Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Flipped Classroom Discussion Group: Assessment of Flipping

Join the monthly flipped classroom discussion group with different topics each session. This session covers data regarding the level of effectiveness of the flipped classroom.

Read Probing the Inverted Classroom: A Study of Teaching and Learning Outcomes in Engineering and Mathematics

Read Student Views on the Use of a Flipped Classroom Approach: Evidence from Australia 

Read Phil Hill - A response to USA Today article on Flipped Classroom research

Read Journal of College Science Teaching - Case Studies and the Flipped Classroom

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The Web Accessibility in Higher Education Project

The Web Accessibility in Higher Education Project
Rob Carr, Accessibility Coordinator, Oklahoma ABLE Tech, Oklahoma State University

The complex problem of ensuring that technology is accessible to people with disabilities touches nearly every aspect of a campus, from course material to enterprise systems for registration and financial aid to public web pages. Solutions to creating an accessible IT environment require a full campus effort. The Web Accessibility in Higher Education Project (WAHEP) works across 25 Oklahoma institutions of higher education to provide resources and help campuses meet these goals. In this process we have learned valuable lessons regarding campus leadership, collaboration, and expectations. These lessons can aid any higher education institution seeking to establish or grow a technology accessibility initiative.

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Seven Principles for Classroom Design: The Learning Space Rating System

Seven Principles for Classroom Design: The Learning Space Rating System - Malcolm Brown

Organizing your thinking when beginning a major classroom project, whether renovating or building from scratch, can be a daunting task. Like most construction projects, a wealth of considerations and details need to be taken into account, disagreements settled, and coordination established. Typically these are high-stakes projects, with substantial resources in play and much visibility. Beyond the construction project lurks the challenge of managing the institution's classroom "fleet," ensuring that they contribute to academic strategic directions and aspirations.


Over the past year, a pair of resources have become available for classroom management: the Learning Space Rating System and the FLEXspace project. In two closely related articles you'll learn about these resources, appreciate their complementary fit, and understand how they might assist you in working with classrooms on your campus.

Why a Rating System for Learning Spaces?
As its name suggests, the Learning Space Rating System (LSRS) is a tool that enables scoring a classroom's design to see how well it supports active learning. Why create a classroom rating tool? What motivated development of the LSRS?

Active Learning
According to the adage, there are few certainties in life. Yet some things are hard to doubt because of the copious evidence testifying to their existence. The same can be said about the value of active learning. A great body of evidence makes a strong case for the value of active learning compared to its transmission-based predecessor, lecture-based learning.

The National Academies Press book How People Learn, first published in 1999, summarizes learning research and makes a strong case for active learning, based on the constructivist model of how we build and maintain our knowledge about the world. Most recently, an invaluable meta-analysis has again shown how active learning is more effective across a variety of science disciplines.

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Teaching is Collaborative

It’s easy to forget because in the majority of the time I spend on my teaching work, I am physically alone. The preparation and the grading are solo pursuits, the solo-er the better when it comes to grading, since when I’m in the thick of a stack of essays and absorbed in the task, I’m in a kind of non-responsive void.

But a post last week discussing my grading method and philosophies drew a number of thoughtful and thought-provoking comments – many of which I agree with, a couple of which I find personally abhorrent – but all of which caused me to consider this aspect of my teaching practice more deeply.

I recognized the discussion as a kind of collaboration, at least it served that purpose for me. It allowed me to challenge and then clarify my own thinking, to put some of my unstated assumptions into explicit statements of personal pedagogical principle[1].

I realized something that should’ve been obvious, that whenever I am engaging in the duties of teaching, my actions are the byproducts of collaboration.

When I write an assignment, I am using the principles of design that Prof. Marlene Preston taught me during my time at Virginia Tech. When I am letting my enthusiasm for a subject loose on my students, I am collaborating with John Wood, the director of my graduate program who would shatter chalk on the board doing scansion and could move himself to tears reciting a poem out loud.

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Teaching Roundtable Moving Beyond the Checklist: Mindful Advising for Student Success

This session will explore the emerging trend of Appreciative Advising, a pedagogical approach to supporting student success. We will discuss ways to move beyond the checklist of degree and distribution requirements to engaging students in a reflective practice that encourages them to take responsibility for and make sense of their academic experience. We will discuss the advising framework, explore possible "advising syllabus" templates, and examine mindful strategies to support students in the advising process. (co-sponsored by the Advising Committee)

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Active Learning at Case Western University

As the educational landscape continues to evolve, many universities have incorporated active learning into the curriculum to engender excitement for learning and help students better engage in the learning process. In recent years, some schools have developed classrooms specifically designed to support and promote active learning; although research exists in this area, much remains to be learned.

In 2013, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) developed an active learning initiative designed to help faculty use active learning instructional methods in two new learning spaces that were optimized for collaborative classroom learning with large movable computer displays, flexible furniture, shared writing surfaces. and so on. Through a yearlong Active Learning Fellowship (ALF), a group of 12 faculty members restructured one class each to include active learning techniques and thereby increase student engagement and success in the classroom.

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We don't need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.

We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.

In business and at every level of government, we hear how important it is to graduate more students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, as our nation’s competitiveness depends on it. The Obama administration has set a goal of increasing STEM graduates by one million by 2022, and the “desperate need” for more STEM students makes regular headlines. The emphasis on bolstering STEM participation comes in tandem with bleak news about the liberal arts — bad job prospects, programs being cut, too many humanities majors.

As a chemist, I agree that remaining competitive in the sciences is a critical issue. But as an instructor, I also think that if American STEM grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts.

Our culture has drawn an artificial line between art and science, one that did not exist for innovators like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs. Leonardo’s curiosity and passion for painting, writing, engineering and biology helped him triumph in both art and science; his study of anatomy and dissections of corpses enabled his incredible drawings of the human figure. When introducing the iPad 2, Jobs, who dropped out of college but continued to audit calligraphy classes, declared: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”

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