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William Amadio, Computer Information Sciences [PDF] Research on the benefits of Team Learning is mixed, but I am not happy with the results of a mostly lecture format in my SQL (Structured Query Language) programming course. How can I apply research on assignment sequencing to design a Team Learning experience focused on objectives expressed in the terms of Bloom's taxonomy, with emphasis on application-oriented activities? How would such an experience affect the learning of students at varying skill levels?
Michelle Amazeen, Advertising [Word Document] Integrating education in ethics into Business courses is essential to the College mission, and the challenge is especially pertinent in the field of Advertising. In ADV 200 (Advertising Principles), a gateway course for majors and an elective for other Business majors as well as students in other communication-related fields, I have been experimenting with assignments intended to make students more alert to ethical questions and more expert at dealing with them responsibly. Because I will have the opportunity next semester to teach 2 sections of the course back-to-back, I want to get a better sense of what works by comparing the effects of specific interventions in one class with responses in the other class to the same questions and assignments. In BRIDGE I want to refine these interventions as well as the methodology of the experiment.
Rebecca Basham, English Literature [Word Document]; Rebecca Basham, English Literature [PowerPoint Presentation] The core course I regularly teach—Literature and Psychology—counts for the general education requirement in literature but is really interdisciplinary. Having tried at first to do too much in this course, I realized I had to focus my syllabus and assignments so that students could learn to apply psychoanalytic theories to literature, when they are novices to both. How could I achieve a better balance between “covering” essential material and fostering critical thinking?
Michael Brogan, Political Science [Word Document] To increase student engagement with and understanding of the material, I wanted to experiment with assigning students to pose, evaluate, and answer their own questions. For non-majors, students often struggle with the concepts of the discipline. For majors, my goal was to push high-order thinking as it relates to the concept of power in America. By requiring students in both classes to develop two types of questions, I hoped to help them work on their comprehension of the material (used to assess student learning and progress) and to develop students’ evaluative and analytical skills (critical thinking).
Pamela Brown, Communication Law [Word Document: Going Public] I spend so much time preparing Study Guides to help students through difficult legal cases. Why aren't my Study Guides working as well as I hoped? How can I make them more useful to students? How can I motivate students to respond to them more thoughtfully? Will better use of the guides improve student performance on exams?
Kathleen Browne, Marine Sciences [Word Document] I direct a project aimed at improving science education, both K-12 and on the college level. Since we generally emphasize the value of hands-on activities, I decided to investigate the following question: In a Marine Sciences class directed at non-majors, what effect would increased use of interactive and inquiry-based education methods have on student learning as evidenced in test scores?
Richard Burgh, Philosophy [Word Document] Our students have the tendency to ignore what they don't understand and focus on what they do understand. I want them to focus on what they don't understand and learn to put into words why they don't understand it. When one begins to see that questions can be asked about the most obvious, one is beginning to do philosophy. How can I use a) develop writing assignments that help students do what philosophers do and b) help students use question-posing as a way to foster better comprehension of primary texts?
Bruce Burnham, Biochemistry [Word Document] I knew from course evaluations and student work products (e.g., objective and essay exams, papers and lab reports) that my students were not fully achieving the learning objectives for the courses as outlined in the syllabi and furthermore were not drawing connections to the material, as if they were learning each course unit in a vacuum. How could I use backward-design (or retrosynthetic) principles to improve students’ ability to think and to communicate as scientists and to draw connections among different areas in the course of interest (beginning with Biochemistry I [BCH325])?
Janet Cape, Music Education [Word Document] My target course is ME 582: Praxis in Secondary Music. Because “general music” at the secondary level could describe courses as diverse as world drumming, composition, music history, music theory, hand bells, music technology, and keyboard lab, pre- and in-service teachers need to be able to transfer the skills and strategies learned in class to these disparate contexts. Some initially cope by teaching in the ways that they were taught in high school; others may feel overwhelmed or defensive and resist their cooperating teachers rather than learn from them. How can I shape and implement a guided practicum-teaching model that will help students more effectively connect theory with practice?
Michael Carlin, Psychology [PDF] I have found that students are not selective in their note taking, often trying to write down every word spoken or presented on slides. The latter is particularly perplexing, given that slides are posted immediately following class. Thus a critical opportunity for conceptual thinking is being lost, which likely decreases the long-term retention of the material. How can I encourage the likely more fruitful approach of listening more and writing down only the most critical information for later review and study?
