Digital Learning & Innovation Virtual Faculty Forum to explore innovations in education and technology at BU | BU today

As Boston University envisions a school year with the return of in-person teaching and learning, the Teachers’ Forum on Digital Learning and Innovation 2021 The virtual symposium takes a moment to pause and celebrate all that faculty and staff have accomplished during the pandemic with Learn of Anywhere (LfA), the hybrid format used throughout the 2020-2021 school year. The forum is today, Monday, May 10, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Over the past few years, two annual in-person events – the Center for Teaching & Learning’s annual Educational Innovation Conference and the Teaching with Technology Festival of Educational Technology – have showcased the forward-thinking ways in which faculty and the UB staff were using the technology in in-person instruction. Today’s forum will explore the innovative ways faculty, staff and graduate students have implemented technology in distance and hybrid teaching and learning.

Keynote speaker Chris Dellarocas, Associate Provost for Digital Learning and Innovation, to kick off the DL&I Faculty Forum 2021 Virtual Symposium with his From COVID to 2030: Serving the Students of Tomorrow speech

The three-hour symposium begins with a keynote address by Chris Dellarocas, Richard C. Shipley Management Professor of Questrom and BU Vice-Director for Digital Learning and Innovation, followed by dialogue-rich discussions and close to ‘a dozen practical sessions. The event, which will conclude with an awards ceremony, is open to UB faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate student instructors, and class moderators.

Dellarocas, whose address is titled From COVID to 2030: Serving Tomorrow’s Students, says he will speak about how technology can complement the campus experience.

“Even if it’s in person, how can we make our classroom experience fairer? How to make the community stronger in the classroom? How can we involve students more, while focusing on the development of their general skills? Dellarocas asks.

Technology, he says, has played a vital role this year in helping foster the community that students learn at a distance or through LFA “sorely missed need and lack”, and it will continue to do so. “The courses will be residential, but it is still important to have tools that will facilitate the development of the community.”

During today’s event, faculty will be able to explore various teaching methodologies and applications of face-to-face distance and hybrid education. Participants can choose from nearly a dozen interactive breakout sessions participate. During each session, a faculty member from the BU will lead a discussion of which implementations of the technology have proven to be successful for them, in the hopes of determining “what lessons might be a guide, or a compass, for teaching and learning beyond COVID, ”explains Dellarocas.

A portrait photo of Abbas Attarwala
Abbas Attarwala, CAS Lecturer in Informatics, will give a presentation on technologies associated with virtual peer review.

For Abbas Attarwala, professor at the College of Arts & Sciences in Computer Science, this means exploring the benefits of virtual peer review through his presentation, Annotation Strategies and Peer Review with Perusall and OneNote.

“I hope to initiate a dialogue and best practice survey for conducting a peer review with other faculty during my presentation,” says Attarwala. “With more improvements, it can be leveraged into something that many of our students can benefit from.”

Kathryn Spilios, CAS Lecturer in Biology, Director of the Learning Assistant Program, which helps improve undergraduate education by training students in teaching methods and practices, and Director of Teaching Laboratories, will lead a session on her adapted teaching methods. According to her, the main goal of Spilios’ STEM-focused presentation will be “to encourage reflection and reassessment of how we approach teaching and student progress.”

Other interactive small group sessions will examine the uses of tools such as VoiceThread, Piazza, Google Jamboard, etc.

The event will end with a presentation of Learn of Anywhere Creativity and Spirit Award. Members of the BU community were invited to nominate faculty and staff who they believe made outstanding contributions to the classroom during the LFAn experiment. The awards, managed by the Center for Teaching & Learning, recognize their achievements during the 2020-2021 school year.

Two awards at the faculty, distance education LFA price and the Hybrid Teaching LFOne prize, each with a stipend of $ 2,000, will be awarded. Distance learning and hybrid scholarships of $ 2,000 will also be awarded to two graduate students. Two faculty coaches, who have trained faculty in distance and hybrid learning, will receive $ 1,000 each. To complete the ceremony, two prizes of $ 500 will be awarded to the moderators of the class.

“Reading the nominations, I was delighted, because you just saw the level of care beyond creativity,” Dellarocas says. “It makes you proud to be a member of this community.”

The 2021 Virtual Symposium on Digital Learning and Innovation, Exploring Innovations in Education and Technology, takes place today, Monday, May 10, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Find the schedule here and register here.

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