Online Sharing Circle

Technology is excellent at allowing us to work remotely, but it can be more challenging for building community or keeping a community strong. Technology’s strength is for communication and is not as robust for building connection, especially with larger groups.

Purpose

The goal is to create the ‘lunchroom’ experience where people share and ground themselves within their respective working group/community. We believe that this type of opportunity will contribute to the art of kiyokiwin, coping with the social isolation, allowing people to raise topics outside of work priorities, better understanding of each other, and so much more. Online sharing circles could be used by instructors to facilitate “courageous curiosity” with “boundless collaboration” for “inspired communities” in their remote instruction.

Kiyokiwin is a Cree word for visiting, but it is also a means of knowledge transfer and sharing. Kiyokiwin is becoming a lost art due to a multitude of factors, one of them being technology, where we think we are connecting with others but it’s usually not at a deep enough level that fulfills our human need for connection.

Process: Four rounds of sharing (following traditional protocols)

  1. On a piece of paper, write down a word that sums up where you are at this morning. When directed, we will all at the same time hold up our words to the camera for all to see.
  2. Going around the circle, in 1-minute or less explain why you chose this word.
  3. What’s going on in your life right now that you want share with everyone? How is remote working going for you? (Or another question that is suitable for your group/meeting)
  4. On a piece of paper, write down another word (or the same one) that sums up where you are at this morning. Now hold it up to your camera for all to see.

Participant Roles and Responsibilities

  • If possible, enter the room with camera on and mic off. Seeing each other is important for the circle and giving our full attention to each other is a way to show respect.
  • Set your view to grid mode (this is on WebEx) so that you can see everyone, just like you would in a circle. This would apply for other meeting apps as well.
  • The facilitator will start the circles. This will likely be the meeting host. Wait for their direction.
  • Please avoid using the chat box. Just like we wouldn’t be texting in a circle, we want to give our attention to the person who is speaking.
  • If you’re having technical issues, please try leaving the room and rejoining.
  • Share what you need – surface level or a deep plunge. Just keep in mind that there is a set time for the meeting, and you want everyone to have the opportunity to share.

Facilitator Roles and Responsibilities

  • Similar to chairing a meeting, your responsibility is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to speak and to share.
  • You keep the momentum going, from one round to the next.
  • Assign a person to be the assistant before the meeting starts. The assistant will set the circle order, share it in the chat, and monitor the chat box for technical issues. The order will vary from week to week. The chat message can be worded like, “Imagine us seated in a circle for real.  At the start is (facilitator’s name), and to her left Person A, then Person B, …”.  The assistant will re-post the list if it gets bumped out of sight. If there is no chat on the app you are using, then it could simply be the names written on a piece of paper and the paper shared via camera to everyone. (with everyone’s audio off, the list of who speaks next will be good for the next person to prepare to turn their mic on.)
  • In an in-person talking circle, the direction of who goes next is to the left of the facilitator (clockwise), thus the comment about “imagine us seated in a circle”, it is a good idea to explain this as part of the talking circle protocols at the beginning.
  • You are not expected to answer questions or console someone, in an in-person talking circle, there would be an item that would be passed on to the next person, in an online format, you will be the one calling on the next person to speak. You can thank the previous person for sharing before calling the next person, but do not get into a back and forth discussion as this will disrupt the flow and power of the circle.
  • After everyone has held up their card in the 4th round, you thank everyone for sharing and explain that the purpose of the talking circle is not intended to be therapeutic (but it can be), rather it is an opportunity to share with others in a way that we may not necessarily be able to now that we are all working remotely.
  • You can end the meeting now if that was the purpose of it, or you can carry on to the next portion. Keep in mind that some people will need time to re-group, so if you have the option, call a break before getting to the next part of the meeting.
  • The first and last circle are nice ways to start and finish that can demonstrate the change in the group resulting from the talking circle. The 2nd and 3rd circles are amendable to different ideas for sharing related to the needs of the group. This can be open and expansive (how is working from home going?) or specific and intentional (describe challenges to ??) depending on the goals for the circle.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License by Rose Roberts with the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching & Learning at the University of Saskatchewan

Field Work in the Classroom – Remote Context

Field work is important to your course because it provides a way for students to meet experiential outcomes, build a professional identity, feel engaged in their learning, and can help students retain knowledge and understanding. Some programs may rely on fieldwork for attracting new students and for maintaining outreach with community partners.

