During the 2012-2013 school year, Jeremy and Tara have been piloting the new lecture capture system installed in two of the rooms in the Loyola Science Center. The pilot is intended to explore the technology and decide whether a larger-scale implementation is appropriate for our campus. Many schools have campus-wide lecture capture programs, and can be used on the small scale or the large scale. For example, MIT’s Open Courseware uses campus lecture capture to allow students to watch videos of professors in the classroom. The implementation we have on campus can be used to capture the experience of a single classroom, but it can also be used to record videos outside of class as extra-curricular materials or homework to watch. Jeremy wrote a short piece for the CTLE Newsletter, Reflections, about the technology and classroom uses, and can be found here.
From a pedagogy perspective, I’ve found having the recorded videos posted for the students to view outside of class to be useful. It has removed the need to answer the perpetual question of “I missed class… what did we cover?” The students can just watch the video afterwards. The problem is, though: They don’t. It’s not that the videos never accessed, but students don’t often seem to actually spend the time watching the videos during the semester. I have the Angel links set up to track the users activity in folders where I post the links to the videos, so I can see who accesses what and when. There was a flurry of activity right before the tests, but only from about 10-20% of the class. So clearly not many of the students watch the videos. I’ve asked for feedback from the students about how to use the videos more effectively, and I’ll receive that at the end of the semester. Since Spring 2013 is the first semester that the lecture capture system has been working fully and correctly, hopefully we’ll be able to move from testing the functionality to testing the pedagogy.
On Friday, March 2, 2012, invited speaker Benjamin Cohen came to the CTLE to talk about the novel pedagogy he has implemented in his classrooms at the University of Virginia and Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, mainly with engineering students.
Benjamin Cohen biography
Cohen aims to engage his students in learning about local foodsheds and environmental initiatives, connecting the college classroom to the surrounding community. Rather than using traditional assignments, he opts for creative, collaborative class projects. One of his classes authored a book rather than writing individual research papers.
Technology, Nature, and Sustainable Design
Behind the Curtain of ecoMOD3
Another class constructed a website of podcasts, which investigated various local food topics from farmer’s markets to health food stores to vegetarian diets to composting. They presented at the Charlottesville, Virginia, public library to educate the public on local options for sustainable eating and living.
Bringing Engineers into the Local Foodshed
Cohen’s current students are developing projects related to “the governance of environmental engineering in the Easton, PA, Lehigh Valley, and broader mid-Atlantic region.”
The Governance of Technology
Cohen’s presentation helped us to conceive of novel pedagogical techniques that combine elements of service learning, hands-on problem solving, and projects that result in lasting products rather than term papers or exams that are discarded at the end of the semester.
Present: Tara, Katy, Jeremy, Jennifer, & Jessica
- IT will get back to Jeremy on April 9th about whether or not we can have a University based wordpress site.
- Katy and Jeremy will work on the website.
Future of the group
- The three active remaining members (Tara, Jess, Jenn) agreed that we would like to continue to meet to discuss teaching related issues/articles and to visit one another’s classes. We discussed re-envisioning our group as more of an ‘inquiry group’ that supports “reflective practice” as teachers.
- Jess will contact Ileana Szymanski and Cyrus Olsen to see if they would like to join the group
- Tara will contact Brian Coniff and the new CTLE faculty development specialist about being housed under the CTLE
Location: Thai Rak Thai
In Attendance: Kathryn Meier, Jennifer Cutsforth, Tara Fay, Jeremy Sepinsky
- Critical Incident Questionnaires (CIQs)
- Global Environment History course; exploring new pedagogies
- Preliminary discussion to answer the question “What is a good teacher?”
Background: In our proposal for funding, we stated that we would try to make a website/blog where we can discuss and disseminate novel pedagogies with a wider audience.
IR is in the process of creating a wordpress server for our campus. This is a common blog creating application. Those present thought this would make a good public/semi-private outlet for our group. Jeremy is going to explore what we would need to do to get a page for our group.
Global Environment History course; exploring new pedagogies
Background: Last year, our cohort brought in Ben Cohen to the university to talk about some novel pedagogies that he used in the classroom. One really interesting project involved the students in the class writing a book about a certain topic. Katy is designing a course in a similar vein, where the students will collaborate to write a book on “Global Environmental History”.
- The major worry about classes like this is having students are willing to participate. This is not a traditional educational experience, and past experience at The University of Scranton has shown us that our students tend to be very reticent to “new” things.
- This reticence may be “context dependent” as they have little problems doing extra-curricular work in classes where a large “service learning” component is expected.
- One possible way to mitigate problems like this might be to deliver the expectations before the students even sign up to the class. This can be done during the advertising for the course (a special topics where there is no online course description).
- We discussed a few advertising techniques for this class, including a short video introduction that can be posted online (facebook, etc.).
Preliminary discussion to answer the question “What is a good teacher?”
Background: Katy sent around this article from the Atlantic on what it means to be a good teacher.
While we, of course, came up with no answers, there were a number of good questions brought up:
- Would it be possible for our group to observe each other more thoroughly, and attempt to make a list of “good habits” that we see in each other?
- Each of us has a very different “classroom culture”. What works in one class may not work in another. Will that hamper the way the “good habits” can be used?
- If, as the Atlantic article suggests, mutual respect and understanding is important for learning, what happens when the personalities of the instructor and student clash? Should they find another class? What happens if they can’t due to scheduling?
Critical Incident Questionnaires (CIQs), by Dr._Stephen_D._Brookfield
Background: Katy and Tara have both been using CIQs in class this semester. These are short learning assessments that are administered once per week, at the end of the last class of week. The short survey (four open-ended questions) asks the student to be self-reflective about their learning throughout that week. The responses (anonymous) can then be used by the instructor to categorize instruction methods and or topics that are particularly beneficial or challenging to the students. Furthermore, it encourages the students to provide feedback and gives them active role in shaping class time.
