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Communicating for


SPRI NG #1 2011

featured in this issue T&L Fair


Hot 5

Better Small Group Projects

Did You Know?

Visionary Status


2011 Teaching & Learning Fair a Success

Presenters and participants share ideas about teaching and learning at the Fair. More than 70 presenters braved the winter weather to share their insights about best practices for teaching and learning at the fifth annual BGSU Teaching and Learning Fair, which was held in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom on February 11.


The Center’s Learning Communities were well represented. For example, members of the Internationalizing the Curriculum Learning Community, facilitated by Patty Kubow (Leadership and Policy Studies) presented their work on a strategic plan to help promote “curricular and co-curricular activities that develop international and cross-cultural perspectives on the part of the BGSU community.” Members of the Improving Student Motivation with STEM Education Learning Community offered information on a variety of topics. Beth Burns (Math and Statistics), for example, talked about how to motivate algebra students to complete their homework; Terry Herman (VCT) discussed how to integrate technology into early childhood science education; and Kate Dellenbusch (Physics & Astronomy) outlined some collaborative in-class activities that help student learning in introductory astronomy classes.

Many other areas of the university were represented as well. Colleen Boff, Amy Fyn, and Cathi Cardwell from University Libraries offered a presentation entitled “In Pursuit of Quality Information: How the University Libraries Can Help!” Tim Murnan (School of Teaching and Learning) presented on “Strategic Reading in Fiction and Nonfiction,” and Susan Carlton (GSW) talked about academic writing and domestic violence awareness. In addition to BGSU faculty, students, and staff, attendees at the Fair included representatives from The Teaching & Learning Collaborative (TLC), a regional organization of Centers of Teaching and Learning. Attending the Fair were representatives from the University of Findlay, Northwest State Community College, Owens Community College, Terra State Community College, Heidelberg University, Defiance College, Ohio Northern University, and Bluffton University.

Think! Think! was the message conveyed by the keynote speaker at the Teaching and Learning Fair, Dr. Peter Facione, an internationally known expert on both the teaching and the assessment of critical thinking. Facione, who is the author of the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, as well as numerous books and articles on the subject, offered his audience “a few simple techniques” to help students be more purposeful and reflective in how they approach problem solving and decision making. Using clips from popular films, puzzles, and case studies, Facione gave the audience a chance to put their thinking skills to the test while learning new ideas to try in the classroom. According to Facione, it takes most people 11 to 15 seconds to be able to respond to a novel idea—and that is the minimal amount of time educators should wait for an answer after asking a

question that requires thinking. Many educators, he noted, do not wait long enough and end up interrupting students’ thought processes and answering the question themselves. Facione suggested another technique that promotes good thinking: present students with a concept or proposition and ask them, “Why is this FALSE?” Detecting mistakes is a great mental exercise and a provocative learning activity. Finally, Facione emphasized the importance of setting high expectations for students. He uses a rubric to help students understand fully what good critical thinking looks like and how to measure their own achievement. “You get what you measure,” says Facione. Expect great thinking and students will reward your expectations.

Dr. Facione and his wife, Noreen, chat with Provost Ken Borland and CTL Director Bonnie Fink. Dr. Facione finishes his keynote address.

HOT 5 1 2


(click the link to visit)




21st Century Skills

The National Archives

Google Art Project

A Guide to Fair Use and Copyright

Research-Based Teaching Tips restiptool.php


A teacher’s guide to fair use and copyright

University of Wisconsin Learn Center teaching tips

Information on curriculum design, educational program development, and collaborative projects

A historical catalogue of meetings and decisions that shaped a nation

Museums from around the world, with hundreds of artworks at incredible zoom levels

