Center for Effective Teaching and Learning - 

Discussion Notes, Spring 2016

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April 14, 2016 Takeaways

Small Changes in Teaching: The Minutes Before Class

  • Some of us feel more comfortable with the "end" of class and some feel more comfortable with the "beginning"
  • It would be nice to tie beginning and end together -- framing question, setting tone
  • Some of us ask attendance questions to start class, others take time on Fridays to ask what students have learned in a week, etc.
  • Students come at various times -- right before class starts vs. 10 minutes before
Random Topics:
  • How does the k-12 curriculum impact us as we organize classes/help students take notes?
  • The book Smart Moves discusses the importance of handwriting
  • What's the line between helping students (giving them outlines and notes) vs. pushing them to prepare for the future (taking notes on their own)?
  • 50  minute classes vs. 75 minute classes -- what works best for each of us? And for certain students or classes?

April 7, 2016 Takeaways

Small Changes in Teaching: The Last 5 Minutes of Class

Housekeeping tasks/reminders for students often keep us from bridging and bookending classes. We also need to avoid the trend of "packing up early."

Suggestions include:

  • Have a student summarize what was discussed last period
  • Preview where the next class is headed
  • Circular closure to clarify learning for the day: begin with a question and refer back to it at the end
  • Collect small notes about "significant learning" or "muddy questions" at the end of class
  • Use to have class answer "what is the most significant thing I learned today?" (see THIS VIDEO, and contact Rebecca Johnson if you have questions or want hands-on assistance with setting up this tool)
  • Metacognition Listening Strategies (see THIS HANDOUT)

Additional resources:

March 10, 2016 Takeaways

Personal Goals: An Exercise in Student Self-Assessment

The focus on students setting individual goals may increase their buy-in on grades. There is almost a contractual obligation involved, because the students create their own goals and develop an implementation plan.

Our faculty members currently use self-assessment for classroom assignments in a number of ways, both formal and informal:

  • Assigning goal-setting papers (but creating checkpoints along the way is important).
  • Asking students to complete an informal self-assessment on the back of a paper they are turning in, e.g., what sources did they draw on when completing this assignment? How much time did they spend on this assignment?
  • Asking students to do a self-assessment after exams: How did you prepare for this exam? What would you do differently next time?
  • Have students grade themselves using the rubric when turning in an assignment (student perception of their performance may not match professor's evaluation).

There can be a mismatch between effort and learning. Students expect that putting in effort means they are learning, but they may be unable to demonstrate it. How do we help move students beyond information into learning?

Question we asked: Students don't know what they don't know. How do we help them set appropriate goals? Providing sample goals, using assessment tools to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

This model can provide some insights into our own program assessment tasks. How do we set appropriate goals and demonstrate achievement? 

February 25, 2016 Takeaways

More Content Doesn't Equal More Learning

How do we negotiate content - process of learning?

  • Teach resilience in managing large amounts of content
  • Use flipped content with quiz
  • Prepare fill-in-the blank notes
  • Allow handwritten notes for exams (they organize the material)
  • Focus on "big questions" (contextualize content within big questions)
  • Teach information literacy