We still have a few more workshops available this week!
The end of the semester is quickly approaching and to help you prepare your final assessments for the online environment, we are offering research-based best practices segmented into four workshops. WCU does not have an online proctoring solution and, because of technology challenges and privacy concerns for students, the LMS Governance Committee, whose members include experienced online faculty, have voted not to adopt any online proctoring solution, including not requiring students to use Zoom or Panopto to video themselves while taking an exam (1). These workshops, which will be recorded, will be accessed from within the Blackboard Learn for Instructors course (2) in which all instructors are already enrolled. No need to sign up, just show up!
The key to reducing cheating in online exams is to write exam questions that require knowledge application rather than knowledge recall. In this workshop, we will go through the basic steps of taking your existing exam questions and writing better questions.
At the conclusion of this workshop, you will be able to:
Identify question stems
Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to write higher-order thinking questions
Write questions that require application of knowledge instead of recall
Monday, April 20, 10 am
Tuesday, April 21, 2 pm
Wednesday, April 23, 1:30 pm
Thursday, April 24, 10:00 am
Designing Alternative Assessments
Faculty looking for alternatives to deploying a final Blackboard test will benefit from this interactive workshop. We will explore strategies for connecting prior student work to a final assessment, including the use of reflection-based narratives, photography, infographics, and student presentations. We will examine various technological tools with an eye towards those that are expedient and efficient for faculty use, including considerations for grading and student feedback. Faculty will be asked to share their ideas for their final assessment with peers.
At the conclusion of this workshop, you will be able to:
determine an alternative assessment strategy for your final exam
select a tool which is expedient and efficient for grading
identify various methods for providing student feedback
Wednesday, April 22, 10 am
Thursday, April 23, 1 pm
Friday, April 24, 1 pm
Creating and Using Rubrics for Faster, More Consistent Grading
Multiple choice tests are popular assessment techniques because they are simple to develop, quick to deploy, and easy to grade. Using alternate assessment techniques are marginally more challenging to develop and deploy but place a considerably greater demand on an instructor’s time to grade. Well-constructed rubrics can save an instructor a significant amount of time and still provide the students with meaningful feedback.
At the end of this workshop you will be able to:
Develop rubrics that measure the student learning outcomes of an assessment
Associate rubrics to assessments in Blackboard
Use rubrics in the Blackboard Grade Center to grade assessments
Friday, April 24, 10 am
(1) – LMS Governance Committee decision regarding online proctoring – can be accessed from within the Blackboard Learn for Instructors course.
The CFC is hosting additional open sessions for all instructors to learn how to effectively facilitate online learning and engage students using Blackboard and its general suite of tools. We will be offering these sessions through the following video-conferencing link:
Whether you’re teaching an Honors Section of a course, working with an Honors Student one-on-one through an Honors Contract, or just thinking about how to keep your Honors Students motivated in a regular class, studio, or lab, there are a variety of resources available with ideas for faculty on boosting learning outcomes for Honors Students.
This short article from the University Honors Program at Kansas University describes moving learning outcomes up to the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy in which learning goals are aimed at synthesis, evaluation, integration, and creation. These higher levels of critical thinking are key to inspiring Honors Students in their studies. They create modes of learning that challenge motivated students in creative ways that go beyond just doing more.
This paper (access provided through Hunter Library), written by faculty in The Netherlands, looks at instructional factors and how those strategies challenged their high-ability students. In their conclusions, they affirm that the combination of student autonomy, complexity, and teacher expectations come together to be effective in keeping these students motivated and challenged and ultimately improving outcomes. These factors further underscore the value of establishing learning outcomes for Honors Students that are at the highest levels of critical thinking in terms of course learning goals.
The Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt has a useful summary of Bloom’s Taxonomy on their website. This is a quick resource that summarizes the action verbs that are aligned with the different processes of learning, e.g. planning, producing, generating, checking, critiquing, attributing, organizing, and differentiating, corresponding to critical thinking at the highest levels of Analysis, Evaluation, and Creation.
