Descriptions for the 1st Annual Teaching & Learning Conference

Descriptions for the 1st Annual Teaching & Learning Conference

Round tables

Engaging Faculty to Promote Change: Exploring the Assessment Literature and Reflecting on Lessons Learned

Assunta Hardy

Description: For assessment to be meaningful, faculty participation is essential (Driscoll & Wood, 2007; Hutchings, 2010; Kuh & Ikenberry, 2009; Maki, 2002). Yet, according to Hutchings, “much of what has been done in the name of assessment has failed to engage large numbers of faculty in significant ways.” The assessment literature identifies obstacles that may explain the lack of engagement and proposes strategies to overcome the barriers. This presentation explores some of these strategies, and reflects on their short- and long-term impact, in the context of faculty development initiatives at a publicly funded university undergoing rapid growth. Broader applications are discussed.

Abstract: Dixie State University (DSU) is a publicly funded institution that has experienced rapid growth, and as part of that growth, in October 2012, the institution fast tracked its most recent accreditation cycle. In response to DSU’s Comprehensive Self-Evaluation Report, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) recommended that DSU fulfill its plans to do program assessment. Since then, many “top-down” strategies were implemented in an effort to motivate faculty engagement, and bring about institutional change. Some strategies have brought about positive impact, but the sustainability of the impact is questionable. Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to: a) review the assessment literature regarding faculty engagement, b) explore to what extent the suggested strategies were implemented at DSU through its faculty development initiatives, and c) evaluate the short- and long-term impact of those initiatives on institutional change.

For example, one major initiative was planning and executing Assessment Day. This initiative involved organizing a half-day conference on classroom teaching and assessment and was catered to the 180+ faculty members across campus. The assessment literature was consulted in preparation for Assessment Day. First, faculty buy-in and engagement was vital to the success of the event, therefore best practices from the literature was applied to empower and engage faculty (Driscoll & Wood, 2006). Second, the literature helped in formulating strategies to overcome anticipated faculty resistance (Driscoll, 2013). And third, educating the faculty about the differences between improvement and accountability was useful to get them to focus on improvement (Ewell, 2009). Despite some faculty resistance expressed upfront, Classroom Teaching and Assessment Half-day conference was a success. Most of the faculty attended the conference and participated in at least one of the break-out sessions. Of those that completed the satisfaction survey, 94.78% of them said that the breakout session they attended was somewhat helpful or better in helping them assess students in their classroom [N=134], and 93.28% of the respondents said that they “recommend this type of conference next year.” The question that remains unanswered is whether such an initiative and similar initiatives have helped DSU faculty view the assessment process as an integral part of their work. Using the assessment literature as a framework to gauge DSU’s efforts will shed some light on the matter, while highlighting the broader applications of the findings. Participants attending this presentation will:

  1. Discuss the obstacles to faculty involvement in assessment
  2. Evaluate those obstacles in the context of their institutional culture
  3. Compare strategies applied by other institutions to strategies applied in their own institutions to promote faculty engagement
  4. Engage in discussions and learn with other participants
  5. Use the framework available from the literature, and the active discussion, to plan strategies for change

Participants will have an opportunity to participate in these outcomes through larger and smaller group discussions. For example, handouts will be provided that include a short exercise. In the exercise, participants will be asked to take the perspective of a faculty member, and identify acceptable and unacceptable purposes for doing assessment. Then they will have a discussion with other participants in the room. This exercise will lead into another exercise in which participants will focus on the acceptable purposes for doing assessment and identify 1-2 strategies they can implement to promote faculty engagement.

 

The Effective use of Educational Interpreters

Allyson Hamilton

Description: This session will discuss the most effective use of educational interpreters when Deaf students enroll in your courses. Dr. Allyson Hamilton will present information about the effective use of educational interpreters. The session will cover state and federal laws pertaining to accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. Dr. Hamilton will discuss several scenarios for the use of educational interpreters and the responsibilities of students, teachers and the interpreters in ensuring the most effective learning environment for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing student.

Abstract: Dr. Allyson Hamilton will present information about the effective use of educational interpreters. The session will cover state and federal laws pertaining to accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. Dr. Hamilton will discuss several scenarios for the use of educational interpreters and the responsibilities of students, teachers and the interpreters in ensuring the most effective learning environment for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing student.

 

Hitting the Wall: Why Stopping can be the Best Way to Jumpstart Creativity

Alex Chamberlain

Description: This presentation examines the benefits of approaching a subject “at the deep end” when teaching advanced level classes. We will discuss the way student interest is galvanized when students find themselves running out of ideas and facing situations in which a project has passed beyond their usual attention span. We will discuss the ramifications that continued effort has on the creativity of a student’s approach to their subject. The presentation will end with a discussion on creativity: how it is often squashed in the classroom, and how it can be fostered more effectively.

Abstract: John Cleese, in his 1991 lecture on creativity, stated that in order for a person to be able to enter a properly creative mode of thinking, and solve creative problems, five things are needed: Dedicated, uncontested space Time that is safe from interruption Time spent in the “problem” beyond the first solutions that occur, and beyond the distracted half-effort that our minds first tend to lend to finding a solution Confidence that there will be no negative consequences for experiments that do not “pan out” A sense of humor This presentation will focus on the facilitation of the third and fourth ingredients in Cleese’s formula. Particularly, we will focus on pushing students to spend time in their problems by structuring assignment criteria in such a way that half-measures become exhausted well before the assignment comes due. Too often, educators expect ideation of their students no further than the point at which the students find themselves running out of ideas. However, we should view the exhaustion of that initial creative burst as a first milestone in the ideation process – not the end of that process. We will discuss how educators can encourage productive creative practices during this time of “hitting the wall,” and how the subsequent breakthroughs can benefit both the students and the program in which they’re enrolled. We will also discuss the impact of distractions on the creative process and how to remove the influence of common distractions from being a factor in student time investment. The second half of this presentation will center around the topic of confidence and experimentation without consequence. Most classroom work is designed with consequence in mind – I.E. a traditional letter grade on the quality of the work being presented. While grades are an essential assessment tool, they can be used in ways that are both harmful or beneficial to the creative process. If the threat of an undesirable grade (based on the merits of ideas produced during the ideation process) looms over the formative stages of any idea or project, then creativity will be severely stifled, and solutions will be inferior compared to what they could have been.

 

Bridge to Success – Single Sign-On to Integrated Course Materials in Canvas

Janet Campbell

Description: My session will explain the process used and the advantages of the “bridge” created between Cengage Learning’s product SAM (Skills Assessment Manager) and all of the course materials for my CIS 2010 (Business Computer Proficiency) courses in Canvas, which has provided seamless, single sign-on integration. I will describe how this integration enhances student engagement, provides meaningful feedback, maximizes my efficiency, and has streamlined the course.

