Designing Effective and Innovative Courses
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Designing Effective and Innovative Courses. A Practical Strategy. Roanoke College INQ 300 Development Workshop August 15-16, 2012 Adapted from a model developed for The Cutting Edge by Barbara J. Tewksbury Hamilton College.

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Roanoke College INQ 300 Development Workshop August 15-16, 2012

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Roanoke college inq 300 development workshop august 15 16 2012

Designing Effective and Innovative Courses

A Practical Strategy

Roanoke College INQ 300 Development Workshop

August 15-16, 2012

Adapted from a model developed for The Cutting Edge by

Barbara J. Tewksbury

Hamilton College

http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/coursedesign/tutorial/index.html


Applying the science of learning halpern and hakel

Applying the Science of Learning (Halpern and Hakel)

Goal: Teaching for long term retention and transfer

  • Provide repeated, spaced practice at retrieval

  • Vary conditions under which learning happens

  • Have students re-present information in new format

  • Assess students’ prior knowledge and experience

  • Confront students’ belief that learning should be easy

  • Give systematic and corrective feedback

  • Use lectures for recognition but not understanding

  • Expect “selective forgetting” of info not reinforced

  • Recognize depth/breadth tradeoff

  • Focus on what students do, not what professors do


Aim of this workshop

Aim of this workshop

Introduce a practical strategy for designing an INQ 300 course that:

  • gets students to think for themselves in the context of a contemporary issue

  • stresses inquiry and de-emphasizes traditional direct instruction

  • emphasizes relevance, transferability, and future use

  • builds in authentic assessment

  • passes muster with our Curriculum Committee!


How are courses commonly designed

How are courses commonly designed?

  • Make list of content items important to coverage of the field

  • Develop syllabus by organizing items into topical outline

  • Flesh out topical items in lectures, recitations, discussions, labs

  • Test knowledge learned in course


What s missing

What’s missing?

  • Consideration of what your students need or could use, particularly after the course is over

  • Articulation of desired student learning outcomes beyond content/coverage

  • Focus on student learning and problem solving rather than on coverage of material by the instructor


An alternative approach

An alternative approach

Emphasis on designing a course in which:

  • Students learn significant and appropriate content and skills

  • But students also have practice in thinking for themselves and solving problems

  • Students leave the course prepared to use their knowledge and skills in the future


Over 30 years of research documents collaborative learning s positive effect on

Over 30 years of research documents collaborative learning’s positive effect on …

  • content mastery

  • critical thinking ability

  • problem solving ability

  • development of interpersonal skills (highly valued by employers)

    Barkley, E.F., Cross, K.P., Major, C.H. (2005). Collaborative learning techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T., & Smith, K.A. (1991). Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports, No. 4. Washington, DC: GW University.


An aside on terminology

An aside on terminology

  • Design model is focused on learning outcomes

  • Learning outcomes should be

    • concrete and

    • measurable (“My goal in life is to make a million $$”; “My goal next year is to win on Jeopardy!”).


Overview of this approach

Overview of this approach

  • Articulating context and audience

  • Setting learning outcomes

    • Overarching learning outcomes

    • Skills learning outcomes

  • Achieving desired outcomes through selecting content

  • Developing a course plan with assignments, activities, and assessments to achieve the desired outcomes


Step i context and audience

Step I: Context and audience

Our course design process begins with answering the following:

  • Who are my students?

  • What do they need?

  • What are the needs of the curriculum?

  • What are the constraints and support structure?


The students in inq 300

The Students in INQ 300

  • Mostly seniors, a few juniors

  • 20% transfers, 80% entered as freshman

  • Most around 21 years old

  • Any major

  • Completed INQ Core

    • INQ 110 and INQ 120

    • 200-level Perspectives courses

    • 90% took INQ 240 Statistics


The intellectual inquiry curriculum

The Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum

  • Critical inquiry into important questions

  • Methods of and questions asked by

    • Social Sciences

    • Natural Sciences

    • Mathematics

    • Humanities


The intellectual inquiry curriculum1

The Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum

Skills—all revisited in INQ 300

  • Writing

  • Oral communication

  • Quantitative reasoning

  • Research/Information literacy

  • Collaboration


Inq 300 requires students to

INQ 300 requires students to

  • work in small groups to

  • research and

  • draw on information and perspectives from all three divisions to

  • develop a proposal concerning a concept, approach, or solution to a contemporary problem that will be

  • presented in a formal oral defense.


