CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

Archive for May, 2009

Pedagogical Strategies Incorporating Global Learning into the Curriculum

Posted by ctlt on May 28, 2009

Diana Cvitan, the Director of Global Learning, presented on incorporating global learning into the curriculum. Diana focused on three questions about the activities of her area: How can global learning improve the teaching and learning experience? What resources are available to faculty to help bring global learning into the classroom? What are some pedagogical strategies and methods for incorporating global learning into the curriculum?

Noting the University’s commitment to global learning, Diana reminded participants that this commitment is expressed in the University’s Mission Statement. She also noted that enhancing global learning supported the University’s interest in encouraging students to learn higher-order thinking skills, such as the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation in Bloom’s taxonomy.

Diana presented an overview of the rich array of online resources provided by the Office of Global Learning, including reference material for the Global Virtual Faculty (GVF) Program, the Global Virtual Classroom, the Global Issues Gateway (GIG), the United Nations Pathways, and resources supporting FDU’s Study Abroad program.

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Planning Learning Experiences

Posted by ctlt on May 28, 2009

After registration and breakfast in Rice Lounge, Friday’s sessions began with a discussion of resources available for teaching and learning through the Office of Academic Technologies (OAT) and the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). Manish Wadhwa, the Director of OAT spoke about the range of resources his office has responsibility for, and pointed out some features of the OAT Web site for participants.

OAT is responsible for installing and maintaining LCD projectors and sound equipment in public classrooms. Additionally, OAT is responsible for maintaining the Interactive Television (ITV) rooms on both campuses, and for scheduling classes and meetings in those rooms. OAT also administers and supports the Blackboard course management system, known as Webcampus at FDU. Webcampus is scheduled to be upgraded to Blackboard version 9 sometime in the near future, probably at the end of this coming Fall semester.

Manish was joined by Sandra Selick, who provided information about the TLC’s activities, and showed the Instructional Design Studio (id Studio) Web site to participants. The id Studio is a central location for course development support, faculty development workshops, and other activities on the Metro campus. Similar activities also take place at the College at Florham, but as yet we don’t have a space dedicated to meeting with faculty for those workshops or presentations.

Manish and Sandra distributed a sheet with Web addresses for all of the online resources that the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology supports or has contacts with, including this CTLT blog, the Student Centered Online Resources for Education (SCORE) site, and the Quality Assurance Wiki.

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Interactivity

Posted by ctlt on May 27, 2009

Kim Bauman of the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology presented on the use of various interactive methods and resources, and led participants in hands-on activity using laptops to explore those resources.

Kim began by using Turning Point Software’s audience response system (“clickers”) to ask participants about their attitudes toward a variety of social networking sites, and student use of those sites. Kim reminded her audience that today’s students have always lived in a world rich with online resources and interactive technologies. She presented on Twitter and “tweeting,” and then showed some YouTube clips on how active Twitter has become in recent months.

Another YouTube resource Kim discussed with participants is YouTube EDU, which is a place for colleges and universities to upload video clips and make them widely available.

Apple offers a more highly structured and formalized service for making educational video materials (such as course lectures) available online through iTunes and iTunesU.

Participants spent the remainder of this session exploring interactive online resources that interested them, with guidance and suggestions from Kim and other CTLT staff.

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Copyright Compliance Made Simple

Posted by ctlt on May 27, 2009

Following lunch, we participated in a virtual presentation on copyright law and the design of online courses, led by Professor Linda K. Enghagen, J.D., from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts.

Linda made clear that she was presenting this information for educational purposes, and that her presentation should not be construed as legal advice, or rendering a legal opinion.

American copyright law has its basis in a clause from Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution states that copyright is granted to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts” by securing exclusive right for limited time for creators and inventors for the use of their “writings and discoveries.” The laws that have evolved from this basic premise establish a framework for balancing rights and interests of creators and those who acquire rights for specific uses of copyrighted materials, after creative ideas are “expressed in a fixed, tangible form.”

