implementing Social Media and Virtual Study Halls

Social media polling. Instagram trivia Tuesdays. Virtual study halls. Get ready for a toolbox of new ideas!

How can you be strategic about implementing social media into your course? Whether it’s just one assignment or the entire course, Debbie Fetter offers insight on how she created a strategic social media plan to implement in her own course. Fetter explains how social media can help teach students how to craft a direct message to a specific audience, and how these tools can be used for future employment. Additionally, she often adds polling and trivia via Instagram for low-stakes grades, extra credit, or small prizes. 

Last year, she also created what’s known as, “Dr. Fetter’s Study Hall Office Hours.” By rebranding her office hours into a study hall and creating practice questions specifically for this, Fetter increased the attendance and virtual community these study halls fostered. 

To download the episode 20 transcript, click here.

Episode 19: Managing Your Time: How You Can Use a Teaching Calendar and Eliminate Time-Stealers

Time. There’s just never enough of it. You’ve got a million and one things to do when it comes to teaching, and your list is always growing. Intermix that with your personal life, and it becomes a matter of how do you balance it all?

In today’s episode, we’ll touch on how you can use a teaching calendar, how you can better manage your class time in a flipped learning environment so you’re not only utilizing your own time effectively, but also your class time effectively, and finally, we’ll cover tips for managing your workload in an online environment. Although we can’t cross everything off the list for you, we may be able to offer some helpers that can alleviate some of the stress that comes with an instructor’s workload. 

Recommended Resources:

To download the episode 19 transcript, click here.

Episode 18: Establishing a Classroom Culture that Fosters and Encourages Student Feedback

As an instructor, giving feedback might come easily. You do it day in and day out when grading papers, offering insight to student responses or peers, and proofing assignments. But what about receiving feedback? Receiving feedback as an instructor can be nerve-wracking and stressful. It can undoubtedly impact your confidence as a teacher.

But what if there were ways that no matter the feedback, good or bad, you could learn to use student feedback constructively, and also better prepare your students to provide feedback that could help make you a more effective teacher. This episode dives into how you can foster a classroom culture that encourages student feedback, whether online or in-person.

Recommended Resources:

To download the episode 18 transcript, click here.

Episode 17: Live with Judy Klimek: Using Group Exams as a Review Learning Activity

In this episode, we dive into how Judy Klimek uses a group exam review to go over answers from the final, individual exam. From fostering engaging conversations to pinpointing challenging questions, each small group reviews the results from their individual exams and comes to a consensus as to why answers were right or wrong.

As an instructor, Klimek also explains how the group exam review allows her to reassess exam questions in the future and engage one-on-one with students who might need extra assistance.

Recommended Resources:

To download the episode 17 transcript, click here.

Episode 16: An Essential and Imperative Part of Teaching: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion in higher education…It’s important. It’s imperative. And it’s an essential part of teaching. In this episode, we talk about how you can infuse inclusive teaching strategies into your online classes and your in-person classes. From small scale to large scale incorporations, each inclusive strategy and diversity-related topic matters. Whether you incorporate these strategies into your syllabus, curriculum, or project-based learning activities, you can start to think about how this will improve how your students engage with your course and how you can better establish a classroom culture.

Recommended Resources:

To download the episode 16 transcript, click here.

Episode 15: Live with Melissa Schettler: How to Increase Student Engagement with an Engagement Rubric

In this episode, we talk with Melissa Schettler who presented at our Teaching Professor Conference. Here, she discusses how you can increase student engagement through the use of an engagement rubric. You’ll identify desired behaviors, undesired behaviors, challenging behaviors, and then finally, define what you think looks like “perfect participation” with engaged students.

Schettler explains how you can develop and implement your own student engagement rubric to help communicate expected behaviors to your students. What will make your “heart sing” when you visualize perfect participation and how do you accomplish that? Find out in this episode! Also, feel free to download the engagement rubric Schettler uses in her own classes to inspire your own engagement rubric.

Recommended resources:

To download the episode 15 transcript, click here.