Abstract: The three main objectives of my presentation will be to share information about and explain:

  1. The Cengage Learning product SAM (Skills Assessment Manager), including how students use it and the advantages of the product to both students and instructors
  2. The simplified purchase and registration process, and advantages of the single sign-on into Canvas
  3. The help and support received from the Cengage Learning team in setting up and maintaining SAM integration in Canvas

During the twelve years that I have taught CIS 2010 courses at Dixie State University I have constantly explored various forms of digital technology to improve the student engagement and efficiency of my courses. Although I have used other Cengage Learning digital products, along with digital products from other publishers, none have provided the seamless integration which I have recently achieved with complete SAM integration into Canvas. Students are able to access the two eTextbooks used for the course, complete quizzes, assignments and exams all within Canvas. Quizzes, assignments and exams are all auto-grated by SAM and the scores synced with the Canvas gradebook, providing students with immediate feedback. SAM is an online learning environment that helps student’s master Microsoft Office skills that are essential to academic and career success. SAM also reduces instructors’ workloads with auto-graded quizzes, projects and exams, and easy-to-use course setup and management tools. The CIS 2010 course I teach is a pre-Business core course and helps students master the Microsoft Excel and Access software which they will use as they complete their upper division Business courses. The ability to identify errors and be able to self-remediate within SAM projects contributes to student success. The interactive learning experience prepares student to use the software in real-world settings. The registration and payment process to gain access to SAM has been simplified in my integrated Canvas course. At the beginning of the semester all students who have registered for one of my course sections have access to the SAM links in Canvas. The first time they click on one of the quiz or project links, a new window opens offering them three options: online purchase directly though Canvas, entering the course specific SAM access code purchased at the campus bookstore, or 14-day temporary access (helpful for students waiting for financial aid). Students choose and complete one of the options, then they have access to all the SAM content within the course and do not see the purchase window again. This simplified registration process gets students up and running faster than the methods which we have used for other digital solutions in our CIS Department. The single sign-on is not as confusing and less of a distraction for my students so that they can be more focused and more easily achieve the learning outcomes of the course. During prior semester’s, students in my CIS 2010 course found it necessary to sign into Canvas to complete some of the course assignments, and used a separate sign on to access the digital learning product. Scores did not sync between the digital product and Canvas, so after completion of assignments, quizzes and exams, I input students’ scores into the Canvas gradebook. The single sign on not only provides students with immediate feedback, but eliminates the errors I sometimes made as I manually entered their scores. I can now spend my time and resources creating supplemental classroom activities, and refining the course. Although I am using the Cengage Learning digital product SAM, Cengage also has digital products for other disciplines. I sept up my course working closely with Julie, an Implementation & Training Specialist for Cengage Learning. She made several trips to our campus to start the initial integration process and was also in contact with Jared Johnson, the LMS Administrator on our campus, to ensure that Canvas was prepared for the “bridge” when we were ready to create it. Julie, along with Patrice, a Cengage Digital Solutions Coordinator, set up several WebEx meetings with me as we completed the integration process to ensure that my Canvas courses were “up and running” prior to the beginning of Spring Semester, and are continuing to provide technical support throughout the semester. The personalized service provided by Cengage Learning helped me customize SAM integration with Canvas to meet the learning objectives of my course, and has allowed me to spend more time teaching my course rather than building it. Cengage Learning team members would be available to help other instructors on campus create a “bridge” to Canvas with the Cengage digital products available for their disciple.

 

Maximizing Student Engagement: How to Move from Lecture to Lecture-discussion

Adriana BrandtAngela ChildDee Murray

Adriana Brandt, Angie Child, Dee Murray

Description: In this session, participants will explore pedagogical strategies to maximize student engagement in university courses. More specifically, participants will discuss and explore how to build tasks, assignments, and assessments that assist students in meaningful connection-making, expand their abilities to think critically, and engage students in direct interaction with peers and faculty in the classroom setting. Session presenters will facilitate sharing of ideas, strategies, and resources among faculty session participants.

Abstract: Given Dixie State University’s mission to promote a campus-wide culture of learning that also delivers excellent teaching, it is critical for professors and instructors to nurture their commitment to growth in teaching excellence. What does being a teaching university mean for us as Dixie faculty, and how can we as faculty expand our pedagogical repertoires to facilitate higher levels of student engagement and acquisition of deeper knowledge in our courses? Through small group discussion, hands-on activities, and sharing of resources and ideas, session participants will 1) self-assess the state and effectiveness of engagement strategies in their own courses, 2) explore research and best practices related to effective engagement strategies for students in university courses, and 3) discuss how to build tasks, assignments, and assessments that assist students in meaningful connection-making, expand their abilities to think critically, and engage students in direct interaction with peers and faculty in the classroom setting. Session presenters will facilitate sharing of ideas, strategies, and resources among faculty session participants.

 

Dixie’s Future: Findings from Academic Program Research

David Wade

David Wade

Description: To become a University DSU was required to have certain baccalaureate degrees. We added our 25th degree in 2013 and became a University. We are now charting our own course. One of the outcomes of the strategic plan was to create a task force to research potential new programs and recommendations to get us to 40+ baccalaureate and 2+ graduate degrees. Join panelists as they discuss their current findings and progress on this task force.

 

Using Canvas as a Platform to pProvide a Comprehensive, Standardized Training Program for Staff in the Registrar’s Office

Cari Heizer

Description: How we are using Canvas to house our office training program.

Abstract: The Registrar’s Office facilitates the transition of students from initial enrollment to degree completion, ensures adherence to academic policy, safeguards academic records, and provides reliable service to students, faculty, administration, alumni, and the community. Staff, including work-study students, must be aware of and comply with federal law and university policy. Consistent and comprehensive training is essential in maintaining a high level of compliance while providing excellent customer service. Time and staffing constraints have disallowed the consistent and thorough training of work-study students and staff. Past training was inconsistent and failed to meet the needs of the staff responsible for instructing students, faculty, staff, and community members in the navigation of the university’s programs and procedures. In fall 2014, training modules were built in PowerPoint to address this issue. The modules were successful in presenting a common base-knowledge for office staff, but were located on one computer in a cubicle and were often difficult to access. Skill refreshers were tedious and required work-study students to leave the front desk for extended periods of time. In spring 2015, the Registrar’s Office opened a section in Canvas for office staff. Through Canvas, staff have immediate access to training modules, Banner screen instruction sheets, a detailed academic calendar, procedural updates, and office announcements. Skill refreshers are scheduled prior to deadlines, and front desk staff have an arsenal of information at the click of a mouse, thereby reducing the need for students to leave a customer at the desk to ask their supervisor basic questions. Response to the online resource has been positive and has prompted the creation of additional modules and cross-training opportunities with the Admission’s Office. Work-study students in both offices have access to the Canvas section and are trained to assist customers with registration and admissions issues. To continue improving our processes, the Registrar’s Office has teamed with the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence to develop training modules whereby we can create modules that will measure outcomes and provide remediation exercises for work-study students and staff. Through continuous improvement and increased accessibility of training resources, the students and staff in the Registrar’s Office will have the tools to provide the highest levels of customer service while maintaining confidentiality of records and adherence to federal and local policies.

 

Will Someone Be My Friend? The Mandate to Mentor New Faculty

Sandy Petersen

Description: A paper of the same title will be distributed and summarized for roundtable participants, emphasizing both the professional and psychosocial needs of new faculty and the benefits of mentoring to the mentor, protégé, and institution. Participants will be encouraged to discuss their induction experiences at DSU and brainstorm strategies to help new colleagues become successful, productive, and satisfied faculty members.

