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A conversation between Elizabeth Yost Hammer and Stephen Linn Chew on the importance of student trust.

Portrait of Stephen Chew
Photo used by permission

Stephen L. Chew has been a professor of psychology at Samford since 1993. He served as department chair from 1993 to 2019. Trained as a cognitive psychologist, he is a nationally recognized expert on the cognitive basis of effective teaching and student learning. He conducts original research on topics such as using examples in teaching, the impact of cognitive load on learning, the importance of student curiosity and trust in the teacher, and the tenacious misconceptions that students bring into the classroom. He also works to translate cognitive research into accessible knowledge for teachers and students. Dr. Chew is the creator of a groundbreaking series of YouTube videos for students on studying effectively based on cognitive research. The videos have received millions of views and are used worldwide at educational institutions, from high schools to professional schools.

Samford University

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Most every seat is full in the University Center ballroom
Dr. Verret addresses Faculty & Staff Institute

Just a few days ago, it seemed like campus was empty. Now it's teeming with people, and on Monday we'll be back in full swing.

As I participated in our annual Faculty & Staff Institute, I reflected on how the university seems to spring into being so quickly, so suddenly. How is it possible for all these faculty and students to swoop onto campus and reconstitute an operational university in such short order?

The answer, obviously, is that campus wasn't empty ten days ago. Plenty of staff members and administrators (and, yes, even some faculty) have been laboring here diligently all summer and all year round. I'm proud to count myself in that number. I was reminded that our faculty and students need the support of our hard-working staff, in order that we can even have a university.

Yet, campus seemed empty without faculty and students around. It was peaceful and quiet. I enjoyed it, but that's a temporary condition. Indeed, the illusion of peaceful emptiness was delicious precisely because of its ephemeral nature. I was reminded that staff members like myself need our faculty and students in order for our work here to have any meaning.

These are simple observations, to be sure. I merely want to affirm this simple truth: we need each other.

Our cultural summer is over, though the heat will blaze on for quite a while. In the coming school year, it's my wish that we may find that great value that we supply to each other, that we may see it, and act upon it, in service to our shared mission.

Have a great year!

Download Conversation #58

Marcia ChatelainA conversation with Marcia Chatelain of Georgetown University on connecting with students.

Dr. Marcia Chatelain, previously on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma's Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College, researches a wide array of issues in African-American history. Dr. Chatelain writes and teaches about African-American migration, women's and girls' history, and race and food. Dr. Chatelain has served on the boards of the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma and the University of Missouri's Student Affairs division. Dr. Chatelain is a member of the British Council's Transatlantic Network 2020, a 2000 Harry S. Truman Scholar, an alumna and honoree of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life, and a 2011 German Marshall Fund of the U.S. Fellow. In 2012, Dr. Chatelain was awarded an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) and a Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship. Her second book, which examines the relationship between communities of color and fast food, has received grants from the Duke University Libraries and the Frances E. Summersell Center for the Study of the South at the University of Alabama. In 2014, Dr. Chatelain created #fergusonsyllabus to encourage educators to discuss the national crisis in Ferguson, Missouri. Dr. Chatelain hosts Office Hours: A Podcast (available on I Tunes) in which she talks to students about the things most important to them.

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...continue reading "Conversation #58: Marcia Chatelain on Connecting with Students"

by Karen Nichols

I've been asked to share the following information about Global Collaboration Day:

Over the next couple of days, students, classrooms, teachers, administrators, parents and organizations will be either attending and/or hosting events online that are designed to showcase and promote global collaboration. We (Lucy Gray + Steve Hargadon, co-chairs of the Global Education Conference) are the calendar coordinators but not the direct conveners: that is, over 100 groups have designed and planned their own events which we have then organized into a directory and in special calendars to allow these events to be seen in any time zone in the world.

This is a huge worldwide experiment to demonstrate the power of globally-connected learning.

Examples of projects and events include: a teacher in Australia who will lead others in learning to dance Greek-style via Skype and Edmodo; African students and teachers answering questions through Whatsapp; and classrooms participating in a global virtual amazing race. There are professional development sessions for individual pre-service teachers, in-service educators, and other adults; as well as projects for entire classrooms to join in. We encourage you to browse the event directory or the calendar and choose a compelling event to attend!

Here are some tips to keep in mind as the next couple of days unfold:

Read directions and our website carefully to prepare.
If you have a question about a particular event or project, contact the host of that event directly. Their contact information is posted in each event listing.
Join our Remind texting and email group for event reminders.
If you need live help, we’ll do our best to be available. We will be in and out of this Blackboard Collaborate room as our own schedules allow.
Be patient! Things may not always go as well as intended! Learning to be flexible and adapting to situations online is a big part of becoming a global collaborator.

We appreciate the time and energy that our hosts have invested in this special day, and hope that our participants learn something new and become more

See you online,

Lucy and Steve


by Karen Nichols
I know that a few of us in CAT have already posted suggestions and hints for success in using discussion boards. But I just have to share this guide with you from the Teaching Effectiveness Program produced by the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon. Licensed to share through Creative Commons Generating and Facilitating Engaging and Effective Online Discussions (choose the discussionboard.pdf) is an 11 page how-to document that is chock-full of information, resources, research and examples. It is the best attempt I've seen yet that successfully pulls together the myriad pieces of what makes discussion boards work. A bit overwhelmed when I saw "11 pages," I soon discovered that it's actually an easy read. I would love some feedback from you to see if you find this resource as wonderful as I do.

 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike3.0Unported License.

You likely begin each workday by checking your professional e-mail account. The paper you assigned in your senior seminar course is due today, and you are expecting to receive some e-mails from students regarding this assignment. You relax into your desk chair with a cup of coffee and begin reading the new messages in your inbox...

Sound familiar?

A new article from the Association for Psychological Science presents some interesting data on student e-mails and offers suggestions for maintaining your sanity as they pile up.