Online series to help instructors incorporate effective visuals in fall courses

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — How do you choose between an infographic, concept map, or Voice Thread? With hundreds of competing technologies, it is easy for instructors to be confused on which to use. Fortunately, ITS Training Services and Teaching and Learning with Technology have teamed up to help clarify the overwhelming number of options available with a free, online series on teaching visually. Scheduled for Aug. 16-18, the online training event is designed specifically to help faculty, instructional designers, and graduate student instructors learn practical, easy strategies to incorporate effective visuals into their fall courses.

The three-part series begins with an open discussion on the key principles of an effective visual before exploring common pitfalls and how to avoid them. After surveying the technologies and providing guidelines for incorporating visuals in relation to instructional goals, the series then wraps up with a session dedicated to strategies for grading visuals and assessments.

“Research confirms that in many cases, people learn better from graphics and words together than from words alone, but all images are not equally effective, and graphics are often underutilized or misapplied in instructional materials,” said Kris Benefield, an instructional designer with ITS Training Services. “We designed this series of workshops to dispel that misconception by providing concrete tips and examples that can help any instructor learn to use effective visuals in their courses.”

The Teaching Visually Series is the third collaborative series to be offered during ITS Training Services’ SummerFest training event in as many years. When discussing the upcoming series, Crystal Ramsay, the research project manager with Teaching and Learning with Technology, was enthusiastic about how the series will help prepare instructors for their fall courses.

"TLT is excited to be a part of this ongoing partnership, which provides faculty development grounded in a combination of learning theory and educational technology,” said Ramsey. “Our team is a group of people who understand how people learn, who recognize the challenges instructors face in today's diverse classrooms, and who have great strategies for leveraging technology to address those challenges. We've planned this series with the intention of offering participants new ideas they can incorporate immediately in their classes this fall." 

Faculty, instructional designers, and graduate student instructors are encouraged to reserve their seat before the sessions fill up. To learn more about or register for the online Teaching Visually Series or SummerFest II training event, visit If you have any questions, please feel free to contact ITS Training Services at

Last Updated August 05, 2016