Abstract: The value of supportive relationships in the workplace is well documented (Cunningham, 1999; Fagenson, 1989; Hatfield, 2006; Kram, 1986; Penner, 2001). In higher education, however, where mentoring is almost always constructed as a relationship between faculty and student, little emphasis has been placed on the importance of mentoring new colleagues (Hatfield, 2006). This paper identifies common barriers to peer-to-peer mentoring in higher education and makes a case for the development of embedded mentoring programs that address both the professional and psychosocial needs of new faculty, suggesting potential benefits to mentor, protégé, and institution. Human Resource Management literature over six decades attests to the value of socialization and mentoring for the development of both professional and personal competence (Dreher & Ash, 1990; Fagenson, 1989; Hall, 2002). By the mid twentieth century the Social Development Theory of Leo Vygotsky (1962), postulating that humans are significantly influenced by the sociocultural context that mediates their experiences, captured the attention of many educators. The idea that individual development occurs primarily in the context of social activities is supported in theories of Social Learning (Bandura, 1986), Human Development, and Motivational Theory (St. Clair, 1994), all claiming that individual responses, learning, beliefs, and attitudes emerge from various forms of collective life. These theories, combined with decades of research dealing specifically with mentoring (Hall, 2002; Ehrich, 2004), have propelled the nearly universal commitment of k-12 administrators and educators to the development and implementation of mentoring programs for new teachers. Yet very few universities devote time or resources to understanding the professional needs of junior faculty, and discussions about nurturing and caring for the emotional needs of a new faculty member are nearly nonexistent. Ehrich (2004) found that mentoring had enormous potential to bring about learning, personal growth, and development for educators. Mentoring has been shown to have beneficial effects on job satisfaction, promotions, compensation, personal well-being, and commitment to the organization (Fleig-Palmer, 2009). Individuals with mentors have higher incomes (Dreher & Ash, 1990), receive more promotions (Dreher & Ash, 1990), and report more overall job satisfaction than their non-mentored peers (Fagenson, 1989). Other reported benefits to the protege include enhanced self-confidence; availability of information, advice, and assistance; the opportunity for reflection on practice; a deeper understanding of the culture and politics of the organization, and access to a confidant (Rawlings, 2002). Academic job mobility has increased in recent decades and successful and effective faculty members become more marketable. The loss of a person in whom time and money have been invested can negatively impact organizational dynamics and productivity. Fleig-Palmer (2009) makes a case for the importance of robust and satisfying interpersonal relationships in retaining talented faculty. The acceptance, care, support, friendship and counseling offered by a mentor may be the critical influence in a protege’s socialization and eventual anchoring into a tenured faculty position. Other lessons from the literature suggest that a well-developed mentoring program can contribute to the quality of the work of the protege leading ultimately to the improvement of the institution (Schrodt, Cawyer, & Sanders, 2003). Benefits to mentors themselves, while less obvious, are also reported in the literature. Particularly among persons reaching mid-life, there is a need to develop and invest in the success of the next generation (Penner, 2001), and mentoring can provide an opportunity to fulfill that need. Another benefit to the mentors seems to be the enhancement of their own creativity as a result of being exposed to ideas generated by someone newer to the organization whose thinking has not been constrained by the organizational culture (Petersen & Allison-Roan, 2009; Penner, 2001). Indeed, a number of researchers have concluded that the experience of being a mentor is likely to foster increased professional activity, creativity, and growth for the mentor as well as for the protege (Gaia, Corts, Tatum, & Allen, 2001). A professional change, like many other life changes, is an important rite of passage and a significant crossroads in a person’s life. It is a time when patterns of thought and behavior begin to form and a sense of self as both an individual and a part of an organization and a profession begin to emerge. It is within the first years of a professional life that teachers learn, grow, experiment, change, and lay the groundwork that will serve as the foundation of all future development (Zey,1991). It is not a stage we as a university can afford to ignore or leave to chance.

 

International Students: Facts and Fallacies in Teaching and Learning

Jill Nagrodsky, Linda Galloway, Rik Andes, Kevin Hajovsky, Scott Miles

Description: The numbers of International Students at DSU have increased many times in the past five years. Are you curious about differences in learning, testing, and grading? The ESL faculty will share ideas and open up the discussion to address your concerns. Additional authors: Linda Galloway, Scott Miles, Kevin Hajovsky, and Rik Andes

Abstract: Who is coming to DSU from China, Burundi, Cameroon, Japan, Nigeria, Ukraine, South Korea, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, and more. The numbers of International Students have increased many times in the past five years. Are you curious about differences in learning, testing, and grading? Do all of the students go to ESL classes? What is being done to help the students adjust to their new environment? The ESL faculty will share ideas from their training and experience and open up the discussion to answer questions and address concerns you have. Come and share your successes with us and each other. We will address: cultural contrasts in writing, especially reader responsibility (east) vs. writer responsibility (west); acceptable grammar errors; plagiarizing and cheating; speaking: cultural views on interaction in and outside the classroom; any other items you are interested in.

 

Developing Educational Strategies for Experiential Learning: An Application of Service Dominant Logic from Marketing

Bryon Geddes

Bryon Geddes

Description: This roundtable discussion will include a 15-20 minute presentation to set the stage on how a marketer may look at education through the lens of creating “value.” More specifically, the overview will include elements of “value” taken from the current literature on service dominant logic (SDL), and apply this approach in marketing to education. We will then open the panel for discussions on using the framework of SDL to “facilitate” effective education.

Abstract: Learning, and particularly, experiential learning is a process that takes place inside the learner. Teaching is a process that takes place outside of the learner. While the educational literature addresses both processes, it offers very little discussion of the theory connecting the two. How does teaching stimulate learning? This paper addresses the connection between teaching and learning by drawing on the concept of service dominant logic from Marketing, and more specifically consumer co-creation of value. Co-creation posits that consumer value does not come from products or services, but rather, from the dynamic interaction between operant resources (provided by the marketer) on operand resources (provided by the consumer). While viewing educational value as the product of an interaction between teaching inputs and learner responses offers little new insight, exploring the nature of operant (teaching) and operand (learning) resources provides a powerful theoretical tool for understanding the nature of the teacher- student interaction. This paper develops a framework for classifying operant and operand resources. The framework, in turn, offers useful strategic insights for designing experiential learning programs.

 

Creating an Effective Pre-Service Teacher Program Utilizing Input from Local Education Agency (LEA) Stakeholders

Greg Bartholomew

Description: Three major areas of today’s pre-service teaching programs will be addressed. Placement of student teachers within an LEA, utilization of input from LEA stakeholders, and the extent to which the effect of end of level testing influences the pre-service teaching experience will be discussed. Stakeholders of pre-service teaching programs will include higher education faculty of pre-service teachers, higher education supervisors of pre-service teachers, LEA district administrators, LEA school-level administrators, and LEA mentor teachers.

