• 2017 Celebration of Teaching & Learning Symposium Abstracts

      Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
    • 2017 Celebration of Teaching Learning Symposium Program

      Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
    • An Inquiry-Based Approach to Teaching Introduction to Proof

      Gentle, Adrian P.
      In recent years I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the depth of engagement and student learning in my classes. As a result, in fall 2016 I implemented an inquiry-based learning (IBL) approach to teaching introduction to proof, a required course for mathematics majors which aims to introduce students to careful mathematical reasoning and transition them away from an algorithmic view of mathematics. IBL engages students in guided discovery, and in this talk I describe my transition to this evidence-based, student-centered approach. Rather than follow a traditional textbook, students work through carefully sequenced notes which contain key definitions and statements of important theorems, and students are required to construct proofs and solve non-trivial problems. Class time is spent with students presenting their work on the board, or working in small groups, with students responsible for building understanding through discussion and questioning. A significant increase in student engagement and community was observed in the first semester of the IBL class. I will discuss what worked and what did not, and argue that a transition to evidence-based teaching not only benefits students, but provides instructors with an opportunity to revitalize their classrooms.
    • Combined Flipped Classroom and Experiential Learning in an Exercise Testing and Prescription Course

      Weatherholt, Alyssa
      Focus/Problem statement: There was a lot of content and application of the content to be covered in a three-hour course. Context: The course was Exercise Testing and Prescription in the exercise science program at Franklin College. The course objectives were: Students will be able to implement appropriate protocols for pre-participation, health screening and health-related assessment. Students will be able to evaluate data from assessments and provide safe exercise prescriptions for various populations. Students will be able to counsel clients on behavior change mechanisms. Students will be able to use industry benchmarks to promote fitness management resources. Approach: I used a combined flipped classroom and experiential learning approach (Bishop & Verleger, 2013). The flipped classroom approach was before each class session students watched lectures and measurement techniques and took quizzes on the online course site. In class, I briefly summarized the lecture, but during the rest of the session the students worked in groups doing the various activities from the lecture. The experiential learning approach was each student was assigned to a community member to schedule eight meetings to do before and after exercise assessments and six personal training sessions. The experiential learning was assessed by the documentation of the exercise sessions and one observation of a session. The students were also tested on content three times and a practical exam during the semester. Reflection/Discussion: I learned that students did well on the application of the content when working in groups and doing the skill on an outside individual several times. The most unexpected outcome from the combined teaching techniques were the students did not do well on the exams. I suggest not doing the lectures online but rather do lecture tutorials combined with group activities and working with a community member outside of class (LoPresto & Slater, 2016).
    • Course Design: Mapping the Course

      Beckham, Roxanne; Riedford, Kathy; Hall, Melissa
      Focus: A map, or grid, has historically been utilized to design and represent an academic program curriculum. A course map, evolved from the program curriculum map model, provides a visual checklist to support online course development. Context: A graduate level course must be designed to meet professional accreditation standards, best practice standards, and the diverse learning needs of the students. The ideal course map design flows in a well thought out manner that addresses all crucial topical components while avoiding non-essential components or redundancies. The well detailed course map clearly reflects how each course objective is linked to specific practice standards. In addition, each course assignment, which can be designed in a flexible manner to meet unique student needs, is defined by the specific course learning objectives to be achieved. Approach: The course map is designed by faculty to serve as a convenient visual representation for the student to link overall course objectives to course assignments. The course map, presented to the student along with the course syllabus, also displays the weighted percentage for each assignment from the potential total score of the course so students can easily identify topical priorities. Discussion: The course map is currently being used with several online graduate nursing courses. During spring semester 2017, student in the graduate level nursing informatics course will be given an assignment to interact with the course map to design a learning objective specific to the chosen nursing specialty. This mapping process is also being introduced to all nursing faculty during an end of semester retreat.
    • Developing Course Assignments in an Online Course that Demonstrate Transfer of Knowledge

