08/11/2011

Setting right tone at course beginning

Faculty have preferred ways to conduct their classes and have individual policies.  However, these practices and policies differ from one instructor to another and students do not know your policies unless you explicitly inform them.  On the first day of class and on the course page in your learning management system ( i.e., BlackBoard), you might address the following issues, among others:

1.  Do you prefer to finish your presentation of new material before students ask questions or can students interrupt with questions any time?

2. What kinds of student collaboration are encouraged, acceptable and what is not allowed.  We often give mixed messages that students can interpret differently.  For example, if they can collaborate on project work, such as labs, you need to tell them if they can also collaborate on the written reports coming form the projects, such as lab reports.

3.  What is your policy about how material is to be handed in- must be on paper, in your drop box in the learning management system or emailed to you through the university email?

4.  Do you allow students to come late to class or prefer that they skip the class?      

5.  What reference citation style will you accept for their writing?

6. How should they contact you if they need to see you outside of office hours?

7. What is acceptable in terms of how formally or informally students send you electronic messages and in what medium would you prefer to receive them?

There are many others.  As you think of the answers to these questions, you might start developing an information sheet that you can attach to all course shells on your course page in your learning management system.  You can add more ideas to this list over time.

When students know these policies and practices, they are more likely to get off to a good start in your course and not violate rules unintentionally.

 

07/25/2011

USciences faculty win teaching awards

The Teaching and Learning Center of the University of the Sciences recognizes teaching excellence through giving awards.  Five faculty members won Bright Idea Awards for innovative teaching and three adjunct faculty members won awards for excellent teaching.

 

The Bright Idea Award winners were selected by a panel of department chairs as the most innovative.  The winners along with a dozen of their colleagues presented at a competitive poster session on educational innovations in May, 2011.  Over seventy faculty, administrators, and staff attended the poster session.  Abstracts of these projects, along with all of the other posters may be found at the Center’s website at www.sciences.edu/teaching.

We are happy to recognize the following faculty who won the Bright Idea Award for their projects:

  • Lora Packel, of  Physical therapy “The impact of hearing versus seeing feedback on written assignments”
  • Lindsey Curtin, Laura Finn, Michael Cawley of Pharmacy Practice , “Impact of computer based simulation on learning objectives in mannequin based simulation” 
  • Grace Earl,  of Pharmacy Practice “Evaluating the quality of online discussion forum posts to improve teaching methods that promote critical thinking in pre-professional students”

 

Students, faculty and chairs can nominate adjunct professors for recognition as an outstanding adjunct professor.  Adjunct professors teach one or two courses in their specialty while holding other full time jobs or doing other things.  The deans selected the winners from among the many nominations. We are pleased to announce this year’s adjunct professors:

  • Sergio Guerra – Biology – Forensic Anthropology
  • John Muccitelli – Chemistry
  • Nicholas Spring – Pharmaceutical Business

 

futher faculty presentations

  • Phyllis Blumberg,  Evaluating Your Teaching in Experiential Settings Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Amy Van Kleunen, Carol Maritz, Using online Discussion Boards to Foster Social Interdependence Among Learners Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Lindsey Curtin, Laura Finn, Impact of computer based simulation on the achievement of learning outcomes Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • E. Amy Janke & Phyllis Blumberg, Using self assessment rubric to develop a teaching improvement plan for new faculty Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Madhu Mahalingam, Elizabeth Morlino and Elizabetha Fasella, Using technology as a tool in the development of student’s problem solving skills. Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Grace Earl, Evaluating Student online Discussion forum Posts to Improve Teaching Methods that Promote thinking Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Laura Mandos, School Wide Curricular Efforts to Enhance Teaching Scholarship Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Michael Bruist, Teaching Biochemistry Problem Solving Skills, presented at Association of Biochemistry Course Directors

USciences faculty present on teaching

Eighteen University of the Sciences faculty made 15 presentations at four, peer –reviewed and competitive conferences. (for example, at the Lilly-East Conference, USciences faculty made 8 presentations. Competition was especially keen to present at this conference as there were over 259 submissions.) Peer reviewed Conference Presentations made by faculty on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning topics. The Teaching and Learning Center helped to fund the faculty to attend these conferences.

