Fourth Annual Instructional Innovation Conference
FOURTH ANNUAL INSTRUCTIONAL INNOVATION CONFERENCE
The Fourth Annual Boston University Instructional Innovation Conference was held on Friday, March 2, 2012.
Thank you to all who were able to attend!
Supporting Student-Centered Learning in a Project-Based Course, A. Rani Elwy & Rob Schadt (SPH)
At the School of Public Health, we are striving to create a student-centered learning environment. The student’s responsibility for learning is a primary consideration both in terms of course design as well as delivery. Focusing on responsibility for learning in course design is innovative in that it acknowledges that students are required to work in ways in which they may not have been exposed to previously and faculty expectations for their role in a learner-centered classroom may not have been made explicit. In PM755, teaching strategies were designed to encourage students to think more deeply about learning styles and preferences than they previously would have. Students explored the theoretical substance of different healthcare delivery problems, as well as what these problems meant to them as future healthcare providers through independent reading, reflective writing, article expositions, group work in class, memo writing and presenting. Issues that arose and should be addressed in course planning, and in interactions with students, will be discussed. In order to change current culture from teacher-centered to student-centered, it is necessary to reconsider the many dimensions of student-centered learning and adapt our curriculum to reflect its principles.
Enhancing Education with Technology: Study Groups in Online Classes – Benefits of Having Online Study Groups in Students’ Own Words, Anatoly Temkin (MET)
This presentation covers the technical and organizational issues related to setting up student-run study groups in any online or face-to-face class. Participation in a study group plays a significant role not only in a students’ success in a class, but it also contributes to the creation of an environment that is conducive to learning.
Economics in a Foreign Language Course, Beate Alhadeff (CAS)
A foreign language course about economics can be highly relevant, particularly in our crisis-ridden times. The emphasis on topicality, however, precludes adequate textbooks. This presentation shows how the use of graphs, photos, video clips, government websites, newspaper articles and customized worksheets can prepare third-and fourth-year language students to read, write and talk about topics like the European Union’s agricultural problems or its present financial crisis. Videotaping the students adds to their confidence. The teaching model primarily relates to German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Modern Greek. With appropriate linguistic and cultural adjustments, it is adaptable to all other languages. Instructors in the social sciences might discover something new in its original materials and value the pedagogical advantages of its hands-on approach.
Tablet Technologies in Teaching and Learning, Carla Romney, Juan Pedro Paniagua & Fabian Torres-Ardila (MET)
Tablet devices, including Tablet PCs and iPads, are now being used at several schools and colleges at BU. Tablet classroom/teaching labs have been constructed on campus to create interactive learning environments and academic programs have begun to distribute these devices to students upon enrollment. This session will present some of the settings that use tablets at BU.
Why We Should Teach All Subjects as History and How To Do It Through a Knowledge-Building Community Database, David Whittier (SED)
Teaching subjects as history presents challenges in the volume of content and in deciding when to begin and what to leave out. Yet teaching subjects as history can help learners understand the great thoughts and discoveries of the past. It can help them to understand “lessons learned,” so they do not make the same mistakes as those who came before them. This engagement helps us understand that so much of what we know or think we know is imperfect, potentially energizing learners to contribute to the trajectories of history. This presentation will explore the philosophy of teaching subjects as history as an antidote to the omnipresent present of status updates, Facebook, and Google. It will also respond to the realistic assessment that we cannot teach everything through offering a simple technological concept allowing faculty and students to create their own histories, and provide a method to bring alive the underlying concept in a form that will contribute to learning yet is manageable.
Teaching Critical Thinking in Hospitality Management Using Student Learntertainment and SAGE Approach, Erinn Tucker (SHA)
While critical thinking allows for a student to view any issue from a broad perspective and thereby problem solve, the lack of activities in the classroom that teaches critical thinking has been a challenge for instructors of record. Two innovative approaches were used for a hospitality human resources lecture-style course. The primary component was a student project that applied: a learntertainment activity during their oral presentation session and the use of the SAGE format in their written deliverable. Students were held responsible for selecting and teaching their critical issue topic to the class. Create an outline for students to recall information which was used later to enhance student assessment. The presentation sessions were an extraordinary learning outcome because the students were both SHA majors and non-SHA majors with a diverse class of 10-15% being international students. The topics, student learntertainment and SAGE format collectively reinforced a stronger critical thinking skill for the students.
