Using Technology To Increase Engagement In Larger Courses

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  • Imagine this scene.  Looking out across a sea of nameless faces in the 500-seat lecture hall, you wonder to yourself, "What have I done?  How am I going to teach this class effectively?  Is it possible for students to learn in this type of classroom environment?"  As you dim the classroom lights and get ready to introduce yourself and your course to this mass of humanity, you think, "Here goes nothing..."
  • This model provides a valuable framework for the design of any large-enrollment course.  Faculty members can use these seven principles to shape in-class and out-of-class activities that will foster student learning.  Faculty can also identify various technological tools that might help them achieve these goals, even in a class of 500, 1,000, or more students.  We will use these principles to illuminate how technology can enhance teaching and learning in large courses.
  • an effective syllabus should (OTRP Project Syllabus): provide a clear map of the course give clear and complete information communicate clear goals for the course and ways to meet these relate assignments to course goals be interesting and creative communicate departmental, institutional, or legal regulations and communicate positive expectations.
  • My approach to the use of SLOs for Introductory Psychology involves providing two different types of SLOs.  The first set of SLOs identifies what students should be able to do upon completion of the course.  These more general SLOs for the course, adopted from the undergraduate psychology major learning goals and outcomes from the American Psychological Association (2006), include, among others, the following: Describe the nature of psychology as a discipline (i.e., explain why psychology is a science). Use the concepts, language, and major theories of the discipline to account for psychological phenomena. Explain major perspectives of psychology (e.g., behavioral, biological, cognitive, evolutionary, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural). Demonstrate knowledge and understanding representing appropriate breadth and depth in selected content areas of psychology.
  • Let's be honest.  Very few instructors are talented enough (and/or entertaining enough) to engage an audience for 50 or 75 minutes straight.  In fact, research evidence indicates that attention waxes and wanes within typical 50- or 75-minute class sessions (Ericksen, 1978)).  Such tendencies may be even more pronounced in 500-seat lecture halls, which are characterized by high levels of potentially distracting stimuli, including laptops, cell phones, and the other students packed around you.  Given this reality, it is likely to a very ineffective practice for the instructor to plan on standing in front of the class and to lecture non-stop for the entire class period.  Thus, a typical best practice for teaching large-enrollment courses is to "chunk" the lecture into smaller parts.  This simply involves breaking a longer lecture of 50 or 75 minutes into shorter pieces of 10-15 minutes each.  Such "mini-lectures" have the potential to ameliorate the negative effects of limited attention spans.
  • A final in-class strategy to enhance teaching and learning involves the use of lecture capture technology.  A variety of software and hardware options exist that permit instructors to capture in-class lectures and other activities for later review by students in the course.  Many of these options are relatively simple to employ, some requiring the instructor to press just one button to initiate the lecture capture process.  At San Diego State University, I have been involved in a pilot project testing out the feasibility of lecture capture in our 500-student classrooms.  Specifically, we have used Podcast Producer from Apple, a product that streamlines the production of high-quality video podcasts.  All in-class lectures are recorded by the Podcast Producer software, capturing not only the sound of the instructor's voice but also any on-screen activity, including PowerPoint presentations, web site reviews, or any multimedia utilized during the class session.  The video podcasts of these in-class activities are then delivered to the course web page in the campus course management system, in this case Blackboard, typically within one day.  To view a class session, students simply click a button within the Blackboard course and the video podcast from that class session is downloaded to their computer.  These files can then be exported to their iPod or other mp3 player.  Student response to this lecture capture technology has been almost uniformly positive.  International students, in particular, rave about the ability to review in-class presentations as many times as necessary for them to be able to understand the material.  Finally, it is important to note that, given the attendance points that are awarded via clickers (as described above), making class lectures available via lecture capture technology has had no discernible negative effect on in-class attendance.
  • Using Technology To Increase Engagement In Larger Courses

