2011 Southwest Institute for Learning with Technology Tracks

May 23-24, 2011 @ The W. A. Franke College of Business  

Keynote and Welcome

Track 1: Planning Your Course

Track 2: Teaching Your Course

Track 3: Assessing Your Course


Presentation Key:PPodcastVVideo PodcastESynchronous SessionCRecorded Session

Keynote and Welcome

Welcome to SILT 2011EC

Don Carter
Don Carter

Deep Processing: Impact of Motivation, Beliefs, and AttitudesEC

We will explore strategies to aid deep processing in the cognitive domain and how students' attitudes, beliefs, and levels of cognitive development need to be carefully considered when developing deep, meaningful learning experiences.

Jim Sibley
Jim Sibley

Socializing Students to Excellence: NAU's First Year Learning InitiativeEC

When students drop out after the first year of college, the financial and personal costs are staggering. By some estimates, each percentage point lost in student retention costs NAU over $300,000 in additional recruiting and other expenses. Research has shown that a crucial component of student retention is the learning and academic achievement accomplished in the first year of college. NAU's First Year Learning Initiative seeks to socialize first-year students to their disciplines and to the university, using first-year coursework as the delivery mechanism. Courses that are part of the first phase of the Initiative emphasize rigor, student effort, best pedagogical practices, and appropriate use of technology. They also feature multi-section coordination and close alignment among learning objectives, learning activities, and assessment. In this presentation, the co-chairs of the First Year Learning Initiative will elaborate on the vision behind the project and will describe specific strategies in place to accomplish that vision.

Participants will learn about

  • Why retention is important
  • Successful retention initiatives from other institutions
  • Shared academic values such as rigor, academic excellence, and valuing the unique characteristics of different academic disciplines
  • Empirical findings on the effectiveness of various approaches
  • Why NAU has chosen this approach to address retention
  • Major features of the First Year Learning Initiative

Participants will identify ways in which their own courses or organizational units can contribute to student retention, with a focus on course design and pedagogical practices most likely to lead to student achievement and success. Participants are invited to contribute their own experiences, concerns, and ideas.

Michelle Miller
Michelle Miller
Blase Scarnati
Blase Scarnati

Track 1: Planning Your Course

Knowledge, preparation, and skills needed to plan an effective and engaging course; matching learning objectives and assessments; incorporating educational media or instructional technology; developing hybrid courses; ebooks; planning for mobile devices; using lesson plans in Blackboard Learn; universal design and course accessibility

The Arizona Statewide Quality Matters Consortium: A Program of Quality Assurance and CollaborationEC

Often a Quality Matters Consortium is organized from the top down with a statewide body providing an opportunity for member organizations to join. In Arizona, a group of institutions decided that they would reach out to each other and grow a statewide consortium. This grassroots effort has resulted in more institutions in Arizona becoming Quality Matters subscribers, more faculty becoming trained in applying the Quality Matters Rubric, more faculty becoming peer reviewers, and more courses being reviewed. Join us to find out how we accomplished this feat during a budget crunch and without a mandate at the state level!
Don Carter
Don Carter
Melody Buckner
Melody Buckner
Steven Crawford
Steven Crawford
Pat Serrano
Pat Serrano
Christy Alarcon
Christy Alarcon

Teaching Backward Design

Mon May 23, 2011 11:40am - 12:30pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 334

When designing a course, instructors typically consider the books, movies, activities, and projects that they want students to complete. While these are important parts of a course, they are only the means to an end. The end is what you want your students to know and be able to do by the time they finish the course. By describing the end in a formal statement of learning expectations, you help your studentsand yourselffocus on what is important in the course. Your stated learning expectations should drive all other class activities.

