Insights into Teaching and Learning Featured Articles
Spring 2017 In this issue: The Class of 2019: One Year Later Strengths-based Group Work Audio and Video in TCU Online Open Textbooks: How You Can Help Reduce Student Textbook Costs Managing Time In and Out of the Classroom
Trung Nguyen Lindsay Throne Knight The Class of 2019: One Year Later
Jean Marie Brown Strengths-based Group Work
Audio and Video in TCU Online
Assessing Learning Using the Quizzes Tool in TCU Online Design Thinking for Pedagogical Innovation
The Class of 2019: One Year Later Trung Nguyen Lindsay Throne Knight
Student Development Services
Thousands of universities and colleges across the United States welcome a new class of students every fall. The students engage with faculty members inside of the classrooms, and the students bring life to the campus community through their involvement in clubs and organization. In the fall of 2015, we welcomed 2,072 students, which was the largest incoming class in the institution’s history. Each year, the TCU First Year Experience partners with Student Affairs Quality Enhancement to administer and analyze two surveys: the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The CIRP survey is given to students the summer before they start college and focuses on the incoming students’ characteristics and traits. The NSSE survey is administered in the spring semester of their first year and focuses on the experiences of first-year students at their institutions.
Who are the students in the Class of 2019? The TCU Office of Admission shared in that 2015 we had 18,422 students apply and 7,973 were admitted. After the 12th day of classes, there were a total of 2,072 students in the Class of 2019. Using the CIRP survey, we compared the Class of 2019 to the national sample in three categories: Political & Social Issues, Diversity, and Finances. The following are some highlights of the statistically significant differences
between TCU and the national sample. We found TCU students rated themselves higher than the national sample in two Political & Social areas: • Feel it’s important to help others in difficulty National Sample: 75%, TCU: 86% • Believe being a community leader matters National Sample: 40%, TCU: 58% However, TCU students reported lower than the national sample in three Political & Social areas: • Endorse the right of same-sex couple to marry National Sample: 81%, TCU: 74% • Believe marijuana should be legalized National Sample: 56%, TCU: 44% • Support the legal status of abortion National Sample: 34%, TCU: 15% In regard to diversity topics, TCU students rated themselves higher than the national sample in “Want to improve their understanding of other countries and cultures.” However, they reported lower than the national sample in two topics: • Identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, or other National Sample: 7%, TCU: 2% • Identify as agnostic, atheist, or not affiliated with any religion National Sample: 30%, TCU: 8%
Teaching and Learning Conversations Teaching, Serving, & Understanding the TCU Transfer Student
The TCU transfer population includes more than 1,400 students on campus, each with their own unique story. A growing and dynamic community, transfer students embody a complex subpopulation of undergraduate education. How we teach, serve, and understand their needs are instrumental to their success and sense of belonging. Our Teaching and Learning Conversation brings together representatives from Admissions, Institutional Research, the Transfer Center, Faculty, and current student leaders, giving a diverse perspective on this topic. Nearly half of all undergraduates in America today begin postsecondary education at a two-year college, totaling over seven million students at 1,123 institutions (Handel and Strumpel, 2016). As TCU continues to enhance necessary resources for those coming from two- or four-year colleges and universities, we encourage dialogue and opportunities for faculty to better understand this emerging demographic.
In the Finance category, TCU students reported lower than the national sample in three areas: • Rely on Pell Grants National Sample: 27%, TCU: 13% • Have taken out loans National Sample: 65%, TCU: 8% • Express concerns about financing their education National Sample: 65%, TCU: 8% TCU students reported higher than the national sample in one topic: • Utilize merit-based grants or scholarships National Sample: 52%, TCU: 60% We also know that TCU students are highly driven and motivated by success. In selecting TCU as their college of choice, TCU students reported higher than the national average in two areas: • Considered graduates admission to top graduate/ professional schools National Sample: 38%, TCU: 47% • Considered graduates’ job placement National Sample: 60%, TCU: 79%
Rachael Capua, Cathan Coghlan, and Amanda Nickerson
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Smith Hall, Room 104A Register for this workshop.
