Saturday, October 01, 2011

WILT: Teaching and Scholarship

WILT (What I Learned Today)

McKinney (2004) writes about 3 related ideas: (1) Good Teaching, (2) Scholarly Teaching, (3) SOTL (Scholarship on Learning and Teaching)

Good Teaching:
promotes student learning, and other student learning outcomes

Scholarly Teaching:
teachers view teaching as a profession and see that knowing the literature based on teaching and learning is a second area to keep up (the first is their own area of interest)

Scholarly teachers use CATS (class room assessment techniques), reflect on their practice, try out new ideas, talk with their colleagues

it's the systematic study of teaching and learning, and involves the public sharing of the results of the systematic study. Public sharing means giving presentations, publishing articles or other performances. Public sharing allows other scholars to comment, reflect, apply and duplicate the study results.

It seems to me that these can be seen as a continuum. I'm definitely in the Scholarly Teaching camp, and am beginning plans to move into SOTL. How about you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

What I learned Today: Writing the Syllabus

Early on as an instructor, I had this fantasy that I would work hard to create a class syllabus, and then each year after I would just change the class session dates, update the text book editions, and perhaps noodle with the formatting a bit. If I knew then what I know now, perhaps I would have stayed in the florist/greenhouse business.

I think it takes me a minimum of 3 days to create a course syllabus, and that's for courses that I've taught before. I hadn't counted on, or I didn't realize how little I knew about teaching and course design when I started out. Each syllabus represents my latest thinking and learning on the course, the newest teaching and learning techniques I'm including and my reflection how the class "went" the last time I taught it. I'm also trying to close the latest loophole that clever students found the last class.

There are certain sections I've learned that are standard to every syllabus, and I can template: When to add/drop, the student handbook, my contact information, my anti-plagiarism section, the required textbook section.

I lack the discipline, most of the time, to focus on just one area, and will then start changing page numbers for readings, the points for assignments, twiddle with bullets and indents, instead of sticking to one topic area.

This year, for my class on critical thinking, I went analog first. I wrote out what I thought we could accomplish, what readings, and what exercises would be done, etc. on paper first, and then I typed it in. I'm more focused when I start with paper, I've learned. I'll be interested to see if I can remain focused when I take notes on my iPad.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

What I Learned Today: The Jigsaw Classroom Reading Technique

One of the aspects about my teaching I've been working on this past year is engaging students with assigned readings. I did a short literature review and found some articles about various ways for students to engage with the readings before they come to class (next post will be about one such approach I'll be using this Spring).

While at the Lilly Conference this past November, I had a conversation with Barbara Foster about the cooperative learning technique called the Jigsaw.

Basically this process divides readings into smaller amounts that groups of students are then responsible for reading and reporting back to their reading groups.

Lets say that each group has four members: member 1, member 2, member 3, member 4. During class, each member 1 from each learning group gets together to discuss their 4-10 pages, and to decide what are the most important points/info to know about that section. The same thing happens with all the member 2's, member 3's and member 4's.

Once that is finished, each reading group reforms and then member 1 teaches key info to the rest of the group members. Once she is finished, member 2 teaches their key info to the rest of the group.

The jigsaw gives learners multiple touch points with the reading, and learners also have to teach the material to their classmates.

My colleague and I have used it for one week. I'm interested in seeing what will happen this upcoming class.