Connecting MTSU Faculty
Volume 4, Issue 1 Spring 2009 Keynote Speaker Michael Wesch
Peggy McIntosh Workshop
Schedule of Events
Maria Clayton Recognition
Handling Large Classes Catherine Crooks
New Books at the Center
Valuable Teaching Resources
My Summer Vacation Ellen Garrison
Randy Livingston Goes to POD
Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center 106 Peck Hall, MTSU Box 231 1301 East Main Street Murfreesboro, TN 37132 Ph (615) 494-7671 Fx (615) 494-8612 email@example.com www.mtsu.edu/ltanditc
SourceLink is a newsletter published by the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center (LT&ITC). Its purpose is to share information on learning, on innovative pedagogies and technologies, and on research. The newsletter also includes a calendar of workshops and seminars designed to support the teaching and learning goals of the MTSU community of educators. Your input is always welcome. We appreciate receiving news and inquiries about teaching tips, innovative techniques, or other relevant topics of interest to you.
Information Literacy Series: Strategies and Resources for Teaching Research Frequently, teachers and students view the research paper assignment with dread. Students tackle the assignment as a report on dull topics accompanied by footnotes and bibliographies. Teachers see it as unsightly evidence of their failure to instruct and inspire. But during the first session in the First Tuesday Information Literacy Series—“Beyond the Research Paper: Alternative Assignments for Teaching Library Research”— Walker Library faculty Jason Vance, Kristen West, and Mary Ellen Pozzebon showed faculty how to reinvigorate the process. During the workshop, the presenters suggested different approaches, alternative assignments that were both traditional and creative, and new resources that might better accommodate learning outcomes across the curriculum. Most important, they offered themselves as a resource, as eager to help faculty design research activities or even teach a class or two to their students. By the end of the first workshop, faculty participants indicated they would be modifying their approach to teaching research. If you were unable to attend this first session, consider signing up for the next two. In March, information literacy librarian Jason Vance will suggest ways for teaching students how to evaluate sources that balance their access to online information with critical thinking about the item’s source, context, and quality. The final series workshop, in April, will show how to pre-empt plagiarism and promote ethical use of information. (See calendar for dates and times.) Literacy cont. on page 2
2 Peggy McIntosh to Lead Workshop on Multicultural Curricula On March 26 and 31, academician and activist Peggy McIntosh will lead a twoday workshop demonstrating methods that can make curricula more inclusive and multicultural. Dr. McIntosh is a specialist in the field of diversity and regularly speaks on the dimensions of privilege in our society. Founder of the SEED project on inclusive curriculum and director of the Gender, Race, and Inclusive Education project, Dr. McIntosh specializes in workshops that show how to diversify workplaces, curricula, and teaching methods. The McIntosh workshop is jointly sponsored by the Institute for Democratic Education, Women’s Studies, and the LT&ITC. See our calendar for additional details.
Visionary Keynote Speaker Visits MTSU Professor Michael Wesch, cultural anthropologist with Kansas State University, will provide the keynote address, “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able: Harnessing New Media for New Media Literacy,” at the 14th Annual IT Conference, March 29–31, here at MTSU. His presentation will analyze the impact emerging technologies have on education and address his own latest attempts, as a digital ethnographer, to create a rich virtual learning environment using these new tools.
Michael Wesch Credit: www.ksu.edu
“You don’t have to attend the IT Conference to sign up for Michael Wesch’s talk,” advises Barbara Draude, LT&ITC codirector. And she promises an entertaining and insightful hour listening to the academic dubbed “the explainer” by Wired magazine. Wesch’s videos on technology, education, and information have been viewed over 10 million times and are frequently featured at film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide. To hear Wesch, simply come to the KUC Theater on Monday, March 30, from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m.; no fee or sign up is required. For more information about the conference and the various workshops, visit the conference Web site at http://www.mtsu.edu/itconf/confagenda.shtml. ITD is offering free registration to the first 100 MTSU faculty members who sign up on its Web site.
Information Literacy Series cont. How can this series help MTSU faculty and students? “Many teachers don’t know the extent to which library faculty can support their efforts to teach sound research skills,” says Jason Vance. “Librarians can help faculty teach to their specific learning outcomes and help make their students better researchers and writers.” As for students, today’s competitive job market holds the most promise for graduates who possess solid research and analytical skills. Knowing where to find good information— how to test it and use it—will give savvy students the edge over those unprepared to handle a company’s basic research processes.
