Category: Collaborative Teaching Ideas

The posts in this category will primarily describe various collaborative teaching ideas which might be useful in the classroom.

Infographics as Team Projects – repost

I posted on this before but I still think it is an idea which could be useful.  Creating the infographic employs research skills around a topic, design skills for appropriately displaying the information, and communication skills to know what information will have the greatest impact.

Check out the original post: http://blogs.belhaven.edu/asfaculty/2014/12/03/infographics-as-team-projects/ 

There are some examples below.

Irreducible Minimum meets Collaborative Learning Strategy

When these two concepts intersect, powerful learning can occur.  However, for there to even be an intersection, the Instructor must accept a few basic premises:

  1. That student learning is different than teaching.  I have heard it said that “teaching is an art.”  I can believe that, but what makes it an art is whether or not learning occurs.  Teaching experiences designed without consideration of how or even if it impacts student learning are empty experiences, which can be equally frustrating for Instructor and student.
  2. That adults learn differently than traditional age college students.  Because of their life experiences the studies show they are better at synthesizing material, particularly if it is presented in a way that allows them to grasp relevance.
  3. That there is more than one way to “skin a cat” as my Mom used to say, i.e. there are other ways to teach besides lecture.
  4. Finally, that there are some things about any subject which are more important than others and which are crucial to mastery of the whole (this is the irreducible minimum c.f. The Seven Laws of the Learner by Bruce Wilkinson).

When these premises are accepted, the Instructor can look at the material to be covered for the class session and, because of experience and education, determine which topics are crucial.  With that knowledge, it is easy to arrange the class session to focus on the crucial topics first, before moving on to the other topics, which are still important but don’t qualify as crucial.

Once the irreducible minimum has been identified, now comes the choice of how to present the material, i.e. what learning strategies will you employ to insure these crucial topics are not just taught but learned.  While those activities include lecture, it is probably the most over used  and least effective technique employed by Instructors.  There are other articles in this blog which talk about collaborative learning activities and any search engine will turn up hundreds if not thousands of ideas, so I won’t include those in this blog post.    Suffice it to say, to contemplate what it will take to achieve student learning will require more time and energy as well as some creativity.  It will mean becoming comfortable with a certain amount of creative chaos in the classroom, something may Instructors find uncomfortable.  On the plus side, this intersection of Irreducible Minimum and Collaborative Learning Strategy will dramatically improve the learning of the students in your class and may have an unexpected consequence of re-invigorating you love for the “art” of teaching.

Originally posted November, 2014

Classroom Activity

Incorporating collaborative classroom activities which are both instructive and engaging can be challenging. One way to do that is to use an activity similar to the one I describe below.

I use an RSS feed to pull together posts from various blogs across the internet that I find interesting.  One of those is from Lolly Daskal. She usually posts interesting material, but it is often light on application.  One of her more recent posts was titled: 10 Vital Traits to Look for in People You Hire. As you can imagine, the points she lists are accurate but too shallow to make an application.  As a classroom activity, however, I could use this list in a couple of ways:

  1. I could emphasize the importance to setting up an RSS feed (I use Bloglovin but there are many which do the same thing and almost all are free) and to pull together some favorite blogs for collection. This promotes self-development and ongoing-learning, a skill that will be vital for everyone in the days ahead. Check out this post about these feeders.
  2. I would use a specific post like the one above and parcel it out to groups in the class and ask them to explain how to determine whether or not a trait exists in a job candidate. For instance, one of her 10 vital traits was that the individual must have a growth mindset. You may be aware of the book Mindset in which Carol Dweck explains the virtues of the growth mindset and the differences and advantages over the fixed mindset (excellent book and I highly recommend it). I would challenge the group with this assignment to find out about the growth mindset, if they don’t already know, and then determine ways in an interview to discover if the candidate had a growth mindset.
  3. Alternately, you could post large pages of paper around the room and list the 10 traits on per page and have the groups rotate from page to page every couple of minutes adding their thoughts to how to find out if that trait is present.

There are a LOT of good resources available to draw upon to enrich your class and engage your students.  If you would like to know more or have questions, please contact me (rupchurch@belhaven.edu) or Dr, Kim Priesmeyer, Dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning (kpriesmeyer@belhaven.edu).

Zoom Video Conference – Why and How

You probably are already aware that you have access to a powerful video conference tool from inside Canvas, titled Zoom.  I’ve included a picture of the link.  Zoom is very easy to use and intuitive, meaning that you should be able to use it with only a little trial and error. Below I’m going to discuss Why you might want to use Zoom, and How to set it up and use it.