A Collaborative Quality Improvement Curriculum for Internal Medicine Residents and Masters of Public Health Students: The Lean Way, Gouri Gupte (SPH), Charlene Weigel & Winnie Suen (BUMC)
Quality improvement (QI) is typically taught in medical training through lectures and doing patient chart reviews. In schools of public health, lectures are the main mode of delivery. In addition, the majority of healthcare education is done in silos with teachers from the same discipline providing the instruction. We had an opportunity to combine these resources available in the School of Public Health (SPH) and Department of Medicine at Boston University (BU) (affiliated with Boston Medical Center) to create a unique interdisciplinary curriculum simulating real world experiences. Public health students and healthcare trainees collaborated to carry out QI projects using the Lean methodology framework. This curriculum was innovative in fostering appreciation for the value of collaborative QI work, engaging the learners, allowing for hands-on QI experiences, providing real world experiences in QI, positively influencing the QI culture of Boston Medical Center, and encouraging learners to work towards understanding quality and cost-effectiveness within a resource challenged, safety-net healthcare delivery system.
Integrative Technology-Enhanced Approaches (ITEA) to Teaching Complex Financial Concepts, Irena Vodenska, Leo Burstein & Lou Chitkushev (MET)
One of the goals of advanced finance education is to teach students how to utilize existing financial concepts and analytical tools to effectively learn new, innovative financial products and utilize them appropriately in their workplace environments. Sequential educational style has historically been a traditional way of presenting lecture material. It is based on presentation of different concepts to be learned in a serial mode, one following the other, without stressing significant relations between various topics. Besides offering many benefits, this widely adopted teaching style has number of drawbacks, especially when dealing with complex, highly correlated relational topics, such as finance. One of the most significant shortcomings of sequential teaching methods is reduced knowledge retention rate of novel concepts acquired in a lecture format. In the sequential teaching environment students often lose the thread during class and the benefits of the lecture exponentially decrease up to a point when students stop accepting and processing information. To address this limitation of sequential teaching techniques, we have introduced an Integrative Technology-Enhanced Approach (ITEA) to teaching, where the complete material that is planned to be delivered in a specific lecture time-frame is presented at the very beginning of the class as a comprehensive big picture interactive poster comprised of various components that are linked not in sequential way, but rather through a more complex interconnection structure. This approach provides students with a possibility to maintain the overall view of the material throughout the lecture, while absorbing detailed explanations of the components delivered several times during the lecture based on component links and relevance.
Using Twitter: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Professional Development, James Wolff & Alejandra Barrero-Castillero (SPH)
Since its introduction in March 2006, Twitter has become a popular tool for social networking and the exchange of information in many different areas. In our course, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) in Developing Countries (IH887), at the School of Public Health, we tested the assumption that incorporating Twitter into our course design would facilitate learning about MCH by providing an opportunity to connect to innovative individual and organizational experience in MCH.
The goal of this innovation was to use Twitter as a professional tool to communicate and interact with other Global Health practitioners, researchers, and organizations. Our specific objectives were to: develop skills to distinguish and categorize important information, expand personal networks, share key resources in maternal and child health, learn to write succinct and thoughtful messages, encourage student-faculty interaction.
We incorporated Twitter into our course design and surveyed our students at baseline and at the end of the course. We found that students easily accepted using Twitter to connect with other professionals and with each other and by in large enjoyed the experience. At baseline, less than half of the students reported that they understood how Twitter worked and less than a quarter had Twitter accounts. At the end of course, however, about three quarters of the students reported that they believed that “Twitter can be an effective tool to facilitate learning.”
