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Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

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  • Informal Early Feedback (IEF): A Valuable Opportunity for Just-in-Time Feedback

    Informal Early Feedback (IEF): A Valuable Opportunity for Just-in-Time Feedback.  Student evaluations of teaching are an important part of the feedback that instructors receive. This feedback can be especially helpful when it is collected midway in the semester. Our students can tell us if we explain clearly, are well-organized, grade fairly, and more. They may also be able to tell us if the activities we give them are well-aligned with the ways we evaluate their learning. Responding to students’ comments by discussing them in class, and making changes as appropriate, can lead to increased motivation, better learning, and possibly improved end-of-semester student ratings. Here is a description of the Informal Early Process (IEF) process and sample forms for you to adapt.   Also, CITL is offering two workshops this week and next to help you design your own IEF forms.  For more assistance, contact CITL.

  • The Most Crucial Two Minutes of Class

    The Most Crucial Two Minutes of Class. As an educator, I have an embarrassing confession: When I was younger, I was an incredibly difficult student.

    Read something? … On a good day, maybe I’d do some skimming.   Prepare ahead of time? … Nah, another student will do the talking. Pay attention in class? … What for? Why does this even matter to me?!

    There within that last cringe-worthy question lies the problem. For anyone who has been at the front of a classroom, you know that one of the greatest obstacles to learning is student apathy. To help overcome this barrier, I recommend the “motivation step,” a brief, introductory discussion designed to articulate why the material is significant. Not just because it may be on an exam, but rather because it will have real life, lasting consequences. It is a practice that immediately addresses that elephant in the room: Why the material matters.

  • Remotely Hands-On: Teaching lab sciences and the fine arts during COVID-19.

    (From Inside Higher Ed). Remotely Hands-On: Teaching lab sciences and the fine arts during COVID-19. This is the COVID-19 era, in which instructors who teach fundamentally hands-on courses across fields are finding ways to make remote learning work. McGreal stated, “it’s an exciting chance for us to do some things for an online format that will make our face-to-face classes better than ever before.” Take ice carving. McGreal plans to save the videos he’s made of fish and swan carvings for his students this semester and share them with his classes going forward. That way, he said, students can watch the videos in advance of class and be more prepared to attempt their own sculptures when they meet. “They’re coming into our worlds now instead of a steel, sterile classroom, and it makes you feel more comfortable.”  For STEM: Michelle Stocker, assistant professor of geobiology at Virginia Tech, agreed that “for this semester we can make it work. I wouldn’t necessarily say we like doing this at all, though.” The upper-level course is designed to be challenging and extremely hands-on, with students handling skeletal materials for 2.5 hours at a time. Students can’t interact with the materials as they can in the lab. So Stocker asks them to interact with each other more. Students are encouraged to virtually share bones they found on COVID-19-safe walks in the woods, for example, and the class works to identify the animal and what might have happened to it.  Here is additional information for simulations and the arts.

  • Back to the Basics: Revisiting the ABCs of Teaching Online Courses

    (From Faculty Focus). Back to the Basics: Revisiting the ABCs of Teaching Online Courses. The global pandemic sent higher education institutions into a whirlwind as many faculty members scrambled to make the rapid transition from traditional to online courses. However, COVID-19 revealed the creativity and resilience of our administrators, faculty, and staff. As efforts are implemented to foster a learning environment that engages all students, the challenges of digital access have been magnified, and the steep learning curve for faculty members who are new to the digital space has revealed the need for ongoing training. To equip faculty with best practices for teaching online, understanding the pedagogy of online education is foundational. The following is a summary of the fundamental things online instructors should remember to create an engaging, inclusive, and equitable learning environment for all students.

  • Practical Considerations in Online Learning: Asynchronous and Synchronous Environments.

