Engagement and alignment: these two characteristics underlie vibrant, successful, and truly challenging courses. For the instructor, engagement and alignment allow more time to explore the most fascinating aspects of a discipline with students, mean fewer surprises in assessment outcomes, and optimally less time spent dealing with student concerns over grades, assignments and the purpose and rationale of the course.
Join us August 24-28 to explore the tools that make it happen. Come for one workshop, or sign up for all of them: we look forward to your participation and contributions during this week of learning and preparation.
Theme 1. Engagement: Inspiring Students to Learn
The Engagement series examines practices that motivate and inspire students to achieve more than they ever thought they could. We’ll explore:
- setting a tone for learning;
- using technologies to increase student interaction and provide prompt feedback;
- exploring course material actively and critically, and
- getting everyone involved, even in large class settings.
What you’ll learn about in this series can significantly impact student attendance, attitude, experience and success.
Theme 2. Alignment: A Shared Roadmap for Success
This series explores the design of thoughtful and systematic frameworks that prioritize the most essential ideas, knowledge, skills and attitudes students need to acquire in your course. A well-designed framework clarifies what students will be able to do by the end of the course, how they will achieve those outcomes, and how that learning will be assessed in ways consistent with the course requirements and the course’s purpose. This series will explore the alignment of:
- course outcomes
- classroom activities
- assessment, and
Real and fair challenge lies at the heart of students’ experiences of success. This series focuses on the mechanics of consistently producing such opportunities for a diverse range of students.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Making Multiple Choice Work for You
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Roadmaps for Success: Clarity in Course Design
Day One: The Power of First Impressions
The first thirty minutes of any course are prime real estate.
Students’ first impressions can have a lasting impact on their commitment, perseverance, success and experience in a course. This workshop explored strategies for capturing student engagement from the very beginning and the essential elements for setting the tone and culture of a course. Participants left the session with a personal plan for preparing a great session for the first day of class.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Aligned Assessment: Learning Outcomes Grow Up
This session explored the challenges of truly accurately assessing the many things we aim for students to learn in our courses. Participants explored a number of effective approaches to assessment that get beyond reliance on pencil and paper testing, and a number of innovative approaches that enrich the student achievement data provided by pencil and paper testing. Accurate and fair assessment requires advanced planning and clear analysis of student learning goals: this session provided the tools to reflect on and improve participant's practice.
Energizing the Student Experience in Large Classes
Active learning takes place when students intellectually engage with the problems of a discipline. When students
- evaluate, or
- reflect upon
But is that really possible in large class settings, in lecture halls with fixed seating, or in courses where there is a massive quantity of information to get through?
This session explored well-tested strategies and activities that have inspired active learning on this campus, in the kinds of settings described above. From the low-risk activity to liven up a dull lecture, to more complex and challenging ways to infuse entire courses and programs with active learning, the instructors offering this session provided the how-to, the why-to, and even the when-not-to of inspiring active learning.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
High Impact Feedback
Feedback tells students where they stand in a course and what they need to improve. It tells them if they really understand the material at a high level. Sometimes it feels as though we need to do something different to get students to really take that feedback to heart – but what? This session examined how to structure feedback so that it motivates students to learn, and also how instructors can help students to learn to both give and take feedback constructively, both face-to-face, and in writing.
Identifying Students at Risk – And What to Do Next
Instructors face unexpected challenges when students exhibit symptoms or behaviours consistent with emotional or psychological fragility or extreme stress. Unaddressed, these challenges can escalate, disrupt the classroom, and most importantly endanger the safety and well-being of both the student at risk and others in the classroom. It’s important to know the ground rules for managing such situations ethically and with the best prospects for a positive outcome for everyone:
- What are the indicators that a student may be at risk?
- How can an instructor intervene safely, effectively, and professionally? What are the limits?
- How, when, and where should a student be referred for further support?
- What are the applicable guidelines for privacy and confidentiality?