  • Can students meet experiential outcomes this semester in a remote context, independently?
  • Do students need this outcome to meet the course objectives? Take Inventory of what you already have.
  • How might students build a professional identify outside of the fieldwork context?
  • How might we engage students with their profession to build knowledge and understanding, outside of fieldwork?

In the remote context, concerns might include limited access to technology, risk management, funding of equipment, access to sites, the evolving public health situation. Plan to provide context and be prepared with back-up plans such as alternate ways of meeting course outcomes.

  • How will students access the appropriate equipment?
  • How will the risks associated with fieldwork be managed?
  • What is the access and safety at the site? What safety protocols are in place?

The USask Field Work Decision Tree is designed for USask Research, but may provide valuable insight as you plan for course-based field work.

The downside of fieldwork is that it can be hard to integrate with course content, difficult to assess, and student engagement varies. Field work involve logistics, scheduling, and human resources management.

  • Communicate with your students more deliberately and frequently than you would in a face-to-face environment. Communicating caring and flexibility whenever you can will reduce student anxiety and increase learning. Connect students and collaborators early-on to help build their relationship – particularly in isolated settings where students may need to rely more directly with collaborators for project and living assistance.
  • Keep it easy – Use USask approved tools that any student can access. Course Tools (Blackboard and Canvas) for planning and scheduling, WebEx for simultaneous and live conversations, Panopto for demonstrations. In addition to desktop recordings, Panopto can be used to record and distribute videos taken on your phone’s camera from the field. These videos can be linked and uploaded directly to your course or shared via email with a link. This might be a way to share fieldwork experiences with students, remotely.

Please refer to our post about remote placements and practicums for assistance on the logistics of planning for placements, specifically on how to onboard and supervise students remotely.

Seek support from the Gwenna Moss Centre, Distance Education Unit, and IT Support Services

Referenced in this post:  Munge, B., Thomas, G., & Heck, D. (2018). Outdoor Fieldwork in Higher Education: Learning From Multidisciplinary Experience. Journal of Experiential Education, 41(1), 39–53. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053825917742165

Additional readings

Hester, J. L. (2020, May 10). This is what scientific fieldwork is like during the time of COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2020/05/this-is-what-scientific-fieldwork-is-like-during-the-time-of-covid-19/

Beltran, R. S., Marnocha, E., Race, A., Croll, D. A., Dayton, G. H., & Zavaleta, E. S. (2020). Field courses narrow demographic achievement gaps in ecology and evolutionary biology. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.6300 

Remote Lab Experiences

Download: Planning for Modules with Labs

Lab experiences are often rich, hands-on elements of courses that build on learning outcomes from lectures or achieve a different set of outcomes. There are typically three key buildings blocks to any lab experience.

  1. A problem or task
  2. Active completion of a procedure or process
  3. Documenting the process and results

As we plan to offer our labs remotely, there are a number of important questions to consider.

What do you already have?

  • Are there existing online or blended versions of this course that you can draw upon? 
  • Are there individuals experienced with online instruction in your department or unit who could help smooth this transition?
  • What are the important laboratory skills that learners must have in your discipline when they finish this course before they progress to the next level or stage of learning? 
  • What other things are students expected to know and value in this course (overall)?
  • How do students traditionally collaborate and communicate regarding their lab experiences? 

Moving Forward

  • Where and how could students get ‘caught up’ in the future (as the university returns to face-to-face)? 
  • What advice have you received from accrediting bodies and industry regarding remote labs?
  • Where are the small shifts required to do this remotely?

What/how do I want students to be able to articulate or interpret?Knowledge/Values

  • Can students watch videos of the lab experiences being performed and interpret or collect data that way?
  • Should students ‘skip’ the procedure of the lab experience and simply manipulate the data (from a previous year)?
  • Is there alignment (e.g., timing, outcomes) between the lectures, assignments, and the lab experiences?
  • Do students need to be able to create or design the methods or procedures? Is it possible to do this outside a laboratory setting?