The CIRP survey also helped us to understand the values of students in the Class of 2019. The students reported their top three most important values are: • Being well off financially • Raising a family • Helping others
When asked to select from a list of 20 traits and characteristic that best describes how student perceive themselves, TCU students’ top three traits and characteristics were: • Drive to achieve • Academic ability • Leadership ability The lowest three traits and characteristics that the students reported were: • Artistic ability • Computer skills • Public speaking
What did the students in the Class of 2019 experience? After spending a semester on campus, the NSSE survey was able to provide us with some insight to the students’ experiences and perceptions. Based on the survey, TCU students are more likely than the national sample to ask instructors for help when they struggle with a course assignment. The NSSE also provided valuable information about students’ reasons for leaving TCU. According to Institutional Research, TCU retention rate for the Class of 2019 was 91%, however, NSSE indicated 28.6% of students reported they considered leaving TCU. The top five reasons for students to consider leaving TCU compared to the national sample: • Financial concerns National Sample: 42.7%, TCU: 51.6% • Personal reasons National Sample: 33. 8%, TCU: 36.4%
• Relations with other students National Sample: 19.2 %, TCU: 33.7% • Too much partying National Sample: 5.8%, TCU: 27.4% • Campus Culture National Sample: 25.1%, TCU: 20% Through understanding the characteristics and traits of the Class of 2019 and their experiences and perceptions, First Year Experience will continue to find strategic partnerships with faculty and staff to further support and develop students. Acknowledgments: Thank you to Dr. Angela Taylor and Dr. Cathan Coghlan for leading the collection and analyzing of the CIRP and NSSE survey and providing institutional data.
Strengths-based Group Work Jean Marie Brown
Department of Journalism
It has been three years since I received a phone call asking for a reference for a recent graduate and stumbled over the question of how the student had done in-group work. As I thought about our interactions in and out of the classroom, I was sure she was a strong writer, had a firm grasp of AP Style, and was a good citizen, but I had no idea how she handled collaborative or group work. I had been teaching to the individual.
While individualized instruction is effective in the classroom, it limits the student’s learning experience. Clark Bouton & Russell Garth recognized that students also need the opportunity to learn through conversations and questions with others. In considering collaborative learning groups, William Rau and Barbara Sherman Hayl offered evidence that students found them effective. I knew I wanted to add an element of group work to my fall syllabus, so I considered the desired learning outcomes and the possible outcomes. I recognized that collaboration in the classroom can be loathed as non-productive, frustrating, and unfair. But there is no way around collaboration in the workplace. I considered all the ways I had worked in formal and informal groups during my career as a journalist. While working as an editor at the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas, I was introduced to Gallup’s Strengths management program. Paul Allen found that Gallup’s StrengthsFinder is used by an estimated 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Gallup’s assessment tool is designed to help people understand what they naturally do well and develop those strengths, rather than focus on improving areas of weakness. One of the benefits of Strengths is that it promotes self-awareness and an understanding of how a person is perceived by others. I saw how it fostered a more collaborative newsroom and promoted enhanced conversation among reporters and editors.
Teaching and Learning Conversations From Diversity to Inclusion: Educating TCU’s Underrepresented Student Populations
The aim of this conversation is to provide helpful insight on how to move from diversity to full inclusion of TCU’s underrepresented and ever diversifying student populations. Inclusion goes beyond numbers and implies sustained efforts to ensure a plurality of perspectives in an educational setting. Inclusion is a three step process: 1) getting students from diverse backgrounds on campus, 2) creating a scholastic environment that encourages increased diversity, and 3) immersion into cross-cultural contexts. This conversation focuses on the second stage. Participants in this conversation will engage in role playing games to understand some of the challenges that diverse student populations face, learn about the Harvard Implicit Bias Test, and be offered relevant resources. Finally, participants may engage in an open forum on inclusive practices for students of color, LGBTQ, economically disenfranchised, and students from various faith affiliations.
Using Strengths in Class Rather than just have students self-select into groups, I decided to use class group work as an opportunity to introduce students to the idea of Strengths, or expand their understanding of how Strengths can be used. TCU’s Leadership Center provides assessments and strengths training opportunities. Many students are introduced to Strengths through their participation in student
Jessica Hazard and Rich Thomas
Thursday, March 23, 2017 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Smith Hall, Room 104B Register for this workshop.