After reviewing the basics of copyright law and dispelling some popular myths about educational uses of copyrighted materials, Linda set forth six rules to make copyright compliance simple when designing online (or blended) courses. These rules discuss the use of copyrighted materials if you own the copyright, the use of materials if they are not protected by copyright (for example, works in the public domain). You may not use materials you haven’t acquired lawfully. You may use materials you have lawfully acquired or lawfully accessed, provided you use them “in a manner consistent with their intended purpose.” You may not use materials in a manner that is contrary to the intended purpose of the materials (copying and distributing course materials that publishers intend students to buy, for example).

Linda also provided an extended discussion of the provisions for Fair Use and referred participants to Stanford University’s Copyright and Fair Use Center for additional information. Finally, Linda discussed the TEACH Act, and its implications for distance education and online coursework. The TEACH Act imposes some “affirmative obligations” on educational institutions, and allows “expanded rights for using copyright protected works in distance learning courses.”

Linda referred participants to two of her publications: Fair Use Guidelines for Educators, Fourth Edition and “Copyright Compliance Made Simple: Six Rules for Course Design,” both of which are available from the Sloan Consortium, on their Workshop Companion Publications Web page.

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Assessment

Posted by ctlt on May 27, 2009

Thursday morning began with registration and light breakfast in Rice Lounge. Following that, we moved to our meeting room for a presentation on Assessment by Dr. Miriam Singer, of the Peter Sammartino School of Education.

Miriam shared a number of valuable resources on assessments, portfolios and rubrics with participants. Among the resources for rubrics were links to RubiStar and Kathy Schrock’s Web site, especially her collection of rubrics.

Miriam also discussed the process of “backward design,” as developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe for their influential book Understanding by Design. The UbD method calls for beginning the design process by considering what you want students to know, or be able to do, by the end of the lesson, or task, or unit, or course. That is, consider planning of increasingly larger (or decreasingly smaller) scope. Then you write an appropriate objective, decide how to measure or assess student learning for that objective (or objectives), specify components of the assessment, and decide on levels of proficiency. That’s the basis for creating a rubric for assessment.

Miriam noted that learning objectives, course assignments and assessments (with corresponding rubrics) should all be aligned with each other. She also told participants to give their rubrics to their students, so that students know what it is that you are looking for, when you assess their performance.

Miriam then discussed in detail the design considerations for several rubrics, across a number of disciplines. She presented a case study rubric, a group project rubric, an oral presentation rubric, a writing rubric, and other examples, discussing the fine points of the construction of these plans for assessing student performance on various tasks. She also mentioned the usefulness of quick, informal methods to assess student comprehension of class lessons, at the end of class meetings.

Participants worked in small groups, using RubiStar and slightly revised versions of lesson materials (from Session A) to create their own rubrics.

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Instructional Planning

Posted by ctlt on May 22, 2009

The topic for Session B of this year’s TNT Institute was a discussion of the theoretical background for the “Guide to Quality Assurance for Online and Blended Courses at FDU,” written by Cathy Kelley, Sandra Selick and Paul Younghouse, and published by CTLT in 2007. Paul Younghouse, Coordinator of Instructional Design for the College at Florham presented on the Guide, and its use in reviewing course materials for online and blended offerings.

Much of the thinking that went into the Guide was based on a familiarity with the article “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” (by Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson) and the research it reported, and the efforts to develop an effective evaluation method for online offerings by Maryland Online (under a FIPSE grant).

Chickering and Gamson’s paper inspired a subsequent article by Chickering and Stephen Ehrmann, which focused on integrating technology into the educational practices that the earlier research report presented. Chickering and Ehrmann point out that technology is not a substitute for good teaching; rather, it is a means to supplement or extend effective teaching practices.

An additional influence on the Guide was a discussion among the authors of underlying values that they believe should inform commentary on educational practices, and the integration of technology into teaching and learning. A review of those values provides reminders of optimal ways to make use of technological resources for instructional planning and development.

