Teaching Community Seminars occur at least three times during the semester. Topics emerge from hallway conversations, faculty meetings, committees’ work, and individuals’ interests. If you have a topic you would like the community to discuss, submit your idea to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please include articles, data, websites, examples, or simply a well-formed problem statement to help define your topic.
2020 Spring Schedule
Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Time: Noon – 1:00 PM
Penn State students and faculty have access to a suite of tools for teaching, learning, and research. Making use of these tools in your Canvas course can transform your teaching and improve students’ learning experience. Our final Teaching Community seminar for spring 2020 features an experienced Penn State faculty member’s use of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, One Note, and PowerPoint for synchronous, remote teaching. Joe Oakes will discuss:
- How can we use Zoom technology to a) make individual application assignments such as (but not limited to) programming more engaging and b) foster more meaningful learning?
- How can we use Zoom technology to ensure academic integrity for individual assignments?
- How can Zoom technology save time in grading assignments?
- What does Microsoft Teams offer that the Canvas team features don’t?
- How can we use the math feature in One Note to project math equations to the class?
- How can we use PPT to automatically generate subtitles for accessibility?
Please see the list below for information about our previous seminars.
Managing teams with culturally diverse learners
Wednesday, March 4 - Noon - 1:00 PM - Room E101 Westgate
Research in K-12 and higher education shows that teamwork leads to significant learning gains in retention of concepts, information seeking skills, application of knowledge, idea generation, high level reasoning, valuing others different from oneself, perspective-taking, and problem-solving. Further, research on culturally diverse teams indicates that teamwork on diverse teams leads to greater creativity—for both individuals and the team. What happens when culturally diverse teams flounder? What are students’ experiences, and how can instructors help teams get back on track?
If these questions interest you, join us for the next Teaching Community luncheon, where we will look at what the literature suggests and engage with two case studies written about the experiences of culturally diverse learners in the College of IST. One of the two students who contributed to the cases will be on hand to offer her perspective.
Wednesday, February 5 - Noon - 1:00 pm - Room E1010 Westgate
Who in your courses are you not reaching? Research suggests that we gain a broader response when attending to principles of inclusive teaching and best practices in inclusive course design. In this interactive session, participants will review a series of best practices for inclusive teaching and course design, which are designed to be implemented in a variety of courses. The session will cover setting course expectations, establishing norms for professional communications and collaborations, and iterative improvements. Instructors will have an opportunity to discuss and reflect on changes they can make in their own courses.
Lynette Yarger, Assistant Dean for Equity and Inclusion, Schreyer Honors College and Associate Professor, College of IST
Chris Gamrat, Instructional Designer, College of IST
Tuesday, November 12 – 12:00 – 1:00PM – Room E101 Westgate
Start-up technologies support and power many Vlogging, system administrator, developer, design, Edtech, and DevOps jobs. To work with the web, students must be familiar with version control (git), docker, front end development, terminal windows, screencasting and writing technical documentation; and students would be more attractive candidates if their resumes included experience with platforms and technologies common to start-up initiatives. This month’s Teaching Community seminar features Bryan Ollendyke’s IST 402: Start up? Let’s Tool up!, where students across several majors:
- Gain working knowledge of the technologies underlying most modern start-ups
- Set up and manage multiple Content management systems using Reclaim Hosting
- Create a YouTube playlist of explainer videos, blog posts, and increase their digital footprint across multiple popular web development services
- Get hands-on experience with HTML, Web components, docker, YAML, Markdown, Node/NPM, LitElement, and other technologies
- Connect technologies to larger industry themes like accessibility, brand management, user experience, open education, content management systems (CMS)
Please see the link below for materials:
Tuesday, October 22 - 12:00–1:00PM - Room E101 Westgate
Social media has become a mainstream communication means. It is used by people in all walks of life, employed in different disciplines and industries from trend prediction to business intelligence, from cybersecurity to behavior modeling. People share content, opinions, comment, like, tag, as well as connect old friends, meet new ones, and organize special interest groups. These user-generated activities help create various types of social media networks, generating various, heterogeneous sources of information otherwise not available through conventional media and communication channels. In Suhang Wang’s IST 402 course, “Social Media Mining,” he introduces basic concepts and fundamental principles, shares state-of-the-art research findings, poses challenges indigenous to big social media data, and explores interdisciplinary solutions to social media analysis. The trick in teaching this course is choosing appropriate tools and making instructional decisions that accommodate students with a wide range of technical backgrounds. If interested in hearing how Wang teaches network measures, network models, data mining essentials, deep learning essentials, community analysis, information diffusion, and recommender systems in social media, please join us for the next Teaching Community luncheon.