Information Literacy Librarian
MTSU, a Tennessee Board of Regents university, is an equal opportunity, nonracially identifiable educational institution that does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities. AA190-0309
Spring 2009 Schedule of Events Topic
Beyond the Research Paper—Alternative Assignments to Teach Library Research
Mary Ellen Pozzebon, Jason Vance, Kristen West—Walker
First Tuesday Series on Information Literacy
February 3 11:40 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Peck Hall 106
Making the Most of the Quiz Feature
Ruth Kinder, OSU at Lima
D2L Connect and Inspire Webinar Series
February 17 1:30–2:30 p.m. Peck Hall 106
Cliff Ricketts, Agribusiness and Agriscience
Teaching Excellence Series
February 18 11:40 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Peck Hall 106
Creating Media as Learning: The Charms and Challenges of Digital Media-Based Assessment
Louise Thorpe, Sheffield University
Educause Webinar Series
March 2 Noon–1:00 p.m. Peck Hall 106
When Wikipedia Fails: Teaching Students to Evaluate Information
Jason Vance, Information Literacy Librarian, Walker Library
First Tuesday Series on Information Literacy
March 3 11:40 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Peck Hall 106
Easy Steps for Expanding D2L with Web 2.0 Tools
James Falkofske, St. Cloud Technical College
D2L Connect and Inspire Webinar Series
March 17 1:30–2:30 p.m. Peck Hall 106
Classroom Assessment Techniques, Part 2
Robin Blackman, Computer Information Systems
Teaching Excellence Series
March 18 11:40 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Peck Hall 106
SHOWCASE Sponsored by June Anderson Women’s Center, Women’s Studies Program, LT&ITC, AAUW, and Holocaust Studies Committee
March 26 1:00 p.m. Tom Jackson Building
Keynote Speaker for the Instructional Technology Conference
March 30 8:15–9:30 a.m. KUC Theater
Student-Generated Julie Higdon, Content for Blogs, Wikis, University of Minn.; Podcasts, and YouTube Karen Howell, USC
Educause Webinar Series
April 6 Noon–1:00 p.m. Peck Hall 106
Copy and Paste Plagiarism: Promoting the Ethical Use of Information Among Undergraduate Students
Jason Vance, Information Literacy Librarian, Walker Library
First Tuesday Series on Information Literacy
April 7 11:40 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Peck Hall 106
Who Needs a Textbook? Using Multimedia to Teach Writing
Denos Demetriades, Online English Writing Program
Educause Webinar Series
May 4 11:40 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Peck Hall 106
Recognizing and Lessening Systems of Privilege with Regard to Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation
From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able: Harnessing New Media for New Media Literacy
Peggy McIntosh, Wellesley College, www.wcwonline.org
Michael Wesch, Kansas State University
For the latest information about our spring events and to register, visit our Web site—http://www.mtsu.edu/ltanditc— or call (615) 494-7671. Missed an event? Check our Web site to view a learning module on the topic.
Maria Clayton Awarded Special Recognition
Maria Clayton, recipient of the 2009 Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology, recently received good news from the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning, which she’ll be attending in May as a result of her award. Her paper, “Building Bridges: Using Technology to Move Students from Old Concepts to New,” was selected as one of the twenty best of the conference and will be published in a special, internationally peer-reviewed conference volume later this year. Dr. Clayton’s paper focuses on the impact of instructional technologies on writing students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
4 Teaching Tip: Teacher as Architect Students lose direction and motivation if they can’t figure out the structure that makes a lesson make sense. Starting each class with an overview, goals, and expectations helps them process information more easily. Also, lectures built on “organizers” can help students learn . . . and learn how to think. Without them, students become overwhelmed, confused, lost. • Order. Give verbal directions as you move from point to point. • Chunk. Break lectures into 15-minute segments that end with comprehension checks. • Visuals. Visuals—diagrams, concept maps, illustrations—should highlight and organize main points. • Sequence. If teaching a process, show students the working sequence. • Matrices. Select material best summarized in a matrix, especially information that is compared and contrasted. Whenever possible, get students involved in this organizing process by providing reviews, creating visuals and matrices, and demonstrating sequences. Their initial successes in class will give them the confidence required to learn. If you’d like to read more about this subject, see our teaching tip on Lesson Structure. You can also visit our Web site for teaching resources on lecturing.