Feng Chen, Chemistry [Word Document] Most students find chemistry difficult; many mistakenly think they can understand the material if they can follow the lectures and complete homework. However, they always have difficulty performing well on quizzes and tests. How can I discover exactly where my students' understanding of new concepts begins to break down? What strategies can I use to help them perform better on exams that require conceptual understanding?
Susan Denbo, Business Policy/Law [Word Document] I teach Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Policy, an elective undergraduate course in the College of Business Administration in which we analyze the public policy, economic, and ethical issues raised by our health care system. I want my students to actually “take a stand” on these issues and support their positions with quantitative and qualitative data from documented sources. How can I move my students beyond simply agreeing or disagreeing with various positions on a “gut” level?
John Donovan, Management and Human Resources [PDF] I frequently teach Fundamentals of Management and Organizational Behavior, a sophomore/junior course in the business core that is also taken by non-business majors. A central assignment in the course is an analysis of a real-world employment situation requiring specific recommendations based on application of theories and concepts. Dissatisfied with the information-delivery emphasis of textbooks in the field, and disheartened by students' naivete and impracticality in offering solutions to workplace problems, I want to revise my assignment design to help students develop analytical and problem-solving skills thta are relevant to the field of management.
Julie Drawbridge, Biology [Word Document]; Julie Drawbridge, Biology [PowerPoint Presentation] How can I better evaluate student understanding of basic concepts of biology and their ability to use this material to make connections within bio content?
- how can I check to be sure they're "getting it" as we go through the material?
- how can I improve the methods by which I evaluate students?
- can I improve student performance as I do the above?
Daniel Druckenbrod, Environmental Science [Word Document] The field of environmental science requires strong quantitative and analytical skills, so, my time in laboratory needs to be focused on teaching new skills, techniques, and data analysis and interpretation. However, I feel that this course may also need to include a ‘freshman orientation’ to the natural environments of New Jersey. Thus, the question I am addressing is: How can I increase my Intro students’ awareness of their local environment, specifically the biotic and physical patterns and processes that surround them and the ways in which they interact and alter these cycles?
Mary Elizabeth Haywood-Sullivan, Accounting [Word Document]; Mary Elizabeth Haywood-Sullivan, Accounting [PowerPoint Presentation] One main objective of this freshman course is to provide a foundation for advanced business classes by introducing business terms and concepts and by demonstrating the relations between business disciplines. So far, my “scrapbook” assignment hasn't succeeded as well as I would like. How can I revise it to help students 1) develop their ability to synthesize and integrate information and ideas; and 2) develop the ability to think holistically: to see the whole as well as the parts. [Objectives from Angelo and Cross, Teaching Goals Inventory.]
Dianne Garyantes, Communication and Journalism [PDF] During my first two semesters teachingCOM 215 (Computer-Assisted Reporting), I found a vast difference in students’ skills and comfort levels with regard to interpreting quantitative data and using Excel to perform needed calculations and represent data effectively. I need to ensure, without losing the interest of the better-prepared students, that all students learn these skills, and I must also help students effectively connect means with ends. How can I revise my syllabus and techniques so that students not only learn Excel, but also understand the meaning behind the numbers in a given story and convey their significance to a broad audience?
Ilene Goldberg, Business Policy/Law [PowerPoint Presentation] In this core course for junior Business majors, many students don’t know how the legal system works, and are unfamiliar with legal terminology. I value the benefits of collaborative groupwork as a tool for both proactive learning and peer-teaching. However, the results have been mixed. How can I revise the structure and focus of my group research/presentation assignment to 1) help students do a better job of identifying and synthesizing key findings in the literature, 2) improve the value of presentations to the audience, 3)use class time more efficiently, 4) mitigate the “slacker” problem?
Stephanie Golski, Psychology [Word Document] PSY 335/335L is an advanced seminar/lab course for majors, but neither students nor I have been making the most of the seminar format. I want to apply Walvoord’s principles of assignment-centeredness so that I can (a) appropriately reward extra effort by some students and constructively assess merely adequate effort by others and (b) increase professionalism (exposure to primary sources, presentation and summary skills, self-identification of interest areas, application of content knowledge to real-world problems).
Stephanie Golski, Psychology [BCCC PowerPoint]
Alex Grushow, Chemistry [Word Document]; Alex Grushow, Chemistry [PowerPoint Presentation] Since much of what students learn in this class is a foundation for later work, I tend to focus on whether or not the students can “do the work.” The thinking is that if they can “do” a chemistry problem, they must understand the concept behind it. However, there have been a number of recent findings in the literature to indicate that this may not be true in many cases. So my question is “How can I test (assess) the depth of a student’s understanding of chemical concepts using some form of chemical problem solving?”