organizations. I’ve found that out of a class of 15 students, at least one-third have previously been assessed. Two class periods are set aside. The first is after they have completed an online assessment. The class is led by a Strengths coach from the TCU Leadership Center, who explains Gallup’s four domains—executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking—of leadership and how the various talents fall into them. This first class period is about self-awareness as students consider their Strengths and how they manifest. There are typically a few “ah-ha” moments during the talent discussion as students discuss their commonalities and differences. Often there is a young woman in the group who has “command” in her top five and someone makes a remark about bossiness. This is a wonderful time to stress the positives of a take-charge attitude and help students move away from the idea that strength in females is a negative attribute. It’s also a time when some students see traits they took for granted, such as being strategic, as a positive. The second class is when the students select their groups with an awareness of how various Strengths can help a group be more successful. I want to emphasize that the students create the work groups. In the three semesters that I have done this, I have only had one group that struggled. This group’s dominant domain was relationship building and while they got along well, they didn’t get the assignment done properly. I wasn’t surprised that this happened. As the groups were forming, the Strengths coach from the Leadership Center predicted that this could be a problem. This semester, I watched as students went around the room, discussing their Strengths with each other and forming groups that included at least three, if not all four of the domains. I have watched and listened as they work constructively on their assignments in class.
My approach to group work also includes accountability. Students are told from the outset that I will assign a grade to the project, but that their final grade will be determined through my observation of them and by evaluations done by their teammates. I have found that students tend to be honest and tough on their peers. But, on a scale of 1–4, with one being the lowest, I rarely see twos and I’ve never seen a one. Having students use Strengths gives them the opportunity to learn how to communicate more effectively with one another and function as a cohesive group. Works Cited Allen, Paul. “Gallup, Meet Utah. Utah, Meet Gallup.” Paul Allen blog, 9 May 2015, www.paulallen.net/gallup-meet-utah-utah-meetgallup/ Accessed 7 November 2016. Bouton, Clark, and Russell Y. Garth. “Students in learning groups: Active learning through conversation.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning, vol. 1983, no. 14, 1983, pp. 73–82. Rau, William, and Barbara Sherman Heyl. “Humanizing the College Classroom: Collaborative Learning and Social Organization among Students.” Teaching Sociology, vol. 18, no. 2, 1990, pp. 141–155. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1318484
Want ideas for instructional strategies? Need help with TCU Online? Come to Spring Faculty Open Labs Mondays - Thursdays from 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM No registration required. Koehler Faculty Lab, Winton-Scott 108 Go to the Faculty Open Lab page for more information.
Audio and Video in TCU Online Amy Stewart School of Music
TCU Online Boot Camp TCU Online Boot Camp provides participants with the resources and training to integrate new learning technologies into both traditional and distance education classes in TCU’s learning management system—TCU Online. Each session is limited to ten participants. Boot Camp topics include: • An overview of TCU Online and building course content • Insight into how TCU Online tools can be integrated into pedagogical & curriculum development • Hands-on experience using TCU Online course management and advanced tools As always, the Koehler Center staff members are available for ongoing consultations after Boot Camp. For more information, go to our TCU Online Boot Camp page.
Wednesday - Friday, June 14 - June 16, 2017 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Register for this workshop.
Look for the accompanying videos for this article where you see this icon.
The full roll-out of our new learning management system (LMS) TCU Online was well underway last fall with a pilot group and all new faculty. TCU Online is shaping up to be a vast improvement to Pearson LearningStudio, though it is not without its challenges. Those challenges mostly center around a change in thought process and design strategy, a change that will require some re-tooling and re-thinking to meet the unique challenges for each of your classes. I have found that it is easier to just start fresh with a new course shell instead of trying to fit the square peg of a course designed in LearningStudio into the new TCU Online round hole. This fall semester, I’ve had the opportunity to work in TCU Online as part of the TCU Online Pilot Faculty group, and on the whole, the experience has been very positive. The system is generally intuitive, and if you can imagine it, you can probably do it. Those few times that I’ve run into roadblocks, the team at the Koehler Center has been extremely quick to help. Currently, I use TCU Online with three different classes: From Rock to Bach, a rock music survey class with 240 students across two sections; Vocal Jazz Ensemble; and Elementary Ear Training. I use TCU Online differently for each class. In both Rock to Bach and Elementary Ear Training, TCU Online is where students turn in various assignments and can
access their grades. Vocal Jazz uses TCU Online mainly as a repository for audio files that weâ€™ve recorded in class and of music I want them to listen to. TCU Online handles audio files with ease.
