To Flip or Not to Flip? That is the Question.

Whether you call it inverted instruction, classroom flipping, or some other term, the concept behind this kind of instruction is basic. Students get the foundational knowledge they need outside the classroom and class time is spent on higher-level learning. Properly executed, this instructional methodology changes the instructor’s role from one of a “sage on the stage” to a “guide on the side.” (Bergmann & Sams, 2007)

How do the students get that foundational knowledge?

  • Video
    • If you record your own videos:
      • Keep them short (7 minutes max)
      • Topic focused
      • Provide captions and transcript
    • If you don’t want to make your own, there are plenty of sources:
      • Khan Academy, YouTube, Ted Talks
    • Assign specific time ranges as appropriate
  • Texts
    • A history, account, narrative, or case study
    • From the course texts, assign specific pages if the students don’t need the whole chapter – they are more likely to do the reading
    • Consider developing a reading guide to target their attention on particular concepts or ideas 
  • Websites
    • Again, assign specific pages or parts of the website as appropriate
  • Research
    • Give your students a list of questions and let them find answers

How can I know they have attained the foundational knowledge?

Barkley and Major, in their text Learning Assessment Techniques, offer concrete ways to assess students’ foundational knowledge, and they fit the “blending” teaching paradigm:

  • If asking them to recognize – consider an online quiz that focuses on verification, matching, or forced choice, to be taken prior to coming to class.
  • If asking them to recall – consider online quiz questions that focus on low cues or high cues.
  • If asking them to interpret or exemplify – consider an online quiz that focuses on constructed responses or selected responses.
  • If asking them to infer – consider questions that focus on verification, matching, or forced choice.
  • If asking them to explain – consider questions where students must reason, troubleshoot, redesign, or predict.

What are some effective classroom strategies to engage students in higher-level learning?

  • Muddiest point
    • Have your students bring a list of points they’d like to have clarified to class
      • Alternatively, have them post them to a discussion board
    • Address these points first before moving on to other learning activity
  • Group discussions
    • Students discuss/clarify muddiest points in groups
  • Group presentations
    • Have students teach what they learned
  • Knowledge Demonstration
    • Let the students demonstrate what they have learned

Is flipping right for me?
The real question is whether or not flipping is right for your students. One of the big advantages of flipping is that it gives students more control over their learning as they guide the classroom activity with their questions. Another is the opportunity it provides instructors to review their teaching methods. After considering your options, you may decide that flipped instruction does not provide any advantages. However, keep in mind that this is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You may determine that some material in your course is suitable for flipping, while some still require more of a hands-on approach. In either case, you’ll have reflected on how you are teaching and that is always a good thing. (Trach, 2020)

If you’d like to talk about group work with a member of the Coulter Faculty Common, click here to schedule a consultation.

Sources

Barkley, Elizabeth F., and Claire H. Major. Learning Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hunter-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4205832.

Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2007). Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day. International Society for Tech in Ed. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hunter-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3317690

Hertz, M. B. (2012, July 10). The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-pro-and-con-mary-beth-hertz

Trach, E. (2020, January 1). A Beginner’s Guide to Flipped Classroom. https://www.schoology.com/blog/flipped-classroom

Classroom Discussion – Planning Tips for Online, On-Ground, and New Faculty

group of college students gathered about a table talking to each otherLooking for some new ideas for classroom discussion?

Seeking an idea for an online discussion?

What about a guide for setting norms/expectations related to discussion practices?

We have identified some resources to help you think through these questions.

 


Tips for the new teacher

Are you unsure of the role that discussion should play in your class? This guide by the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Teaching and Learning, Guidelines for Classroom Interactions, frames the discussion, first and foremost, as an exercise in knowing how your course goals align to the discussion as a lens for knowing and learning.

Classroom teachers looking for a quick, digital resource, the IDEA paper Effective Classroom Discussions covers expectation-setting, teacher roles, and student roles, in an attractive and chunked layout. Useful when planning for a future course.