We categorized the major benefits of using Twitter as increased global health knowledge, exposure to global health news, increased interaction between students and other experts in the field, and learning how to use Twitter. The social impact of Twitter can be harnessed for variety of purposes in teaching settings. It is now widely used in journalism, marketing, politics, medicine, TV, and radio among others. The ground rules for using this technology are still developing. Users who are innovating with Twitter in the classroom will help determine appropriate practices for effective use. Teachers might consider incorporating Twitter into their course to expand information exchange and promote student interaction with other professionals.
IdeaLab App Development Course Using Innovative Technologies and Tournament Style Approach, Jeanne Myers & Nitin Joglekar (SMG)
An overview will be presented of a first-of-its-kind course called IdeaLab (OM865) conducted this past August by Professor Joglekar at the School of Management as a 5-day MBA intensive class using innovative technologies and methods in a highly collaborative environment. This was an experiential course using multiple technologies, aimed at solving problems by generating and developing ideas for digital products and services, in the context of a multi-stage “innovation tournament.” Using computers, laptops, smart phones and Apple iPads, along with tools such as EverNote (tagged group notebooks), Penultimate (picture generator) , a web-based data analysis tool called Darwinator, SMGTools for Learning (LMS), WordPress (web page builder), PowerPoint and Prezi (presentations). The unique approach demanded that the students were divided into four teams use technology tools of their choice to champion their energy conservation app culminating in a public vote through social networking and created websites. Students really stretched the limits of how much technology could be used in a short time and expressed their appreciation in multimedia presentations which reflected their unique learning experiences.
Turning Questions into Trials: Innovation in Surgical Oncology, Jennifer Rosen (MED)
Freeing Up Class Time by Using Podcasts, Kabrina Krebel Chang (SMG)
Do you ever want more time in class to go deeper into a topic? Give your students a richer experience by discussing more sophisticated examples and ideas? I did too, so I moved small parts of my standard lecture into podcasts, for students to watch on their own time before class, and freed up some time in class for more interesting and timely discussions.
Using Multiple Working Hypotheses to Frame an Inquiry-Based Science Laboratory, Kari L. Lavalli & Sally K. Sommers Smith (CGS)
Students in the liberal arts are exposed to many “classic” works in literature, philosophy, history, and the arts. However, these same students are typically presented only with a textbook as their college introduction to the sciences. Such textbooks are large compendia of agreed-upon knowledge that have been distilled from hundreds and hundreds of scientific studies. As a result, introductory science courses tend to present science as a list of facts, and scientists as workers who somehow add to this list. From this rather dry and sketchy beginning, students are expected to grasp the idea that science is dynamic and fun and we instructors are shocked and surprised when students report that they find science difficult and uninteresting. We argue that there is a single, short, and easily accessible paper, available to students, that explains exactly what science is and how cultivating the methods suggested in this paper can lead students to a very dynamic mode of thinking that can be used in any field. We will explain how we use this paper to organize our non-majors science course and to conduct laboratory experiments where students can employ the methods presented within it. From reflective writings of students at the end of the semester, we find that this seems to be an effective approach for teaching science to students and enhances their confidence in learning not only content, but also the process of science itself.
Improving Educational Outcomes through Learning Assistants in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, Kathryn Spilios, Adam Moser, Andrew Duffy, Nic Hammond, Manher Jariwala, Nick Gross, Dan Dill & Bennett Goldberg (CAS), Peter Garik, Alexis Knaub, Meredith Knight & Tom Hunt (SED)
As a collaborative effort, Biology, Chemistry and Physics have introduced Learning Assistants (LAs) into our introductory-level courses, to promote improved instruction and learning. The LA program is an initiative to improve Science Technology Engineering And Mathematics (STEM) education, developed at the University of Colorado at Boulder with National Science Foundation funding. It employs high-performing undergraduate students to help with teaching courses they have successfully completed. LAs simultaneously enroll in a School of Education course on pedagogy and assist course staff in the teaching of discussion or lab sections. As a result, the LAs are able to apply education theory and best practices in their discussion and lab sections each week. Four key outcomes of the LA model are documented: Greatly enhanced interaction and inquiry among course students; significantly deepened understanding of course material by the LAs; a clear shift by the LAs in approach to their own learning that enhances their work in other courses; and the recognition of teaching as both challenging and rewarding. The implementation of LAs varies depending on course mechanics. Based on our experience to-date, the LA program has the potential to transform STEM instruction, and potentially instruction in other fields at Boston University as well by encouraging ownership of the learning experience among the undergraduates serving as LAs, and active learning among all undergraduates. The combined effect is the potential to markedly enrich the undergraduate academic experience at Boston University.