Did You Know


Support for Public Broadcasting As many of our readers are aware, elimination of funding for public broadcasting is under consideration in the House of Representatives. Debate on the measure began on February 15. Elimination of federal funding would have a major negative impact on public broadcasting entities throughout the nation, including our own PBS station WBGU. In an open letter to public broadcasting stations, Pat Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, characterized public media as “an essential service regularly depended on and enjoyed by millions upon millions of Americans in all 50 states. Every single day, through our programs and our community engagement, we are making a difference, tackling the education deficit, the real news and information deficit, as well as the quality entertainment deficit.” Anyone interested in voicing their opposition to this measure can do so by going to the website 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting at http:// The site urges supporters of public broadcasting to write or call their congressional representatives to express their views on this issue. Lillios recognized for work with Dipity One of the newer trends in socialized information synthesis, timelines by Dipity ( offer a way for people from all walks of life to provide a glimpse of the chronological structure of events and issues. While some might use it to simply accentuate a standard sequence of events, the officials at Dipity have kept a close eye on innovative uses of the technology. Recently the company recognized BGSU Music Professor Elainie Lillios. Lillios has managed to use Dipity to provide a calendar of upcoming concerts and events. Her students can see a timeline of concerts that they can attend in the coming semester. Through Dipity’s interface system students can also view these events in a “Flipbook” (scanning icons for key events), a List or a Map (plotting where the events will be held in the region).


This innovative use of Dipity’s technology led the company to post a descriptor of Lillios’ activity and encourage others to try Dipity as a planner or calendar tool. You can see their reaction at, and experiment with Lilios’ work yourself at iPads In recent years there has been a rapid influx of mobile devices into the classroom. What started as a trickle of cell phones and turned into a cascade of laptops has finally become a deluge of all-in-one devices. Students can use these technologies to research their subjects mid-lecture, summon up-tothe-minute news reports on evidence that compliments a class discussion or communicate with friends across campus or around the world with one touch. As these technologies continually expand their influence over our lives, it will fall to teachers to model effective technology usage in their classrooms. To that end, the Center for Teaching and Learning is proud to offer faculty the opportunity to experiment with one of these mobile technologies. Four i-Pad devices are available for staff members to try out for threeweek loans. The Center staff has established an array of applications to highlight the various features of the i-Pad, but we can accomplish far more together than we can alone. Your use of these devices can provide every staff member with innovative ways to apply technology to the classroom. Moreover, by using these devices to teach BGSU classes, we can encourage students to engage with new technology critically, allowing them to consider how we consume information, follow trends, and make connections between the lessons we learn in classes and the technologies that are fully integrated into our lives. As the film The Social Network put it: “We lived on farms. We lived in cities. Now we live on-line.” By experimenting and teaching through mobile devices, we can guide students to reflect fully on their education, their society, and on their real/on-line lives.

Visionary STATUS

Robert Zemsky challenges the traditional notion that higher education can only happen in four-year segments and at great cost. In fact, he’s built his career on this notion. A number of books, including The Structure of College Choice (1982), Structure and Coherence, Measuring the Undergraduate Curriculum (1989), Higher Education as Competitive Enterprise: When Markets Matter (2001), Thwarted Innovation: What Happened to e-learning and Why with William Massy (2004), Remaking the American University: Market Smart and Mission Centered with Gregory Wegner and William Massy (2005) and, Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education (2009), suggest that higher education can be both cost-effective and education-efficient. Zemsky, a Professor in the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and Chair of The Learning Alliance for Higher Education, is often seen as innovative and challenging. The New York Times book review of his 2009 Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education provides a synopsis of his book and garnered over 150 comments, most considering his suggestion that a college education could and should be a three-year program. With more students pursuing a college degree, Zemsky argues that it makes sense to provide efficient higher education. In his plan, colleges and universities would be forced to reexamine their curricula, deciding what to teach and how to teach it. Technology and assessment would become crucial tools to support the change. Zemsky recognizes that it will take significant efforts to make this change. In fact, he explains that it will require “a dislodging event of sufficient magnitude that it breaks the gridlock that now holds attempts to reform higher education hostage.” His plan would also require a revision of the senior year of high school wherein students would learn college-level skills that would benefit them when entering college. Community colleges would provide a more cost-efficient or perhaps transitional first year for some students. Zemsky notes that his plan, while difficult to implement, would be beneficial not only for colleges and universities, but for students as well–an undergraduate education would cost up to a quarter less than it currently does.