Inq instructors should

INQ instructors should

Pose a question or topic in such a way that

  • students can draw on information and perspectives from all three divisions,

  • encourages research and creative application of facts to a contemporary problem so as to

  • students arrive at, propose, and defend a solution.

  • allows students to draw from their previous work


Inq 300 course requirements

INQ 300 Course Requirements

  • Include a number of intellectually rigorous readings, along with any other types of source materials relevant to the instructors’ disciplines.

  • Ask students to complete four kinds of tasks. The particular way these tasks are completed is up to the instructor:

    • Application of previous work to the course topic

    • Individual Writing

    • Group Assignment (may incorporate individual work)

    • Oral defense of group assignment.


Course structure

Course Structure

In order to make time for the required group project, faculty may wish to

  • Meet in a seminar style for the first portion of the course

  • Meet as a class only occasionally in later portions of the course

  • Spend significant time meeting with small groups to monitor progress


Assessment needs

Assessment Needs

  • Individual paper scored on INQ Rubric

  • Oral presentation (individual or group) scored on INQ Rubric

  • Administer QR Test (multiple choice)

  • Collect final projects electronically.

    • Archive

    • Rubric-scored by faculty other than instructor

    • Also scored by instructor??? Rubric under development


Task 1 context constraints and opportunities

Task #1: Context, Constraints, and Opportunities

  • What are the primary challenges posed by the context and constraints?

  • What opportunities are presented by the context and constraints that you could take advantage of in course design?


Step 2 setting student focused overarching skill learning outcomes

Step 2: Setting student-focusedoverarching & skill learning outcomes

  • Shouldn’t we be asking what we want the students to be able to do as a result of having completed the course, rather than what the instructor will expose them to?

  • Need to focus on what the students do, not the teacher


Setting student focused overarching learning outcomes

Setting student-focused, overarching learning outcomes

  • Example from an art history course

    • Give students a survey of art from a particular period

      Vs.

    • Enable students to go to an art museum and evaluate technique of an unfamiliar work or evaluate an unfamiliar work in its historical context or evaluate a work in the context of a particular artistic genre/school/style


Setting student focused overarching learning outcomes1

Setting student-focused, overarching learning outcomes

  • Example from a bio course

    • Provide an overview of topics in general biology

      Vs.

    • Enable students to evaluate claims in the popular press or seek out and evaluate information or make informed decisions about issues involving genetically-engineered crops, stem cells, DNA testing, HIV AIDS, etc.


Common denominator

Common denominator

  • What sorts of things do you do simply because you are a professional in your discipline? For example, a geologist might

    • use the geologic record to reconstruct the past and to predict the future.

    • look at houses on floodplains, and wonder how people could be so stupid

    • hear the latest news from Mars and say, well that must mean that….


Verbs for learning outcomes involving lower order thinking skills

Verbs for learning outcomes involving lower order thinking skills

  • Knowledge, comprehension, application

calculate

mix

prepare

list

identify

recognize

explain

describe

paraphrase


Examples of learning outcomes involving lower order thinking skills

Examples of learning outcomes involving lower order thinking skills

  • At the end of this course, I want students to be able to:

    • List the major contributing factors in the spread of disease.

    • Identify common rocks and minerals.

    • Describe how the Doppler shift provides information about moving objects, and give an illustrative example.

    • Cite examples of poor land use practice.

    • Discuss the major ways that AIDS is transmitted.

    • Calculate standard deviation for a set of data.


Examples of learning outcomes involving lower order thinking skills1

Examples of learning outcomes involving lower order thinking skills

While some of these learning outcomes involve a deeper level of knowledge and understanding than others, the goals are largely reiterative.