Episode 14: All About Exams: Crafting Exam Questions, Exam Security, and Exam Accessibility

Creating exams…it’s not an easy task. From crafting exam questions to trying to make your exams more accessible while also trying to promote academic integrity – there are numerous elements to consider. In this episode we talk about exam accessibility including time restraints, how you can write better exam questions, and what you can do about online exam security.
Although there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to designing online exams or in-person exams, there are numerous factors you can take into consideration to more effectively asses your students and to be more conscious when creating your exams.

Recommended resources:

To download the episode 14 transcript, click here.

Episode 13: Live with Ben Blood: Metacognition—The Bridge to Student Success

“If you fail, it’s not a signal. It’s not a sign that you should quit. It’s not a flare being shot up to tell you you’re not worthy of college. Instead, we need to use our failures as opportunities for growth.” -Ben Blood 

College is hard. That’s why Ben Blood dedicates so much time to student success; it’s also why he spends time teaching students about metacognition, time management, self-discipline, help-seeking, and resilience/perseverance. Here, you’ll take away specific strategies you can implement into your class to help students succeed and also help students “find their why:” The reason they’re in college; the reason this is important to them; and their reason why.

Recommended resources:


To download the episode 13 transcript, click here.

Episode 12: Live with Stephanie Dunson: Embracing the Messy Parts of Academic Writing

In episode 12, we chat with Stephanie Dunson, PhD, who recently started her own podcast: 100 Mistakes Academic Writers Make…and How to Fix ThemIn this interview, we talk about embracing the messy parts of writing and acknowledge that those messy parts are most often necessary to create a piece of published work.

Additionally, Dunson explains how we can be so focused on the end result, that sometimes we forget to step back and acknowledge the gaps that we’re missing in our own writing. She offers questions to think about when writing and how this can foster a more intentional writing process. Also, stay tuned for a sneak peek into the upcoming podcast episodes she’s most excited for in her new series.



To download the episode 12 transcript, click here.

Episode 11: Assessing Online Student Learning: How You Can Gauge Activities and Writing Through Online Assessment

In the past year, many instructors worried that their online teaching presence might miss the in-person cues they picked up on with students in the classroom. In turn questions arose: How do you assess your students online? How do you make sure they’re learning the content? How do you gauge student learning through online activities? 

In this episode, we’ll provide ideas on how you can implement check points into your online teaching, and how you can use student-created videos to assess students in your online class. Additionally, we’ll touch on how you can create writing assignments that can be used as an effective means of assessment and how focusing on the process of writing can help foster student learning.

Resources mentioned:

This week’s episode is sponsored by the Teaching Professor Virtual ConferenceJoin the conference anytime and anywhere from June 7 through September 30, where you’ll have on-demand access to plenaries, sessions, downloadable handouts, and networking opportunities. 

To download the episode 11 transcript, click here.

Episode 10: A Sneak Peek into The Teaching Professor Conference: Enneagrams, Emotion Science, Embracing Culture, and More!

If you’ve been considering attending our Teaching Professor Conference (virtually or in person), look no further! Here, we chat with a few of our presenters about why their topic session is so important to them.

Liz Norell talks about how rewarding it is to witness those “aha moments” and how you can use different tools to cultivate your presence in the classroom. Next, Ashley Harvey explores invisible emotional labors associated with teaching and how to keep your positive emotion and energy at bay. Then, Dr. Tarsha Reid dives into how to incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy for African American students, and lastly, Jane Sutterlin explains how learning science and emotion science have helped guide her online teaching.

Register here for the Teaching Professor Conference

To download the episode 10 transcript, click here.

Episode 9: Live with Wendy Trevor: Overcoming Student Distaste for Collaborative Group Work Online

How can you help students overcome their distaste for collaborative group work online (and also thereby change your view of such work)? Wendy Trevor discusses how the timing of the assignment, the structure, instructor presence, feedback, and a grading rubric which privileges individual contributions, and signals the importance of engaging with others’ views, can help students approach group work more positively. Additionally, she touches on how group projects can foster the kind of communication skills and cooperative work employers today value.

Resources related to online group work:

This week’s episode is sponsored by The Teaching Professor Conference. Join us in-person at New Orleans from June 4 – 6, or join us virtually with on-demand sessions from June 7 – September 30. 

For access to the episode 9 transcript, click here.

