ACC COVID-19 Update

Austin Community College moves spring classes to online instruction beginning March 30. Employees transition to work remotely beginning March 23. There will be no classes/exams and campuses will be closed to students March 23-29.

ACC COVID-19 Information

Practice What We Preach

by – Amy Velchoff Project ACC was founded on the belief that Active & Engaged Learning is important, which I can affirm from my… Read More

Relational Repair in the Classroom

by Hilary Lynch Besides teaching course subjects, professors also manage the relational climate in their classrooms. One session at the Lilly Conference in January 2018 emphasized how professors can better manage these relationships, especially when stress creeps into the classroom. Dr. Pamela Szycygiel, Assistant Professor of Social Work at UNC Pembroke, shared how relationships are main catalysts for change, and our academic environments “have a lot of relating going on.” People learn, grow, and change in the “context of interpersonal and person-to-environment exchanges.” We will work with students who have had negative and unrepaired relationships with authority figures. Some students need to “work on new relationships” and have new positive experiences with those in supervisory roles. As we teach academic subjects, we can also teach students how to repair working relationships when tensions and anxieties surface. Read More

One Question, Much Discussion

by - Mary Havens In a classroom in Austin, a group discussion over plagiarism took place. An EDUC 1300 class of juniors and seniors from Garza High School thoughtfully discussed the topic. It was awesome. Read More

Student Learning Through Writing

by - Suzanne Wilson Summers At this year’s Lilly Conference, I attended a session on “Encouraging Student Learning Through Formal Writing: Notes and Future Practice” put on by G. Kevin Randall from Sam Houston State University. The session focused on best practices for designing formal writing assignments to promote deep learning. Read More

Nursing from a Global Perspective

by - John Nation MSN, RN As a participant in this year’s Globalizing Curriculum Faculty Learning Community, I have had the opportunity to attend fascinating lectures on a wide range of subjects and collaborate with colleagues at ACC on how best to incorporate global perspectives into our courses. As a nursing instructor, a great deal of my teaching focuses on the nursing management of diseases and health promotion in our community and in the United States. While participating in the Globalizing Curriculum Faculty Learning Community, I’ve been able to spend more time considering global issues in health care and nursing. Additionally, the monthly lectures by University of Texas at Austin professors about major global issues have been fascinating and thought-provoking. Read More

Building Community

by – Blanca Alvarado Building community is an important component of my teaching. I use various methods in my teaching that allow students to interact… Read More

Practice What We Preach

by - Amy Velchof Project ACC was founded on the belief that Active & Engaged Learning is important, which I can affirm from my own personal learning experiences. Yet, implementing such practices in the classroom can be challenging. For my Faculty Fellows project, I wanted to work on team building in the classroom, and I chose to focus on EDUC 1301, Introduction to Teaching. This course is intended to be the first course for students who are interested in pursuing the Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT), and who are potentially going to be future teachers. In general, it is important for students to learn how to collaborate effectively, skills that will come in handy for any future profession, but it is especially important to model to these future teachers the types of pedagogies we hope that they will use in their own classrooms. As a secondary focus, I really wanted to work on implementing skits in the classroom. Read More

Group Exams

by - Kathy Frost While at the Lilly Conference 2018, I had the opportunity to learn enough details about offering group exams that I was able to pilot this learning method during the spring semester. The group exam experience aims to foster deep and durable learning using collaboration – students discussing, questioning, critiquing each other – as well as memory retrieval practice at work when testing oneself (e.g., the “testing effect”). Read More

