Meaningful redesign for troublesome moments in teaching

Meaningful redesign for troublesome moments in teaching: Choose your own adventures

A cross-institutional professional development program in Teaching in the Continuing Age of COVID. Inspired by TILT (Transparency in Learning and Teaching) and Small Teaching, faculty leaders from Albany State University, Alcorn University, and Montclair State University have come together to offer this opportunity to work on aspects of teaching that have proven difficult in the Age of Covid.

When and where?

  • June 15, 2022
              10/9 am central to 1:30/12:30 pm central
  • Zoom

Why now?

The pandemic may be receding, but its effects on students remain. As we imagine welcoming a first-year class next fall who were in the heart of the pandemic during their junior year in high school, we want to make small changes to the design of our courses so they support each and every student.

What are Small Teaching and TILT?

“Small Teaching” is a term from James Lang, author of Small Teaching. Lang’s work is similar to Mary-Ann Winkelmes’ s work in TILT, Transparency in Learning and Teaching. Both practices encourage instructors to make small but meaningful changes to courses, assignments, activities, or assessments. Come work with us to learn how a small teaching intervention can have a BIG impact on student learning.

How does this program work?

All participants attend a short, 30-minute opening session and their choice of two one-hour workshops, followed by an optional closing session.  

Each workshop is based on the idea of making small but powerful changes to our courses, with leaders offering different emphases and focusing on unique course elements. Each workshop includes a short demonstration, digital handouts, and feedback to ensure participants leave with a redesigned element for their courses.


In advance of the event, sign up for your preferred workshops.

Spend a few minutes reviewing your last year of teaching to note specific elements or moments that did not seem to work well. Have your syllabus and course materials digitally available and “open” on your screen so you can work with actual teaching material. 

Let the adventure begin …


10:00/9:00am central: Meaningful redesign across three universities (30 minutes)

  • In this kick-off session, leadership from Albany State University, Alcorn State University, and Montclair State University will welcome the 150 faculty attendees and speak to their goals and intentions for teaching and learning in Fall 2022.
  • Speakers:
    Dr. David Hood, Montclair State University, Associate Provost and Dean of University College, P.I. for the IREPO Grant
    Dr. Angela Peters, Albany State University, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
    Dr. Ontario S. Wooden, Alcorn State University, Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs

10:30/9:30am central: Workshop One (1 hour)

  • Adventure 1: “Giving directions that students will follow” 
  • Adventure 2: “Teaching difficult concepts: learner-centered instructional strategies”
  • Adventure 3: “TILT your assessment and feedback strategy”

11:45/10:45am central: Workshop Two (1 hour)

  • Adventure 1: “Giving directions that students will follow” 
  • Adventure 2: “Teaching difficult concepts: learner-centered instructional strategies”
  • Adventure 3: “TILT your assessment and feedback strategy”

1:00/12:00pm central: Closing (30 minutes)

  • Q&A, open conversation (optional)

Workshop adventure options

  • Adventure 1: “Giving directions that students will follow” led by Pam Brown, Dorene Medlin, Takeebie Jefferson and Dorea Hardy at Albany State University
    Ever wonder why the assignment your students turn in doesn’t look like the one you gave directions for? In that case, you want to come to this workshop to learn to “TILT” your assignments. Learn to engage your students where they are! The purpose of the workshop is to get faculty comfortable with designing and producing assignments and videos that meet students in the digital world they have been brought up in. During the workshop, you will learn how to redesign assignments and then produce videos that provide clear directions for your assignments.
  • Adventure 2: “Teaching difficult concepts: learner-centered instructional strategies,” led by Doris Ward at Alcorn State University
    We all can identify at least one concept that our students, traditionally, year after year, fail to fully grasp. This Small Teaching session is designed to assist instructors with aligning active, learner-centered instructional strategies with clearly articulated learning outcomes and assessment tools that generate appropriate learning experiences for mastery of traditionally difficult concepts.
  •  Adventure 3: “TILT your assessment and feedback strategy,” led by Emily Isaacs, Catherine Keohane, and Melissa Adamo at Montclair State University
    Do you wonder why students keep making the same mistakes despite your evaluative feedback? TILT assessment and feedback emphasize very directed, brief feedback that keeps students on top of their learning. When instructors give brief, targeted feedback, students understand how to improve their performance. Participants will be led through a grading scale redesign (so bring your existing one from your syllabus), a rubric lesson, and practice in giving limited, directed feedback.

Who is providing this program?

Faculty experts in teaching and learning at Albany State University in Georgia, Alcorn State University in Mississippi, and Montclair State University in New Jersey have been working together through an IREPO (Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity) grant to develop instructional support that can help us work more effectively with our pandemic-affected students. 

Sponsored by the IREPO grant, At Home in College in the Age of COVID-19: Improving Instruction, Access, and Engagement in Minority-Serving Institutions.

