The Coulter Faculty Commons has developed a planning organizer for faculty use for the remaining spring 2020 term.
The simple Word document contains weekly dates and boxes for each week remaining in the term. Faculty can use the document to notate “before” activities and “now” activities–to help them reflect on prior activities and chart a path forward, now that instruction is moving online.
Faculty can download the documents below. It comes in two forms–for a single course, and for a five-load course.
Student needs are changing during this move to offering alternative modes of instruction. Faculty who want to find out what challenges students are facing can utilize a new web form created in Office365.
The form can be modified by faculty prior to sending out. The survey should take students 5 minutes to complete, and asks for the following types of information:
whether students expect to have reliable Internet access
times of day students expect to do online work
preferences for asynchronous or synchronous activity
accessibility requests (content in different formats, for example)
basic psychological and physiological needs
The survey form is available below. Note the options for modifying the survey questions, collecting data, and sending out the link (the Settings icon can be found top-right of your screen, to the right of the Share button).
With the Reading Guide, students see you–the content expert–in conversation with another content expert. Some tips to remember:
Be conversational. Write as you if you were speaking to your students in class.
Avoid commenting on every paragraph. Be strategic in the content and text you want to annotate. What do you want them to remember, most of all?
You don’t have to provide comments in-text. While it can help students to see comments in relation to one another, sometimes the software or content you assign doesn’t allow editing. Assigning a worksheet with questions and considerations can work just as well.
A summer 2018 volume of New Directions for Teaching and Learning focuses on student engagement. Ten chapters worth!
One interesting chapter, Students Engaged in Learning, is worth a close read. (the link to the full article can be found at the bottom of this post). The authors, Emad Ismail and James Groccia, provide a compelling structure for the chapter.
The article is presented in this fashion—research findings related to engagement in the cognitive domain, followed by research on engagement in the psychomotor domain, and finally, of research literature pertaining to engagement in the affective domain. Several meta-analyses are cited. Rather than delve deeply into any single research article, I thought it might be more interesting to talk about the research he cites as part of each section (after all, you can read the full article yourself). The remainder of this post presents a short summary of the research he cites related to cognitive engagement:
Discipline: Biology Title:Teaching More by Lecturing Less Findings Snippet: “The results we present here indicate that even a moderate shift toward more interactive and cooperative learning in class can result in significantly higher student learning gains than achieved using a standard lecture format.” Authors: Knight and Wood Year: 2005
Findings Snippet: Teaching assistants underwent a 2-day training workshop to implement cooperative learning and active learning techniques for Biology courses, and the results were very positive. Responses from instructors indicate “an increase in the cognitive level of the material communicated, learned, and assessed”, in addition to “an increase in their [students’] ability to devise and practice scientific experimentation.”| Authors: Penwell, Elsawa, and Pitzer Year: 2004
Discipline: Physics Title: Can Students Learn from Lecture Demonstrations? Findings Snippet: “Students who had a chance to predict an outcome of a demonstration prior to seeing the demonstration achieved a significantly higher success rate of 25% to 35%.” Authors: Milner-Bolton, Kotlicki, Rieger Year: 2007
Findings Snippet: “Students in a treatment group [taught using a continuum-based, actdive-learning model] acquired significantly more content knowledge and were significantly more efficacious than students in the control groups [taught using traditional didactic lecture methods].” Author: Wilke Year: 2003
William Buskist, a co-editor in this volume, presents in a most familiar way the issue of student engagement that many of us are struggling with:
Are there universal principles of instilling student engagement that apply across students, disciplines, and institutional settings, and if so, what are they? Do these principles similarly or differentially affect the domains of doing, feeling, and thinking? Once students become engaged, what are the most effective methods of keeping them engaged throughout the remainder of their college careers in terms of doing, feeling, and thinking?
Thankfully, the research provided in this chapter illustrates that yes, universal principles do exist.
The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain, Available from Stylus Publishers
Terry Doyle, author of The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain, encourages teachers to think about the conversations we have with students related to student reading.
For example, when asking students to read for homework, do we ask them to simply “read the chapter”? Or do we discuss reading strategies that can help make reading a more active process?
Mr. Doyle emphasizes practices such as questioning and annotation. Questioning involves students writing questions about the headlines they see in the passage, before they read the passage.
One way to facilitate this kind of active reading is for us to consider our textbook’s Table of Contents, assuming we rely on our text for a substantial portion of our teaching.
Here are some steps the CFC identified to help create a formative assignment related to reading and comprehension:
Search Google for your textbook’s table of contents.
If you are able to find them on the web, copy and paste them into a Word document.
Create smaller Word documents from the large document, such as a separate document for each chapter you’ll ask them to read.
Post the documents to your course in the LMS:
a) as a discussion board prompt. Ask them to discuss the topics you post. What do they know about the topic, if anything? Where/how did they learn it? (Then assign the reading).
b) as an online assignment. If you want the reading to count for a more significant portion of their grade, a more substantial activity/assignment could be developed.
You might have seen this kind of practice in a textbook you use or have used before. Have you ever seen a short set of discussion questions in the opening pages of a chapter? They might have been written as reflective questions or questions intended to stimulate prior knowledge.
Creating minor, formative assignments centered around reading supports several principles for improving student learning, namely activating prior knowledge, and an opportunity to clarify prior misconceptions that students hold, which can be a barrier to them applying what they’ve learned in later stages of the course.