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.

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.

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.

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