Adding Audio and Video into Your Class The ease with which TCU Online handles files of all kinds is one of the best features about this LMS. It has both simplified what I do and opened of a lot of possibilities for what I can do. Most importantly for me, TCU Online manages audio and video well and quickly. With LearningStudio, if I wanted to embed an audio file, I had to upload it to one particular location, and then edit the content area using the plain text editor instead of the visual editor. Sometimes, I would have to do the editing in one browser and then check to make sure it worked in another browser. And each browser handled the audio differently or not at all. Embedding YouTube videos was only slightly easier. With TCU Online, the uploading and formatting of audio and video happens right in the content area, and I can use the visual editor and not have to worry about HTML code. That alone has saved me significant time. Watch this video to see an example of how to embed videos. In addition to uploading audio and video, TCU Online allows you to record video or audio directly into the platform in a number of different places, without the need of a separate program or application. Students can record three-minute videos or audio files within assignment folders and I can record video or audio responses to their assignments. Essentially, almost anywhere you can type content, you can record content directly in that place. All that is needed is for your computer to have a camera and/ or microphone.
Watch this video to see an example of how to grade student-submitted videos.
Using Release Conditions Another exciting feature of TCU Online is the ability to add release conditions to almost any content area or tool, so that only the students who need access to those areas can. Release conditions can hide these content areas or tools from students until theyâ€™ve completed certain tasks. For instance, a quiz might only become available after the student has viewed a particular content item. You can release some content to only assigned groups of students. In my Vocal Jazz course, I upload audio of the students recorded in class, but assign each audio track only to the student singing on it by using release conditions. The ability for my students to listen back to their own voices is a great pedagogical tool. Using the release conditions allows me to take advantage of this tool while keeping student work confidential. Watch this video to see an example of how to use release conditions.
Starting with the Grades Tool As you begin to prepare your courses in TCU Online, it is important to remember that it works best if you can design your course backwards from the Grades tool. Before adding assignments or content, start with Grades. The new gradebook takes some time to get used to it as there are more variables and options than LearningStudio. However,
starting from Grades will make your life easier in the long run. As you add assignments, content areas, discussions, quizzes, and other tools you can attach them directly to Grades. Once set up, your interaction with Grades during the semester is very smooth. Whether you’re dealing with ten students or 240, entering grades is easy and efficient. You can even combine sections into one shell. The interface makes it easy to work all the students at once, or only those from a particular section. Making the switch from LearningStudio to TCU Online is not without its challenges and will definitely take some significant time up front. But, the payoff in the long run is worth it. It is difficult to overstate the benefits and advantages of this system over LearningStudio, and many days this semester, I have found myself almost giddy with joy at how I’m able to make TCU Online work for me. I believe you will find it to be a great tool for your classes as well.
Open Textbooks: How You Can Help Reduce Student Textbook Costs Jeff Bond
Teaching and Learning Conversations Writing-Intensive Classes as a High Impact Educational Practice
In 2008, the AAUP identified writing-intensive classes as one of ten educational practices proven to have an especially powerful impact on students from all backgrounds. TCU, which recognizes the important role writing can play in learning and in career preparation, requires all students to enroll in four writing courses, including two Writing Emphasisdesignated courses. Student learning outcomes for WEM courses include being able to demonstrate a working knowledge of the rhetorical conventions of the target discipline; exhibiting the ability to use writing as a means of gaining and expressing an understanding of disciplinespecific content; employing writing strategies and rhetorical practices learned in lower division writing course; and demonstrating clarity and precision of thought. How can teachers who are not specialists in writing help students achieve these outcomes? In this Teaching and Learning Conversation, participants will discuss the writingrelated outcomes they want to achieve in writing-emphasis courses and will share strategies for achieving those outcomes through assignment design, response, and evaluation. Participants are encouraged to bring a WEM course syllabus and writing assignment that they want to work on.
According to a 2014 nationwide survey of college students, 65% of students decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive. Nearly half of the students surveyed indicated that the cost of textbooks was a factor in deciding which classes to take or how many classes to take each semester.
Monday, February 20, 2017 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Smith Hall, Room 104A Register for this workshop. Carrie Leverenz
Research conducted by the College Board indicates that the average cost of books and supplies for a college student in one year is now $1,230 for private four-year colleges. The Carpe Diem Blog indicates that the average price of a college textbook is up 945% in 2014 compared to 1978. In the same time period, the Consumer Price Index rose 262%. What can TCU faculty do to help students in this era of high textbook costs? One solution is for TCU faculty to adopt textbooks and other educational resources that are freely available online. These types of free resources, including free textbooks, are commonly known as “Open Educational Resources,” or OER. OER include textbooks but also can include such resources as course readings, quizzes, or other assessment tools. From a student perspective, OER have many benefits, beyond the wallet. OER are also easy to use, because they are available online, and they can be downloaded and saved forever. Multiple studies conducted among college students indicate that students who use OER have both lower dropout rates and have better grades than students in comparable courses using traditional textbooks. The question that immediately follows then is “what is the quality of open textbooks?” Are they peer-reviewed? Are they credible? The answer is yes, they can be peerreviewed and usually are credible. There are many providers of open textbooks, but let us consider our in-state neighbors at Rice University. Their OpenStax initiative offers over 30 textbooks in a variety of subjects. Each is rigorously peer-reviewed by experts in the field. Other major OER publishers have similar quality controls. Whether using a traditional printed textbook or an OER, it is important to use your judgment to ensure that the provider is using appropriate quality-control standards.
