2020 Teaching and Learning Symposium: Concurrent Sessions and Roundtables

Concurrent Session 1A: Shrinking a Large STEM Class: Providing Small Class Benefits in a Large Class (10:00-10:55 a.m.)

Facilitators: Lori Petrovich (Teaching Assistant Professor, Chemistry); Karen R. Young (Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Programs, College of Humanities and Social Sciences); Henry Schaffer (Professor Emeritus of Genetics & Biomathematics, Coordinator of Special IT Projects & Faculty Collaboration)
Slides available to view here
Teaching difficult material in large class settings presents unique challenges to the instructor that are not experienced in small class settings. Technology can be used to compensate for some of the gaps between large and small classes. Formative Assessment, a term used in the area of educational studies, is not often used by instructors in STEM courses. We’ll start with defining the term, and then profile how it benefits students and how it greatly decreases in availability as class size grows. While, with additional personnel resources, it can be provided even in large classes, the cost of doing this often (or usually) means it will be absent.

We will describe a relatively new methodology for providing automated individualized formative assessment to students based on their test performance in General Chemistry. The economies of scale which result from the use of computerized analytics and automated emailing make it possible to provide this individualized feedback service in an affordable manner even in very large enrollment courses. In addition, the analysis provides instructor feedback on class progress, or lack thereof, on a concept-by-concept basis, including Bloom’s levels, rather than the tabulation of missed questions from item analysis. A description of the method and the required preparation by the instructor will be presented.

We will compare learning outcomes from a General Chemistry class (CH 101) in F18 and F19 where the methodology has only been used in F19. The learning outcomes will be presented in terms of success on the two semester’s Final Exams. We will also share the results of anonymous student surveys. Student experiences with this methodology have generally been very positive regarding the help they received from the feedback reports. The responses were not uniform, but were somewhat split into different categories, reflecting student’s feelings of whether or not they needed any assistance with the course material.

Concurrent Session 1B: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?: A Case Study of Social-Emotional Learning in Freshman Composition for International Students (10:00-10:55 a.m.)

Facilitator: Mary Michaels Estrada (Lecturer, Foreign Languages and Literatures)
In this engaging workshop, NC State faculty participants will learn about an adaptable set of class activities for incorporating Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in their courses. I will outline a project I am currently undertaking with a freshman English course for international students (FLE 101: Academic Research and Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English), in which students participate in short, weekly take-home and in-class lessons designed to build their academic buoyancy. Attendees will participate in an SEL activity, learn about my SEL project currently in progress, discuss the relevance and appropriateness of these activities in their own classrooms, and leave with links to specific activities adaptable for their own use.

What is Social-Emotional Learning? According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” The organization identifies five SEL competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making (https://casel.org/).

Using the framework outlined by CASEL and activities from “A Guide to Incorporating Social-Emotional Learning in the College Classroom: Busting Anxiety, Boosting Ability” (Gallagher & Stocker, 2018), I will specify how I have incorporated SEL activities in Academic Research and Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English (FLE 101). Results of pre-semester and mid-semester student surveys will be shared.

Many of us may be reluctant to include these activities in our higher-education classrooms. When asked about incorporating social-emotional learning in her classroom, one professor quipped: “I’m not Mr. Rogers.” We will discuss a project implemented in two statistics courses at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Thiel College with positive student feedback and results (Gallagher & Stocker, 2018).

The benefits of social and emotional learning are well-established in K-12 education and its benefits are being documented in higher education as well (Jones & Kahn, 2017). In addition, North Carolina State University recently announced it is creating a task force specifically on the topic of “Advancing Inclusion and Well-Being to Enhance Excellence” in the creation of its new strategic plan. These SEL activities are part of a “high-impact educational experience” as outlined in the existing strategic goals of the University. In short, an increased emotional IQ better enables students to “Think and Do the Extraordinary.”

Concurrent Session 2: Does the Inclusion of Short Mindfulness Practices in Class Help Students? (2:20-3:15 p.m.)

Facilitator: Erica Kosal (Director of LSFY & Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences)
Student attitude towards biology and student comprehension of material was studied over the course of a semester. Two sections of General Biology: Evolution were taught by the same instructor with identical methodology, and using the same assessment. The one exception found was with one section including short mindfulness practices during class. Quiz scores, exam scores, surveys and reflection journals were analyzed. Major gains were found with student attitude, where they self reported the benefits of the practices helping to clear their minds and focus on the material. In this session, participants will engage in several 3-5 minute mindfulness practices, which can be used in the classroom. Participants will be involved with discussions of how to use these practices in their own classroom and take away several activities for implementation in their courses.

