Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Dartmouth’ Category

On May 1, Rebekah Carrow and Amanda Childress led a workshop on how faculty members can help victims of sexual assault who choose to identify themselves to their teachers for whatever reason. Amanda and Rebekah are new to Dartmouth and serve as co-coordinators of Dartmouth’s Sexual Abuse Awareness Program.

Faculty members are not professional counselors, nor should they try to be, but we are teachers. As teachers, we are concerned with anything that inhibits our students’ success. The trauma of sexual assault, whether from long ago or recently, can seriously inhibit a student’s academic success. When a student shares information about such experiences, we should be prepared to offer the kind of help they need to heal.

Carrow and Childress led the small group of faculty participants through a number of exercises that prompted us to identify some DOs and DON’Ts. Here’s what we came up with:

What YOU Can Do

Listen

  • You don’t always have to speak
  • Silence is okay Concentrate your energy on what S/HE is saying and feeling, NOT what YOU’RE thinking and feeling.
  • Be sensitive to HIS/HER needs
  • What is it that s/he wants from you?
  • Get him/her the help s/he needs Encourage him/her to seek help, but don’t push it
  • Be Sincere; edit your comments
  • Censor comments that may be irrelevant/inappropriate to the conversation
  • Be cautious of judgmental statements
  • Ask him/her how to help (don’t assume)
  • Believe what s/he is saying
  • Try not to judge his/her actions or statements

What NOT To Do

  • Don’t tell him/her what to do.
  • Don’t investigate the situation or interrogate the person (who, what, when, where, why???)
  • Don’t try to fix/solve the problem Don’t blame the victim (ie. have a risk reduction conversation or ask “why did you…”)
  • Don’t insert your opinion Don’t make false promises or statement
  • Don’t share his/her information with non-relevant personnel

Things to Remember

This is about them and their needs, not you and your needs

  • You don’t have to know all the answers -Direct them to someone who does
  • Every situation will be different
  • Be cautious of your facial expressions and tone
  • Use empathetic statements Stay focused and be aware of his/her verbals and non-verbals -Be there, in the moment
  • Make appropriate eye contact
  • Be cautious of touching, ask before
  • Remember… Actions can speak louder than words
  • Level with them about confidentiality, preferably before.

For more information, contacts, resources and help: Department of Student Health Promotion & Wellness
37 Dewey Fld. 4th Floor
http://www.dartmouth.edu/sexualabuse

Read Full Post »

Four colleagues presented innovative applications of IT for teaching: Bob Hawley (Earth Science), Ehud Benor (Religion) Frank Magiligan (Geography) and Sarah Scully (Library).

Bob Hawley showed us how he uses his iPad as a kind of hand-held white board for presenting material in class. Using Airsketch, an iPad app, and a special wireless network provided by Apple Airport, Bob can write and draw on his iPad as he circulates around the classroom and everything on his iPad is projected on the classroom screen by way of his laptop. These drawings are captured for circulation to the class.

Ehud Benor showed us how he uses VUE, a Visual Understanding Environment developed at Tufts University. Unlike Powerpoint slides which tend to enforce a linear presentation, VUE allows one to connect slides, documents and various other media clips to a concept map. The concept map can present on one page all the concepts of a course or a single lecture, allowing students to visualize their relationships to each other. Items on the concept map provide hyperlinks to all other media: audio and video clips, pdfs, websites while it serves as an “anchor” for study and presentation.

Frank Magilligan requires his students to write blog entries on scientific articles related to his course. Over the course of a term, novices develop and share their growing expertise in scientific literature by summarizing and evaluating assigned articles and posting these to a course blog. All students then have access to this blog for study and review.

Sarah Scully introduced us to a promising new library resource—Alexander Street Press’s Academic Video Online. Documentary, educational and performance videos can now be searched and retrieved for use in classes and presentations. Many of these videos include searchable transcripts that allow users to find specific places in the video. The can also scrub through the video and the transcript keeps up. The best way to search for videos relevant to your course is to use the Library catalog, limiting your search to “video/dvd” and look for “electronic resource.” The catalog link will take you directly to the Academic Video resource. Alternatively, you can browse or search the Academic Videos Online webpage.

