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Oct 30, 2013

Student-Faculty Interaction: A Key to Better Learning

"At a basic level, all learning results from interactions, whether they be with aspects of the environment, with information, with other people or through some combination of these." Andrew Milne, Educause Review, 13-31, Jan/Feb 2007

The interactions that we, as faculty members, have with our students can be instrumental in students' decisions to engage more deeply with the course material. As noted by Chickering and Gamson (1987), a connection with a faculty member not only helps increase student motivation, it also plays an important role in helping students persist in the face of challenges. And it's not only interacting in class that makes a difference - interactions outside the classroom have a powerful motivating effect on student engagement and learning. These interactions might be any of the following:

  • a visit to office hours to discuss the course;
  • a conversation about career plans;
  • working with faculty members on a research project;
  • working with faculty members on student-life activities, or on committees;
  • or more.

Of course, on a commuter campus it can be difficult to have an unplanned conversation with a student, and sometimes your office hours are scheduled when your students have other classes. What to do?

Today, I'd like to introduce you to a new tool available at NYIT, which enables you to talk with your students face-to-face, even at a distance. Zoom.us is an on-demand web conferencing tool, much like Skype, but simpler to use. Zoom supports HD video- and audio-conferencing for up to 25 people at a time, screen-sharing with optional annotations, and recording.

The only person who needs an account is the person who originates the meeting. The program generates an email that includes all the information other participants will need to join the meeting. People invited to a meeting simply click a link in the invitation. It's accessible from Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices, and there's even a teleconference number for participants who don't have access to a computer or mobile device.

While meeting, you can share an application or your entire desktop, annotate the document being shared (think "revise an article prior to submission"), and record part or all of a meeting (think "exam review session") and put it online so students who cannot be there in person can access the information. Some faculty and staff at NYIT have already tried the application; here's a sampling of their reactions:

"Zoom was great.  I used it for my online Anatomy course for live reviews prior to the exams.  Both instructors were able to participate (the other professor lives in North Carolina), and approximately 20 students participated at one time.  I think it helped the students feel that they had a connection with us as the format allowed for give and take not only between professor and student, but also student to student.  We recorded the sessions and posted them on YouTube for those students who could not make the live session.  Feedback from the students was very positive." Rose Gallagher, School of Health Professions

"I used Zoom on my iPad to conference with colleagues; they were in OW and I was in Manhattan. I found Zoom much more streamlined than Skype, and easier to use, too. With respect to visual and audio, Zoom was much better than my experience with Skype. I felt as though I was right there in the room with my colleagues." Gail Linsenbard, College of Arts and Sciences

"I've been using Skype, Elluminate and Google Hangout. Zoom is a lot better than these three in terms of video quality, number of participants connected at the same time and connection speed. The best part I like is that it allows 25 participants to have video conversation at the same time without compromising the video quality. The desktop sharing feature is also wonderful." Shiang-Kwei Wang, School of Education

"We love Zoom so far ... much better than Skype for our purposes. Using Zoom has been incredibly helpful in conducting staff meetings. The video and audio quality is much higher compared to Skype, which would occasionally freeze or start to echo after a while and required us to recall the group. It is also very helpful to have the share screen feature that any one of the members can access. I plan to use Zoom to meet with a student who is off-campus later this week." Monika Schueren, Advising & Enrichment Center

"Zoom Pro has been an essential tool this semester so far for the Fine Arts Department, bringing together diverse groups quickly and efficiently in clear, easy-to-use multi-person video conferencing.  Participants simply need to click one link in an e-mail inviting them to the meeting, and they can join the video conference.  Whoever is talking gets featured on the large screen, and the transition is seamless and natural." Yuko Oda, College of Arts and Sciences

Everyone with an NYIT email address has an account. The basic account includes the full set of features, and limits meetings to 40 minutes, while Pro accounts do not limit the time. To activate your account, log in through Google Apps (PDF documentation). If you need any help getting started with Zoom, you can contact any of us at the Center for Teaching and Learning: Jea Ahn, jahn05@nyit.edu, Olena Zhadko, ozhadko@nyit.edu, or myself at fglazer@nyit.edu.  

Resources:

  • Chickering, A. W., Gamson, Z. F., & Poulsen, S. J. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.
  • Graham, C., Cagiltay, K., Lim, B., Craner, J., & Duffy, T. M. (2001). Seven principles of effective teaching: A practical lens for evaluating online courses. The Technology Source, 30(5), 50. Accessed 10/29/2013 at http://www.technologysource.org/article/274/
  • Getting Started with Zoom at NYIT: http://nyit.edu/ctl/zoom/
  • http://zoom.us

Author: francine_glazer

Oct 23, 2013

Visualizing Data When You’re Not an Artist

"Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends. The process of creating infographics can be referred to as data visualization, information design, or information architecture." Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infographic

Have you ever had the opportunity to see some wonderful infographics, perhaps in the slides provided to you by your textbook publishers, in your disciplinary publications or even popular publications? You may have also heard about the value of using the “assertion-evidence” method for creating effective slides to accompany your presentations, which depends on using relevant infographics.