    (from Tomorrow’s Professor). Practical Considerations in Online Learning: Asynchronous and Synchronous Environments.  Online classes can be conducted either synchronously (real-time virtual classrooms or chat) or asynchronously, meaning that postings are staggered. Our preference, based on our experiences with online teaching, is for the asynchronous environment. It is the creation of community in that environment to which all of our previous discussion relates. The asynchronous environment allows participants to log on to the class or discussion at any time, think about what is being discussed, and post their own responses when they wish. However, recent advances in synchronous technology, as well as increasing skill with its use, are helping us see the benefits of this form of technology in community building and the delivery of an online class.

  • How to Align Your LMS System with The Science of Learning

    (from edutopia.org) How to Align Your LMS System with The Science of Learning. The demands of distance learning will make your Learning Management System (LMS) more important than ever this year. Have you thought about how to align your tech with the best research on how students learn? Distance learning has brought many changes to our daily practice and made many of us feel like rookie teachers all over again. One foundational tech tool that’s been a lifeline—a pillar of certainty in an ever-changing school landscape—is my trusty Learning Management System (LMS).  Like any tool we use in the profession, an LMS requires that we match rich, meaningful learning objectives with the appropriate teaching strategy—and that means we should ask ourselves if we’re grounding our choices in the best research on how students learn. So how do we leverage these research insights to use LMSs in the most effective way possible? 

  • Using Breakout Rooms with Less Stress and Better Results.

    (from Faculty Focus). Using Breakout Rooms with Less Stress and Better Results. “What are we supposed to be doing?” (said every student at least once in a breakout room). Small groupwork enables students to “compare their current understandings with those of other team members. . .construct new understandings” (Brame, 2020), builds a learning community, facilitates reflection (Brame, 2020), and mirrors the workplace (Scott, 2011). When our instruction moved online this spring, many instructors found using videoconference breakouts much less effective and efficient than in F2F (Face to Face) classes because: a) students became confused; b) the instructor could not monitor progress quickly for all groups at once; and c) group report-backs were slowed.  Here are ways to structure the group activites in the breakout rooms.

  • Zoom Video Conferencing

    (from CITL)  Zoom Video Conferencing. Zoom is the preferred tool on our campus for live, online course sessions. Sessions using Zoom allow you to deliver online lecture materials in a variety of ways, including using a webcam for live lectures, using screen sharing to display a PowerPoint, and using break-out rooms to foster student collaboration.  Here are a few of the tools available in Zoom to help keep your students engaged.

  • Moving Classes Online Is Hard. Online Discussion Can Help

    (from Inside Higher Ed) Moving Classes Online Is Hard. Online Discussion Can Help. Teaching online requires an intentional, thoughtful approach to instructional design, especially at a time when students are being asked to transition at an unprecedented pace in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Amid the turmoil, it’s troubling -- if not surprising -- that challenges with the move to online learning will have the greatest impact on the students who are most at risk: research suggests that struggling students often have the most trouble succeeding in online programs. A growing body of evidence indicates that the biggest barrier to achieving equivalent success rates in online learning has been tackling the challenge of cultivating the sort of collaboration, engagement and discussion that are often the hallmark of great teaching and learning environments. Thoughtful instructional design and intentional use of technology can help make the most of online discussion to help improve student outcomes. Here are a few tips to navigate to for online programs. 

  • Using Social Media to Retain Contact with Students in the Shift to Online Education.

    (from Faculty Focus). Using Social Media to Retain Contact with Students in the Shift to Online Education. COVID-19 has upended normal social connections that develop between students and professors. We are missing the connections that develop through casual interactions in office hours, pre-class discussions, post-class questions, and any other in-person interaction. These social connections are important for student retention, academic development, diversity, and inclusion. As we thoughtfully shift our courses online, we must also strategically consider how to best replicate or innovate to develop social connections. The purposeful use of social media presents a great opportunity for educators to connect with their students and recreate some of the social connections that are lost due to online education, while also providing new ways of developing connections. We present 10 tips for using social media to maintain and develop social connections.