Tips For Handling Large Classes Catherine Crooks, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Psychology Teaching large classes presents a very different set of challenges than we typically face in smaller classes. So what can we do to meet these challenges and still provide an effective learning environment for our students? In my experience of teaching large introductory psychology classes (250–300 students), the most important ingredients for effectively teaching these classes are (1) fostering an environment of mutual respect, (2) providing students with a sense of community, and (3) providing plenty of active learning experiences rather than relying on straight lecturing. It is important to establish clear guidelines and expectations for large classes and gently remind students of those expectations throughout the semester. And you don’t have to be heavy-handed about your expectations. I let students know that I value and respect them. When you model respect and let students know how you like to be treated, they are less likely to be disruptive (i.e., leave class early, talk during class, etc.). Greet students with a smile and share personal stories or comments when it feels comfortable and natural. Your students are curious about you and what your class will be like. It’s easy for students in a large class to feel anonymous or disconnected. You can help students feel less anonymous by walking around the auditorium and lecturing/leading discussions from different parts of the room, greeting students individually before class, getting to know some of your students’ names, making comments to students while handing back papers or exams, and calling on groups or individuals from all parts of the room. Having students work in small groups or pairs during each class also fosters a sense of community. One of the most important ingredients in effectively teaching a large class is to incorporate active learning. It’s important to set the stage for active learning from the first day of class and let students know that you will be using this model of learning throughout the semester. I always start the first day with a couple of small group activities. This not only allows students to get a feel for the format of the class, it also gives them a chance to meet at least two or three of their fellow classmates. An active learning technique you can always count on is an in-class exercise. In these exercises you might ask students to work in pairs or groups of three, or work alone and then form groups to discuss their responses. Anything can serve as a basis for these exercises: a series of questions you might pose to a smaller class, having students solve a problem or complete a worksheet, or asking them to write down two things they learned from the last class. You don’t have to spend a great deal of time on active learning exercises in class: two or three lasting no more than five minutes can keep students involved and interested. There is no one way to teach a large class; develop your style according to the characteristics of your students, your own teaching philosophy, and the goals and objectives of the course. Even if you’re not an extroverted “entertainer,” teaching large classes can be as rewarding as small classes—maybe even more so.
Worthwhile Web: Sharing Tools for Teaching Excellence Here are two Web sites with valuable resources to share with college educators. Sites like these underscore the collaborative benefits of the Internet, providing a global venue for educators to share teaching ideas and to mentor each other. The outstanding sites below are among the best in higher education.
Center for History and New Media The Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University uses digital media and technology to preserve and present history online, transform scholarship across the humanities, and advance historical education and understanding. Each year, CHNM’s many project Web sites receive over 16 million visitors, and over a million people rely on its digital tools to teach, learn, and conduct research. This brilliantly conceived site offers some of the finest teaching and research tools available to college educators on the Web. Zotero continues to gather awards as an “easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, Web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways.” Syllabus Finder helps you find and compare syllabi from thousands of colleges and universities on any topic. And Echo is a directory of over 5,000 Web sites concerning the history of science, technology, and industry.
Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction has created an excellent Web site showing how problem-based learning is used across the disciplines. It shares resources, lesson plans, links, and publications, posting everything online so that it benefits all educators. Also posted is its award-winning UBUYACAR lesson for mathematics that involves the Internet to research the problem of buying a car, accompanied by student and instructor/tutor guidelines.