Episode 8: Establishing and Revisiting Our Teaching Philosophies and Teaching Personas

Your teaching philosophy helps examine who are you as a teacher and examines what beliefs and values are at the heart of what you do. In this episode, Maryellen Weimer reflects with other instructors on stories and vulnerabilities that helped shape their personas and philosophies in the classroom. 

Resources Mentioned:

This week’s episode is sponsored by The Teaching Professor Conference. Join us in-person at New Orleans from June 4 – 6, or join us virtually with on-demand sessions from June 7 – September 30. 

For access to the episode 8 transcript, click here.

Episode 7: Finding the Missing Piece: How to Help Your Students Who Are Struggling with Online Learning

Are some of your students struggling with online learning? Have you seen a decrease in motivation or engagement? If the answer is yes, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad teacher or instructor. It might just mean there’s a missing piece, and today, we’re here to find that missing piece. The piece that recognizes that maybe one, two, a handful, or all of your students are struggling with online learning. We’re here to find the piece that helps incentivize, helps empathize, and helps motivate those students both in the online realm and in-person classroom.

Resources Mentioned:

This week’s episode is sponsored by The Teaching Professor Conference. Join us in-person at New Orleans from June 4 – 6, or join us virtually with on-demand sessions from June 7 – September 30. 

For access to the episode 7 transcript, click here.

Episode 6: Live with Glenn Walton: How to Humanize Your Online Environment with Sound Boxes, Screaming Monkeys, and Rubber Chickens

Glenn Walton gives us 9 ½ ways to humanize your teaching in an online environment. From rubber chickens to sound boxes and a screaming monkey, it’s never a dull moment in his classes.

1. Use poll questions and chat box questions
2. Be predictably unpredictable
3. Be visually appealing
4. Be trendy
5. Explain your expectations
6. Be everywhere
7. Design your class to be more inviting and pleasant
8. Course materials
9. Human factors
½. Half way and another half: Ours and yours

This week’s episode is sponsored by The Teaching Professor Conference. Join us in-person or virtually and pursue your passion to teach.

Recommended resources:

For access to the episode 6 transcript, click here.

Episode 5: Online Discussion Boards: Creative Ideas to Spark Better Conversations and Engage Students

Online discussion boards. It’s something that’s come up a lot this past year as we’ve migrated to the online platform. One of the main questions is how do you get your online discussions to be more than just, “Hey Theresa! I agree with your statement, that’s a great point.” 
In this episode,  we’ll go over a few things you can do with your online discussion board, from using responses to give narrative shape to creating questions, and specific activities you can use in your discussion board to spark responses that aren’t so mundane. 

Mentioned resources:

Other resources:

For access to the episode 5 transcript, click here.

Episode 4: Live with Ken Alford: Seeing Instructors as People, Not Just Textbook Reciters and Question Writers

In this episode, we sit down with Ken Alford to discuss how he’s kept the storytelling element within his online classes and what you can do to help students see you as a person.

“Share your story and let them know that you know life happens to everybody. We’re all in this human drama together, and I think the more we can connect with each other, the better it is. I think anything we can do to keep each other as people and not just textbook reciters and question writers, is helpful.”

Products featuring Ken Alford:

For access to the episode 4 transcript, click here.

Episode 3: Using Trauma-Informed Pedagogy: Is it Possible to "Let it Go?"

You became a beacon of light for your students and offered their lives some peace, stability, and encouragement. As we move forward, what techniques can we use to deal with stressors (small or big), and how can we implement trauma-informed pedagogy into our classes to help support students during a pandemic?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

 Other resources:

For access to the episode 3 transcript, click here.

Episode 2: Asynchronous vs Synchronous: Engaging, Conveying, Injecting, and Building

Many have done quite remarkable things with both asynchronous and synchronous activities, and numerous instructors use a mix of both. In this episode, we’ll dive into specific techniques instructors are using that have the potential to build community, convey information, assess learning, and inject your personality.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

For access to the episode 2 transcript, click here.

Episode 1: Classroom Assessment Techniques: Does This Make Sense to Everyone?

In episode one, we’ll be taking a dive into different classroom assessment techniques that you can begin using in your own courses, both online and face-to-face. From application cards to a pros and cons list and even a polling system, there are numerous techniques you can use to make sure your students are following along, engaged, and learning.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

For access to the episode 1 transcript, click here.