Wendy Heath, Psychology [PDF] A central goal of PSY 303: Research Methods in Social Psychology is to teach students to prepare research reports according to APA conventions; as part of this process they are required to design and conduct social experiments, collect and analyze data, and interpret results. However, their reviews of the pertinent literature that must be included are often incomprehensible. How can I help my students practice writing literature reports that reflect their understanding of the research and their ability to write reports using accepted practices in the discipline?
Brea Heidelberg, Arts Administration [PDF] For my time in BRIDGE I decided to take on the Professional Development Series within the Arts Administration Program, a series of three courses required for all arts administration majors. I realized early in the process that I could not focus on only one course because the series is intended to act as a unit to prepare students for successful entry into the workforce upon graduation. How could I best select and sequence topics and align them with the overall goals of the program: To help provide students with the knowledge and skills to actively manage their own professional development and understand how the field of arts administration is progressing?
Sigfredo Hernandez, Marketing [Word Document, Visual Metaphor] In the target class, student teams are asked to translate their synthesis of marketing principles into a visual metaphor that represents conceptual relationships and to present it to the class at the end of can I identify the key learning difficulties that students encounter while working in this project and develop strategies to help them overcome such difficulties?
Sigfredo Hernandez, Marketing [Word Document: Team Learning] How can I use Michaelsen's model of instructional sequencing for cooperative learning to give students more practice in concept application and problem-solving in my Marketing Principles class?
Peter Hester, Undergraduate Education [PowerPoint Presentation] My Education course, ELD 376, has been a major requirement for three distinct populations of teachers-in-training:
- junior-level elementary education majors (w/ any CLAES second major)
- junior-level secondary education majors (w/ science second major)
- junior-level secondary education majors (w/ social studies second major)
How can these prospective teachers address perceived gaps in their content preparation, especially in the sciences, in order to better prepare themselves for teaching?
Sheena Howard, Communication and Journalism [Word Document] As a new faculty member, I am teaching COM 391 (Communication Criticism) for the first time. In designing the syllabus, I need to curb my impulse to cover too much material and instead select readings and design assignments that target my critical-thinking goals for students. Rather than merely imparting knowledge, I want students to be able to apply communication theories and methods of rhetorical analysis to a wide range of texts and media. How can I best integrate understanding of theory with practical applications that will excite and engage students while empowering them to be not only “consumers” of media messages but also sophisticated critics?
Eric Hung, Music Composition, History, and Theory [Word Document] Over the past several years, I have frequently been disappointed by the ways professional musicians and music students (at Rider and elsewhere) give pre-concert talks or in-concert “chats.” How can I redesign my assignment to help students avoid the error of assuming too much audience knowledge either by being overly technical or by failing to explain key references that would be familiar to experts? I also want to help them focus on delivery as well as content, whereas their tendency is to think only about the latter.
Brooke Hunter, History [Word Document] In Seminar in Historiography, an upper-level class for majors, students must learn to read as historians do. This means not only identifying and evaluating the thesis, but also recognizing the author’s purpose and methodology, situating the work in the larger body of scholarship and using the work to provide ideas for further research. This kind of critical reading is required for successful capstone work. Yet students struggle with the basic identification of these key elements of historical scholarship. How can I teach students to “read like a historian” more effectively?
Jonathan Husch, Geosciences [Word Document] By the time I began my BRIDGE project, I had already found success with strategies such as out-of-class review sessions before exams and pop quizzes for extra credit. Class sessions, however, were not as lively as I might have wished, as I found myself mostly in the “chalk-and-talk” position. So I took a chance with another experiment: What effect would posting my lecture notes on line have on a) attendance and class discussion and b) performance on exams?
Jonathan Husch, Geosciences [Word Document], Jonathan Husch, Geosciences [PowerPoint presentation] For over 90% of the students in this introductory course, this will be their only exposure to geology at the college level. My goal is to expand student horizons beyond the parochial to the national, global, and even cosmic I want students to appreciate the immensity of geologic time and to understand our responsibilities in respecting geologic processes. Building on my BRIDGE experience last year, how can I continue to make this “core” course meaningful, enjoyable, and positive?
