Events Case Studies

Workshop for Inclusive Teaching Practices, University of Utah, April 2022

 The workshop, held at the University of Utah, was designed to promote inclusive teaching practices and build a community of equity-minded math educators of the 4C COMMIT region. The event facilitated discussions on inclusive teaching practices and aimed at empowering educators to integrate these practices into their classrooms.  This workshop case study highlights the significance of early planning, diverse advertising, and inclusively in organizing an educational event. Despite the challenges, the 4 Corners Workshop successfully fostered a community of equity-minded educators and provided valuable insights into inclusive teaching practices. 

Planning Structure and Process:

 The planning team consisted of professionals from the University of Utah, including Spencer Bagley, Selvi Kara, Wesley Hamilton, and Hannah Hoganson. The event was inspired by a similar workshop organized by Wesley at UNC Chapel Hill. Planning started in September or October 2021 through a series of Zoom meetings. 


 The workshop was funded through COMMIT mini-grants and the JIDEA grant program, with a total budget of around $2500. This allowed the provision of lunch, honoraria for keynote speakers, and travel expenses for out-of-town speakers, enhancing the overall experience for attendees. 

Link to materials here: 4 Corners

Practical Strategies for Implementing Active Learning Equitably and Sustainably

 Focused on the benefits of active learning, especially for diverse student groups, this workshop provided practical strategies for implementing equitable and sustainable active learning. The session, facilitated by Darryl Yong, emphasized the intersection of professional development for new faculty and local community engagement in inquiry-based learning.  Centered around teacher facilitation choices addressing equity and justice, the workshop aligned with one of the four pillars of IBME, fostering critical analysis and community-building in the field of equitable education.

Planning Structure and Process:

 Organized by Brian P Katz and Elizabeth Thoren, and facilitated by Darryl Yong, this workshop was a collaborative initiative between COMMIT-CaN and the SoCal-NV Section of the MAA. The event aimed to fill a gap in Section NExT workshops and required minimal organizational planning time, utilizing COMMIT-CaN funds to support participant attendance and facilitator honorarium. 


 This event was primarily funded using COMMIT-CaN start-up funds, with considerations for utilizing alternative funding and support mechanisms. The approach aimed at reducing financial constraints for participants and facilitators, emphasizing the value of compensating contributors. 

 Link to materials here: California/Nevada

SINE Lightning Talks (Online Version)

 SINE (South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska) COMMIT's Lightning Talks offer a platform for colleagues to exchange innovative teaching ideas. These online talks utilize a joint slide deck, fostering a structured yet dynamic knowledge-sharing environment. The key learning includes the importance of structured mingling time, individual talk invitations, limiting event frequency, and assigning specific roles for smooth technical execution. Platforms like Gather town and Zoom have been effective for different phases of the event. 

Planning Structure and Process:

 Organizing such events has become more streamlined over time. Key roles include an Organizer, responsible for soliciting talks and sending reminders, a Moderator who manages the presentation flow, and a Technician for screen and chat moderation. 


 SINE Lighting Talks are economical, requiring no additional funding to be organized. 


 SINE Lightning Talks exemplify a successful and cost-effective model for knowledge sharing and networking. Adaptable and focused, these events provide a structured yet flexible platform for educators to exchange and discuss innovative teaching strategies, fostering continuous improvement and collaboration within the community. 

Link to materials here: SINE

Virtual Summer 2021 Greater Upstate New York Inquiry-Based Learning (UNIYBL) Workshop

 UNIYBL's summer workshop served as an immersive platform focused on the Four Pillars of IBL. Integrating hands-on activities and discussions, the event explores teaching practices, course design, and applications across learning modalities. Contributed sessions enable participants to share their insights and experiences. 

Planning Structure and Process:

 The workshop was meticulously planned by a three-member committee, including two facilitators and a mentor, dedicating around 12 hours over several months to ensure smooth execution. 


 Supported by COMMIT NSF funding, the event had a budget of $1500,  primarily compensating the facilitators. 


 The UNIYBL Virtual Workshop effectively brought together educators to explore and discuss IBL strategies and practices. Despite the challenges posed by the virtual format, the event succeeded in fostering a sense of community and shared learning, laying the groundwork for future collaborative initiatives in the field of Inquiry-Based Learning. 

Link to materials here: UNIYBL

Spring 2021 Workshop: Standards-Based Grading and Active Learning Summary/Abstract

 Conducted on May 21st and 22nd, this workshop focused on the integration of standards-based grading with active learning. Facilitated by experts from George Mason and USNA, the workshop welcomed participants of varying experience levels, aiming to cater to diverse teaching requirements and enhance grading systems and active learning methodologies. The sessions were structured around reflecting on course materials, designing assessments to match standards, and finding motivation for using inquiry and standards. Each facilitator led a session focusing on a specific aspect, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of the subject matter. 

Planning Structure and Process:

 Rebecca R.G. led the planning team, which included the DC-MD-VA COMMIT board and additional facilitators Harrison Bray and Sommer Gentry. With a focus primarily on content and timing, given the virtual nature of the workshop, the team efficiently divided topics among facilitators and ensured a seamless planning process. 


 Secured by the COMMIT board, the funding was allocated to provide stipends to both participants and facilitators, highlighting the value of compensating contributors, especially in a virtual setting. 

Link to materials here: MA-DC-VA

The workshop also represented an initiative aimed at enhancing teaching methodologies and grading systems. Spanning two days, with three hours on the first day and two on the second, the workshop was fully virtual, allowing participants the flexibility to attend only part of the sessions. 

Open to faculty of any level and institution type in the DC-MD-VA area, the event attracted around 20 participants, ranging from novices to experienced practitioners in active learning. The workshop, although regional, was inclusive, attracting a diverse group of approximately 20 faculty members from various institutions.  The sessions were structured around reflecting on course materials, designing assessments to match standards.