Read Full Post »

Librarians from Special Collections led a group of faculty members and librarians through an exercise that could be tailored to the objectives of almost any course at Dartmouth. Jay Satterfield and Peter Carini distributed to the participants a set of documents from special collections and gave us the following very minimal instructions as if we were a group of students.

In groups of two, look over the document and respond to the following prompts:

  1. What is this?
  2. What is its information value?
  3. What questions does it prompt you to ask?

We worked in groups of two for about 15 minutes, then the six groups each reported their responses one at a time. It was difficult for us to refrain from starting discussion and sharing questions right away. It was even more difficult for Jay and Peter to refrain from supplying corrections and special information they had about the documents. They kept this activity focused on the students.

Here’s a list of the documents we looked at in pairs. We did not have this list; each pair had only the primary document before us; we were tasked with making some sense of the document without knowing what it was.

  • A “memorial” of a petition by Dartmouth students addressed to their neighbors asking for permission to undergo inoculation for smallpox in January 1777
  • A recipe for a prescription for smallpox inoculation written by one Dr. Tiffany
  • A letter from Ebenezer Haseltine to his brother, dated February 12, 1777
  • Acts and Laws of the State of New Hampshire promulgated from July-December 1776 and published in 1780
  • Reasons against the Practice of Inoculating the Small-Pox. London 1722
  • A Narrative of the Method and Success of Inoculating the Small Pox in New England. London 1722

As each pair reported, we could not help but learn new things about our document and even start to construct a narrative. When all six pairs had reported, Jay asked several people, in turn, to tell the story they were constructing from all the documents. Not surprisingly each narrative offered was different. Some told a story about the 18th-C controversies about small pox inoculation; another told a story about students responding to a smallpox outbreak at Dartmouth; still others wanted to tell a story about reactions to epidemics.

What’s more, each story needed more information to become truly useful. We were prompted to sort our questions into those that could be answered by further research in secondary sources, those by research in more primary sources, and those that might require careful interpretation and speculation.

Then we stepped back into our roles as teachers to consider how an exercise like this could be useful in one of our own courses and how it might further the learning outcomes we want our students to achieve.

Finally Peter Carini shared with us his list of “Skills for Primary Source Research,” a list of the outcomes he expects students to realize by using primary materials in Special Collections. Everyone started planning such exercises for future courses.

Read Full Post »

Rauner Special Collections Library holds many collections that lend themselves to the study of sustainability. The Papers of Donella Meadows and the polar research collections are complemented by smaller collections that can provide a deep historical context to today’s sustainability movement. College Archivist, Peter Carini, and Special Collections Librarian, Jay Satterfield, visited DCAL to lead a discussion of strategies for introducing these resources into the classroom.

Jay began by providing an overview of the strategies the Rauner employs for collecting. Specifically, he says, “In Rauner we aim for curricular support, we want to get our collection into the hands of undergraduates, while not ignoring other research purposes. We want to select materials as ‘teachable packages.’” In some areas, the collection is fairly deeps, such as for Robert Frost, Daniel Webster, and 19th century New Hampshire politics.

Satterfield continued with some show and tell from another deep collection, known as the White Mountain Collection. One table was full of samples from the collection, but Peter took some time to read from three guide books for the area from three moments in time: a guide book from 1851 that reflected a romantic view of nature; a 1912 guide that begins with a “road trip” view, alluding to the changing options for transportation; and a 1973 guide that warns of the threats of nature from overuse.

Peter Carini then took over to give an overview of the “college grants,” which were established at different times in the College’s past to provide a financial sustainability option for its ongoing needs. The first was supposed to setup a system for tenant farmers to bring income through agriculture, while the third was to provide income through logging leases to the timber industry. From records in the collection, we know when Dartmouth hired its first manager of the logging operations, who also became the first to head up the Outdoor Club.