Danielle Jacobs, Chemistry [PDF] Learning organic chemistry is something like learning a new language; contrary to many students’ expectations, subject mastery cannot be attained simply through memorization. I want to 1) understand better how my students are approaching this course so that I can foster constructive changes in their study habits and 2) refine my assignments and feedback to help students understand the relevance of organic chemistry to everyday life and to enhance their success at prediction and problem-solving.
Paul Jivoff, Biology [Word Document] In theory, group activities facilitate learning and lead to peer-teaching at a level not easily obtained in more traditional formats. While I have not used small group activities during the lecture portion of my courses, I have colleagues who consider them a very effective teaching strategy. So, I am interested in learning if small group activities are a useful tool for my own teaching.
Terra Joseph, English Literature [Word Document] The highly structured assignments I tend to give to students in my 19th-century literature classes for English majors are generally helpful to weaker students but at the same time constrain students who are able to think more independently and more creatively. When I’ve given students the freedom to choose their own topics, few do so, and the results are often predictable. I already assign a good deal of writing and want to foster skills as well as content mastery. How can I design assignments that encourage independent thought, stronger use of supporting evidence, and better writing habits (namely through drafting and planning)?
Michele Kamens, Education, [Word Document] In most of my courses, the class activities and content are complementary to the text, so I leave the text readings for students to complete independently. In my experience, students often do not read the text, particularly not on the schedule assigned for the course. My question for both target courses—SPE 301: Assessment for Instruction in Special Education and SPE 302: Instructional Practices for Students with Disabilities—was to find a way to motivate the students to read the text and process what they have read.
Jonathan Karp, Biopsychology [Word Document] I want to challenge my freshman students while addressing them at a developmentally appropriate level. Realizing that I may be moving too quickly and assuming too much background, I want to be more intentional about addressing the needs of students who have not yet learned to approach/view the world in a critical/scientific manner. Would slowing down, spiraling back, and providing more explicit support yield evidence of more and better learning?
Shawn Kildea, Communication and Journalism [Word Document] I teach a documentary production class in which students, during the first half of the semester, view and critique works by various directors. We discuss shot composition, lighting, focal length, foreground, background, and other factors for designing a shot. These discussions are tied to content as we consider how the subject matter influences artistic choices. We concentrate heavily on how to create a look. Unfortunately, when students go into the field to shoot, they often pay these lessons short shrift while their attention is placed on technical issues. How can I impress upon them the importance of connecting technique with content and purpose?
Tony Kosar, Music Theory and Composition [Word Document--Project Summary]; Tony Kosar, Music Theory and Composition [Word Doc--Expanded Description and Appendices] Harmonic dictation is especially difficult to teach, because if there are problems, the teacher is often unsure exactly where in the complex of required skills the problems occur. Suspecting that some students were not consistently making connections between written exercises prepared for class and harmonic dictation aural drills, I decided to try to improve student performance in harmonic dictation--and my own understanding of my students' learning processes--through specific exercises on Blackboard.
Gene Kutcher, Management and Human Resources [Word Document] I teach a Human Resource Management class, in which students must not only develop theoretical expertise in employee selection and training but must practice articulating their knowledge to others --internal or external clients, managers, and co-workers. I’ve been experimenting with designing the whole semester as a role-play, with the class continuously in the role of consultants in a small business called Talent Management Consultancy. I’ve had some success but students are still not demonstrating the expertise and professionalism I would like to see. How can I refine my new course format and assignments to advance those goals?
Anne Law, Psychology [PowerPoint Presentation] My students typically translate reading of disciplinary articles into versions of what they already think they know. They have difficulty connecting observational data to research and often substitute their personal experience for analysis of evidence. How can I introduce students to discipline-based methods of inquiry relevant to their future while including specific mechanisms to foster critical thinking and informed decision-making?
Diqing Lou, Political Science [PDF] How can I help students in a gateway Political Science course move beyond data digestion and regurgitation to a beginning mastery of concepts and theories? . This is a course in comparative political systems that necessarily involves connecting information to “big ideas” and evaluating competing or complementary theories. Having been accustomed to the traditional lecture mode, I want to change my strategy to engage students more and more-effectively by integrating lecture, reading, writing, and discussion in the most effective way possible.
Phillip Lowrey, Biology [Word Document] Biology Department faculty who teach the BIO-117 course use the same text and cover the same topics. We have all noticed that students tend to learn each topic in isolation rather than asking themselves, for example, how a topic covered in week 2 of the course relates to a topic covered in week 6 of the course. The major problem addressed by my BRIDGE project has been to find a way to help students make connections from one topic to another throughout the course…to recognize that ultimately all of the topics covered are important in understanding the normal functioning of cells.