Abstract: Student or pre-service teaching programs are rapidly evolving due to the increasing complexity of end of level testing mandated by most state’s education agencies. The pressure on secondary and elementary administrators and teachers to “make the grade” is rapidly increasing. Consequently, pre-service teacher programs facilitated by higher education cannot be successful without utilizing the expertise of LEA administrators and teachers at the district and school level. Three major areas of pre-service teaching programs that must be addressed are placement of student teachers within an LEA, utilization of input from LEA stakeholders in creating pre-service teaching programs, and the extent to which the effect of end of level testing influences the pre-service teaching experience. Starting in the fall of 2014, placement of pre-service teachers within Washington County, Utah involved one specific site assignment for the fall practicum experience and the spring student teaching experience. An examination of why this one site placement is more effective is needed. Current thought surrounding the placement of students at one school for both the practicum and student teaching experience possibly strengthens student/teacher trust and the allegedly increases the student teacher/mentor teacher relationship. Opponents to the one site pre-service teaching placement support the viewpoint that a varied experience offered by two separate sites is more beneficial to the student. One experience in the practicum setting, and one experience in the student teaching experience purportedly offer the pre-service teacher increased employment opportunity. The current pre-service teacher program at Dixie State University (DSU) would not exist without the immense support of the LEA Washington County School District (WCSD). Ongoing critical input provided by this local LEA as a key stakeholder in DSU’s pre-service teaching program is needed. A large percentage of the teacher force within the WCSD LEA and other LEAs will be trained by institutions of higher education that serve those LEAs. The role of LEAs at the district and school levels as a stakeholder in higher education exists. Shaping pre-service teachers enrolled in a higher education teacher licensure programs to be future employees of LEAs is the responsibility of all pre-service teacher program stakeholders. The critical question as to the extent to which “end of level” testing influences the pre-servicing teaching experience must be asked and then addressed. The reluctance to allow pre-service teachers the opportunity to “take control” of a classroom is evident. The pressure placed on district, school-level administrators and mentor teachers must be discussed in relationship to the preparation of pre-service teachers. Expectations of professional conduct must exist on a similar level as that of a physician. Medical surgeons performing operations as highly trained professionals occur through extensive hand-on experience and not by “watching” other surgeons perform life changing procedures. The seriousness of preparing and training pre-service teachers to “operate” must be akin to the importance placed on training professionals in the medical field. The opportunity exists for pre-service teacher programs to utilize the input of highly trained stakeholders within LEAs. The success of teacher education programs at institutions of higher education depend on this critical stakeholder collaboration.

 

Cutscenes, Cross-country, and Myths

Shadman Bashir

Shadman Bashir

Description: As a student, I had attention and concentration issues which lead to bad grades. I will identify and explain some of those issues and the solutions, which I am using to help my students. They may seem a bit unorthodox, but they have worked for me and have also helped many of my students get serious about their education and goals. I will be using different terms and phrases to identify some of the issues.

Abstract: My student life within a highly competitive environment was horrible. I had attention and concentration issues which lead to bad grades. Things started changing when I entered collage. By that time, I had started understanding my problems and looked for ways to fix them. In the paper I will identify and explain some of those issues and how I overcame them by finding solutions, and how I am using those solutions in my teaching at Dixie. There must be many who will disagree with my methods because they may seem a bit unorthodox, but they have worked for me and have also helped many of my students get serious about their education and careers. I have identified and named some of the issues below. During the conference, I will explain them with examples. Cut scenes and the Textbook syndrome: Textbooks can be similar to cut scenes, important but with a tendency of being considered as FORCED, which can lead to lack of interest. I overcame this by expanding my nonacademic knowledge base and then using it to support my required academic work. I design the course and exams in a manner which decreases the feelings of FORCED. Sprinting or cross-country: Both can be important, where sprinting is an exam at the testing center and cross country can be a week long, take home multiple choice or true false type exam. I emphasize more on cross country, because students are INVESTIGATING and Learning. This is very important for students who have attention and learning issues. Relativity of grades and the success of Interest: In today’s highly competitive and connected world, grades can be relative but interest in a subject is far more important and universal, and can open more doors and opportunities for our students. Students don’t carry transcripts in their pockets, but they do carry their knowledge and interest everywhere. Why: In social sciences, we mostly deal with when and how, which means more emphasis on events and methods, but it’s the “WHY” that I focus on more because it does not restrict the brain and our learning to one specific single dimensional thought process, but free us from the time and space restrictions of events and processes, similar to a Sandbox Game. The myth of the dumb student: There are no dumb students. There are those who take interest and those who don’t. Grades should not be the only criterion for judging a student. Wall or the Stairway: A teacher should not be a wall between the students and the grades, but a stairway towards a better grade. Goodwill: The importance and long term positive effects of good will for the students.

 

Concurrent Session One 10:10 – 10:55 am

What Special Collections and Archives can do for You and Your Students

Amber D’Ambrosio

Description: This presentation will introduce Dixie State University’s Special Collections and Archives to the university faculty, suggest methods for integrating the content of the collections into various subject areas to benefit student learning and research skills, introduce ideas for capstone and other projects that take advantage of the resources in Special Collections, and explore ways in which the knowledge and skills of the Special Collections Librarian could be beneficial to teaching and learning on campus.

Abstract: Special Collections and Archives in the Dixie State University Library has more to offer teaching and learning at the university than most faculty and staff may realize. The collections include oral histories, newspapers, books, the University Archives, and local history manuscript collections. While history may appear to be the main subject area to benefit from the collection, the book collection, slide and photography collections, and manuscript collections contain a wealth of information and opportunities for both primary and secondary source instruction in a variety of fields. Some examples of the fields that might benefit from the resources in Special Collections and Archives include: English (history of the book, local author studies, local Western literature); History and Political Science (local and Western history); Psychology and Sociology (polygamy historically as well as current trends); Sciences (local and Southwestern plant biology, geology, and water management); Business (local economy and growth, history of advertising); Communication (history of local newspaper industry, research for historical documentaries, Hollywood movies filmed locally); Integrated Studies (intersection between historical records and any number of fields); and Visual and Performing Arts (landscape photography, illustration, local and student theatre history). Amber D’Ambrosio, the Special Collections Librarian and Archivist, also possesses extensive knowledge of primary source materials available through digital libraries and repositories throughout the United States and the world as well as strategies for teaching students how to utilize those resources. Research skills that can be taught using special collections and archival materials include: identifying primary sources and understanding how and when secondary sources become primary sources, locating primary sources outside of proprietary databases, copyright and intellectual property rights for digital collections, visual literacy, historical context and methodologies of academic fields, etc. She is also exploring tools and methods to facilitate the creation of digital projects by students, using the materials in Special Collections and Archives, that potentially could serve as capstone projects in a variety of fields. This presentation will introduce Dixie State University’s Special Collections and Archives to the university faculty and staff, demonstrate ways that the collections have been used by local and national researchers, suggest methods for integrating the content of the collections into various academic subject areas to benefit student learning and research skills, introduce ideas for capstone and other projects that take advantage of the resources in Special Collections and Archives, and explore ways in which the knowledge and skills of the Special Collections Librarian could be beneficial to teaching and learning on the Dixie State University campus. The format will be Prezi-based presentation using images and screenshots with a “show-and-tell” of items from the collection that have the potential to serve as objects to facilitate teaching, learning, and student research.