• Jeanette McVeigh, Finding the right resources for your scholarship of teaching and learning Pa Library Association conference

• Pam Kearney, Jennifer Pitonyak and Phyllis Blumberg short course presentation on learning centered teaching at American Occupational Therapy Association

• Anne Marie Flanagan, What Will Students Think of Next?, Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC)

 • Alison M. Mostrom, Are IF – AT Practice quizzes Superior to Tradition Paper Practice Quizzes presented at The Teaching Professor Conference

 • Andrew Peterson, Phyllis Blumberg, and Alison M. Mostrom Keeping Your Teaching Fresh: Are Teaching Mentor Relationships for you? presented at The Teaching Professor Conference

 • Phyllis Blumberg, Keeping Teaching Invigorated through Self-assessment and Scholarship of Teaching/Learning presented at The Teaching Professor Conference

• Jeanette McVeigh, Finding the Research on Teaching and Learning. Presented at the Lilly-East Conference

USciences faculty: skillful teachers

>During 2010-2011, the Teaching and Learning Center of the University of the Sciences offered or cosponsored 81 different educational events for the faculty. Overall 79% of the full time faculty participated in at least one of them. Therefore, USciences faculty may be some of the best trained teachers at universities in America. 64 (35% of the total) full time faculty presented their ideas through Teaching and Learning Center venues. For more information on the presentations go to the Center’s website www.usciences.edu/teaching.

04/08/2011

faculty goals vs. student prefrences

Download Mting responsibilities as faculty or giving into students

11/19/2010

Test reviews to benefit students and teachers

Develop very challenging multiple choice questions that you can use as a review for the students.  These questions should go well beyond factual but involve the highest levels of cognitive processing that you want your students to be able to do.  This review should take place almost a week before the test so the students have time to study appropriately. You can administer these questions in a variety of ways, but the most important part is for you to be able to collect the answers to see where students struggled. 

  • You can put them online and be sure the computer can record how many tries it took each student to get the right answer and which alternatives they selected.
  • You can use IF-AT (scratch- off) answer sheets.  Here collect the answer sheets to see where there were multiple attempts to get the right answer
  • You can use clickers and look at the distribution of selected answers

These challenging questions should motivate the students to study harder and concentrate more on the higher levels of cognitive processing.  You can determine what topics the students had the most difficulty and offer additional help with these topics.  You could put this additional help online, refer them to resources or ask the supplemental instructor to focus on them.

09/21/2010

Best Teaching at U of the Sciences

 Faculty at the University of the Sciences are excellent teachers who constantly strive to improve their teaching, share their innovations and even do research to improve their teaching.  For example:

  • Overall 77% of the full time faculty  participated in at least one, voluntary faculty development activity during the year. 
  • 40% different full time or adjunct faculty presented their ideas  about teaching to other faculty on campus.  Some made many presentations. 
  • 18 USciences faculty made 13 presentations at two peer –reviewed and competitive conferences (The Teaching Professor and the Lilly-East Conference) dedicated to teaching and learning in higher education.  At one of these conferences, out of 35 peer-reviewed presentations, three (08%) of them were made by USciences faculty.  Competition was especially keen to present at this conference as there were 240 submissions.      

All of this adds up to dedicated teachers who foster student learning.  That is why I am proud of the faculty at the U of the Sciences.                                

 

 

Faculty reflect on student evaluations

Since faculty take student comments very seriously, it is appropriate to consider how to review the comments from students.  Many faculty get upset with a lone, below the belt and inappropriate comment and over-react to it.  It is important to look at patterns and trends and not just isolated comments or numbers.  Further, some comments need to be unpacked to be understood.  For example, if students write that the course was challenging, is that a complement or a negative remark?  Courses can be challenging because they made the student work hard, learn a lot or really stretch them.  Courses can also be challenging because the course appeared disorganized or was over the student’s head.  To find out what students mean you might want to conduct some follow-ups with the students or ask the next class to help you understand comments.

It is always a good idea to gather some of your own formative feedback on your teaching and not just rely on the standard course evaluations.

07/01/2010

Faculty reflect on student evaluations

Since faculty take student comments very seriously, it is appropriate to consider how to review the comments from students.  Many faculty get upset with a lone, below the belt and inappropriate comment and over-react to it.  It is important to look at patterns and trends and not just isolated comments or numbers.  Further, some comments need to be unpacked to be understood.  For example, if students write that the course was challenging, is that a complement or a negative remark?  Courses can be challenging because they made the student work hard, learn a lot or really stretch them.  Courses can also be challenging because the course appeared disorganized or was over the student’s head.  To find out what students mean you might want to conduct some follow-ups with the students or ask the next class to help you understand comments.

It is always a good idea to gather some of your own formative feedback on your teaching and not just rely on the standard course evaluations.

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