Tuesday September 24, 2019 - 12:00-1:00pm - Room E101
In IST 402 (Emerging Technologies), students discover research areas in the College of IST and examples of the cutting edge technologies and trends. The trick to teaching this course is pitching the material to a group of juniors and seniors coming from a wide range of backgrounds—in our minors or across multiple majors—with varying levels of programming experience. Dave Hozza will present how he engages students with the topic of Blockchain. Numerous industry and academic experts view the Blockchain as the next disruptive technology. At its core the Blockchain is a shared ledger for recording the history of transactions that theoretically cannot be altered. The chain relies on a decentralized ledger of computing nodes to deliver this trusted immutable platform. This technology is a departure from the traditional record keeping of centralized databases and could potentially have a large impact on how many industries perform record keeping. How does Hozza teach this to students with diverse academic backgrounds? Join us next week to find out his lessons learned.
April 16, 2019 - 1:15-2:15 pm - Room E213
Presenters will provide a QuickStart to using Kaltura, along with a demonstration and teaching use cases. Kaltura imports video content from various sources, such as Zoom, YouTube, or even Kaltura’s media capture tool. Kaltura stores these in the cloud, while providing access via Canvas.
Even better, instructors are able to link student Kaltura assignments to the gradebook or embed graded questions into faculty-generated content.
March 20, 2019 - 1:15-2:15 pm - Room E213
One likely reason is that they are unaccustomed to the kind of studying needed to learn the material.
As a way of introducing students to appropriate study techniques, Jim Farrugia has been giving students metacognitive tips and asking them to reflect on their learning activities throughout the semester. He will present his method, a sample of his tips and student reflections, and his thoughts on teaching study strategies while teaching math.
February 27, 2019 - 1:15-2:15 pm - Room E213
1. A feature comparison of blended, hybrid, and flipped learning paradigms
2. A description of how an informal conversation sparked a college-level instructor/instructional designer partnership, and ultimately led to formal university-level training, and course implementation
3. Tips on blending learning with design consultation in your courses
January 24, 2019 - 12:00-1:00 pm - Room E206
IST 402 (Emerging Technologies) offers students an introduction to research topics in the College of IST and examples of cutting edge technologies and trends for students to explore. Xiying Wang (Lead UX Researcher at WorkSpan and former IST 402 instructor) and Jomara Sandbulte (Graduate Teaching Fellow) will present how they engaged students in thinking about new apps for mobile devices. Their students considered what motivates people to download and use a mobile app, when and why people stop using an app, what works well and what doesn’t, how to design the user experience on mobile devices, and how to communicate design ideas. Wang and Sandbulte will share the evolution of this particular 402 course, examining and reflecting on their experiences in teaching a range of students (in our majors and our minors) about mobile user experience and design.
Hoi Suen, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology – Writing high-quality, multiple choice questions is a critical element in evaluating students with exams. Dr. Hoi K. Suen, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at Penn State, will speak about high-quality exam questions at our next Teaching Community Seminar. Suen’s seminar will begin with a brief contrast of the pros and cons of performance assessment versus multiple-choice testing. Suen will then focus on the ubiquitous multiple-choice exam format, guiding principles for constructing high-quality multiple-choice test items, and a variant of the multiple-choice item format, called interpretive exercise—a particularly effective approach to measuring high-level cognitive skills. The seminar will end with a discussion of some rules and a few “tricks” for constructing highly effective multiple-choice exam questions. Suen is the author/co-author of over 200 books, chapters, journal articles and technical reports on educational and psychological testing and evaluation; and he has served as a psychometric/assessment consultant to some 60 governmental agencies, NGOs and private corporations in the U.S. and in various countries around the world.
