The PLEA for using just-in-time over in-real-time teaching modes!

It is easy to just assume that you will be able to have live class sessions online using Zoom at the same time and day they have been scheduled, but that will not produce a good learning experience for the students, nor will it be pleasant for you as the instructor.  We gathered a couple of really good posts that align with our approach to moving online quickly.

Do This, Not That

~Alison Wang, Online Teaching Do This Not That

Click on image to download the PDF. Creative Commons License Attribute No Derivative, No CommericalShared through Creative Commons, Attribute, No Derivative, No Commercial Purpose.

 

Do This, Not That Graphic

This has been flying around social media, but it’s one of the good ones. She refers to particular systems and programs but her advice is right on.

Please do a bad job of putting your courses online

What? Did I hear you correctly? YES!

As Rebecca Barrett-Fox says “You are NOT building an online class. You are NOT teaching students who can be expected to be ready to learn online. And, most importantly, your class is NOT the highest priority of their OR your life right now. Release yourself from high expectations right now, because that’s the best way to help your students learn.” ~https://anygoodthing.com/2020/03/12/please-do-a-bad-job-of-putting-your-courses-online/ 

And we like her list of 10 considerations:

  1. Your students know less about technology than you think. Many of them know less than you. Yes, even if they are digital natives and younger than you.
  2. They will be accessing the internet on their phones. They have limited data. They need to reserve it for things more important than online lectures.
  3. Students who did not sign up for an online course have no obligation to have a computer, high-speed wifi, a printer/scanner, or a camera. Do not even survey them to ask if they have it. Even if they do, they are not required to tell you this. And if they do now, that doesn’t mean that they will when something breaks and they can’t afford to fix it because they just lost their job at the ski resort or off-campus bookstore.
  4. Students will be sharing their technology with other household members. They may have LESS time to do their schoolwork, not more.
  5. Many will be working MORE, not fewer, hours. Nurses, prison guards, firefighters, and police officers have to go to work no matter what. As healthcare demand increases but healthcare workers get sick, there will be more and more stress on those who remain.
  6. Some of your students will get sick. Others will be caring for people who are ill.
  7. Many will be parenting.
  8. Social isolation contributes to mental health problems.
  9. Social isolation contributes to domestic violence.
  10. Students will be losing their jobs, especially those in tourism and hospitality.

Other recommendations she puts forward that we promote as well:

  • “Don’t do too much. Right now, your students don’t need it. They need time to do the other things they need to do.”
  • Make all assignments due at 11:59 pm on the same day of the week. Make them due on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. instead of Friday so that they use the evenings and week-end to get work done.
  • Allow students to take every exam or quiz twice so that if there is a technical problem (such as getting kicked out of the LMS), they will have another opportunity to complete the exam.
  • Record lectures only if you need to.  But use the TED talk method: no longer than 18 minutes and focused on one concept, big question or idea.
  • Don’t fuss over videos.  Don’t worry about your ums and ers. It helps if you write a script (also provides a transcript for ADA purposes) and read through it a few times.  Then practice 5 times just the first few sentences or first few slides. That will get you into the recording without the jumpstarts we do at the start.
  • Do NOT require synchronous work!  Students’ life and schedules have been turned upside-down as well. A good use of Zoom or Bb Collaborate is to use it for office hours or tutoring sessions. But make it optional.
  • Do not use proctoring or ask students to record themselves when taking a test.  This is a violation of their privacy and they did not sign up for an online course.
  • Remind them of due dates. This is not hand-holding!!  They need contact from you and as we said before, their lives have been turned upside down.  Be kind to them and kind to yourself.  Be supportive and encouraging, Be a mentor and coach!
  • Respond to them when they ask for help.  These are anxious times and they will need encouragement.

We will continue to share quick tips and helpful resources over the next few weeks!

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

Secret Reading Weapon: Your Textbook’s TOC

The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain, Available from Stylus Publishers

The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain, Available from Stylus Publishers

Terry Doyle, author of The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain, encourages teachers to think about the conversations we have with students related to student reading.

For example, when asking students to read for homework, do we ask them to simply “read the chapter”? Or do we discuss reading strategies that can help make reading a more active process?

Mr. Doyle emphasizes practices such as questioning and annotation. Questioning involves students writing questions about the headlines they see in the passage, before they read the passage.

One way to facilitate this kind of active reading is for us to consider our textbook’s Table of Contents, assuming we rely on our text for a substantial portion of our teaching.

 

 

Here are some steps the CFC identified to help create a formative assignment related to reading and comprehension:

  1. Search Google for your textbook’s table of contents.
  2. If you are able to find them on the web, copy and paste them into a Word document.
  3. Create smaller Word documents from the large document, such as a separate document for each chapter you’ll ask them to read.
  4. Post the documents to your course in the LMS:

a) as a discussion board prompt. Ask them to discuss the topics you post. What do they know about the topic, if anything? Where/how did they learn it? (Then assign the reading).

b) as an online assignment. If you want the reading to count for a more significant portion of their grade, a more substantial activity/assignment could be developed.

You might have seen this kind of practice in a textbook you use or have used before. Have you ever seen a short set of discussion questions in the opening pages of a chapter? They might have been written as reflective questions or questions intended to stimulate prior knowledge.

Creating minor, formative assignments centered around reading supports several principles for improving student learning, namely activating prior knowledge, and an opportunity to clarify prior misconceptions that students hold, which can be a barrier to them applying what they’ve learned in later stages of the course.  

The stepsheet Encourage Active Reading can walk you through the process for a course you teach.