As a TCU faculty member, how can you use open textbooks or other OER in your courses? As with any textbook adoption, it is important to consider the course objectives. Next, what do the peer reviews say about the quality of the material? Once you have decided that a particular resource is right for your class, it can be as simple as providing a link for your students to use for downloading or viewing online. One positive aspect of using an open textbook or other OER is that it doesn’t have to be an “all or none” resource. Because open educational resources are free and normally have few copyright restrictions, it is easy to pick and choose from multiple resources. Perhaps you only need a single chapter from one text. It is possible to “remix” from a variety of resources if that best meets the needs of your students.
Demonstration of Publisher Content Integration for TCU Online Tuesday, February 28, 2017 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Rees-Jones Hall, Room 351
Friday March 10, 2017 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Smith Hall, Room 104A
If you are interested in using your textbook’s e-content in TCU Online, this demo will show you the current publishers ready for integration, as well as how different publishers’ e-textbooks appear and interact with TCU Online features like content, grades, and widgets. Current publishers include: Cengage, Elsevier, Pearson’s MyLabs & Mastering, McGraw-Hill, WileyPlus, and WW Norton.
Register for this workshop.
Commonly Asked Questions Where can you find quality Open Education Resources?
Koehler Event with Dr. Randall Osborne: “I’m the Most Open-Minded Person I Know”: Truly Being Honest About my Intercultural Sensitivity The focus of this keynote is the introduction of Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity as a framework for intercultural awareness, training, and incorporation into classrooms. The main idea is that with a developmental framework (e.g., Bennett, 1994), we can create a culture for intercultural sensitivity that becomes the foundation for any individual, department, college, or university. Those in attendance will be introduced to Bennett’s Model, being given an opportunity to reflect on where they believe they locate on Bennett’s developmental levels (denial, defense, minimization, acceptance, adaptation, or integration), and engage in discussion on how to promote self-development along the continuum in preparation for promoting student progress.
Thursday, March 2, 2017 from 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM Kelly Alumni & Visitor Center, Room Cox C Go to the Koehler Events website for more information and to register.
Many universities and other organizations have developed repositories of open materials. Here are a few examples: • OpenCourseWare (MIT) • OpenStax (Rice) • BCcampus (British Columbia) Can I create my own open textbooks or other OER? Yes! One way to do this is to find an existing open resource and adapt it for your needs, filling a gap in the resource for others to then use. In most cases, as long as you give attribution to the original author, there are no copyright concerns. You can put the newly modified resource on your own site or upload it to an OER collection. You could also develop your own open textbook from scratch. Are there print copies available? Yes, in most cases. In addition to the freely available online resource, many open textbook providers make hard copies available via campus bookstores and other retailers. Normally the cost to purchase these hard copies is lower than for comparable traditional textbooks. Where can I learn more? The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has an excellent primer on OER. Please also contact me—I would enjoy having a conversation with you on how to adopt OER for your classroom. My email is email@example.com.
Managing Time in and Out of the Classroom Jill C. Havens
Department of English
As university instructors with schedules that change from semester to semester, we get the chance each time to experiment with different ways to manage our time both in and out of the classroom. Over the thirteen years I have been an instructor at TCU, I have experimented with a number of ways to make better use of my time in the classroom and to manage my workload outside of class. What follows are some strategies I have come to reply upon as I deal with the particularly large workload of an instructor teaching four courses and over one hundred students each semester. There are any number of things that can interfere with how we use our time in the classroom; some we can control and others we can’t. For example, we cannot predict when we or a family member will get sick; we cannot always be certain that the technology in our classroom will work; and we cannot know how quickly our students will get through an in-class assignment. With experience we can learn how long it takes for us to lecture about a given topic or how much time we allow for the discussion of new material. But we can’t control how much our students will contribute to that discussion. In spite of the sometimes unpredictable nature of the classroom, there are several strategies I continue to use in my classes to manage what I can control. Much of the organization for my classroom starts with the syllabus. In my syllabus, I provide specific details about the material that
will be covered for each class meeting. Building upon that, I write a detailed lesson plan for each class that incorporates “housekeeping” details (homework due for the next class, upcoming assignment deadlines, changes in schedule), an outline for the general structure of the class that day, and detailed content notes that need to be covered. At the beginning of each class, I go over the “housekeeping” details first and verbally summarize what we will accomplish in class that day. My detailed syllabus and lesson plan keep me on track and also enable me to look well ahead as I prepare for classes in the weeks to come; this allows me to spread out in-class writing assignments, quizzes, and group work over the semester. To compensate for days I am absent because of illness or when school is cancelled because of inclement weather, I also include “flex days” in my syllabus. These are days when no class meeting is planned but for which a missed class can be shifted to without disrupting our schedule. If the “flex day” is not used, it becomes an extra study day.