Students Ready to Learn: Chapter Preparation Assignments

by - Barbara Orr, Ph.D. How many of your students have read their textbooks and readings before entering your classroom? Are students ready to learn when they walk in the door? If you find yourself answering “no” to these questions, you are not alone! It was reported by the Lilly Conference presenter, Dr. Lynn Gillette,from Nicholls State University, “A key component for student success comes down to students showing up for class prepared to do the work…Students, in class and prepared to learn, is a fundamental challenge in essentially every educational program at every educational institution” (Gillette, L., March 15, 2018). A student‘s success begins with the knowledge of effective preparation prior to attending class and is NOT homework! One strategy to support students’ active reading skills and support transfer of knowledge from short term to long term memory, is the skill to read a chapter and make notes of the key concepts prior to class for a robust class discussion. Read More

Student Creative Videos as a Collaborative Learning Strategy

by - Kim Taylor After attending the Lilly Conference I became intrigued to learn more about Cognitive Load Theory and how to support our students through reduction of extraneous load through our presentation techniques and instilling more creative interactive collaborative learning activities. Read More

Building Construction in Parallel with Student Learning

by - Joyce Tolofari MSN, RN Structures such as bridges, roads and skyscrapers are ubiquitous. Construction workers, like anyone are required to be physically fit to enable them operate heavy duty equipment like cranes, tractors. They break structures down with heavy equipment, dig holes, engage hammers to create holes, ditches or stabilize a structure. Most of the time, large scale-projects are broken down into small scale structures. Building Construction is a hands-on career where workers use most of their hands, mental stamina, and wits to construct a building that will withstand winds, rains, sun, storms and many other weather conditions for days, months and years to come. The construction worker creates huge structures like skyscrapers, from a mere sand. Workers also need to have good communication skills in collaboration with colleagues to balance structures together to coordinate building safely. Read More

Asking Students for Insight

by - Kelly Stockstad Like many professors, I felt aggravated this semester because my students were coming to class completely unprepared. Not only had most of them not read, many of them didn’t bring anything to class – not their text, not materials to take notes, and, in one case, not even a cell phone. I am accustomed to having some students who don’t prepare for class, but my usual experience was that 10-20% of the students in the class would come unprepared. This semester, only 5-10% of the class members seemed to be prepared for each class meeting. Read More

Globalizing Curriculum: Inspiring Creative Action

by - Rebekah Starnes As an English professor, students sometimes ask me, “Why is everything we read so dark?” I respond that literature reflects history, which is often depressing, that it’s a way for people to process trauma or comment on social problems. I focus on literature’s transformative function as well—how authors use the power of literature to change the world for the better. Read More

Making Non-fiction Believable

by - Amparo Garcia-Crow I teach in two departments: Drama and Creative Writing. Where the two areas meet (in the way that I teach both courses) is in the introduction of “the Heroes Journey” as described by Joseph Campbell in his book, “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” Read More

An Overview of Pam Szczygiel’s 2018 Lilly Conference Presentation on Relational Approaches to Collaboration and Connection in the Classroom

by - Amy Velchoff - I recently had the opportunity to attend the Lilly Conference for the first time, thanks to an FCTL scholarship. At the conference, which took place in January 2018, I attended many informative sessions, but one in particular has stuck with me. The session was given by a licensed social worker who is now an Assistant Professor in the school of social work at the University of North Carolina. Her talk introduced relational theories which, according to the literature, acknowledge that “it is through the relationship itself that learning and change occur” (Mishna & Rasmussen, 2001), as “Our relationships with others become internalized and greatly contribute to our sense of self and others” (Szczygiel, 2018). In other words, healthy relationships can equate to great personal growth, especially for individuals who have had a paucity of such experiences. Read More

Assessing Students’ Use of Strategies

By: Julie Wauchope At the Lilly Conference I learned about many research-based ideas and best practices to help students learn and succeed. I came away excited about creating a curriculum that was student-centered and emphasized student engagement. I wanted to teach students to apply strategies and to identify when, how and why to use them. Most importantly, I wanted a better way to assess the degree to which students could do this. Read More

