Greetings from the Center for Teaching & Learning.
Those with a keen, discerning eye may have noticed that I added a request to the Faculty Needs Assessment survey this year: Please describe any new technique or strategy that you have tried recently in one or more of your courses. While this makes for an awfully long newsletter, I wanted to share the responses with you in hopes of sparking curiosity and encouraging creative thinking. Enjoy! (And forgive me for the length!)
- I'm contemplating not giving an evident grade on writing assignments -- just feedback. Students would have to make an appointment to talk about grades.
- incorporating more video clips from websites
- Inviting students to make significant decisions about course methods in the first meeting.
- Daily learning log (idea stolen from Mamata. Ask the student to identify what they regard as the main topic for the day and subtopics also covered. Most importantly, then ask student how comfortable he or she is with that material covered.
- formative assessment as feedback for both teacher and student--not grading, but giving extensive feedback on assignments
- Individual meetings for paper process feedback in lieu of extensive written feedback.
- Instituting frequent student feedback with forms available and a summative assessment at the end of the term.
- In light of some of the most recent "brain" research, I'm working on incorporating more movement into my class sessions.
- concept maps
- Giving students more chance for input on certain things; more group work
- Something called "radical revision" I picked up from a conference presentation.
- Small student group research, analyses, and presentation to the class and sometimes other faculty. No, this is not NEW but I have refined it till even the students seem to appreciate the end result.
- service learning partnership with Putnam Museum
- I am about to introduce case studies this term: one created by another group and one created by myself!
- I am trying to work my way into theory-praxis courses, and will propose an LC course for next year that is connected to volunteer opportunities. I could use help (and maybe share my work) with others.
- I use role playing (moot court) in Constitutional law. In general that course is based on an application of Perry, and I continue to modify it as the (mixed) results come in. Taddy and I have done a number of joint assignments in our LC's. I've been making increasing use of short presentations in recent years, particularly applications of course materials to current events.
- Pair programming - two students working together on a (computer programming) assignment
- small group workshops for reading & outlining assignments (specifically how to read and understand empirical literature published in psychology)
- Added a Service learning component to my Interpreting the Bible class that required students to be participant observers at a local food pantry. The director did a number of guest lectures about (reasons for, what it's like, challenges for those in poverty, etc). I thought it was a successful experiment in spite of the fact that my class was too large & we only had the 2nd 1/2 of the winter term to actually do the service learning.
- Service learning / experiential learning
- I used a wiki for a class last spring that seemed to help the students. I am planning on jumping into the deep end with wikis in my classes this fall. One wiki will be used for making work public and useful to peers and the other will be used as a space to work through the ideas collectively.
- One on one "Lab chats" in place of traditional lab reports: students loved them and felt they were much more helpful/realistic than reports (solo or group) but they were waaaaay too time consuming to sustain...
- problem based learning portfolios
- Invisible theatre
- I used Moodle forums for student discussion of articles linking my science course to issues in society. This year, I'm expanding the assignment to include a research paper requirement for discussion leaders so that they will be acting as more of an expert teaching their peers than a conversation facilitator. Same issues as always with assessment...how do you assess student responses and involvement in the forum?
- I've been experimenting with different ways to use Moodle.
- In preparation for their final research essay, I had my students interview a member of the community -- either a scholar or a professional who worked in their intended major field -- and, prior to that interview, had them act it out, where they played the person they would be interviewing and I played them, the student. Each brought a list of relevant questions to class that day, and their goal, in acting out the future interview scenario, was to anticipate their interviewee's answers, hopefully coming up with follow-up questions in the process of the exercise. I then had my students take a few minutes to reflect, in writing, on the exercise, jotting down any follow-up questions they came up with to help them engage even further during their upcoming interview.
- More in-class assessment techniques, minute papers, etc.
- debates, multi-step exams/quizzes (individual, then group)
- Reading minutes to hold students individually accountable for the daily reading
- Not yet, but soon, blended learning!
- a shift from summative to formative assessments
- Community-Service Learning with Augie Acres and Farm to Fork program
- Required hard labor outdoors
- For the first time, I had students provide feedback on my feedback/comments on their assignments. I found that it held me more accountable to taking the time to try to be clear in my comments, and it forced students to actually read the comments (something we know they too rarely do). I only piloted it in one class last year, but it seemed promising so I plan to implement it in more of my classes this year.
Let me know what new ideas this may have engendered!
Augustana Center for Teaching & Learning