Elements of Time Management Managing our time outside of the classroom also seems to fall into the categories of the things we can and cannot control. As we work to balance our classes, our research, professional development, and our service commitments, many of us are also juggling family life. We can control the times and days we schedule our classes, the number of committees we serve on, and the amount of work we assign our students. We cannot always control a sudden publication deadline, when our child has a long illness, or when five students need to schedule makeup exams. Like so many professional women, I have also struggled over the years to balance family and work, but I’ve identified several factors I can control. To start, being flexible in the
scheduling of my courses, experimenting with different days and times, and doing multiple sections of the same course in a given semester has helped reduce time preparing for class. Each semester I try to balance courses I have taught before with new courses. I also mix new material into older courses to keep them vibrant and interesting for me and my students. For example, I might replace two or three of the six texts I teach in a literature survey or change the theme or focus of a writing course while keeping the same writing assignments. Perhaps our greatest burden outside of class is grading; when one stack of essays or exams is graded, another quickly takes its place. By limiting the amount of work and the type of work my students do for their assignments, I reduce the overall amount of grading I need to do while still giving students enough opportunities to fulfill learning outcomes. One of my most successful strategies that reduces my grading workload while also offering a variety of ways for a students to show their learning is to test using different formats. In one semester, my literature students will take three different tests: objective (multiple choice, short answer, etc.), “excerpt” (objective questions with brief interpretive essays on literary passages), and essay. For quizzes, I use a “bye” system. Out of a total of 8 quizzes in a semester, my students can either take all of their quizzes and drop the two lowest grades, or they can take a “bye” for 2 quizzes, skipping them. Not surprisingly, most students will take the “bye” option, reducing the number of quizzes I need to grade. For many of us, time management is an ongoing issue and each semester will present new challenges. By concentrating on factors we can control, we can allow ourselves the flexibility to develop balance and meaning inside and outside the classroom.
Assessing Learning Using the Quizzes Tool in TCU Online Megan Clawson Colin Talbot Koehler Center
Assessments are essential to any learning environment in order to determine whether or not the learning goals have been met. Assessments may serve to confirm or reinforce what students know or have learned, or serve as feedback to adjust future teaching or learning activities. Either way, assessments are a critical component of the teachinglearning cycle. However, creating quality assessments, and gleaning meaningful information from them about student learning, can be challenging and time-consuming. For the past several months, we have explored the many capabilities of the Quizzes tool in the new learning management system—TCU Online. With the Quizzes tool, it is easy to create, manage, and revise assessments that provide useful data about student learning. Here are some tips and best practices for creating assessments within the Quizzes tool in TCU Online to help you innovate and streamline the assessment process.
Aligning Learning Goals and Assessment When creating quality assessments that provide meaningful data about student learning, it is important to first consider the learning goals and the assessment prior to planning specific learning experiences and instruction. What is it that you really want students to know, understand, value, and be able to do? And, how will you know whether or not this has been accomplished? Consider a language course in
which the learning goals are to hear, speak, read, and write the language. A question that asks students to listen to a recording and respond by typing an answer or by writing a short response more closely aligns with the learning goals, and may provide a better indication of student learning than a multiple choice question where the possible answers are already provided. The new Quizzes tool offers greater flexibility with question types, as well as ways to easily incorporate images, videos, recordings, and other media while traditional multiple choice assessments do have a significant place in college courses, a greater variety of question types and media options can help to better assess certain cognitive processes and thereby generates more useful information about student learning.