Albany State University team
Dorene Rojas Medlin, Chair, School of Education, and Director for the Center of Faculty ExcellenceProfessor Medlin has collaborated extensively with the faculty in Natural Sciences, resulting in several National Science Foundation grants, including a Track 2 Robert Noyce award (2021). She teaches the science methods classes for future teachers, grades K – 12. Her research interests include the effect of questioning strategies on student learning and gender bias in STEM. As the Director for The Center for Faculty Excellence, Professor Medlin collaborates with colleges, departments, and faculty across the University to provide faculty development in high-impact practices, interdisciplinary instruction, experiential learning, and citizen science. She has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Fulbright Fellow, and Governor’s Teaching Fellow (GA). She is a longtime educator, having been in public education before transitioning to higher education for the past 11 years.

Dr. Pamela Pitman Brown, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director for The Center for Faculty Excellence.  Dr. Pitman Brown research interests include writing paragraphs, integrating news into the curriculum and aging issues.  She currently serves as the President for the Georgia Sociological Association Board.

Dr. Dorea Hardy,  Instructional Designer with Albany State University’s Distance Learning Department. Dr. Hardy trains and assists faculty in improving the quality of their online courses. Her work as a part-time instructor, subject matter expert, and an instructional designer with eMajor compliments the support she provides to the faculty of ASU. She holds an Ed.D. in Adult & Career Education from VSU, an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from VSU, and a B.S. in Political Science from Berry College. Dr. Hardy has worked within the USG since 2001, obtaining experience in web design and development, face-to-face and online instruction, learning management system administration, instructional design, and project management.

Takeebie Jefferson is certified in FCS Education, Business Education and is a certified Instructional Technology Specialist with over 10 years of teaching experience in middle, high, higher ed and adult education. She specializes in instructional technology and technology integration strategies as well as learning management systems and numerous educational technology applications. Takeebie currently serves as Director of Online Learning and Technical Support for the School of Education.

Dr. Hershell “Nikki” Proctor-Walden, Director of Assessment and Associate Professor of English. Dr. Proctor-Walden has twenty years of experience in the classroom.  Her research areas of interest are drama of the African Diaspora; curriculum and instruction; and assessment and evaluation.


Alcorn State University team
Dr. Malinda Butler,  Interim Dean, Associate Dean for the School of Education and Psychology, and Director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment. Dr. Butler has served as the Teacher Certification Officer and chairperson of the Department of Education and Psychology, University Assessment coordinator, and Institutional Review Board Chair. She has served on Specialist students’ research committees. Dr. Butler served as a science teacher at the secondary level for 31-plus years. One of her areas of expertise is utilizing assessment crosswalked with learning outcomes and teaching activities to achieve ultimate learning in the classroom.

Dr. LaShundia Carson, Associate Dean of Education. Dr. Carson is currently the president of Mississippi Professional Educators. She serves as the coordinator for the University’s Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and also serves as a national evaluator for CAEP.

Doris J. Ward, Ph.D., Executive Director of Strategic Academic Initiatives. One of Dr. Ward’s major roles is to oversee program evaluation and effectiveness. She has served as projector director of several grants that supported faculty development and improvement of academic programs in STEM.


Montclair State University team
Emily Isaacs, Professor of Writing Studies and Executive Director of the Office for Faculty Advancement. Prof. Isaacs specializes in teaching and learning, pedagogy, assessment, and faculty development. Professor Isaacs’s scholarship is focused on best practices for writing instruction and administration, the national state of writing instruction and support at U.S. four-year universities, and teaching and learning in public higher education. Recently her articles have appeared in Pedagogy, College English, Writing Program Administration, Writing Center Journal, Journal of Teaching Writing and in several book collections. In addition, she is the author of three books, including most recently, Writing at the State U (Utah State UP).

Catherine Keohane, interim Associate Director for Teaching and Learning for the Office for Faculty Advancement. Dr. Keohane has a Ph.D. from Rutgers University and has taught at Montclair State University, Baruch College (CUNY), Rutgers University, and Bergen Community College. She has designed and taught upper- and lower-division literature and composition courses, and has experience teaching in multiple modalities. She has presented on student engagement at the Modern Language Association (MLA) annual convention and on writing placement at the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and MLA. Her scholarly work has appeared in ELH, Writing Program Administration, and Studies in the Novel, among other journals. Dr. Keohane is the co-author of the college writing textbook Intersections with Emily Isaacs.

Melissa Adamo, Faculty Developer with the Office for Faculty Advancement. Professor Adamo is an adjunct instructor at Montclair State University and Rutgers University-Newark. She teaches composition courses at both institutions and has also taught creative writing and literature as well as pop culture at other state schools. She previously worked as the College Liaison for the Dodge Poetry Festival and has been a writing tutor at various community colleges across New Jersey. She won an Excellence in Teaching award at Montclair State in 2019 and was an Engaged Teaching Fellow in 2016. Professor Adamo has presented on panels regarding teaching methods at the Northeast Modern Language Association Convention and has published in various academic and literary journals.