OctoberfestYvetteKatrina 4822The Center’s major training efforts are delivered to communities around South Carolina through state agencies, so it’s a treat when we can play our part in the academic teaching community of USC. Katrina Stephens and Yvette Sapp, two of CCFS’s Economic Services trainers, presented at the Center for Teaching Excellence’s annual teaching symposium Oktoberbest on October 12th. The annual day-long “celebration of teaching” with guest speakers, panels, and break-out sessions is designed to strengthen the USC teaching community by having outstanding professors, staff, and adjuncts share their best practices and fresh ideas in short presentations.

Stephens and Sapp gave a presentation titled, “Anchored Instruction for Learner Engagement.” In their words, “Anchored instruction is a learning approach which uses video and other technology tools to tell stories involving complex, real-life stories through which learners can apply their knowledge.” The approach places learning within a meaningful, problem-solving context. Therefore, as Stephens and Sapp attest, “anchored instruction can be used by educators across all fields to allow learners to make authentic connections to the learning experience.”

Their presentation indeed practiced what they discussed. Using simple, elegant video prompts, the two trainers folded story-telling into their presentation and had the participants use the story prompts to problem-solve, effectively making the 30-minute presentation a showcase for the USC teaching community to try it out. Audience interest was high since their method can be used to engage large lecture classes, a common teaching challenge here at the university.

As trainers who teach many topics in Economic Services for the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Stephens and Sapp have used anchored instruction methods in the training room. Both believe in its effectiveness. As Sapp finds, the method “makes the training material relevant and authentic to the learner. This also incites participation of learners because they want to share their own experiences to solve the problem.”

Both Stephens and Sapp are also learning in the USC community: they’re candidates in the M.Ed. program, focusing on Education Technology. Stephens says, “It was great to reach out within this community, and be active in the university.” Both women agree that CTE’s annual teaching celebration was a fun and dynamic way to connect to the academic community, to teach, and to learn from each other.

(Pictured: Yvette Sapp and Katrina Stephens)