Lisa Lenze, Director of Graduate and Undergraduate Academic Affairs – Educational theorists categorize the knowledge required to teach into three general sets: knowledge of learning and learners, knowledge of curriculum and content, and knowledge of teaching (including methods, technologies, assessment, and more). What do Learning Assistants (LA’s) know, and how can you best leverage their knowledge and assistance in the courses you teach? Our first Teaching Community luncheon this fall provides an in-depth look at the goals of the LA preparation course and the materials and activities that introduce brand new LA’s to their role. Discussion will focus on how to make the best use of their knowledge and skills. All faculty are welcome, whether teaching this semester or not.
The Raspberry Pi Pilot is testing the waters of using the Raspberry Pi to provide students with a more consistent hands on learning experience. A series of four labs were assembled to assess the effectiveness of use of this hardware across the four years of our programs. Implementation envisions students purchasing a Pi kit their first year in the program and using it in multiple courses throughout their time in the program. Beginning with the basics of installing various operating systems and understanding the differing capabilities and security features of each, students’ progress through Linux command line exercises, Python programming exercises and ultimately apply these skills to solving basic code breaking problems and development of IOT solutions to contemporary problems. Join us for the last spring 2018 teaching community luncheon to find out more. All faculty are welcome, whether teaching this semester or not.
IST 402 (Emerging Technologies) offers a bird’s eye view of research topics in the College of IST and examples of the cutting edge technologies and trends that students learn about in our majors. Dongwon Lee will present how he engages students in thinking about abusive and fraudulent activities—spam emails, malicious viruses, manipulated Like preferences, fake news, virtual phone numbers, etc.—in the cyber world. As these fraudulent activities seriously undermine the eco system of entire information systems, it is critically important for students to be aware of popular online frauds in cyber world, and possible solutions toward the frauds. Compared to regular security classes, Dongwon’s class focuses more on the intersection of data science and security—the so-called data-enabled and data-intensive security issues. James Wang will present how he motivates students to think about making sense of large quantities of multimedia data—images, videos—in a number of emerging applications, including social media, Web information retrieval, robotics, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, forensics, biomedicine, and art history. In his class, students learn about the challenges and opportunities for information engineers, including retrieval, analysis, visualization, understanding, and mining of the data.
OpenLeef is the first learner-focused, crowdsourced data analytics platform. Developed by Assistant Professor of Teaching Dr. David Fusco and with the help of several Penn State students, OpenLeef facilitates fast, real-time course information sourced directly from students and distributed freely among them. OpenLeef aims to build a community of learners all while providing detailed learning analysis benefiting students and professors.
Learning can be needlessly difficult—especially when trying to find a quality explanation of the material that students are studying. What would happen if we encouraged students to find the best learning resources and then facilitated their sharing the resources with their peers? How might instructors interact with the crowdsourced suggestions? Could College tutors, LA’s, and TA’s make use of and contribute to such an effort in a way that helps increase the quality of information?
Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner and is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and the College of IST and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. But are we fully armed with the facts? Have we prepared our assignments, quizzes and exams with AI in mind? Do we know and recognize the behaviors that lead to AI violations? Do we know how the students will react if suspected of violating AI? And lastly, do we as faculty know what to do when we suspect an AI violation?
Please consider attending our next teaching community luncheon to explore these issues and to engage in an open forum to discuss strategies and personal experiences.
Continuing with our theme of Academic Integrity this fall semester, we will consider technologies to support academic integrity at our next Teaching Community luncheon. Faculty who have piloted web-based proctoring tools (such as ProctorTrack), make use of the testing center, and employ plagiarism detection software (such as Turnitin) will discuss the how’s, why’s, and results of using such technologies.
