Online content 'miner's - approaches to enhance student engagement, learning, and critical thinking
Monday 3:45pm Tate 105
Oral Session Part of Monday B: Student Learning: Curriculum Design, Program Design, and DEI
David Harwood, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Student engagement and learning is enhanced through exploration and 'mining' internet content, specifically short videos shared and discussed asynchronously with peers. This approach enables students to follow their curiosity and invest in their learning across course-related themes in GEOL 125: Frontiers of Antarctic Geosciences. Students are exposed to a range of rich and visual content that brings Antarctica, scientific research activities, and topical subjects into clear focus. Students conclude each of four themes by developing high-level questions that enhance and focus student discussion boards, fostering enriched and shared learning. Students welcome freedom to explore topics of interest to them within the general flow of course material, and connections made between students with similar interests. The instructor regards well-developed student-generated questions as perhaps more important than the eventual 'answers', as the ability to frame complex questions is an important step in insightful critical thinking, and discovery of new knowledge. Students pursue what interests them, and instructors highlight and expand upon the best materials students bring forward. Teaching with student-identified content requires that instructors 'let-go' to build upon student curiosity, and add key foundational content in reflection and close-out summaries. These are developmental steps toward personal skillsets and joy in lifelong learning. Three main takeaways from this session: (1) session attendees may be inspired to support the inclusion of student-identified online resources into the framework of their course delivery; (2) student engagement is enhanced if they control and invest in elements of their learning, and see instructors responding to what they contribute; (3) student-generated questions have great value as the entry point for discussion-board posts, as they fosters inquiry and critical thinking in their peers and themselves.