What/how do I want students to be able to do or perform? Skills/Abilities

  • Can students be provided with a problem that they can explore and experiment with at home? Could it be done using household materials?
  • Can students be provided with a procedure to follow at home?
  • Are there materials or equipment that could be provided to students at home?
  • If there are experiments they can do at home, what do you want them to submit? Data? Analysis? Conclusions? Photos? Videos?
  • Are there other ways that students can show you that they can ‘do’ or ‘perform’
  • Are there online simulations that students could participate in in place of the real procedure? 
    • PhET is a common resource for physics, chemistry, math, earth science, and biology simulations
    • Merlot.org has a collection of virtual labs
    • Need more options? Here is a crowdsourced list of over 200 different online lab ideas sorted by subject area

Other considerations

Another large consideration is whether or students have to do this lab in the course to meet the course learning outcomes. If the outcomes are able to be met without the lab component, then perhaps the lab can be reduced or suspended during remote delivery. If the lab is crucial to the learning outcomes, then what is the plan to get them to meet these skills? Below is a series of prompts to consider.

How will students do/develop…

  • …Outline problem clearly and Hypothesis development → remote:
  • …Experimental design (methodology) → remote:
  • …Application of theory (observing) → remote:
  • …Data collection → remote:
  • …Data analysis → remote:
  • …Uncertainties of measurements and conclusions → remote:
  • …Laboratory skills (glassware, synthesis, instrumentation) → remote:
  • …Laboratory Safety skills → remote:
  • …Team skills → remote:
  • …Reading disciplinary literature, record-keeping → remote: 
  • …Writing/communicating results and ethics→ remote:

Thank you to Dr. Alexandra Bartole-Scott for her help in developing this list.

Template for lab and course alignment Download: Planning for Modules with Labs

Why You Should Use Modules When Planning Your Course

DOWNLOAD: Planning for Modules Excel Template

Take a look at your course syllabus.

What do you want learners to be able to do by the end of the course?

Review your learning outcomes and consider these questions:

  1. What type of learning activities are needed?
  2. What type of assessment activities are needed?
  3. How will students practice?
  4. How will they receive feedback?
  5. How will they demonstrate their abilities (to get a grade)?

In standard 13-week term, you would likely have one module every 1-2 weeks. Modules replace thinking about a course in units of time, but instead, as units of content or objectives. Modules can be thought of as topics, chapters, units, etc.

An online learning module should aim to include:

  1. Module title
  2. Purpose, outcomes, and to-do list
  3. Activation of prior knowledge and pre-assessment
  4. Learning materials
  5. Active & social learning with practice and feedback
  6. Major assessment
  7. Summary

20-minute video describing these 7 steps in detail

Here is an example of how to plan for weekly modules. Please note that the components of learning materials and active & social learning are not limited to the three subcategories in this template. Feel free to adapt to your disciplinary needs. If your course has a lab, please refer to the second sheet in the Excel template. 

DOWNLOAD: Planning for Modules Excel Template

Building Community, Remotely

In an online remote context, virtual learning communities (VLCs) allow us to plan for:

  • Interaction
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

This video highlights some of the reasons we might want to develop rich VLCs in remote teaching. Below are some strategies framed from instructor competencies.

Some strategies for developing interaction:

Model participation and practice good nettiquette

  • Use Discussion Forums and participate actively
  • Steer conversations in the right direction
  • Motivate and encourage

Create a safe and supportive environment/network 

  • Moderate Discussion forum 
  • Temper the dominant voices in the forum
  • Set the tone by being positive
  • Encourage and motivate students
  • Use introductions, online office hours and e-mail to promote interaction

Incorporate collaborative learning and increased opportunities for students to participate and contribute

  • Post short 10 min lectures
  • Modify course content to to include Active Learning in between lectures
  • When will students contribute and share?

Facilitate meaningful and inclusive interactions 

  • Organize small group sessions or small group study groups.
  • Be willing to put in extra effort to contact students
  • Allow anonymous discussion posts

Some strategies for developing communication:

Build a foundation for participants to introduce themselves

  • Icebreaker
  • Discussion thread

Model prompt, effective and responsive communication

  • Answer emails within a certain timeframe 
  • Set up collaborative FAQs or virtual café where students can share questions and answer them. 
  • Communicate deadlines and expectations clearly (syllabus)
  • Provide prompt feedback on assignments

Evaluate role and monitor amount of instructor contribution to discussions

  • Checklists to make sure students are contributing to conversations.
  • Check-in with ‘under-performers’ to see if there are accessibility concerns. 

