• Implementing Interactive Demonstrations for Deep Learning

      Chan Hilton, Amy B.
      Interactive classroom demonstrations are active learning approaches used during class to engage students and improve their learning. Demonstrations have been developed in many disciplines for a variety of topics and made available for general use. In addition, many instructors have developed demonstrations for their own classes. While they can be entertaining for students, additional consideration in the implementation of these classroom demonstrations should be taken to foster deep student learning. Studies by Crouch et al. (2004) and Zimrot and Ashkenazi (2007) showed that students who engaged in the demos through inquiry learned more than students who passively observed classroom demonstrations. When student-centered learning and inquiry-based practices were used, in which students make predictions about the demo, observe the outcome, and discuss with their peers and the instructor, these implementations of the demonstrations not only resulted in student learning gains but also helped to overcome student misconceptions. By asking students to make predictions during the demonstration and discussion their observations afterwards, students activate their prior knowledge and start making connections. This presentation will present best practices in implementing and incorporating these demonstrations and highlight available interactive classroom demonstrations. Reflections from my experiences in using demonstrations in environmental engineering classes I have taught also will be shared.
    • Learning Critical Thinking Through Reacting to the Past

      Hughes, Sakina M.
      Reacting to the Past (RTTP) is an innovative pedagogical technique that encourages deep understanding of course material. It targets critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills. RTTP is a versatile pedagogical tool and may be utilized in all levels of university teaching, from entry-level courses to upper-level, advanced courses. Since RTTP deals with the history of ideas, it may be used in many different disciplines, including history, philosophy, math, sciences, and psychology. The ideal number of students is fifteen to thirty. RTTP consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts. Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students and grade their oral and written work. It seeks to draw students into the past, promote engagement with big ideas, and improve intellectual and academic skills. In most classes students learn by receiving ideas and information from instructors and texts, or they discuss such materials in seminars. In RTTP, students learn by taking on roles, informed by classic texts, in elaborate games set in the past; they learn skills—speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork—in order to prevail in difficult and complicated situations. That is because Reacting roles, unlike those in a play, do not have a fixed script and outcome. While students must adhere to the philosophical and intellectual beliefs of the historical figures they have been assigned, they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively, in papers, speeches or other public presentations; and students must also pursue a course of action they think will help them win the game. The classes in which I have taught RTTP have been not only a joy to teach, but I have seen students drastically improve their writing, speaking and critical thinking.
    • Learning to Tweet: Using Twitter in the Classroom

      Mitchell, Elissa T.
      This presentation will focus on a Twitter assignment in two social work courses. Increasingly, agencies and organizations are using social media as a way to promote their causes, raise awareness, and educate (Guo & Saxton, 2014). As future social workers, students may be asked to engage in social media as part of their jobs, or may wish to engage on their own promoting social justice or raising awareness of a certain cause (Guo & Saxton, 2015; Hitchcock & Young, 2016). Thus, the purpose of the assignment was to help students practice using social media in a professional manner. A sub-goal of the assignment was to increase students' engagement with course content by having them tweet stories, links, and resources that were related to class material. In the presentation, I will share my assignment guidelines, discuss how I introduced the assignment (and, in some cases, Twitter) to students, and talk about how I plan to adapt the assignment in the future based on this experience. I will also solicit feedback and discussion on how this assignment could be adapted for use in other courses. Guo, C. & Saxton, G. D. (2014). Tweeting social change: How social media are changing nonprofit advocacy. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43, 57–79. Hitchcock, L. I. & Young, J. A. (2016). Tweet, tweet!: Using live Twitter chats in social work education. Social Work Education, 35(4), 457-468.
    • Supplemental Instruction

      Flake, Patricia
      Students often become overwhelmed with the amount of information to be learned in a course, and often feel under-prepared for exams. SI can provide peer-led study sessions that demonstrate effective note-taking, discussion, critical thinking, and a variety of review methods, including continuous review. The scheduled 2-3 sessions throughout the weeks of the semester offer students planned study time and review. All sessions are open to all enrolled in the particular course. Feeling more prepared and confident with the material not only produces higher test scores, but students participate more in class and are less hesitant to ask questions. SI Leaders are students who have already successfully completed the course and have successfully met the required criteria, as well as, the final approval of the course instructor. Leaders have completed, or will be completing, training offered through the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) of which the department of Academic Skills is accredited. Defining SI, along with a bit of history, will demonstrate the benefits of the Supplemental Instruction program for both students and professors.