Hunger in Malawi: Globalizing an Ethics Curriculum

by - Linda L. Cox, Ph.D. In ethics, we ask questions such as, “Who is the subject of rights?” “How should we address global hunger?” “What’s our duty to the environment?” I’ve observed that sometimes these questions and the competing answers can make students feel overwhelmed and paralyzed at the end of the day. One of my goals, then, has been to help students feel they can use their academic work to make a powerful impact in the world. Read More

The Value of Making Connections

by Stacia Ashmore As a species, humans are prone to making connections. We start out as wee tots, exploring the world through the base senses of taste, touch, see, hear, smell. As we grow, we start to connect some “things” to other “things”. Our senses develop subconsciously to make connections that will serve as a foundation for learning. As the logical part of the brain expands, that foundation serves as a “behind the scenes” advisor, preventing us from walking into traffic or grabbing the cookies out of the oven with our bare hands. Read More

Luminosity to Predict Success in Interpreter Training Program

by - Lynne Wiesman The original impetus for this project was to address an issue of compatibility for asynchronous distance classes of an activity called “The Purple Ball”, fulfilled for years in traditional, face-to-face classes and blended, hybrid classes. This synchronous activity requires that students be in one place able to toss around a number of balls all of varying sizes, colors, shapes, and dimensions. The debrief of this activity seeks to challenge new students in Introduction to Interpreting on the implications of the activity to their future, potential career as an interpreter. Read More

Retaining Content Through No Stakes Quizzing

by - Daira Wilson PhD, RN, CNE The Lilly Conference held in January of 2018 was so much more than I could have imagined. This was the first time I had attended the Lilly Conference. I was not sure what to expect and was thrilled with the results. Of the multitude of strategies and ideas that I received during the conference, I really began to think about which strategies would work best for my nursing students. Read More

Rethinking Mantras (Even Those That Serve Us Well)

by - Anja Ketcam One of the mantras that I’ve lived by in my teaching career is that I can’t expect students to know a concept I haven’t taught them. I teach composition, and even though students can write paragraphs when they get to my class, they rarely have a clear sense of what makes a paragraph. Or they’ve been out of academia for so long that they don’t remember. So I start by defining what a paragraph is and what it needs. This technique serves me and my students well, but at some point, I got carried away with my information-based teaching. I started viewing everything through the lens of definitions and knowledge. Read More

How to Encourage Active Listening during lectures with Squarecap!

by - Jessica Listi During the Lilly conference, I met Stephanie Klenzendorf who introduced me to Squarecap - a web-based application for personalized learning. One teaching technique I struggle with is how to engage my students during a lecture. Aside from taking notes, another way to encourage active listening in the classroom is to allow students to ask questions anonymously during a direct teaching presentation. This way, the student is not embarrassed or afraid that he/she will be singled out. Other students can also view the questions asked during a lecture to see if they have the same question(s). The teacher is in control of which questions to show the class, which eliminates irrelevant/distractive questions and/or comments. Furthermore, I notice that students' confidence builds when they are allowed to ask questions during a lecture via Squarecap. For example, while reading "Axolotl," by Julio Cortazar, one student asked if it was possible that the narrator was always an Axolotl, never a human. I loved to share this question with the class because it revealed that the student was thinking outside the box. Like a domino effect, other students started asking higher-level thinking questions about magical realism and how to interpret other challenging material we previously read in class. Read More

Memory, Recall, and Guided Note-Taking

by Carla Coleman According to my end-of-semester course evaluations, the majority of my Brit lit students enjoy my class. However, the same can’t always be said for me. It’s not that my students aren’t overall a great group, but I often find myself frustrated with the superficial and temporary things they’re taking away from our lectures and discussions. I want them to think deeply and make connections! I want them to remember what we covered beyond the discussion, beyond the test, and beyond (dare I say it?) the end of the semester. Read More

