Center for Effective Teaching and Learning - 

Discussion Notes, Spring 2017

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February 9, 2017 Takeaways

Towards a Positive U

  • Importance of Mindfulness -- even better if they learn it as kids; helps with community building; Mary and her Listening class talk about how mindfulness leads to better listening
  • Start class with a centering activity (trivia question, photograph, breathing)
  • Help students focus on strengths -- focus less on criticism (in grading writing, on syllabus)
  • Think about course goals in all positive terms -- what you want to happen
  • How do we build community with the constant cell phone use (concern with faculty and staff as well as students)
  • If you know each other, you work together better
  • Do students believe that everyone can succeed/get an A? What barriers are there/what have they been told or tell themselves?
  • Work together as a class to help set course expectations/goals

March 9, 2017 Takeaways

The Secret of Self-Regulated Learning

  • How many of us do activities like this? Some of us have students reflect when handing in papers or after a test.
  • Students want sample assignments from us -- but then sometimes follow them TOO closely. They also depend on individual points too much (won't do an assignment without "credit")
  • Students have so much going on that they make choices about which classes to "care" about more. We should find out how they think each one will help them in their future professions
  • Their lives (and ours) are very mediated by technology and social media. It's both a good tool for research and a huge form of distraction. 
  • Calling out students for phones and/or taking them away doesn't promote "self-regulated learning" either
  • Should we focus more on "adapting" to the cell phone age?
  • Need to move them beyond the "liking" = "learning"

April 13, 2017 Takeaways

The Hidden Costs of Active Learning

  • Stan found this article for us and started us with this question, "is this teacher trying to do too much?" We thought yes.
  • Strategies we found to not get burned out like this author -- don't grade all the homework all the time; grades for work during class; online homework/homework systems to help check work (some drawbacks); apps that randomly pick students to answer questions
  • Are students getting as much out of what we do as we think they are?
  • How much is enough to accomplish our learning goals?
  • Bring in examples to show that we as professors are still learning too
  • Be more intentional about what students get points for vs. what they use for future assignments/exams
  • Doesn't have to be absolute/100% active learning for students to still get benefits from it
  • Once you do a lot of the back work, it isn't as hard later on
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