Robert Zemsky educator, speaker, author

Zemsky speaks from broad experience, from institutional work (chief planning officer and master of Hill College House at the University of Pennsylvania) to center director (founding director of UPenn’s Institute for Research on Higher Education, co-director of the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce), to researcher (chair of the Pew Higher Education Roundtable, senior editor for Policy Perspectives, Woodrow Wilson Fellow), to board member (founding member of the National Advisory Board for the NSSE, Board of Trustees for Franklin and Marshall College and Board of Whittier College). He is known internationally, working with constituencies in Japan, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Tunisia, India, Switzerland, Vietnam, and the Kingdom of Bahrain, to name a few. He was recognized as an influential innovator in 1998 when named one of Change magazine’s top 40 leaders in higher education and when selected as a member of the Spelling’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education in 2005. Perhaps the best description of Zemsky can be found on his profile at the University of Pennsylvania, where his bio reads, “Something of a contrarian, Prof. Zemsky recently described himself in the Chronicle of Higher Education as being ‘old and round enough to be mistaken for a pooh-bah.’ . . . He has forcefully argued that colleges and universities need to be transformed from within. He has focused on what globalism might really mean for higher education, on what technology has not accomplished, and on how to make learning important in the higher education marketplace.” You can learn more about Robert Zemsky here: degreecomments/#more-6267 The Learning Alliance for Higher Education:

Better Small Group Projects by Karen Meyers

There is a great deal of research to support the idea that cooperative learning—students working together in groups on a problem or project—can produce deep learning. As Barbara Millis, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio, points out, “Deep learning and doing travel together.” A wellstructured group activity can also provide the motivation to learn—giving students a genuine need to know the information. Moreover, group work allows students to teach one another and learn to work in groups, skills that will be expected of them throughout their lives. Many students, however, say they “hate” group projects. Common complaints include, “I always end up doing all the work and I really don’t like other people getting the same grade as me for doing nothing”; or “I did my part but still got a bad grade because my partners slacked off ”; “I’m shy and no one ever listens to me”; “There was a lot of arguing in my group but not much action.” Millis outlines several strategies educators can use to improve the experience of working in groups. The first is to structure the assignment for maximum interdependence among group members. Students need to feel that everyone is needed to complete the task. Asking a group to reach a consensus is one way to create a mutual goal. Assigning complex problems with specific sections to be completed by individual group members can also create a sense of interdependence. Each student brings a piece to complete the final jigsaw puzzle.

The group should feel interdependent, but at the same time individuals must also be held accountable for their own learning. One method to achieve this goal is to let students know that only one group member will represent the group in reporting results, with the caveat that this person will be chosen at random from the group with no prior notice. This way, each individual must have an understanding of the entire project or task. Interdependence and individual accountability can be reinforced by how grades are determined. As Barbara Millis points out, “Undifferentiated group grades for a group project, particularly if the majority of the work is expected out-of-class, invite inequality problems—or even ethical or legal issues—and undermine individual accountability.” Any overall project grade should be tempered with peer and self-assessment so each student’s grade reflects his or her actual work. Finally, it is important that the educator monitor both group progress and group behavior. Setting small interim goals or steps can help the instructor keep track of the group’s progress toward completion of the project. Educators should also be sure some group activity takes place in the classroom so he or she can monitor and give feedback on group dynamics—who talks, who doesn’t, who leads, who follows, who interrupts, who listens, and so on. If the group process is dysfunctional, the project will fail.