      Dillingham, Jara
      Online education is a growing field and requires consideration in the development of assignments. Social Work is a competency driven field of study. It requires students to demonstrate not only knowledge, but the ability to apply their knowledge in practice. Interpersonal interaction is fundamental in social work education and is important in skill development of students. This interaction should be structured into course expectations, and course content that engages students (Jones, 2015). Online coursework can potentially create additional obstacles to ensuring students are able to transfer the knowledge to their work with individuals. It is important as an educator to use teaching activities that promote engagement and are interactive, integrated, and reflective (Rowe, Frantz, & Bozalek, 2013). SOCW 400: Understanding Adoption was offered for the first time as an asynchronous online course during a 5 week summer term. The course was developed as a social work elective with the goal of providing students with a beginning understanding of adoption and adoption issues. Two of the learning objectives for the course included, utilizing positive adoption language in conversation as well as utilizing empathy and interpersonal skills to engage an adoptive parent. Integrated in this course was the final assignment that required students to contact an adoptive parent and conduct an interview with this individual. This assignment allowed students to practice interpersonal skills and utilize knowledge gained in the course to engage in conversation in a professional manner. Following the interview, students completed a reflective paper on the interview and the adoptive parent submitted feedback to the instructor on the student. The feedback from the final assignment indicated success in student’s demonstrating professionalism and knowledge of course material. Students stated they were surprised at their level of integration of knowledge and utilization of the material in such a short period of time. Rowe, M., Frantz, J., & Bozalek, V. (2013). Beyond knowledge and skills: The use of a delphi study to develop a technology-mediated teaching strategy. BMC Medical Education, 13, 51. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-13-51 Jones, S. H. (2015). Benefits and challenges of online education for clinical social work: Three examples. Clinical Social Work Journal, 43(2), 225-235. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10615-014-0508-z
    • Do C Students Get Better Grades? Using the DISC Profile to Enhance Classroom Engagement

      Fertig, Jason
      Focus/Problem Statement: How can we learn about the uniqueness of our students in order to better understand and engage them? We know our students are not a homogeneous group. Enter the DISC profile. Context: I’ve used the DISC profile in my undergraduate and graduate classes for two years. It has transformed the way I see my students. Learning the profiles of my students challenged my previous assumptions about their motivation. Approach: The DISC profile is a widely-used personality inventory assessment (probably second to Myers-Briggs-MBTI). Compared to MBTI, the DISC is easier to interpret and to teach to students. I’ve successfully taught students the DISC in 1-2 class periods, whereas MBTI took much longer. Using the profiles to guide my pedagogy resulted in more engaged students and better performance on team projects. The DISC profile, based on the work of William Moulton Marston, is a 2X2 model of the interaction between introversion—extraversion and task focus—relationship focus. The model contains four main “types” Dominance (extravert/task), Influence (extravert/relationship), Steadiness (introvert/relationship), Compliance (introvert/task), with combinations of these variables yielding 15 different profiles. While 15 profiles seem cumbersome, the 2X2 model provides a simple, common framework that guides each one, thus, it avoids “learning 15 separate types.” Brief Results: Because over 50% of my students are introverts, I’ve learned to subdue my bias towards the extrovert ideal, and to teach a class the connects with all DISC profiles. Reflection: The DISC is simply to learn and administer. I wish more of my colleagues could benefit from using it in their classes.
    • Education Majors and their Views about Physical Science: Searching for Shifts in Epistemological Beliefs after an Intensive Introductory Physics Course

      Polak, Jeffrey M.
      Education majors at the University of Southern Indiana must take a complement of 100 level courses in the physical and life sciences (PHYS 108, CHEM 108, BIOL 108, and GEOL 108). PHYS 108 serves as the first course in this required science sequence and was designed and implemented with a focus on content delivery and active-learning approaches in a combined lecture/laboratory environment. These ‘for educators’ courses are, for many students, the only college-level science courses that they will take. An important aspect of these courses should therefore be the understanding and appreciation of scientific investigation as a useful and important process for understanding the world around us. In order to gauge how the course affects students’ views about physical science and the nature of scientific knowledge, the Epistemological Beliefs Assessment for Physical Science (EBAPS) survey was administered to four sections of PHYS 108 as both a pre- and post-test in order to capture any shift in student beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning in the physical sciences. Data from this validated survey instrument will be examined and used to propose modifications to the course content and/or structure and direct further course development.
    • Engagement and Empowerment Through Storytelling

      Dawson, Amanda
      If you were to ask a group of college students if they are “excited” about a public speaking course, generally the answer would be “no.” There are numerous studies that show that public speaking is Americans' biggest fear. The Washington Post published a study from Chapman University, which showed that 23.5% of Americans fear speaking in front of a crowd (2014). This fear is greater than their fear of heights, drowning, and flying. So, how do we help our students overcome their fears? Public Speaking is offered every semester (in multiple sections) on-ground and online at Brescia University. We encourage our students to take this course sometime during their first two semesters as they will utilize the skills learned in this class throughout their time at Brescia, which is why this class is required of all students. Like many required courses, the interest, engagement, and motivation of students varies therefore one of my focuses when teaching public speaking is on student engagement and motivation. My approach to public speaking is through an embodied practice: public speaking as performance via storytelling. Pulling on my theatre background I employ theatre games, improvisational techniques, vocal exercises, and storytelling to help students gain awareness of how mind, body, and speech interrelate. In my public speaking course, you will never hear a student delivering a “how to” speech or a basic “informative” speech. Instead my students learn to tell stories – about themselves, about the world around them, and about their hopes for the future. As a result, students leave my class with confidence, new perspectives, and hopefully, a sense of ownership and empowerment. This approach can be used not only in speech and theatre courses, but also in classes across the curriculum to engage and motivate students.
    • Enhancement of Exam Preparation Skills

