From June 18th through June 29th, the Biggio Center hosted an intensive two week institute of workshops about effective teaching. Over 30 participants from King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia were in attendance. The institute expands upon a multi-year relationship between King Saud University and Auburn University through the initiative of the Biggio Center and its director, Dr. James Groccia. This was the second year that Auburn University hosted the institute.
Members of the Biggio Center team have spoken at various universities across the world about teaching effectiveness and global collaboration when approaching classroom methodologies and practices. Dr. James Groccia and Dr. Bill Buskist have lead workshops and training at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia in the past. As such, universities look to the Biggio Center to expand their training regarding successful classroom practices.
During the two week institute, participants engaged in active learning techniques, microteaching sessions, case studies, group activities, and informative workshops led by the Biggio Center team and visiting presenters. The various presenters included: Dr. James Groccia, Dr. Stacey Nickson, Dr. Raj Chaudhury, Dr. Bill Buskist, Dr. Kathy McClelland, Betsy Gilbertson, and Amanda Major from Auburn University. From the University of Virginia, Dr. Michael Palmer and Dr. Deandra Little joined the Auburn team to host workshops about course design.
Topics covered at the institute spanned from classroom communication, student learning styles, active learning, Culture Bump, using iclickers in the classroom, teaching portfolios, and implementing technology in the classroom. Eman Kamal, professor of Linguistics in the English Language and Literature department at King Saud University, recalls that she registered for the institute so that she could develop new teaching methods and ways in which to motivate her students. She said, “No matter how much you know before you come, you change.” Something she appreciated most about the institute was the collaboration that the Biggio Center team fostered throughout the two week program.
Apart from collaboration at the AU Hotel during intensive workshops and seminars, there were a variety of social and cultural events for the participants to experience as well: from visiting Atlanta for a day to a large, yet intimate group dinner at the home of Dr. Bill Buskist at the conclusion of the institute, the bond between Auburn University and King Saud University members was strengthened during those two weeks. This relationship will undoubtedly continue to flourish as the world of education becomes increasingly focused on a global classroom.
To see more photos of the institute, please visit our Facebook page.