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!
Additionally, the Educational Development Team is open for group or individual consultations to partner with you to complete this work. Go to https://affiliate.wcu.edu/cfc/partners-in-pedagogy/ to schedule with us!
Writing Better Exam Questions
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.
(2) – Go to wcu.edu > QuickLinks > Blackboard or go directly to https://wcu.blackboard.com/ to log in.
Image – https://collegeinfogeek.com/open-book-exam/
Open Help Sessions for All Instructors
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:
Dates and times are as follows:
Monday, March 23 – March 25
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Guest 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
The Coulter Faculty Commons invites all faculty and instructional staff to submit a proposal to present at the Summer Institute of Teaching & Learning, to be held in Hunter Library May 19 – 21, 2020.
Call for Proposals is open February 3 and closes February 28, 2020
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.
Call of Proposals is open February 3 and closes February 28, 2020
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:
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
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
Title: Interactive-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.”
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
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
Discipline: 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
Discipline: 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
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
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
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.
Discipline: 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].”
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.
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