Model netiquette

  • Demonstrate respect, patience and responsiveness
  • Don’t ignore questions.
  • Steer conversations in the right direction
  • Keep a positive tone

Some strategies for developing collaboration:

Foster Learner-centeredness

  • Included Group work
  • Incorporate enquiry based and problem based learning
  • Promote reflection and self directedness
    • journalling
    •  blogging

Promote and support peer learning

  • Peer reviews
  • Peer feedback

Encourage, acknowledge, or reinforce student contributions

  • Provide opportunities and choice for students to contribute and share
    • Posters
    • Video, etc.

Empower students to work independently

  • Help groups set norms
  • How to use breakout rooms or their own webex rooms
  • Promote reflective practice 
    • Provide rubrics
    • Encourage journaling

Readings

Transforming Your Online Teaching From Crisis to Community

https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/03/11/ensuring-online-teaching-engages-students-and-maintains-community-opinion

Five Qualities of Transformative VLCs

https://www.teachingquality.org/five-qualities-of-transformative-vlcs/

How to Prepare and Moderate Online Discussions for Online Learning 

https://teachonline.ca/sites/default/files/tools-trends/downloads/how_to_plan_for_and_moderate_online_discussions.pdf

References

Farmer, H. M., & Ramsdale, J. (2016). Teaching competencies for the online environment. Canadian Journal of Learning & Technology, 42(3), 1–17.

https://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/27471/20218

Smith, T. C. (2005). Fifty-one competencies for online instruction. The Journal of Educators Online 2(2). Retrieved from http://www.thejeo.com/Ted%20Smith%20Final.pdf 

Schwier, R.A. (2001). Catalysts, emphases and elements of virtual learning communities: Implications for research and practice. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234622084_Catalysts_Emphases_and_Elements_of_Virtual_Learning_Communities_Implications_for_Research_and_Practice/citations

Thank you to Nazreen Beaulieu for your support in preparing these resources.

Start Here…Pick Two

Let’s boil this down. What’s most important for us to rethink as we use our precious hours to redesign our courses for remote learning? Work with a colleague, friend, or student to talk through your answers after you fill this out. Still stumped? Contact gmctl-support@usask.ca

PDF Version: Start Here – Break it Down – Pick Two

First, let’s take a breath and focus on the big picture.

What are two GUIDING PRINCIPLES that you want to keep in mind as you redesign and teach during this time?

1.

2.

Next, let’s settle on some technologies or processes that feel comfortable to us.

What are two TOOLS that you might use to support your teaching during this time?

1.

2.

Let’s think about what course content is most important for students to cover.

What are two CONTENT CHUNKS that you want students to know and understand by the end of this course?

1.

2.

Let’s look beyond content and think about skills our course hopes to develop in students.

What are two SKILLS OR DISPOSITIONS that you want students to have or demonstrate by the end of this course?

1.

2.

We are not in this alone. Let’s include our students as partners in this challenge.

What are two ways that STUDENTS CAN PARTICIPATE in helping you to redesign elements of this course?

1.

2.

Let’s find the teaching moments, and help students understand how our field is affected by and contributes to discourse around this global pandemic.

What are two ways that you can link your coursework to current events related to COVID19?

1.

2.

Because panic and misinformation are common and because we all need to help to flatten the curve around COVID19, let’s talk about public health in all of our courses.

What are two things you want to stress to your students about keeping themselves and others HEALTHY during this pandemic?

1.

2.

 

This work was adapted from https://colab.plymouthcreate.net/covid19/rule-of-2/ which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

 

Sequencing an outcome

How do you breakdown a course outcome into manageable sections, or chunks, of information or action for students? What do students need to be able to do with automaticity before they can meet this learning outcome? Here is a template to help you in docx form:

Sequencing Template and Mini-Lesson Template

Sequencing Template

A. My end goal is to have students be able to meet this specific learning outcome:
B. Therefore, I need students to be able to do these three (or more) sub-components, in this sequence below C. I will get them to practice and build their abilities in these subcomponents by doing these isolated activities. %
1) ->  
2) ->  
3) ->  
D. Now that they have practiced these distinct and separate skills, I will have them comprehensively do this activity:  
E. I will assess the cumulative work with this assessment tool:    

More information on sequencing and ‘chunking’ here:

Course Development Toolkit

https://teaching.usask.ca/curriculum/online-delivery.php#CourseDevelopmentToolkit

Course Design: Implement and Evaluate

https://teaching.usask.ca/articles/course-design.php

How to get students to hand in quality work by planning for choice

In my course, at this level, at this place of progress in their learning, what do students need to demonstrate to me?