    1. 1. Using Technology to Increase Engagement in Large(r) Courses Mark A. Laumakis, Ph.D. Faculty in Residence Instructional Technology Services San Diego State University
    2. 2. What the …? http://www.princeton.edu/main/images/news/2007/08/IMG_8299-mcc5.jpg
    3. 3. Chickering and Gamson’s (1987) Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education <ul><li>encourages contact between students and faculty </li></ul><ul><li>develops reciprocity and cooperation among students </li></ul><ul><li>encourages active learning </li></ul><ul><li>gives prompt feedback </li></ul><ul><li>emphasizes time on task </li></ul><ul><li>communicates high expectations </li></ul><ul><li>respects diverse talents and ways of learning </li></ul>
    4. 4. Start with the Syllabus <ul><li>Effective syllabus should: </li></ul><ul><li>provide a clear map of the course </li></ul><ul><li>give clear and complete information </li></ul><ul><li>communicate clear goals for the course and ways to meet these </li></ul><ul><li>relate assignments to course goals </li></ul><ul><li>be interesting and creative </li></ul><ul><li>communicate departmental, institutional, or legal regulations and </li></ul><ul><li>communicate positive expectations </li></ul>
    5. 5. Focus on Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) <ul><li>&quot;Student learning outcome statements succinctly describe student capacities -- observable and measurable manifestations of knowledge, skills, and attitudes -- attained as a result of some learning process or educational experience.  The simplest form for outcome statements consists of an action verb and a noun phrase&quot; (p. 102 of SDSU Curriculum Guide). </li></ul>
    6. 6. SLO Examples from Introductory Psychology <ul><li>Describe the nature of psychology as a discipline (i.e., explain why psychology is a science). </li></ul><ul><li>Use the concepts, language, and major theories of the discipline to account for psychological phenomena. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain major perspectives of psychology (e.g., behavioral, biological, cognitive, evolutionary, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural). </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate knowledge and understanding representing appropriate breadth and depth in selected content areas of psychology. </li></ul>
    7. 7. My Intro Psych Syllabus Also: <ul><li>explains how to access the course web site </li></ul><ul><li>identifies the dates, policies, and procedures for all in-class tests </li></ul><ul><li>describes how to access and complete online quizzes </li></ul><ul><li>explains how a classroom response system (&quot;clickers&quot;) will be incorporated into the course </li></ul><ul><li>provides information for students with disabilities, and </li></ul><ul><li>outlines the schedule of topics to be covered in the course, including specific SLOs for each topic </li></ul>
    8. 8. In-Class Activities <ul><li>“Chunking” Traditional Lectures </li></ul><ul><li>Clicker Activities </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia in the Classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Lecture Capture </li></ul>
    9. 9. “Chunking” Traditional Lectures <ul><li>Attention waxes and wanes within 50- or 75-minute class period </li></ul><ul><li>Break longer lecture into shorter 10-15-minute “chunks” </li></ul>http://theauburner.com/images/girlsleeping.jpg
    10. 10. Clicker Activities <ul><li>ConceptCheck Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Peer Instruction Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Anonymous Polling </li></ul><ul><li>Predicting Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Taking Attendance </li></ul>
    11. 11. ConceptCheck Question
    12. 12. Clicker Results Graph
    13. 13. Peer Instruction Questions (Mazur, 1997) <ul><li>The professor asks a conceptual or applied multiple-choice question. </li></ul><ul><li>Students think about the question and answer the question on their own. </li></ul><ul><li>The professor reveals the responses of the entire class, but does not indicate the correct answer. </li></ul><ul><li>Students then discuss the question and their answer choice in small groups with their neighbors.  This is why the approach is called Peer Instruction. </li></ul><ul><li>The professor asks the same question a second time and students respond, informed by their discussion with their peers. </li></ul><ul><li>The professor reveals the responses of the entire class, including the correct answer. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Multimedia in the Classroom: The Mindset of Millennials <ul><li>Computers aren't technology. </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet is better than TV. </li></ul><ul><li>Reality is no longer real. </li></ul><ul><li>Doing is more important than knowing. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning more closely resembles Nintendo than logic. </li></ul><ul><li>Multitasking is a way of life. </li></ul><ul><li>Typing is preferred to handwriting. </li></ul><ul><li>Staying connected is essential. </li></ul><ul><li>There is zero tolerance for delays. </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer and creator are blurring. </li></ul>http://net.educause.edu/apps/er/erm00/articles005/erm0051.pdf
    15. 15. Demonstrations, Simulations, and Learning Objects <ul><li>Neural Synapse </li></ul><ul><li>Synapse Animation </li></ul><ul><li>Vs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blah, blah, blah, synapse, blah, blah, blah, neurotransmitter, blah, blah, blah, lunch?... </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Lecture Capture <ul><li>Learning On-Demand </li></ul><ul><li>iTunes U pilot at SDSU </li></ul>
    17. 17. Outside-of-Class Activities <ul><li>Online Quizzes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-Lecture Quizzes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mastery Quizzes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Generate a personalized study plan </li></ul><ul><li>Automated grading </li></ul><ul><li>Good proxy for “homework” efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Provide useful measures when computing final course grades </li></ul>
    18. 18. Revisiting the Seven Principles Respects diverse talents and ways of learning Communicates high expectations Emphasizes time on task Gives prompt feedback Encourages active learning Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students Encourages contact between students and faculty Online Quizzes Lecture Capture Multimedia Clickers Syllabus
    19. 19. Contact Information <ul><li>Mark A. Laumakis, Ph.D. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>619-594-1933 </li></ul>

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