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Teaching and Learning Center: 2004 Events
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Summary 2004

January 2004
Group problem solving sessions in recitation
Fred Schaefer and Madhu Mahalingam

  • General Chemistry now requires students to attend a recitation per week
  • Students work in small groups in these recitations solving problems
  • Groups are heterogeneous based on how well they did in Math SAT’s for first semester groups and chemistry grades from first semester for the second semester’s groups
  • These recitation activities have helped more students to earn B and C grades, but has not reduced the number of F grades, nor increased the number of A grades
  • Students like the problem solving activities
  • Students assess each other in their small groups
  • Fred and Madhu are conducting research on the impact of these recitation problem-solving sessions on the chemistry achievement. It seems to be influenced by many factors and not a straight forward model of how or what is working

    January 2004
    What does Middle States want us to do with learning outcomes?
    Peter Miller

  • Middle States now has new standards for accreditation. There are 14 standards.
  • There is a heavy emphasis on assessment within each standard. We must particularly focus on institutional assessment and assessment of student learning.
  • Assessment must be conducted to lead to changes and improvements at the institution
    • Assessment data must drive changes in educational programs
  • We need to have multiple methods using direct and indirect measures of student learning.
    • Direct measures include products that students produce to demonstrate their learning
    • Indirect measures include surveys and reports developed by the faculty
  • We need to show alignment at all levels of the institution from the mission of the university through the strategic plan to educational programs and specific courses
  • Learning outcomes must be consistent at the program and course levels and finally institutional levels
  • In 2007 we will need to show further assessment data and to show that planning and the budget are all tied together
  • Assessment needs to occur throughout all aspects of the university at all times and not just in time for a self study report

February 2004
A generic template for learning outcomes
Margaret Kasschau and Lois Peck

  • Middle States is requiring us to have consistent learning outcomes for all of our educational programs and courses
  • The Biological Sciences Department volunteered to be the pilot program in the Mischer College of Arts and Sciences to develop learning outcomes
  • Margaret Kasschau, Lois Peck and Phyllis Blumberg developed a generic template for learning outcomes that should be applicable across programs
    • They used Fink’s taxonomy of higher learning to organize the template and specific outcomes were adapted from various sources including Cross and Angelo’s Classroom Assessment Techniques and our proposed outcomes for General Education
  • The biology faculty participated in a workshop to complete the specific ways the learning outcomes will be measured
    • Prior to the workshop faculty completed a learning goals survey to get them thinking about outcomes
    • Faculty were carefully assigned to groups who would work well together and who would be interested in specific categories of outcomes
  • The template has been further adapted for use with different graduate programs
  • Use of this template can identify holes in the curriculum and new directions we want to move toward
  • It is expected that most educational programs within Misher College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Graduate Studies will use this template for their educational programs. The health professional programs already have identified their learning outcomes as required by their licensing agencies.

February 2004
Making Theory Interactive
Paula Kramer

  • Paula adapted a teaching model that she saw worked with graduate students to learn theory. She used it with third year students
  • Students are required to read the chapter in advance and answered questions about the reading prior to the class
  • In class the students discussed the answers to these questions and held a general discussion on the theories
  • The instructor facilitates the discussion and does not instruct, nor lead the discussion.
  • Class participation in these discussions constituted a major part of their final grade.
  • 1 student served as recorder and Paula checked these notes prior to their distribution to the class on Blackboard
  • Students discussed the theories at a higher level than previously and related one theory to another better
  • However, they did not do as well on a multiple choice final exam as expected they would
    • Hypothesized that these students do not know how to study the details.
  • Students are continuing to apply theories in their classes this semester
  • Students reflected and self-assessed on their abilities with insight
  • Students liked the format very much

March 2004
Improving your students’ information skills
Leslie Ann Bowman

  • Association of Colleges and Research Libraries approved 5 standards for information literacy for college students. The Middle States Commission is expecting us to consider these standards for our students.
    • Students determine the nature and extent of the information needed
    • Students access information effectively and efficiently
    • Students evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his/her knowledge base and value system
    • Students use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
    • Students understand many of the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally
  • Teaching information skills
    • Focus on just one skill at a time
    • Model the skill in your teaching
    • Share your own information strategies
    • Be explicit about your expectations of the students and discuss why those are your expectations
    • Don’t assume that the students have the appropriate prior knowledge but also don’t repeat it.
      • Ask students to explain it to you
  • Encourage students to make judgments about information and give them feedback on those judgments


