About The Podcast

Speaking of Higher Ed logoSpeaking of Higher Ed exists to create a resource that will inspire and assist faculty in creating engaging and meaningful learning experiences. We hope to provide higher ed faculty with a platform for sharing research related to the scholarship of teaching and learning, spark new instructional ideas, and promote interdisciplinary instructional methods.

Listen and Subscribe SEASON One (EPISODES 1 - 12)

Episode 19: Summer Shorts - AI, Ungrading, and Starting the Semester Strong

July 17, 2024 

In this special summer shorts episode, we revisit conversations from the past year to help you gear up for the upcoming semester. Join us as we explore practical strategies and innovative approaches shared by our expert guests.

From episode 13, JoAnn Edmond and Jenn Rose kick things off by emphasizing the importance of a learner-centered syllabus. "Creating tools like a syllabus, which can serve as a blueprint for your course, is crucial," they explain. By utilizing templates and resources from the Center for Instructional Innovation, faculty can design syllabi that not only guide course structure but also foster a community-focused learning environment. This approach, they argue, can directly support institutional goals like improving student retention.

We explore the concept of Ungrading from episode 17 with Drs. Candis Bond and Trent Kays. They describe Ungrading as an "assessment and evaluation approach that favors process over traditional grading," focusing on formative assessment and continuous feedback. By shifting away from the conventional A-F scale, this method aims to enhance intrinsic motivation and promote a deeper engagement with the learning process. "It's a mindset, a philosophy," they assert, encouraging educators to create environments where students can focus on learning rather than merely aiming for a grade.

Finally, from episode 15, Dr. David Joyner discusses the transformative potential of AI in education. He highlights the need to adapt assessments to maintain their effectiveness in the face of new AI tools like ChatGPT. He advises, "We must make certain changes to keep our assessments reliable and effective demonstrations of student understanding." Dr. Joyner also sees AI as a means to elevate educational outcomes, enabling students to tackle more ambitious projects and achieve deeper understanding. His insights are complemented by his publication "A Teacher's Guide to Conversational AI" and a professional certificate program available on edX.

J. Edmond, C. Bond, D. Joyner


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Season Two Episodes


Episode 18: Summer Shorts: Hip-Hop, Grades and Good Teaching

June 19, 2024

In our Summer Shorts episode for this month, we look back at some key moments from the past year. We highlight transformative approaches in teaching and learning, including hip-hop pedagogy, documenting effective teaching, and innovative grading practices.

From episode nine, Dr. Lauren Barbeau from Georgia Tech discusses her publication on the Critical Teaching Behaviors framework, which provides a comprehensive system to identify and discuss good teaching, offering a common language across disciplines.

We talked with Dr. Dan Kaminstein of the Medical College of Georgia in episode eleven, who challenges traditional grading systems and advocates for alternative assessment strategies that promote continuous learning and student engagement.

Finally, from episode sixteen, we explore the world of hip-hop pedagogy with Dr. Kelly Allen from Augusta University, who demonstrates how integrating hip-hop culture into education can boost student motivation and academic success.


Episode 17: Ungrading with Drs. Candis Bond and Trent Kays

May 15, 2024

Have you ever felt that traditional grading methods fail to accurately measure student learning?

In this episode, we explore an innovative approach called "ungrading" that challenges the traditional grading system. Drs. Bond and Kays discuss how ungrading does not mean no grades. It means a shift in focus from grades to student autonomy and learning.

Ungrading can also help you highlight how mistakes, continuous feedback and revisions are crucial to your students’ learning process. We also explore how this approach can promote equity, increase student motivation and ultimately impact learning.

On this episode, Candis Bond, PhD, Director of the Center for Writing Excellence at Augusta University and Associate Professor of English, and Trent Kays, PhD, Director of College Composition and Assistant Professor of English, share their experiences ungrading their courses.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

If you are interested in learning more, Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning, edited by Susan Blum provides insight from faculty across disciplines about the ungrading approach.