Handout version for USask Instructors

What do I expect of my students?

Offering choice in how students meet course objectives is rooted in inclusive education and that by providing choice we acknowledge and respect that there are many ways to demonstrate learning and students have the agency, when appropriate, to pick the one that motivates them. These checklists might help you think about “shifting the ‘locus of control’ from the teacher to the student” (Jopp & Cohen, 2020)

There are three methods described: when students pick the medium of transmission for a final project, when students pick the topic of a paper or structured project, and lastly, when students help set the criteria for the assessment. The last one is my favourite because it forces the students to really think about what ‘good’ means, not just the content to transmit.

Allow students to choose the format of their final project – follow these steps

  • I have reviewed the outcomes in my course.
  • I have determined the outcomes that are best suited for offering choice.
  • I can think of a few ways a student could show me how they meet this specific outcome.
  • I have considered how students might present a portfolio of work to present their learning of the outcome.
  • I can make ONE assessment tool (such as a rubric or checklist), such that no matter which option students choose, I can use the same marking scheme. AACU Values Rubrics are a good starting place https://www.aacu.org/value-rubrics
  • All options would demonstrate understanding to a similar depth and breadth of disciplinary ability.

Have students choose the topic for their project or paper

  • I have a date when the assignment needs to be completed.
  • I have a date when a first draft should be completed.
  • I have a plan for when and how students will give each other feedback on their progress.
  • I have determined when I want to review students’ project plans – before they get too far down the road to make significant changes.
  • I have an idea of how much time I need to allocate to review students’ work or what my review supports look like (TAs, assistants, mini-interviews).
  • I have a plan for how I will introduce the project, its criteria, the options for students, the marking scheme (rubric or checklist), and present the timeline with deliverables to students.
  • I have a timeline of all of the above and am ready to share it with students.

Co-create the rubric or assessment tool with students

  • I know what ‘good enough’ looks like.
  • I know what ‘not good enough’ looks like.
  • I have anonymized examples of sufficient and insufficient that I could show students.
  • Students know the small steps or pieces that compose this larger assignment and can describe them.
  • I ask students for their feedback about what they think is important in an assignment.
  • I ask students what they think would qualify as good.
  • I work with students to make a checklist of what would be required to qualify as ‘good’ (criteria).
  • I am reflecting on how to use a checklist, rubric, or other marking guideline to communicate my expectations with students.

References:

Jopp, R., & Cohen, J. (2020). Choose your own assessment – assessment choice for students in online higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 1-18.

https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/technology/assignment-scaffolding

https://clas.ucdenver.edu/writing-center/sites/default/files/attached-files/scaffolding_assignments.pdf

 

Inclusive Teaching Strategies: Reflecting on Your Practice

How do you engage with students? How do students see themselves in the content of your course? How are students expected to engage with each other?

Here are some strategies compiled from the University of Michigan with permission. Which ones do you do already? Which ones might you try?

Instructor ­ Student Interactions

  • Learn and use students’ names they choose to be called.
  • Clarify how you want students to address you, especially if you teach students from a range of educational and cultural backgrounds.
  • Distribute a student background questionnaire early in the term to learn about students’ experience with the course topics, educational background, professional ambitions, general interests, etc.
  • Encourage students to visit during office hours and use that time to ask about their experiences with course topics as well as their other interests.
  • Communicate high expectations and your belief that all students can succeed.
  • Allow for struggle and failure/challenge as important parts of the learning process, not signs of student deficiency.
  • Seek multiple answers or perspectives to questions.
  • Avoid making generalizations about student experiences.
  • Avoid making jokes at students’ expense.
  • Refrain from asking individual students to speak for a social identity group, particularly marginalized groups.
  • Communicate concern for students’ well­being, and share information about campus resources (e.g., Student Wellness Centre, Student Affairs and Outreach, Access and Equity Services, USask Community Centre).
  • Solicit requests for documented accommodations as a chance to include everyone more fully in learning.
  • Give verbal instructions AND a written corollary. (Multiple modes can be helpful to students with processing disabilities as well as non-native English speakers.)
  • Carefully frame objectives when raising potentially sensitive or uncomfortable topics.
  • Model productive disagreement, showing how to critique a statement or idea rather than the speaker.
  • Stop or intervene in a discussion if comments become disparaging or devalue other students’ experiences.
  • Allow ample time for any in class activities that require substantial reading, and provide guidance that reflects the fact that processing times will vary (e.g., how to approach the task given you may not finish reading, or what to do if you do finish it before the time is up).
  • Elicit formative feedback from students about their learning experiences in the course (e.g. facilitated Midsemester Feedback session or survey).
  • Ask a trusted colleague or GMCTL education development specialist to observe your class and collect data about how you include or interact with different students.

