Fall 2011 CEIT Workshop Series

The following are workshops that were offered in Summer 2011 and Fall 2011.

Learning the Art and Science of Teaching: A Workshop on Training Graduate Students to Teach

Workshop leaders: Kathryn Spilios, Manher Jariwala, and Bennett Goldberg

A hands-on workshop in the art and science of pedagogy, specifically to engage and train faculty and instructors interested in themselves training teaching fellows and graduate students to be excellent teachers. The workshop is based upon “A Bridge to Knowledge: Learning to Teach Biology,” developed over the last decade in Biology (Spilios) and implemented also in Physics (see below). Attendees will be exposed to the goals and outcomes, methodology of that program and will run through a set of activities to gain first-hand experience. We also invite others from around the University to come and share some of their activities.

Target audience: Faculty looking to get tips and training for implementation; faculty interested in engaging for their own edification for implementation sometime in the future; directors of graduate studies (and/or chairs) looking to understand the goals, outcomes, and methodology of the approach.

Supported by College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching. For more information, please contact Bennett Goldberg at goldberg@bu.edu

A Bridge to Knowledge emphasizes the role of knowledge dissemination and acquisition in the academic and professional teaching career of a future faculty member. The workshop, workbook, homework, and nine weekly sessions train PhD students to become effective teachers. We provide background in pedagogy to help PhD students understand what teaching and learning are and to elucidate teaching tools, including effective active learning strategies. A Bridge to Knowledge has three functional sections: Part I is a quick guide and introduction, designed to be very practical, focusing on the initial few classes. This includes an introduction to teaching undergraduates, tips on effective speaking and teaching, the mechanics of running a class, and a set of assignments and activities to begin to recognize and develop good teaching habits. Many activities involve analyzing what good and bad teachers do as well as making the PhD student aware of his/her own performance in the classroom. Part II elaborates on examples and exercises that TF’s and future faculty members can incorporate into their curriculum. This includes sections on microteaching, active learning through case studies; an introduction to classroom assessment; fair, effective, and efficient grading; and the diversity of learners. Part III focuses on the PhD student as a research graduate student and a new teacher, developing techniques for stress minimization, professional documentation, and assessment of the future faculty members’ (and others) teaching progress. There are several opportunities to help PhD students analyze their own performances as a teacher, including discussions, written assignments, videotaped teaching, and peer classroom evaluations.

A New Technology for Determining Student Understanding in Real-Time: Paul Hlatky (with Janelle Heineke), Program Developer, 9/20 12:00-1:00

ClassMetric is a learning management tool that allows faculty to assess student understanding in real-time. Students can log in via any Internet browser and post anonymous questions that are topic-specific and indicate their level of understanding. Student answers are revealed to faculty in an intuitive display that they can address during and post-lecture. ClassMetric has already beta tested at MIT, Boston University, Berkeley and Stanford with dozens of classes lined up for the fall.   

ClassMetric has been found to be most applicable in large lecture halls, classes with varying skill levels, studio classes, introductory courses, goal- driven curricula and labs. 

Redesigning a Lecture Course to Develop Critical Thinking: Wayne LaMorte, SPH, 9/29 12:00-1:00

The importance of developing critical thinking skills in our students is widely acknowledged, but the means by which we are to accomplish this is often unclear, particularly in the context of a traditional lecture-based course. Moreover, limited classroom time is often a barrier to incorporating active learning into the classroom. The lecture format is an efficient method of delivering content, but many believe that a purely passive role for students does not produce lasting learning or critical thinking skills. This workshop will describe modifications made to a traditional lecture-based course in epidemiology in order to promote active learning and critical thinking.

Redesigning a Lecture Course to Develop Critical Thinking

The RULE Process: Learning from Corporations, Military, Non Profit and Other Universities: Lloyd Baird, Sandra Deacon, Jack McCarthy, SMG, 10/4 12:00-1:00

The presenters will review how other organizations have enhanced the learning experience and will focus on organizations noted not only for adopting innovative approaches, but for successfully implementing those approaches.  The presenters will summarize lessons learned from benchmarking and suggest how they can be applied in other courses. 

Teaching the Intuitive Understanding of Mathematical Concepts with Examples: Erol Pekoz, SMG, 10/11 12:00-1:00

Having an intuitive understanding of mathematical concepts means being able to “see the story” behind the technical details.  In this session we will focus on teaching and testing the intuitive understanding of mathematical concepts. We will first give some examples designed to strengthen students’ intuitions (prior to learning mathematical details) that we use for teaching introductory statistics in the School of Management.  Then we will break up into small groups and brainstorm examples to use in each of the participant’s disciplines.  Participants may come to the session with an example or two in mind of a mathematical concept from their courses that either has or could benefit from having a nice example for strengthening students’ intuitions.

Assessing Course And Program Performance: Janelle Heineke, CEIT, 10/13 12:00-1:00

The assessment of program performance is increasingly becoming a requirement for program accreditation. This session will focus on assessing learning across students in a course or program of study (rather than assessing individual performance), which can assure internal and external constituents that the course or program meets its goals.

Program Assessment

The World Outside the Classroom: Making Research Relevant for First- and Second-Year Undergraduates: Regina Hansen, Kathleen Martin, Peter Busher, Millard Baublitz, Natalie McKnight, Joellen Masters, CGS, 10/18 12:00-1:00

This workshop presents innovative paper assignments CGS faculty use that incorporate site-specific activities with research skills and critical methodologies.  Sending students out into Boston engages and excites them:  research becomes an actual adventure.  Requiring students to investigate and to document different spaces and places challenges them:  observation becomes a vivid experience.  Asking students to apply the methods, theories, and critical vocabularies from their course readings invigorates them:  analysis acquires a fluent relevancy it often lacks for today’s undergraduate.  Presenters from both the freshman and sophomore CGS program will discuss their place- and space-based assignments.  The freshman projects in Rhetoric and in Social Sciences unfolded over the students’ first fall term.  The sophomore Capstone Project, CGS’s signature problem-solving and collaborative paper that concludes CGS’s two-year course of study, demanded students investigate and pose a solution for a real concern (environmental, social, cultural, etcetera) affecting Boston, the University, or the surrounding neighborhoods and region.  Both freshmen and sophomores used their Digication ePortfolios to track, to record, to collect, and to file the various stages of their individual and group work for the research projects.  In all cases, students learned the joys – and frustrations – of research (in local archives, through personal interviews, in library resources, in web materials), showed steady intellectual growth, and displayed mature comprehension of their own roles in the larger community context.

Using Audience Response Systems “Clickers” in Innovative Ways: Cathy O’Connor, SED, 11/8 12:00-1:00