In the interest of public health, SOU has decided to move to remote delivery of all courses during spring term of 2020. In addition to the comprehensive support you will find throughout the CATL website, please consult the Instructional Resiliency Guide for key resources and training opportunities to assist you in this transition.
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Welcome to Faculty Insights, an opportunity to meet some of our exceptional faculty outside the classroom. Insights offer an opportunity to get to know each guest as a person as well as a member of the faculty here at SOU.
Profile #5 — Marianne Golding, Professor, World Languages and Cultures
Not every professor who studies the Holocaust on their sabbatical meets their father’s childhood companions, now in their eighties. Marianne Golding has always found ways to exceed our expectations, as evidenced by the teaching awards she has received at SOU. Our conversation ranges from cooking (her British husband’s domain, all stereotypes about French women aside) to the opportunities afforded by studying a foreign language. You won’t want to miss this conversation with Marianne!
Profile #4 — Alison Burke, Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice
Profile #3 — Craig Wright, Professor, Creative Writing
Profile #2 — Tiffany Morey, Senior Instructor, Criminology and Criminal Justice
Profile #1 — Clayton Austin, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
A Call to "Indigenize" the Classroom
Here is an insightful article that relays how the traditional teaching methods of indigenous people are well-aligned with contemporary reforms in education: Old ways are the new way forward: How Indigenous pedagogy can benefit everyone. The authors underscore that "learning can’t happen by simply Googling it. It has to be developed through relationships." They suggest "indigenizing the classroom also means using a more student-focused teaching style, such as providing a space for students to speak honestly while also respecting student silence, and encouraging students to really listen to each other." Many examples of using stories and metaphors are described in detail.
Learning from Small Teaching, Final Session
The final session of the Small Teaching Learning Circle focused on Chapters 8 and 9: Growing and Expanding. The discussion led off with a comparison of the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset, detailing the well-known research of Carol Dweck describing the positive benefits of having a growth mindset — believing that one’s abilities can change with effort — versus the learning challenges involved in having a fixed mindset — thinking that one’s abilities are inherent and static.
Small Teaching, Session 3
The third Learning Circle session on Small Teaching focused on the concepts of Self-Explaining and Motivating our students, generating a discussion that produced both self-awareness and new viewpoints. There was consensus on the importance of self-growth as teachers as well as student growth.
Self-explaining refers to the process of having students explain aloud or in writing their thinking processes as they solve problems. Clay Austin began by asking, “Why do we think it works for people to explain things to themselves? The group went on to point out the difference experience makes in presenting information to a new learner. “You as the expert might think it is a ten-step process. But the truth is, for the novice it is perhaps 20 steps. So when students self-explain, they actually fill in the gaps of your examples.”
It's the Little Things, Session 2
Our Learning Circle met for the second time on November 6 in LIB 329. The topics were Predicting and Connecting as part of the Small Teaching process. Rediscovery was the main thread of the day as Jamie Hickner shared, “I liked the reminder of some of the teaching practices we used to do, but may have gotten away from over time.”
In Chapter 3: Predicting the author describes reasons and strategies for asking students to make predictions on course content. For example, giving students a non-graded pretest on the material before they actually are exposed to it can lead to greater memory and understanding. It can also help disrupt what the author calls “fluency illusions” (p. 51), showing students that they may actually be less fluent with learning concepts than they believe.
Does ‘High-Impact’ Teaching Cause High-Impact Fatigue?
Colleges that care about teaching often promote the value of "high-impact practices" and "transformative" learning. That could mean a writing-intensive course, a small seminar for freshmen, a service-learning project, or even something as simple as an informal meal in a faculty member’s home.
Not only are these courses intense for students, but they can be exhausting for the faculty who teach them. As the authors put it, “Designing and managing these efforts can be all-consuming and energy-draining. You may need a manageable case of obsessive-compulsive disorder just to survive the experience.” They offer 11 concrete suggestions for reducing your load even while you’re implementing “HIPs” in your classroom.