 

Student ­ Student Interactions

  • Encourage students to learn and use one another’s names.
  • Use icebreakers regularly so students can learn about one another.
  • Establish guidelines, ground rules, or community agreements for class participation.
  • In class, have students work in pairs, triads, or small groups.
  • Have students write and share about how their background can contribute to a particular class activity.
  • For long term teams, structure in check-ins and opportunities for peer feedback about group process.
  • On the syllabus, identify collaboration or perspective taking as skills students will build in the course.
  • In class, explain the value of collaboration for learning. Speak of students’ diverse perspectives as an asset.
  • Provide students opportunities to reflect on what they learned through collaborative activities (formal or informal).
  • Deliberately assign students to small, heterogeneous groups that do not isolate underrepresented students.
  • Set up study groups that deliberately group students with different strengths.
  • Have students complete a self-assessment inventory and discuss with peers.
  • Have students complete low stakes small group activities that help them see and value the contributions of others.
  • Establish ways for students to intervene if they feel a certain perspective is being undervalued or not acknowledged.

Content

  • Choose readings that deliberately reflect the diversity of contributors to the field.
  • Use visuals that do not reinforce stereotypes but do include diverse people or perspectives.
  • Use diverse examples to illustrate concepts, drawing upon a range of domains of information.
  • Explain references that are likely to be unfamiliar to some students based on their backgrounds (e.g., citing dominant pop culture or relying on regionalisms such as bunnyhug).
  • Emphasize the range of identities and backgrounds of experts who have contributed to a given field.
  • Use varied names and socio­cultural contexts in test questions, assignments, and case studies.
  • Teach the conflicts of the field to incorporate diverse perspectives.
  • Deliberately choose course materials with a range of student physical abilities in mind.
  • Deliberately choose course materials with students’ range of financial resources in mind.
  • Analyze the content of your examples, analogies, and humour; too narrow a perspective may alienate students with different views or background knowledge.
  • Include authors’ full names, not just initials, in citations. (This can help emphasize gender diversity or unsettle assumptions about authorship).
  • Assess students’ prior knowledge about your course objectives to better align instruction with their needs.
  • Help students connect their prior knowledge to new learning (e.g., before introducing a new topic ask students individually to reflect on what they already know about the topic).
  • Invite students to identify examples that illustrate course concepts.
  • Use a variety of teaching methods and modalities (verbal, visual, interactive, didactic, etc.)
  • Ask students for concrete observations about content (e.g., a reading, image, set of data) before moving to analytical questions. (This can give everyone a common starting point and model analytical processes you want to teach).
  • Use a pace that lets students take notes during lecture.
  • Clarify the expectations and grading scheme for each assignment before students start working on it.
  • Create time in class for students to discuss and ask questions about assignments or assignment expectations.
  • Emphasize the larger purpose or value of the material you are studying.
  • Structure discussions to include a range of voices: e.g., take a queue, ask to hear from those who have not spoken, wait until several hands are raised to call on anyone, use think­pair­share activities.
  • Use brief in class writing activities to get feedback on what students are learning and thinking.

Adapted with permission from Erping Zhu, University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT). Their format and content adapted from Linse & Weinstein, Shreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, Penn State, 2015. For information about the research behind these strategies, see http://crlt.umich.edu/node/90467  

Inclusive Strategies Handout (pdf)

Assessment Equity and Alignment with Experiential Learning

When I met with Sandy and Harold I was stressed. I was worried that I was falling behind. After coming from a very busy workplace with many competing deadlines and defined work hours, starting a PhD program and having to manage my time independently is a huge challenge. Most days feel chaotic and I’m often overwhelmed. Being a student has given me space, mentally and emotionally, to think and to focus on my health. But this “room to think” can also be a dangerous thing. Sometimes hours, even days, slip by in an unfocused haze of meandering reading if I’m not careful. This skill of balancing time and energy is the true test of graduate school.

