We had high hopes and expectations for Michelle Miller, and she exceeded them. In bringing speakers to campus, we look for people who avoid the extremes of being overly fluffy or stuffy, and Michelle hit the sweet spot perfectly. There’s no question that she is a rigorous academic who knows her cognitive psychology and scholarship of learning and teaching well, but she’s also very practical and accessible. We also appreciated that she modeled the very kinds of pedagogical practices she advocated, making her presentation interactive, even with hundreds of participants.
Frankly, to us it also meant a lot that we sensed Michelle is a kindred spirit who genuinely believes in the power of education to lift and better lives. And on a personal level, working with her was delightful! She was generous with her time and gracious in all her interactions as we prepared for her presentation to our faculty.
We should note that we had contracted with Michelle to visit our campus in June 2020, and then the pandemic hit. We debated whether to postpone her appearance until a time when we could gather face-to-face again, or whether to proceed with an interactive online webinar. Given our faculty’s interest in figuring out how to adapt to the current technological challenges as well as possible, we went ahead with the virtual meeting, and we’re really glad we did.
Over 300 faculty members participated, and their feedback was overwhelmingly positive. With the help of some of our team, Michelle was able to field multiple questions and many faculty members were able to participate. One sent an e-mail raving about Dr. Miller’s visit, calling it “informative, engaging and extremely timely!” We are very grateful we didn’t postpone hearing from her until we could do it in person.
We recommend Michelle most highly as a speaker and a collaborator! –
Rob Eaton, Associate Academic Vice President for Learning and Teaching, BYU-Idaho
Dr. Michelle Miller presented at the inter-campus Spring 2017 Campus Conversation: Teaching Effectively with Technology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She worked closely with us to customize her presentation for a wide range of faculty participants: those teaching solely at a distance as well as those using technology within traditional classrooms; those teaching graduate courses as well as those teaching undergraduate classes; and those who are experienced instructors as well as graduate students just starting to teach. Her focus on practical strategies backed up with evidence fit perfectly with the needs of this event. She used visuals and examples to good effect, and the attendees found her presentation style very engaging. Attendees commented “very organized,” “Very thorough and engaging,” “Great speaker,” “Exactly what professors who are subject experts with no teaching experience need,” “The best teacher’s workshop I have been to.” And even better than these comments is the fact that over 85 attendees were likely or very likely to use the ideas and strategies presented when teaching their classes.
Marie Barber, Executive Director, Online & Distance Education, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
During the fall 2015 semester, we were looking for a speaker and workshop leader to headline our annual Symposium on Learning and Teaching. We extended an invitation to Michelle Miller, based on our very favorable reactions to Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology and viewing video recordings of some of her prior presentations. Michelle accepted and provided a transformative keynote address and a 3-hour workshop the following day that were both universally well received. Both her keynote address and workshop presentation were very engaging, informative, and carefully designed. Michelle’s extended workshop was very interactive and effectively modelled best practices. A recording of her workshop continues to influence faculty and has been viewed 184 times in a little over a year.
Faculty participants in the workshop were so impressed during Michelle’s visit that they requested that our teaching center organize a reading group devoted to Michelle’s work. We did so during the spring 2015 semester and had 42 regular participants who met biweekly to discuss each chapter of Minds Online. Participants in the reading group requested that Michelle return for a follow-up visit at the end of the spring semester and we are very grateful that she was able to do so. During this second visit, Michelle provided an additional workshop and met in small groups with reading group participants.
Faculty participants have referred to Michelle’s presentations or to Minds Online in dozens of workshops during the past academic year. They routinely reference improvements in their courses that have been inspired by their interactions with Michelle and her work.
I hope that we will have the opportunity to have a visit from Michelle in the future.
John Kane, Director, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, SUNY-Oswego
We invited Dr. Miller to provide the keynote address for the State University of New York at Fredonia’s 2016 Annual Teaching & Learning Conference, based on the strong recommendation of a faculty development colleague. She did not disappoint! Her talk was fantastic! Faculty found Dr. Miller’s talk to be a thought provoking and rich in content on the topic of cognitive learning in digital environments. We wish we’d had more time with her!
Dawn Eckenrode, Director, Professional Development Center, State University of New York at Fredonia