Thirty-eight years later, in the late 1960s, we start to see documentation about conservation for recreational use in College Forester’s Records. Not long after, in 1970, Dartmouth established its Environmental Studies Program. Now, in 2012, we are seeing new plans for the College take shape in which “sustainability” will be part of the core that defines Dartmouth for the future.

The audience seemed quite interested to know how Rauner can play a larger role in helping faculty to visualize the collections for specific purposes. There were others, too, who wondered if an advisory board could be assembled to discuss how to further develop a “sustainability collection” at Dartmouth.

Read Full Post »

This term’s TWIT (Teaching with Information Technology) session focused on ways in which teaching and learning is facilitated through technology, but the technology itself takes a background seat to the task at hand. Often, we appear to be showcasing the technology over the learning, when what we prefer is the usually the opposite.

Prof. Tom Jack, from the Biology department, and Christiane Donahue, from the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, kicked off the session with a dual-class collaborative wiki activity designed to increase Biology students’ ability to communicate science to a lay audience and increase non-scientists’ ability to interpret science.

Tom teaches BIOL99, a Senior Honors Thesis class, in which students work on preparing their senior thesis. In this particular assignment, the students are asked to write their scientific abstract, then an abstract for a lay audience and also to prepare a two-minute video describing the thesis for the lay audience.

Students in Christiane’s WRIT7, a first-year writing course, have been developing their ability to read and provide feedback to peers in a process designed to improve their own writing. For this assignment, they become the audience for the BIOL99 students. They read the abstracts, watch the videos and then, as someone almost certainly unfamiliar with the senior topics, provide insightful critiques and feedback on the materials.

The process is designed to strengthen the skills of everyone involved, and it is all mediated through the wiki tools available in Blackboard, the campus LMS. The videos that the BIOL99 student make are filmed in a studio space within the new Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center, against a green screen. The senior students then select a representative image of their work to insert via post-production.

—–

In the second presentation, Prof. D.G. Webster, from the Environmental Studies Program described the development of a webpage using text written by students and images they shot during a trip to the New England Aquarium in Boston. Students in D.G.’s ENVS17 Marine Policy class documented their visit to the aquarium with an eye toward sustainability and seafood. After writing up their reports and submitting their images, D.G. worked with the department administrator to add the pages to the department website using OmniUpdate. The work now stands as an effective advertisement for the course the next time it is offered.

Prof. Webster also presented the work of students in her ENVS16 Business and the Environment course. In the course, the students explore “green” businesses and D.G. provides a series of writing prompts for the students to use after selecting a business for research. The students respond to the prompt by writing blog postings to a private GoogleSites webspace. By the end of the term, the students have sufficient material to organize their blog postings into a more formal final report, which is also assembled using GoogleSites. Unfortunately, due to litigation risk, the students’ final projects are only made available to the instructor and to each other, although we were able to see a few during the presentation.

Look for the next TWIT session in April.

Read Full Post »

Often times the largest barriers to learning are the preconceived ideas or mis-conceptions that we as learners bring into the classroom. While this is true for many subject areas, it seems most pervasive in learning science and mathematics. Given this knowledge, it is important to address these misconceptions and provide the students with the opportunity to unlearn and relearn these concepts.

During the February 9th Teaching Sciences Seminar in DCAL, Professor Chandrasekhar Ramanathan presented on the active learning teaching practices he was exposed to during the American Association of Physics Teachers workshop for new physics and astronomy faculty. In keeping true to the topic, those in attendance at this TSS were not passive recipients of the knowledge but active participants in the session.

After reviewing the philosophy behind Active Learning, Sekhar engaged the group in the practice of Peer Instruction. Made notable by Harvard Professor Eric Mazur, Peer Instruction involves students in their own learning during lecture by focusing their attention on underlying concepts.  In modeling Peer Instruction, Sekhar presented the group with a variety of common Physics questions and first asked the participants to answer as individuals. After answering individually, we broke off in groups of two to three to discuss the reasoning/thinking behind our answers. The group was then re-polled and the answer revealed with explanation/clarification as necessary. Not only was it fun to learn this way, but it allowed each individual to share their knowledge and become active participants in their learning. Find one of those who attended the session and ask them about the Car vs the Train.