      Connerton, Charlotte; Bonhotal, Susan; Krieg, Sue
      Problem Statement: Does exam feedback by the faculty change the study habits and life choices of the students to be successful on an exam? Faculty feedback on exams has been identified to increase engagement and help students to verbalize their thought processes, analyze their performance on exams, and adjust study strategies to improve learning. Context: First semester baccalaureate nursing in two introductory nursing courses at a public university are completing “exam wrappers” after each exam. The students will be able to identify and reflect on exam preparation. Approach: The faculty used “exam wrappers” to collect data following each exam. An “exam wrapper” is a group of questions at the end of an exam which identify student study habits and life choices (i.e. study preparation, number of hours worked, and number of hours of sleep) prior to an exam. Using “exam wrappers” and exam scores, faculty were able to identify those students that struggled to pass exams. Once the student was identified, faculty reached out to discuss results and counsel on study habits and life choices. Faculty used a checklist which included: attendance at the meeting, review of “exam wrappers,” review of exam questions, test taking strategies, discussion of exam preparedness, and a referral to peer tutoring. Students who passed the exams were able to identify and reflect on exam preparedness. Results: Faculty consultation with the students improved the exam preparedness and exam scores. Discussion: Faculty learned that all students benefit from identification and reflection of exam preparation. “Exam wrappers” could be an additional tool for faculty to increase student engagement and motivation.
    • If You Build It, Interactive Learning Will Come . . . Sort of.

      Valadares, Kevin
      In December 2015 a traditional classroom space in the Health Professions building (HP2025) was completely renovated into an interactive and flexible learning space. New furniture (from Steelcase Corporation) was incorporated to support flexible, mobile and adaptive student learning styles. In addition, the space was renovated to incorporate features geared towards interactive learning including full length and width whiteboard writable walls, enhanced wireless capacity to encourage the use of mobile devices, touch screen interactive projectors displayed on two walls, and enhanced sound, lighting and power sources. Eleven faculty (seven different disciplines) volunteered to teach full-semester courses in the Interactive room for the initial semester (Spring 2016). A Faculty Learning Community (made up of the eleven instructors and others) was initiated to share experiences, suggestions, and problems on a real-time basis. The group met monthly and the experiences shared had distinct similarities and differences. Students and faculty were also surveyed (1) in February 2016 on their initial experience interacting in the room and (2) in April 2016 on moderated relationships combining collaborative and self-regulated learning and class engagement. An analysis of this data is shaping the basis for a scholarly article. Over the course of the Spring 2016 semester, the room was also used as a “showcase” area for Administrative meetings, advisory council meetings, lunch meetings and tour opportunities. Reflection/Discussion The physical features of the room were ready on the opening day of the Spring 2016 semester although the technological features were not complete until mid-semester. This increased the frustration among faculty and students during this time period. The monthly Faculty Learning Committee meetings were of great benefit to share experiences and led to the decision to formally pursue outcomes related to collaborative and interactive environment as a scholarship opportunity. However, there was not enough time for faculty to alter their syllabus and teaching strategies to adapt to or use the features in the room before the Spring 2016 semester began. Credentials Kevin Valadares, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Health Services and let the team that converted an existing passive learning classroom space into an interactive learning environment. He has previously led efforts to transform two lecture-based classrooms (2007 & 2010) into collaborative learning environments.
    • Implementation of a Student-Centered Active Learning Environment

      Deligkaris, Christos
      Numerous peer-reviewed publications in prestigious scientific journals have concluded that courses with a high level of student-engagement and active learning, decrease course failure rates, increase student learning and improve student grades. To increase student learning and decrease course failure rates, a reformed introductory physics course in electricity and magnetism was designed and implemented during the Fall 2016 semester at the University of Southern Indiana. Following recommendations from the physics education research (PER) literature, students had to read the textbook and take an online quiz prior to class in order to acquire some basic information. Class time was devoted to difficult topics and problem-solving sessions with students working in groups of four. To increase the effectiveness of group work, students periodically evaluated their group members and themselves using a validated online instrument developed for this purpose. Conceptual problems from PER were also included in problem-solving sessions during class. Student learning gains based on the PER-based Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM) instrument will be presented and discussed. Thoughts on how to improve this student-centered active learning environment will be discussed as well.
    • 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.
    • Inquiry-Based Abstract Algebra: An Approach for Students of Varying Preparation