Wouldn't it be great if you could create infographics yourself for your classes? “Yes,” you say, “but I am not an artist or particularly talented at thinking of ways to visualize information.” Fortunately, there are a number of amazing, free Web 2.0 tools on the Internet these days to help.

Many of them have templates in which you can type or import your data so that visual infographics are created for you! The resulting info graphics can then be linked to from your PowerPoint slides or downloaded for importing into slides or Blackboard or ...

Other sites provide creation tools and templates that make it relatively easy to select and build your own infographics, without much visual talent or experience. And if you have more ideas than you know what to do with, these tools can save you time by providing an efficient way to create them.

Another possibility: give your students the option of presenting information in an infographic as opposed to a more typical chart or diagram.

Resources:

To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at fglazer@nyit.edu. This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium organized by Seneca College and New York Institute of Technology.

Contributor:
Molly Baker, Ph.D.
Director, Instructional Technology Department
Sauk Valley Community College
http://www.svcc.edu

Author: francine_glazer

Oct 16, 2013

Why Students Don’t Read: Strategies to Increase Student Preparation for Class

A “flipped” class requires students to read assigned materials and complete other assigned work that prepares them to apply new learning during in-class activities that promote deep learning of course content and skills. Instructors can assign readings, but what if students do not complete these readings before coming to class?

Hoeft (2012) reports that 56%-68% of students in a first-year class reported that they did not read assigned material before class. The most common reasons students give to explain why they did not read assigned materials are:

  • They had too much to read.
  • Their work schedule does not allow enough time for extensive reading.
  • Their social life leaves little time for reading.

Students who say that they read the assigned materials usually said that they were motivated to complete reading assignments because they were concerned about grades.

Students who say that they did not complete assigned readings suggested that instructors might increase the number of students who read assigned material if they

  • give quizzes on the assigned readings,
  • assign supplementary graded work based on the readings to help them focus, and
  • make the assigned readings interesting.

Hoeft tried each strategy in one of three different courses. She found that reading quizzes and supplementary graded work successfully motivated students to complete assigned reading (74% of students in a course that used reading quizzes; 95% of students in a course that used an assigned, graded reading journal). Although more students reported reading when the journal assignment was used as a motivator, an independent measure of reading comprehension indicated that quizzes improved comprehension more than the journal assignment. Students in the reading journal assignment class appeared to read superficially, skimming the readings to find answers to questions included in the assignment; students in the reading quiz class appeared to read more deeply because the reading quizzes tapped reading content in less predictable ways than did the journal assignments.

Instructors can implement reading quizzes by creating self-grading quizzes in eLearning as graded assignments. Close access to the quizzes on the due date for the assigned reading to motivate students to complete the reading before class sessions. Alternatively, some instructors implement reading quizzes in the first 5 minutes of the class meeting (perhaps as clicker questions). If completed during class, the reading quizzes also serve to motivate students to attend class and participate in planned learning activities.

Resources:

To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at fglazer@nyit.edu. This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium organized by Seneca College and New York Institute of Technology.

Contributor:
Claudia J. Stanny, Ph.D., Director
Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
University of West Florida
uwf.edu/cutla

Author: francine_glazer

Oct 09, 2013

Teaching with New Media

"When people talk to me about the digital divide, I think of it not so much about who has access to what technology as about who knows how to create and express themselves in the new language of the screen. If students aren't taught the language of sound and images, shouldn't they be considered as illiterate as if they left college without being able to read and write?" - George Lucas, filmmaker

For some instructors, incorporating new media, namely audio, video, and web resources, into traditional text-heavy curriculum/assignments can appear overwhelming. Where do you start? What tools should be used? How will the assignment unfold? Will students learn what they need to learn? Below are five basic guiding principles for getting started with teaching with new media.

1) Begin at the End: Start with student learning outcomes and work backwards. What is the ultimate concept, skill, or behavior you'd like your students to learn through the new media assignment? For example, if you want students to develop visual literacy, you might consider assigning a photo essay or a short video project.

2) Adapt: Instead of overhauling the curriculum, identify a part that can benefit from new media. Is there a component of a class or an assignment that can benefit from the use of images, audio, or videos? For example, photo analysis, audio reflections, and video essays are common new media assignments.

