SoTL Applied: Evidence-based Strategies for Better Classroom Discussions

Written by Jennifer Friberg, SoTL Scholar-Mentor at Illinois State University Over the last few years, my colleague, Kathleen McKinney, has been adding to a document titled A Sampling of What We Kn…

Source: illinoisstateuniversitysotl.wordpress.com

Active learning can be a large activity that your class is involved in or it can be as simple as incorporating discussions in your class.  Start out small and have students discuss solutions with the person sitting next to them.  Have them come to a consensus on the answer.  Then have them discuss their answer with another pair close to them. Can they come to consensus as well?  It can take as little as five minutes of class time but it can have great rewards for your overall class.  What you are actually doing is having the students process information before they leave the classroom. This can help them remember this information when preparing for exams.

DELTA – Congratulations to Shayna Burchett & Klaus Woelk

Congratulations to Shayna Burchett and Klaus Woelk.  Both have been participating in the DELTA (Delivering Experiential Labs to All) project.  They have been working on a blended Chemistry redesign for Chemistry 1319 (or the old Chem 2).  There efforts were recently recognized by the American Chemical Society.  On March 24th, Shayna and Klaus were asked to present a talk about their efforts at the 249th ACS National Meeting & Exposition.  They have been working hard to transform this course and will be in full production in the fall.  This will allow them to offer this course to all students who are eligible in the fall (and taking Chemistry 1310).  The blended format allows them to have more students enrolled.  This will keep students on a better schedule in their coursework.  They have also worked to redesign each lab to provide the correct lab experiences students need and are rigorous to push students to work harder.  If you want more information on the DELTA project contact Amy Skyles (skylesa@mst.edu) in Educational Technology.

Congratulations Amy Skyles!

Congratulations to Amy Skyles! She has worked hard on the DELTA Lab initiative and just recently won the OLC Effective Practice Award. Check out the information on the award here http://olc.onlinelearningconsortium.org/effective_practices/delivering-experiential-labs-all.

Metacognition And Learning: Strategies For Instructional Design

“Metacognitive strategies facilitate learning how to learn. You can incorporate these, as appropriate, into eLearning courses, social learning experiences, pre- and post-training activities and other formal or informal learning experiences.”

Source: theelearningcoach.com

This article provides ten strategies for incorporating metacognitive strategies into teaching and learning.

  1. Ask Questions
  2. Foster Self Reflection
  3. Encourage Self Questioning
  4. Teach Strategies Directly
  5. Promote Autonomous Learning
  6. Provide Access to Mentors
  7. Solve Problems with a Team
  8. Think Aloud
  9. Self-Explanation
  10. Provide Opportunities for Making Errors

One simple thing you can do is have the students write two or three points that they felt were important during class that day.  Once they have had a chance to write, you as the instructor can give your two or three points that you thought were important and model how students can begin to understand what is important in your course.

“Thinking About One’s Thinking” Metacognition | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

Source: cft.vanderbilt.edu

This link has two articles in it. It defines what Metacognition is and gives some practical ways to implement it in learning.  How often do you stop during a lecture (or other activity) and give students a chance to process what you have been saying or doing?  Sometimes, we get so caught up in fitting everything in an 50 minute slot that we forget processing time. Those are the days that students leave dazed, with notes but maybe not a clear understanding of what the lesson was actually about.  Taking time to pause and reflect is one way to help students connect with content and with their own learning strategies.

10 Online Learning Trends to Watch in 2015 [#Infographic]

The future’s biggest online movements in education are taking shape today.

Source: www.edtechmagazine.com

This infographic looks at 10 trends to watch in online learning.  It is interesting to note that most of them are things that we are looking into/actively working on at Missouri S&T.

Learning By Doing

Source: www4.ncsu.edu

Dr.s Felder and Brent (both have been keynotes at our conference) point out a very important fact in this article.  The only way for students to develop a skill is to have them practice that skill. If you require them to do something on a test or even in class it is important that you give students the opportunity to practice that skill where they can receive quality feedback from you as their instructor.

Active Learning Strategies in Face-to-Face Courses

Source: ideaedu.org

This is a great article that brings together various research studies on active learning in STEM fields.  The research shows that students learn more when active group-work methods are used.  This article also gives examples of these different methods.

Learning Objectives – Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation – Carnegie Mellon University

Source: www.cmu.edu

What is the most important thing in your course for students to know or do in five years? That’s the question that we use to start the first consultation we have with instructors.  It is important to understand what you expect of students. This becomes the foundation that instructors build their course.  Once they know what the consider to be the most important part of their course, they can begin to build the learning objectives that will guide students in their learning. 

This website has great resources on building good learning objectives that are student centered and help to guide students.  This website also shows the importance of alignment.  This is where you align your assessments and learning activities with specific learning objectives.  This helps to eliminate confusion and keep students on track with what the instructor finds to be the most important parts of the course.

What is STEM Transformation?

TransformingInstitutionsLogo

I had the opportunity to attend a conference in October called Transforming Institutions: 21st Century STEM Education.  There were many good ideas that I took away from this conference but the question that I started the conference with is, what is Transforming Institutions, STEM Education really all about. I know what STEM is.  It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  But what does transformation mean? The easy definition that I found was “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance”. (Thanks Google!) So the question really is, what needs to change (or be transformed) about the way that we teach STEM disciplines?

That question is a little harder to answer. If we say that we need to transform the way we teach, that first assumes that we admit there is an issue with how we are teaching now.  Is that true?  The opening keynote gave a couple of statistics that are quite startling.  Two-thirds of Americans over the age of 25 don’t have a college degree. Around 50% of students who start college never complete.  Is this true?

In the past few years we have seen an increase in the scholarship of teaching that has been focused on actively engaging students in courses and the positive outcomes that come from that.  Unfortunately, these activities are a minority on most campuses.  The culture of most campuses was fashioned many years ago and success for all students wasn’t part of that culture.  What was re-iterated over and over at the conference was that to make true change we must make student success the focus for the campus and make it the mission of everyone.

What does student success mean to you?