The Polymorphic Homework and Laboratory System (Polylab) leverages principles in cybersecurity to provide an individualized assessment mechanism. It allows for multiple, unique versions of homework exercises to be generated and evaluated, even on disconnected systems. Students get individual and potentially infinitely repeatable assignments. Polylab provides students with unique questions in a range of cybersecurity topics to include steganography, network traffic analysis, cryptography, and learning the Linux command line. Join us for the first Fall 2017 teaching community luncheon, where you will learn about how this project began, see a lab activity developed for IST 220, and be able to participate in a small lab activity custom to you.
Courses with teamwork often require students to evaluate their peers (about 75% of the time, according to an informal survey of College of IST seniors). IST and SRA students report that the most common way that faculty ask students to provide feedback on their teamwork experience is to evaluate individual team members using a homegrown paper or online survey. However, what students appreciate when evaluating peers are the features provided by team evaluation tools such as CATME or the World Campus Team Evaluation tool. Join us for the next Teaching Community luncheon, where we will compare features of different evaluation tools, review survey data from 100+ seniors, and discuss what faculty would like to see in such tools, should we adopt a common tool in the College.
As faculty look for ways to access and understand student activities and their use of technologies outside of our LMS (Learning Management System), they are confronted by the EdTech vendor challenge. That is, in order to leverage data analysis tools, the student and the instructor are required to “live” in the vendor’s system. Today’s student lives well beyond just one solution, one app, or even one platform. They participate in online learning activities, social media, and collaboration tools such as GroupMe or Slack; and they even engage in physical activities, which can now be tracked with IoT.
In order to understand student activities and engagement, we can leverage what they’re already doing—using xAPI* (Experience API)—to track micro-learning tasks. When a given task has been completed, an xAPI record is cut and sent to any given LRS (Learning Record Store). This LRS can then be used to augment the LMS, provide learner analytics data and dashboards, and give the faculty member a more holistic view of students.
Join our next Teaching Community conversation, where David Fusco will share examples of how he’s using xAPI and an LRS to capture learner activities at the edge, such as:
- Automated, IoT-based attendance using beacons
- Slack posts for LinkedIn interactions
- Interactive videos
- NEW – Alexa, voice-based triggers and voice-activated quizzes
*“xAPI (Experience API) is an e-learning communication specification that facilitates the transfer of learner-based activities and experiences and is stored in an LRS (Learner Record Store)”
One of the biggest obstacles to scaling collaborative learning is that most people do not have the knowledge nor skills to collaborate well. Many argue that improving collaborative processes requires that teams and groups learn how to monitor and regulate collective thinking processes, but what does this mean and what could this look like?
In this teaching community seminar, Dr. Marcela Borge discusses problems associated with collaboration and people’s understanding of and ability to monitor and regulate group cognition. She then builds on these ideas to discuss a Computer-Supported-Collective Regulation System that she has been developing called CREATE (Collective Regulation & Enhanced Analysis Thinking Environment).
CREATE is an online discussion space designed to guide students as they evaluate the quality of their online discussions by comparing their existing processes to desired processes. The system then helps them select strategies to improve the quality of future discussions. In this way, we can provide online and residential students with more opportunities to participate in high quality collaborative discussions around course content while helping them to develop important collaborative competencies. The conversation will end with a discussion of opportunities and challenges to scaling the technology including some initial work with adaptive support and opportunities for machine learning.
According to learning scientists, “to develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned” (Ambrose, et al., 2010, 91). Fred Fonseca has spent a decade refining his process for helping students move toward mastery in the College’s intermediate Java course. In considering the following questions, he has built a course that supports students’ active pursuit of knowledge of and skills in Java:
- What skills should students develop in the course?
- What activities will help students begin to master those skills?
- How much practice can be allocated in class to develop mastery?
- How much practice can be allocated out of class to develop mastery?
- What types of practice seem to work the best?
