Shared Learning Conference is Action-Packed!

When conference participants arrive in Greenville poised to communicate and cooperate, you’ve got the ingredients for a highly successful 3rd annual Shared Learning Conference.

First the numbers— Over 170 educators and students from three different states and 32 institutions. About 63% of participants were from campuses already involved with College Star, and the rest came to learn how they could take the knowledge back to their own academic setting. Included was faculty from colleges and universities as well as educators from the K-12 setting.

Add to the mix an inspiring keynote address by Dr. Brett Christie, California State University. Continue with encouraging works from ECU Provost Dr. Marilyn Sheerer and Stacy Parker-Fisher of the Oak Foundation and you’re off to a great start.

A substantial portion of the conference consisted of a series of sessions that highlighted programs and services at the institutions currently involved in College Star -- East Carolina University, Appalachian State University and University of North Carolina Greensboro. These sessions were supplemented with in-depth training on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Read and Write Gold software, Dragon Naturally Speaking technology, Course Organizer Routines, and Online Module Development. 

Thirty-four posters, many of which incorporated UDL, added even more depth to the proceedings. All of this was surrounded by an innovative tailgating party, prizes for creative tweets and selfies, and positive energy from conference attendees.

But the high point of the conference was the luncheon presentations by Eye-to-Eye Think Different Diplomats. The three college students, Matthew Bloom, Emily Bosak, and Jodi Stanton had the crowd in the Pirate Tutoring Center captivated by their stories of struggle and success through different educational settings with learning differences. Their testimonials were a vivid reminder of the importance of all the work presented at the conference as well as an inspiration to do even more.

Feedback on the conference was overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few select comments:

“Thanks so much for putting together the GREAT conference last week, and thanks for letting me participate! I got some great ideas and motivation to look at my current UDL practices to make sure I am doing all I can. What an asset to ECU and the UNC system…!”

“Thank you! This was a wonderful conference! All the College STAR folks here are the best – most welcoming and inspiring people.”

"I am proud of what I do now and realize I can do more. The impact we have on our state and the world is huge! Sometimes I forget.”

“I really appreciated, loved, enjoyed, and learned from the testimonies of the students in your programs. Please tell them thank you for telling their stories.”

“I’m so excited to know that college can be a possibility for my students! Many of my students do not see this as an option. I am so thankful to have been a part of this conference and am excited to take the information I have learned back to my classroom!” (from a K-12 educator)

“Thank you for an incredible conference! I learned so much and can’t wait to take it back to my students and faculty.”

Special thanks to Chris Pelletier, Alison Ward, Tanner Jones, and Maria Hammack for all the planning and logistics which enabled participants to fully participate and take advantage of the many learning opportunities. And thanks to ECU for being such a gracious host and providing such a lovely venue.

Copies of the posters have already been posted at www.collegestar.org/conference/posters. Presentations and other reference materials will be posted as they are received from presenters.

Mark your calendars now for next year’s conference to be held in October at Appalachian State!