New Books at the Center The LT&ITC library maintains an upto-date lending library of books, periodicals, and newsletters on a range of teaching, learning, and professional development topics. We also keep a vertical file of clippings and handouts. To determine whether we have materials you’re looking for, visit www.mtsu.edu/ltanditc and click on Resources. Burkhardt, MacDonald, and Rathemacher. 2003. Teaching Information Literacy: 35 Practical, Standards-based Exercises for College Students. Chicago: American Library Assoc. Handson workshop-in-a-book provides 35 exercises with step-by-step instructions that cover the basics of planning, collecting, and evaluating all kinds of materials offline and online. Palloff and Pratt. 2009. Assessing the Online Learner: Resources and Strategies for Faculty. San Francisco: JosseyBass. Hands-on resource provides help with designing and implementing creative assessment practices tied directly to course activities. Loads of case studies, real examples, and collaborative activities. New Books cont. on page 7
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Growing Collection of Valuable Teaching Resources www.mtsu.edu/ltanditc
How do you redesign a course so that it can be taught as a hybrid? Who can you consult in confidence at MTSU about mentoring? Where can you find examples of syllabi for the courses you teach? To find answers to these kinds of questions, faculty can now turn to the LT&ITC’s newly revamped Web site and search its growing collection of teaching resources or the new teaching evaluation resources. Much of the information, selected from the best academic sources on the Internet, should relieve instructors from spending hours searching for the best tools and the latest thinking on teaching topics. Other information comes from MTSU faculty experts whose workshop handouts, presentations, and course modules are available on the Web site for downloading. What’s in a teaching resource topic? • An overview • Tags/keywords that link to related topics • Identification of MTSU experts and on-campus resources • A list of resources in the center including books; periodicals; handouts; and annotated links to the best online resources containing templates, tutorials, videos, syllabi, and other teaching tools Design cont. on page 7
Ellen Garrison, Associate Professor, History When MTSU joined a regional collaborative of graduate archival education programs known as SAEC (http://www. archiveseducation.info/),what had been a routine seminar in archival history blossomed into a course delivered to students at five universities via compressed video. An Ellen Garrison (left) and LT&ITC workshop, an Instructional Technology Development Barbara Draude at ShareFair ‘08 grant, and a lot of advice and support from the Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) gave me the opportunity to rethink and redesign the course to take advantage of the possibilities presented by combining video technology and course management software. Creating a hybrid course means adopting a whole new philosophy of teaching, not just building on top of what has already been done. I began by defining my audience—what made these students different from those enrolled in other archival courses?—and articulating learning outcomes based on the goals of the course. Then and only then could I consider the range of technology available to me and begin to try to match those tools to each learning outcome. Storyboarding—a graphical outline of ways to achieve learning outcomes—provides a way to accomplish that task. Being the oldfashioned type, I actually Was it worth the effort? designed a paper form that enabled me to define learning I have never had so modules; outline the topics much fun teaching... included in each module; and then brainstorm, evaluate, and rank activities that I could use to present those topics. After a lot of scribbling and crossing-out and drawing arrows, I had my outline spread across seven forms. I spent the rest of the summer using D2L to develop discussion boards, create individual and group exercises, incorporate links to video tutorials on using the software, and pull together a set of Web resources and digital documents that complemented the required readings. Last but not least, I designed assessment tools that I could use to evaluate student performance, participation, and interaction. Was it worth the effort? I have never had so much fun teaching nor have I ever seen students so well prepared for class. And I cherish the comment made by one student in the course evaluation that it was “probably the most motivated I’ve been since I started graduate school.” So yes, I would be delighted to spend another summer vacation exactly the same way.
Randy Livingston Goes to POD Founded in 1975, the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education is devoted to improving teaching and learning in postsecondary education by providing its more than 1,800 members with personal and academic relationships that are essential for professional growth. The LT&ITC uses its membership in POD to extend benefits and opportunities to MTSU faculty members committed to teaching excellence. Every year, we send one or two faculty members to POD’s annual conference to expose them to new ideas and to members from other colleges and universities.
Resources cont. from page 6
This year, Randy Livingston, assistant professor in the School of Journalism, attended his first POD conference, “Weaving Patterns of Practice.” Upon his return, he spoke about his impressions of the conference and its relevance to his teaching craft. LT&ITC: Randy, this was your first time attending a professional development conference—how did it compare with other kinds of conferences you’ve attended? Randy: The most striking difference between this POD conference and various other conferences I’ve attended throughout my academic career was the degree of personal networking and sharing. The people I met seemed to have a genuine concern for others and a great passion for teaching and learning. I was not at all disappointed. It was a very good experience. LT&ITC: So you felt comfortable and welcomed there? Randy: Yes, I definitely received an enthusiastic welcome as a newcomer . . . not an uncomfortable, put-you-on-the-spot kind of reception but rather extending a helping hand in so many different ways. I found that I shared some common experiences with many there. It was especially gratifying to hear how others, like me, have been able to bring a range of significant professional experience to their students and to their colleagues in very meaningful ways. LT&ITC: Did you learn anything that you could put to use in the classroom? In your career? Randy: Probably the greatest impact for me was hearing the many different stories about how instructors and professors are engaging their students and helping them to find a real passion for learning. That kind of passion is very rare, but, I learned it’s more prevalent than I imagined. It was an eyeopener for me to see how concerned staff and teachers are coming together at their respective institutions to share ideas and begin to get to the heart of the matter... not just for selfish, career-driven reasons. Even still, the nature Livingston cont. on last page
• Links to the best thinking on the topic in the form of articles, books, viewpoints The center welcomes faculty contributions. Specialized information, link suggestions, attachments, etc., can make this Web page an invaluable support for the entire academic community.
