IMPORTANT NOTE TO ALL WORDPRESS USERS!

In order to comply with W&L’s Web Accessibility policy,  we are currently in the process of making our WordPress sites more web accessible for individuals with disabilities.

As part of that process, we would like your assistance with educational course sites created in WordPress, in particular, course sites that are public-facing.

No action is necessary during the term, but after the end of the current term, we will request your permission to change the visibility settings on created course sites from public to private.  This will allow you and your enrolled students access to the site after the term, but will restrict access beyond your class.

If you would prefer your site to remain public, then it will be your responsibility to ensure the site meets the web accessibility guidelines mandated by the University for public-facing websites (guidelines and site evaluation tools available at https://www.wlu.edu/disability-accommodations/web-accessibility).

We have worked to ensure that all themes and settings are accessibility-ready in our WordPress service, and we will be happy to work with you at that point to ensure your added content meets these guidelines as well.

Happy Holidays! Have a Great Winter Break!

Whew! We did it! We made it! What a great fall! We wish everyone a safe and happy, relaxing, restful winter break, and we look forward to seeing you in January 2019!

Have a great winter break!

 

(For any of you overachievers, here’s a great, curated Lynda.com playlist created especially for students: Skills and Tools for Student Success.

Screen capture of Lynda.com playlist, Skills and Tools for Student Success

If you want to prepare yourself for academic success by exploring the top tools and skills students need to effectively organize their work, present their knowledge, and prepare to transition to their careers, then this playlist is for you. Annnnnnnndddddd if you need to focus on getting some R&R, we totally understand!)

Monday Productivity Pointers from Lynda.com

Happy Monday!

In this weekly series on being productive with technology, Lynda.com authors Jess Stratton, Garrick Chow, and Nick Brazzi introduce tools and tips to help make today’s software and devices work more efficiently and powerfully for you. With everything from pointers on using Microsoft Office and Google platforms to learning social networking skills and discovering the most useful apps for your iPhone or Android device, there’s something for everyone.

This week’s pointers:
Safely clearing drive space in macOS

The Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (CARPE)

The Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (CARPE) will be a state-of-the-art Teaching and Learning Center. It will have two primary functions: CARPE will support faculty development towards becoming ever better teachers, through workshops, experimental classrooms, presentations, practice space, and uses of new technology and techniques in teaching; and CARPE will support student learning, through tutoring expertise, a writing and communication center, executive function support, group and individual learning sessions, and uses of new technologies for learning.

Members of the CARPE Task Force discuss the impact that CARPE will have on the campus, including benefits for faculty and students and changes to Leyburn Library. Watch below!

Academic Technology in the News

How Faculty Can ‘Click’ Their Way to a More Inclusive Classroom

What do you think is important for an instructor to do when using classroom response systems (polling software or clickers)? Select all that apply.

A) Choose questions that most students will be able to answer correctly.
B) Vary the types of poll questions beyond multiple choice.
C) Ask students “Please discuss your answer with a neighbor.”
D) Stress that students answer questions independent of their peers.

Note: Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy will be presenting at Winter Academy! Sign up for “Leveraging Technology to Cultivate an Inclusive Classroom” on Monday, December 10th at 9:15 am in Hillel 101 at go.wlu.edu/winteracademy.

Enhancing Learning through Zest, Grit, and Sweat

Early in my career, I focused most of my efforts on teaching content. That is, after all, what most of us are hired to do, right? With experience and greater understanding of how learning works, my attention shifted toward metacognition. I began investing lots of time and energy reading and identifying ways to help students grow as learners while they learned the content.

What Professors Can Learn About Teaching From Their Students

Marcos E. García-Ojeda wants to improve his teaching. He has flipped his classroom and embraced active-learning techniques. And he’s even invited some observers to sit in on his “General Microbiology” class here at the University of California at Merced on a recent afternoon.

The observers will give Mr. García-Ojeda, an associate teaching professor of biology, a detailed depiction of the teaching and learning in his class — actions that are central to a college’s purpose but rarely examined.

This examination is especially unusual because of who’s performing it: undergraduates.

Teaching Critical Thinking: Some Practical Points

We all endorse it and we all want our students to do it. We also claim to teach it. “It” is critical thinking, and very few of us actually teach it or even understand what it is (Paul & Elder, 2013).

What’s the blueprint for a 21st-century college campus?

With enrollments declining and technology advancing, colleges are breaking ground on spaces that give students and faculty new ways to engage.