Paul then presented on four groupings of design elements, as identified in the Guide. The Guide includes checklists based on each of those design elements, and these checklists were made available to participants. That led to the main activity for the session, as participants formed small groups and logged in for a specially-prepared blended course, “The World Around Us” (an altered version of “The Global Challenge” course). Each group was assigned one of the checklists from the Guide and reviewed the course on the basis of whether it satisfied the criteria identified by the checklists.

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Desired Results

Posted by ctlt on May 22, 2009

The topic for Session A of this year’s TNT Institute was learning outcomes and planning for courses and curricula, based on a presentation by Marlene Rosenbaum, Associate Dean of University College. Dr. Rosenbaum’s presentation was titled “Achieving Desired Results.”

Marlene discussed the key terms and ideas of learning outcomes assessment in the context of FDU’s identification of 10 Learning Outcomes for its academic programs, and the role of colleges, schools and departments in preparing students to achieve those outcomes. The University is likely to focus increasing attention on learning outcome assessment (LOA) as accrediting agencies and other bodies become increasingly insistent that the University prepare to identify and document how students progress through its academic programs.

A central conceptual model for LOA is Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy, specifically in the cognitive domain of that taxonomy (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_Taxonomy ). Bloom’s Taxonomy provides the basis for writing behavioral objectives, and then planning instructional resources and activities based on those objectives, to be followed by assessments that demonstrated when objectives have been achieved.

Following the Question and Answer session after Marlene’s presentation, participants worked in small groups to review prepared lesson materials from their Institute packets, and to complete a Desired Results planning form, based on the course development process Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe present in their useful book Understanding by Design. This task gave participants an opportunity to practice identifying the important ideas (or big questions) for the lessons they were working with, and to create behavioral learning objectives to help structure and align appropriate instructional activities and subsequent assessment tasks.

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What the Best College Teachers Do

Posted by ctlt on May 22, 2009

The Keynote Address for this year’s TNT Institute was delivered by Dr. Ken Bain, Founder and Director of the Research Academy for University Teaching at Montclair State University. Ken spoke about his research on the teaching methods of the best college teachers.

An important guiding question for Ken’s research has to do with the differences among surface learners, strategic learners and deep learners. Research has shown that often people’s understanding of some more complex concepts (such as the modern concepts of force and movement in physics, in contrast with the corresponding Aristotelian concepts) do not change during courses that address those concepts (such as physics courses). People whose understanding does not change when taking a course must be considered surface learners at best. Why do some people become surface or superficial learners, while others inquire more profoundly and become deep learners?

Ken invited participants to speculate on the question, and then discusses his view that at least some of the difference may be attributed to differences in the “diet of assessment” that people face as students. That is, if we only evaluate student performance using superficial problems or tasks, then we will nurture more students to become superficial learners.

What the best college teachers do is to find ways to present their students with situations in which their expectations (based on the mental models they bring to their problem-solving) fail to anticipate outcomes correctly. Ken discussed several examples of these efforts, including the case of a faculty member who found a way to get her students engaged in studying post-reconstruction race relations in the South by asking her students to explain what happened in New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. Students found the problems of post-reconstruction, presented in a way that connected them with current issues, to be engaging enough that they insisted on traveling to New Orleans to study the problems on site.

It might be said that the key then is to challenge the casual or informal (or incorrectly learned) mental models students bring with them, and to encourage students to devote the time and energy necessary to change those models.thec

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Understanding Quality Design

Posted by ctlt on May 21, 2009

The Sixth Annual TNT Institute began this morning in the New Academic Building, on the College at Florham campus of FDU. After registration and welcome remarks by Catherine Kelley and Sandra Selick, we played a problem-solving game called “Six Facets of Understanding.” The game consisted of a scoring sheet and a PowerPoint presentation that contained short embedded video clips from a number of recent popular films. The activity asked participants to judge which facet or facets of understanding could best be discussed using that video clip as a source for good examples for discussion. In other words, the underlying question was what might make a video clip a good example for discussing facets of understanding.

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