Participants will learn how to

  • Create learning expectations
  • Choose assessments aligned with the learning
  • Create meaningful learning activities
Walter Nolan
Walter Nolan
John Doherty
John Doherty

Aligning Library Resources with Student Learning OutcomesEC

Faculty and librarians can collaborate to identify library resources and services that support the intended learning outcomes in courses. Academic librarians provide insights on cross-disciplinary approaches based on our collaborative work across the curriculum.

During this session, participants will have an opportunity to discuss and develop assignments for the fall. Bring a list of your course learning objectives.

Kevin Ketchner
Kevin Ketchner
Amy Hughes
Amy Hughes

Team-Based Learning in the Engineering Classroom EC

Come find out about recent innovations in teaching at the Faculty of Applied Science at the University of British Columbia. Using the team-based learning methodology we teach very differently in our large classes (n=160, tiered lecture theaters). Students spend the bulk of class time engaged in team activities with a shift in course objective from content transmission to helping the students use the course concepts to solve significant problems. The examples and techniques are applicable to other disciplines beyond applied sciences and health professions.
Jim Sibley
Jim Sibley

Teaching with Cool Toys and Gadgets

iPads, iPods, iPhones, and Kindles are all the rage, but do they have a place in higher education? You betcha! The gizmos are mobile, engaging, and a great way to encourage interaction and collaboration. We'll describe how to use tablets, MP3 players, smartphones, and ebook readers for teaching and learning. In this first of two sessions, participants will see demonstrations of in-class uses of Google Docs, Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iPad, and apps such as GoodReader and Penultimate. We'll also demo productivity apps for faculty and students, such as Attendance, Blackboard Mobile Learn, and Evernote.

Walter Nolan
Walter Nolan
John Doherty
John Doherty

Difficult Texts, Difficult Conversations: Using Technology to Engage First-Year Students in Academic Discourse

Tue May 24, 2011 9:50am - 10:40am The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

First-year students sometimes have difficulties engaging in the critical discourse and reading necessary for success in higher education. During this panel discussion, faculty members will describe the plans and strategies they use to engage first-year seminar students by introducing non-US perspectives, dense philosophical treatise and texts, and the highly emotional contexts of 9/11. One panelist will be joining us live from Romania via Skype, and others will describe their plans for using YouTube and other non-essay forms of assignments.

Cyndi Banks
Cyndi Banks
Constance Devereaux
Constance Devereaux
Philippa Winkler
Philippa Winkler

Upsizing Courses with Intelligence and IntegrityEC

With mindful planning and strategic use of technology, departments can go bigger AND better with their foundational courses. This talk outlines concrete strategies for increasing class size, with an emphasis on rigor, high standards, and conservation of faculty time. Highlights include using graduate assistants effectively, alternative staffing and organization techniques for large courses, managing student communication, and how to address common difficulties associated with teaching larger courses. These strategies will be illustrated with examples from the speaker's experience redesigning Psychology 101: Introduction to Psychology, as well as other examples from large-course design projects around the country. Empirical data and other illustrative examples will be presented to support the major points.

Participants will learn about

  • What to expect when planning and delivering an upsized course
  • Concrete strategies as well as a "big picture" view of issues specific to these courses
  • Questions about the common assumption that "smaller size equals quality"
  • How other instructors and other institutions have adapted to the challenges of upsizing

Participants will engage in question-and-answer activities as well as interactive brainstorming about their own larger courses.

You can download the .pdf handouts:

Michelle Miller
Michelle Miller

Getting the Band Together: Compromise and Collaboration in Planning and Developing a Podcast Series

Tue May 24, 2011 11:50am - 12:30pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

Although collaborative efforts between librarians and other academic and professional staff are often described as partnerships, the relationships sometimes feel more like compromise for all parties. This panel discussion elaborates on a true collaboration among a faculty director of a masters-level program, a librarian team, and an e-Learning instructional and creative design team. The goal was to produce a series of podcasts that would improve students' publication-based research skills while requiring only a minimum of instructor or librarian intervention. Through our collaboration we found the "Golden Triangle" of media development—the intersection of content, technology, and pedagogyand created a final product that was much stronger than what any one group could have produced.