Inexpensive Models for Teaching Imaging Anatomy, Ann Zumwalt, Rahul Arya, Trevor Morrison & Kitt Shaffer (MED)
The teaching of anatomy benefits from a blended learning approach, using a combination of different types of active learning activities. A multi-station imaging anatomy lab has been developed at BUSM for students in their third and fourth years that encourages them to revisit important anatomic concepts in a concrete and clinically-oriented way. As a part of this lab, a methodology was developed for producing inexpensive three-dimensional models from CT or any other sectional data. This session will demonstrate the technique for assembling these models, which can be produced for under $100. Samples of such models will be shown that can be used to allow learners to reassemble complex anatomic regions from component parts, strengthening their appreciation of relationships.
Course Redesign: Building the Bridge as You Walk On It, Lloyd Baird, Sandra Deacon & Jack McCarthy (SMG)
OB221: The Dynamics of Leading Organizations and People is a required School of Management (SMG) course currently with over 20 sections and 850 students a year. We are moving to an Engagement Model of Learning by:
- Integrating an outdoor experiential, team-based exercise that utilizes GPS technology to engage students in an active, fun, problem-solving and team building experience.
- Coordinating with the Schools of Music, and Theatre to present live performances with their students and integrate with our Management students in the debrief and discussion.
- Developing extensive video, interactive material, and live action cases to help students understand teamwork, management and leadership in diverse, complex environments.
- Collaborating with SMG’s Center for Team Learning to implement innovative approaches and technology that engage students in collaborative learning.
- Taking advantage of network centric and collaborative technologies, leveraging our links to the many organizations we have through our Institutes, Roundtables, and Centers, and the capabilities our students develop throughout the curriculum.
With all of these efforts we work extensively with our many faculty colleagues to provide detailed lessons plans, ensure consistency of delivery across all sections, and involve them in the design and delivery as we move forward to enhance collaboration and creativity. We also engage the students in designing and delivering new materials and approaches, as our students are often much more facile than faculty with collaborative and networked technologies. In the end, our goal is to design and deliver a large core course that significantly engages the students and faculty in the learning, growth and discover process.
Digital Pedagogy in Three Parts: Screencasting, Course Blog, Remote Guests, Lorena Barba (ENG)
The digital pedagogy in my course titled “Bio-aerial Locomotion” stands on a tripod. One leg is class presentation, recording and online dissemination. The second leg is a course blog, with student assignments publicly available online. The third leg is a program of distinguished invited speakers participating in the course via Skype.
The course is one of a set of ten modules in the College of Engineering’s offerings under the Introduction to Engineering umbrella. All incoming freshmen choose two modules, with topics varying from mechanical design, photonics, biomedical engineering environments, among others. This module is aimed at motivating the subject of bio-inspired engineering through the study of the way animals move in the air by either falling, gliding, or flying.
Class presentations are based on electronic slides with ample embedded media, and the use of digital inking for on-screen annotations. This format for presentation is not only interactive and engaging, but also permits the use of very simple and inexpensive means of lecture capture and dissemination via screencasts. The course makes use of BU’s page in the iTunes U service, and was the Top Collection on BU’s space throughout the Fall 2011 semester.
The course blog is co-authored by the instructor and students of this course. Students are required to post their writing assignments to the blog, which is open in the public internet. This has two effects: (1) the instructor is able to motivate them to learn about and avoid plagiarism by appealing to their sense of public persona, and (2) the students express themselves in a more casual, comfortable tone than if they were writing formal essays; they are also able to use media-rich formats. The final ingredient, distance invited speakers, has been a great hit with the students. They are inspired by discussing the course topics with leading experts in a variety of fields in this inherently inter-disciplinary course.
