My trip down the AI rabbit hole

In her end of the semester wrap-up, our fearless leader reflects on her intellectual adventures springing from the emergence of A.I. as a factor in teaching in learning. 

For further help on the role of A.I. in your classroom, visit our Faculty Guide to A.I. or book an appointment for a one-on-one consultation.

 

Stephanie Laggini Fiore, Ph.D., is Associate Vice Provost and Senior Director of Temple’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Towards Shining Teaching Moments

Stephanie Laggini Fiore

I love the beginning of the fall semester, but this fall, I’m feeling especially optimistic! The fall semester always brings such promise with it, as we plan what we’ll teach to a fresh crop of students that we hope (fingers crossed!) will respond to what we have to offer in positive and, dare I say it, soul-satisfying ways. There is nothing like that moment when you see the spark in a student’s eyes or the triumph they feel when they’ve mastered a difficult concept or skill. Every fall, we hope for more of these moments that reconnect us to the joy of teaching. 

I still have imprinted on my memory one of these moments in an Italian course I created to improve student literacy in the language. In addition to the required reading for the class, I had students choose a book from a lending library I had created of all kinds of reading material in Italian, from romance novels to non-fiction to classic works of literature. They were to read 20 minutes a night, keep a log of what they were reading, and swap out the book for a new one when they had finished that one. The point was, of course, to get them reading frequently enough to develop their literacy and to cultivate the belief that they could read in the language. One day early in the semester, a student brought in the book she had just finished to exchange it for a new one and, as she was putting it in the box, she held it up and said for all to hear, “I can’t believe it, but I actually read this WHOLE book!” Her sense of accomplishment and, at the same time, disbelief, was palpable – a true moment of joy in her learning.  

At the CAT, those moments often come in my work with faculty, and this August has been truly special, leaving me with a sense of great optimism for this academic year. Perhaps it has been the energy I’ve derived from large in-person events where I’ve been able to reconnect with colleagues, discuss teaching, and drink in your energy as you anticipate a promising new semester. The first-in-a-very-long-time university-wide New Faculty Orientation and the annual TA Orientation that the CAT hosts were generative events, full of new faces from all over the world, veteran instructors and staff who came to welcome them, and great conversations about teaching. The two interdisciplinary cohorts of faculty who completed the Teaching with AI Teaching Circle brought inspiring creativity and brave openness to change as they gathered together over two days to consider how to intentionally incorporate generative AI tools into teaching. And my numerous visits to collegial assemblies and departmental gatherings to discuss generative AI and teaching has meant for me reconnection, rethinking, and renewal. The long and the short of it is that I feel the same positive and soul-satisfying vibes derived from gratifying moments with students when you, my dear colleagues, experience a spark about teaching in reimagined ways. 

I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that you experience many of those shining moments in your classes this semester. Let’s go create some sparks! 

Stephanie Laggini Fiore serves as Associate Vice Provost and Senior Director at Temple University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching 

How Do We Appreciate You? Let Us Count the Ways…

Stephanie Laggini Fiore, Ph.D.

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-May 12) and while you may be thinking about the ways you can show appreciation for the work of K-12 teachers in your life, we here at the CAT are thinking about ways we can recognize you for the unique and wonderful ways you contribute to the educational mission of Temple University. In that spirit, I would like to dedicate this end-of-year blog post to reflecting on the many ways our CAT team appreciates the work you do:

  • To the faculty who have attended our 12-hour (I know, oof! That’s a lot of time!) Teaching for Equity Institute, or a multi-part custom workshop series on teaching for equity offered in your school or college, we see you! Your willingness to learn new ways of thinking about teaching equitably shows a real commitment to your students. Our wish is that both you and your students benefit from the deep dive you’ve taken into discussions on equity. If you have not yet had an opportunity to join us for the Institute, look for our fall 2023 workshop announcements. If you wish to speak to us about a custom program for your school or college, please fill out this custom workshop request form.
  • To the faculty who participated in the Annual Faculty Conference on Teaching Excellence in January by presenting in a breakout, lightning round, or poster session, thanks for sharing! You brought new ideas for your colleagues to consider and jumpstarted conversations on how we might teach our students in ways that achieve rigor without the mortis. And for those of you who attended the conference, thanks for joining in the conversation! The conference takes place every January; look for our announcement for next year’s conference and join us!
  • To the faculty involved in frequent meetings to revise the curricula for their programs so that they remain fresh and relevant and so that their students reach truly meaningful goals in their courses, kudos! It’s not easy to redesign curricula, but it’s important work and will go a long way towards making an education at Temple a worthwhile endeavor. If you have not yet considered reviewing your curriculum, the CAT can guide you in how to get started. Just email cat@temple.edu and ask for an appointment with an educational developer. 
  • To the faculty who try new technologies in an effort to engage your students in deep learning, provide a variety of ways for your students to participate in class activities, and spark motivation, we admire your willingness to experiment! We have had workshops or consultations with you on tools such as Padlet, Panopto, Perusall, and Jamboard, and have seen you develop exciting new ways of reaching and teaching students. Still others applied for the Innovative Teaching With Makerspace Technology Grant or participated in the Faculty Learning Community on Integrating Advanced Digital Methods and Tools. You found innovative ways to use digital fabrication, virtual reality, and physical computing to improve student learning. If you would like to consider new teaching technologies, book an appointment with an educational technology or digital media specialist at catbooking.temple.edu.
  • To the faculty who are members of so many task forces, committees, and work groups related to our educational mission either at the university level or in departments, schools, or colleges, thanks for lending your voices to these endeavors! We at the CAT serve on so many of these groups with you where we tackle issues like textbook affordability, student success, accessibility, and technology adoption, and see firsthand how important your perspective is in those sessions. Thank you for dedicating your time to these service duties. 
  • To faculty who engaged with the CAT for support in conducting scholarship of teaching and learning, we appreciate what we have learned from you! Some of you participated in our Faculty Learning Community on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), exploring ways to engage in a type of scholarship that is not native to your disciplines, but that can reap ample rewards in helping us discover ever more impactful ways of teaching. Others took advantage of the Umbrella IRB offered through the CAT to streamline your approval process as you began to implement studies. If you need assistance with SoTL, we’re here to help. Just contact cat@temple.edu to request a consultation. 
  • To faculty who have been immersed in trying to figure out the impact of AI on teaching and learning, have attended our workshops on AI, read our Using P.I. to Manage A.I EDvice Exchange Blog Series or watched our Cat Tips Video Series, participated in departmental meetings to brainstorm future directions, or simply stayed informed by playing with these tools to see what they can do, we appreciate your proactive stance! Together, we will explore new directions in teaching and learning and determine what works best for our students. If you have not yet begun to think about AI and learning in your courses, please do check out the above resources as well as the sample syllabus statements we created to assist you in writing your syllabi. Also, if you are interested in creating assignments that intentionally use AI, consider applying for our Teaching Circle on Using ChatGPT Intentionally for Teaching and Learning
  • To faculty who joined us in person at the CAT in workshops, consultations, or at one of our on-campus drop-in locations at HSC, Main and Ambler, we were so glad to see you! While we are glad to see you in any way you can join us, we must admit we love to see our faculty community visiting us at our CAT locations. After all of that pandemic separation, it felt great to give a hug or a handshake to old friends, meet new colleagues, and engage in passionate discussion face-to-face. If you haven’t had a chance to visit us, remember we are here from Monday through Friday 8;30-5:00pm.We are also available for virtual workshops, consultations, and drop-in help and are happy to meet with you in any way you can join us!

We celebrate all of the many other ways you enrich the educational mission of Temple University, and enrich our work at the CAT! We feel so lucky to know you. Please remember how important it is to take some time away from Temple to enjoy your lives, unplug, rest and recharge. Best wishes for a great summer from your friends at the CAT!

Stephanie Laggini Fiore, Ph.D. is Associate Vice Provost and Senior Director of Temple’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching.