CETL hosts sixth annual instructional fair

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) will host its sixth annual Instructional Fair on Thursday, April 2.

The event is similar to a science fair, except students, staff and faculty present teaching tips.

“We’ve had presentations from posters, to computer demonstrations, to virtual reality stations,” CETL Virtual Faculty Developer Christina Moore said.

Faculty and staff can present individually or with students.

“Over the years, we’ve seen a growth of student involvement in the fair,” Moore said.

Jessica Rico, special lecturer in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at Oakland University, presented at the fair last year.

“I think this is an excellent benefit to involve students in the learning process and to teach students that here at Oakland, their experiences and voices matter to all of us,” she said. “I would definitely suggest that other staff and students be involved in the fair. I saw some amazing presentations where students and instructors collaborated to create a project to share.”

If a student and professor want to participate in the fair, they have to sign up together as a unit.

Dr. Felicita Arzu Carmichael, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric, presented at the Instructional Fair with her students last year and stress that seeing how students interact with their professors and their material is a key aspect of the fair.

“The conversations my students had with attendees were so valuable to me because it allowed me to understand more about their learning and my own teaching,” Carmichael said.

According to Moore, the Instructional Fair is an opportunity for staff and faculty to network and share excitement for engaging classroom practices.

“The fair is a way for faculty to feel less isolated and know what each other are implementing in their own classrooms,” she said.

No matter their area of focus, the fair offers faculty and staff the chance to share and gain insights of effective teaching strategies.

“I think it is important to increase communication between the different departments at Oakland,” Rico said. “Attending the event is a great way to network. I have met people at these events in many departments that I would not normally come into contact with.”

Moore is head organizer of the Instructional Fair. While the event takes place in April, she books a venue for the event in November and works throughout the following months to promote CETL’s call for proposals and the fair itself.

“The fair has a broad representation from various disciplines,” Moore said. “Anything teaching and learning related is a collective effort. Teaching can seem isolating. Your teaching becomes a lot more exciting when you collaborate and have a support system.”

According to Moore, a university should be an ecosystem where staff and faculty work together to let students fulfill their potential. She believes the event is an integral part of that ecosystem.

The Instructional Fair will be held in Banquet Room A in the Oakland Center on Thursday, April 2 from 2-4 p.m. For more information, visit CETL’s Instructional Fair page on OU’s website.

“I encourage other faculty to share in this collaborative experience with their students at the OU Instructional Fair,” Carmichael said.

The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, Feb. 21.