Teaching at Trent, A Bain

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Content: Teaching at Trent
A publication of the Instructional Development Centre
Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2004
In this Issue 1 Mirroring the Journal Review Process with Peer Reviewed Essays 3 Calibrated Peer Review: IT to Engage Students in Writing & Critical Thinking 4 Reflections of a First-time User of Peer Editing & Assessment 5 Culture, Communication, Crйativitй: Shaping Change in Higher Education 6 The Peer Review Process 7 Facilitators Share their Teaching Experiences 8 2003­2004 AIF Disbursements Editor: Angie Best Assistant Editor: Hilary Wear
Mirroring the Journal Review Process with Peer Reviewed Essays By Alison Bain, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography
Peer review is an underutilized, yet valuable, resource for undergraduate student learning. While the use of peer review for student assignments may require additional organization and planning in the preparation of the course syllabus, it is worth the investment of time and effort. Peer review can facilitate the sharing of ideas, the development of independent study and research groups, and the building of seminar morale. This article will discuss my use of peer review in an upper-year course at Trent University, and will share student feedback on perceived learning outcomes and benefits from participation in this teaching strategy. I used a peer review exercise for a third year urban social geography course that I taught in the Winter term of 2003. Initially, I had scheduled a final exam and I developed this assignment in the last few weeks of the course as an alternative to the exam. The assignment was designed to mirror the journal review process: submit a manuscript, have it anonymously reviewed, revise the manuscript, and resubmit it with a cover letter detailing the changes made. The student feedback on this assignment was so positive, and the quality of the final work so noticeably improved that I would use this teaching strategy again. The Assignment I asked the students to produce a research paper of 2500­ 3000 words on a topic that explored some aspect of the urban Geography of Canada or the United States. (This research paper was weighted 25% of their final grade.) In a one-page research proposal they identified a research question, outlined the signficance of the topic, and clarified the spatial and temporal scope of the study. The first draft of the research paper was due in class two weeks before the last lecture.
Peer Evaluation In order to keep this an anonymous process, I removed the cover pages and attached a marking guide with the name of the peer evaluator on it. I made an effort to pair up students who shared an interest in a particular topic. The students had two weeks to complete their peer review. Before the students began their evaluation, I asked them to read over the research paper marking guideline to ensure that they were familiar with the features that I would be looking for when I marked the final paper. I asked them to keep these guidelines in mind as they evaluated the paper. I explained to them that I expected them to mark up the draft they had been given with comments, questions, and grammatical changes, in much the same way that I do when I evaluate their writing assignments. I wanted the margins and body of the text to show written evidence of editorial suggestions. I asked them to write a paragraph summarizing their comments and outlining the main strengths and weaknesses of the paper. As I explained it to them, the point of the exercise was for them to critically evaluate the work of others and to provide constructive feedback that will help their peers produce a more polished piece of academic writing. 10% of their grade for this assignment was based on ... continued on page 2
Teaching at Trent Newsletter The Teaching at Trent newsletter is intended to provide Trent's instructional community with a means to exchange ideas and information on professional development issues, pedagogical techniques, and effective teaching practices. The Instructional Development Centre (IDC) invites submissions of articles and teaching tips which will provide readers with practical, creative ideas they can use to enhance teaching and learning in their courses. Please direct queries and submissions to: Angie Best IDC Coordinator and Teaching at Trent Editor Instructional Development Centre OC 221.1 1600 West Bank Dr. Trent University Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8 Phone: (705) 7481011, ext. 1254 Fax: (705) 748-1143 E-mail: [email protected] Web Site: http:// www.trentu.ca/idc/ Page 2
Mirroring the Journal Review Process ... continued from page 1 their peer evaluation. They were evaluated on the quality, thoughtfulness, and detail of the comments they provided. In the last class I returned the reviewed papers to the students. They had ten days (until the date of the cancelled final exam) to make any changes to the original paper. With the revised version of the paper they were required to submit a one-page explanation of any changes they had made at the recommendation of the reviewer. I explained to them that they could choose to not follow the reviewer's advice, but, if this was the case, I expected them to justify their decision and explain why they didn't think that the changes were necessary. I received three items from each student to evaluate: the original draft of the paper with the reviewer's comments; the revised version of the paper; and the one-page explanation of the changes made. Student Feedback All of my students took this assignment seriously. They provided each other with detailed and constructive suggestions for improvement: "I feel that my evaluator for this project did an excellent job by providing me with both positive and negative feedback. They were reasonable suggestions that allowed me to better my paper in many ways. This assignment was a great idea and a wonderful learning experience for the class, especially for students planning to be teachers in the future" (Heather, 2003). For many students it was the first time they had the opportunity to read the work of their peers: "I would like to tell you that I thought this was a really beneficial exercise. I have never really critically examined anyone's work before, nor have I had my work critically examined before (other than by a professor). The comments provided on my paper were thorough and very insightful. There were some minor areas where I let the comments go but for the most part, I altered the paper according to the comments that were provided ... This exercise has helped me to be more critical when writing my own papers" (Linsday, 2003).
"This is my first experience formally reviewing someone else's paper and also receiving criticism on my work. I think this assignment was great, and taught me a lot. Having someone review your work is a great refresher and offers ideas and suggestions that one may not have thought of. I find when I edit my own work I often miss easy mistakes because in my head I know what it is supposed to sound like and I don't pick up on the mistakes. Also, it is great to be critical and use marking skills on someone else's paper anonymously. I find when people have to edit other people's work, they often make changes that are subtle since they do not want to offend anyone by changing the structure of the paper. I know the paper that I re-read had some major mistakes that I did not expect to see, and I was not afraid to point them out. After reviewing the comments and proposed changes for my paper, I realized that I have made a lot of 'dumb mistakes'. The comments and proposed changes will help my paper flow and read easier, which will hopefully improve my mark ... I recommend this to your upcoming classes and thank you for doing it this year" (Matthew, 2003). This assignment allowed students to share ideas and to learn from one another. It allowed them to compare the quality of their work with their peers and to gauge what a numerical grade might differently translate to in practice. Some students were impressed at the creativity and writing skills of their peers. Other students were surprised at the poor quality of work (we, the professors would normally be expected to read), that students produced in terms of spelling, grammar, organization, and argument development: "The idea to have students edit and revise papers was a great idea. Although the paper I edited had extremely poor grammar and sentence structure, it was interesting to critically edit the work of another student. The student that edited my paper was very critical and I found some of the ideas useful and some of the ideas not useful ... Overall, this was a good exercise and I recommend that you do this again in the future" (Trevor, 2003). You can see from the range of comments that I received back from students that they found the assignment to be a valuable learning activity. I would recommend that if you haven't already, you too should give peer assessment a try on a small scale in one of your classes next year!
In evaluating the work of their peers, students learned to look more critically at their own writing:
Office: Environmental Sciences Building, 315 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 5382 E-mail: [email protected]
Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2004
Calibrated Peer ReviewTM IT to Engage Students in Writing & Critical Thinking By Dr. Geri Van Gyn, Professor and Director, The Learning & Teaching Centre, University of Victoria
The following article was published in Currents, a publication of the Teaching & Learning Centre, University of Victoria, Vol. I, No. 3, January 2004. It is reprinted with permission of the author. Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) is an instructional tool available on the Internet that gives students the opportunity to write and learn about specific topics in a course, to learn to review and assess these topics and then to engage in a review of their peers' and their own work, all in an online environment. Developed by Orville Chapman, Professor of Organic Chemistry at UCLA in collaboration with Michael Fiore, an IT specialist, CPR was modelled after the processes followed by scientists as they write research proposals and review the proposals of others. Intended initially for science courses, it has proven to be transferable to many other disciplines. You can develop your own CPR assignments or you can draw from a library of assignments. The work is in the design of the assignments as once they are developed the rest of the process is up to the students. The following is a brief description of each of the steps to complete in a CPR assignment: 1. Following the study of resource material and review of the assignment goals and guided by your prepared questions, students write a short essay on a specific topic. 2. Students submit their essay electronically and receive in return three versions of an essay on the topic, which you have prepared. The first version is an excellent example of the assignment and is accompanied by a series of questions that helps them to understand what is important to include in such an essay Page 3
and how it should be written. The second and third versions are less well done, and guided by the same questions, students learn to recognize the flaws and gaps in these poorer essays. In each case, they assign a score to the calibrated essay. Once students demonstrate that they are capable of reviewing the topic, they receive a calibration report indicating how well they did on the reviews and areas for attention.
enough time to include comprehensively in your course but that you think are important for students to understand. CPR is designed for learning, not assessment, and is precisely the type of IT use to which Jonassen, Car and Yueh (1998) were referring when they stated that students should learn with IT not from IT. Reference
3. Students then receive and must review three peer essays and assign a score to each along with feedback to the author justifying their score.
Jonassen, D.H., Carr, C., & Yueh, H-P. (1998). Computers as mindtools for engaging learners in critical thinking. Technology Trends 43(2), 24-32.
4. Once these are submitted, then students receive their own essay to review. 5. Students receive a report containing all of the peer reviews.