 

Faculty Role in Student Retention

David Roos

Description: This session will summarize the research related to faculty and their important role related to student retention. It will also provide faculty with proven tools and ideas to have a positive impact on their own students in motivating them to persist to graduation. As Astin stated, “Student-Faculty interaction has a stronger relationship to student satisfaction with the college experience than any other involvement variable, or indeed, any other student or institutional characteristic.

Abstract: Retention research is replete with evidence that faculty can have a profound impact on the student retention and graduation rates. As Cuseo noted, professors usually have more frequent and continuous contact with students than any other institutional representative. Faculty influence is even more dramatic for commuter and part-time students who may have little or no time for out-of-class interactions with other college personnel. At Dixie State University, less than 10% of our students live on campus. This leaves 90% of the students who may have their classroom experience as their primary measure for the institution and whether it cares for their success. This presentation will make the case that while students do at times drop out for personal or financial reasons, a large percentage of students make their enrollment decision based on other factors, including quality of instruction and engagement and interest by the professor in promoting student learning and success. In addition to providing a brief summary of faculty retention research, this presentation will also provide faculty with a summary of best practices relating to in-class and out-of-class student interactions. This will include: • Getting to know students by their first name • Creating small learning communities within the classroom • Setting high expectations for student performance • Being clear about expectations and providing regular and ongoing feedback • Being willing to contact students who are absent or utilize the early warning system • Utilize the early warning system for other at-risk student behaviors. Faculty and others will also have the opportunity to share what has worked for them in promoting student engagement and success.

 

“Teacher, I Don’t Understand!” How Instructors can Help International Students to Learn

Chizu Matsubara

Description: This power point presentation will be an individual session to introduce how instructors can assist the learning experience of international students in their classes. This session will be based on culture and identities in second language acquisition.

Abstract: The number of international students at DSU has increased in an amazing number since the 2011-2012 academic year. Currently, the number stands at 249 from 35 countries (Office of International Student Services, March 2015). These students come from various cultural backgrounds that entails different educational experiences. Some cultures teach in lecture based style or reading the text book may be the preferred learning style. This is the way the international students had studied and learned in their native country. However, when they begin their academic journey here in the US, they realize that the American educational style of teaching and learning style are different from their norm. It is totally a new experience for these international students. Group projects, study groups, homework, individual assignments are some of the factors that they feel are defined very differently from what they are accustomed to. In addition to their academics, they also encounter cultural differences that affect their identities. They go through social and emotional changes that they, perhaps, did not anticipate would happen at such a fast pace prior to their arrival in the US. International students face many different challenges that American students or instructors do not know or understand. This session will introduce some of the basics of second language acquisition theory, how culture affects learning, and how transformation of identities affects the students academically and personally. By having a basic knowledge of these challenges and some tools on how to help the international students learn, will help the retention of international students at DSU. DSU instructors need to keep in mind that international students and the domestic students (this term is used in the Office of International Students Services to distinguish international students from non-international students) are cultural bridges that will strengthen DSU and the world that surrounds us.

 

Teaching Art History with Data Visualizations

Nancy Ross

Description: Teaching Art History with Data Visualizations

Abstract: This presentation will look at three undergraduate art history projects that used data visualizations to better understand principles and trends in nineteenth and twentieth century art history. The presentation will end with suggestions on creating and using data visualizations in humanities research projects.” “The best class projects in the humanities, as well as in other disciplines, engage students in real research. Today, the newest methodologies in the humanities use digital tools to analyze primary source materials. Unfamiliarity with digital tools keeps away many would-be practitioners, even though there are a growing number of jobs in the field of digital humanities. Undergraduate students can become familiar with digital humanities research tools by learning to think in terms of digital research within supportive environment of the classroom. Digital humanities methods can help students answer new questions and equip them with interdisciplinary skills that will benefit them in other classes, graduate school, and the workplace. This presentation examines three different research projects that focused on data visualization to assist students in forming conclusions. The first project I implemented had students create an interactive data visualization to explore the social relationships of 20th century women artists. Students learned to critique secondary sources, used digital tools to find results, and engaged in transformative learning advocated by critical pedagogy (Freire et al. 2000). The second project graphed original sale prices for a variety of nineteenth century artists in Paris. This project emerged from a student question about the art market, which art history textbooks do not generally focus on. Students learned how to gather, organize, and visualize data, which led to many unexpected conclusions. The third project used a catalog of The Armory Show of 1913 to answer questions about the role of women artists in the avant garde art movements of the early 20th century. While the earlier two projects were spontaneous and derived from student questions and interest, I built this project into the beginning of a class to make the collection, organization, and visualization of data a central focus of my class. In this last project, I came to understand the process, steps, and primary sources necessary to build data visualization projects into my upper-division classes.

 

Best Practices for Community Engaged Learning – A Panel Discussion

Brenda Armstrong, Florence Elizabeth Bacabac, and Shandon Gubler

Description: Community Engaged Learning and Service-Learning are interchangeable titles used to describe a pedagogy that combines experiential learning and service with identified community needs to promote civic responsibility and/or engagement. The success of these initiatives is enhanced when academic learning objectives are tied to the service. Reflection must be employed for the student to further develop values, knowledge and skills. Attendees are introduced to community engaged learning/service-learning with application of the pedagogy across diverse disciplines.

Abstract: Community Engaged Learning and Service-Learning are interchangeable titles used to describe a pedagogy that combines experiential learning and service with identified community needs to promote civic responsibility and/or engagement. For this panel discussion, we have chosen to use the term: Community Engaged Learning (CEL).The success of any CEL initiative is enhanced when academic learning objectives are tied to the service and community needs and are genuinely perceived by the students as valued. The community partner viewing themselves as a co-educator further strengthens the experiential learning, while the community benefits from the student service. Thus, this circular process ensures that all participants become both the givers and the receivers with mutual benefits. Reflection must be employed for the student to further develop values, knowledge and skills. Exploring several methods to evaluate the success of our community engaged efforts will prove to be valuable in this regard. Attendees are introduced to community engaged learning/service-learning with application of the pedagogy across diverse disciplines of Dental Hygiene, English, and Business Ethics. Learning Objectives: * Discuss Community Engaged Learning characteristics that benefit both the student and community. * Describe the pedagogy best practices for community engaged learning. * Examine Community Engaged Learning across diverse disciplines. The purpose of this session is to introduce the process and the pedagogy of CEL and demonstrate its application across three different disciplines. Our main goal is to encourage attendees to think of creative ways to promote community engagement in their own classrooms and develop a stronger support structure for this type of pedagogical effort on campus. The session will include a 10 minute introduction to the topic, 10 minute presentations by three panelists and 5 minutes of Q&A. The three panelists and disciplines are described below: Florence Elizabeth Bacabac, Associate Professor: To institutionalize community engagement for English majors, professional/technical writing students at DSU work closely with various local non-profit organizations in producing grant proposals for actual recipients. Shandon D. Gubler, Associate Professor: The mindset of business ethics students studying to teach a CEO, student learning from teaching the CEO, and mutual student/CEO learning from the CEO teaching the student what happens in the real-world with the content being taught. Brenda L. Armstrong, Assistant Professor: To address oral health needs in a community, dental hygiene students initiate and assume responsibility for health promotion and disease prevention in various settings to address at risk populations while working with a community partner to achieve these goals.