John Doherty
John Doherty
Bruce Fox
Bruce Fox
Kenneth Grett
Kenneth Grett
Melissa White
Melissa White
R Evans
R Evans
Tina Adams
Tina Adams

Instructional Media in Your Course: What to Think About and Where to Begin

Tue May 24, 2011 1:45pm - 2:35pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

Different kinds of instructional media make courses more engaging and help students develop critical thinking and visual/audio literacy skills. Instructional media can include digitized and streamed movies, educational video, podcasts, audio clips, music, photos, charts, graphs, and illustrations. The content can include public speeches, government proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, demonstrations, reenactments, and reproductions of artifacts.

In this panel discussion, faculty and staff describe

  • Questions to ask when deciding on media
  • Repositories of existing media
  • Resources for creating media
  • Lessons learned about integrating instructional media into courses
Jayme Davis
Jayme Davis
Theresa Alarid
Theresa Alarid
Monica Brown
Monica Brown
Kevin Ketchner
Kevin Ketchner
Melissa White
Melissa White

Overview of Blackboard LearnEC

This session will introduce you to NAU's new learning management system (LMS), Blackboard Learn. We'll start by explaining why we needed a new LMS and how we selected Blackboard, and then look at NAU's transition process. We will briefly cover our method for "migrating" content from Vista, our previous LMS, to Blackboard Learn, and we will explore some of the significant differences between the two systems. Finally, we'll spend a few minutes in Learn exploring the interface and building some sample content using the internal HTML editor, Microsoft Word, and Dreamweaver.
Larry MacPhee
Larry MacPhee

Track 2: Teaching Your Course

Setting student expectations; communication and interaction with students; getting student buy-in; effective group work; time and task management; rubrics and grading; reaching the mobile student; using social media for course work; using collaboration tools in a learning management system; perspectives on reaching and retaining freshmen

An Introduction to Grant Seeking, Processes, and Partnerships to Enhance Funding During Trying Financial Times

Mon May 23, 2011 10:40am - 11:30am The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

As budgets become tighter many of us are being asked cut programs or seek non-institutional funding for programs and initiatives. In this session we describe some of the processes involved in finding and applying for grant funding for projects, research, and instruction, with a concentration on humanities-based programs. Basics steps and pitfalls in the grant process will be outlined.

Participants will learn about

  • What types of activities typically are and are not funded by grants
  • How to plan and navigate the grant-writing process
  • Finding and defining your institutional resources and procedures as you direct grant development
  • Examples of internal grants at the University of Arizona that advance the strategic mission of the university
  • The importance of partnerships, internal to your institution, in your community, and in your discipline
  • Available resources and funding sources that might not be strictly considered grants
Garry Forger
Garry Forger

Create High-Performance Teaching Documents

Mon May 23, 2011 11:40am - 12:30pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

Today's business people and students are fluent in visual rhetoric, but when students arrive at NAU, they take cues from documents presented by instructors and professors. When time and money are scarce, how can academic institutions support faculty in obtaining visually sophisticated documents? This session reveals how NAU faculty and instructors can find help to "raise the bar" by creating visually literate instruction and presentation documents.

Learn a step-by-step approach to applying a fresh look to tired old content. By tapping into NAU's online graduate cohort, faculty can partner with practitioners who are fluent in visual document development. Participants are invited to bring their laptops and engage in brief case study that takes traditional curriculum materials and enhances them for high-performance presentations.

Participants will learn

  • How to get started in developing visually sophisticated and engaging course content
  • How to retain and reward talent

You can download the presentation materials: Portable Document Format (.pdf, 1 Mb), Rich Text Format (.rtf, 857 Kb, no images).