Phone: (250) 721-8572 E-mail: [email protected]
At the end of this process, there is little doubt that students will have acquired the knowlege intended in the assignment and will have practiced many of the important processes of describing, forming arguments and constructing support, and abstracting and critically analysing. The design of an excellent assignment will ensure prolonged and critical engagement with the source material which is the key to student learning. The design is in your hands; the set of digital tools that make up CPR handles the process. You may want to identify course concepts for CPR assignments that are particularly troublesome for students. Then, the student can work on the concepts outside of class time, allowing you time to address difficulties and particularly complex questions in class. CPR assignments can be equally useful for addressing those topics that you do not have quite
Interested in using CPR? If you are interested in previewing CPR, visit the web site at: http://cpr.molsci.ucla.edu After taking the tour and reading the FAQs, and you wish to explore it further for use in your course, please contact the Instructional Development Centre (IDC). CPR designers require an administrator for an institution to monitor access for courses. The IDC has been designated in this role and will help you to set up an account. Office: OC 221.1 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 1254 E-mail: [email protected]
Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2004
Reflections of a First-time User of Peer Editing & Assessment English 375 (Creative Writing: Poetry) By Gordon Johnston, Professor, Department of English Literature
Because the students were working (in the peer editing and assessment portions of the course) with each other's poetry, and not with academic essays or academic projects, their experience will not be identical to that of students editing and assessing each other's essays, but it is surely comparable in a number of ways, and some aspects of their and my experience may be revealing for others who are employing or considering the use of peer evaluation. I should say first that the assessment of the students' poetry and of their exercises and critical work was for the most part done by me. There were weekly exercises in poetic technique during the year; there was a large manuscript with commentary at the end of the year. But I asked the students to comment on their partners' work in the two peer edit exercises, and I asked them at the end of the year to assess the other students' contribution to the weekly small group discussions. Peer Edit Exercises Part of the intention of the course was that students would acquire editorial skills and expertise (as well as extend their poetic technique), and so on two occasions (once each term) they worked in pairs as editors for each other's writing. We refined the guidelines for the secondterm exercise, based on experience of the first one; we explicitly built in the stages of the process: they were required to do more than one revision of the poem and to submit to me eventually the original and the two revisions of the poem, to keep records of the advice received, to explain the reasons for accepting or rejecting advice, and to give an account of the process and experience as a whole. I learned that it is crucially important to give clear guidelines and deadlines. I left it to the students to arrange their meetings with each other; they were allowed to work online if they wished. (Their comments at the end of the year on the experience of working in pairs suggest that there are
distinct advantages to working in person, those advantages including: immediate query and response, immediate clarifications and minor corrections.) I received good advice from them at the end of the course about a number of aspects: the editorial pairs had been chosen by draw, and the results of this selection method were mixed, not surprisingly, depending on the reliability and commitment of the participants. As one poet/editor delicately phrased it, "the random selection of partners reduced the usefulness of the exercise." Would it be better for me to have created the pairs myself, or to have allowed them to choose their own partners? I haven't decided. I think that the experience of having to deal with a disorganized or unmotivated or evasive partner might actually be useful, since it is not unheard of in the real world of poetry (if that is not an oxymoron!), but that means the playing field will never be exactly level. Then again, allowing partners to choose each other creates inequities as well. And what about those who aren't chosen by anyone? Another student suggestion was that class time might be used for at least the first mutual editing session, to ensure that the first drafts of the poems were ready promptly, to kick-start the exercise in sufficient time, and to use a personal exchange as at least the basis for the later work. Assessment was anecdotal, and given to me in their commentaries on the process. The grade for the exercise was divided equally between their poet and editor functions, and was influenced by their partner's account of their performance as both poet and editor. Field Mode The unwillingness to be critical or even blunt was demonstrated early in the other peer edit
component of the course, which we called Field Mode: the weekly small group meetings in which they talked about each other's poems. Again, clear guidelines are absolutely necessary for these sessions to work. The sessions required a fairly elaborate set-up in which the students always had to have a certain number of poems in the larder (on WebCT), and the poems for that week and the changing membership of the groups had to be announced in sufficient time for them to prepare. At the beginning of the year, the discussions were fairly unstructured, and very tentative, characterized mostly by mutual support and praise, with very tentative suggestions about details. The quality of the preparation and participation varied considerably, and because I could not attend all of the small groups' discussions, since they happened simultaneously, we agreed that part of the grade for Field Mode would be assigned by the students themselves. Again with this component it is necessary to provide clear guidelines. The three components of the grade were: "estimated level of preparation," "amount of participation," and "quality of contribution." I gave them sheets with tables where those categories were listed and with all the students' names, including their own. I required of them that they also assign themselves a grade (as a kind of benchmark for their assessment of the others). I explained that if they did not feel they knew enough about any particular student in any particular category they should not give a grade. I also explained that if anyone assigned all perfect grades to all students, those grades would not be used in the average. The students' assessments were in some cases quite different from my own, suggesting that the kind of advice they were getting from each other was sometimes more useful than I supposed. There were some signs in some of their evaluations of personal preferences and ... continued on page 5
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Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2004
Reflections from a First-Time User ... continued from page 4 loyalties, but there was no vindictiveness or apparent distortion. The average of the student assessments counted for half the Field Mode grade, the other half of that grade being assigned by me. Students described Field Mode (in the course evaluation) as "of paramount importance," "excellent," "probably the most informative part of the course," and "very helpful in acquiring a better understanding of the reader's expectations." They also pointed out that the quality of the discussions increased during the year: "as the year progressed we opened up more." "The discussions were relevant and worthwhile, especially as the year progressed." This is partly because they developed more confidence in their critical judgment and in
each other. As with the other components, the setup needs to be thorough and needs to be open to any necessary revisions; the expectations need to be clear from the outset. The WebCT version of Field Mode (in which they posted poems in their own folders at any point during the year and the other students were able to comment, advise, suggest improvements) was not as successful, in their opinion, for various reasons: there were no grades attached to it, and so not as much motivation to participate, even though the advice offered online was often very perceptive and helpful. It was hard to sustain a dialogue for any length of time online, to expand on comments, or clarify them. They were inclined to respond to the work of students they knew personally, and felt less comfortable dealing with others' work. They didn't like discussing others' work without them there.
The peer editing process (either the oneon-one exercises or in groups) and the peer assessment exercise raise questions clearly of trust, as do all the elements involving peer editing and assessment. It was helpful to them for me to model the kinds of responses and advice which might be useful in the group discussions. My own reservations about the quality of students' assessments have been entirely removed by their thoughtfulness, intelligence and candour in helping each other and evaluating each other's work. Some of the editing relations established during the course will clearly continue privately now that it is finished. They were good for each other, useful to each other, and that was good for me to see. Office: OC 229 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 1522 E-mail: [email protected]
Culture, Communication, Crйativitй: Shaping Change in Higher Education Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network, Hyatt Regency Montrйal, Montrйal, Quйbec, November 4-7, 2004 http://atech2.wku.edu/skuhlens/podsubmit/program/index.html
Culture, Communication, and Crйativitй: these three key words were chosen as the theme for this year's conference because of their actual and potential impact on the teaching and learning enterprise in higher education.
Change is a constant in most educational institutions today. However, efforts to innovate and adapt in higher education must take fully into account the cultural context to be successful. Here we refer to institutional culture, the culture of the professoriate or academic culture, student cultures, and the broader cultural context--the environment in time and space--that provides the setting for teaching and learning. How do we identify these cultures? How can we achieve our goals as faculty, as educational developers and as administrators in these cultural contexts? How can we influence these cultures to allow for innovation and change?
Effective communication is a pre-requisite to achieving teaching and learning outcomes in higher education. Effective communication requires the honing of reading, writing, speaking, and listening competencies on the part of all actors in the higher education community. Language lies at the heart of the communication process: initiatives aimed at improving pedagogical practices rely heavily on our skilled and sensitive use of language. Language is also at the core of change since the way we talk about what we do helps to define our everyday reality. How do we communicate about teaching and learning? How do we foster effective communication strategies in the classroom and on our campuses? How can we hone the communication competencies of faculty and students?
To shape change in higher education, to innovate in program design and in classroom practice, also requires creativity. Creativity helps to drive discovery, to channel scholarship, to fashion new models for teaching and learning. Members of the academic community remain vital by maintaining contact with sources of creative inspiration, both traditional and avant-garde. What helps you to be creative? How can we increase our own or others' creative potential? What are our visions of higher education beyond what is known today?
Session Tracks: Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Issues in Higher Education; Faculty Development Research and Theory; Diversity Issues in Higher Education; Professional and Organizational Development at Small Colleges; Teaching Assistant Development and Preparing Future Faculty; Organizational Development and Change
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Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2004
The Peer Review Process By Sarah Keefer, Professor, Department of English Literature
How Peer Review Works · Students in a seminar submit a draft for each stage of their project. The instructor does not see the draft at this stage. · Students are responsible for reading and critiquing the drafts of their classmates. If the seminar is a large one, divide the labour so that every draft gets at least three readers (but no more). · The drafts are returned (unseen by the instructor) with commentary after one week. Students then have another week to rewrite based on the commentary and suggestions they received. · Fair copy, draft and signed commentaries are handed in to the instructor. The fair copy is graded with use of the draft to see what improvements have been made. The commentaries are assessed for the peer review grade. · The next stage builds on the research of earlier stages rather than being cut off from them. The goal is a year-long project that demonstrates the process of "real-life" research and scholarly undertaking. Peer review works best for full-year courses, third- and fourth-year students, and courses that can accommodate a project built over a number of months, preferably in blocks that the students can easily review. What Peer Review Does · It builds a sense of academic community within a seminar of students. · It provides modelling that is entirely student-driven, and gives ownership of research pedagogy to students in the