 

Transforming Learning – An Integrated Model for Effective Teaching

Cam Caldwell

Description: This session introduces “transforming learning,” a teaching model that incorporates cognitive, affective, cognative (or intentional), and applied behavioral teaching methods as an effective means of increasing student learning and understanding. Applying the Theory of Reasoned Action to teaching, the session explains key elements of these four teaching approaches and provides faculty with an opportunity to examine how their students prefer to learn. The session also identifies why traditional cognitive teaching approaches, while commonly used in most classrooms, are insufficient for today’s students.

Abstract: “Transforming Learning” is a newly developed teaching model that has been introduced and applied by several scholars in an attempt to help students to increase 1) their understanding of key concepts, 2) their own values, 3) the factors that make it difficult to apply concepts, and 4) the skills and behaviors needed to be successful as practitioners of a discipline. This teaching model is explained with documentation from learning theory from several highly-regarded academic scholars and explained in context with the Theory of Reasoned Action. A survey instrument which has been developed by the authors of this teaching model will be made available to session participants and the instrument will ultimately be used to provide insights from Dixie State University students about their learning preferences and assumptions. Although Transforming Learning is acknowledged to be an approach to teaching that is more complex and requires more faculty investment than traditional teaching methods, the advantages and benefits of this new teaching model will be explained and examples of how it is applied will be provided to session participants who are interested in learning about this new model.

 

Concurrent Session Two 11:05 – 11:50 am

Linking Content Goals and Assessments in Order to Increase Student Learning

Adriana Brandt, Angie Child, and Dee Murrayy

Description: In this session, participants will explore why and how to make course learning goals transparent, and how to improve alignment between course learning goals, experiences and assessments. More specifically, participants will explore how to establish learner-friendly objectives, how to use formative assessment to determine whether students have met objectives, and how to use this data to shape course learning experiences. Session presenters will facilitate sharing of strategies and resources among faculty session participants.

Abstract: Educational and psychological research points to students’ need for transparent objectives and goals in a learning environment. However, in end-of-course student evaluations, one common complaint is that students don’t always know what is expected of them in university courses, or how in-class learning experiences align with major course assignments and assessments. Wiggins and McTighe’s process of Understanding by Design – UBD, or “backwards design, for short – is a framework for faculty and educators to make the learning process transparent for students through the alignment of course objectives, assessments, and in-class learning experiences. University faculty can utilize backwards design to explicitly share expectations, objectives, and learning goals with students; to use formative assessment to determine whether course learning goals have been met; and to anticipate students’ needs and areas of misunderstanding in an ongoing fashion throughout the semester. Faculty who engage in these three actions – explicit sharing of expectations, use of ongoing assessment, and anticipation of student needs – are likely to have a greater impact on student learning in their courses, and to receive higher end-of-course evaluation scores. Through modeling, hands-on activities, and sharing of resources and ideas, session presenters will assist session participants in 1) creating daily and semester-wide objectives appropriate for university students, 2) creating in-class learning activities and tasks that align with these objectives, and 3) developing assessment measures – both graded and ungraded – that will help both faculty and students monitor learning throughout each course. This session will help faculty focus more deeply and critically on the learning process in university courses, which is critical in reaching established learning outcomes.

 

Lessons Learning from Canvas

Becky Smith

Description: The focus of this presentation will be to discussed lessons learned in training faculty how to design and deliver online courses in Canvas. For the last several years I have been teaching the Online/Blended Faculty Endorsement Training course that faculty are required to complete in order to teach online and blended courses at DSU. During those years I have identified several best practices and lessons learned to help faculty in designing and teaching online/blended courses.

Abstract: The focus of this presentation will be to discussed lessons learned in training faculty how to design and deliver online courses in Canvas. For the last several years I have been teaching the Online/Blended Faculty Endorsement Training course that faculty are required to complete in order to teach online and blended courses at DSU. During those years I have identified several best practices and lessons learned to help faculty in designing and teaching online/blended courses. Best practices will be discussed related to using discussion boards, using the gradebook tool, using quizzes, the role of the teacher as a facilitator rather than a disseminator of knowledge, how to develop a learning community, establishing an online presence, etc.

 

Twenty Guidelines for Successful Online Threaded Discussions

David Wade

Description: Twenty Guidelines for Successful Online Threaded Discussions ABSTRACT: Designed properly, online learning can be an effective delivery method, particularly for learners who are unable to attend f2f courses on campus because of scheduling conflicts. One way to increase online student participation and collaboration is through online threaded discussions. This presentation will give 20 practical guidelines for successful online threaded discussions. The author’s research was published in Distance Learning.

 

Study to Teach, Teach to Learn, Learn to Apply

Shandon D. Gubler

Description: “Study to Teach, Teach to Learn, Learn to Apply” Shandon D. Gubler, Students, and CEO’s This presentation will discuss: • The mindset of students studying to teach a CEO • Enhanced student learning from teaching a CEO • The value of the CEO teaching the student how the content is applied in the real-world We conclude with a panel discussion of practicing CEO’s, and the students who taught them, describing their experience. This win/win activity of involving community (CEOs) in the curriculum enhances learning, retention, and application for the student, while simultaneously providing CEOs with competitive edge content to improve their businesses.

Abstract: “Study to Teach, Teach to Learn, Learn to Apply” Shandon D. Gubler, Students, and CEO’s The Situation Recent academic research has attacked the notion of individual learning styles, and emphasized learning by personalized “meaning,” and learning by “”self-explanations.”” The Challenge The challenge is: “meaning” cannot be taught; it must be discovered by the individual student. A Very Good Solution An effective means for students to discover meaning for themselves is by “Studying to Teach” content to a CEO, then “Teaching to Learn” by engaging the theory of real-time self-explanations while actually teaching a CEO, then listening to the CEO explain how the content is applied in the real-world to produce desired results. The Practice – involving the community in the coursework Each academic year, just two Business Ethics classes create over 936 touch points between students and business community members through this pedagogy practice, thus giving students a real-world reality check on how business ethics is, or is not, being applied, or how it could, or should, be applied. CEOs are receiving valuable exposure and training in newly emerging business topics, thus providing them a competitive edge in their marketplace.

 

Shifting the Curve – Effectively Using Undergraduate Teaching Assistants

Kyle Wells

Description: As resources are stretched thinner each year, the use of undergrad teaching assistants can be both a panacea and a curse. In this presentation I will briefly describe the advantages and drawbacks of the us of teaching assistants. I will also discuss my experience using undergraduate teaching assistants.

