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« Workshop Discussion Threads
Questions for Tuesday presenters
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I recently started using think-pair-share activities in my intro. to geology classes. They are working out great and I think the students really enjoy them. The only draw back has been TIME, to run the activities in a 50min class period I have not been covering as much content as I would like to. Do others have this problem, if yes how do you deal with loosing content time. I can see learning 'gains' and student excitement but worry that the net learning gain is lessened by the fact that they missed some content.
977:2884Share edittextuser=2123 post_id=2884 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
Also, by the time the students get to this particular exercise, they've had some more simplified Excel chores in previous activities, so they're beginning to know their way around Excel by the time they get to this.
I should mention as well, that, much like Julie mentioned today, our school is becoming so 'data-driven' and 'assessment-driven', which is OK. We're also reconfiguring our Core from the smorgasboard course options model to Core Learning Outcomes (how's that for jargon?). The intention will be something along the line of what Julie was describing -- integrating specific core content, skills, and values within our courses (to the extent that we can). Increasingly we're pushing our courses to become more quantitative, and I'm a firm believer in teaching students not to be afraid of quantitative manipulation.
While I'm on the subject of MS, during my summer section I had the students doing a lot of their work asynchronously and sharing files representing their provisional work back and forth. To make their lives easier, we all used the Open Office spreadsheet 'Calc', with good success.
977:2886Share edittextuser=444 post_id=2886 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
A technique I've used with much success with regard to the time/content dilemma is to assign a lot of group activity to be done asynchronously. Via our Blackboard CMS system, I can give students work to do from Friday to Monday, and if they realize it's to be turned in on Monday for assessment, by and large they do it. I find I'm getting more absolute productivity from my students using computer-based instruction than I did before. For instance, give them an assignment to build and present a Powerpoint presentation on some subject, and they'll work over the weekend or during their weektime 'off days'. And they pick up the content on their own without having to hear them whine about my lectures.
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977:2888Share edittextuser=444 post_id=2888 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
Thanks for the encouragement and great ideas. I really appreciate it!
977:2890Share edittextuser=2123 post_id=2890 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
1) I stay on track with my outcomes- I teaching according to what I want my students to learn which is very different than teaching according to a topic.
2) My students stay on track with the outcomes- they have a clear definition of what I want them to get out of the class and they work on acheiving that.
3) I spend little to no time meshing with the assessment requirements that have been place on me by the university. Since I'm already operating in that mode, I'm not having to make major adjustments (which mean time) to meet their needs.
Now to address a question Lisa sent over email and I noticed above: I was wondering if you ever feel that you have had to skip coverage of
some topics because of the time you spend in weather discussions? Do
you use homework web assignments to expand the scope of your lectures?
I definitely feel like the detail that I can get into on some topics is minimal because I have a shorter time to lecture. However, when I look at what my outcomes are, I am achieving more of what I want to students to learn with the weather reports than I am with a detailed lecture. I guess that is how I justify it. My students aren't going to become meteorologist. They are dancers, business majors ect. and I really want to them to learn about how to read data, understand the process of science, more than I want them to learn about details of some meteorological phenomena.
I do however utilize blackboard for out of class assignments. They take reading quizzes, and participate in group discussion via blackboard site and all of that is done outside of class. I'm not sure you can really make up on "content" like a lecture would, but you can certainly add to the course using these types of activities.
Hope this helps answer these questions.
977:2891Share edittextuser=2130 post_id=2891 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
Although the choice is pretty easy to make in non-majors' courses because we're rarely constrained to cover any particular subject matter agenda, I'd suggest that even in majors' courses it's legitimate to ask whether its more important to master a particular body of subject matter or to develop skills for gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, and communicating subject matter, often collaboratively. Those skills require opportunities to practice, and practicing them can lead to deeper understanding of some of the subject matter. The trade-off of better intellectual and other skills in favor of mastering more subject matter might be worthwhile to most students in the long run.
977:2901Share edittextuser=436 post_id=2901 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
It's a good question, and I'd love to see that reference if you happen to come across it. Usually, when I run an in class demo, I usually make sure to start with questions about expectations for what they will see. This is usually a review of some basic concepts (what is Coriolis effect? Which way do we expect the fluid to be deflected?) Then we run through the demo. My assessment right now comes in the form of their weekly lab assignments - the demo serves the role of reinforcing ideas we deal with in lecture and lab, not yet as a stand alone piece.
I have to admit that assessment is something I'm still very weak at - I've had little or no experience with designing assessment. Judging be the comments for the other presentations, I'm going to have to catch up on some of those afternoon talks and see what everyone is talking about
977:2902Share edittextuser=2142 post_id=2902 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
And if you go up a level from that website, you can get all kinds of climate data including ICOADS ship reports, GPCP precipitation climatologies and more. If you have any questions about how to use it, let me know and I can talk you through it.
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I finally got to catch up on your presentation from Tuesday. This COMET website is what motivated my use of NCEP reanalysis data to show where a hurricane would go. Maybe there's a way to explain how average geopotential heights over the 850-500 mb layer is the steering level. Maybe we can develop a way to grab and average that data and predict where the hurricane would go using actual data. Would you be interested in developing this?
977:2935Share edittextuser=2142 post_id=2935 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
I just watched your presentation from Tuesday and I'm really impressed. In particular, it's helpful to hear someone else who is pushing for achievement from their students. I've come in and met with resistance from students who were upset to find out that a class that had previously been a "grade booster" was no longer and I had a bit of mutiny that involved spending a lecture period trying to reassure them that the things I was asking them to do are things their employers will also ask them to do...
Anyway, I loved your project. I loved that you gave them rubrics (I forgot how useful those are...), and I really love the Op-Ed part of that project. A colleague and I are preparing a new course very similar to yours for next year and I am excited to adapt this idea to our class. Thanks again!
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977:2939Share edittextuser=1708 post_id=2939 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=977
Todd: The reference that I had in mind about some of the pitfalls of classroom demonstrations, and one technique for overcoming these pitfalls, is:
Milner-Bolotin, Kotlicki, and Rieger, 2007. Can Students Learn from Lecture Demonstrations? Journal of College Science Teaching 36 (1): 45-49
A quote from that article: "Amazingly, students remembered not what they saw, but what they expected to see."
Another quote: "Students who have a chance to observe physics demonstrations during lectures (accompanied by the instructor's explanations) without any further activity on students' part show very little learning of the underlying science concepts.... [S]tudents don't gain thorough conceptual understanding just from observing a demonstration. On the other hand, students who had a chance to predict an outcome of a demonstration prior to seeing the demonstration achieved a significantly higher success rate.... Furthermore, students who had the opportunity to make a prediction, discuss it with peers, and only then observe the demonstration, were found to be getting the most out of this learning experience."
(The article then goes on to describe a more elaborate way to engage students in learning from demonstrations. It involves out-of-class analysis of data gathered from a demonstration, etc. The motivation for their alternative approach was in part to avoid what they called the "negative emotional impact on students' confidence" when their predictions of a demonstration's outcome conflict with the observations. You can accept that rationale or not, but their strategy for increasing students' engagement in the demonstration and its results are perhaps worth considering.)
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