WHY

I’m going to list several scenarios in which you might benefit from using Zoom:

  • As “office hour(s)” – Designate a time each week when you know you’ll be at your computer and start a zoom conference, posting the link in an announcement on the course-site in Canvas.  One of the things I love about Zoom is that if
    you minimize it, a small window stays active in the upper corner of your screen and you can easily see if anyone joins the conference and you can maximize Zoom.  You can also post an announcement that “Office hours” are by appointment and set up your Zoom specific to any student who schedules an appointment
  • To record a presentation or tutorial.  Zoom is perfect for recording a presentation or tutorial of some computer application.  Whatever you can see on your desktop can be shown through Zoom and recorded and made available to students.  This might be particularly useful for some of the trickier formulas or math related problems.
  • To set up an optional (strictly voluntary) class meeting relative to a specific event, e.g. you could set up a Zoom to discuss political debates following the debates while everyone is still fresh.
  • To bring in a guest lecturer to your class session.  While you would still need to let the Dean know and get approval, this is a perfect way to bring someone into your class that you know can bring some specialized knowledge or a powerful story to connect with your students. This way your guest could be literally anywhere in the world and still present in your classroom.
  • These are only a few ideas, but I’m sure you are getting the idea.

HOW

Starting a Zoom is very easy, all you will need is your Belhaven login and password.  Once you click on the Zoom link you will want to “Host” a meeting after you enter your credentials.  To invite others, either email them the link or post the link in an announcement on your course site.  I’ve included a video below which walks you through the process.

Let me know how it works for you.

 

Poll Everywhere – What, Why, How

WHAT?

Poll Everywhere is a web-based tool which easily builds into powerpoint presentations to allow students to respond from their mobile devices. It presents the results in real time, allowing for evaluation of knowledge, or as a prompt for discussion.

Here is a short video which demonstrates it’s use.

WHY?

Using Polleverywhere is relatively simple and can definitely liven up a presentation.  It also allows individuals who rarely speak in class to contribute in a low threat environment. Using this type of tool makes the discussion more relevant and students experience a greater sense of understanding the material

HOW?

The video above describes the process pretty clearly, but here is an article which also goes into detail about how to use Poll Everywhere:

Great ways to use Poll Everywhere in the classroom

Test Review???

I posted this initially in April of 2017 but I thought I’d share it again since I believe it can be an exceptionally good way to review for tests, not to mention reinforcing information in a way that engages the students and creates a little fun along the way:

I know you are always on the lookout for an activity to use after 9:00 that will actively engage students and make that last hour meaningful.

Here is one activity that will do that. Kahoot.  Kahoot is a classroom engagement software that is free to instructors and provides an interesting way to engage students in content.  I’ve included some links to a couple of tutorials about how to use Kahoot below.

It will involve you setting up the activity in advance but on the plus side, it can be used over and over again as you teach the class.  This would make a great test-review session and could spark some interesting discussion as well.  Don’t be put off that the tutorials are based on secondary education models – this will work just as well for adults in that last hour of class.  I’ve been in a session when this was used and I can personally vouch for how effective it is.

Please post a reply to this if you use it and let me know how it went.

Kahoot! Demo for Teachers

How to Use Kahoot! in the Classroom

Using clips from 60 Minutes in your class

I attended a faculty workshop at Jackson where one of the librarians from Belhaven’s Library shared how to access their database of clips from 60 Minutes to use in class.  This is a great way to start a discussion and present different perspectives.  Here is the process:

  1. From the Belhaven homepage, click on Library under Academics
  2. Scroll down and click on Databases (in the gold box)
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the list of databases and click on 60 Minutes: 1997-2014.  It’s the last database listed.
  4. You will have to enter your Belhaven credentials to access the material

Here are some of the searchable categories:

Subjects

4 Square Instructor

At each of the faculty workshops I visited, or sent video to, for the Fall 2018 rotation for Belhaven University, I challenged the faculty to become a “4 Square Instructor.” When this idea first came my way from an article by Neil Haave, titled “Teaching Squares Bring Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives” I thought there might be something there which could be used to help overcome the chronic problem every teacher faces: becoming trapped in their own pedagogical ruts. After discussing this with the Deans at Belhaven’s Regional Campuses in our Summit in August, we decided on a model that provides an interesting option for improving or refreshing their practice of teaching.  The 4 Square Instructor model below is the result.

Instructors who have been through the approval process for Belhaven can become 4 Square Instructors by:

  1. Visit 3 other classes outside your normal course assignments or discipline for a couple of hours to find new teaching ideas (this is not for critique, but to find new ways to make the subject material come alive).
  2. Implement at least one new idea into a class you are teaching.
  3. Write up summary, at least 2 pages, including which classes you visited, what you learned, what you tried and how it worked. Don’t be afraid to describe failures as they can be an excellent source of learning.
  4. Present at an upcoming faculty workshop as called upon by the Dean at that Regional site.
  5. Receive a 4 Square Instructor Polo shirt for that year
  6. Repeat every year.

Not everyone will do this, or even be able to, but I see the possibility of some interesting cross-pollination of ideas which will definitely benefit our students.  Note, there may be some variation from one site to another so check with your Dean for specifics.

Give it some thought. If you want suggestions on which classes to visit, contact the Dean at your campus.