Verbs for learning outcomes involving higher order thinking skills

Verbs for learning outcomes involving higher order thinking skills

  • Analysis, synthesis, evaluation, some types of application

derive

design

formulate

predict

interpret

evaluate

analyze

synthesize

create


Examples of learning outcomes involving higher order thinking skills

Examples of learning outcomes involving higher order thinking skills

At the end of this course, I want students to be able to:

  • Make an informed decision about a controversial topic not covered in class involving . . .

  • Collect and analyze data in order to . . .

  • Design models of . . .

  • Solve unfamiliar problems in . . .

  • Find and evaluate information/data on . . .

  • Predict the outcome of . . .


Examples of learning outcomes involving higher order thinking skills1

Examples of learning outcomes involving higher order thinking skills

  • What makes these different from the previous set is that they are analytical, rather than reiterative.

  • Focus is on new and different situations.

  • Emphasis is on integrating skills, abilities, knowledge, and understanding.


Why are overarching outcomes important

Why are overarching outcomes important?

If you want students to be good at something, they must practice; therefore, learning outcomes drive both course design and assessment.


Learning outcomes should be

Learning outcomes should be…

  • Student-centered

  • Focused on higher order thinking skills

  • Concrete

  • Comprised of measurable outcomes


Setting skill learning outcomes

Setting skill learning outcomes

  • Example skills

    • Accessing and reading the professional literature

    • Working in teams

    • Writing, quantitative skills, oral presentation

    • Critically assessing information on the web

  • These may be elements of overarching outcomes or may be their own outcomes


Common learning outcomes for inq 300

Common Learning Outcomes for INQ 300

  • Students will apply their research findings to a formal project addressing the course topic question and will successfully present this proposal in an oral defense.

  • Students will write well-organized and clearly reasoned papers both individually and with a group. Papers will have clear theses, effective organization, and a minimum of sentence-level errors.


Common learning outcomes for inq 3001

Common Learning Outcomes for INQ 300

  • Students will contribute to meaningful, effective discussion and collaborative work that includes expressing, listening to, and debating ideas.

  • Students will be able to apply critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills in a meaningful way.


Common learning outcomes for inq 3002

Common Learning Outcomes for INQ 300

  • Students will make explicit, meaningful connections between past course work (both in the core and in their majors) and contemporary issues.

  • Students will demonstrate understanding of a contemporary issue or problem, an awareness of the types of inquiry needed to understand it, and the resources required for addressing it.


Step 3 achieving outcomes through selecting content topics issues problems

Step 3: Achieving outcomes through selecting content topics / issues / problems

  • What general content topics could you use to achieve the overarching learning outcomes of your INQ 300 course?

  • Recall the constraints & opportunities


Inq 300 content topics

INQ 300 Content Topics

  • Contemporary issue or problem

  • Amenable to group project format

  • Enable students to revisit previous courses

    • INQ (draw from all three divisions)

    • Major

  • Encourage research

  • Encourage creative approaches

  • Encourage meaningful critical thinking


What about the problem

What about the problem …

  • Should the problem arise from a contemporary issue?

  • Should everyone in the class work on the same problem? Should different groups have different problems?

  • Should the students propose the problem or be given the problem?

  • How focused should the problem be?

  • Does there need to be a concrete, workable solution to the problem?


Task 2 begin to develop a course framework

Task #2: Begin to develop a course framework

  • Pick a theme or topic for your INQ 300 course.

  • Write an overarching content learning outcome for your course (heed four criteria for good goals).

  • Brainstorm problems that fit within this theme.


On the large post it

On the large Post-It:

  • Your name

  • Any other important info on context, challenges, and opportunities

  • Theme or topic or title

  • One overarching content learning outcome

  • Additional skill outcomes, if desired

  • Possible problems for students to address


Learning outcomes should be1

Learning outcomes should be…

  • Student-centered

  • Focused on higher order thinking skills

  • Concrete

  • Comprised of measurable outcomes


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