Blind Marking and Feedback While it is exciting to consider the many possible ways to create assessments using a variety of question types, some question types are more challenging to grade than others. When grading written responses, a common challenge is maintaining objectivity. The Quizzes tool can help maintain objectivity and reduce bias with its Blind Marking option. This can be enabled when grading long-answer responses. This option removes studentsâ€™ names from their responses, allowing for more objective and sometimes more accurate grading. Students are often more comfortable providing long-answer responses when they know their instructor uses the blind marking option. Another common challenge associated with some question types is providing students with specific and useful feedback about their learning. Within the Quizzes tool, you can provide feedback and hints on individual questions, or on the assessment as a whole. Students can use the feedback to recognize and learn from their
Developing a Portfolio for Tenure and Promotion Monday June 12, 2017 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM Smith Hall, Room 104A This workshop brings together thoughtfully chosen information on teaching, research/scholarship, and service activities supported with evidence of their effectiveness. Together, these pieces support the design of accurate, convincing, and well-rounded professional portfolios. Faculty will be able to produce a hard copy or electronic portfolio that combines thoughtful reflection with concrete evidence. Faculty will also work with TCU faculty mentors during the afternoon session.
Register for this workshop.
mistakes. Feedback can also direct students where to find information within course materials and direct studentsâ€™ continued study by suggesting additional readings or material. This helps students confirm and take ownership of their learning, as well as grow as a learners.
The Question Library Perhaps the most exciting, feature of the Quizzes tool is its counterpart, the Question Library. These tools can be easily used in tandem to make quizzes more than just assessments, but also opportunities for students to learn and interact with content. The Question Library serves as a repository in which you can build assessment questions that
can be further organized by unit, topic, learning objective, or difficulty level. Similar to LearningStudio, assessments can randomly pull questions from the Question Library, thus offering different students different questions that assess the same content. However, unlike LearningStudio, you have several options to customize how, when, and how often students interact with the assessment. For example, you may allow students multiple attempts to complete an assessment, and take the highest, lowest, or average score. With each attempt, students may receive a different combination of questions, perhaps some current, and some cumulative, that are pulled from the Question Library. In this way, the assessment becomes a learning tool and allows students to engage, or reengage, more deeply with content. As mentioned, questions can also be organized by difficulty level, letting you build assessments that consist of a combination of easy, moderate, or difficult questions. This can provide you with valuable information about what students have learned and what misconceptions they may still hold, as well as their abilities to make cognitive leaps to higher levels of thinking. Moving into the new TCU Online platform offers an opportunity to reflect upon our practice and become better equipped to support student-learning needs. With so many possibilities, we are excited to see how the versatile Quizzes tool can work for you and offer you new ways to create assessments that not only assess, but also instruct. For more information, view the Quizzes and Question Library Documentation. As always, the Koehler Center Staff is here to assist you with assessment design in TCU Online, and we offer several workshops for the myriad of tools available in this platform. For workshop dates and times, please visit the Koehler Center website.
Design Thinking for Pedagogical Innovation Stacy Landreth Grau Neeley School of Business
Innovation is a key driver of growth in the 21st century economy. And organizations of all kinds are increasingly relying on innovators to create and deliver innovation in a constantly changing, globally competitive environment. We need to understand innovation—what it is, how to harness it, and why it is important. As educators, this should be an important outcome of our work. But here is the challenge: many people don’t think they are creative. In fact, research shows that after about fourth grade, most people don’t have many opportunities to “be creative.” At the same time, many of the country’s problems—and indeed the world’s problems—need innovative solutions. And while business schools have typically focused on analytics, there is also a need for other tools in the problem solving toolkit. Research shows that innovation skills can be taught by focusing on creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration. In simple terms, innovation skills cover three basic areas: Thinking (user-focused thinking and problem solving), Telling (convincing others and storytelling), and Doing (learning through experimentation). As such, the idea of design thinking is a key framework for teaching students how to become more innovative. Educators can also use design thinking for everything from learning space design to curriculum and lesson design. Design thinking was made popular by Stanford’s Hasso Plattner School of Design, known as the D-School, and later
Teaching and Learning Conversations Developing International Experiences: An intentional approach to intercultural curriculum design abroad
Increasingly, study abroad programs are evolving from an experience that is simply tourism in an educational context to one that enhances students’ ability and desire to coexist and interact effectively in a progressively more interconnected world. The ultimate objective is to better equipping graduates to succeed in a globalized job market. This session will challenge participants to be intentional in their approach to developing curriculum for international programs, designed to meet specific learning objectives, incorporate assessment, and promote active intercultural learning. We will consider alternate frameworks for developing study abroad experiences and provide examples of resources available to faculty. Participants will be encouraged to share experiences, suggest resources, and develop connections with other faculty leading international programs.
