Elizabeth Sayres is shown addressing the attendees at the opening panel discussion.

Elizabeth Sayrs is shown addressing the attendees at the opening panel discussion.

Photographer: Sid Stephens

OHIO faculty participate in a panel discussion during the opening session of the conference.

OHIO faculty participate in a panel discussion during the opening session of the conference.

Photographer: Sid Stephens

Fabian Benencia presents a session about creating gamebook activities for biomedical sciences.

Fabian Benencia presents a session about creating gamebook activities for biomedical sciences.

Photographer: Sid Stephens

Featured Stories


2018 Spotlight on Learning Conference sparks important discussions


On May 3, the 2018 Spotlight on Learning Conference featured dozens of local experts on topics related to teaching in challenging times. Around 145 attendees from across the University enjoyed concurrent presentations, panels, roundtables, open discussions, and breakout sessions.

“Across our campuses, we see inspiring examples of OHIO faculty who demonstrate commitment to continuous learning and enhanced teaching methods,” said Elizabeth Sayrs, interim executive vice president and provost. “I enjoy this conference because it provides an opportunity for faculty to learn together and share best practices for managing a changing learning landscape.”

Co-sponsored by the Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (TLA) Committee, and the Office of Instructional Innovation (OII), the conference included 13 sessions on topics from freedom of expression in the classroom to the influence of restrictive technology policies on students.

This year’s opening session featured a panel of OHIO faculty discussing strategies for managing difficult conversations or circumstances that arise through classroom discussions. They talked about their hopes and fears on days when they knew they would be addressing potentially controversial material with their students.

“The opening panel provided me with an opportunity to connect with my colleagues on a topic that I normally don’t discuss outside my own field,” said Geneva Murray, panelist participant and director of the Women’s Center in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. “Hearing what others are doing inspires me to keep thinking differently and keep improving as an instructor.”

There also were ongoing opportunities available throughout the day, including workshops on Open Educational Resources as part of the University’s partnership with Top Hat, a display of artifacts that came out of the Academic Quality Improvement Program Strategy Forum, and open consultations with OII’s instructional designers to discuss course design and redesign services.

“I really enjoyed attending this year’s conference. The dialogues were necessary and refreshing on our campus,” said Catherine Cutcher, assistant director for the Global Studies Programs in the Center for International Studies. “I learned new strategies for facilitating critical dialogues and unpacking controversy in the classroom. We also shared best practices for balancing freedom of expression with concerns about diversity, inclusion, access, equity, and safety.”

OII and others live-tweeted throughout the day’s events. View a compiled Twitter Moment of tweets related to the conference.

After another successful event this year, the TLA Committee and OII look forward to future conferences. “The continued dialogue about teaching and learning stemming from the Spotlight on Learning Conference is critical to advancing our mission of helping students go through life-changing educational experiences,” said Scott Titsworth, co-chair of the TLA Committee and Dean of the Scripps College of Communication. “This conference is a galvanizing opportunity for faculty across all of Ohio University’s campuses to learn from each other in ways that have a potentially transformative impact.”



The Office of Instructional Innovation (OII) serves as a catalyst to spark bold experimentation and sustainable discovery of innovative instructional models that fulfill the University’s promise of a transformative educational experience. OII provides a variety of services to faculty, staff, and students in support of academic units and online programs, as well as to advance initiatives to further the institution’s mission. Visit www.ohio.edu/instructional-innovation for more information.