Nowell Marshall, English Literature and Gender & Sexuality Studies [Word Document] During the 2013-2014 academic year, my BRIDGE project was to create the syllabus and assignments for GND 300 Feminist Literary Criticism, a junior-level course designed for Gender & Sexuality Studies minors but open to any student interested in the topic. My students vary considerably in their preparation for this course. I also know it will be difficult to select the right balance of primary and secondary texts. To address the diversity in student preparation, I need to design assignments that effectively sequence both individual work and collaboration. I also need to carefully define my course goals and select the required texts accordingly.
Evelyn McDowell, Accounting [Word Document] Since the Accounting Department is separately accredited by the AACSB, all of our courses must be assessed on an annual cycle. A colleague and I developed an ethics assignment that we used to instruct our students in ACC 310, a junior-level theory course; however, we did not have a common way to assess student learning. I chose to use my BRIDGE experience to help our department improve the assignment and to develop an assessment tool.
Jonathan Mendilow, Political Science [Word Document] A certain number of students each semester are unprepared to read critically in the ways I expect; as a result, they score poorly on exams, and some fail. What kinds of study guides will prove most helpful in prompting engaged reading, critical analysis, and conceptual synthesis -- in a course offered to relative novices in the discipline?
Jonathan Millen and Minmin Wang, Communication and Journalism [PowerPoint Presentation] Our department recently introduced a new foundational course—COM 103: Introduction to Communication Studies—required of all our majors, regardless of their track in Communication and Journalism. The first time we taught the course we relied on a textbook and emphasized “coverage” of a broad range of topics, but this approach did not have the effect of helping students understand the foundations of our many-stranded field. We are thinking of moving beyond the textbook and possibly even eliminating it in favor of primary readings. How can we make this big shift work for us and for the students?
Sharon Mirchandani, Music History and Theory [PDF] The course I have chosen to focus on, Music History 350 (Music in the United States) offers so much freedom that my biggest challenge is to avoid an attempt simply to “cover” large amounts of material and to engage students more effectively by connecting better with their own growing expertise (the course has two prerequisites) and interests. I am reluctant to give up the textbook, but I don’t want it to drive the design of the course. How can I shift from testing information- recall to fostering independent thinking and effective use of resources? This will mean a total course revision!
A.J. Moore, Communication and Journalism [Word Document] Requirements for completing internships in our department have not provided clearly defined structures for connecting this professional experience with previous academic work. Moreover, the internship, while a good experiential academic tool, is not a collaborative one My goal this semester has been twofold: to have the students communicate more with each other and the professor throughout the semester, and to create a final project that requires them to move beyond "reflection" by integrating concepts from coursework with the experiential learning of the internship experience.
Susanna Monseau, Business Policy & Environment [Word Document] The problem I was most interested in addressing was the unfamiliarity of the material (law) and way of thinking (legal reasoning) for most of the students. How could I support reading comprehension, address misconceptions, and help students make connections that were obvious to me as a trained lawyer but not to relative novices?
Susanna Monseau, Legal Studies and Business Ethics [Word Document] "Multi-Layered Assignments for Teaching Law to Business Students," paper delivered at Creative Teaching Conference (ACT 8) of the World Association for Case Method Research and Application (WACRA) in January 2005.
Harry I. Naar, Fine Arts [Word Document] I was disappointed in the quality of my students' analysis in both informal journal responses and formal essays. How could I design and sequence writing assignments to help my students begin to see with an artist's eye? And, since students in this heterogeneous core class are not prepared to take notes on a slide show in a darkened room, how could I help them remember salient qualities of specific paintings we were studying?
Vanita Neelakanta, English [Word Document] Although our English majors are provided with excellent opportunities to study a wide range of English and American literature, contemporary theory, and film, they have little knowledge or understanding of the seminal biblical and classical texts that exert tremendous influence upon Western literature and culture. In my new course, Biblical and Classical Influences in Western Literature, how can I encourage students to make intertextual connections so as to better perceive the pervasiveness of classical and biblical myths, allusions, and archetypes, and to discuss, analyze, and write about these connections in a critically mature and sophisticated manner?
Cynthia Newman, Marketing [Word Document] CBA 110 is an elective introductory survey course targeted primarily to freshman business majors. How can I design and sequence assignments not only to help novice students begin to understand the fundamentals of a range of business fields (accounting, finance, marketing, economics, and management), but also to recognize and appreciate inter-relationships among these disciplines?