course. This allows more space for the instructor to provide parallel pedagogy on course material. · It allows students to work independently on their projects in a student-centred environment without the instructor's influence, generating independence of thought, method and execution. · It allows genuine depth of research over a year, more closely emulating "real life" projects than the artificial "three assignments" design of a university course. · It allows students to develop lateral expertise on research topics by reading and critiquing the research of their classmates. Peer Review Models I Have Used An early model (2002­2003) of the peer re- view process focused on students preparing a critical edition of one poem over the course of the year. There were nine students in the course. At each stage, students reviewed each other's work, commented on it, and made suggestions. The end result of this year long project was: one poem in semi-diplomatic and critical text form; an introduction to the poem; an annotated bibliography and status quaestionis essay; and the choice of a glossary to the poem, a critical essay on the poem, or a conference paper on editing problems connected with the poem. In 2003­2004 the course work devel- oped toward a single cumulative project: a students' online course journal called Anglo-Saxon Studies in Middle Earth. Each student prepared and presented an article to submit for consideration for this journal, based on the model of acdemic study that makes up a scholar's research record. As course instructor, I served as the journal editor with all members of the class
acting as the editorial review board who adjudicated, commented on, and suggested revisions for all stages of every project before any grading took place. The stages of this project are outlined below. · In-class presentations that led to an historical study (peer review nine submissions in the seminar group). · In-class presentations that led to a preliminary study for the journal article (peer review five submissions in the seminar group). · Blind-review of the other seminar group's submissions (peer review three submissions closely [based on expertise], and read the other seven for discussion). · Six articles were chosen by the editorial board for each seminar, which led to the production of two issues of the online journal. What Needs Doing · Design your syllabus with all dates worked out in advance to allow for turnaround of review process and re-drafting. · Spell out all details so that everyone knows what to do next. · Restrict number of pieces to be read (this was the main mistake we made). · Make the work as accessible as possible. Consider designating a location/time for the peer review, or allow students to take the work home overnight (though this would necessitate multiple copies). Office: Traill College, Wallis Hall 117 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 1813 E-mail: [email protected]
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Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2004
Facilitators Share their Teaching Experiences Encouraging excellence and innovation in teaching and learning is at the heart of the Instructional Development Centre's mandate. This mandate is achieved in part by providing faculty with a forum to discuss professional development issues, pedagogical techniques, and effective teaching practices through the Centre's Teaching Effectiveness Program (TEP) and newsletter, Teaching at Trent. The TEP offers a forum to promote talk about teaching among Trent instructors. It is a space/place where instructors bring their teaching successes and challenges. It is a forum for creative problem solving, building on the practices of others. Since we strengthen our learning community by sharing ideas with others, participants are encouraged to bring specific ideas of teaching and learning approaches that have worked well for them to the sessions. This program relies on a volunteer model of participation, not only in attendance, but also in session facilitation. The Instructional Development Centre (IDC) would like to extend a special thank you to the following twenty-four individuals who generously shared their time, experience and insight with the Trent University instructional community: · Jocelyn Aubrey, Associate Professor, Psychology: Teaching Large Classes · Alison Bain, Assistant Professor, Geography: Peer Assessment of Student Work · Deborah Berrill, Director, SCHOOL OF EDUCATION and Professional Learning: 1) Creating Teaching Portfolios: Getting Started; 2) Promoting Student Participation; 3) Assessment as Pedagogy; 4) Encouraging and Promoting Critical Thinking; 5) Teaching Large Classes; 6) Occasioning; 7) Online Teaching Strategies · Vern Douglas, Cultural Advisor, Native Studies: Working Successfully with Aboriginal Students: Not all the "Indians" are in Native Studies · Sarah Keefer, Professor, English Literature: Peer Assessment of Student Work · Maged El Komos, Writing Instructor, Academic Skills Centre: Infusing Critical Thinking Skills into Assignment Requirements · Michael Konopaski, Lecturer, Business Administration: Learning to be a Critical Thinker using the Case Study Approach · Aline Germain-Rutherford, Director, Centre for University Teaching, University of Ottawa: facultydevelopment.ca · Wilf Gray, Course Instructor, School of Education and Professional Learning: Online Teaching Strategies · Lisa-Anne Hagerman, Lecturer, Nursing: Learning to be a Critical Thinker using the Case Study Approach · Carolyn Kay, Associate Professor, History: Our Do's and Don'ts of Lectures and Seminars · Wendy Kelly, Course Instructor, Psychology: Academic Emotions: Simple Ways to Reduce Anxiety in our Students · Peggy Kruger, ESL Instructor, Academic Skills Centre: Working with ESL Students: Challenges and Strategies · Jean Luyben, Information Services Librarian, Bata Library: Library Skills Program · David Page, Associate Professor, Ancient History and Classics: Our Do's and Don'ts of Lectures and Seminars · Darryl Papke, Liason Officer, School of Education and Professional Learning: Online Teaching Strategies · Tania Pattison, ESL Instructor, Academic Skills Centre: Working with ESL Students: Challenges and Strategies · David Poole, Associate Dean of Arts and Science (Teaching and Learning); Professor, Mathematics: Teaching Large Classes · Robert Silvestri, Learning Strategist, Disability Services Office: Teaching to Learning Styles · Nancy M. Smith, Academic Coach, Disability Services Office: Teaching to Learning Styles · Denise Stockley, Adviser on Teaching and Learning, Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University: Building Learning Communities Online and in the Classroom · Shirley Williams, Professor Emeritus, Native Studies: Using Technology to Teach Ojibway Language · Rachel Wortis, Assistant Professor, Physics: Teaching 1st Year Classes · Kelly Young, Lecturer, School of Education and Professional Learning: Occasioning During the 2003­2004 academic year, the IDC hosted twenty internal sessions, and sponsored faculty participation in two external events. 245 attendees shared their experiences in this year's Teaching Effectiveness Program, 119 of which were unique participants (71 faculty, 33 graduate students and 15 teaching support staff). The IDC invites faculty, staff and graduate students to share their teaching strategies and experiences with the Trent instructional community. If you are interested in contributing to the Teaching at Trent newsletter or (co) facilitating a Teaching Effectiveness Program session, please contact Angie Best (phone: 748-1011, ext. 1254; office: OC 221.1; E-mail: [email protected]).
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Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2004
2003-2004 Academic Innovation Fund Disbursements
The 2003­2004 disbursement of the Aca- demic Innovation Fund (AIF) provided $80,475 for 19 projects that support teaching at Trent University. The internal fund is designed to support projects that strengthen Trent University's undergraduate programs and to support professional development and pedagogical research. To date, this fund has committed $406,912 to 76 projects. The following projects received funding in the 2003­2004 allocation: Angus Cleghorn: $1,000 to broaden students' knowledge of 20th century poetry and related English 440 course materials while allowing access to an exceptional academic environment: the Wallace Stevens Conference. Lynne Davis: $2,028 to support students in the later stages of their Ph.D. program through a writing retreat in which students will interact with Native Studies faculty and Guest Speakers in a stimulating and peaceful environment. Bernadine Dodge: $5,382 to digitize letters of the Yeats family and to create a contextualized web exhibit. The digitized resources will allow students and scholars to conduct research using these original documents, while protecting the documents from undue handling. John Earnshaw: $907 to deliver a paper to the Education Section of the Canadian Association of Physicists about engaging students in the Learning Process and to interact with other researchers about reformed teaching methods. Ivana Elbl & Michelle Sparkes: $1,500 to further support the development of a student life branch to the Peer Mentoring program, which represents an important learning support function for Trent students. Neil Emery: $3,262 to construct bench-top laminar flow hoods that will enable students to carry out experiments on sterile cells and virus cultures. Page 8
Joanne Findon: $1,500 towards the filming and video production of the rarely produced late medieval Digby Mary Magdalene play for use as a teaching tool. Richard Hurley: $975 towards the purchase of a tablet PC to enhance digital lectures and support the further use of electronic lecture delivery methods. Allan Law: $6,715 to provide students with a semi-professional work environment that meets the demands of intensive and time-sensitive research projects, through the purchase of three dedicated work stations. Alan Law and Gillian Balfour: $10,455 to provide students with hands on experience in qualitative data management and transcript, document, video or audio analysis, and to extend faculty resources for research and curriculum development through the purchase of software and training. Jean Luyben and James Watson: $2,065 to enhance student learning and satisfaction by adding full-motion video and audio to the Library Skills tutorials and the Bata Library web site.
and to create unlimited opportunites for student practice and self-testing. Marco Pollanen: $7,755 to develop a webbased interactive and adaptive learning environment of modifiable course templates that will be accessible by instructors across campus. Raul Ponce: $5,336 to support the development of new content for undergraduate and graduate courses using Geographical information systems. modern languages Department: $1,505 to purchase multi-media software and audio-visual materials to foster a more interactive, coherent and meaningful learning environment for students. Joseph So: $7,963 to purchase a specimens collection and partially fund the equipment necessary to develop dynamic Anthropology workshop modules that ensure equitable course delivery across sections. Paul Wilson: $7,312 to support the development of novel forensic science training modules that utilize problem-based learning pedagogy.
Native Studies Department: $4,388 to assist in the implementation of professional coaching strategies that are coincident with the pedagogies of the Medicine Wheel. These coaching strategies will facilitate self-awareness and growth for Native Studies Diploma and Graduate PROGRAM Students, within the Trent University culture. James Parker: $9,227 to redevelop the online version of Introduction to Psychology by taking advantage of recent evolutions in technology and to enhance the content modules. Marcus Pivato: $1,200 to develop software which automatically generates computational problems involving partial differential equations to be used in teaching and evaluation,
AIF Applications AIF applications exceeding $1,500 are accepted by the Associate Dean of Arts and Science (Teaching and Learning) biannually through the Instructional Development Centre. This year's competition dates are Friday, November 5, 2004 and Friday, March 4, 2005. AIF applications under $1,500 are accepted throughout the calendar year. AIF application guidelines are available through the Instructional Development Centre and online at: http://www.trentu.ca/idc/aif.htm
Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2004
Teaching at Trent
A publication of the Instructional Development Centre
Vol. 7, Issue 2, Fall 2004
In this Issue 1 Developing Critical Thinking Through a Case Study Approach 3 AIF Applications 4 Icebreakers 5 IDC Advisory Board 6 Suggestions for Leading Small Group Discussions 7 Refworks: Potential Uses in the Instruc- tional Context Supporting Academic Integrity 8 Upcoming Teaching and Learning Conferences Sharing Teaching Experiences with Colleagues Editor: Angie Best Assistant Editor: Hilary Wear
Developing Critical Thinking Through a Case Study Approach By Lisa-Anne Hagerman, Assistant Professor, Nursing
The complex nature of today's society has resulted in many post secondary curricula emphasizing critical thinking skill development as a required learning outcome. The ability to think critically has been identified by researchers, both past and present, to be a skill that is reflective of higher-order thinking. Students entering post secondary institutions often demonstrate lowerorder thinking that is developed as a result of rote memorization in prior educational settings. In contrast, graduates of post secondary institutions are expected by many programs of study to be able to demonstrate higher order thinking skills such as the ability to analyze a problem, seek the truth and have the confidence necessary to develop solutions for the problem, and to evaluate those solutions. The ability to move a student from lowerorder to higher-order thought remains a challenge for many post secondary programs. One method identified as an effective mechanism for the development of higher-order thinking, or critical thought, is that of case study utilization in classroom instruction. Defining Critical Thinking It is important for researchers and educators to understand what it means to think critically and the role that this plays in day-to-day activities. Without a clear understanding of how critical thinking is defined and evaluated, educators will be unable to effectively create a critical thinking instructional model.