Making Global Public Health Education Real: Expanding the Classroom with International Partners, Malcolm Bryant, Jessica Charles & James Wolff (SPH)
As professionals working in low and middle income countries, our graduates often end up running programs which face enormous implementation challenges. We created this class to give students the opportunity to apply project implementation skills learned in the classroom in a real international setting. In order to provide this practical experience for our students, we engaged BU faculty residing in developing countries to work with our students to facilitate linkages between developing country health care organizations and student-led consultant teams. These faculty all had appointments in the Department of International Health and were resident in India, Zambia, Lesotho, and South Africa. We then worked with the faculty to identify local organizations and to create a series of consultant scopes of work aimed at solving real challenges faced by those organizations. The scopes of work corresponded with two week modules in work planning, human resource management, pharmaceutical management, information management, quality improvement, and financial management. In week one of each module, students prepared for the module by watching recorded lectures and read assigned material. In class, they applied these concepts and skills using case scenarios, role plays and other class exercises. In preparation for the second class, students were given a scope of work specific to their organization and its needs. They were challenged to use their international faculty as resources to complete a set of deliverables as outlined in the scope of work and prepare a consultant report to present in the second class. In presenting the deliverables from each consulting assignment, a different mechanism was used for each block; presentation to a panel of peers, reverse reporting, participation in a competition for funding, process mapping, and cluster critique.
Developing Critical Thinking Through Content-Based Language Instruction, Mariko Itoh Henstock (CAS)
Focusing on Japanese linguistics, I have developed a content-based language course for upper division students, in which students are required to think critically about the Japanese language itself while speaking, writing and reading in Japanese. I assign weekly topics about the Japanese language requiring the students to observe and reflect upon various linguistic patterns within their own experience learning the language. These weekly topics culminate in a term paper and presentation, highlighting a critique of some aspect of the Japanese language or linguistics. In the presentation, we will critically assess how well this approach of using these 21st century skills in the assignments worked and how such an approach can be applied to other courses.
The OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Exam): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words!, Mark S. Ferriero (SDM)
Purely objective exams (e.g. case-based or context-free MCQs) have been a constant, a staple in education for decades. In clinically-oriented educational environments (e.g. medical, dental, pharmacy, PT schools), additional/adjunct testing styles are quite beneficial, even necessary for success. OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) testing, in one form or another, has been used in medical school education worldwide for over 100 years. In dental education, this style of exam has been used predominantly in the study of Gross Anatomy. Students are asked questions based on visual cues or markers on human cadavers (e.g. “Identify this nerve.” or “What is the insertion point of this muscle?”). In recent years, dental education has benefited greatly from the OSCE.
By way of definition, style and design explanation, example, and Q & A, I propose to enlighten/inspire other educators in this testing medium. There is much to be learned through correctly processing and responding, in a timely/timed fashion, to simple visual, multi-media, and media-like cues/information/stimuli (e.g. an X-ray, a song, a phlebotomy video, a painting, National Licensure Testing question, etc.). I have been using the OSCE for over 5 years in my Pre-Clinical Occlusion course in the dental school with much positive feedback. Students’ resultant clinical comprehension and NDBE (National Dental Board Examination) success in this discipline have improved. The National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) utilizes the OSCE as 50% of its licensure examination.
OSCEs can be administered/evaluated on the web (e.g. Blackboard 8).
A Professional Memorandum Writing Workshop, Patricia Elliott (SPH)
In the School of Public Health, we have students from diverse backgrounds and academic training. As part of our course, we require that students write a memorandum synthesizing their understanding of policy and programmatic applications of research. The majority of public health practitioners will engage in this type of professional writing in their careers. Students often struggle with this transition from lengthy academic research, or theoretical papers, to succinct professional writing. This multifaceted skills building workshop guides students through the process, while providing the opportunity to work with their own material in meaningful ways. In this presentation, ideas for blending instructional lecture, individual brainstorming, group collaboration, one-on-one instructor interaction, and a class-wide group dissection of prepared examples will be shared.