New Books cont. from page 5
Smith, Robin. 2008. Conquering the Content: Step-by-step Guide to Online Course Design. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. For online instructors at all levels of experience, the book helps identify learning outcomes, create easily updatable courses, handle assessment issues, and develop learning guides and courses that are “informationtransfer”–based. Palloff and Pratt. 2005. Collaborating Online: Learning Together in Community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Practical guidance for helping students work together in creative ways.
Directors’ Corner With the transition to a new teaching evaluation instrument, which was used for the first time the end of fall term with Draude Johnson results available in February ’09, faculty members have been expressing newfound interest in the professional development resources available from the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center (LT&ITC). What do we offer faculty members who want to improve their presentation ability or to find new ideas for assignments and tests? The answer is a lot: monthly professional development workshops, one-onone consultations, a substantial professional development lending library, and, most recently, a revamped Web site, which is being filled with up-to-date information and resources for instructors in pursuit of teaching excellence. Indeed, if this year you intend to take advantage of your teaching evaluation results for the purpose of renewing the way you teach your course, we are confident that the LT&ITC can be of service. How? • Each semester, we offer 15–20 professional development workshops, webinars, showcases, and other special events. Come to those that interest you and give us feedback on their helpfulness in supporting your particular issues. Because of faculty participation, these events have become much more relevant to instructional goals on campus.
• We provide a lending library of over 200 professional development titles and subscribe to an assortment of professional journals and newsletters. We also keep vertical files on a range of teaching topics, materials from any of which are yours to borrow as long as you like. Drop in at the center any day and browse. Feel free to recommend new items to acquire. • Several months ago, we began reworking our Web site to provide MTSU faculty with a first-stop, quality collection of teaching resources—tools, tutorials, literature, videos, etc.—selected from the best academic sites on the Internet. We are in the process of listing these resources on our site, and they are organized both generally and under the categories from the teaching evaluation instrument. Our center improves only when the faculty participates. So please commit to attending a few of our workshops, sharing your skills and experiences with your peers, and suggesting ways we can make the center supportive of your professional goals. We look forward to seeing more of you at Peck Hall 106 this year. Faye Johnson Co-director, LT&ITC (Barbara Draude is also co-director, LT&ITC)
Livingston cont. from page 7
of higher education today leaves us teachers with the nearly impossible task of reaching a jaded, media-saturated, and apathetic generation. There is so much at stake and so little means of helping the student understand the importance and the urgency of beginning to take responsibility for their own learning . . . now, before all their time and tuition is wasted. LT&ITC: Many faculty members don’t attend professional development conferences or even p.d. workshops on campus. Based on your experience at POD, would you encourage them to get more involved in this area? Randy: Yes. Absolutely. I would lead them to that water. I would tell them that it’s a sweet, clear water! Bring your own cup. LT&ITC: You are widely known as a learner-centered teacher who uses innovative, active methods in the classroom. How did you develop this approach to teaching when so many college teachers still favor the lecture format?
Randy: Becoming a teacher or professor is something I never gave a lot of thought. I’ve always been passionate about learning and seeing how two or more seemingly unrelated things fit together when you take a closer look from different angles. I guess I’ve been blessed with learning from some excellent, caring, and passionate teachers. I continue to be blessed in that way. Like all of us, I’ve learned just as much from some really bad teachers . . . how not to do things . . . or do them differently. The lecture format? Has it ever worked? I really don’t think it has. It didn’t work for me. Take a quick glance at the audience of any lecture. No matter how brilliant the speaker, after just a few minutes, the room is a target-rich environment for sleep studies. LT&ITC: Anything else? Randy: Our institutions of higher education face an ongoing crisis. It’s as simple as that. So much more needs to be done to reclaim some passion for the life of the mind. The focus must shift from tuition dollars and the mentality of career preparation. We all require something more meaningful and immutable.