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Mar 29, 2011

Seven Principles for Developing Assignments and Providing Good Feedback

The feedback we give our students can have a tremendous influence on how effectively they learn.  Here are seven principles to keep in mind when designing assignments and providing feedback to students.
 
1.     Help students understand what you define as “good work.”
Give the students examples of what you expect from them. Consider providing them with the scoring rubric you will use when grading the assignment.
 
2.     Help students to reflect on what they learned
Students learn best when they have opportunities to practice their skills. Have students read and evaluate each others’ work. Have them give feedback to each other in order to begin a conversation about the work.
 
3.     Provide students with evidence of what they are learning.
Give students timely, corrective advice that fits within the scoring rubric for the assignment.
 
4.     Engage the student in discussions, with you and with peers, about their learning.
Have the student identify comments that they found particularly helpful Ask the students to explain why the feedback was useful and how they applied it.
 
5.     Provide positive motivation for the students.
Give students the opportunity to revise and resubmit one or two selected pieces in which the student makes adjustments based on the feedback they received.
 
6.     Encourage students to move beyond their current levels of understanding to the desired level of understanding.
Give students feedback on their work-in-progress that includes some action items. Consider a two-part assignment in which students submit a draft followed by a final product that incorporates feedback they received in class.
 
7.     Offer students the opportunity to give you feedback that can shape and enhance your own instructional practices.
Give students the opportunity to tell you which aspects of the assignment were the most difficult. You can gather student feedback anonymously, with a “minute paper” (Angelo and Cross, 1993) in class or with the survey tool on Blackboard.
 
Resources:

  • Angelo, T. A. and Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (Josse Bass Higher and Adult Education). Jossey-Bass, 2 edition.
  • Nicol, D. J. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31 (2) pp. 199-218. Available through NYIT’s online databases at http://bit.ly/g5JHlc   
  • Walvoord, B. E. and Anderson, V. J. (2009). Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment in College. Jossey-Bass, 2 edition.


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 sponsored by Western Kentucky University.

Contributor:
David Sacks
Faculty/Instructional Consultant
Teaching and Academic Support Center
University of Kentucky
http://www.uky.edu/TASC/
 

Author: francine_glazer

Mar 22, 2011

Successful Strategies for Teams: Team Member Handbook

by Frances A. Kennedy, Ph.D. with Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D

Teamwork is one of the skills most prized by prospective employers. It’s important to remember that our students don’t necessarily come into college knowing how to work effectively with others, and to construct team assignments in a way that helps them learn not only the content, but also the necessary interpersonal skills. This week’s teaching note showcases a set of resources that will help your students do exactly that.
 
Published in 2008 by the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation at Clemson University, Successful Strategies for Teams is an 88-page resource designed to guide students through the potentially treacherous waters of completing a major group project.  It will equip them with techniques and templates that corporate experience has proven highly effective in making teams more productive, efficient, and successful.  Specifically, these techniques help teams organize information, organize and run effective meetings, and generate useful member contributions.  
 
This handbook promises a wide range of learning outcomes for students: to recognize different team player styles and what each contributes to the team; to organize a new team with clear ground rules, roles, and responsibilities; to organize and run effective team meetings that stay on track; to practice sound project and time planning; to solve problems effectively by follow a series of steps; to apply qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques to solving problems; and to know when and know how to use the appropriate organizational, data collection, and analysis tools.
 
The various sections address why students should learn to excel at teamwork, the stages of team development, team player styles, mental models of teamwork, teamwork skills, ways to troubleshoot group problems, and tools for organizing, problem solving, and collecting and analyzing information.
 
The book is freely available at:
http://www.clemson.edu/OTEI/documents/teamwork-handbook.pdf
http://www.clemson.edu/OTEI/documents/team-tools.xls

 
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 sponsored by Western Kentucky University.

Contributor:
Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D., Director
Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation
Clemson University
http://www.clemson.edu/OTEI
    

Author: francine_glazer

Mar 16, 2011

Importance of Students’ Prior Knowledge

“. . . the contemporary view of learning is that people construct new knowledge and understandings based on what they already know and believe . . ..”

Implications for Teaching and Learning

“A logical extension of the view that new knowledge must be constructed from existing knowledge is that teachers need to pay attention to the incomplete understandings, the false beliefs, and the naive renditions of concepts that learners bring with them to a given subject. Teachers then need to build on these ideas in ways that help each student achieve a more mature understanding. If students' initial ideas and beliefs are ignored, the understandings that they develop can be very different from what the teacher intends.”

Try the following strategies to determine if your students understand the material, and to uncover possible misconceptions:

  1. Have students put a key concept into their own words.  You might even identify a particular audience. (Examples:  Explain the concept of “corporation” to high school students; Explain an “irrevocable trust” to a group of retirees.)
  2. Have students offer their own applications and/or examples for a key concept (Examples: Stephen Covey recommends “Win-win performance agreements”: give two specific applications, one related to current news and one related to your own life. Give a concrete example of the concept “due process.”)
  3. Have students formulate ways to show relationships (Example: concept maps)
  4. Have students summarize the main points after 15 minutes of lecture or demonstration. Stop part way through your presentation and ask students to summarize your main points so far. Keep the papers anonymous. If students are confused, ask them to write questions they need answered. Collect the papers and quickly sift through them to confirm and clarify the important points for everyone.
  5. Have students summarize the main points at the end of class by using a “Minute Paper.” Ask students to respond to two questions: What is the most significant thing you learned today? What question about the material is foremost in your mind that you would like answered next time we meet? You can keep the responses anonymous, or you can use them for attendance by having students sign and turn in their responses. After class, review student comments, sort them by categories, and use them to structure a review for the next class session.