thinking as a learning outcome relates to the existence of multiple definitions. Richard Paul's definition of what it means to think critically is often cited by researchers as one of the key defining theories. Richard Paul, the founder of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, defines critical thinking as "the art of thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order to make your thinking better ..." (1993, 643). According to Paul, there are three essential components to critical thinking: (a) elements of thought, (b) intellectual standards, and (c) affective traits. Paul writes that it is the individual's ability to look beyond the problem and to be consciously and unconsciously aware of the process of thinking, that will make for an effective critical thinker. Paul notes that critical thinking is a complex form of thought that requires an individual to examine what it is they are thinking and how their decisions may be affected. In 1989 the American Philosophical Association initiated a Delphi study involving international experts in the field of critical thinking with the purpose of creating a stronger understanding as to how critical ... continued on page 2
The 1980's was an era in the field of education that focused on better understanding critical thought and designating it as an essential educational outcome for students and a necessary skill for professional practice (Facione 1995; Facione & Facione 1996; Tusi 2002). The need to instruct students to think critically, regardless of their academic level or speciality, has been identified as essential in most post secondary programs. The difficulty in creating program curricula that include critical
Teaching at Trent Newsletter The Teaching at Trent newsletter is intended to provide Trent's instructional community with a means to exchange ideas and information on professional development issues, pedagogical techniques, and effective teaching practices. The Instructional Development Centre (IDC) invites submissions of articles and teaching tips which will provide readers with ideas they can use to enhance teaching and learning in their courses. Please direct queries and submissions to: Angie Best IDC Coordinator and Teaching at Trent Editor Instructional Development Centre OC 221.1 1600 West Bank Dr. Trent University Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8 Phone: (705) 7481011, ext. 1254 Fax: (705) 748-1143 E-mail: [email protected] Web Site: http:// www.trentu.ca/idc/ Page 2
Developing Critical Thinking Through a Case Study Approach ... continued from page 1 thinking can be identified and defined. In 1990, after six rounds of questions specially designed to elicit consensus, a panel of international experts identified six critical thinking cognitive skills and sub-skills and seven critical thinking dispositions (Facione 1990, 6). The identified cognitive critical thinking skills and sub-skills include: (a) interpretation, (b) analysis, (c) evaluation, (d) inference, (e) explanation, and (f) self-regulation. The identified critical thinking dispositions include: (a) the confidence to engage in the critical thinking exercise, (b) the desire to seek the truth, (c) the willingness to be open-minded and accept the views of others, (d) to possess a degree of critical thinking maturity, and to be (e) inquisitive, (f) analytical, and (g) systematic in their thinking. Critical thinking is a purposeful cognitive process that requires the thinker to examine the problem, issue, or situation at a great level of depth and complexity. The Transition from Lower-Order Thinking to Higher-Order Thinking The transition from lower-order thinking, where the student depends upon recall rather than understanding to answer a question, to higher-order thinking is a complex process that utilizes a variety of instructional methods. Instructional methods that are designed to promote higher-order thinking often do not focus on the student's ability to recall information. Instead, they focus on the student's understanding of concepts and theories, and their abilities to analyze a problem or situation, gather the necessary data or information, evaluate information, and then arrive at possible solutions. One method of enhancing a student's ability to examine an issue, problem, or topic with great depth of understanding is through the use of an active learning methodology such as the "Learning College" theory. This theory views the learner as one who collaborates in the experience and one who is engaged in discussion and the exchange of ideas with other members of the learning community. According to the Learning College theory, there exists a shared responsibility between the educational institution and the student in the learning process (Cohen & Brawer 1996). Rane-Szostak and Robertson (1995) proposed that students will learn more effectively when they
are actively involved in the learning process. The traditional lecturing style of instruction should not necessarily be abandoned; instead lectures are reinforced with active and collaborative learning activities. The use of case studies as a method of active learning reflects the ideals of the Learning College theory. Case studies provide multiple opportunities for students to incorporate a variety of concepts, theories, and solutions in a safe and controlled manner. In the process of seeking an answer, the student must examine all the elements of the case, isolate relevant data, analyze the data, and question the meaning of the information before them. As such, the use of case studies to promote higher-order critical thought is viewed as an effective method of engaging in active learning. Where passive learning is founded upon the theories of didactic learning with the student as a passive recipient of knowledge, active learning encourages the student to become part of the learning experience. By actively engaging the student in this learning experience, the student gains not only a greater understanding of knowledge, but a greater awareness of self as learner. To understand how case studies promote critical thought it is important to first understand what case studies are and how they engage critical thinking. Case Studies and Critical Thinking Development Case-based instruction is a teaching strategy that utilizes stories to encourage students to actively solve Complex Problems that mimic real world experiences. Students are presented with a real-world scenario which they may encounter in the work place. Built within this scenario are key concepts and theories that the student has learned through class instruction. The students are encouraged to analyze the case scenario through specially designed questions, either individually or in small groups. This student centered approach aids students in actively engaging in discussion and sharing through directed questioning by the instructor. Students draw upon not only their understanding of class content, but their life experiences to analyze the case and arrive at possible solutions. Each student brings to the learning experience their own unique and diverse understanding based upon knowledge, life experience, Cultural Identity, and maturity. This diversity of experience and world views, when shared in group discussion, creates knowledge that is not only new and complex, but also rich in insight.
Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 2, Fall 2004
Traditionally, lecture-style teaching presents information in a logical flow with identified learning categories. Case-based instruction utilizes stories or scenarios that reflect real world experiences in order to tie together important concepts in an engaging manner. A student will have greater success in the learning experience when they are interested in the material. Often instructors will hear a student say "this is all very interesting, but how will it help me?" When a student is able to make the association between knowledge and the application of that knowledge in a real world setting then they are better able to understand how the learning benefits them. In case-based instruction a student learns to work through a problem and applies potential solutions in a safe and controlled environment. For example, a nursing student who practices prioritizing nursing and medical interventions on a hypothetical patient will be better able to transfer this knowledge to the clinical setting without risk of harm to others. The analysis of the scenario, the identification of theories, concepts and essential data, the development of possible solutions, and finally, the evaluation of these suggestions to identify the best approach, takes time. Practicing the strategies of case study analysis allows students to develop critical thinking skills that they can build upon, gain confidence with, and use in their chosen professions. Engaging in a student centered learning experience that is both positive and rewarding will prove to be a successful and enjoyable experience for both student and teacher. Studies have proven that a student who learns through reading alone will remember 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they hear, and 80 percent of what they hear, see, and do. Active learning strategies such as case study utilization promote critical thinking skill development and knowledge retention by encouraging students to read, listen, and participate in the learning experience. Works Cited: Cohen, A. M., & Brawer, F. B. (1996). The American community college. (3rd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Facione, P.A. (1990). Executive Summary of Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of education assessment and instruction. Millbrae, CA: California Academic Press. Paul, R. (1993). Critical thinking: What every person needs to survive in a rapidly changing world. 2nd Ed. San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass. Rane-Szostak, D. & Robertson, J. F. (1995, January). "Issues in measuring critical thinking: meeting the challenge." Journal of Nursing Education, 35(1), 5­11. Bibliography: Arburn, T. M. & Bethel, L. J. (1999). "Assisting at-risk community college students: Acquisition of critical thinKing Learning strategies." 1999 Annual Conference: National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Boston, MA. Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York, NY: Longmans Green. Bonwell, C. C. & Eison, J. A. (1991, September). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. Retrieved April 07, 2003 from http://www.ntlf.com/ html/lib/bib/91-9dig.htm Campbell, L., Campbell, B. & Dickinson, D. (1999). Teaching and learning through multiple intelligences. (2nd ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. DeVito, J. A. (2002). Messages: Building interpersonal communication skills. (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon Dewey, J. (1933). How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process. Boston, MA: D.C. Heath and Company. Facione, P. A. (1998). Critical thinking: what it is and why it counts. Millbrae, CA: California Academic Press.
Facione, N.C., & Facione, P.A. (1996). "Externalizing the critical thinking in clinical judgment." Nursing Outlook, 44(3), 129­136. Facione, P.A., Facione, N.C., & Giancarlo, C.A. (2000). "The disposition toward critical thinking: Its character, measurement, and relationship to critical thinking skill." Informal Logic, 20(1), 61­ 84. Retrieved July 03, 2003 from http:// www.insightassessment.com/pdf_files/ J_Infrml_Ppr%20_2000%20%20Disp%20&%20Skls.PDF Geertsen, H.R. (2003). "Rethinking thinking about higher-level thinking." Teaching Sociology, 31(1), 1­18. Gokhale, A.A. (1995, Fall). "Collaborative learning enhances critical thinking." Journal of Technology Education, 7(1). Retrieved June 17, 2003 from http:// scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/jtev7n1/gokhale.jte-v7n1.html Office: Peter Gzowski College (Argyle) 237 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 7507 E-mail: [email protected] AIF Applications The Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) is designed to support projects that strengthen Trent University's undergraduate teaching program and to support professional development and pedagogical research. There are two competitions for applications greater than $1,500. The second competition date is March 4, 2005. Requests less than $1,500 can be submitted at any time. Members of the IDC's Advisory Board review the grant applications from faculty and determine the financial allocations of the fund. For additional information see: http://www.trentu.ca/idc/aif.htm
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Icebreakers By Anne Keenleyside, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
What is an icebreaker? An icebreaker is a class activity that serves a number of different functions. Icebreakers-- · introduce people. · create a more comfortable environment. · help students meet one another in a nonthreatening, fun way. · set the tone for the class. · help jump-start and energize the class. · improve group dynamics. · encourage involvement and interaction. · inspire creative and divergent thinking. · relieve tension. · help build cohesiveness and trust. · break up cliques. · help establish the basis for a good relationship between instructor and students. · let students know that they will be "active" learners. · help instructors evaluate the skills and prior knowledge of their students. · keep people from falling asleep! When do we use them? Icebreakers can be used in the first class as a way of facilitating introductions. They can also be used throughout the year to liven up a class, introduce a new topic, to review material, or create a strong organizational team. How long should they be? The length of the icebreaker activity should be in proportion to the length of the class. If the class is only an hour long, you probably don't want to take up half of it with an icebreaker activity. You also want to take into consideration the number of participants. Some activities work better with small groups and others work better with larger groups. With a very large group you needn't have every student share, all could participate in the activity and a few can be selected to report back to the larger
group. Icebreakers used as opening activities should be short. They can also be modified into more lengthy teambuilding activities. What kinds of activities are there? There are dozens of different kinds of icebreaker activities. Your choice of activity depends on your goals and your audience. Determine what your goals are and then connect the activity to the goal. If the class has met before and students already know one another, then you wouldn't use a get-to-know kind of activity. If you're working with a class that could potentially have a good level of prior knowledge, the icebreaking activity might be designed to probe this knowledge so that the instruction could be modified to best serve the students. Here are some examples: 1. Introduce yourself--ask students in the class to introduce themselves. Rather than having them simply tell you what their name is, ask them to tell you something about themselves that is related to the course (e.g. if it's an English course, ask them to tell you the best books they have read in the last year). In order to personalize a class the instructor and students might be asked to share an experience, interest, or attribute that the class would not otherwise know. 2. Introduce one another--divide the class into pairs, give them 5 or 10 minutes to chat with one another and learn about the other person and then ask each pair to introduce their partner to the rest of the class. 3. Two Truths and a Lie--divide the class into pairs or small groups, have the students tell each other three things about themselves, only two of which are true, then have the rest of the group or class try and figure out which one of the three statements is false.
