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.Thissessionwill 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 227-7383.
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.
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.