Roundtable 1: Applying Practical Inquiry Model (PIM) to Discussion Board Questions to Increase Student Engagement with Peers and Course Content (2:20-3:15 p.m.)

Facilitators: Michelle Bartlett (Assistant Teaching Professor, Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development); Carrol Warren (Assistant Teaching Professor, Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development)
The overarching objective of this roundtable is to help participants see how to apply the PIM model to the creation of discussion board questions. This active presentation will detail the application of the Practical Inquiry Model (PIM) to discussion board questions in an online graduate-level course. Building off the work of Ayesha Sadaf (2017, 2019) where her research found that applying the PIM phases to the discussion forum question development increased student’s reported learning of the content and student satisfaction levels. Based on the foundation of Bloom’s taxonomy, previous research found that the practical inquiry model, when used to facilitate online discussions, results in higher levels of student engagement (Ertmer P., Sadaf; Ertmer D., 2011). For this study, students’ responses were analyzed for student-to-content and student-to-student engagement.

Roundtable 2: Tactile Teaching Tools to Increase Inclusivity in Science Learning (2:20-3:15 p.m.)

Facilitators: Melissa Ramirez (Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences); Claire Gordy (Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences)
Visualizing microscopic life and its processes is integral to how biology is currently taught. This is achieved through two-dimensional images, diagrams, and figures, condensing three-dimensional processes to fit on slides or pages. These approaches exclude students with visual impairments, and disadvantage students with learning differences that affect their interpretation and processing of visual and spatial information, as well as students who simply do not identify as “visual learners”. As 3D printing labs termed “Makerspaces” become more common at colleges and universities, instructors now have opportunities to incorporate 3D-printed cellular and molecular models into their courses. However, many models serve only to represent a structure in 3D. We propose an alternate approach: Tactile Teaching Tools (TTTs) combined with guided-inquiry learning. TTTs are 3D models used for interactive classroom activities that ask students to manipulate, assemble, or analyze models in order to answer questions. By asking students to interact with 3D models rather than simply view them, TTTs increase student engagement. During this Roundtable, we will showcase TTTs paired with guided-inquiry learning activities used to demonstrate specific biological concepts including a 3D gene expression puzzle in which students construct an understanding of the lac operon. Upon completion of the puzzle, the TTT provides tactile feedback to signal transcriptional activation. Utilizing active learning and Universal Design for Learning, our goal is to provide students with alternative formats for perceiving information. Instructors can provide learning opportunities that are inclusive of diverse learners by incorporating diverse instructional methods that have potential to benefit all students.

Roundtable 3: Integrating Citizen Science in University Courses (2:20-3:15 p.m.)

Facilitators: Caren Cooper (Associate Professor, Forestry and Environmental Resources / Leadership in Public Science Cluster); Chelsea Krieg (Lecturer and Academic Advisor, English)
Interested in providing students learning opportunities and assignments with global relevance? Join this Roundtable to learn and share ideas for incorporating citizen science into undergraduate classes.

Citizen science projects allow students pursuing any career path to collaborate in posing research questions, gathering data, analysis, data visualization, and sharing conclusions. NC State is a leader in the field of citizen science and our campus offers many opportunities for students and faculty to benefit from this growing strength.

The vision of the Citizen Science Campus program is that every NC State student should have the chance to experience authentic science. Citizen science can offer opportunities for personal connection and engagement that fosters meaningful student learning, consistent with STEM and non-STEM learning objectives. This Roundtable features faculty across the university eager to coach others utilizing citizen science in their courses, outline what evidence is accumulating regarding learning outcomes, provide take home resources, and guide others on incorporating citizen science into NC State courses.

We offer faculty an opportunity to join a collaborative group formalizing the use and assessment of citizen science learning outcomes.

We encourage attendees to bring a laptop.

Roundtable 4: We Did It! How to Get Your SOTL Work Published (2:20-3:15 p.m.)

Facilitators: Maria Gallardo-Williams (Teaching Professor, Chemistry); Julieta Sherk (Associate Professor, Horticultural Science); Sue Carson (Professor, Plant and Microbial Biology and Director of TH!NK)
Teaching faculty are usually advised to present and publish their Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) work. However, educational research is quite involved and, for most teaching faculty, a new field of study. The TH!NK program on campus has an initiative to empower faculty to present and publish their educational research. In this session we will discuss approaches and techniques that have the potential to facilitate the transition from researcher to educational researcher, and we will present case studies of successful SoTL publications by TH!NK faculty at NC State.