4. Talent Search--make up a list of talents and hand it out to everyone in the class. Ask the students to circulate and find someone in the class who has one of those talents and ask them to sign their name next to it. If each classmate can only sign beside one talent, how many names can they gather? 5. Knowledge Quiz--make up a list of ques- tions related to the course or discipline, hand it out to everyone in the class and ask them to find someone in the class who knows the answer to one of the questions and sign their name beside it. Here is an example of a knowledge quiz that I use in my Anthropology class. Instructions: Find a classmate who knows the answer to one of the following questions. Have him or her fill in the answer and sign his or her name beside the question. Only use each classmate once. · The woman who studied chimpanzees for 30 years. · The author of On the Origin of Species. · A famous palaeoanthropologist who worked in Africa. · The long name for DNA. · A cartoon show depicting the Stone Age. · Our closest non-human relatives. · The book that first featured the character Ayla. · The number of bones in the human skeleton. · A famous archeological site in Canada. · The star of Gorillas in the Mist. · The forensic anthropologist who wrote Deja Dead and Death du Jour. · The region of the world where orangutans live. · An individual known for his humor- ous anthropological cartoons.
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6. People Bingo--make up a bingo game with squares describing things that people know or have done which are related to the course. Ask students to circulate in the class and find a student who fits each description. Each student will put an X through each square they solve until they complete a row. 7. I've Done Something You Haven't-- have each person introduce themselves and then state something they have done that they think no one else in the class has done. If someone else has done it, the student has to think of something else to say until they find something that no one else has done. 8. Common Ground--divide the class into pairs and give each pair two minutes to find five things they have in common. At the end of the two minutes, put two pairs together and give the foursome five minutes to find something that all four students have in common. They can then present their list to the class. You can use this activity to form student groups for other tasks. 9. Scavenger Hunt--have each student write down their name and an obscure fact about themselves that few people know about. Compile a list of the facts minus the names and ask people to circulate and match the obscure facts with everyone's name. 10. Interview, Write, and Introduce--di- vide the class into pairs, have the students interview one another, and then write a short biographical sketch of the person they have interviewed. After they have finished writing their paragraphs, ask each student to introduce their partner by reading the sketch that they have written. If you ask them to hand in their sketches you will have a sample of their writing. 11. Take As Many as You Think You'll Need--pass around a bowl of Smarties and ask students to take as many as they think they will need. Don't give any fur- Page 5
ther instructions until each person has taken their Smarties. Once everyone has some, go around the class and ask each student to say one thing about themselves or a given subject for every Smartie that they've taken. As a twist on this activity, you could assign a category to each different colour of Smartie (e.g. red could mean personal information so if they took two red Smarties, they'd have to give two pieces of personal information about themselves; green could equal hobbies and interests). 12. The Mind Map--this is an exercise that can be used to assess prior knowledge. Place a word or concept in the centre of the blackboard or large piece of paper and have the class come up with sub-categories and associated characteristics or related ideas. This exercise can be used as an icebreaker in the first class to see how much students know about a particular topic, or it can be used later in the year as a topic lead-in.
ber 6, 2004 from http:// education.indiana.edu/cas/tt/v3i1/ icebreak.html Griffin, D. (2004). "Bright Idea--Icebreak- ers." Retrieved September 6, 2004 from http://lts.bellarmine.edu/fdc/ icebreakers.asp Honolulu Community College. (n.d.). "Break The Ice." Retrieved September 6, 2004 from http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/ intranet/committees/FacDevCom/ guidebk/teachtip/breakice.htm Ohio State University. (n.d.). "Icebreakers." Retrieved September 6, 2004 from http://www.ohiounion.com/ studentorgs/csl/icebreakers.asp Varvel, Jr., and Virgil, E. (2003). "Breaking the Ice." Retrieved September 6, 2004 from http://www.ion.illinois.edu/ Pointers/2002_01/page3.html
Bibliography: Forbess-Greene, S. (1983). Encyclopedia of Icebreakers: Structured Activities that Warmup, Motivate, Challenge, Acquaint, and Energize. San Diego, CA: University Associates. Jones, K. (1991). Icebreakers: A Sourcebook of Games, Exercises and Solutions. Erlanger, KY: Pfeiffer and Company.
Wallace, M. (2002). "Ice Breakers and Other Related Activities." Retrieved September 6, 2004 from http://www.llrx.com/ columns/guide67.htm Wright, D. (2003). "Ice-Breakers." Retrieved September 6, 2004 from http:// www.uwm.edu/Dept/CIPD/ sourceguide/environment. htm#IceBreakers
Myers, S. and Lambert, J. (1994). Diversity Icebreakers: A Guide for Diversity Trainers. Amherst, MA: Amherst Educational Publishing. Pfeiffer, J.W. (1989). Encyclopedia of Group Activities: 150 Practical Designs for Successful Facilitating. San Diego, CA: University Associates. West, E. (1999). The Big Book of Icebreakers. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Centre for Adolescent and Family Studies. (1996). "Icebreakers." Retrieved Septem-
Office: Archeology Building, 101.1 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 1452 E-mail: [email protected] IDC Advisory Board David Poole, Chair Hilary Wear, Secretary Jean Luyben (TUFA) Anne Keenleyside (TUFA) Kevin Peters (TUFA) To be announced (CUPE-1) William Knight (GSA) Greg Nepean (GSA) Helen Wallis (JBCSA) To be announced (TCSA)
Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 2, Fall 2004
Suggestions for Leading Small Group Discussions
By R. James Cook, Ph.D. Student, Classical Art & Archeology, University of Michigan Tutorial Leader, Ancient History & Classics, Trent University, 2002­2003
A lecture is the best venue to deliver a large amount of information to a group; a seminar, on the other hand, provides an excellent opportunity to develop the analytical skills of individual students. Seminars provide a forum for students to grasp concepts in more detail and then to apply those concepts critically. This important difference in objective underlies all the strategies below. If a seminar were approached in the same way as a lecture, it would not be a "discussion." Leading a small group discussion can be an intimidating and disappointing experience when things don't go well. Adequate preparation and a few simple strategies can improve discussions considerably. · Know your students and encourage them to know each other. Although class size may limit the amount of interaction, discussions will be more animated if the participants feel that they are among friends. If possible, have students introduce themselves in the first class and refer to each other by name afterwards (Holmes 2002b). · Establish clear boundaries of respect and behavior early in the semester. If students feel threatened, insulted, or excluded when they first participate, they may not participate again. Use your position as moderator and motivator to include and encourage quiet students as well as underrepresented and non-traditional viewpoints (Hadwin & Wilcox 2002). · Keep your own comments to a minimum. Allow students to respond to one another, but use your role as facilitator to intervene when necessary to summarize, synthesize, and keep the discussion on track (Hadwin & Wilcox 2002). · Plan the discussion in advance. Prioritize goals for each session. Always know what
is essential material, what can be done next time, and what can be done if there is extra time (Holmes 2002c). Planning a seminar can take as much time as planning a lecture. · Provide a model of the critical skills that you would like your students to use. For example, when you don't know the answer to a student question, try to reason from basic principles of the course, establish analogies with subjects familiar to the students (Hadwin & Wilcox 2002), or suggest the appropriate reference work (Holmes 2002a). Let them know what you are doing and why. · Ask questions that are open-ended, rather than factual. Instead of asking "Does everyone understand the point of the article?" (nods and blank looks), ask a more stimulating question such as "Could someone please summarize what they believe are the most important points in the article?" (Hadwin & Wilcox 2002, 13). · Use visual communication to encourage students to speak. Eye contact, extended silence, gesture, or even a smile can encourage students to participate without calling on them (Weimer 1997). These techniques enable you to facilitate discussion without "intruding." · Encourage comments with positive, personal feedback. Move from comment to comment with positive reinforcement. "E.g. Jane has made an excellent point, but John doesn't seem to agree. Why not, John?" (Hadwin & Wilcox 2002, 15). · Assess the effectiveness of readings and lectures by observing seminar performance. Poorly understood or misunderstood concepts and themes are more easily identified in seminars and can be corrected immediately or reported to the course in-
structor for review or re-presentation in a lecture. These suggestions are based on personal experience and on the excellent selection of readings available in the Ready Reference Binder "Small Group Discussions," available from Trent University's Instructional Development Centre, OC 221.1. Works Cited Hadwin, Allyson and Susan Wilcox. (2002). "Leading seminars & tutorials," in A Handbook for Teaching Assistants, 10­20. Kingston, ON: Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University. Holmes, Trevor (ed.) (2002a). "Are there any questions?" in TA Survival Guide 2002­ 2003: A guide for first time Teaching Assistants at the University of Guelph, 22. Guelph, ON: Teaching Support Services, University of Guelph. Holmes, Trevor (ed.) (2002b). "Leading effective discussions," in TA Survival Guide 2002­2003: A Guide for first time Teaching Assistants at the University of Guelph, 15­17. Guelph, ON: Teaching Support Services, University of Guelph. Holmes, Trevor (ed.) (2002c). "Running a review/tutorial session," in TA Survival Guide 2002­2003: A guide for first time Teaching Assistants at the University of Guelph, 20. Guelph, ON: Teaching Support Services, University of Guelph. Weimer, Maryellen. (1997). "Self confidence and participation." The Teaching Professor, 11(6), 5. Madison, WI: Magna Publications Inc. E-mail: [email protected]
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RefWorks: Potential Uses in the Instructional Context By Sarah Wickett, Information Services Librarian, Bata Library
The Bata Library is pleased to present RefWorks, a web-based research and writing tool that has been made available through a partnership with the Ontario Council of University Libraries. RefWorks allows users to create a personal database to organize and manage bibliographical citations which can be used to support both teaching and research. Building your database First time users create an account by following the links on the library's RefWorks information page (http://www.trentu.ca/library/ help/refworks.html). Once you have created an account, you may build a database with citations of works that interest you. It is possible to import citations directly from online databases like PsycINFO or Web of Science; or you can manually add citations for books, articles, and web sites. In addition to gathering citations in your database, you can create folders and organize your citations however you prefer. For example, you may wish to create folders for each of your courses and fill them with resources used for teaching those courses. The big advantage of RefWorks is the ease with which it allows users to create bibliographies in any format they choose. This puts an end to last minute fiddling with spacing and punctuation. Once you have added citations to your database, you can create an instant bibliography with the touch of a button. An added bonus is the "Write-N-Cite" feature which facilitates easy and accurate intext citations. Instructional context It is easy to see how RefWorks can enhance your research and writing. The question is: how can you use RefWorks in the instructional environment?