Tips for the online teacher

If you teach online and are looking for ideas on how to maximize engagement in online discussions, Kreiger, Lee, and Zolkover, instructional designers at Penn State, recently presented on this topic at the 2021 CanvasCon conference. In their presentation Change the Prompt, Not the Tool: Developing Effective Discussions, they share information for new online teachers. They suggest that faculty write out their responses to these 5 steps, prior to posting them to the LMS:

  1. What is the context? Why are you asking them to respond?
  2. How does it fit? Write an explanation for how the assignment fits into the course.
  3. How should they proceed? Write out, 1-2-3, what they are to do. Since online students typically have to wait longer for a response, they advise that you “build in” the help. See the course from their eyes.
  4. Clarify grading. Provide some clarity on how they are graded, and remember that in Canvas, discussions can be high-stakes (with a point value or rubric) or low-stakes (with a complete/incomplete checkmark).
  5. Scaffold the responses. Let them know how the response “flow” should work. Are you wanting them to respond to others? (remember that this can require students to log in frequently, just to see if a response has been posted). Or do you want a rotating moderator to collect all responses, and summarize and present those to the class?

All of this information, now typed and on-screen, is tidy and structured for copy-paste into the Canvas LMS discussion rich content editor – so students will then know the big picture, and all the details, associated with the discussion.

Another helpful resource is the book Engaging the Online Learner by Rita-Marie Conrad and J. Ana Donaldson. The book frames the discussion as a small component of online engagement. Faculty will enjoy the foundational frame and theory the authors provide (constructivist and problem-based). You will not only see online classes in a new light but you will also be provided dozens of discussion-based activities and icebreakers that stem from the theory. Grab and use! One of our favorite texts!. The library has a copy; you can search for the call numbers here.

Tips for facilitating challenging classroom conversations

Many university teaching and learning centers provide guidance for handling challenging or controversial subjects. One of our favorites is the tips provided by Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching, Difficult Dialogues, as they don’t just discuss procedures for handling the challenging topic (helpful as that is). Rather, following a discussion they integrate activities for gauging student understanding that is writing- and reflection-based.

In summary, there are a lot of resources to help inspire new and innovative ideas and thinking for both the new and experienced instructor, whether teaching face-to-face or online.

Further Reading/Viewing:
Conrad, R. M., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction (Vol. 38). John Wiley & Sons.
Lee, L., Krieger, J. M., and Adam D. Zolkover. (2021). L. Change the Prompt, Not the Tool: Developing Effective Discussions. [Video]. InstructureCon. https://www.instructure.com/canvas/resources/instructurecon-2021/change-the-prompt-not-the-tool-developing-effective-discussions#main-content

Motivating Honors Students

Dr. April TalentGuest Blogger ~ Dr. April Talent

 

 

 

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.

References and Resources

Armstrong, P. (n.d.) Bloom’s taxonomy. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/

Scager, K., Akkerman, S. F., Pilot, A., & Wubbels, T. (2013). How to persuade honors students to go the extra mile: creating a challenging learning environment. High Ability Studies, 24(2), 115–134. https://doi-org.proxy195.nclive.org/10.1080/13598139.2013.841092

Teaching honors students. (n.d.). The University of Kansas Honors Program. Retrieved January 23, 2020, from https://honors.ku.edu/teaching-honors-courses

 

 

 

 

Ready to take group assignments to the next level?

“Group work!” 

The mere phrase elicits dread in the heart of almost high performing college student and many time spells frustration for the faculty who know its potential benefits but wonder why it is so hard to get this important teaching tool to work right.

Dr. Maurice Phipps

Dr. Maurice Phipps

Professor Emeritus, Parks and Recreation Management

Dr. Maurice Phipps, faculty emeritus for Western Carolina University has developed a guidebook for teachers and students to rediscover the value and the joy of cooperative learning.

“Cooperative Learning is a highly effective method of instruction and students trained in effective group skills are valued in the workplace but groups can be dreaded without some assurance that group skills and group processing are properly taught and applied.” – Maurice Phipps

He has simplified the challenge of group work by using the five elements of Cooperative Learning, which he says must all be present in order for students to form a high performing cooperative learning community. He breaks down group work into concepts, skills and roles, and tactics and strategies.

What does cooperative learning look like?

  • Positive interdependence (ways to ensure students work together)
  • Individual accountability (making sure all students are learning)
  • Face-to-face interaction (many ways to interact)
  • Interpersonal and small-group skills (to enable effective group functioning)

The Group Book

Dr. Phipps cowrote and published The Group Book: Effective Skills for Cooperative Groups as a reference manual for teachers and students to use in bringing together the necessary pieces.

Faculty can use it as a workbook for students (e.g. study p.5-10 and come into class prepared to practice the skill).

Or they can review it themselves and deploy the strategies as needed.