The chaos is exacerbated by the scope of my SOTL research. I often feel that I’m lost in a forest and blind to the connections, discourses, and secret paths within the literature. What has helped is staying in the meadow of multiple-choice questions. As I read more, I am beginning to create a complex picture of this learning and assessment modality. But before I made this decision, I wandered, as you’ll see.

I was getting tired of assessment, so I experimented with other search terms to see what I could find. I found Brunig’s article which brings together experiential education and critical pedagogy, both of which are challenging to implement in practice. Their discussion of their own practice is very helpful for those interested in using experiential learning and developing a student-directed classroom. Brunig makes a claim in their article that one of the aims of experiential education is the development of a more just world (p. 107). I was intrigued by this because I didn’t necessarily agree (although I believe this should be the goal of education in general). They referenced another paper when making this assertion which brought me to Itin. Itin’s article attempts to differentiate between experiential learning and experiential education. This paper is a good foundation for instructors who want to explore the philosophy of experiential education.

After this foray into more theoretical papers I decided to hold off on reading any more until I had spoken to Sandy and Harold. I wasn’t sure how far the group wanted me to go when it came to philosophy and theory. This was a good decision because the group agreed that they want to see more practical research and studies than theory.

The other articles can be summarized:

  • Bowen, C. discusses a college mathematics program at Haskell Indian Nations University. Of interest to mathematics educators are the handful of experiential activities provided by Bowen. Most of the activities are not suitable for large or mega class sizes (although there is the possibility of adaptation). Others such as narrative word problems or the Problem of the Week may be useful with larger classes.
  • Butler, A. C., Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L. 3rd clearly describe the methodology used. Results of this study indicate that “delayed feedback produced better long-term retention than immediate feedback” (p. 279). What is interesting is that “there was no difference between the two types of feedback” (answer-until-correct and standard – correct or incorrect) (p. 279).
  • Clandinin, D. J. & Connelly, F. M. are two of the originators of narrative inquiry and their book offers researchers new to the methodology a guide to follow. From epistemological concerns to the nuts and bolts of how to actually do a narrative inquiry, this handbook is a wonderful starting point for those interested in this methodology.
  • Ernst, B., & Steinhauser, M. suggest that the P300 and early frontal positivity “are related to two different stages of learning. The P300 reflects a fast learning process based on working memory processes. In contrast, the frontal positivity reflects an attentional orienting response that precedes slower learning of correct response information” (p. 334).
  • Koretsky, M. D., Brooks, B. J., & Higgins, A. Z. very clearly outline their research design and methodology. Their findings “suggest that asking students for written explanations helps their thinking and learning, and we encourage instructors to solicit written explanations when they use multiple-choice concept questions”, p. 1761.

 

References

Bowen, C. (2010). Indians can do math. In P. Boyer (Ed.), Ancient wisdom, modern science: The integration of Native knowledge in math and science at tribally controlled colleges and universities (pp. 43-62). Salish Kootenai College Press.

Breunig, M. (2005). Turning experiential education and critical pedagogy theory into praxis. Journal of Experiential Education, 28(2), pp. 106-122.

Butler, A. C., Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L. 3rd. (2007). The effect of type and timing of feedback on learning from multiple-choice tests. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 13(4), pp. 273-281.

Clandinin, D. J. & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. Jossey-Bass.

Ernst, B., & Steinhauser, M. (2012). Feedback-related brain activity predicts learning from feedback in multiple-choice testing. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci, 12(2), 323-336. doi:10.3758/s13415-012-0087-9

Itin, C. M. (1999). Reasserting the philosophy of experiential education as a vehicle for change in the 21st century. The Journal of Experiential Education 22(2), pp. 91-98.

Koretsky, M. D., Brooks, B. J., & Higgins, A. Z. (2016). Written justifications to multiple-choice concept questions during active learning in class, 38(11), pp. 1747-1765. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2016.1214303

This is part of a series of blog posts by Lindsay Tarnowetzki. Their research assistantship is funded by and reports to the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Aligning assessment and experiential learning cluster at USask.

Lindsay Tarnowetzki is a PhD student in the College of Education. They completed their Master’s degree at Concordia University in Communication (Media) Studies and Undergraduate degree in English at the University of Saskatchewan. They worked at the Clinical Learning Resource Centre at the University of Saskatchewan for three years as a Simulated Patient Educator. They are interested in narrative and as it relates to social power structures. Lindsay shares a home with their brother and their cats Peachy Keen and MacKenzie.

Image provided by Lindsay.

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