- Katy reported what seemed to be incidents of “survey fatigue” for the students in the class. More and more, students appear to be leaving questions blank. Additionally, at least one student described the CIQ as a “teacher evaluation” to another student. If students consider these “evaluative of the instructor” it tends to defeat their purpose as a “learning-evaluation”.
- It was suggested that, now that it is mid-semester, it may be a good time to remind the students what the CIQs are for and how they are used. That they are an evaluation of one’s experience in class, not of the instruction.
- It also became clear, in looking at the answers to the questions, that not all the students fully understand what the questions are asking.
- There is some fear of “evaluation fatigue”, in that the students may spend less time and/or effort filling out the end-of-year evaluation because they have already filled out the CIQs. Being that Katy is using CIQs in one class and not another, it may be possible to see a difference between the classes.
Daphne Koller discusses Coursera for TED
On May 2, 2012, Pedagogy Cohort watched the above TED video by Daphne Koller and discussed the idea of using standardized videos from top-tier universities as components of our courses. Koller and her associate Andrew Ng created Coursera at Stanford University, which makes lectures from 16 universities across the country available to the public. It also provides assignments and assessments to support learning. Integrating the Coursera videos might enable us to “flip” our classrooms by allowing students to watch lectures outside of class and spend classtime working on problems or case studies with professors.
After watching the TED video, we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of integrating Coursera. On the positive side, Coursera provides high-quality lectures on various topics, enabling us to flip our classroom right away without videotaping all our own lectures – a process that may take an entire semester. The negatives, however, may outweigh the positives. First, lectures on the particular topics we wish to cover may not be available. Further, the information provided on these lectures is static; it does not necessarily reflect the latest scholarship. We also agreed that one of the benefits of “live” lecture is that students can stop and ask the professor to clarify or provide more examples. Students watching at home may forget where their questions lie by the end of a given lecture and fail to fully understand the material. Finally, classrooms provide distraction-free environments as opposed to home-learning environments, where students might not disconnect themselves from social media or cellphones. Concentration is key to learning.
Present: Tara Fay, Katy Meier, Jessica Nolan, Jeremy Sepinsky
The meeting took place at Thai Rak Thai
- Strategic planning for the year
- expansion model
- guest speakers
- goals for our meetings and our classrooms
- meetings schedule
- CIQ experiment and data collection in Fay’s/Meier’s classroom
- TED video (Stanford online classes) and NY Schools for tomorrow webcast
- CTLE candidate presentation rundown
- First day of school
- Strategic planning for the year
- expansion model- the group affirmed that we had agreed at an earlier meeting that we do not want to expand our cohort, but we would like to provide a model for new cohorts to be formed with interested faculty
- guest speakers- Jeremy has not pursued the second speaker but can look into it if there is interest
- goals for our meetings and our classrooms- The group reflected on what we’ve done in the last year:
- met to discuss and get feedback on our courses visited each other’s classrooms and/or watched videos of each other teaching to provide informal and formal evaluations.
- shared teaching resources and recommended teaching related links
- watched and then discussed several webinars related to novel pedagogy
- brought in a guest speaker
- shared our novel pedagogies with one another
- supported one another’s interest in and planning for classroom experiments with novel pedagogies
- in the future we would also like to present the results of our classroom experiments to the larger university community
- meetings schedule- the next meeting was tentatively scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday of September, time TBD
- CIQ experiment and data collection in Fay’s/Meier’s classroom- Fay will be teaching three sections of Biology 110 and Meier will be teaching two sections of History 110 (Introduction to American history to 1877). Both faculty are planning to administer the critical incident questionnaire to one of their sections and use the other section(s) as a control group. The goal of the CIQ is to build a sense of trust and fairness among the students and to help students become engaged and self-reflective learners. Fay and Meier are using CIQ materials from the book “The Skillful Teacher” by Stephen D. Brookfield. The group discussed how to best design and evaluate the experiment.
- The TED video (Stanford online classes by Daphne Koller) and NY Schools for Tomorrow webcast were briefly discussed
- The CTLE candidate presentation was briefly discussed. Those who attended the talk expressed a need for the person who fills the position to have a firm grasp of teaching pedagogy in order to most effectively assist the faculty.
- The first day of school was not discussed
Present: Katy Meier, Jeremy Sepinsky, Jess Nolan, Jennifer Cutsforth
Discussed “Template for Peer Teaching Consultation (Videotape or Sit-in)”
Present: Tara Fay, Katy Meier, Jessica Nolan, Jeremy Sepinsky
- Discussed how to foster a classroom culture that promotes learning for learning sake rather than studying for the exam
- Article from Chronicle of Higher Ed: “Stop Telling Students to Study for Exams” by David Jaffee (link)
- Future of pedagogy cohort
- Discussed videotaping classes and Ted-Ed
- Is it harmful to standardize information by using video lectures? Would we fail to update with most current knowledge?
- Do we lose the opportunity to respond to individual needs, situations, and questions
by using video lectures?
Present: Jeremy Sepinsky, Katy Meier, Jennifer Cutsforth
- Teaching Evaluation and tenure/Promotion
- Should we focus on what good teaching is?
- How do we assess good teaching?
- What is a good teacher at the college level?
- What should I put in a dossier?
- Plan to invite current and former Board of Rank and Tenure to find out how teaching is evaluated (and Hal)
- Discussed: Teaching and Learning Astronomy in the 21st Century by Prather, Rudolph, Brissenden