Cecilia Zoltanski Ross
Cecilia Zoltanski Ross

Making Statistics Come Alive: Media for Courses

Mon May 23, 2011 1:45pm - 2:35pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 334

Statistics is sometimes viewed as a challenging and dry subject, but skillful use of media can change that perception and help students learn. Instructors can transform static elements of statistics by presenting them as animations with voice-overs, leading to greater student engagement with content. This presentation describes the scope and process of developing a fully animated and narrated lesson on a complex topic.

Participants will

  • Hear about how this approach is effective
  • See examples of lessons that demonstrate this technique
  • Learn about the three stages of developing media for courses

The presentation includes a 10-15 minute question-and-answer period.

Sharon Gorman
Sharon Gorman
Robert Horn
Robert Horn

Academic Integrity and Online Exams

Mon May 23, 2011 2:45pm - 3:35pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

In reaction to ever-decreasing teaching resources and increasing class sizes, the teaching team of a large (>100 students) general education course at the University of Arizona experimented with the use of a course management system (Desire2Learn) for administration of online mid-term and final examinations during the 2010-11 academic year. The objectives of exam design included efficiency in grading, assurance of academic integrity, and long-term sustainability of this method of exam delivery. This presentation explains how the exams were designed and produced; describes the results, problems, and solutions; and offers an evaluative summary of the use of online exams in a large lecture course.

Participants will be exposed to

  • A pre-test activity to assess beliefs about cheating and online examinations
  • A learning game about cheating
  • Research findings on cheating in North American postsecondary institutions
  • Tips for design of online exams
  • Tips for use of TurnItIn software
  • Tips for cultivating a culture of academic integrity
Gretchen Gibbs
Gretchen Gibbs

Teaching Using Collaborative Tools: The Present and the Future

Mon May 23, 2011 3:45pm - 4:35pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 334
This session explores teaching practices using web conferencing and messaging tools. We will present examples of current uses of the Elluminate web conferencing application and the potential for impending Elluminate upgrades to increase engagement and student success. This is not a hands-on session but one that instead shows examples and details about the current Elluminate, the new version coming this summer, and the Blackboard Enterprise Messaging tool (formerly known as Pronto).
Matthew Minister
Matthew Minister
Carl Clark
Carl Clark
Barbara Austin
Barbara Austin
Don Carter
Don Carter

Using iTunes U to Make Online Courses More Like In-Person Courses

Tue May 24, 2011 9:50am - 10:40am The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 334

Because many transfer students are initially fearful of online courses, making online courses more similar to face-to-face courses can help these students make the transition.

Each student has access to the following course elements:

  • A Microsoft PowerPoint file for each chapter. Students get this file from the course shell in the learning management system (Blackboard Vista or Blackboard Learn).
  • A video lecture recorded at the instructor's computer and created using PowerPoint in conjunction with Camtasia. Students get this file from iTunes U.
  • An .mp3 file of the lecture's audio, which enables students to, for example, listen to the lecture while working out at the gym. Students also get this file from iTunes U.
  • A .pdf file containing the text of the lecture's audio, created using Dragon Naturally Speaking, edited in Microsoft Word, and then printed to a .pdf. Students get this file from Tunes U.

These tools help students process the course information at their own pace and in their preferred format by reading, watching, and listening outside the classroom. The varied file formats also benefit students who have limitations in being able to learn through visual, textual, or auditory presentations. Data suggest that many students use the iTunes files.

The presentation offers encouragement to instructors who think of themselves as technical novices, and it focuses on "lessons learned" rather than providing detailed technical advice. It also includes ideas about additional ways to use media in a course and offers suggestions on how to find existing materials on iTunes U.

Melissa White
Melissa White
David Parmenter
David Parmenter

Your Digital Personality: The Real You in Your Online Course

Tue May 24, 2011 10:50am - 11:40am The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 334
p>Often it is not what content is delivered, but how it is delivered that affects students' learning. Many instructors wonder how to convey enthusiasm for their subject matter in online courses. This session demonstrates some of the options instructors have for delivering online content with passion and excitement.