Discussions and Workshops Learner-Centered Pedagogies Inquiry-based Learning (IBL) Wednesday, March 16, 1:30pm-2:30pm Inquiry-based Learning Idea Exchange TBA Problem-based Learning (PBL) Tuesday, March 1, 9:30am-10:30am

Problem-based Learning Idea Exchange TBA Project-based Learning Thursday, March 3, 9:30am-10:30am Wednesday, March 23, 2:30pm-3:30pm Project-based Learning Idea Exchange


Best Practices for Enhancing Student Well-being Flashpoint on Campus: Recognizing and Responding to Students’ Behavioral Concerns Friday, March 18, 10:00am-11:00am Tuesday, April 12, 3:00pm-4:00pm


Dealing with Difficult Students Monday, March 21, 2:30pm-3:30pm Wednesday, April 20, 1:00pm-2:00pm

Accommodating Students with Disabilities Tuesday, April 19, 9:00am-10:00am Veterans Support Services Thursday, April 7, 4:00pm-5:00pm Nontraditional Learners Monday, February 28, 1:00pm-2:00pm Monday, April 25, 9:00am-10:00am


Service Learning

Assessing Student Work Using Portfolios Monday, March 14, 3:00pm-4:00pm Friday, April 29, 9:00am-10:00am

NAMI: Service through Support, Education, and Advocacy Wednesday, April 13, 11:30am-12:30pm

Evaluating Student Learning Using Assessment Rubrics Tuesday, March 1, 2:00pm-3:00pm Thursday, April 7, 10:30am-11:30am

Service-Learning Faculty Learning Community Reunion *details coming soon Tuesday, April 5, 4:00pm-6:00pm

Formative Assessment Friday, February 25, 11:00am-12:00pm Tuesday, March 22, 2:00pm-3:00pm Wednesday, March 30, 9:00am-10:00am

What Grows in the Garden: How a Community Garden Fostered a Writing Community Wednesday, March 2, 11:30am-12:30pm

Foundations of Learner-Centered Teaching Active Learning Strategies Wednesday, March 2, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Integrative Learning Wednesday, February 23, 10:30am-11:30am

Active Learning Idea Exchange TBA

Learner-Centered Teaching in Large Classes Thursday, March 3, 1:30pm-2:30pm Tuesday, March 22, 10:30am-11:30am

Designing the Learner-Centered Syllabus Tuesday, April 12, 9:00am-10:00am Tuesday, April 26, 1:00pm-2:00pm Facilitating Classroom Student Discussions Thursday, March 24, 1:00pm-2:00pm Wednesday, April 6, 9:00am-10:00am Instructor Ethics for Learner-Centered Teaching Tuesday, March 15, 10:00am-11:00am Monday, April 18, 1:00pm-2:00pm

Pragmatic Practices for Teaching Assistants Thursday, March 17, 3:00pm-4:00pm Friday, April 15, 9:30am-10:30am Teaching Students to Reflect on Learning Friday, April 15, 3:00pm-4:00pm Using e-Portfolios to Foster Intentional Learning Thursday, March 3, 3:00pm-4:00pm Friday, April 1, 2:00pm-3:00pm

Technology & Practices to Support Student Learning Effective Public Speaking in Academic Settings Friday, March 25, 10:00am-11:30am Thursday, April 28, 3:00pm-4:30pm Getting the Most out of Google Wednesday, March 16, 4:30pm-6:00pm Learner-centered Assignments Using Digital Resources Thursday, February 24, 1:30pm-2:30pm Wednesday, March 23, 10:30am-11:30am


Learning 2.0 with Web 2.0 Tools Wednesday, February 23, 9:00am-10:00am Thursday, March 31, 10:00am-11:00am Wednesday, April 20, 1:00pm-2:00pm Writing for Readers: An Instructor’s Guide Thursday, March 3, 10:30am-11:30am Friday, April 29, 2:00pm-3:00pm

For more information on our workshops or to register, contact the Center at:, 419.372.6898, or

This newsletter is a publication of the Center for Teaching and Learning. Visit us online at or in 201 University Hall.

Center for


eaching earning


2011 Teaching and Learning Fair Think! Better Small Group Projects Visionary Status: Robert Zemsky