It's the Little Things That Count!
The Fall 2019 Learning Circle held its initial gathering on October 23 to begin discussing Small Teaching by James Lang. Lang advocates “small teaching” techniques — small changes in our practices that lead to big gains in student learning. Information retrieval was the group’s first topic — the idea that simply asking students to recall from memory previously learned material actually increases the strength and durability of that memory, thereby reinforcing the learning.
Using Technology to Help First-Gen Students
Colleges should put digital tools at the center of their programs for ensuring the academic success of students who are the first in their families to go to college, write Ana M. Martinez Aleman, Heather Rowan-Kenyon and Mandy Savitz-Romer. In this Inside Higher Ed article, the authors describe how technology can support first generation students by providing support for learning and for building social connections. (October 10, 2018)
For One Professor, How a Course on Evil Gave Students Hope
Sometimes your best ideas come from a moment of desperation. That happened to Scott P. Roberts, and both his course, and his teaching, were transformed as a result.
Roberts, then director of undergraduate studies in psychology, had introduced a course at the University of Maryland called The Psychology of Evil — part of a general education series designed to encourage undergraduates to think about life’s big questions. But he was also flying by the seat of his pants.
The Nuance of Note Taking
Feel strongly about the heated debate on whether students should take notes by hand or on their laptops? If so, this may not be the read for you.
Faculty developer Karen Costa makes the case that most students should practice doing both, and neurodiverse students may really be best served by one or the other. Lesson 1: Avoid mandating the use or nonuse of technology. Lesson 2: Emphasize note-taking methods such as Cornell Notes or concept mapping that can be done with or without technology aids.
How to Hold a Better Class Discussion: Advice Guide
Most of us value the role of discussion in learning, but may be vague on the why to or how to of it all. This is a breezy, if long, attempt to give advice. It includes an interesting discussion of “civil attention” — the norm of note-taking and nodding, and how to move toward “paid attention” by using Nerf balls and poker chips.
Making Office Hours Less Scary
Ask just about any college student — office hours are scary. NPR Education reporter Elissa Nadworny reminds us that “students often don't know what office hours are – or what they're for, or how they're different from class time.”
It’s easy to see how office hours are “part of what some students say is a hidden curriculum – the set of rules on a college campus that no one ever tells you about.” Nadworny offers this guide to taking the fear out of office hours.
Laptops and Phones in the Classroom: Yea, Nay or a Third Way?
The ongoing question of student use of laptops and phones in the classroom in the continuing battle for our students' attention gets a refresher in this article from Learning and Tech via the NPR website. Faculty interviewed espouse the full range of approaches to dealing with student devices, from a total classroom ban to fully incorporating these tools in learning activities.
How To Teach a Good First Day of Class
You can never have a second first day of class, so it is worth getting some good ideas to start your course off right. See this advice guide from James Lang at the Chronicle of Higher Education, to remind you of things you already know (“Don’t start with the syllabus”) and things you might not (“What you wear matters”). But if you’re tight on time, scroll down for some great practices, like the one from Vanderbilt’s Derek Bruff, who gives his math students two problems, one they can do now, and one they cannot but will be able to solve at the course’s end, to show them what they will learn in the class. Brilliant.
3 Ways to Transform a Lecture Class
Cathy Davidson makes the case that "even in the most constrained institutional situation — and even when, as a beginning professor, you might feel the most powerless — there are easy yet constructive ways to make a difference in a standard lecture format and to make learning your objective. Some of those ways might focus less on the actual lecturing you do and more on how you introduce and frame the course."
The Best and Worst Ways to Respond to Student Anxiety
Depending on who you talk to “it” can be caused by any number of things. Or said simply, anyone's fault. One thing everyone does agree on is that the problem is an epidemic or tsunami, to quote the article. We just can't agree how to deal with it. The “it” in this case is student anxiety and it is seeping into every area of the system.