· Stay organized. I have already alluded to the first way in which RefWorks may impact your instruction. That is, you may simply wish to implement RefWorks in your organizational strategy. A folder for each of your courses may be a quick and easy way to keep track of resources you've used in past classes and those you may wish to use in the future. · Encourage student use. Students who learn to use RefWorks will save hours that they may otherwise spend creating bibliographies. Student citing will improve through an increased familiarity with proper bibliographic citation styles. RefWorks is a novel means for introducing students to the range of citation styles and the importance of accuracy in bibliographies and reference lists. · Support collaboration. While it may not be immediately apparent, RefWorks is a wonderful tool for supporting collaboration. RefWorks users can create as many accounts as they like. This means that, for work done in groups, students can create accounts and share passwords with group members. With a shared account, each group member can add, edit, and delete citations. · Create reading lists. RefWorks provides account holders with the ability to create read-only passwords. This feature provides faculty and teaching assistants with the opportunity to create reading lists. A read-only password allows users to provide colleagues with the ability to search and view the contents of the RefWorks database without allowing editing rights. This option is made even more appealing because RefWorks incorporates links to the new "Get It! Trent" resource locator service which enables users to link directly from the reading list to the full text of articles available at Trent.
While there is a learning curve when beginning with RefWorks, it is not a difficult tool to use. With practice, RefWorks can become an important resource in supporting your research and teaching endeavors. Additional information and answers to frequently asked questions about RefWorks are available on the RefWorks information page. Workshops are available through the Information Services department at the library. For further information or to setup a RefWorks workshop in your department or classes, please feel free to contact me. Office: Bata Library 202 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 5106 E-mail: [email protected] Supporting Academic Integrity January 14, 2005, 12:00-3:00 p.m. Dr. Julia Christensen Hughes (University of Guelph) has conducted a Canadawide survey on student academic misconduct, involving 11 degree granting institutions and approximately 15,000 students. This presentation will provide an overview of the extent and types of academic misconduct university students report engaging in, TA and faculty views of this behaviour, and possible explanations for why academic misconduct is occurring. Following an interactive presentation, participants will be asked to identify specific steps they might take in support of academic integrity at Trent. Register online at: http://www.trentu.ca/idc/ events-coming.htm
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Upcoming Teaching and Learning Conferences McGraw Hill Ryerson 2005 Teaching & Learning Conference Series Assessing Teaching in Higher Education: Practice, Problems and Progress February 21­22, 2005, Guelph, ON http://www.open.uoguelph.ca/mhrconference/index.cfm American Association of Higher Education Courage, Imagination and Action: Rallying the Trendsetters in Higher Education March 17­20, 2005, Atlanta, GA http://www.aahe.org/National/2005.htm Eastern Ontario Symposium on Educational Technology 2005 May 3, 2005, Peterborough, ON
Sharing Teaching Experiences with Colleagues The Teaching Effectiveness Program offers a forum to promote and support talk about teaching among Trent instructors. It is an opportunity for creative problem solving, building on the practice of others. Since we strengthen our learning community by sharing ideas with others, participants are encouraged to bring specific examples of teaching and learning successes and challenges with them to the sessions.
McGraw Hill Ryerson 2005 Teaching & Learning Conference Series Transforming Networks: Creating Learning Communities May 11­13, 2005, Edmonton, AB Teaching Professor Conference Teaching & Learning: Growth, Resilience and Change May 20­22, 2005, Shaumburg, IL http://www.teachingprofessor.com/conference/index.html Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2005 Conference A Fine Balance: The Student Experience of Learning June 8­11, 2005, Charlottetown, PEI http://www.mcmaster.ca/stlhe/events/annual.conference.htm American Association of Higher Education 20th Anniversary Assessment Conference: Charting New Territory June 12­14, 2005, Toronto, ON http://www.aahe.org/assessment/2005/Assessment2005.htm The European Learning Styles Information Network June 13­15, 2004, Surrey, UK http://www.som.surrey.ac.uk/research/conferences/elsin.asp
This program relies on a volunteer model of participation, not only in attendance, but also in session leaders (i.e., faculty and teaching support staff who volunteer their time, experience and insight). The IDC invites faculty, staff, and graduate stuents to share their teaching strategies and experiences with the Trent instructional community. Consider the following opportunities. · Writing an article for the Teaching at Trent newsletter. · Participating in the IDC's Teaching Effectiveness Program by leading a teaching conversation, workshop or presentation, participating in a panel discussion, attending events, or suggesting suitable speakers or topics.
The First Annual International Conference on Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Assessment June 13­15, 2005, Hung Hom, Kowloon, HK http://www.polyu.edu.hk/assessment/
If you are interested in sharing your teaching experiences with the Trent instructional community, please contact the IDC Coordinator Angie Best.
Banff Summer Retreat Reflecting on our Teaching July 7­10, 2005, Banff, AB http://www.iathe.org/BanffRetreat
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For an up-to-date listing of teaching and learning conferences, please see http://www.trentu.ca/idc/conferences.htm
Office: Otonabee College, 221.1 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 1254 E-mail: [email protected] http://www.trentu.ca/idc/ events-coming.htm Teaching at Trent, Vol. 7, Issue 2, Fall 2004
Teaching at Trent
A publication of the Instructional Development Centre
Vol. 6, Issue 3, Winter 2004
In this Issue Learning How to Run a First Year Tutorial
1 Learning How to Run a First Year Tutorial 2 Academic Emotions 4 The Use of Rubrics in Undergraduate Assessment 5 Sharing Teaching Experiences with Colleagues 6 Teaching Large Classes 8 Upcoming Teaching and Learning Conferences Editor: Angie Best Assistant Editor: Hilary Wear
By Mathieu Feagan, M.A. student, Frost Centre for Canadian Studies & Native Studies
In September 2003 I began a Master's program in the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Native Studies and became, for the first time, a tutorial leader for a firstyear undergraduate course. The opportunity to teach thrilled me--but what exactly should a tutorial leader do? Drawing on my own undergraduate experience, I chose to have two students present a point of interest from the assigned readings each week. After the six weeks of class presentations concluded I was in search of a new tutorial format, one that would challenge the students and enhance their ability to learn. I asked the students to E-mail me suggestions, encouraging them to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current seminar format. The students cited insufficient time to cover all the readings, difficulty to express one self in front of others, and confusion over what exactly to take away from the tutorial, as the main weaknesses. Taking into consideration their specific concerns and suggestions I proposed a new tutorial format. This proposal included the requirement of students to undertake advance preparation for each tutorial session, and to actively participate in group discussion. Each of these requirements is described below. In preparing for each tutorial session, students wrote a one-page interpretation of the arguments presented in the assigned readings, as they related to the tutorial discussion questions in the course syllabus. This written component encouraged students to indulge in course materials outside of the one-hour weekly seminar, provided valuable feedback on each student's reading comprehension, and provided an opportunity to help students with their written expression.
a single group and discuss each question, noting each group's contribution on the blackboard. This small-group discussion, large-group reporting format provided students with an opportunity to talk individually, the benefit of receiving feedback from the entire class, and a clear sense of what they should get out of the discussion. This activity takes twenty-five to thirty-five minutes. In the time remaining we would examine a contemporary example that would illustrate arguments made in the assigned readings, thereby providing further opportunity for debate and application of theory to real life situations. The proposed change in tutorial format was accepted with a few minor amendments. Students were still concerned about time. Indeed, one hour is hardly enough time to allow twelve students to debate readings, a lecture, or a film. The change in format has fostered a strong sense of community and has helped to overcome many of the difficulties originally faced. Most importantly, the students have learned to make the most of their tutorial time by communicating their needs and actively participating in the design of a tutorial format that suits them best. I will certainly continue to incorporate students' suggestions into the design of tutorials. I invite any further suggestions from others that have differing experiences from mine. Mailbox: Traill College, Kerr House, Reading Room E-mail: [email protected]
The class was divided into several groups of two or three students, with each group tackling one discussion question. After six or seven minutes the class would form
Teaching at Trent Newsletter The Teaching at Trent newsletter is intended to provide Trent's instructional community with a means to exchange ideas and information on professional development issues, pedagogical techniques, and effective teaching practices. The Instructional Development Centre (IDC) invites submissions of articles and teaching tips which will provide readers with practical, creative ideas they can use to enhance teaching and learning in their courses. Please direct queries and submissions to: Angie Best IDC Coordinator and Teaching at Trent Editor Instructional Development Centre OC 221.1 1600 West Bank Dr. Trent University Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8 Phone: (705) 7481011, ext. 1254 Fax: (705) 748-1143 E-mail: [email protected] Web Site: http:// www.trentu.ca/idc/
Academic Emotions By Wendy Kelly, Instructor, Department of Psychology and Learning Disabilities Consultant/Counsellor, Disability Services Office
Why is it that we develop greater proficiency in tasks we enjoy?
Psychologists have documented the complex interplay and influence among thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in many settings. Although it is clear that feelings result from varying achievement outcomes (e.g., feeling joy about scoring well on an exam), it is also evident that the way in which we perform tasks or activities, to a large degree, is driven by the way we feel about them (e.g., spending more time on a project we are passionate about). In other words, emotions are not only consequences of behaviour (e.g., doing something) but are also antecedents of that, and subsequent, behaviour. As an antecedent, emotions can direct what you pay attention to, determine how motivated you are to expend personal resources on a task, promote your persistence to that task, and ultimately optimize your performance.
In academic settings, it is obvious that students experience a rich and intense emotional life. Pekrun and colleagues (2002) identified nine academic emotions that influence students' thinking and achievement, as well as their physical and psychological wellbeing.
Positive Emotions Negative Emotions
Enjoyment
Anger
Hope
Anxiety
Pride
Shame
Relief
Hopelessness
Boredom
A review of the literature revealed that of these nine emotions, most investigators have considered only the effect of anxiety on students' achievement. A search of literature from 1974 to 2000 found more publications on the role of anxiety than all other emotional constructs combined (Pekrun et al., 2002). Thus, the role that this emotion has on achievement is the best understood. For example, anxiety reduces working (conscious) memory resources which impairs the ability to perform well on complex mental tasks. The ability to hold an idea in consciousness while per-
forming a mental operation on it (e.g., organizing/sequencing thoughts) is greatly impaired and will reflect in poorer performance on a test or assignment. In short, the negative feeling robs the individual of precious cognitive resources necessary for the optimal completion of the academic task. Positive emotions are no less related to academic outcomes. If academic emotions initiate motivational, attitudinal and cognitive processes that shape students' achievement, how can instructors maximize opportunities for positive emotions and minimize or manage the presence of negative emotions in the preparation of their courses? How can we purposefully plan for the emotional experiences of students? Emotional objectives may be class-related, learning-related, or test-related. For example, a class-related goal may result from the instructor's clear demonstration of enthusiasm towards, and enjoyment of, course content. The effect of this alone is often infectious. A learning-related goal might offer opportunities for students to study a topic of their own design independently and in addition to prescribed curricula. A test-related goal may focus on the explicit discussion of the effect of anxiety on test performance and techniques for managing this. Fair and flexible evaluation keeps students hopeful and willing to expend effort in order to improve their standing throughout the course. Emotions influence and are influenced by thoughts and behaviours. This is important to recognize within educational settings. The acknowledgement of emotions' roles in academic achievement and the attempt by instructors to optimize students' emotional experience is encouraged. Through the development of explicit class, learning-, and test-related objectives, students' academic achievement may be enhanced. In preparation for my January 21, 2004 Instructional Development Centre workshop, "Academic Emotions: Simple Ways to Reduce Anxiety in our Students," I compiled a list of class-, learning-, and test-related strategies to share with participants. These strategies, outlined on page 3, represent a compilation of advice from colleagues, web sites, and my personal experience.