Making Metacognition Real

by Herb Coleman At the Lilly Conference held in Austin this past January, I attended an interesting session on metacognition and guided reading delivered by Julie Wulfemeyer of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Metacognition (thinking about thinking) is one of the latest pushes to improve student outcomes. What Wulfemeyer revealed was a shocking study that showed talking to students about metacognition without giving them practical examples can actually be damaging to to student outcomes. In the study, one group of students was told about metacognition, another group was give a metacognitive strategy and a third wasn't told anything. On the post test, the group told about metacognition did worse than the group not told anything. It seems that not telling students about metacognition was better than telling them without strategies. Read More

Follow the String: Using System Thinking

by - Barbara Audet As someone who has taught in multiple disciplines—journalism, mass communications, and student development, it is too easy to create that silo in your head that seeks to separate skills and learning by those subject areas. During my time at the Lilly Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning prior to the start of this semester, I chose to attend a session, Systems Thinking for the Classroom facilitated by Tricia Berry and Keith Smith, both of Kaplan University. Read More

Globalizing my Curriculum to Create Future Globalized Thinkers and Leaders and Social Agents of Change

by - Lillian Huerta This year and last year, I had the privilege of being selected to participate in a Globalizing Curriculum Faculty Learning Community. This great community is sponsored by UT Austin and Austin Community College’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and International Programs. It involves a small group of faculty members who meet once a month to engage in conversations regarding how to globalize their respective courses. In addition, faculty are provided the opportunity to listen to speakers who are other faculty members and/or community leaders and are experts in their fields. The topics range from human rights, gender and LGBT issues, religion, critical pedagogy, poverty, and an array of other topics. Thus, the interchange of conversations and interaction with the guest speakers provide faculty with an array of ideas on how to globalize their courses. Read More

Enlightened at Lilly

by - Edward Blanchard In the world of conferences, food and location are often significant considerations in the minds of participants. Since I live in Austin these thoughts were not uppermost in my priorities for this year’s Lilly Conference. I rather encountered scores of sincere and energized folks eager to enhance their skills and understanding of that mysterious profession in which we claim to be engaged: education. The following impressions and newly acquired viewpoints will, hopefully, help us all to hone our skills and be inspired to pursue a most honorable career. Read More

Guiding Students to Engage

by Nancy Johnson The greatest moments in teaching are witnessing student’s learning in action. To be able to step back and watch the learning process unfold while students engage in analyzing, discussing, and sharing their learning on the content and topics of the course. The pleasure and satisfaction of designing an interactive lecture, in-class activities, and meaningful assignments drawing students into the topic is when I can end my day knowing that students have gain new understanding of the content and involved more deeply in their learning process. Read More

Blogging Squared (Blogging about Blogging) Wading into Web 2.0: Engaging Student Writers with an Audience Through Blogging

by Caryn Newberger In my English 5.0 classes (ENGL 1301 paired with INRW 0320), I face two struggles that are common among many of my peers in both disciplines: How can I insure that my students engage deeply with the reading assignments prior to class? How can I contextualize writing by offering my students an authentic audience? The solution I am piloting involves blogging. This semester, I have assigned my students to write a number of different types of blogs. For some of the reading assignments, I have assigned reader-response blogs to be completed prior to our class discussion of the reading. Read More

Thank you, Lilly conference and the awesome organizers!

by Alessandra Di Lorenzo As a college science instructor, I tend to think that my task as a teacher is limited to the transmission of scientific knowledge via lecture. The Lilly Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning has opened my eyes to the realization that today’s students need different instructional strategies. Read More


by Lillian Huerta Service-Learning is defined as a teaching methodology that allows students to apply their academic skills/learning to the service that they are providing in the community. Here is what service-learning looks like: Auto mechanic students can teach women from a local women’s shelter to change oil or a flat tire. Students in a sociology course can develop a survey for a low-income neighborhood to determine the health needs of that community. Students studying accounting help prepare taxes for low-income individuals. Students studying marketing can create slogans for a non-profit. Students taking a course in web design can design a website for a school or non-profit. Read More