Ryan Netzley, English [Word Document] I want to show students that literature is always already theoretical, not simply some concrete object that theory comes along to explain. How can I design and sequence assignments to address students' presupposition that this course is esoteric, useless complication of a fundamentally simple process—reading literature—a naïve belief that typically emerges in comments such a “Derrida is too hard,” “Why do we have to read this stuff?” and “Isn't it all just up to the individual?”
Marge O'Reilly-Allen, Accounting [Word Document] One of the stated objectives of Issues in Financial Reporting is to develop an informed concern about the unethical use of accounting and auditing standards. I found that students in this Master level course correctly identified appropriate accounting and auditing standards, but frequently did not recognize or consider ethical issues in a case. How could I broaden their focus beyond technical problem-solving to include more subtle matters of judgment?
Susan O’Sullivan-Gavin, Business and Legal Studies [Word Document] In my course on the Social and Legal Environment of Business, students do not always put in the sustained work required to produce effective research projects. In fact, even though I require a research paper proposal and a draft prior to final submission, many students admit that they wait until the last minute to complete the assignment. My goal in this project is twofold: 1) to implement assignment-design strategies that require students to build projects throughout the semester, thus enabling formative feedback and 2) to devise assessment methods that will enable me to discern specific areas of strengths and weaknesses in the finished reports.
Anne Osborne, History [Word Document] This required core course does not teach History, in the sense of critical thinking about the past or the application of historical information to gain understanding of the present History appears to be just one damn thing after another -- BORING! How can I design debate assignments based on primary sources—and also with a contemporary ‘hook' to engage students in studying history, not just acquiring information.
Gary Pajer, Physics [PDF] Newton’s third law is traditionally a stumbling block, as beginning students, trying to make sense of forces in general and Newton’s second law, often have trouble understanding the essential difference between the second law and the third. Part of the problem is that I have to undo widespread misconceptions about basic physical principles. What specific teaching strategies will help my students understand the basic Newtonian concepts they need to know?
Joel Phillips, Music Composition/Theory [Word Document] While all of my students are music majors, few specialize in the area of this core course, i. e., Music Theory and Composition. How can I initiate my novice students into expert practices through a sequenced assignment that integrates individual transcription, peer collaboration, and professional models? What teaching and learning advantages would accrue from such a sequence?
Mary Poteau-Tralie, Languages, Literatures & Cultures [Word Document] How can I help my beginning French students see another language as distinct from their own, not just a code or translation or (wrong!) representation of English? How can I increase awareness of the link between culture, or how one sees the world, and the language? My hunch is that students already begin to make this connection which more fluent speakers take for granted, but this insight is not fostered in a systematic way.
Drew Procaccino, Information Systems [Word Document] CIS 185 is a technology requirement of all business majors. As a result, it includes a mix of all business majors but can include some liberal arts majors. The main problem is how to instill and evaluate a deeper understanding of the material, rather than have students do hands-on work in spreadsheet (using Excel) and database (using Access) design by just going through the motions. How can I redesign tests and assignments to deepen conceptual understanding and enhance students’ facility in choosing and applying functions across varying contexts?
Mark Promislo, Management and Human Resources [Word Document] MGT-201, Fundamentals of Management and Organizational Behavior, a required sophomore-level business course, is a designed as a “survey” class that exposes students to a wide range of topics in management and organizational behavior. Thus the course sacrifices some depth to achieve breadth. My teaching goals go way beyond mere “coverage.” How can I design assignments that will counteract my students’ tendency to focus on recall of information and instead help them think critically about the concepts and (especially) apply them effectively to real-world situations?
Mitchell Ratner, Finance [Word Document] Students in my upper-level finance class (Financial Markets and Institutions), required of junior and senior business majors, seemed lacking in motivation and performed less well than I expected. Under-achievers included students who were performing well in other classes. Obviously, my lectures, on which I worked very hard, were not sufficient to engage students in the material or to help them do well on the exams. How could I use Classroom Assessment Techniques to aid student's motivation to attend class, engage in the material, and perform well on exams?
Charles Schwartz, Mathematics [Word Document] How can I help my students overcome two common (and somewhat contradictory) misconceptions about math: 1) that it is primarily a bunch of formulas to be memorized and 2) that there is an “all or nothing” property about math problem—i.e, if you don't get it right away, you might as well give up? Would it be useful, for example, to have them make up sample tests on their own before exams?