The theme of this year’s event is Student Engagement with three sub-themes (tracks); Inclusive Pedagogy, Engaging the Online Learner, and Active Engagement in the Classroom.
Inclusive Pedagogy will include a nationally known keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, as well as possible opportunities for 75 minute sessions or 2.5 hour sessions.
Engaging the Online Learner will be a 1.5 day workshop (May 20 – 21) led by Dr. Eli Collins-Brown, director of the CFC. We have opportunities for a panel of experienced online faculty (including adjuncts) to share best practices the afternoon of May 20.
Active Engagement in the Classroom is open to all faculty and instructional staff to submit proposals for 75 minute and 2.5 hour workshops.
We have room for 2 – 3 spaces for each session time frame. There are three formats:
2.5 hour workshop
75 minute presentation/workshop
A panel of Expert Online Instructors (part of the Engaging the Online Learner track)
This is a great opportunity to share the excellent work you have been doing in the ‘classroom’. Questions? Contact Dr. Eli Collins-Brown.
The Hunter Library VR room serves as a place for you and your students to explore virtual reality. Before making an assignment, lab exercise, or project that requires students to use the library’s VR room, it will be helpful to know the following:
1) Contact the VR coordinator (Jill Ellern) for a tour and training.
Arrange for an appointment of at least 1-hour for your own VR experience in this space. This session will include how to use the system and what VR options are available for your students. You might need several sessions to completely explore and understand some of the more complex software titles.
2) There is a limited number of systems in the library.
There are 2 Oculus Rift stations and 2 HTC Vive stations. There is also a PlayStation VR system. There are also two Oculus Rift headsets, 2 Ricoh Theta 360 cameras and a GoPro available for 7-day checkout.
Points to keep in mind about this limitation:
Not all software runs on both systems.This can further limit the number of stations available for an activity.
Only one student can wear the system at a time. Large screen monitors allow others in the room to see what the headset wearer “sees,” but it is not the same experience as having the headset on.
Anyone can book time in the VR room.Class assignments do have priority over other activities in scheduling, but your students will compete for time with other VR room scheduling requests. The room is available to reserve anytime the library is open.
Consider using Google Cardboard as an option. While not as robust an option for a VR experience, it is a viable option for getting a 3D view. The equipment affordable for every student (under $20) and most students have a smartphone that is used to run the system. 360 videos and still images are openly available on the web or you can create these yourself using the library’s cameras, or your/your students’ smartphones. We currently have 7 available for checkout at the Circulation Desk.
Other ideas that might help with this limitation:
Reserve Time: It is possible to reserve time at particular stations for a class and then “sublet” these times to a specific class roster. Talk to your library liaison or the VR coordinator (Jill Ellern) about how this works and about setting up this option for your class lab.
Limitations:There are limitations to the amount of people that can be in the VR room at any one time. Consider creating small groups as viewing teams for VR assignments.
Max Number: It is recommended that no more than 2-5 per station and no more than 15 students total in the VR room at one time.
Groups: Students can then help each other with this technology as a group activity.
Departmental Lab Assistant: A student assistant from your department can be useful for a large enrollment course with a VR assignment.
3)A small percentage of the population will have issues viewing/using this technology.
Some people will get dizzy, nauseated, or claustrophobic using this equipment. Consider having an alternative assignment for these students.
4) There is a learning curve for VR equipment.
While the library can provide some one-on-one or class training sessions, the room itself is not staffed. Most students will need help the first time they use the equipment. You will need to plan an introductory session or consider working with your department to provide a lab assistant to help.
5) The library is piloting a purchasing process for VR software.
Currently, the only titles available in the room are those free items that came with the technology. We are working on the process of faculty requests for specific VR titles. If you are interested in exploring additional software that will support your teaching and learning, Jill Ellern, VR Coordinator or your library liaison.
If you would like to learn more about the VR Room at Hunter Library, contact Jill Ellern, VR Coordinator. Students, faculty, and staff may reserve a VR station online.
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.