Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lecture capture--a growing trend in higher education

Interested in knowing more about lecture capture and its pedagogical benefits?

CHECO, the Colorado Higher Ed Computing Organization, is sponsoring a day-long program on lecture capture on Tuesday February 7 in Lowry.

Description and Details:
The morning session will consist of a vendor exhibit that will facilitate hands on demos and interactive discussions. We currently have 7 vendors confirmed for this event; Cisco, Crestron, Desire To  Learn, Echo360, Mediasite, Panopto and Tegrity. The afternoon will consist of presentations from the Colorado Higher Ed community on the status, successes and challenges related to supporting lecture capture technology at their institutions. 

Date: February 7, 2012
Location: Lowry Conference Center, Denver CO
-          9am-1pm – Vendor exhibit
-          1pm-4pm – Lecture capture update from Colorado institutions
More details will be sent in January to those who register including maps, parking info and food options (as lunch will be ‘on your own’).

Although the event is free, registration is required. Registration is now open and available on the CHECO Web site.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The syllabus as literary work

I try to write my syllabi to reflect the attitude that teaching is a scholarly endeavor. As I was putting the final touches earlier this month on my syllabus for spring semester, I was reminded of the buzz last fall over the posting of a couple of David Foster Wallace's syllabi. You can find the actual syllabi here and here.

While I don't necessarily recommend these as model syllabi, it's always a useful exercise, I think, to exchange our ideas and attitudes about teaching. DFW's syllabi contain some gems about his own thoughts regarding teaching and the learning process. I especially like that he freely borrows from other professors' syllabi (thereby recognizing that teaching is a community endeavor that is made better by sharing) and cites them accordingly (demonstrating good practice to his students while also conveying that a syllabus is, in some respects, a scholarly document).

One example of where DFW borrowed from a colleague's syllabus:
English 67 is a seminar. By way of elucidation, please look at the following gloss from Prof (name removed)'s E67 syllabus for Fall '05: "This is a discussion-based course; it is not a lecture course. What we learn will be driven primarily by the questions, comments, ideas, and energies that you bring to our discussion. In other words, we will learn about texts by actively engaging them and each other in our regular meetings."
And he follows this up under Course Rules & Procedures with:
Even in a seminar course, it seems a little silly to require participation. Some students who are cripplingly shy, or who can't always formulate their best thoughts and questions in the rapid back-and-forth of a group discussion, are nevertheless good, serious students. On the other hand, as Prof. (name removed) points out supra, our class can't really function if there isn't student participation--it will become just me giving a half-assed ad-lib lecture for 90 minutes, which (trust me) will be horrible in all kinds of ways. There is, therefore, a small percentage of the final grade that will concern the quantity and quality of your participation in class discussions. But the truth is that I'm way more concerned about creating an in-class environment in which all students feel totally free to say what they think, ask questions, object, criticize, request clarification, return to a previous subject, respond to someone else's response, etc. Clinically shy students, or those whose best, most pressing questions and comments occur to them only in private, should do their discussing with me solo, outside class.

Monday, January 16, 2012

IRB Workshop for Undergraduate Research

Have you supervised undergraduate research projects, or are you interested in doing so? The undergraduate research project that you want to supervise may fall under the category of "human research" and require review by the human subjects review committee of the Institutional Review Board. Find out more by attending the upcoming workshop (Undergraduate) Research and the IRB Process on Thursday January 26 from 11am to 12:15pm in SI-1086. Be sure to register for this workshop at the Faculty Development Events Calendar.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Team-based learning in action

Duke-NUS (National University of Singapore) Medical School has produced this video to showcase their team-based instructional approach. To me, the video is valuable in that it shows how team-based learning combines the benefits of peer instruction with the rigor of working to solve conceptual problems.

Yes, Metro State is a far different educational context than Duke-NUS. Still, I think the video conveys a perspective on the role of the instructor that can be extremely useful to us:
As faculty (who practice team-based learning), we spend a lot of time writing the questions well... this is done behind the scenes. What we do not spend our time doing is talking to the students directly. It’s the students who talk.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Answers to some questions from affiliate faculty members

Earlier today I facilitated the workshop "Introduction to College Teaching at Metro State for New Affiliate Faculty." We were able to respond to some questions during the panel discussion, but not all.

Here are responses to some more of the questions submitted by participants in their "minute papers":

  1. "How do you deal with students who complain about requirements?" If this question is referring to assignments that students are required to complete in the course, I think the best way to preempt these kinds of complaints is to show early and often how the assignments align with the course learning objectives. Then your answer can be, "you're required to do this in order to master the learning objectives of the course." It's when students don't see that alignment, I think, that they're more inclined to complain about a required assignment.
  2. "Are faculty software downloads or discounts available (e.g. Adobe or Word)?" Yes! All affiliate faculty are entitled to the Microsoft Office suite of applications, which includes Word. Contact Information Technology to find out where to pick up the CD-Rom (you'll need to show your Metro State ID, and you can only receive one CD-Rom).
  3. "I would like more teaching examples." Observing others' teaching is a great way to get ideas about your own teaching. One helpful resource (which I mentioned during the workshop) is Merlot. Specifically, look for the Elixr Case Studies of teaching for some great examples. If you're interested in seeing live examples of teaching, consider taking part in this semester's Peer Instructional Coaching cohort offered by the Center for Faculty Development. I will email a call for participation within a couple of weeks from now.
Several people mentioned that they would have liked to hear more about active learning and strategies to engage students. This will be a topic featured at the Spring Forum on March 30 In addition, because so many people mentioned it, I will offering a stand alone workshop sometime during the first half of the semester. Check the Faculty Development Events Calendar and this blog for the latest updates regarding workshops, etc.