Learning about Learning at Virginia Tech

…to a pleasantly large group of colleagues.

Presenting at the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy

Virginia Tech just hosted its sixth annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy (i.e., college teaching).  It was my second foray into this conference and it just keeps getting better and better.  The organizers manage to get sponsors to cover the entire cost, so there’s no registration fee.  That is truly amazing.

The conference gives me a chance to learn great new ideas (the sessions and keynote presentations were innovative and engaging), catch up with colleagues from around the country and world (with about 47 countries and as many states represented among attendees), visit my alma mater (I earned two architecture degrees from Virginia Tech), and even visit my family and childhood friends (Blacksburg is also my hometown).

I also took a quick jaunt over to Virginia Tech’s School of Engineering Education — one of two such schools in the entire world — to learn and to meet new colleagues.  Dr. Maura Borrego, whose research I’ve been citing in papers and grant proposals, provided a fabulous introduction to the program.  In addition, I got to meet several of her colleagues, including Dr. Marie Patretti who directs the undergraduate components of the engineering educate program, and Dr. Stephanie Adams who is Virginia Tech’s new Head of Engineering Education.  I even got to attend one of the Ph.D. classes in Engineering Education, taught by Dr. Vinod Lohani, and discuss assessment issues with the students.  They were discussing a paper that I’ve frequently cited as justification for continued research on outcomes of Problem-Based Learning.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the level of interest my colleagues had in the talk I delivered.  The audience was attentive and engaged and stayed after with lots of questions.  Thanks to the wonderful moderator who snapped great photos during the talk!

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