NITOP Days 2 & 3

January 5, 2010

So  I was not able to post a full blog yesterday because I needed to take a nap in the afternoon.  I am nearly complete with my first ever NITOP conference and it has been great!  Yesterday I attended sessions on how to develop a mentoring program using alumni and a website, what the new(ish) products and policies based in cognitive science are, and a participant idea exchange where I learned about an in-house journal and how to be a more effective student organization advisor.

I did not attend the afternoon general session as I needed to get some class prep work done and frankly I needed a break and a short nap.  This conference is so good, that you actually want to attend every session and NITOP does a good job in offering multiple presentations of the same topic.

Today I attended a fantastic talk on how to make teaching “stick”, how to use popular press writing on scientific research as a tool for teaching research methods, and a great general session on taking risks in teaching by James Gross.  All of these session were inspirational and I was able to walk away with some concrete examples for my own classes or ideas for how to improve the experience for our students.

I am left with only one poster session to attend and then I am done.  Unfortunately we need to leave early in the morning and will miss the sessions tomorrow including the concluding talk entitled something like “Making students eat Earthworms” which is an interesting topic and I wish I could hear what Bill Henderson will be talking on.

In addition to the sessions I have had a great time talking about teaching strategies and ideas for our department with my colleagues.  I believe that attending this conference with them has made this that much more of an enriching experience.  We can talk right away about the ideas we were presented with and we also each tend to take our own angle from the mateirals presented.

I will soon be off to my last poster session here at NITOP (I’m sure snacks will be provided!) and am a bit sad to be done.  However, I am also ready to be done so that I can go home and hopefully implement some of these ideas into my courses yet this semester.  Attending these teaching conferences often makes me feel more energized and excited about new possibilities for my classroom.  I know that my other colleagues feel the same way as well.

For anyone else that reads this and is a teacher of psychology (high school through university) I’d highly recommend NITOP.  If you are in another field I hope you are as blessed as I am to have a National Institute for teaching for your discipline as well.  It is well worth it!

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