*Ambrose, Susan, Bridges, Michael W., DiPietro, Michele, Lovett, Marsha C., Norman, Marie K. (2010). How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Have you found yourself in need of information about students’ mental health and wellness? Are you familiar with campus resources that provide support for these concerns? What happens when you refer a student? Who should you contact if you have a serious concern for a student’s safety? The next Teaching Community Session will highlight mental health/wellness issues and what faculty (including faculty honors advisers) should know. Join us for a discussion with Ben Locke (Wednesday, April 6) or Mary Anne Knapp (Thursday, April 7) from CAPS and Jeanie Peritz from our own Advising Center. All faculty are welcome, whether teaching this semester or not.
Additional Links about Federated Wiki:
- Box can help instructors organize students’ assignment submissions for easier grading.
- Features in Box can help students set deadlines and keep track of submissions.
- Box can be used to facilitate asynchronous and synchronous collaboration for group projects.
If interested in exploring Box’s organizational options for faculty and the self-directed learning features for students, join us for our first Teaching Community Luncheon this spring, when Kris Benefield, instructor in English and instructional designer at ITS Training Services, will present Box for teaching and learning. All faculty are welcome, whether teaching or not this semester.
After ten years of employing undergraduate students as Learning Assistants (formerly Teaching Interns) and a year of employing undergraduates as tutors in the IST Peer Tutoring Program, are we making the best use of students in these programs? Both programs are anchored in Social Development Theory (Vygotsky). Students enrolled in our courses interact with each other in the presence of slightly more skilled students (LA’s and tutors), and the social interaction fosters cognitive learning. Might we find more learning benefits by considering different uses—and triangulation—of LA’s and tutors? At our first Teaching Community Luncheon this fall, we will hear about long-term successes and current challenges from a panel of tutors, LA’s, and Penn State Learning’s Scholar in Residence for Learning Communities, Angelique Bacon-Woodard. Join us in discussing how best to triage LA’s and tutors to encourage student learning.
In order to be successful, there are a host of basic survival skills that students should develop long before reaching college. Teachers and parents make fewer decisions for them. Students face an increased level of academic competition and high demands from instructors. Students must take more responsibility for their learning, and for acquiring support services. They also need academic skills such as reading, writing, listening, and studying. What are the “must-have” survival skills for IST students? And how do we support their development in and out of the classroom? Join us for the next Teaching Community luncheon where Lisa Lenze and Lynette Kvasny (recently honored as a Penn State Teaching Fellow for 2014-2015) will facilitate a brainstorming session to identify the requisite skills and potential resources that we can put in place to support their development.
Written communication rises to the top of the list of skills desired by employers, according to Association of American Colleges and Universities’ National Survey of Business and Non Profit Leaders. Penn State recognizes the importance of teaching writing skills by assigning all students to take freshmen English, a sophomore level disciplinary area English course, and at least one writing intensive course within the major. And yet, semester after semester, faculty lament students’ writing skills; students complain about their peers’ skills; and employers ask for better writing from interns. If you are interested in discussing the sorts of issues you are seeing with your students’ writing, strategies for addressing problems, and resources at Penn State, please join us at our next Teaching Community luncheon this week.
- Student tutoring on writing (and resources for World Campus students, graduate students, and more)
- Faculty resources on designing, commenting on, and peer review of writing assignments
- Association of American College and Universities’ Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education project
- Writing handout W-Courses
What makes our outstanding undergraduate students stand out? What do they produce, discover, or synthesize in our classes that catches our attention? And how do we provide opportunities to further challenge these students? Join us for the next Teaching Community luncheon where we will take a peek at the creations of some of our outstanding students and brainstorm how to better leverage such individuals as a cohort as they move through the curriculum.
Penn State, University Park, is ranked first among national universities for Best Colleges for Veterans, according to U.S. News and World Report. Currently, 950 of Penn State’s 3,900 student veterans and military dependents study at University Park. This population of students is projected to increase in the coming years—and certainly, we are seeing more of these students in our IST and SRA courses. This Friday, two guests will join us to discuss soldier and veteran students: Ginny Newman, Director of Military Education; and Ted Timmerman, Associate Director of the Office of Veteran Services. Panelists will talk about soldier and veteran students’ college experiences and support services available to these students at Penn State, and they will respond to questions that you may have about these students’ unique needs in your classroom, either in residence or online.