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Teaching at Trent, Vol.6, Issue 3, Winter 2004
Class-related and Learning-related Strategies · Introduce yourself. Tell students about yourself beyond your educational accomplishments and research interests. Let students see you as a person, not just a professor. · Have your course outline prepared and ready to hand out during the first class. Try to make sure that required and recommended texts are available in the bookstore or the library. Many students will panic if they cannot immediately get all of the materials you suggest. · Include a 'one free extension' coupon with the course outline. Explain that this may be used once for reasons outside medicallydocumented ones and may be applied for a 'short' extension on any course assignment.
not rushed or preoccupied. Give your undivided attention to the student by forwarding phone calls to voicemail, for example. · Ask students how you can help them feel less anxious. Test-related Strategies to Reduce Student Anxiety · Review the scope of the exam. Talk to the class about the content, format, and weighting of the exam several weeks in advance. Announce what materials will be needed and what aids will be permitted. · Offer practice tests. · Be clear about time limits.
· Let students prepare and bring in their own 'cheat sheet.' · Include 'bonus' questions for incentive and to offset incorrect answers. · Include a blank question and ask students to write a question or pose a problem that they were well prepared to answer. Grade the quality of their answer. · Let students evaluate the exam. · Give students 'a second chance to learn' by giving them a second copy of exam to take home and complete. · Give more tests than will actually be counted (e.g., best 5 of 6 count).
· Attach a set of sample final exam questions to the course syllabus and distribute both on the first day of class. · Be enthusiastic about your course material and your students' learning. Murray (1997), of the University of Western Ontario, has observed that instructor enthusiasm is associated with both course success and motivation for further study. · Make anxiety reduction a goal in your course; talk about it explicitly. · Encourage the development of relationships among students. Facilitate study group development by staying after class to meet with interested students. · Set up discussion forums through web-based course tools such as WebCT. Be honest about how much you plan to contribute to the discussions. · Come to class prepared and organized. Start and end class on time. · The appropriate use of humour can be a stressreliever. Be careful though, what you think is funny may offend one of your students. · Meet with students in private when you are Page 3
· Be accessible for questions before the exam and make provisions for last-minute questions. · Allow for breaks during long exams. · Coach students on test-taking techniques. · Make the first exam relatively easy. Research on motivation indicates that early success in a course increases students' motivation and confidence (Lucas, 1990). In particular, students who do well on the first test generally improve their grades on subsequent tests (Guskey, 1988). · Provide reassurance and encouragement rather than dire warnings about a test's difficulty. · Avoid 'pop' quizzes. · Put old exams on file in the library. · Minimize temptations for cheating so you don't have to hover over the class. · Give students the opportunity to comment on the test (e.g., direct them to write a short justification for any answer they felt needed more explanation or for questions they perceived to be tricky).
References Guskey, T.R. (1988) Improving Student Learning in College Classrooms. Springfield, Ill.: Thomas. Lucas, A.F. (1990) Using models to understand student motivation. In M.D. Svinicki (Ed.) The Changing Face of College Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Murray, H.G. (1997) Effective teaching behaviors in the college classroom. In R.P. Perry, & J.C. Smart (Eds.) Effective Teaching in Higher Education: Research and practice. New York: Agathon Press, 171­204. Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Titz, W., & Perry, R.P. (2002) Academic emotions in students' self-regulated learning and achievement: A program of qualitative and quantitative research. Educational Psychologist, 37(2), 91­105. Office: Bata Library, 109.5 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 1281 E-mail: [email protected]
Teaching at Trent, Vol.6, Issue 3, Winter 2004
The Use of Rubrics in Undergraduate Assessment By Anne Keenleyside, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
A rubric is a chart or template used to evaluate a student's performance based on the sum of a range of criteria rather than a single numerical score. A rubric is particularly useful in evaluating criteria which are complex and subjective (Pickett and Dodge, 2001). A typical rubric contains a scale of possible levels of performance ranging from Level 1 (below the standard) to Level 4 (exceeds the standard), a set of criteria used to evaluate the performance, and descriptors for each level of performance. They can be customized to suit any type of task in any discipline. For example, they can be used to evaluate essays, oral presentations, Book Reviews, and laboratory reports. The Ontario Ministry of Education (points 1­6), and Pickett and Dodge (points 7­10) provide descriptors that define the qualities of a good rubric. A good rubric -- 1. clearly establishes the criteria for assessment. 2. provides clear criterion descriptions for each level of performance. 3. provides examples for clarity where needed. 4. clearly establishes the difference in performance from one level to the next. 5. describes performance using positive, constructive language.
9. provides useful feedback to students and indicates how they can improve. 10. provides a benchmark against which progress can be measured and documented. I have included an example of a rubric that I have used to assess reaction papers (see page 5). I recommend giving students a copy of the rubric when you hand out the assignment (Chicago Board of Education). By receiving the rubric in advance, students will gain a better sense of how their work will be evaluated and what is expected of them. When creating rubrics I use the following steps which are based on recommendations by the Ontario Ministry of Education. 1. Decide what the students will learn from a particular task or assignment and what expectations will be demonstrated. 2. Create a task or assignment that will allow students to demonstrate achievement of these expectations. 3. Identify a set of criteria for assessing the task. Example criteria include content, knowledge/understanding, organization/layout, creativity, graphics, communication, presentation, application, use of technology, and teamwork/ cooperation.
language consistent along the line, but making a clear distinction from one level to the next. References Chicago Board of Education. (2000) How to create a rubric from scratch. Online resource accessed on February 26, 2004. (http://intranet.cps.k12.il.us/ Assessments/Ideas_and_Rubrics/ Create_Rubric/create_rubric.html) Family Education Network. (2003) Assessment -- Rubrics . Online resource accessed on February 26, 2004. (http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/ curriculum/assess/rubrics.html) Family Education Network. (2003) Assessment --The Advantages of Rubrics: Part one in a five-part series. Online resource accessed on February 26, 2004. (http://www.teachervision. fen.com/lesson-plans/lesson-4522.html) Gateway Software Productions. (2002) The Rubric Builder. Online resource accessed on February 26, 2004. (http:// www. rubricbuilder.on.ca/learn.html) Ontario Ministry of Education. (nd.) Understand the Ontario Curriculum, pp. 29 and 32.
6. makes provision for suggestions or improvement. 7. communicates to students what constitutes excellence. 8. allows assessment to be more objective and consistent. Page 4
4. Look at some actual examples of student work to help you develop the descriptors for each criterion. 5. Describe clearly what success looks like for each criterion. Provide examples for clarity. 6. Describe performance for each criterion at each of the other levels, keeping
Pickett, N. & Dodge, B. (2001) Rubrics for Web Lessons. Online resource accessed on February 26, 2004. (http://webquest. sdsu.edu/rubrics/weblessons.htm) Office: Otonabee College, 118 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 1452 E-mail: [email protected]
Teaching at Trent, Vol.6, Issue 3, Winter 2004
Rubric for a Reaction Paper
Criteria Content Organization Writing Style References
Level 4 (80-100) Concise summary of the article; clear thesis statement; thoughtful discussion of the topic; convincing and informed opinion Excellent organization; smooth-flowing argument; clear thesis statement and topic sentences No grammatical or spelling errors; correct length Two additional and appropriate references used; proper citations and bibliography
Level 3 (70-79) Good summary of the article; fairly clear thesis statement; good discussion of the topic; convincing and informed opinion Good organization; fairly smooth-flowing argument; clear thesis statement and topic sentences Few grammatical and/or spelling errors; correct length
Level 2 (60-69) Fair summary of the article; fair discussion of the topic; lack of convincing and informed opinion Fair organization; argument hard to follow; unclear thesis statement; lack of topic sentences More than a few grammatical and/or spelling errors; paper too long or too short
Two additional and appropriate references; improper citations and/or bibliography
Two additional references used; one or both not appropriate; improper citations and/or bibliography
Level 1 (50-59) Poor summary of the article; poor discussion of the topic; no convincing and informed opinion
Mark /10
Poor organization;
/5
total lack of argument;
no clear thesis
statement; no topic
sentences
Numerous
/5
grammatical and/or
spelling errors; paper
is too long or too
short
Fewer than two
/5
additional references
used; inappropriate
references; improper
citations and/or
bibliography
Sharing Teaching Experiences with Colleagues
Encouraging excellence and innovation in teaching and learning is at the heart of the Instructional Development Centre's mandate. This mandate is achieved in part by providing faculty with a forum to discuss professional development issues, pedagogical techniques, and effective teaching practices through the Centre's Teaching Effectiveness Program and newsletter, Teaching at Trent. The Teaching Effectiveness Program continues to offer a forum to promote talk about teaching among Trent instructors. It is a space/ place where instructors bring their teaching challenges and a forum for creative problem solving, building on the practices of others. Since we strengthen our learning community by sharing ideas with others, participants are encouraged to bring specific ideas of teaching/ learning approaches that have worked well for them to the sessions.