The Paperless Laboratory: Using Technology to Maximize the Organic Chemistry Laboratory Experience, Seann P. Mulcahy, Scott E. Schaus & John K. Snyder (CAS)
Using electronic technology in new ways in the organic laboratory has the potential to facilitate learning and generate increased interest in the discipline. In the Chemistry department at Boston University, a concerted effort has been placed on improving the undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory experience by exposing students to computerized technology they will find in graduate school or industry upon graduation. In our sophomore-level organic chemistry sequence, the entire laboratory curriculum has undergone an electronic transformation. A detailed overview of these technological innovations will be presented, including: use of an open-access repository of laboratory protocols, design of laboratory experiments that facilitate sharing of data, exposure to automated NMR, GC/MS, and LC/MS, remote download and manipulation of spectroscopic data, and implementation of an electronic laboratory notebook.
Engaging Students through Service Learning, Sheila Cordner (CAS/CGS)
How does a service-learning project help students engage more with course material and encourage them to apply their critical thinking skills to a setting beyond the classroom? How might students studying William Wordsworth’s poetry, for instance, benefit from participating in the Prison Book Program or the Reading Club at a low-income nursing home? Using service-learning projects designed in English and humanities courses at Boston University as a starting point, this presentation will explore the benefits of and strategies for incorporating service learning into a broad range of course levels and subjects.
Structuring Group Work in the Classroom for Maximum Success, Sophie Godley (SPH)
Public health courses often rely on students working in groups during class, outside of class, and sometimes as part of assessment. Group work can be enlightening, demanding, and prepare students well for the challenges of working in the field of public health. Some of the frustrations students face during group work in the academic setting they will encounter again as professionals. Groups and group work can be structured to maximize the opportunity for students to engage deeply in their material, to experience and meet the challenges of working in diverse groups, and to bring out the best in each student. Further, in classes that are mixed with graduate and undergraduate students, or students with work experience and those without, groups can be structured to allow for contribution and shared responsibility from all members. Multiple examples, tips, and tricks for maximizing group work will be shared.
Digital Media Projects to Enhance Language Learning, Sue Griffin (CAS)
Tap into your students´ digital intelligence while leveling the playing field and focusing on language rather than formatting. Animoto.com allows students to produce a 30-second, free, QuickTime video which facilitates the personal interpretation of a variety of content and which then allows for oral or written explanation of choices. Students will own the readings or content with which they engage while being able to share their vision with the rest of the class. Creating clear and objective criteria allow all students to participate in a discussion of the pros and cons of each video.
Learning from Positive Cases, Vicky Parker (SPH)
Students in applied disciplines generally approach situations with a “bias for action” that can unwittingly be reinforced by cases that direct students to focus on what is wrong and what needs to be changed. In some cases, there are good things going on that might in fact be endangered by the tendency to see only problems and the solutions those problems suggest. Thus, this innovation focuses on the development and use of positive cases, and the types of learning they can elicit. Such cases can provide students with an alternative frame for considering change as something that is not necessarily always necessary or good; change is complex and in some cases may not be needed. This innovation can broaden the framework students use to analyze other cases and situations to include both things that are not working and things that are working. It can also broaden student focus so that their recommendations for moving forward in other cases are not solely focused on changes, but also include attention to things that do not need to change.
Online Interactive Learning Modules to Enhance Active Learning in a Brick and Mortar Course, Wayne LaMorte (SPH)
One of the biggest barriers to introducing active learning exercises into the classroom is fear that the time consumed will limit the course material that can be covered. This workshop demonstrates a series of online, interactive modules that were created in support of an introductory course in epidemiology using SoftChalk® software. The objective was provide rigorous, engaging interactive modules to simultaneously deliver course content and stimulate active engagement. The modules fostered student engagement, reduced the use of lecture, and freed up classroom time for active learning and exploration of more complicated topics in greater detail. The workshop will also demonstrate creation of a module using SoftChalk® software.