We’ve built it; will you come? This past year, faculty colleagues have provided feedback on what should be on a College of IST teaching webpage. In response to faculty feedback, we’ve built a site where you can:
- find course materials within 2-3 clicks (not 5 sub-folders in ANGEL)
- locate University policies on class attendance, academic integrity, honors options, and more
- read about what students are suggesting as useful materials for learning in your course
- gather information on best uses of Learning Assistants
Other suggestions for the site include hosting a discussion forum on teaching-related issues (or at least distilling good ideas from our faculty listserv conversations), chatting with our designated librarian on the instructional support page, and voting up or down instructional materials that are (not) useful. If interested in seeing the site and providing feedback as we continue its development, join us at Friday’s Teaching Community Luncheon.
Whether you are considering flipping your classroom, using new case study materials, implementing a new problem-solving approach, or adding some other new feature to your course, you may be interested in collecting data to understand the change you are making. Perhaps you want to know whether the change makes a difference in student outcomes. Or, maybe you simply want to know how students make use of the new feature you have introduced. Join us at this Friday’s Teaching Community Luncheon, where we will address special considerations regarding research in classrooms, share validated instruments for gathering data, and discuss current and future plans for classroom research.
The word is out. Faculty in the College of IST have flipped–their classrooms. This strategy makes use of technology to record faculty lectures for students to view prior to class time, so that in-class time can be spent in hands-on activities with the instructor acting as a learning coach. Join us for a discussion of colleagues’ experiences and lessons learned.
- What Is a Flipped Classroom?
- Tips from Eric Mazur, noted Physics professor who has done decades of research on teaching Physics
- 6 Examples of Flipping a College Math Course (Math 210: Communicating in Mathematics)
- Inverting the Transition to Proofs Class
- Inside the Inverted Transition to Proofs Class: What the Students Said
Will McGill has been enrolled in college-level classes continuously for over 17 years. In this time, he developed the view that the role of the educator is to facilitate meaningful learning experiences for students. But how are meaningful experiences achieved? Admittedly, this is a challenging question to answer.
In this session, Will McGill will reflect on many years of being a student and the various settings he has taken classes to describe what he has found to be both effective and ineffective experiences, both online and in the classroom, synchronous and asynchronous. He will describe how he has integrated some of these experiences into the classroom, for better and for worse, and his ideas for what else can be done to make learning experiences great!
Making use of technology in higher education curricula is not only prevalent, it is the subject of the online journal, The Internet and Higher Education. The January 2012 issue considers some of these educational purposes for incorporating social media in college courses:
Sharing formal knowledge via social networks Creating shared meaning through social annotation and web 2.0 tools Connecting formal and informal learning Fostering a sense of community in the classroom Using and reflecting on the tools we study
Faculty in IST who are currently using Twitter, Yammer, Wordle, Adobe Connect, and more will reflect on their educational purposes, report on their students’ and their own experiences, and invite your feedback and further discussion. Join us for the conversation, whether you are teaching or not this semester.
Student ratings of teaching have been the subject of research since the 1970’s. Although issues of reliability, validity, and bias are well-documented (for a review of the literature from 1970 to 2010, see Benton and Cashin’s summary), many faculty members have questions about local student evaluation tools and processes, especially since the process has gone online.
At our next Teaching Community Luncheon, we will discuss your questions about SRTE’s. Questions collected so far include: Where did the college-level SRTE items come from? How do my colleagues use SRTE results to inform their teaching? How do I interpret written comments? Now that SRTE’s are online, what are my colleagues’ best practices for increasing participation rates? How much can I trust student ratings?
If you are interested in this topic, join us to hear what your colleagues think and do, what research supports, and what Penn State intends.
Steve Haynes has been collecting data from his students since 2005. He uses scenario-based assessment to understand what makes good and poor learning experiences. His findings, although grounded in the subject matter of software design and HCI courses, will likely sound familiar to most instructors. Steve unpacks students’ narratives by asking them to provide claims analyses for a scenario that they define as “good learning experience” and for a scenario that they define as “poor learning experience.” If you are interested in Steve’s research, join us to discuss students’ perceptions of learning experiences.