Participants will learn about

  • Challenges in online environments in comparision to face-to-face courses
  • Barriers inherent in web 2.0 tools
  • Usefulness of video introductions and screen captures
  • Examples of instructors who successfully demonstrate their personalities in their courses
  • www.yourdigitalpersonality.com, a site describing tips for creating an online presence

The session will allow time for questions and answers.

Todd Conaway
Todd Conaway

Financial Forecasting to Enrich the Capstone Simulation in Strategic Management

Tue May 24, 2011 11:50am - 12:30pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 334
p>Capstone courses for business majors use software that lets students simulate "running" companies in various industries. By forecasting uncertain outcomes of complex variables, students develop deep and lasting understanding of the connections and mutual influence among the many elements of strategic management. Students compete to see who can develop the most accurate estimations of various financial and operating metrics.

Participants will learn about

  • The origins, processes, and effects of the capstone exercise
  • The value of online simulations, such as the Capstone Capsim Simulation Experience
  • The power of adding even simple spreadsheets to a course to foster educational competition
  • A student's perspective on the effectiveness of the simulations

Small groups of participants will role-play as if they were students running simulated companies and will incrementally forecast results at the end of each business "year."

Timothy Clark
Timothy Clark
Brian Kent
Brian Kent

Using Tablet PCs in the Classroom

Educators who want to take advantage of technological advances in the classroom face options ranging from smartboards to clickers. One promising option is the use of tablet PCs, which allow instructors to write directly on the computer screen and electronically capture a presentation. Tablets are especially useful in technical Construction Management courses that involve figures, diagrams, and mathematical problem-solving. When coupled to computers in the hands of students, tablet PCs can have a positive effect on learning. This presentation introduces the tablet PC as a teaching tool and provides examples from structural courses in a Construction Management program.

Participants will learn about

  • Methods of efficient use of the tablet PC in a lecture setting and outside the classroom
  • Hardware and useful software for classroom use of a tablet PC
  • One way to organize, distribute, and reuse content captured on a tablet PC
John Tingerthal
John Tingerthal

More Teaching with Cool Toys and Gadgets

In this second of two sessions on mobile devices in education, we'll demonstrate uses of
Walter Nolan
Walter Nolan
John Doherty
John Doherty

Track 3: Assessing Your Course

Checking the effectiveness of learning activities; using student feedback to refine course design; moving beyond exams and papers; demonstrating real-world results; capturing and evaluating student experiences; gauging critical thinking and information literacy; using the reporting capabilities in Blackboard Learn

Assessing with Adaptive Release and Feedback: Pacing Students to Success in an Academically Rigorous Course

Mon May 23, 2011 10:40am - 11:30am The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 334

Adaptive release, also known as conditional release, is the practice of giving students access to course materials depending on whether students have met defined criteria, such as a certain level of achievement on an assignment or assessment. By coupling adaptive release with regular online feedback, the presenters created a solid pedagogical model that encouraged student success in a graduate-level online course in introductory statistics.

Participants will learn about

  • The importance of timely, ongoing feedback to students about their progress and performance
  • How conditional releases for assignments and exams can assist with pacing
  • Examples of pacing and feedback along with explanations of the strategies behind this approach

The session will conclude a 15–20 minute question-and-answer period in which participants can brainstorm about how to use a similar approach in their online courses.

Sharon Gorman
Sharon Gorman
Robert Horn
Robert Horn

Nudge AnalyticsEC

Nudges analytics was developed as a concept in the decision sciences, influenced by the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, written by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Described in an EDUCAUSE Quarterly article titled The Case for Nudge Analytics, the concept proposes that subtle interactions, or nudges, based on machine-analyzed data patterns, can be introduced to sway an individual's academic persistence path in a positive direction, but without violating freedom of choice.