Episode 16: Hip-Hop Pedagogy with Kelly Allen, PhD

April 17, 2024

What is Hip-Hop pedagogy? How can the use of Hip-Hop culture in curriculum engage students and create relevant connections to course content?

Kelly R. Allen, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies in the College of Education and Human Development Department of Research, Counseling, and Curriculum at Augusta University and advocate for the implementation of Hip-Hop based education.

During Allen’s early years as a high school social studies teacher, she discovered the power of using Hip-Hop culture in her teaching. Seeing that it was “more than a hook”, but instead something to be infused in all aspects of her courses. Hip-hop culture has since been an integral part of her research and teaching.

Dr. Allen discusses the 5 aspects of Hip-Hop culture, describing how and why they allow students to engage, feel empowered and find relevance in course content. She discusses the past and current perceptions of Hip-Hop pedagogy in academia and how she sees it moving forward in the higher education space.

Dr. Allen concludes with tips and advice for practitioners on how to incorporate Hip-Hop pedagogy into their teaching.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Allen and her work, you can connect with her on X (formerly Twitter). Her book, Teaching for Liberation: On Freedom Dreaming in the Field of Hip–Hop Education, is available online.


Episode 15: AI in Higher Ed with David Joyner, PhD

March 20, 2024

Should I discuss AI with my students? How can I benefit from using AI?

In this episode, David Joyner, PhD, joins us to explore how AI is transforming education, for students and educators. ChatGPT generated significant discussion when it launched in November 2022. Now, with more than a year of growing in understanding about generative AI, we are discovering what changes are necessary in the classroom.

Joyner provides valuable insights from his research and classroom experiences, addressing educators seeking basic knowledge about ChatGPT and those aiming to deepen their understanding of generative AI. Educators aren't the only ones adapting to technologies like ChatGPT; students are also adjusting. This technology holds the potential to facilitate faster learning and improvement in targeted areas. However, it may require adjustments to assessments to maintain the desired level of rigor in evaluating student mastery of the material.

We also discuss Joyner’s new publication, A Teacher’s Guide to Conversational AI, and the professional certificate program he developed, available on the edX online learning platform.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

If you are interested in learning more about David Joyner and his work, visit his website. To connect with him socially, visit his LinkedIn page. Joyner has also developed a professional certificate in ChatGPT for educators, available on the edX platform. If you are interested in learning more about his latest book, available April 2, visit the Books section of his website.


Episode 14: Connecting Community Engagement with the Classroom

February 21, 2024 

Are you a faculty member looking to collaborate with community organizations? By working together, universities and community organizations can create mutually beneficial relationships that enrich the educational experience, address community needs, and contribute to positive societal outcomes.

Achieving the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification is one of the aspirational imperatives included in the Augusta University strategic plan. Pursuing this elective classification involves extensive work documenting how the university is partnering with the Augusta community.

On this episode, Tina Baggott, Associate Vice President for Volunteer Services & Community Engagement at Augusta University, discusses the pursuit for this classification. She discusses its importance for higher education, available resources for faculty, and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

For more information about how you can begin community partnerships that align with your course, visit the Volunteer Services & Community Engagement webpage.


Episode 13: Jenn and JoAnn’s 5 tips for starting the semester strong

January 17, 2024 

Every semester presents a mix of challenges and opportunities for both students and faculty. In this episode, Jenn Rose and JoAnn Edmond share five practical tips to help kickstart the semester on a strong note. 

We discuss the importance of crafting a learner-centered syllabus and getting a jumpstart on integrating tools within the Learning Management System (LMS). Our conversation also touches on strategies for giving timely and meaningful feedback, with a focus on utilizing LMS tools for scheduled course communications. 

Jenn and JoAnn highlight the usefulness of tools such as replace strings in personalizing messages for students, even when using a generic message for everyone. They also suggest considering the incorporation of rubrics in the LMS to clarify grading criteria and streamline the grading process. Rubrics can be used for assignments in online or face-to-face courses. 

Joining us in this episode are JoAnn Edmond, Director of Instructional Support, and Jenn Rose, a Faculty and Instructional Developer, both from the Center for Instructional Innovation at Augusta University.