Professor Ramanathan then discussed to the technique of Interactive Lecture Demonstration (ILD).  During ILD students first make predictions about the results of the demonstration. Once the demonstration is completed, the students discuss the results compared to their predictions. Reflection is key as it is through reflection that we can work through our misconceptions. Unfortunately, as noted by many in attendance, often times the traditional lab does not allow for reflection and that a standard “solution set” while often reproducible with that same set, does not afford students with the opportunity to reflect upon the process of solving the problem set and then applying the knowledge to other solution sets/situations.

The third active learning technique presented in the session was that of JITT or Just In Time Teaching. JITT engages students in learning activities before a class meeting. The type of activities can vary but may include video tutorials, simulations, and problem sets. The goal is to have students engage in the content and concepts outside of class and submit questions or reflections about the assignment to the instructor before class. This practice allows the instructor to focus on the knowledge gap and potential misconceptions the students bring to the content as he/she prepares for the next class meeting.

The session was fun, informative, and full of important takeaways. While incorporating Active Learning practices into the teaching and learning experience are extremely valuable; implementation is key.

  • Align Outcomes with Assessments, Assessments with Activities, and Activities with Outcomes.
  • Provide a supportive environment within the active learning classroom.
  • Explain to the students what you are doing and why.
  • Meet students where they are; don’t try to predict what they will have problems with.
  • Recognize that students may feel that their intelligence is being questioned when their understanding (misunderstanding) is challenged.
  • Provide opportunities for reflection for both the students and for yourself.
  • Consider how you will evaluate the success of the teaching techniques.

Read Full Post »

The Teaching Sciences Seminar on October 13 was an informal discussion with Dean of the College, Charlotte Johnson, and Inge-Lise Ameer, Associate Dean of the College for Student Academic Support Services. The goals of this session were for Charlotte and Inge to meet the science faculty and for all in attendance to discuss the role student support services plays in promoting student success in the sciences at Dartmouth.

To facilitate this discussion, attendees were provided with the following readings, which focus on the latest research on first-generation college students, stereotype threat in education, and new research focusing on how to shrink the college minority gap.

  • Cushman, K. (2007). Facing the Culture Shock of College. Educational Leadership, 64(7), 44-47. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  • Ferenstein, G. (2011). How to Shrink the College Minority Gap. Fast Company. Retrieved October 17, 2011, from http://www.fastcompany.com/1741530/shrinking-the-minority-college-gap-for-free.
  • Steele, C. (2010). Conclusion: Identity as a Bridge Between Us. In Whistling Vivaldi: And other clues to how stereotypes affect us. (pp. 211 – 219). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Dean Johnson opened by outlining her vision of anchoring students in the intellectual life of campus and the importance of connecting what goes on outside of the classroom with what occurs in the lecture hall or lab. In particular, she noted the importance of building the faculty/student relationship outside of class and ensuring that the work of the Dean of the College feeds into and augments the Academic experience.

On the topic of student recruitment and retention in the sciences the message revolved around expectations and modeling. Students who have the opportunity to engage with and be mentored by diverse faculty and graduate student populations have a greater likelihood of success. Students are also more likely to thrive if they perceive that they are held to the same high expectations as others and that faculty are invested in their success. The key is to communicate this in a way that does not threaten a student’s identity.

When asked how a faculty member might address diversity issues in class without threatening student identity, both guests suggested faculty use silent signals such as

  • Letting the entire class know that you are aware of the variety of differences among the students experiences and preparation leading up to this class and that you are invested in each student’s success in the class.
  • Creating working groups, study groups and teams with a range of diversity in race, gender, experience, knowledge, etc.
  • Crafting critical feedback to include statements of encouragement and directing student to the support services available at Dartmouth.
  • Engaging the student in academic pursuits outside of class.
  • Communicating directly with Student Support Services at the first sign that a student may potentially need support.