Digital information collected through systems related to persistence, grades, and even attendance is available and underused. Learning management systems, such as Blackboard Learn, provide a wealth of data that could enable advisors and instructors to nudge students toward higher performance and more desirable learning outcomes. Correlation characteristics gleaned from learning management systems can determine best learning practices for the students based on these data correlations. This presentation describes a few smart practices already available at the course level and suggests further implementations for system-wide analytics.

Philip J Mizzi
Philip J Mizzi
Colleen Carmean
Colleen Carmean

How Can We Assess Students in Blackboard Learn?

Mon May 23, 2011 1:45pm - 2:35pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

In this session, we will demonstrate how you can assess student learning by using tools in Blackboard Learn. Building on the ideas introduced in the earlier session on Teaching Backward Design, we will show you how to create effective assessments aligned with learning objectives.

We will focus on writing skills, a common student learning outcome desired by many instructors across many disciplines. In Blackboard Learn, we will demonstrate how instructor, peers, and students themselves can use a writing assignment and its accompanying rubric to gauge students' levels of writing accomplishment. You will see the assessment process from both instructor and student perspectives. We will also discuss applications of backward design and assessment to other kinds of student performances, including audio and visual products.

We suggest that you attend the Teaching Backward Design session before attending this session.

Matthew Minister
Matthew Minister
Suzanne Pieper
Suzanne Pieper
Walter Nolan
Walter Nolan

Student Perceptions of Assignments in a Professional Program: Do They Think They Are Jumping through Hoops for Your Course?

Mon May 23, 2011 2:45pm - 3:35pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 334

Faculty design curricula to be cohesive and logical and to build professional knowledge, skills, and values, but students don't always immediately recognize the relevance and usefulness of course assignments to future academic and professional work. By first evaluating student perceptions of the relevance of coursework, faculty can then use principles of learner-centered education to improve the quality and applicability of courses. Educators across many disciplines, including nursing programs, might find assignment analysis beneficial as part of a larger course and program evaluation plan. Yet an extensive literature search using ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), PubMed, PsycINFO, and EBSCOhost identified only two studies describing students' evaluation of their course assignments.

More research is needed to assess students' perceptions of assignments 1) as they progress through a curriculum and 2) again after students are in practice. This approach helps faculty refine individual assignments to improve relevance and usefulness across the curriculum and in professional practice.

This session will demonstrate how to use an assessment tool called Relevance of Course Assignment.

Session participants will be able to

  • Describe the effects and implications of students' perceptions of assignments
  • Apply the Relevance of Course Assignment tool in their own courses
Angela Golden
Angela Golden

Oral Assessment Challenges in Online Spanish CoursesEC

I will discuss the challenges of assessing beginning Spanish students' speaking abilities in an online class setting. I will provide background information on how our online Spanish courses are set up, what programs we use to develop students' speaking skills, how we provide students with feedback, and how the speaking requirement differs between face-to-face courses and online courses. The main area of focus will be the oral exam that takes place at the end of the semester, including how the exam is administered and the problems we have faced when giving the exam.

Participants will

  • Listen to language samples to better understand how our program assesses students' speaking
  • Learn about advantages and disadvantages of our methods of assessment in online courses
Christopher Wargo
Christopher Wargo

Assessing Global Learning in Forestry: Connecting the Dots From Program to CoursesEC

Foresters are urged to become more global in their outlook and recognize the importance of global forces such as international trade, certification, and climate change. However, the discussions surrounding globalization often fail to identify which competencies foresters need for success in the global economy nor how foresters can achieve those competencies.

Identifying the specific skills that employers—public, private, and non-governmental agencies—desire helps define the necessary global competencies, such as an understanding of international markets in wood products. Likewise, what is taught in forestry programs helps define the supply of the global competencies that students can acquire as part of their educations. Our presentation describes the methodology we use to identify the supply and demand of global competencies in forestry education. We also present the preliminary results of the “backward design” process we are using in the School of Forestry to integrate global competencies into our professional curriculum.