This program relies on a volunteer model of participation, not only in attendance, but also in session leaders (i.e., faculty and teaching support staff who volunteer their time, experience, and insight). This past term the Centre hosted 10 sessions to a total of 153 participants, 86 of which were unique participants (60% faculty, 28% graduate students, and 12% staff). The Instructional Development Centre (IDC) invites faculty, staff, and graduate students to share their teaching stategies and experiences with the Trent instructional community. Consider the following opportunities. 1. Participating in peer observation of teaching by inviting instructors to observe your teaching and offering to observe their teaching in return.* 2. Volunteering to be a resource person for others who are seeking teaching advice.*
3. Writing an article for the Teaching at Trent newsletter. 4. Participating in the Teaching Effectiveness Program by-- · leading a teaching conversation. · giving a presentation or workshop. · participating in a panel discussion. · attending events. · suggesting suitable guest speakers. · suggesting suitable topics. * The IDC will maintain a list of interested faculty. If you are interested sharing your teaching experiences with the Trent instructional community, contact the IDC Coordinator Angie Best. Office: Otonabee College, 221.1 Phone: 748-1011, ext. 1254 E-mail: [email protected]
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Teaching Large Classes By Jocelyn Aubrey, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
In late November I attended the McGraw-Hill Ryerson Active Learning: Connect, Engage and Integrate conference and the Using Collective Experience to Generate Effective Strategies for Large Class Teaching pre-conference at Ryerson University. What follows is a summary of the many useful ideas that were presented to help course instructors ensure that students in their large classes are engaged and participating in the learning process. I have organized the suggestions under four themes that were emphasized throughout the conference: structure of the course, care and respect, active learning, and technology. Although the suggestions pertain to classes of all sizes, they are particularly important for the large class setting where connecting with students and classroom management are more difficult. Structure of the course "I am not here to teach you, I am here to help you learn." Take time during the first lecture to explain the pedagogical reasons for how the course is structured. Ensure that students understand the rationale for the text chosen, how the course is organized, and why particular assignments, tests, and activities are being used. Consider the following suggestions. · Examine your lecture and reading objectives -- are they clearly linked to the various types of evaluation you employ? · Reduce the anxiety associated with only two or three evaluation instruments and utilize several. Ideally, these evaluation instruments should be of various types (e.g., essay, presentation, group work, and exams that are not comprised solely of multiple choice questions). If marking time is an impediment to utilizing a variety of evaluation instruments, consider using WebCT to grade comprehension quizzes and include assignments which
are not graded, but receive credit for having been completed (e.g., journal writing). · Begin every lecture with a brief review of the previous lecture and an outline of what will be covered in the current lecture. Present material in a clear, well organized, and smoothly paced manner. Provide a summary at the end. Clarity and enthusiasm are absolutely necessary. · Choose a text that is highly readable; a text that is content light, but heavy in pedagogy is okay. · Lectures should be value-added rather than a regurgitation of the text. Use examples that link with the 21st century. · Instead of relying solely on end of term course evaluations to inform your teaching, seek feedback from students throughout the course. Consider asking students to hand in anonymous comments about the course midway through the term; share these comments at the next class and let the students know how you plan to deal with the issues they have raised. If you have a class web site, post a questionnaire that students can access electronically. Electronic questionnaires can be created using FAST©, a free assessment summary tool (http://www.getfast.ca) or WebCT (contact Mary-Jane Pilgrim, Trent's WebCT Administrator). Care and respect Respect for students is paramount and can be easily conveyed to your students in the following ways. · Start each class with a phrase or action that indicates you are aware of the students as individuals. Instead of "quiet please, I want to start the lecture," try "would you please bring your conversations to a close?"
· Encourage questions and respond with courtesy; reiterate the question for the benefit of the whole class. · Even when the information is staring the student in the face (e.g., on the syllabus), provide the answer courteously and without sarcasm (e.g., "yes, Ch. 3 is on the test; you will find the test information on the syllabus"). No matter how inane the question, never assume that the student is trying to provoke you or that the student is lazy. Remember that many students are experiencing considerable stress, especially in their first year of study. · Design the course with students in mind. Be aware of their different learning styles. Ensure that your lectures, forms of evaluation, and supplementary materials (e.g., text, handouts, course web site) provide a wide variety of presentation and interactivity modes to accommodate those different learning styles. (See http://www.ncsu.edu/felder-public/ Learning_Styles.html for a thorough discussion of learning styles.) · Demonstrate that you are accessible by holding office hours, interacting with students on E-mail or on-line discussion groups, and making yourself available, if only for a little while, after class for individual questions. · Get to know the names of as many of your students as possible. Don't just walk to the front of the class, stay there, and never move among the students. Walk through the class at the beginning and stop to talk to individual students. · Get to know your students and what they like to do. Consider hanging out, now and then, in places where students are likely to gather (e.g., dining halls or college common rooms) and read Wired or Shift (Mike Atkinson, University of Western Ontario).
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Active Learning "Tell me and I will forget; show me and I will remember; involve me and I will understand" (attributed to various authors). Research on pedagogy suggests that a change in format is needed every twenty minutes in order to maintain attention and student engagement. Consider the following suggestions as ways to promote active learning in your classroom. · Break up the lecture with video clips, demonstrations, quick thought questions, or tests that students can do alone or together. · Include face to face seminars, workshops, or laboratories. Consider alternating class seminars with on-line discussion groups so the same topic is covered in different ways over a two-week period. This approach allows for more efficient use of classroom space because the same room is alternated between two groups of students (John Mitterer, Brock University). · Include quizzes, crossword puzzles, interactive demonstrations, and online discussion tools on the class web site. The online discussion tool can effectively break a large class down into smaller groups. It is advisable to monitor the online discussions (e.g., occasionally interject comments), but be careful not to dominate the discussion or act as an authority figure. Allow students to figure out answers to problems on their own and jump in only if something needs to be corrected. It is advisable to set the ground rules for appropriate `net etiquette.' Consider having your students generate the rules during the first class; this is an ideal way to include students in the decision making process.
· While Power Point slides are a great way to present information, the overhead projector is also satisfactory. Handwritten notes on the overhead or blackboard should be avoided. Take time to carefully prepare overheads or Power Point slides. Use fonts that are large enough to read from the back of the room, choose easily discernible colours (e.g., black and white or yellow and navy) and make sure each slide isn't too cluttered. · Consider making copies of the overheads or Power Point slides available for students in advance of the lecture; these copies can be posted on the web site or provided as a coursepack. This may eliminate the need for extensive note-taking and allows students to listen more attentively and become more engaged in class discussions. Leaving some material off the printed notes and including activities that engage students, will help to ensure good attendance. · Provide a class web site (WebCT is ideal). The website, however, should be more than just a source for the syllabus and handouts. Make it a place where learning can happen. Include quizzes (may or may not be for credit), interactive activities, discussion groups, and a bulletin board for frequently asked questions. Survey of first-year students Mike Atkinson surveyed approximately 1200 students, asking them to state what they considered to be the most important characteristics of a good course instructor. Their top five responses are included below. 1. Don't be boring! 2. Care and show respect--don't treat us as if we are stupid.
Technology Modern technology, when used appropriately, can aid in successful large class teaching and class management. Several uses of technology have been mentioned above. Here are a few more suggestions.
3. Discuss post-grad training even if only briefly--what can I do with a degree in X? 4. Focus on the real world--real world hooks make information come alive.
5. Lectures should not be redundant with the textbook. Useful web sites A number of useful web resources were referred to at the conference. I've listed a few of them below and when checking those out I kept finding more. There is a tremendous amount of valuable information out there--get online and start surfing! · http://www.facultydevelopment.ca facultydevelopment.ca is a learning resource designed to enable new and existing faculty in Canadian universities to enhance teaching and learning. The project is currently hosted at the University of Ottawa and is codirected by Dr. Aline Germain-Rutherford, University of Ottawa and Dr. Tim Pychyl, Carleton University. · http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/assessment/ index.html Carnegie Mellon University provides a comprehensive set of resources for assessing course progress and online assessment techniques. · http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infotrac/ tipsheets.html The University of Waterloo's Teaching Resources & Continuing Education office provides a comprehensive set of teaching tips on course planning, classroom management and varying instructional methods. · http://cte.umd.edu/library/large/ index.html The Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Maryland provides an excellent source of information on teaching large classes. Office: Otonabee College, 150.2 Phone: c/o 748-1011, ext. 1535 E-mail: [email protected]
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Upcoming Teaching and Learning Conferences
International Alliance of Teaching Scholars Lilly (West) Conference on College and University Teaching Kellogg West Ranch at Cal Poly Pomona, California March 19­20, 2004 http://www.iats.com/conferences/west2004_info.shtml 15th International Conference on College Education Innovation, Motivation, Education: Tying It All Together The Adam's Mark Hotel, Jacksonville, Florida March 29­April 2, 2004 http://www.teachlearn.org/final.html American Association of Higher Education Learning in 3-D: Democratic Transformations, Diversity Redefined, Digital Environments Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, San Diego, California April 1-4, 2004 http://www.aahe.org/learningtochange/2004/index.htm International Alliance of Teaching Scholars Lilly (East) Conference on College and University Teaching Towson, Maryland April 2­3, 2004 http://www.iats.com/conferences/schedule.shtml American Educational Research Association Enhancing the Visibility and Credibility of Educational Research San Diego, California April 12­16, 2004 http://www.aera.net/meeting/index.asp 4th International Conference on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Going Public -- Traditional and Non-traditional Approacbes to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning London, England May 13­14, 2004 http://www.city.ac.uk/edc/SoTLConference.htm The Teaching Professor Conference Celebrating Teaching and Promoting Learning Hilton, Philadelphia/Cherry Hill May 21­23, 2004 http://www.teachingprofessor.com/about/index.html Canadian Association for University Continuing Education Standing the Test of Time -- Setting the Stage for the Future White Oaks Resort and Spa, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario June 2­5, 2004 http://www.wlu.ca/pts/cauce2004/index2.html Page 8
American Association of Higher Education Connecting Public Audiences to Our Work Adam's Mark, Denver, Colorado June 12­14, 2004 http://www.aahe.org/assessment/2004/ EDiNEB International Conference The Changing Face of Globalization: Its Impact on Educating Future Leaders College of Staten Island, Staten Island, New York June 16­18, 2004 http://www.fdewb4.unimaas.nl/edineb/conference.asp Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Experiencing the Richness of the University Mosaic: from Diversity to Individuality University of Ottawa June 17­19, 2004 http://www.uottawa.ca/services/tlss/stlhe2004/ The International Consortium for Educational Development Defining a Profession, Redefining Actions: The Convergence of Goals of University Professors and Faculty Developers University of Ottawa June 21­23, 2004 http://www.uottawa.ca/services/tlss/iced2004/ American Association of Higher Education Organizing for Learning Stoweflake Resort & Conference Center, Stowe, Vermont July 11­15, 2004 http://www.aahe.org/SummerAcademy/index.htm Faculty Development Summer Institute Active Learning and Teaching in University and College University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown August 2­6, 2004 http://www.upei.ca/%7Eextensio/FDSInstitute.htm Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network Shaping Change in Higher Education Montrйal, Quйbec, Canada November 4­7, 2004 Submission deadline: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 http://atech2.wku.edu/skuhlens/podsubmit/ callforproposals2004.html See http://www.trentu.ca/idc/conferences.htm for up-to-date conference listings. Teaching at Trent, Vol.6, Issue 3, Winter 2004

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