Many faculty in attendance voiced a desire for improved communication and involvement between the Dean of the College and the faculty when it comes to student support and recruiting in the sciences. From the conversation that ensued around this topic it was clear that both Charlotte Johnson and Inge-Lise Ameer are committed to a developing a collaborative relationship with faculty in advocating for student success at Dartmouth.

Read Full Post »

How do we design an effective oral interview for assessing foreign language competence? The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) offers an extensive set of guidelines in its Oral Proficiency Interview Tester Training Manual. There is also the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to offer some guidance as well.

In the DCAL workshop on February 20, 2011, a diverse community of 18 faculty members representing all of Dartmouth’s foreign language departments gathered to hear a presentation by Prof. Elizabeth Polli, Spanish Language Program Director, and Mario Ruiz Legido, Director of the Instituto Cervantes-Boston University, on these two sets of guidelines.

Mario Ruiz Legido began by discussing the Instituto Cervantes approach to Oral Assessment for the Spanish International Diploma (DELE), based on the CEFR. The CEFR was developed as a common base to guide and inform textbooks, curricula, exams, certification systems and other programs. The CEFR offers both coherence and transparency to foreign language programs throughout European countries. At its core, the CEFR is used to evaluates learners along a continuum of six steps, from basic users to proficient users. A series of “can do…” statements helps to define the expectations of the six steps.

The oral exam is a component of the global DELE exam, and takes between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the exam level undertaken. The candidate is examined by two examiners, one who is doing a holistic analysis and the other who is doing an analytics assessment. The goal is to confirm what the candidate CAN DO for his/her level. The process may include a personal monologue (2 min), a topical dialogue (2-3 min), a conversation with interviewer (3-4 min) and a role-play (2-3 min) at lower levels and additional types of tasks as levels increase. The exam is scored from 0-3, with 2-3 as passing scores.

In comparison, the ACTFL guidelines are quite different. The OPI is the only nationally recognized instrument for measuring communicative competence in the U.S. It does not measure what the student has learned in the classroom, but does attempt to measure what a student can do in a particular language. The OPI is generally a 20-30 min 1-on-1 recorded session. It looks at the individual’s ability to use language in real life situations. It measures ability against the specific tasks, not against other learners. It is a series of evolving questions throughout the interview, rather than a set of specific tasks or questions. It relies on having a very highly skilled interviewer, and the training process for interviewers alone can be 3-4 days long.

While knowledge of both the OPI and CEFR is certainly beneficial for classroom instructors, the goal, though, is not to teach to the exam. The challenge for instructors is to consider the ways in which they can design classroom activities that will encourage the kind of proficiency that is measured by these assessment tools.

Read Full Post »

originally published at http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology_and_learning/student_views_on_technology_and_teaching

Today was one of those days that us educators live for. A recent graduate, Lucretia Witte (who is now teaching 6th graders in Bridgeport CT for Teach for America), came back to campus to lead a session entitled “Student Views on Technology and Teaching” at our Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL).

While a senior, Lucretia did research on what students believe are the most effective practices for integrating technology into teaching. Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, she was able to gather data from a wide variety of students on their experiences (both good and bad) with educational technology. She then synthesized these findings in a Blackboard site that was made available to faculty, complete with anonymous student discussion board postings on the role of technology in learning. You can read more about her research methodology and findings here.

During today’s presentation, Lucretia took the faculty and staff in attendance through her main findings, and offered 4 ideas for immediate improvements that every course could implement.

Synthesis of Research Findings:

Learning Goals : The curriculum and assignments should clearly and explicitly reflect the learning goals for the course.

Engagement: Student engagement with course materials and assignments is influenced both by the degree that students are interested and connected to the material, and by how much that students feel that their professors take a personal interest in their learning and success.

Accountability: Assessment needs to occur frequently and with low stakes, to both hold students accountable for the assigned curriculum and to provide constant feedback and reinforcement.

The four things that every professor can do “THIS WEEK” (Lucretia’s words) to make each course more student-friendly include (with the sentences in quotes pulled directly from the handout):

1. Ensure that all readings, articles, presentations and videos (all course material) are available in the course management system.
2. “Create a weekly reading assessment that asks students to formulate or discuss the most important things you wanted them to get out the this week’s articles.”
3. “Make your syllabus a living document and let students know about changes via class emails – it will put your class in the forefront of their minds.”
4. “Use technology to help students engage with one another – create peer review groups for papers or discussion groups online.”