3) Choose Easy Tools: The number of new media tools available today is just staggering (see links below for the most popular ones). The best strategy is to choose low-barrier tools — the ones that require minimal technical skills and resources to employ. For example, Animoto and Stupeflix are web-based video creation tools that require no technical knowledge whatsoever, but the results are pretty awesome.

4) Iterate Often: As with any new approach to teaching, the key is to gather feedback, make adjustments, and redeploy. An easy way to do this is to ask your students to provide feedback before, during, and after the new media assignment, and use the feedback to make adjustments for the next round.

5) Cultivate, Don't Control: Teaching with new media requires instructors to let go of some control of the learning process. Digital students are often more savvy and knowledgeable with new media, so the key is to channel their energy towards learning. For example, instead of restricting how students approach the assignment, focus instead on helping them achieve the learning outcome for that assignment.

Resources:

To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at fglazer@nyit.edu. This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium hosted at Western Kentucky University and organized by Seneca College and New York Institute of Technology.

Contributor:
Mike Truong
Executive Director, Office of Innovative Teaching and Technology
Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
Azusa Pacific University
http://www.apu.edu

Author: francine_glazer

Oct 02, 2013

Activities to Make Lectures Interactive

In order to retain student attention and facilitate learning, consider integrating a variety of activities into a lecture-based course. Start by finding natural breaks in the content material and break up the lecture into shorter segments. In between the shorter lectures, add activities that require the students to review and apply their new learning and interact with each other. Mix it up by incorporating different activities each week. The change of pace, interaction, and variety can help to enliven the classroom atmosphere and encourage deeper learning for every student. Some activities to consider are listed below.

  • Skeleton notes – Create a handout with key points of the lecture on the left margin, leaving space for students to fill in notes during lecture. Pair up or group students to compare notes and fill in gaps.
  • Press Conference – Ask students to work in teams to write and organize questions, and then interview the instructor in a simulated press conference.
  • Clusters – Break reading material into sections and have each individual or group read an assigned section, becoming an “expert” on that section. Each individual or group then teaches the others about the specific material that they learned.
  • Select the Best Response – Present your students with a question or scenario and then ask them to consider which one of three responses best applies. This technique can be used to recall and apply information presented in lecture.
  • Correct the Error – This idea can be used in math or lab courses. The instructor creates an intentional error based on important lecture material. Students then work to correct the error.
  • Support a Statement – Give your students a statement and have them locate support in lecture notes or textbooks and give data to support the statement.
  • Re-order Steps – The instructor presents a series of steps in a mixed order and the students are asked to sequence the items correctly.
  • Short Video Clip – A short, relevant video clip can be useful for introducing a new topic, punctuating the main point, or providing a springboard for class discussion.
  • One Minute Paper – Near the end of the class period, ask students to write for one minute on the main 1-2 points of the class. This assignment allows you to gauge student comprehension and gives students an incentive to absorb and comprehend course material. At the beginning of the next class, provide some feedback, telling the students which responses were on target, and clarifying any misconceptions that were revealed by their responses.
  • Student-Created Visuals - Ask students to work in small groups to create visual study aids such as flow charts, graphs, diagrams, artwork, maps, or photography. A variation on this activity could produce student-created study guides prior to each major exam.

To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at fglazer@nyit.edu. This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium hosted at Western Kentucky University and organized by Seneca College and New York Institute of Technology.

Contributor:
Belinda Richardson and Debi Griffin
Bellarmine University
www.bellarmine.edu

 

Workshop Invitation

The Center for Teaching and Learning is offering an online workshop about student learning, and I invite you to participate. Some of our NYIT faculty will be joining in as ‘resource people’ and discussion facilitators providing their expertise and insight into the issue. Specific topics will include:

  • benefits of using classroom check-in techniques
  • when to check in with your students and why
  • some simple classroom check-in techniques to get you started
  • additional resources

The workshop is asynchronous, meaning that you can read the materials and reply to emails at your convenience. All you will need is a web browser and an email account. Here’s how it will work: On October 21, resources will become available on the web. Participants will then have a conversation by email for 1-2 weeks. Our goal is to bring faculty together from all our campuses, so we can explore the topic from all the cultural and societal frames of reference that comprise NYIT.

I hope you will join us! Please register to receive the link to materials and to be added to the email list. The registration link for the workshop is at: http://goo.gl/L9u9SW

Author: francine_glazer

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Profiles
Gary S. Lynch (B.S. ‘93) Gary Lynch
Class of 1993
Profession: Managing director/global leader of supply chain risk management practice
Bryan Van Vranken Bryan Van Vranken
Campus: Old Westbury
Major: Health Sciences
Class Of: 2016
Matthieu Jean-Baptiste Matthieu Jean-Baptiste
Campus: Old Westbury
Major: Business Administration, B.S.
Class Of: 2014