 

Reflections from CAHEA – Teaching practices with Adult Students

by Dr. Larry Ruddell, Dean Belhaven-Houston

Dr. Joseph Flowers spoke on “Basic principles and practices for teachers of non-traditional adult students” at the annual Christian Adult Higher Education Association (CAHEA) conference. We have several good articles on instruction in this blog, but it always good to review and remind.

Dr. Flowers started by emphasizing that our roll in teaching is not necessarily to “teach” students but to “create an environment for learning.” Thus, people with different strengths and gifts can “help students learn.” A small few have the gift of teaching and can lecture effectively because of that gift. Others bore students after ten minutes of lecture but can help students learn through a number of other class activities.

Flowers reviewed the basics about andragogy but went further to introduce three “radio stations” (two of which are pertinent) that helped explain adult learners and their perspectives.  The first station is “WII-FM” which stands for “What’s in it for me?” It highlights the importance of relevance in instruction, answering questions like; “why do students need to know this information, how will it benefit them, how can they use it in practical ways, and do students know what to expect?”

In other words, students need to see value in what they are learning, so as instructors, we always need to be building bridges between the course material and how the knowledge can impact students. As Flowers points out, “adults feel the application of information is the primary motivation for undertaking the learning project.”

The more the instructor has experience in the topic covered and relate professional experiences and evaluate course content based on actual professional experiences, the better for students. So, we as instructors should bring this experience into the classroom each week.

The second channel covered by Flowers is “MMFG-AM” which stands for “Make me feel good about myself.” In other words, “instructors should value the learners’ life experiences.” So, as instructors, we must walk the line between covering the course material and valuing and encouraging the individual student. Respect is critical. We must always keep in mind that advanced degrees don’t make us better than anyone else. We must value the experiences of our students whether working in major corporations, small businesses, non-profits, churches or educational settings.

Part of making “students feel good” is mentoring them in personal responsibility and confidence in their ability to perform. A “well done” when a student knows a professor maintains high expectations for performance actually means something versus a platitude for “participating” by submitting an assignment. In fact, when I’m fishing for something positive to say about a lackluster paper, I’ll write at the end of the comments, “glad you were able to submit something.” It sounds trite but depending on the week, it may have been all the student could do to just submit their assignment so even that effort, even though not highly lauded, should be acknowledged.

You want students to complete assignments but hopefully can give them flexibility in how they handle assignments based on their own interests and goals for learning. As Fisher points out, “adults need to be independent and direct their own learning.”

Finally, make sure to chunk material together so it can be memorable. Do not rely too much on PowerPoints. Include three modes of learning; auditory, visual, and tactile. And “tell, show, and experience.”

So, we removed some basic principles of teaching adults from Dr. Joseph Flowers who presented at this year’s annual CAHEA conference. Hopefully some of these points are good reminders for continued success!

Webinars to Inform and Improve

Greetings,

We are working on a re-design for the Faculty Resources tab of our site and in the process the webinars, which have been listed there, have all been moved to YouTube for easier access.  As I was compiling these links I reviewed some of the webinars and was reminded of the wealth of information these contain.  I’m posting that information below and encourage you to look over the list and review a couple yourself – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Don’t forget to register for the upcoming Webinar of the Faculty’s Role in Student Retention – see the calendar link on this page to register.

APA and Grading Writing Across the Curriculum. Presenter: Dr. Everett Wade https://youtu.be/HFeLIpg2lUk

Bring Life to Your Classroom. Presenter: Dr. Ed Garrett https://youtu.be/urKi7DGVGQM

Christian Worldview: Practical Applications for the Classroom. Presenter: Dr. Paul Criss https://youtu.be/jFm9nNoFoXc

Effective Use of Library Resources. Presenter: Dr. Kim Priesmeyer https://youtu.be/CxpBGF8AHAs

Introducing Critical Thinking into the Classroom. Presenter: Rosemary Foncree https://youtu.be/HotogEC0PEc

Plagiarism: Helping Your Students Avoid It. Presenter: Dr. Kim Priesmeyer https://youtu.be/jFmhBggVdzw

Student Engagement Strategy: Experimentation. Presenter: Dr. Thomas Randolph https://youtu.be/vvOAQl2Q_48

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Foster Critical Thinking. Presenters: Dr. Jerald Meadows & Elizabeth Juneau https://youtu.be/Qdt7Mu5sGno

Using Canvas to Facilitate Team Projects. Presenter: Dr. Rick Upchurch https://youtu.be/RWuMnPtAvZA

Millennials in the Classroom. Presenter: Emma Morris https://youtu.be/0kgNsVN3SDs

Canvas Updates 2017. Presenter: Joe Villarreal https://youtu.be/0wWkVfKNNbA

Andragogy: Adult Learning Theory Applied. Presenter: Dr. Rick Upchurch https://youtu.be/KnDc3zfpvrs

Accessing Case Studies from Belhaven Library. Presenter: Charles Gaudin https://youtu.be/3k_X6RQ5jvM