USFSP held its third annual Bay to Bay Learning Symposium on Feb 9, 2018. The symposium focused on critical thinking as a skill to be developed and infused in discipline-based courses. The full-day event featured two dynamic speakers, each of whom approached critical thinking from their expertise in research and instruction.

The event was facilitated by USF Sarasota-Manatee’s very own Dr. Phil Wagner who expertly guided us through the symposium and provided the ballast between our featured speakers, Dr. John Medina and Dr. Linda Nilson. Dr. Wagner brought his experience with critical thinking as part of the QEP for USF Sarasota-Manatee and provided institutional insight to the event.

Dr. Medina’s morning keynote presentation offered a deep view of how the brain processes information and how those processes facilitate critical thinking. Attention and memory were expertly woven both in and on the presentation. Those in attendance were offered poignant examples of our brain’s ability to learn and discern.

The afternoon session was presented by Dr. Linda Nilson and concentrated on the core principles of critical thinking by providing expert examples of how it can be infused in any course. From instruction to assessment, Dr. Nilson provided a penetrating view on the application of critical thinking to teaching and learning.

The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) and Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services (OLITS) would like to sincerely thank all those who attended. This was a collaborative effort which could not have been done without the support of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library and its staff, and the supportive administration of USFSP.

2018 Post-Symposium Symposium Survey Results

Main Findings

  • 90% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the conference.
  • Respondents were asked why they were interested in this year's event. The majority answered interest in the topic (90% and to support the organization (60%).

Reasons why people attended:

  • Planning a workshop in August on a similar topic
  • To grow intellectually
  • To improve my teaching methods
  • Critical thinking is USFSM's QEP subject
  • Professional Development

The overall rating for the keynote speaker was overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few comments by respondents:

  • Dr. Medina's presentation was captivating and informative.
  • Great keynote presenter!
  • Really liked his talk, and am about halfway through the book... very interesting and the attention section very applicable to teaching.
  • Really caused me to rethink what I have been doing based on his presentation of neuroscience and its relationship to learning.
  • This was the best presentation I believe I've ever watched.

While responses were overwhelmingly positive, we are taking into consideration some feedback from participants.

  • More breakout sessions in the afternoon.
  • Separate break-out for faculty to discuss their concerns.
  • Allow more brainstorming and interactions among participants.
  • Length of symposium (shorter).
  • Participants were leaving early, making it harder to network.
  • More activity based learning.
  • Short "speed-dating" kind of activity for networking.

Please view the short video below for a summary of the 2018 symposium.