Reed Schwimmer, Geosciences [Word Document: Realigning teaching and testing] Earth science textbooks are generally weak at illustrating the connections both within and among chapter topics, and students tend to treat each chapter separately, not relating new material to concepts already covered. I don’t want to enable this fragmentation by teaching to the artificial divisions of the book. How can I increase students’ motivation to learn actively (not just memorize) and deepen their real understanding of interrelationships among Earth processes by changing both my course organization and my assessment methods?
Reed Schwimmer, Geosciences [Powerpoint: Using flowcharts to teach conceptual understanding]
Elizabeth Scheiber, Languages, Literatures & Cultures [Word Document] Students in foreign language classes often perceive daily homework as busy work. Using part of the class time to give students feedback on their homework had seemed like a good idea, but in practice, it did not work well. Many students had not done the homework and could not or would not participate. I changed the way I delivered feedback and polled students to learn how they viewed and used homework.
Elaine Scorpio, Psychology [Word Document]; Elaine Scorpio, Psychology [PowerPoint Presentation] How can I use collaborative activities to enhance the value of reading/writing assignments designed to help psychology majors understand and discuss primary research documents? Specifically, I would like to know whether groupwork structured in particular ways can help nurture familiarity with disciplinary methods and also build a foundation for more specialized study.
Robbie Sethi, English (Writing) [Word Document: BRIDGE project summary] I teach a core (general education) requirement for freshmen who do not declare a major and who place into our introductory-level composition class (CMP 115). In fall, this class co-enrolled in a section of HIS 150; in spring, the next course in the composition sequence (CMP 120) is linked with a section of HIS 151. My challenge has been to select materials and design reading and writing tasks that will help my students succeed in discipline-based courses. This meant experimenting with ways to address students' difficulties remembering and understanding the reading well enough to write accurate and coherent essays (including HIS 150 essay exams) with sufficient detail (evidence and explanation) to support a point.
Robbie Sethi [Word Document: Materials for CMP 115]
Robbie Sethi [Word Document: Materials for CMP 120]
Bryan Spiegelberg, Chemistry [PDF] I am increasingly convinced that science students benefit greatly from understanding the history of the discipline—how and why the current state of knowledge has evolved—not just the successful outcomes. Influenced by recent scholarship that documents how chemistry courses can be enhanced through explicit reference to the process that led to current models (e.g., seminal experiments by Rutherford, Avogadro, and others), I would like to re-imagine both my introductory and advanced courses to emphasize not only fundamental concepts but also scientific thinking and the contexts for its historical development.
John Suler, Psychology [Word Document] Over the past several years I have been developing an online psychoeducational program called “eQuest” for Independent Study students who wish to explore a topic in psychology that is personally meaningful to them and their lives (e.g., divorce, alcoholism, stress reduction, premartial cohabitation). Such projects fulfill the capstone requirement for a major in psychology. While the various qualitative assessment tools I had designed for this program were useful in exploring the progress of individual students, I wanted to devise a quantitative assessment that would serve as a succinct way of comparing and assessing various students’ eQuest projects over the years.
Alison Thomas-Cottingham, Psychology [Word Document] A long-standing goal for this course is to provide students with opportunities to apply the concepts of classical and/or operant conditioning to real-life situations, so that students can begin to behave as “experts” in their field. Since the class is large, the complex self-management project I have assigned has proven difficult manage—both for me and for the students—but I don’t want to give it up. How can I reshape it to make it more workable for me and more effective for the students?
Victor Thompson, Sociology
- Fall--SOC 301, Methods of Research Students in this required class for majors practice doing sociological research as experts would. How can I guide them toward effective performance of the various aspects of this complex assignment, including formation of a research question approach to the discipline and construction of a literature review that effectively connects to that question the relevant concepts and ideas from the literature?
Final Report, Original Lit Review, Content Form Function Outline, Concept Map, New Lit Review
- Spring--SOC 101, Sociological Imagination I am teaching a service-learning section of SOC 101 (comprising mostly Bonner scholars) and a “regular” section. I am interested in investigating what effect the service-learning component has on students’ engagement with the course material and also on their demonstration of conceptual understanding.
Megan Titus, English Composition [Word Document] As a professor of Composition I want to help students acquire skills that will be useful across the disciplines. In CMP 203, a version of the freshman research course designed for prospective English majors, I have the added challenge of fostering research-writing skills related to the study of literature. I believe students are likely to improve in both reading and writing when they become reflective about their habits. I already require multiple drafts for each paper in my sequence of increasingly challenging assignments and build in opportunities for feedback from me and from peers. However, many students remain unaware of how to reflect productively on either their own thinking and writing or that of others. How can I take next steps to cultivate such awareness, and how can I assess its impact on students’ writing?
