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Archive for May, 2010

The Scholarship of Teaching (for the sociologist)

From Inside Higher Ed, this is one way in which UT faculty might pursue the “scholarship of teaching.” Sociologists can earn credit toward tenure–DPC’s willing–through engaged research and publication on teaching in the sociology classroom. Is there a similar publication in your discipline? Interested in starting one? Leave replies in comments.

“BAJ” Update

The course known as “BAJ” or “Beginning the Academic Journey” is required for all incoming, direct from high-school students at the University of Toledo. This year, Jennifer Rockwood, director of the First Year Experience in the UT Learning Collaborative, and Learning Ventures are working on a project that will help clarify and emphasize learning objectives, increase in-class engagement and increase retention as we prepare our first-year students for their academic journey. Regular updates and working documents are available on the Epsilen site for the development team. The site is open to all UT faculty.

The project that will “hybridize” the BAJ course beginning in the fall of 2010. This project will focus on establishing and helping students meet a set of shared learning outcomes essential to first-year success and retention while allowing for the best possible use of in-class time for engagement, discussion, and mentorship. At the heart of the project is an online environment (for now, the “BAJ Connection”) accessible to all incoming students and all UT faculty and staff. This environment will be built over the summer and available on August 1. The architects of the site will be faculty/staff working in collaboration with Instructional Designers from Learning Ventures, with the construction site open to anyone who wishes to contribute. During the semester, the site will account for half of the contact hours in the BAJ course with the other half remaining classroom-based.

The site will consist of a number of “modules” each mapped to a set of learning outcomes. Each student will have an opportunity to select from a number of projects, assignments, and activities that will be designed to help them adjust to challenges, learn how to learn, better understand the university environment, and to connect early and often to faculty inside and outside the BAJ course. In addition, the site will include areas for a learning community, courses designed for first-year students, and discussion/engagement among students and faculty/staff interested in similar things.

Does this online environment replace my own web site?

No. Each BAJ section can still have its own web site (on blackboard, Epsilon, or any other web site) with its own assignments, instructions, course materials, etc. This site can be linked to the BAJC, or it can be separate. Each BAJ instructor will have control over what is taught in the in-class, section-specific portion of the course and each BAJ instructor will have input into the design and content of the BAJC.

Will there be a textbook?
All materials on the BAJC site will be “open source” and free to the students. If it is available in time, we may use the Flat world Knowledge text as the main text for the online environment, and this text is free.

Will I be asked to manage the online environment?
No. The online environment will be jointly managed by LV, UTLC, and any faculty/staff who wish to participate. It will be a site for collaboration and dialogue, and a place where students and faculty/staff can meet and share interests, research, and information. Each BAJ instructor will have access to the site in order to monitor participation and to check to see that the students in a section have completed the work for the BAJC.

Will students be required to complete online components?
Yes. In order to pass the BAJ course, students must satisfy the requirements in the online environment. These requirements will be “low-stakes,” designed to introduce students to university-level learning and expectations. It is possible that a faculty member from the college BAJ course will assign a module as mandatory. It is also possible for someone teaching a course for first-year students to use a module for credit toward another course. But the minimal requirement will involve completion of a to-be-determined number of modules online.

If you have any additional questions not answered above, please contact UTLV@utoledo.edu

“Clickers”–Teaching & Learning with Response Devices

Are you currently using Turning Technologies response devices (or “clickers”)? Are you interested in using clickers in your online, face-to-face, or blended course but want more information about the technology and its capabilities? Then we have great news…

Turning Technologies has an intern right here at the University of Toledo to answer all your questions, solve your problems, and help you use clickers to help promote responsive, active learning in all your courses. Matt Misener is a graduate student in the Judith Herb College of Education and works directly with Turning Technologies to assist you with your existing clicker assisted courses or to help you turn a course into a clicker-assisted course.

Located in the Memorial Field House office 3060A, Matt is available to assist you Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm and Fridays from 8:30 am until 12:30 pm. Stop in, call 419-530-2149, or email mmisene@rockets.utoledo.edu for immediate assistance.  If you would like to discuss clickers and their use, we will conduct seminars throughout the academic year and will have a discussion board available on the LV Epsilen group site (http://www.epsilen.com/grp/UTLearningVenturesGroup).

Technology and Grading Experiments / Technology and Learning – Inside Higher Ed

From Technology and Grading Experiments/Technology and Learning – Inside Higher Ed, for your consideration:

An innovative grading scheme embedded in a course with strong pedagogical design will have a much better chance of succeeding. Your grading experiment can then be scaled to other courses, as an assessment of the process can be built in from the beginning. I estimate about 50 hours of faculty time to develop a full new course, with 50 hours of learning technologist/design time.

LV is ready and able to support this kind of innovation, and early collaboration with a team of course designers can help you save time and frustration in any course. What may be surprising is the amount of time it takes to develop a new approach from the bottom up in a redesigned course. If you’re working on a new course design for the fall, get in touch with our office as soon as possible so that you can connect with a team of designers who can help you reach your goals.