Abstract: Peer based learning and reciprocal learning are not new topics. Larger universities commonly use graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants (TAs). At Dixie State University, it is a relatively new idea as instructors have been the primary source for class content. In this new model, student TAs can be utilized creating several benefits. Research has identified 10 different models of peer learning (Griffiths, Housten and Lazenbatt, 1995). The most common is the traditional proctor model where a TA becomes a substitute in certain cases for the instructor. At DSU, graduate TA’s are tough to come by so the traditional proctor model is no possible, but there are other ways that using TAs can benefit not only students in the class in general but also at risk students. An affective approach and an approach I prefer is where senior students tutor junior students. Other models involved discussion seminars, study groups, mentors, and counseling. I have been using a TA for six years now. I also spent a summer teaching at a university that uses TAs to an extreme. In my experience, these students have a quality and ability that few instructors have, approachability. To a struggling student, these TAs provide a resource that creates a stepping stone to the instructor. It has been my experience that in courses where TAs are used, the distribution of scores is not only shifted but the negative skew is less pronounced. A secondary benefit is also created as these TAs are given a resume building experience and develop personally in both academic knowledge and confidence. In this presentation I will briefly describe the advantages and drawbacks of the us of teaching assistants. I will also discuss my experience using undergraduate teaching assistants.

 

Student TAs in DSU Physics Labs

Samuel Tobler

Description: I will discuss the successes and short comings of my experience with student TAs for the first time in Physics labs here at DSU. I will gladly discuss any possible adaptations to TAs in other settings and in other departments.

Abstract: DSU students have many opportunities to work on campus. They can grade, tutor, and do research. Unlike larger institutions, DSU students have not been given the opportunity to be a teaching assistant (TA). During the Spring 2015 semester, I have mentored two student TAs for my Physics 2215 and 2225 lab classes. The model used to mentor students is that similar to other institutions and based on my personal experiences as a student TA. I will share questionnaires and answers given to the students and the TAs that will reflect three major experiences: the TAs experience, students who had no TA last semester but now have a TA for their lab, and students who have only had a TA for their lab. In addition, I will share my experience as the mentor and trainer for the TAs. DSU takes great pride in having small classes with student/faculty relationships higher than other larger institutions. Can we still maintain this relationship and also have TAs help the faculty workload? Is DSU ready for student TAs? Come and form your own opinion.

 

Critical Thinking and the Educated Person: An Interdisciplinary Effort

Maria D. Ortiz, Matt Morin, John Wolfe

Description: We propose a Concurrent/Panel Discussion Session on the question: What is critical thinking? Our purpose is sharing information on current challenges in areas of conceptual understandings, best practices, and teaching approaches grounded in research and observable/measurable results.

Abstract: The main question and objective is to initiate a conversation on Critical Thinking, its meaning, the historical and philosophical roots of reasoning, contemporary challenges, research findings on academic practice for teaching and learning of this proficiency and skill; and current approaches to best practices for classroom instruction. Objectives of the presentation. • Present and discuss historical roots and philosophical basis of reasoning • Establish how the term is now understood in General Education (GE), Liberal Education Arts Programs (LEAP, and the Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOS). • The implications new expectations for GE requirements has on our curriculum, and on teaching and learning practices in the classroom here at DSU. Outline for Presentation and Discussion: The participants, Dr. Matthew Morin, Dr. John Wolfe, and Dr. Maria D. Ortiz would respectively introduce and discuss each one of the topics outlined above under objectives for no more that 8-10 minutes, the remaining of the time for open discussion with the audience.

 

Experiential Learning in Field Studies

Kelly Bringhurst, Theda Wrede

Description: An interdisciplinary field experience has been created that combines biology, earth and environmental sciences with environmental literature and outdoor recreation. Using place-based pedagogy, we linked scientific experiments, observations and new recreation experiences with environmental literature discussions to encourage a deeper understanding the interrelationships of the sciences and human experiences of nature.

Abstract: Field experience courses for college students that integrate science, environmental literature and outdoor recreation have been developed for Zion National Park, Utah and Catalina Island, California. During the allotted presentation time, an overview of the field experience courses will be given, including their objectives, target student audiences, particular environmental features, and teaching strategies used. The main objective of this program is to promote a scientific understanding of nature and natural processes among non-science college students. We encouraged students to engage in hands-on scientific experiments and observations, new recreational activities, and literary discussions to develop a personal rapport with nature through intellectual, emotional, and experiential learning techniques. Students were introduced to such disciplines as geology, botany, marine biology….. and read established nature writers like John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson, along with the poets Wendell Berry, Pat Mora, Alice Walker, and Lucille Clifton. Successful strategies that engage students who have limited experience in nature will be shared. Readings, discussions and student responses to environmental literature that enhance student learning will be discussed. These activities have resulted in an increase in student engagement, as manifest in both survey and anecdotal evidence and students obtaining internships in environmental education. Bridging the gap between academic departments has led to an interdisciplinary approach to environmental education that creates lasting impressions with students.

 

Concurrent Session Three 3:00 – 3:45 pm

Reaching the Adult Learner

David Wade

Description: 31.2% of adults in Washington County have college credit, but no credentials (~20K adult learners). Join panelists as they discuss strategies to reach this significant population and how you can assist.

 

Team Teaching in Various Learning Environments: Challenges and Benefits

Olga Pilkington, Jennifer Gibb, Alison Larsen, Stephanie Millet

Description: We will discuss collaborative teaching practices in traditional face-to-face classrooms and in blended instructional format. We will argue that student/teacher engagement is a vital point for both approaches. We will share ideas that promote such engagement in both face-to-face and blended team-taught courses.

Abstract: Our presentation discusses the benefits and challenges of team teaching in several learning environments. We will discuss collaborative teaching practices in traditional face-to-face classrooms and in blended instructional format. Our examination of team teaching in the face-to-face environment will address the issues associated with the sequential model of instruction. During the discussion of the blended approach, we will share our experience as instructors of a blended class where one instructor conducts the online portion of the course and the other one is responsible for the face-to-face component. We will argue that student/teacher engagement is a vital point for both approaches to team teaching. With that in mind, we will share ideas on workload division that promotes such engagement in both face-to-face and blended team-taught courses. As we address team teaching that incorporates the sequential model, we will cover the following aspects: Collaborative teaching using this model has a unique set of advantages for both the instructor and the student. Jones and Harris (2012) define these advantages as variety of teaching styles or perspectives and the ability to focus on the individual instructor’s expertise/strengths. They also identify potential pitfalls including the students’ need to adjust to teaching style and expectations and the interrelated issues of confusion and communication. Through our experience, communication is also the key to avoiding the potential disadvantages of this sequential model. Communication is also imperative to creating a professional relationship between the instructors that produces an opportunity for professional development. When talking about blended classrooms, we will discuss the following: Blended classrooms are defined as “A symbiotic relationship…between instructor-led training and technologically based training” (Dutsch 2006: 213). In our case, the “technologically based” aspect is represented by online classroom delivered via Canvas learning management system. Blended learning environment has been described as productive and beneficial to a variety of students since is appeals to multiple learning styles (Dutsch 2006: 213). It has also been argued that blended format provides more opportunities for the application of classroom-acquired knowledge and leads to higher knowledge retention (Cottle and Glover 2011). So far, the focus of blended delivery has been on the seamless integration of the face-to-face and technological components. This is usually understood as the use of face-to-face time to apply the knowledge acquired in an online classroom (see, for example, Cottle and Glover 2011: 206, Ross and Rosenbloom 2011: 355). However, little attention is paid to the relationship and emotional attachment between the teacher and students in a blended environment. Our literature review indicates that this is usually the issue associated primarily with traditional face-to-face instruction. We found that the same is true for team teaching—it is explored most often as a strategy used in traditional leaning environments. Our presentation focuses on filling in these gaps in the discussion of blended learning and teaching. The experience we have had with team teaching a blended English composition course and a face-to-face English composition course indicates that the issues of interpersonal relationships are relevant to both formats. As part of our talk, we will share information on practical aspects of team teaching such as workload division and will also cover the techniques we use to make sure our students are engaged with both instructors. Research suggests that engagement with a teacher contributes to student satisfaction (Dutsch 2006, Crosnoe et al. 2004), but online environment(Dutsch 2006: 214) or teacher rotation can sometimes decrease the amount of interaction leading to low levels of student participation in a course. This is particularly relevant for blended classes where, as we observed having taught them as individual instructors, students may be less active in the online portion of the class. Our experience suggests that team teaching is the answer to this potential challenge of blended learning environments, as the students will ultimately attempt to establish and maintain a connection with both instructors—the one who conducts the online portion of the class and the one who facilitated the face-to-face meetings. As DSU is forced to implement team teaching for part-time faculty to comply with the workload requirements necessitated by the Affordable Healthcare Act, more instructors are likely to face the challenges of team teaching. We hope that our presentation will alleviate some of the possible anxieties associated with such teaching practice and will provide helpful tips for our colleagues.