Sandy Callaghan and Tracy Williams If you weren’t able to attend their session, contact Sandy Callaghan and Tracy Williams for more information or to join their Faculty Interest Group about this topic.
through articles in many publications including the Harvard Business Review and Forbes. At TCU in the Neeley School of Business, we teach students and executives in formal design thinking courses, and we use it as a framework at the Idea Factory. So what is design thinking exactly? The key foundation is the idea of human-centered design. This sounds simple, but, if we think about it, many systems, products, services, curriculum, lessons, and the like are not designed with the user in mind at all. Design thinking frameworks focus on research to truly understand the user’s needs from an empathetic point of view. Observation and interviews are keenly important, and while there is a place for more quantitative research, the idea is to actually spend time with users and have a conversation to understand their problems. Next, design thinking takes the most important aspects learned from that research to define a point of view. There are several tools that can be used here—from empathy maps to journey maps to personal development—to help craft the major insights from the research. Ideation is team brainstorming with an emphasis on being open and collaborative and building upon the ideas of others (e.g. “yes and …”). Once there are a few key ideas, prototype design helps ideas to come to life so that users can give formative feedback. The iterative process incorporates user feedback into the prototype to make it better and better. This process sounds pretty simple, but it really relies on several design thinking mindsets including: show, don’t tell; focus on human values; embrace experimentation; bias toward action; craft clarity; be mindful of process; radical collaboration; and—most importantly—fail early to succeed sooner. Yes, you must allow yourself to embrace failure. This is hard for students and faculty. One of the most important concepts is radical collaboration—the best ideas are the results of many different voices, ideas, and perspectives. This is a lesson that is particularly useful at a university.
Many companies from Apple to Google to McKinsey Consulting to GE all use design thinking to create their products and services. Schools at the K-12 level have started to incorporate design thinking in everything from curriculum design to lesson design. As such, there are four key areas where design thinking can be useful. First, since design thinking is particularly useful when dealing with larger systems, it is useful for designing curricula. In the Neeley School of Business, we used aspects of design thinking to begin working on a new undergraduate core curriculum. Additionally, it is useful to reimagine co-curricular activities to augment curricula issues. Second, design thinking is useful to create new spaces for learning. Open and collaborative spaces (like Rees-Jones Hall) help facilitate a spirit of innovation. Indeed, the space at Stanford’s D-School is wide open with only a few offices; this allows people from all majors to meet and create. Third, design thinking can be used to reimagine entire processes. Indeed, as long as there are humans involved, it can be a useful framework. This can include advising, housing, etc. Last, design thinking can be used for smaller things—like assignments and lessons that allow students to practice one or more piece of the framework. In my course, Innovation and Design Thinking, students are asked to truly embrace failure first and understand that it can be quite useful for true innovation. Students are taught the process while doing their first design challenge, which is based around finding a problem to solve. Since my class is a marketing course, the problem can be in the form of a product or service. Students also tackle reimagining services that are particularly problematic. The final challenge is based on a client challenge. This semester they are working with Fidelity Investments. The idea is that with each challenge, students gain a deeper understanding of design thinking processes and tools. So far, the results have been positive. Students are learning how to bring these skills into workplaces, like Seattlebased Microsoft, while also learning how to think critically and become more comfortable with tough problem solving.
Team-Based Learning 101: An Introduction Team-Based Learning is an evidence based collaborative learning teaching strategy designed around units of instruction, known as “modules,” that are taught in a three-step cycle: preparation, in-class readiness assurance testing, and application-focused exercise. A class typically includes one module.This is the single best introduction to Team-Based Learning™ (TBL). The workshop is conducted in a TBL format. Participants must prepare ahead of time, take an Individual Readiness Assessment Test (IRAT), and engage actively with their assigned team members. The structure, process, and essential characteristics of an effective TBL module are emphasized.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Team-Based Learning 102: Creating an Effective Module This workshop is for faculty and instructional staff who have completed the introductory workshop on TeamBased Learning™. As with the introductory workshop, this workshop is conducted in a TBL format and includes an advanced assignment. This workshop also uses the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy–knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation– to create TBL questions.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Register for these workshops.
Published on Feb 16, 2017
Insights Magazine is published electronically twice a year by the Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence. It features faculty articles about...