Over the years, the College of IST has promoted teamwork in the classroom to varying degrees. As we reconsider the role of teamwork vs. the role of individual work, we question how best to work with teams such that they yield learning of course concepts, skills, principles, and experiential knowledge.
This semester, faculty have requested that we address some specific questions about teams: 1. What examples do my colleagues have of team assignments that require a team of students to complete them? 2. What tools are there to encourage true collaboration (not divide and conquer mentality)? 3. How do I help teams get off to a good start? 4. How do others incorporate peer assessments into team grades?
If you are interested in these questions, join us for the Teaching Community Luncheon, where a panel of colleagues will share their team materials to spark discussion.
What do you do for three hours in a graduate seminar? Several faculty members have raised this question in the past few months. If you are interested in discussing how to engage our graduate students in meaningful discussions and how to structure a three-hour period of time to keep everyone interested, join us for the Teaching Community Luncheon.
Session PPT (PDF) Annotated References for Teaching Graduate Seminars Annotated References for Increasing International Student Participation Session Suggestions from College of IST Faculty
Exit surveys are only one indication of what students learned from our curriculum, but they provide useful information. Three years ago, when we participated in the Middle States Commission on Higher Education assessment, the Senior Exit Survey was a good indicator of the general areas for improvement in our curriculum. In fact, internship supervisors and students in focus groups identified the same areas for improvement.
At our last meeting, we reviewed the results of the 2010-11 IST Senior Exit Survey report; now, we turn our attention to the 2010-11 SRA Senior Exit Survey report.Findings of the SRA survey.
Exit surveys are only one indication of what students learned from our curriculum, but they provide useful information. Three years ago, when we participated in the Middle States Commission on Higher Education assessment, the Senior Exit Survey was a good indicator of the general areas for improvement in our curriculum. In fact, internship supervisors and students in focus groups identified the same areas for improvement.
This past year’s Senior Exit Survey reports (one for IST and one for SRA) are now completed. Findings of the IST survey.
Why is it so difficult for our students to retain ideas from one class to the next? Are our students lazy learners? Are the faculty who teach the prerequisite courses to blame? Cognitive science research tells us that transferring knowledge from one context to another is one of the hardest tasks to accomplish for any learner. Our students are no different. Although it is the student’s job to do the work of learning across different contexts, faculty can help facilitate the process of transfer by being explicit about objectives, assessment, curricular articulation, and accountability. Join us to discuss faculty members’ role in transfer learning.
How much time do you spend on grading—writing the rubric, delegating the work of grading, checking the grading, assigning the grades, arguing the grades, re-grading? Given the importance of assigning grades and the amount of time spent on this activity, it is time that we address grading at our Teaching Community Luncheon. Join us for a session with tips for effective grading and discover what TA’s and LA’s are learning about this topic in order to better support you in this important activity.
The College of IST discovered the eLearning Cooperative this semester—and so did 68 students who join Eileen Trauth synchronously and asynchronously each week. The eLearning Cooperative provides an interesting model for University Park faculty to offer specialty courses for students both at UP and other Penn State campuses. Join us to find out about our pilot course and to participate in an open discussion about creating a sense of presence in online courses.
Faculty teaching online courses as part of their on-load teaching assignments are the first to note that online courses are a different environment, a different mindset, and a different set of students. As we make our way toward more online teaching with the MPS programs, what do we need to know about online learning? Who are online learners? What is a quality online course? What is the instructional design process, and why does it matter?
Online Learning Resources at Penn State PSU Quality Assurance Standards for Online Courses
Back by popular demand. Since our last session on Teaching with Technology was so well received (and since several faculty asked for more of the same), we ran one more Teaching with Technology luncheon. This time, we previewed the new NBC Learn pilot program (a video archive containing thousands of videos—from newsreels, NBC News, the Today show, NBC Sports as well as collections of original educational shorts—from the late 1930s through today) and Gliffy, an online diagram software tool. We also provided an update on how faculty plan to use PollEverywhere in IST classrooms this semester.