These methods are ones that we have discussed in various faculty discussions and professional development events. However, when the advice and ideas come from a student (or a very recent graduate), based on research with fellow students, then the impact of the findings are infinitely more powerful than when expressed by one of us. I think all of us want to understand the student viewpoint and student ideas on teaching and technology. We rarely get this opportunity, however, due to a lack of opportunities and incentives for students to conduct and share this type of research.

How can we build in student led research about teaching with technology into our courses and centers for professional development?

Do you have other good examples of student conducted research on technology and learning?

Read Full Post »

Michael Chaney (English) and Leslie Butler (History) led a discussion packed with advice and information for anyone looking down the road toward getting tenure at Dartmouth or any other research university that values teaching. Michael had fifteen specific points of advice, but he began by reviewing the language in Dartmouth’s Faculty Handbook from the section on “promotion and tenure”:

Specific evidence of outstanding performance in scholarship and teaching is essential…. It is difficult to define outstanding teaching in specific terms. Comparative judgment by current and former students and by faculty colleagues is a necessary part of weighing the candidate’s performance against the standards of the College. Consideration will be given primarily to classroom instruction, but work with individual students and a creative role in course and program development will be fully recognized. (Faculty Handbook 35-36 )

In a brief analysis, Michael made a few observations about teaching and the tenure process as described in the Handbook. It appears that

  • Scholarship and teaching are the two most important components to a tenure decision
  • The handbook declines to define “outstanding teaching in specific terms”
  • The teaching activities that count for tenure are primarily those one can observe in the classroom

These observations give rise to familiar questions, like

  • Which is more important in a tenure decision, scholarship or teaching?
  • Why do we tend to assume these are competing rather than integrated activities?
  • If outstanding teaching is “difficult to define,” then against what standards to students and colleagues make the judgments that determine who gets tenure?
  • Why is classroom performance rather than other evidence like course design, assignments and assessments the focus of evaluation?

These questions prompted energetic discussion amongst the dozen or so participants, most of whom this year were graduate students. (I wondered why so few assistant professors showed up for such an important discussion.)

Some of the helpful recommendations Leslie and Mike advanced include the following:

  • Identify and use the resources that support your teaching: DCAL, Educational technologists, librarians and colleagues.
  • Share your ideas with colleagues and borrow from them.
  • Limit the time you devote to preparing for each class; stop worrying so much about what you are going to do or say in class and concentrate on what you plan to ask students to do.
  • Listen to your students, even their course evaluations; ask for feedback in the middle of term, not just at the end.
  • Tell students frequently why you do what you do, assign what you assign and evaluate it the way you do; this will help them write more intelligent and useful course evaluations.
  • Manage your teaching schedule to allow maximum time for scholarship; repeat courses; avoid trying to teach two new courses at once.
  • Teach outside your area of expertise when you can; it helps you reflect on how you learn.
  • Teach students how you do your scholarship; focus on methods and skills more than content. (That does not mean ignore content!)
  • Make sure you know what your department and division expects from you regarding teaching; how many courses, how often, what levels; these vary widely across the university.
  • Figure out your strengths and play to them. Do more not with less, but with what you already do.
  • Explain to your students that strong criticism of their work is meant as a sign of respect and an invitation to engage with you; otherwise they might take it the wrong way; all praise all the time leads to vacuous evaluations, however positive.
  • No one will be promoted and tenured without a strong record of recognized scholarship, but many department committees consider a candidate’s teaching evidence first and it can color how they look at the scholarship.
  • Like winter in northern New England (do winter or it will do you), embrace the high expectations for teaching at Dartmouth and the satisfaction you get can energize your scholarship.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

info-fetishist

yeah, it's long -- I didn't have time to make it shorter

Feral Librarian

Research libraries & higher education. Sometimes music, sports, & other stuff.