Pedagogy, Books, and Java! A Professional Development Book Club

Our Pedagogy and Pizza Luncheons has been a huge success. Thanks for joining us for lively and thought-provoking discussions. For the Winter term, we’re going to try something a little different … a faculty development book club!

We buy the book, you read it, and we all show up to talk/listen/debate over coffee and pastries catered by Pronto Caffè & Gelateria!

The book we’ve chosen is “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School“. John Medina, a molecular biologist, researcher, and professor, takes what neuroscientists have learned about the brain and explains it in a way so that anybody can understand. With countless references to peer-reviewed studies, Medina explains 12 basic principles that help you understand how the brain functions. Having a better understanding of how the brain works means (hopefully!) that we can use our brain the way it was designed to be used and change the way we think about learning, so that we can be more impactful teachers.

If interested, please sign up at go.wlu.edu/pbj (PBJ = Pedadogy, Books, and Java). Enrollment is limited to 10, so register for your spot now!

We Missed You!

But we still managed to have a great time at our second Pedagogy and Pizza luncheon. Today’s topic was about the use of technology in the classroom.

For years, professors, administrators, and policy makers alike have weighed the benefits of technology in education against its risks and consequences. And the debate is more pressing than ever, as curricula increasingly incorporate technology and professors try new methods of teaching and assessment. On one hand, using technology in the classroom allows you to experiment in pedagogy, democratize the classroom, and better engage students. On the other hand, some argue that phones, tablets, and laptops in the classroom are unhelpful, distracting, and could even potentially foster cheating.

Michael Laughy, Classics, gave an overview of the approaches that he takes in his classes. In Beginning Greek, almost all the readings and resources he assigns are in a digital form, so the use of technology is required. But that’s not the case with Intermediate and Advanced Greek – online resources and apps are not to be used when translating text.

In Mackenzie Brooks’s Digital Culture and Information (DCI) class, students work together to design an agreement for classroom norms, rules, and consequences, part of which includes the acceptable use of devices during class time. Mackenzie believes that students HAVE to learn how to manage distractions. Some day, in the not too distant future, they’ll be expected to perform sustained, focused work and effectively handling distractions and interruptions will be key.

Paul Youngman, German, was the last to offer his thoughts. His take is that teaching literature and teaching a language are two different birds, which call for, and exclude, different tools.

Thanks to all for coming out!

Not Your Mama’s Classroom!

We’re 😍 with active learning classrooms! You know, student-centered, flexible learning spaces that allow for a range of teaching and learning activities. What does an active learning classroom look like?

According to Baepler, et al. in “A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classroom: History, Research, and Practice”, active learning classrooms (ALCs)

“typically feature round or curved tables with moveable seating that allow students to face each other and thus support small-group work. The tables are often paired with their own whiteboards for brainstorming and diagramming. Many tables are linked to large LCD displays so students can project their computer screens to the group, and the instructor can choose a table’s work to share with the entire class. Wireless Internet plays an important role in retrieving resources and linking to content management systems, and depending upon the size of the room, table microphones can be critical so that every student’s voice can be broadcast across the room. Unlike the lecture hall with its clear division between front and back, the ALC is designed to even out that hierarchy and increase mobility for the instructor and students.” (p.10)

Inside the Ruscio Center for Global Learning (CGL), Rooms 104, 114, 115, 211, and 212 certainly fit the bill! Look at those:

  • movable tables and chairs allow the professor to circulate and interact for improved student engagement
    • movable chairs were designed for quick, easy transitions from one teaching mode to the next, like lecture to group work without interruption, are lightweight, portable, stackable, and COMFORTABLE! Small holes in the material allow your body to breathe, so moisture and heat dissipate, so you remain cool! (CGL 114 and 211)
    • node chairs in CGL 115 and 212 have swivel seats that give students the freedom to shift focus throughout the room. The base of node chair provides a unique storage solution for backpacks and student belongings that usually clutter the aisles. And it has an adjustable worksurface, that accommodates both left- and right-handed students and provides a perfect fit for students of all shapes and sizes.
  • multiple flat screen displays ensures that every seat is a good seat (CGL 115 and 212)
  • flip tables: allows you to save space (CGL 104)
  • dual projectionthe option to display a single source on both projection screens increases the sight lines of the classroom (CGL 115 and 212)

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Compare that to college classrooms of the past …

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So … which classroom is more likely to support teaching and learning in an atmosphere conducive to engaging students actively in their own learning?

blocks that spell out DUH

[Curious about active learning, a pedagogical approach that emphasizes student engagement in the learning process? Check out this great op-ed piece by Cathy N. Davidson in Inside Higher Ed, “10 Key Points About Active Learning“.]