Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is “design thinking” the new liberal arts?

“Stanford’s uses what the local culture calls design thinking: ‘to equip our students with a methodology for producing reliably innovative results in any field.'”

Stanford’s d.school models a form of education driven by collaborative, creative problem-solving, a playful approach to academic discovery where students learn to ask questions rather than find answers.  While the author laments design thinking’s lack of interest in “pastness,” he is optimistic about the interdisciplinary approach to learning and problem solving. Read more at “Is design thinking the new liberal arts?” 

Capture

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Teaching and Reflection: An Interactive Workshop with Jane Jakoubek

Last night, Jane Jakoubek led a fabulous hands-on workshop about teaching reflection. We learned to guide students through the process of noticing, finding patterns, and learning by practicing this process ourselves to reflect on our own teaching.

The workshop began with some guided meditation followed by a process of noticing–writing individual sentences all starting with the phrase “I notice…” and then sharing in small groups. Jane noted that this first step is crucial: we need to unpack what we know before we can explore what we don’t know, and we need to take time to gather these “noticings” and get them on paper before we can do something with them.

Next, we talked about identifying patterns in what we noticed: themes, trends, cycles, underlying assumptions, actions, and reactions. Again, individual writing time was followed by an opportunity for small group sharing.

Finally, we looked at what we can learn from noticing and finding patterns: What is speaking to me in these notes? What does my experience tell me? What am I called to do in this moment? What will I carry away from this time?

While we shared a meal, Jane also offered some sample reflection prompts with a grading rubric and tips for teaching reflection.

Jane has a wonderful talent for creating a space to slow down and think carefully, creatively, and intentionally. I hope that we can make events like this one an annual part of the CAC program! Thank you, Jane!

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Search Smarter with Google

Using Google to start your research process? Search smarter with these tips:

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Writing Center Strategies in the Classroom

Are you interested in learning more about how strategies from the Writing Center might apply to the classroom? See Steven J. Corbett’s new book Beyond Dichotomy: Synergizing Writing Center and Classroom Pedagogies. The full text is available in PDF.

Capture

The WAC Clearinghouse has also recently published a volume on Critical Expressivism, which offers some excellent insights on personal writing, including an essay by Peter Elbow on “‘Personal Writing’ and ‘Expressivism’ as Problem Terms” and an exploration of expressivism in low/no stakes writing.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Writing Center Spring Break Hours 2015

Tuesday & Wednesday Regular Hours:

3-5pm & 7-10pm

Thursday, March 5th: CLOSED for SPRING BREAK

Writing Center RE-OPENS Monday, March 16th

3-5pm & 7-10pm

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 2.15.20 PM

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Grading Writing: The Art & Science – And Why Computers Can’t Do It

The Washington Post recently featured an interesting article on the limitations of computers’ ability to evaluate good writing: “Grading Writing: The Art & Science – And Why Computers Can’t Do It”

Capture

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Oral Exams & Alternative Assessments

What would it look like to use a conversation with a student as an assessment tool? Laurie Abbott (2012) writes:

“An exceptional benefit of oral examination is their capacity to allow teachers to explore the depths of student understanding of a complex subject, and engage in scholarly conversation… A dry-erase board enables the student to diagram and explain processes, and the teacher has flexibility and discretion to opportunistically direct the questioning based on real-time feedback during the exam. By guiding students as they negotiate answering a series of complex, related questions, the teacher can assess higher-order learning, and help students make impromptu connections in the learning context—the elusive ‘Aha!’ moment.”

 If you missed today’s workshop on Oral Exams, please consult the tips and references below! Ask Bridget for PDFs/links to the articles.

6a00d83452194e69e2017ee81ffd85970d-320wi

Tips for Oral Exams:

  • Students are more successful when the interview is framed as a discussion or conversation, rather than an examination (Jenkins & Parra 2003).
  • A group oral exam can take advantage of the benefits of collaborative learning: “increased learning, retention through graduation, improved critical thinking, and intrinsic motivation” (Zipp 2007). Even if you plan to do individual exams, do so in small groups so that students have the comfort (and pressure) of their peers present, and so they can hear other ways of answering the questions. Encourage groups to meet and prepare together ahead of time.
  • Students may find the experience more stressful than a written exam, but they will likely spend more time studying–and develop valuable life skills (Guest & Murphy 2001).
  • Use oral exams for upper-level courses (where students study more in-depth content that they need to be able to synthesize and apply) rather than lower-level courses (where students are gaining broad coverage of the subject matter).
  • Let students choose what questions they want to answer, decide who they want in their group, bring a single page of notes, or add questions to the question bank as a way to encourage confidence and ownership.
  • Ask students to verbally cite sources they use as evidence.

 

References for Alternative Assessments:

Assessment Commons

Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education

Authentic Assessment Toolbox

Abbott, Laurie. “Tired of Teaching to the Test? Alternative Approaches to Assessing Student Learning.” Rangelands 34:3 (2012): 34-38.

Angelo, T. A. and K. P. Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1993.

Jacobs, Lucy Cheser and Clinton I. Chase. “Alternative Assessment Procedures” in Developing and Using Tests Effectively: A Guide for Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1992.

Jenkins, Susan and Isabel Parra. “Multiple Layers of Meaning in an Oral Proficiency Test: The Complementary Roles of Nonverbal, Paralinguistic, and Verbal Behaviors in Assessment Decisions.” The Modern Language Journal 87(2003): 90-106.

Murray, John P. “Better Testing for Better Learning.” College Teaching 38:4 (1990): 148-52.

Stevens, D. D. and A. J. Levi. Introduction to Rubrics: An Assessment Tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective Feedback, and Promote Student Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, 2005.

Zipp, John F. “Learning by Exams: The Impact of Two-Stage Cooperative Tests.” Teaching Sociology 35 (2007): 62-76).

Sample Rubrics: Oral Exam Rubric: Carnegie Mellon (History)Oral Exam Rubric: Carnegie Mellon (English)Oral Exam Rubric (Basic)

*Note to faculty: Ask Bridget for a copy of Sara Gorchoff’s sample instructions/rubric that we discussed at the workshop

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ignite

You may have heard of pecha-kucha, but do know about ignite? Ignite takes the fast-paced, timer-driven presentation to new heights! Benefits include: audience curiosity, focus on content decisions, mandatory preparation, and concision. Learn more and see examples at Ignite Show.

Capture

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How NOT to get a job

This week’s workshop on “How NOT to Get a Job” featured advice on mistakes to avoid in cover letters, resumes, and interviews. The event was sponsored by CAC, the Wackerle Career & Leadership Center, and the faculty of the Center for Science and Business, and featured presentations by Tom Prince, Stephanie Kinkaid, and Katie Will.

 

Capture

20150217_190405 (2)

20150217_183401

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The case for Communication Across the Curriculum: broadening our understanding of composition

David Gooblar challenges the assumption that writing is the only–or best–way to ask students to communicate what they know. He writes, “No matter your discipline, I bet your goals for your students include critical thinking, disciplinary literacy, the ability to persuasively argue ideas, and the ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of important concepts. None of those goals requires writing. Indeed, some of them may be better achieved through the use of speech, visual or auditory communication, or digital tools” (emphasis mine). See more at “What Teachers in Other Fields Can Teach You.”

Capture

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized