Greetings from the Center for Teaching & Learning.
This week I would like to share an excerpt from An Immense Flapping of Wings-Ways and Reasons to Bring Faculty Development to the Students
Eleven Ways to Bring Faculty Development to Students
- Make reflection on the process of learning a regular part of content presentations in class. Gary Smith's lead article in the last issue of NTLF provided a good example of a creative lesson that allows the students to discover the benefits of reflecting on the learning process. As students become cognizant of what constitutes a good learning experience, they start to appreciate these, and later will demand them.
- What works? What doesn't? Employ "T" charts on poster sheets set around the walls of the room. In the left column, have students list what practices are helpful to their learning. In the right column, ask students to list practices that make their learning difficult. Bring together a learning document (see item 10) for the class to address getting past what is not working.
- Pass on excerpts from faculty development resources by incorporating some into classes. For instance, the thirteen-year archive of Nutshell Notes is available at http://profcamp.tripod.com/nnbootmaster.pm.pdf. Professors tap these and use the short articles for brief beginning discussions in all kinds of classes. Topics that get most frequent use are the issues on rubrics, the Perry Model and nutrition for learners. Those with institutional online subscriptions to NTLF have access to all past archived issues, and a wealth of brief articles there that are written for faculty are also valuable readings for students.
- Have students construct their learning philosophies-their equivalents to our teaching philosophies. One may start by having students diagnose their learning styles. The site at http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Learning_Styles.html provides both a diagnosis and an explanation written for students. Have students draft an initial learning philosophy for themselves from insights gained from this diagnosis. Then, use that as a basis to improve that philosophy over time, and make revisions, much like making journal entries, whenever they gain new insights and skills. Maintain your teaching philosophy as you learn. Share these at times in class-compare your teaching philosophy with students' learning philosophies at end of a project. See what insights came to both sides as result of mindful reflection.
- Team-teach a combined non-psychology disciplinary content course together with a college learning strategies or cognition/ learning theory course. Use the latter to understand the learning process involved in the content learning of the former.
- Employ student management teams to probe the process of thinking and learning ongoing in the class. The handbook at http://www.isu.edu/docs/handbook.pdf is effective, free and easily adopted.
- Involve students in the design of rubrics used for their assignments. Stevens and Levi (2005) offer good advice for doing this. This offers opportunity to explore the differences between convergent and divergent problems, and to understand why different answers to divergent problems may not be equally valid or useful.
- Bring in a faculty developer to do a workshop on learning for your class. Discuss with the developer the learning outcomes that you seek, the nature of students in your class and the pedagogies that you will be employing in the course after the workshop. Alternatively, design a team-taught class session with your faculty developer that produces similar desired results as you switch between content and reflect on the ongoing process of learning content.
- Build reflection and self-assessment exercises on learning into tests and assignments. Use blocks of test-related knowledge survey items before tests and have students reflect on the accuracy of their self-assessment skills. A vehicle to do this is a variant of "the 95% quiz." The highest grade a student can achieve is a 95%. To get the remaining 5% after the graded test or project is returned, students must submit a self-reflection exercise that answers: (a) How accurate was my self-assessment? (b) What did I do well on and what made that possible? (c) On the part that I did most poorly, what different learning approach can I take to improve performance when faced with that kind of challenge again?
- Construct and use learning documents. Learning documents are not merely supplemental handouts that students receive for optional reading. The learning document becomes an integral part of the course itself. The understanding of the process of learning the content becomes important to the mastery of the content.
- Employ Small Group Instructional Diagnostic (SGID). This tool, often used to help faculty improve instruction, can also help students to reflect on the learning process ongoing in themselves and in the class. Biologist Joseph Clark at the University of Washington initially developed SGID. SGID is a process that gets students to provide meaningful feedback, typically near midterm, and to be directly involved in shaping learning activities. The process is voluntary (for both students and instructors), anonymous, and confidential at every step. It starts with students working in small groups in the absence of the instructor, to identify those things that promote or hinder learning in the class being considered. SGID has several different manifestations (see Creed, 1997).
Augustana Center for Teaching & Learning
 Nuhfer, E. B., Wirth, K., and Perkins, D., 2008, An Immense Flapping of Wings: Ways and Reasons to Bring Faculty Development to the Students: Educating in Fractal Patterns XXV: National Teaching and Learning Forum. v17, n6, pp. 8-11.