 

Developing Independent Learners Through High-Impact Practices

Denise Burton, Matt Morin

Description: Our session will present in-place curriculum activities as they relate to the goal of developing independent learners who are more prepared for the challenges of the professional environment and the rigors of graduate study. The presentation will be followed by a small group curriculum design challenge and a discussion period. Our goal is to share our best practices and offer a brainstorming space for other faculty to consider new practices for their own courses.

Abstract: The AAC&U defines high-impact practices as pedagogical strategies that “have been widely tested and have been shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds” (2008). While many faculty are aware that high-impact practices are being increasingly emphasized by regional and national accreditors, those same faculty can find it difficult to make changes to their existing syllabi and incorporate these pedagogies into their classrooms. Terry Doyle writes that learner-centered teaching is the practice of creating “learning environments that optimize students’ opportunities to pay attention and actively engage in authentic, meaningful, and useful learning” (2011). Too often faculty emphasize content without considering the importance of increased student engagement. Creatively designing classroom activities, offering “flipped” models for sharing disciplinary content, and helping students find connections between the classroom and the real world can seem daunting tasks, but faculty collaboration has been a powerful tool in DSU’s Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences for testing, teaching, and assessing high-impact practices. Neuroscience has discovered that when students have volition in the learning process, the brain stores memories in a more powerful and more accessible way (Voss, et al., 2011). Students who are given more control in the classroom literally learn better. Engagement is more than a buzz word; it is a powerful tool that helps our students build better bridges between disciplines and make more meaningful connections. By allowing students the freedom to choose the direction their research will take, or lead classroom discussions after making the selection of topic and preparatory material, INTS instructors have increased the perceived value of the educational experience in the students’ estimation, and modeled a pattern of collaboration for the students that will reflect their continuing experiences in graduate school and their professional and personal lives. In the book Learner-Centered Teaching, Doyle references the work of a psychiatrist investigating the pattern-making behavior of the human brain. He writes that teaching students in a linear fashion, which is typical in the K-12 system, and holds its own in most GE classes, runs counter to the brain’s desire to synthesize information into complex patterns and relationships. Instead, students should have the opportunity to approach the content by looking for patterns, because “recognizing the patterns of our subject material unlocks the secret of examining, exploring, and understanding the material rather than just scratching the surface of it” (Doyle, 2011).

Working towards pattern recognition can mean relinquishing some traditional aspects of pedagogical control, allowing the course, when possible, to follow new channels of interest and pattern forged by students who are focused and engaged because they are in charge. A series of tested-in-the-classroom activities being presented to other faculty will accomplish three main objectives:

  1. INTS faculty will be able to reflect on and model their experiences with collaborative teaching,
  2. DSU faculty will be able to practice collaborative design through a short brainstorming and sharing session, and
  3. Interest will be generated in collaborative teaching on campus.

It is our goal to seed the playing field for harvesting later rewards across departments and disciplines for all of DSU’s programs. During the presentation, INTS instructors will share specific assignments that reflect high-impact pedagogies, honestly evaluating and discussing the success of those assignments, and the planned adaptations that are the result of assessment and reflection. The presenters also hope to seed the campus with the idea of a shared resource center for these types of assignments, a repository that faculty can draw on and adapt for their particular disciplinary classrooms and for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary team courses.

 

Key Factors to Consider for High Quality Distance Learning

Palwasha Ahad

Description: Distance learning programs have over the past decade begun to increase across universities in America. Such programs are beneficial for institutions as they tap into non traditional student populations. Once a institution begins to embrace distance learning, the next hurdle becomes how to ensure high quality courses can be created. Fortunately, much research has been invested in identifying key factors that contribute to high quality distance learning courses.

 

The Role of Undergraduate Research in and out of the Classroom

Stephen Armstrong, Christine Arlotti

Description: Members from DSU’s Undergraduate Research Committee will discuss how the incorporation of undergraduate research in course curriuculum can foster greater experiential learning outcomes at DSU.

Abstract: The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) defines undergraduate research as “An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original or creative contribution to the discipline.” The dividends undergraduate research yields for students and institutions of higher education are expansive. According to CUR, undergraduate research enhances student learning through mentoring relationships with faculty; increases retention; increases enrollment in graduate education and provides effective career preparation; develops critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and intellectual independence; develops an understanding of research methodology; promotes an innovation-oriented culture. Undergraduate research is an “experiential learning” activity: it allows students to engage in extracurricular activities, such as internships and field research projects, that enable the students to use, master, and build upon skills and understanding introduced in the university classroom. The mission of DSU’s Undergraduate Research Committee (URC) is to facilitate activities that encourage undergraduate researchers to hone critical thinking skills and engender intellectual independence—traits prized by employers and institutions that grant advanced degrees—through practical experience. To do this, the URC prepares students for and places them in the annual statewide Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research. The URC also organizes a symposium called the DSU Student Research Day, a funded campus event that enables students to share scholarly and creative work with other students, faculty, administrative officials, staff, and local community members. As of July 1, DSU will operate an Undergraduate Research Office that will coordinate with the URC to review and fund undergraduate-inititiated research projects. For this presentation, URC members, representing DSU faculty, staff and students, will provide an overview of the numerous benefits that result when faculty implement projects that foster undergraduate research training in the classroom. The presentation will draw upon pedagogical theory and share strategies for facilitating undergraduate research in the university context.

 

Using PowerPoint to Design Effective, Efficient, and Engaging Instruction

David Merrill

Description: Forget all those negative things you have heard about PowerPoint. This readily available authoring tool is inexpensive and has no user fees or per students costs. PowerPoint is easy to learn, enables rapid development and deployment, and enables easy use of graphics, video and audio. Most important PowerPoint enables learner interaction that enables the creation of Interactive Instruction for demonstration and application. In this brief presentation I will demonstrate some powerful instructional modules that were designed with PowerPoint and introduce an online workshop that will enable you to acquire the skills necessary to use PowerPoint to create e3 (effective, efficient and engaging) instruction.