Barry Truchil, Sociology [Word Document] A key requirement for my introductory seminar for majors is a 25-page library research paper, assigned I stages to help students learn how a research topic is discerned sociologically as well as to engage in discipline-based library research. The assignment requires students to document their research process for each stage. The problem is that students do not do a good job of defining appropriate research questions in the field. How can I modify my assignment to support them in this critical first step?
Maria Villalobos-Buehner, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures [Word Document] As an instructor of future teachers of foreign languages and ESL, I need an authentic assessment instrument that addresses the wide range of skills and knowledge my students must master to be able to enter classrooms on their own. They need to demonstrate their understanding of various theoretical and practical components as well as the applicability of these concepts in actual language classrooms. How could students demonstrate what it means to be a good language teacher in a real life situation that would bring theory and practice together? And how might this demonstration entail an integration of all the essential pieces of their teaching portfolio?
Shunzhu Wang, Languages, Literatures & Cultures [Word Document] It is not uncommon in a Chinese classroom to find students whose abilities to read and write Chinese lag far behind their skills in listening and speaking. Sometimes, we even find students who have learned Chinese for years, lived in China for quite a while and speak Chinese with near-native fluency, and yet can hardly read or write in Chinese. How can we help students overcome the fear of reading and writing Chinese characters, and achieve language efficiency in all four basic skills: not only listening and speaking, but also reading and writing?
Todd Weber, Biology [Word Document] Students in the introductory biology lab course (BIO-115) that I team-teach every fall semester are often unacculturated to basic practices in scientific disciplines. As a result, students who might be retained are not. How can the course be redesigned from emphasizing coverage to fostering the deeper understanding necessary for accurate analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, discipline-specific report-writing, and synthesis of data with bigger ideas related to science and society?
Todd Weber, Biology [Word Document: Sample lab report--initial and revised]
Allison Weidhaas, Communication and Journalism [Word Document] My course in Information Gathering and Analysis, intended for Master’s level students, enrolls students of widely varying backgrounds and levels of preparation, from advanced undergraduates, to students who already possess a graduate degree, to working professionals. Upon offering the course initially, I found that I had to reconfigure the curriculum to accommodate the diverse population of students while helping all members of the class toward successful completion of graduate-level course objectives. How can I revise my curriculum and assignments accordingly, especially so that I will see more success in outcomes of the semester-long research projects?
Nancy Wiencek, Communication and Journalism [Word Document] Having been asked to co-teach COM 264 Introduction to Media Convergence, a course unfamiliar to me, in the fall of 2013, I was subsequently faced with rethinking some aspects of the syllabus in preparation for teaching the course on my own. The course, required of all majors in our department, offers students a broad conceptual framework for thinking about the evolution and effects of digital communication technologies. In addition, students are given hands-on practice with various forms of digital communication. How can I improve the course content to better meet the course objectives by integrating conceptual understanding with practice?
Don Wygal, Accounting [Word Document] Even in this capstone course, which depends on integration of knowledge from prior courses, students appear to prefer tasks for which correct solutions can be demonstrated. How can I best use linkages to the professional community to help students transition to complex workplace environments, where a single solution to a problem may not exist and where it is necessary to articulate thinking on better and worse alternatives?
Jonathan Yavelow, Biology [Word Document] Oftentimes when students take a core science class they learn the information but don’t see the bigger picture of the significance of the science to their lives. How can I help my students to discover their ‘inner scientist’ so they use the scientific method to judge for themselves what to believe? My hypothesis is that bringing together the mind and the heart will increase student learning. I want to experiment with strategies for cultivating true engagement with science as a window into amazing phenomena.
Rick Zdan, Sociology [Word Document] In my introductory core course, which enrolls some prospective majors but also fills a general education requirement, I have made progress in refining a semester-long project: Students study main theoretical approaches to sociological analysis and apply them to a “society” as portrayed in a TV series that they study through a selected methodological lens. This assignment has engaged students and produced work that enables me to assess their emerging expertise. I continue to tweak aspects of this scaffolded project based on my assessment of outcomes each semester. However, I would also like to find ways of infusing its successful elements (e.g., application of theory to practice and deeper understanding of how methods reflect disciplinary assumptions) throughout the course as a whole. How can I best achieve this integration?