Yeon-Su Kim
Yeon-Su Kim
Michael Wagner
Michael Wagner
Bruce Fox
Bruce Fox

Using Audio and Video for Self-Assessment in Language Courses

Tue May 24, 2011 10:50am - 11:40am The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

When learning new languages, students often do not know if their oral communication is improving. They can recognize improvement in written work because they are able to see their errors and over time make fewer of them. However, in spoken language the improvements are more difficult to gauge. One way of assessing improvement in spoken language is through the use of audio and video tools, such as Wimba, a voice tool that is now part of Blackboard Collaborate, and iMovie, a video editor. By watching and listening to video and audio recordings of themselves, students can self-evaluate their progress. By becoming more aware of their errors, they generally self-correct and make fewer errors in their speech.

Participants will see demonstrations of how to

  • Incorporate Wimba or video or both into courses
  • Join a live Wimba activity
  • Use iMovie to create and present videos of students
Nicole Price
Nicole Price

Institutional Review Board Resources for Classroom-Based ResearchEC

NAU's e-learning Center and Institutional Review Board (IRB) Office have worked together to design an information module, available in Blackboard Learn, that will make planning and implementing a course-based research project faster and more efficient. The module includes guidelines for research with human participants at NAU, a sample IRB application, and an informed consent form template that can be tailored to meet your research needs. This session provides an overview of the module and how faculty can access and use it in their own courses.

Matthew Minister
Matthew Minister
Paula Garcia McAllister
Paula Garcia McAllister

Listening to Student Conversations During Clicker Questions: What You Have Not Heard Might Surprise You!EC

When instructors provide discussion time for students, instructors expect that the conversation partners will discuss their viewpoints about the elements posed in a question and will then submit clicker responses reflecting individual opinions. We defined conversations that met these two criteria as "standard conversations." In our study of 361 recorded peer-instruction conversations from large introductory astronomy classrooms taught by experienced instructors, we found that only 38% of student conversations were standard conversations. Of the remaining 62% of conversations, we identified three broad categories consisting of ten types of "nonstandard conversations."

Participants will learn about three categories of nonstandard conversations that instructors can use to take advantage of diverse student ideas and improve the quality of clicker activities:

  • Ideas not reflected in the available multiple-choice answers
  • Interpretation of the statistical feedback provided by electronic classroom response systems
  • Common pitfalls that led to unproductive interactions

Our analysis of these nonstandard peer-instruction conversations will be useful to practitioners and researchers seeking to improve the implementation of peer instruction.

Mark James
Mark James

Teaching Early Computing Skills: A Self-Efficacy Study

Tue May 24, 2011 2:45pm - 3:35pm The W. A. Franke College of Business, Room 345

Because drop, fail, and withdraw (DFW) rates are alarmingly high in computer science courses, and interest in computer science remains stagnant, many educators are reevaluating how we teach computer science and are questioning the emphasis of programming and tool mastery over more abstract computational thinking. This presentation describes barriers to student learning that we have identified in our classes and also describes how we have addressed each barrier. We will show how we have used surveys to assess course changes, to understand students better, and to advocate for the learning process.

Participants will also learn about JavaGrinder, a task-specific web 2.0 environment where students can work individually or as teams on bite-sized problems that focus on solid software engineering practices and concept mastery. JavaGrinder facilitates problem-solving by exposing the salient aspects of a problem and providing guided practice and immediate feedback. In this way, JavaGrinder addresses the gap between successful and unsuccessful students in introductory courses. Dr. James Palmer is the current project manager and an associate professor at Northern Arizona University who originally created this system.

Participants will learn about

  • The problems found in the current pedagogical process
  • How we have addressed these problems
  • How we use surveys in a number of beneficial ways
  • The web-based pedagogical tool we use to bring everything together
Joseph Flieger
Joseph Flieger