      Besing, Kyle E.
      There is currently a push for an increase in active-learning in post-secondary math and science classes. The benefits of this style are discussed in the Freeman report1 and advocated for in the recent Joint Statement on Active Learning2 from CBMS. In order to increase the amount of active-learning taking place at Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC), An Inquiry-Based Approach to Abstract Algebra, a set of notes written by Dana C. Ernst at Northern Arizona University, were adopted as the text for the Fall 2016 Abstract Algebra course. Dr. Ernst’s notes were designed to be taught using the Modified Moore Method. As with many small liberal arts colleges and universities, our upper-level math courses are taught on a two-year rotation. The students in these courses can vary significantly in their prior mathematical preparation and knowledge. This particular course consisted of four students, none of which had previously experienced inquiry-based learning (IBL), ranging from a graduating senior to a junior transfer student currently completing the calculus sequence. Given that the Modified Moore Method is designed for classes with similar preparation and prior knowledge on the subject matter, further modifications to the method were introduced throughout the semester in an effort to ensure an effective learning environment for each student. In this talk, I will describe my experience introducing IBL in this setting. I will describe the challenges and advantages observed related to IBL and small class sizes. Further, this talk will include a discussion of the modifications that were made to make the course accessible for the entire class and the increase in performance and confidence I have witnessed throughout the semester in these students.
    • Interactive Classroom Using Clickers

      Seyler, Jeff
      Short of utilizing a flipped classroom approach, getting all students involved in classroom discussions and working out solutions to questions presented in class is a challenge. As with many science and math courses, students can learn the content best through practice and application, especially in terms of understanding mathematical relationships associated with scientific laws. I have always tried to include sample questions in class, illustrating the thought process and steps required to solve a particular problem, but I found many students were not participating or volunteering their thoughts or answers to questions presented. With the introduction of audience response systems, or clickers, I have made the effort to increase classroom participation and student interactions in my introductory and general chemistry classes. In this presentation, I will introduce my approach and provide different methods used to give students credit for their participation. I will also present some data gathered through student surveys related to how the clickers have influenced their learning and motivation towards the course.
    • Interprofessional Peer-to-Peer Teaching

      Bonhotal, Susan; Kilbane, Janet; Seibert, Susan; Mason, Jessica; Bartek, Jennifer
      Focus: The purpose of this project was to promote interprofessional education by developing a relationship between first semester nursing students and second year Master’s level occupational therapy (MSOT) students as well as between first semester nursing students and first year dental hygiene students. The focus was implementation of peer-to-peer teaching. Interprofessional education is a universal means to facilitate relationships, develop collaboration, and promote communication between health care professionals. Context: First semester baccalaureate nursing in the Introduction to Professional Nursing course at a public university were introduced to interprofessional peer-to-peer teaching while learning basic nursing skills. Approach: Peer-to-peer teaching was endorsed by the Institute of Medicine (2003) as a method to improve the overall quality of health care. The project was implemented for basic nursing skills modules focusing on activity/immobility and oral hygiene. The MSOT students and dental hygiene students served as peer teachers, leaders, and role models, instructing and coaching 97 nursing students during two hour skills labs. MSOT students demonstrated and instructed activity and immobility skills including: gait belts, assisting patients out of bed, walking with crutches, walkers and canes, mechanical lifts, and transferring patients. The dental hygiene students demonstrated and instructed oral hygiene skills including brushing and flossing teeth. Results: The interprofessional peer-to-peer teaching was successfully implemented as noted by instructor observation of skill attainment and anecdotal narratives of student development of mutual respect for one another’s profession. Discussion: Faculty plan to continue the activity
    • 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 is an Inside Job

      Saxby, Lori E.
      Problem and Context: Although students have spent countless hours in instructional settings before entering college, many have not learned how to learn. Upon entering college they are often surprised to know that strategies previously used for passing courses in the past are not compatible for developing the type of deep, long lasting learning required to be a successful college student. Few of today’s students show signs of being growth-minded, proactive, self-regulated learners. They may not recognize that learning is a process that occurs over time and, as author Linda Nilson states, that “learning is an inside job.” They know neither how learning works nor what they have to do to ensure it which may have a negative impact on grades and retention. Approach and Results: Since part of USI’s mission, and a major goal of higher education, is to create life-long learners, we have the opportunity to guide students in our courses toward a growth mindset that encourages learning by including assignments and activities that foster self-regulatory behaviors. With improved engagement in their own learning, students’ motivation also rises as they see successes due to their efforts. Research supports these efforts. Albert Bandura found that self-regulation and self-efficacy reinforce each other. As a result of self-regulated behaviors, the successful learner internalizes his locus of control and feels empowered to attribute successes and failures to his own study habits and efforts. In addition, Daniel Goleman found the ability to self-regulate predicted SAT scores more strongly than did IQ, parental education, or parental economic status. Discussion: Participants will have the opportunity to discuss how students currently learn in their classroom and how an emphasis on a growth mindset and self-regulated learning behaviors may lead to improvement in their students' motivation and success. Sample self-regulatory activities will be shared.
    • 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.