To download NBC Learn videos and install the player:
- Login to NBC Learn at Penn State
- Search for and then open the video that you want.
- Click on download (bottom of the video)
- Follow directions to install player (you may need to install Adobe Air also).
Teaching with technology can create an engaging classroom for both instructors and students. However, numerous technologies exist, and it’s hard to determine which is the best one to use. While certain technologies create learning opportunities and improve engagement, they also pose challenges.
Office of Instructional Design and Infrastructure site with Prezi presentation on Technology Tools. October 20, 2010 – Best Practices and Tools for Teamwork
Effective collaborative teams begin with the instructor’s design for teamwork in courses. Designing for teamwork requires attention to the actual assignment, team evaluation tools, policies for dealing with team issues, and accountability for individual team members.
We have seen consistent issues with students’ understandings of academic integrity—in both our undergraduate and graduate program. When cultural values are at odds with notions of academic integrity, what are our obligations to our students?
What did last year’s seniors say about IST/SRA on the Senior Exit Survey? What, exactly, do we measure with the Survey? How will Survey results be used in our curricular assessment?
- Senior Exit Survey
Research on classroom incivilities makes two interesting points: 1) faculty and students agree in their rankings of the three most disturbing kinds of incivilities, and 2) the degree of incivility that occurs over the course of the semester is related to the interactions that occur in the first week of class. What are the patterns to look for? How can you help deter this behavior?
Question that we addressed: Who is in the know about what students are learning? Students? TI’s? TA’s? Graders? The instructor?
Knowing what students are learning—before formal evaluation (quizzes, exams, or projects) – is critical information for reaching learning goals. Students require feedback on their understandings in order for meaningful learning to occur. Faculty improve instructional effectiveness when they systematically collect, analyze, and respond to information on students’ learning. Angelo and Cross (1990) outline such a process, called “Classroom Assessment.” We discussed research-tested techniques that you can use to assess your students’ learning – and how to enlist your instructional support staff in helping you.
More on Classroom Assessment:
If teamwork is part of your course, you may be accustomed to hearing:
I don’t like my team members. My team’s goal is a B, and I want an A. We want to fire the slacker on our team. My team leaves me out. We rotate who does the team assignments among our team members. Our leader dominates; we follow.
At our January Teaching Community luncheon, we explored the team policies and processes (e.g., assigning students to teams, firing policies, complaint policies, team management strategies) that you may want to consider implementing in your course. We shared how Teaching Interns are trained to handle team-related issues and discuss what faculty members do in specific situations.
At our November Teaching Community Seminar, we talked about teaching and learning in the Cybertorium.
What are the dynamics to be aware of in the Cybertorium? How can we use in-class activities to keep the course afloat? What does it take to manage team interactions in a lecture hall with no center aisle?
The College of IST has offered courses with team learning for almost a decade. Teamwork has always been one of the curricular goals for the undergraduate program. This year, as we begin to participate in a curricular assessment program, we will be asked to assess how well our students have learned to work in teams. Before we can assess, we must define what we mean by effective teams.
At our October Teaching Community Seminar, we discussed what makes effective teams – especially effective collaborative teams. Marcela Borge, whose doctoral work at UC Berkeley was in cognition and development in math, science, and technology, facilitated a discussion on what IST faculty members mean by collaboration and effective teams, and what the research says about effective teamwork.
At our September Teaching Community Seminar, we met to take an informed look at several cases that colleagues have offered for discussion at the first Fall 08 Teaching Community Seminar. Questions discussed include:
How should you assign students to teams when 2 of your 50 students are African American? How do you help your one international student feel that he has something to contribute? What is your own assessment of how inclusive your course is to women?
Matthew Callahan, from the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, facilitated discussion about diversity issues that the College is committed to addressing. Matthew’s research over the past five years is on the underlying issues for women and underrepresented students, particularly in STEM fields.