March 2004
Advances in our General Education Curriculum
Reynold Verret and members of the Education Steering Committee

  • We discussed and reflected on points raised by our guest speaker on General education, David Brakke
    • General education and the major can be more integrated. Courses from the major can count for General Education
    • While the requirements in terms of the outcomes would be across the university, ways these outcome requirements would be fulfilled might vary across programs
  • Interdisciplinary courses may be a new way to implement General Education.
    • They are expensive to operate
    • They can lead faculty to new areas of growth and scholarship
  • Who can teach in the General Education program?
    • Can people outside Misher College of Arts and Sciences teach in this program? In most places other faculty can teach in general education
    • Who is qualified to teach a course? Accepted credentials might include a terminal degree in the discipline, published three articles in the field, other forms of credentialing would be considered, ability to read and do scholarly work in that discipline
  • The Steering Committee changed the phrase for what we are reviewing from Core Curriculum to General Education because it was more accurate and consistent with what is used elsewhere
  • Andrew Peterson expects the Steering Committee to present by the end of this academic year 2 models of how we can implement the outcomes we approved last year.

March- April 2004
Progress Report on changes to student discipline, student judiciary review
Tim Rupe and Barbara Little

  • The new system is not meant to be punitive, rather the emphasis is on education and development
  • The preferred word is student conduct and not discipline. Behavior is addressed through the judicial system
  • Clearly state in your syllabus your expectations regarding academic integrity, reference the student handbook
  • If you suspect a student has violated the code of conduct, gather as much evidence as possible and contact Barbara Little, the Judicial Officer.
  • First offenders will be given an administrative hearing
  • If a students admits responsibility for the misconduct at the administrative hearing, the faculty may impose sanctions directly to the student
  • If the student and the faculty cannot agree on the responsibility or the sanctions, then the charges are brought before a formal hearing.
  • Repeat offenders always start with a formal hearing. This is one reason Barbara needs to be contacted early in the process.
  • There has been an increase in the number of suspected violations brought forward. This might be because the system is working better than the previous system we had in place.
  • Students have free will to violate our code of conduct. Faculty should not be upset that they need to bring a student forward.
  • There are still some bugs in the system, but generally it is working very well.

April 2004
Camtasia- The easiest way to create videos of computer on-screen activities
Jeanette McVeigh

  • This software creates high quality videos of what goes on at your computer screen
  • Library owns the software.
  • Can easily insert materials from other places, like slides, websites, clipart, etc. onto your video
  • With Camtasia, you can edit, enhance and publish your computer screen recordings in a popular multimedia format.
  • Works very well with Blackboard to show students your thoughts or the steps you went through
    • Excellent for illustrating search process used to identify resources available electronically
  • This is excellent for on-line teaching
  • Technical support for Camtasia is excellent. Contact them by phone, email or consult their website
  • Best instructional videos should be fairly short and have an audio component to them
  • Your audience can replay the video as many times as they want, they can pause it along the way

April- May 2004
Proficiency Exams in Writing and Computers
Roy Schriftman and Bob Manbeck

Writing Proficiency Exam

  • Reviewed the development of the exam as a graduation requirement
  • Discussed the philosophy of the exam as a means to improve the writing skills of the students
  • Contrasted Writing Proficiency exam with Writing across the Curriculum programs
  • Discussed the administration of exam and dissemination of results
  • Presented quantitative data comparing pass and failure rates to SAT verbal scores and English course placement exams
  • Discussed faculty roles in administering and grading exams
  • Discussed that there were no proposals from the committee to change process

Computer exam proficiency

  • The biggest mistake we made with the Computer proficiency testing was to allow students to self-schedule instead of scheduling them.
  • For Word:
    • 23 took CS 110
    • 86 have not yet passed the test
    • 56% either had Transfer Credits, Certification or passed the test the first time.
  • For MS-EXCEL
    • 80 took CS 111 and passed it
    • 20 are currently failing CS 111 for not turning in required projects
    • 234 students who have not yet passed the test.
    • 121 have not taken the exam yet.
  • It seems the biggest problem the students have is lack of preparation. There were tutors constantly available and they saw few students.
  • There is a need for testing, but there is also a need for faculty involvement in what should be tested and level of difficulty and consistency of tests.




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