OLC Webinar – Keeping Student Engaged in a Transition to Online Learning

The Online Learning Consortium is offering a webinar on Friday that may be helpful.  Click on the date to register.

Webinar: Keeping Students Engaged in a Transition to Online Learning

March 20 | 1:00pm ET

As educators across the country and at all levels rush to shift their teaching to a virtual environment, their first focus is content and delivery—rightly so. Faculty also need to know how to identify online at-risk student behaviors that, if mitigated, can lead to better course outcomes and satisfaction for faculty and students, alike. This session will help you identify ways to proactively keep your students engaged in an online environment (course) and understand what data you can use to help mitigate attrition.

Assess Your Students’ Changing Needs – A Survey Template

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).

Open the Form


A heartfelt thank you to our colleague Dr. Mae Claxton, Professor of English, for reaching out to the CFC with this idea.

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

 

 

 

 

Best Practices in Honors Contracts Discussed by WCU Faculty and Students

Honors Update

Thinking about new ways of engaging students in Honors Contract projects this semester?  Listen in on a panel discussion in which faculty members from a variety of different departments and disciplines talk with Honors students about what makes a great honors project.  Students and faculty members share ideas about what works and doesn’t work, and they discuss ideas for projects and directions that motivate students.  The students and faculty also discuss aims, objectives, and expectations for Honors projects in lower level as compared to higher level courses.  Practical aspects of initiating and developing the project are also discussed in terms of best practices.  Faculty and students discuss their ideas of what an ideal honors project looks like and what the key elements and outcomes of that project involve.  The panel wraps up as students and faculty give examples and talk about the mentoring that happens throughout the semester in guiding an honors project to success.

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/qoXplYu1x8k

We hope that you will enjoy this student-faculty conversation and get some good ideas and inspiration as we start the semester.  Many thanks to our student and faculty participants!  Special thanks to Colin Townsend from The Honors College for moderating the panel.

Amethyst Hall, senior, majoring in Computer Information Systems
Rylan Paye, junior, majoring in Mechanical Engineering
Anna Haggy, senior, majoring in Environmental Health and Political Science
Eli Hatley, senior, majoring in Emergency Medical Care

Robert Adams, School of Engineering and Technology
Kelly Tracy, School of Teaching and Learning
Jeanne Dulworth, Department of Social Work
Rob Ferguson, Department of History
Colin Wasamund, Stage and Screen
Lori Oxford, Department of Modern Languages

Reminder that Honors Contracts are due no later than the fourth Friday of the semester.  This semester that will be Friday, February 7. Remember to access Honors Contracts in MyWCU. (see image)
Need help with Honors Contracts? Contact us at honors@wcu.edu or 227-7383.

Contemplative Practices for an Engaged Classroom with Dr. Jane E. Dalton

Jane E. Dalton

Friday, September 20, 2019

10:00am – 11:00am

Room 150, Bardo Arts Center

Workshop will include:

  • Overview of contemplative pedagogy and practices including embodied learning and slow pedagogy.
  • Explore how standard university courses and K12 classrooms can be enhanced by contemplative practices.
  • Methods for integrating contemplative practices into classroom settings including mindfulness meditation and arts-based approaches.
Jane Dalton is an Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. She earned her Ph.D. in Expressive Arts in Education, and an M.F.A in Textile Design and Weaving. Her research interests include teacher renewal, contemplative pedagogy, and transformative learning in classrooms using the arts.
 

Inspirational! I will use the meditation technique at the beginning of faculty meetings. ~ Principal, Elementary School

Soulful, spiritual, connecting, authentic and useful-what more could I ask for? Thank you immensely. You helped me connect with what I love about teaching.
~ Assistant Superintendent

Jane comes prepared with examples, handouts, enthusiasm, experience and knowledge. ~ N. Bradley, Handmade in America, Education Coordinator & Artist

This workshop was extremely useful. Jane had so many ideas for for all parts of our curriculum.
~ Teacher, Art Space Charter School

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.