Some teachers give it to students to help them take ownership of their group learning and solve the kinds of 21st century problems they will encounter throughout the rest of their life.

 

Why?

  • Faculty who want to use this, do it because they want their students to learn soft skills (that combine with technical skills) for student success.
  • Compared with other dynamic group learning methods (e.g. team-based learning), cooperative learning is flexible and adaptable to any learning environment.
  • The only way to enable high-functioning student groups in your classroom is to equip students with group processing and group skills while setting a context for them to succeed.

Want to learn more?

  • Read more about Cooperative Learning using the resources below.
  • Keep an eye out for upcoming events hosted by the CFC for Excellence in Teaching and Learning that may include a workshop hosted by Dr. Phipps on the art of facilitating group work.
  • Dr Phipps is also hosting a regular faculty discussion for WCU faculty on the benefits, challenges, and strategies of group work. Please send him a message for more details.
  • Schedule an appointment with one of our educational developers to see how you can implement this unique learning design.
  • Don’t forget to pick up a copy of “The Group Book: Effective Skills for Cooperative Groups” online or at the Coulter Faculty Commons for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Resources

Important tips for putting VR experiences into your teaching

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.

What Does Student Engagement Mean in your Discipline?

Journal - New Directions for Teaching and Learning JournalA 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:

Leaf

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

Discipline: Biology
Title:Cooperative and Active Learning in Undergraduate Biological Laboratories at FIU– Implications to TA Teaching and Training

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

Cell FusionDiscipline: Physics
TitleInteractive-Engagement vs. Traditional Methods: A Six-Thousand-Student Survey of Mechanics Test Data for Introductory Physics Courses
Findings Snippet: “The conceptual and problem-solving test results strongly suggest that the classroom use of interactive-engagement methods can increase mechanics-course effectiveness well beyond that obtained in traditional practice.”
Authors: Hake
Year: 1992

Discipline: Physics
TitleCan 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

Human BrainDiscipline: Psychology
Title:Keeping it Short and Sweet: Brief, Ungraded Writing Assignments Facilitate Learning
Findings Snippet: “These results suggest that in-class writing and discussion improved performance on factual and conceptual multiple-choice exam questions, beyond any gain from time for in-class thinking and discussion.”

Authors: Drabick, Weisberg, Paul, and Bubier
Year: 2007

Physical ChemistryDiscipline: Physical Chemistry
Title:“I Believe I Will Go Out of This Class Actually Knowing Something”: Cooperative Learning Activities in Physical Chemistry
Findings Snippet: “We found that cooperative learning activities move students away from rote learning strategies and toward more meaningful strategies which allowed them to integrate concepts over the entire semester.”

Authors: Towns, Grant
Year: 1997

Two PeopleDiscipline: Human Resource Management
Title:The Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IF-AT): An Innovative Teaching Technique for Human Resource Management Students
Findings Snippet: “…through the use of Team Based Learning and the incorporation of the IF-AT students’ skills in the areas of communication, overall learning, cognitive and interpersonal skills through the use of teams or groups of students was enhanced. Authors: Blackman, Michaelsen, Knight, and Fink

Year: 2004

StatisticsDiscipline: Statistics
Title:Evaluating an Active Learning Approach to Teaching Introductory Statistics: A classroom workbook approach
Findings Snippet: “The activity based curriculum evaluated here produced significant positive changes in students’ attitudes toward statistics. Specifically, after experiencing the workbook curriculum students liked statistics more and were more confident in their ability to perform and understand statistics.”

Authors: Carlson and Winquist
Year: 2011

Robot ArmDiscipline: STEM
Title:Effects of Small-Group Learning on Undergraduates in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology: A Meta-Analysis
Findings Snippet: “The meta-analysis demonstrates that various forms of small-group learning are effective in promoting greater academic achievement, more favorable attitudes towards learning, and increased persistence….”
Authors: Springer, Stanne, and Donovan
Year: 1999

Discipline: STEM
Title:Active Learning Increases Student Performance In Science, Engineering, And Mathematics
Findings Snippet: A meta-analysis of 225 studies discovers that (on average, based on effect size) student performance on exams and concept inventories increased by .47 SDs when faculty utilized active learning strategies and methods (n=158 studies).

Authors: Freeman et al.
Year:2014

Human PhysiologyDiscipline: Human Physiology
Title: The Effect of Active Learning on Student Characteristics in a Human Physiology Course for Nonmajors

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 full article is available here.

Icons courtesy of icons8.