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Plenary Speakers

"Open Access Education and the Textbook of the Future"

Richard Baraniuk
Richard Baraniuk
Victor E. Cameron Professor
of Electrical and Computer

Rice University

A grassroots movement is sweeping through the academic world. The "open access movement" is based on a set of intuitions that are shared by a remarkably wide range of academics: that knowledge should be free and open to use and re-use; that collaboration should be easier, not harder; that people should receive credit and kudos for contributing to education and research; and that concepts and ideas are linked in unusual and surprising ways and not the simple linear forms that traditional media present. In this talk, I will overview the past, present, and future of the open access education movement in the context of Connexions, which invites authors, educators, and learners worldwide to "create, rip, mix, and burn" textbooks, courses, and learning materials from a global open-access repository. Particular emphasis will be on the promise and challenges of open access materials in global health education.

Richard Baraniuk is the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University and the founder of Connexions. His honors include national research awards from the NSF and ONR, the Rosenbaum Fellowship from the Isaac Newton Institute of Cambridge University, the ECE Young Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Illinois, several best paper awards, the Eta Kappa Nu C. Holmes MacDonald National Outstanding Teaching Award, the SPIE Wavelet Pioneer Award, an MIT Technology Review TR10 Top 10 Emerging Technology award, and an Internet Pioneer Award from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Dr. Baraniuk is a Fellow of the IEEE and was selected as one of Edutopia Magazine’s Daring Dozen Education Innovators in 2007. Connexions received the Tech Museum Laureate Award from the Tech Museum of Innovation in 2006.


“Why SOTL? Why Now?”

Craig E. Nelson
Craig E. Nelson
Professor Emeritus of Biology
Indiana University

This session will explore the effects on the professorate of the changes in expert knowledge and critical thinking in recent decades. How has the nature of expert knowledge changed in the last 50 years? What has happened to our expectations for critical thinking and other outcomes? Are these connected to the ongoing shift from tenure-track to temporary faculty? Are they driving the rapidly expanding interest in SOTL?

Craig E. Nelson is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Indiana University where he has been on the faculty since 1966 (retiring from teaching in 2004). Dr. Nelson's scholarship of teaching and learning focuses on the scholarships of synthesis and application. When he began it was clear that the empirical and theoretical basis for much improved college teaching was already well in hand. He has worked to develop applications and to help other faculty understand and apply this knowledge. He has published more than 20 articles and chapters addressing variously critical thinking and mature valuing, diversity, active learning, teaching evolution and SOTL. He has presented invited workshops on these topics at national meetings and individual institutions (in 37 states and 8 countries).

Before his retirement in 2004, Dr. Nelson taught: introductory biology; graduate and undergraduate evolution and ecology; an Intensive Freshman Seminar (Biology, Critical thinking and Real Life) and several interdisciplinary and honors courses (e.g. Environmental Science and Policy, Ideas and Human Experience, the History of Everything Except Civilization), and part of a three course liberal-arts cluster (Knowing, Knowledge and Their Limits: Literature, Psychology, and Biology). He regularly taught a graduate biology course on Alternative Approaches to Teaching College Biology. Dr. Nelson's biological research (60+ articles) has been on evolution and ecology, initially on frogs, most recently on sex-determination in turtles. Questions addressed include: Why should an orchid scare its pollinators? Why should hot eggs become females in turtles? Dr. Nelson directed the Graduate Programs in Zoology (1981-83) and in Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology (1984-87). He was the first Director (1971-77) of Environmental Programs in IU's then new School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Its interdisciplinary environmental programs (B.A. to Ph.D.) now rank among the best worldwide.

Dr. Nelson received nationally competitive awards for distinguished teaching from Vanderbilt and Northwestern and is a Carnegie Scholar. In 2000, he was named the Outstanding Research and Doctoral University Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and received the President's Medal for Excellence, "the highest honor bestowed by Indiana University," in 2001. In addition, Dr. Nelson co-directed NSF funded institutes for high school biology teachers on “Evolution and the Nature of Science.” He was on the committee that founded the prestigious SOTL program at Indiana University, which won the prestigious Hesburgh Award for outstanding faculty development in 2004. He chaired (2004-05) the founding committee for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and became its first president.


"For whom do we write? The place and practices of writing in developing the scholarship of teaching and learning"

Dr. Tai L. Peseta
Dr. Tai L. Peseta
The University of Melbourne,

My goal in this talk is a straightforward one: to raise questions about the place and practice of writing within discussions about the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL); to see where and how writing lives and breathes amongst the SoTL community. Lee Shulman’s argument that the scholarship requirement of SoTL needs to be “public, susceptible to critical review and evaluation, and accessible for exchange and use by other members of one’s scholarly community” (2004:192) means that the communication dimension (see for eg, Trigwell et al, 2000) is squarely on display. For many of us (not all), writing is a central part of that communicative dimension. As scholars and practitioners of SoTL, we write of the things we love, the curiosities we hold and the things that trouble us about our practices as teachers, about our students and their learning, the subject and what it has to say about the world and how to be in it, as well as the institutions we toil in. And we write to exercise our imaginations and desires. Indeed, writing may well be the academic currency no matter the disciplinary area.

In this talk, I consider the possibilities for writing about SoTL beyond the disciplines and beyond the University. I ask about the audiences we might imagine for SoTL in order to work against the bureaucratization of writing in the academy and its pernicious effects on teaching, learning and knowledge production.

Before taking her current position at The University of Melbourne, Australia, Tai worked for 10 years at the Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Sydney in academic/faculty development. Her research interests are broadly framed around the scholarship, identity and politics of the academic development project, doctoral education and supervision development, and the relations between disciplinarity, pedagogy and research and writing in the academy. She is currently working with Dr Peter Kandlbinder at the University of Technology Sydney on a research project which investigates the key thinkers and key concepts in higher education teaching and learning.
In 2004, Tai co-established the Challenging Academic Development (CAD) Collective - an international research group of academic developers interested in theorising the scholarship and politics of academic development. Their theoretical essays are featured in a 2007 Special Issue of The International Journal for Academic Development (IJAD) entitled ‘Thinking Otherwise in Academic Development’. Tai is currently on the Executive Committee of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA); is an Associate Editor of the International Journal for Academic Development, and she sits on the Editorial Board of the journal Teaching in Higher Education.


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