Resources:

  • Academy of Art University, Feedback in a Flash! Accessed 3/9/2011 at http://faculty.academyart.edu/resource/tips/1840.html
  •  Angelo. T. A. and Cross K. P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, 2nd ed. Jossey-Bass.
  •  Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.



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 sponsored by Western Kentucky University.

Contributor:
Barbara Millis
Teaching and Learning Center
University of Texas at San Antonio
http://www.utsa.edu/tlc/


Author: francine_glazer

Mar 08, 2011

How Experts Differ from Novices


Purpose: To help faculty members appreciate the gulf between their expert knowledge and their students’ novice understandings so they can create positive teaching and learning situations. 
 
Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (2000) have identified some important characteristics of experts that have implications for teaching and learning:
 
“1. Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices.
2. Experts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter.
3. Experts’ knowledge cannot be reduced to sets of isolated facts or propositions but, instead reflects contexts of applicability: that is, the knowledge is ‘conditionalized’ on a set of circumstances.
4. Experts are able to flexibly retrieve important aspects of their knowledge with little attentional effort.
5. Though experts know their disciplines thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others.
6. Experts have varying levels of flexibility in their approach to new situations,” p. 31.
 
The teaching implications are numerous. For example, when students must acquire content knowledge in order to later become experts themselves, repetition must be built into the learning process, preferably through as many modalities (text, diagrams, animations, films, problem-solving, testing, etc.) as possible.  Group work can be helpful because often students who are more knowledgeable than others can “translate” difficult material in ways that make more sense to other students than the professor’s expert explanations.  
 
Source:  
Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.


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 sponsored by Western Kentucky University.

Contributor:
Barbara Millis
Teaching and Learning Center
University of Texas at San Antonio
http://www.utsa.edu/tlc/

Author: francine_glazer

Mar 01, 2011

Working with Student Teams: Send-a-Problem

Purpose:  To challenge students to think critically about key issues and open-ended questions in each discipline.  This three-part process encourages students to question assumptions and explore alternative solutions.  
 
How to Conduct:  The instructor brings to class file folders or envelopes with a single problem posted on each one.  She announces the activity and its time limits.  She distributes the folders, one per team.  In large classes several teams can work simultaneously on the same problems with the caveat that they cannot be seated close together.  The activity proceeds in a highly structured manner:  

  1. Each team discusses its particular problem and generates within the given time frame as many solutions as possible; the solutions, recorded on a sheet of paper, are placed in the folder or envelope on which is written the problem addressed.  
  2. The folders are then passed clockwise to another team which does not open the folder.  That team, seeing only the problem posed but not the solutions generated by the previous team, follows an identical procedure and brainstorms solutions, placing their recorded conclusions in the folder or envelope.
  3. The folders are passed a third time, but in this case, the third team opens the folder and reviews the ideas/solutions generated by the other two teams.  They can add additional ideas of their own or consolidate those already suggested by the two other teams.  Their primary task, however, is to identify the most viable solutions to the given problem or issue, usually by synthesizing all three teams’ answers.  

Those familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) will recognize that this activity brings students to the highest levels of critical thinking because the final step requires sophisticated evaluation and synthesis.  Group reports can provide useful closure.  
 
Discipline-Specific Applications: Instructors will find that Send-a-Problem activities are limited only by their imagination.  Virtually all disciplines lend themselves to problem-solving activities where “many heads are better than one.” For example:

  • What things would a clinician need to know before considering a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit Disorder/AIDS/Alzheimer’s?  
  • What features would an art historian look for to authenticate an original Rembrandt/Renoir/Klee?  
  • Biology students could be asked to design various experiments, including a list of equipment:  Compare the rates of growth of two different kinds of bread molds; compare the rates of growth of fruit fly populations under different vitamin supplements; compare the rates of growth of two hybrid varieties of bean plants.  
  • A class in religion might identify challenges facing the Catholic Church today (challenges to Papal authority; the declining priesthood, etc.) and have students discuss the ramifications of these issues and possible solutions.  
  • A class in history might outline the various claims to territory of the cattleman, the farmers, and the native Americans.  
  • Courses in literature could break down various aspects of a novel or short story with teams locating and explaining examples of things such as color imagery, symbols, and figures of speech in books such as The Great Gatsby.
  • Geography students could discuss these topics: What makes the Balkan region unique as compared to other shatter belts?  Explain the effects of linguistic diversity on European unity. Describe and explain the impact of colonialism and the resulting economies of a given region.

The Send-a-Problem concept does not need to be limited to issues.  In place of the folders, geologists can pass around rocks needing identification; nursing instructors can have teams complete a patient chart; and ESL teachers can have teams caption various cartoons using the target language.
 

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 sponsored by Western Kentucky University.

Contributor:
Barbara Millis
Teaching and Learning Center
University of Texas at San Antonio
http://www.utsa.edu/tlc/


Author: francine_glazer

Page 19 of 23 « First  <  17 18 19 20 21 >  Last »
Profiles
Deepa Bhalla Deepa Bhalla
Director, HEOP
Office: HEOP
Campus: Manhattan
Wesley DeSimone Wesley DeSimone
Campus: Old Westbury
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Class Of: 2015
Amr Swid Amr Swid, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department: Management Science
Campus: Old Westbury