My Experience at the Lilly Conference

by Rosemary Klein-Robbins There is so much about the Conference that I would like to write about. The level of enthusiasm and excitement exhibited by the attendees was so very apparent. Read More

Teaching Techniques for New Professors

by Amanda Winograd As a new teacher, every day in the classroom feels like a success and a failure. This student asked an insightful question! Another student is snoring, quite loudly. How do you react to that? The idea of being able to engage students and improvise in front of an audience is a lot. At the Lilly Conference this year, I had the opportunity to learn from educators who make teaching look easy, and I came away with a score of techniques to add to my teaching toolbox. Read More

How to create more time for active strategies

by Scott Gibby In my Spanish classes, lecture had always taken up more class time than I wanted it to. I tried so many things to get students to prepare ahead of time, yet homework went undone and students complained they couldn't understand the material on their own. Read More

Stepping Into The Water: Engaging Lecturing at The Lilly Conference

by Cynthia A. Brewer, M.Ed. We all go to conferences for one reason or another. Some go to enhance their learning and perfect their craft, while for others it might be to gain a new perspective, seek out new talent and resources. Then there are those of us who just “crave academic nourishment”, in the words of Steve Urkel. Read More

Using Student Peer Assessments to Develop Professional Skills

By B. Prema Strecker, RDH, MS I attended a session on "Using Peer Assessments to Develop Professional Skills and Cohesive Teams in a Gross Anatomy Course," led by Judy Klimek and Cathryn Sparks at the Lilly Conference 2018. Gross Anatomy is a rigorous "team sport" with information to be mastered and lab procedures to be accomplished by students. Dysfunctional teams are not uncommon. It became a priority for these professors to support team members to provide feedback to each other to promote development of professional behaviors. The goals of their Peer Assessment (PA) process were to: Read More

The Student Tamer: Classroom Management

by Barbara Lane I was twenty-two years old the first time I ever sat at the big desk in the front of a classroom. Trying to look more like my English teacher mother than the coed in dirty denim that I’d just been before graduation, I wore an ironed church dress, stockings, and lipstick. My costume was good, but my palms were sweating. Read More

What is a Mentor?

by Dr. Rodney E Rohde Recently, I had the privilege of contributing an invited article for ASCLS Today (my professional organization) regarding mentoring. Mentoring occurs on so many levels, with so many different relationships. I have had the honor of being the recipient of informal and formal mentoring. Read More

In Memoriam: Student Demonstrated Learning

by Prof. Robert Fyrst Faculty colleagues, It is with a heavy heart that I share with you all that our cherished colleague, Robert Fyrst, passed away on February 6, 2018. Robert always demonstrated his devotion to students through the constant improvement of his own teaching practice. In honor of Rob’s huge legacy to the art of teaching, I want to share with you a post he wrote for the FCTL Faculty Forum. Please join me in celebrating Rob’s life and reflecting on his thoughts for how to improve teaching at ACC. Read More

Some Thoughts on Student Engagement and How We Can Focus It

by Karon Rilling The Lilly Conference at the start of 2017 had been a productive experience for me. I had gained strategies and, more importantly, I gained a sense of being part of a community of learners/teachers dedicated to effective instruction. When granted the opportunity to attend the Lilly Conference a second time, January 2018, I knew I would gain from the experience. Read More

Service-Learning: Is it Volunteerism? Is it an Internship?

by Lillian M Huerta Service-Learning is defined as a teaching methodology that allows students to apply their academic skills/learning to the service that they are providing in the community. Here is what service-learning looks like: auto mechanic students can teach women from a local women’s shelter to change oil or a flat tire. Students in a sociology course can develop a survey for a low-income neighborhood to determine the health needs of that community. Read More

REWIND: The Santa Factor

by  Roie Black As a teacher, my job is to try to stuff knowledge and skills into the minds of my students, to prepare them for that life they hope to live. It seems to get tougher to do this every class I teach. I am always on the lookout for new ideas that might help get this knowledge into their heads! Read More