Below is a checklist for launching your online (Canvas) course (plus optional Microsoft Team), as well as some tips for effective online facilitation, communication, and interaction with your students.

1. Canvas Beginning of Semester Checklist

Check items such as these related to the Canvas Beginning of the Semester Checklist to ensure your Canvas course is ready to launch:

  • Publish your course, of course 🙂
  • Ensure any future modules are locked if you want to prevent early student access.
  • Go to the Assignments area to set up any assignment groups or percentage weighting.
  • Ensure all your graded activities have due dates set and have clear descriptions for students (see the Transparent Assignment Template).  I recommend frequent, low-stakes graded activities to be able to see that your students are actively participating and not falling behind in your course.
  • You can set your gradebook options such that missing assignment submissions are automatically given a zero (to alert students) and/or late submissions have a percentage deducted.
  • Run the course link validator (Settings -> Validate Links) to check for any broken links or images.
  • Check your course out in Student View to ensure you haven’t accidentally left something unpublished or inaccessible.
  • Check your course out in the Canvas Student app to ensure it is readable from a mobile device, especially any videos. 80% of students use the Canvas Student app to access their courses each week on average.

2. Microsoft Teams Checklist (or adaptable to Zoom, etc.)

3. Crafting Your Opening and Regular Announcements

  • Consider sending out a welcome announcement when your course starts (you can pre-schedule the release of an announcement, too).  You might link to your orientation video if you have one, your syllabus, and the orientation module or any other required first week activities.
  • When you send announcements and refer your students to a quiz or a file, for example, I recommend hyperlinking directly to the items, rather than leaving your students to figure out how to find them.
  • I recommend regularly sending announcements once or more a week telling students what to expect and do each week (or possibly day if a shortened semester class).  Remind students of assignments or scheduled meetings and encourage them to reach out to you if they have questions.

4. Creating Opportunities for Student Discussion and Collaboration

Student-to-student and two-way student-instructor interaction is the real key to improving student outcomes in online courses, making an entire grade’s difference, on average.  Some examples might include: online discussions, effective team projects, individualized messages, virtual office hours, etc.

5. Reaching Out to Struggling Students and Encouraging Help-Seeking

In addition to announcements and office hours, there are other ways you can foster faculty-student interaction in your online course, which is also critical to student success:

  • From the Canvas gradebook, you can ‘message students who‘ have not submitted an assignment  or scored poorly on a quiz or exam.  Reaching out individually to struggling students has been shown to dramatically help students turn it around.
  • See also these tips for encouraging student help-seeking.  Remind and encourage your students to use any available Student Support Services including any tutoring, office hours, recitations, etc., and to contact you with any questions.
  • If you are teaching live sessions, you could take attendance and use the Canvas Inbox to email students who miss one or more class sessions.
  • Around week 3 or 4 depending on if you are teaching Summer A or C, I recommend giving students an anonymous Midterm Student Feedback Survey to get feedback from your students that can help you make mid-course adjustments and improvements.

The Assessing Online Facilitation (AOF) instrument has some other suggestions for facilitating your online course to maximize student success.

Bias affects many of the things we do in higher education, but there are some techniques that can help mitigate it.  This in turn can help increase equity, which one might define as a freedom from bias.

Here are some examples of research on how bias impacts different things we do in higher education:

“Bias is a natural part of human behavior. We make thousands of decisions a day, many of which by necessity are based on preconceived or pre-learned ideas. But professors have an obligation to their students to try and overcome their natural biases and provide all students with equal opportunities. With effort and understanding, it can be done.”

(Block, 2016)

More Resources on Bias in Higher Education

meeting with or emailing students improved their test scores

Here are some techniques you can try mid-semester to help struggling students turn it around:

What is Flipping the Classroom?

Flipping the classroom is an evidence-based teaching technique that usually involves moving some lectures online to free up time during class for more active learning strategies like peer instruction or collaborative learning.

A more official definition comes from the Flipped Learning Network:

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

See this short video for a quick explanation of how and why flipping the classroom works:

Why Flip Your Classroom?

Some potential reasons:

  • Efficiency, saving time, covering more content
    • Instead of repeating the same lecture over and over, record it and have students watch it online
  • More careful, precise, or in-depth lectures
    • Students can pause, re-watch lectures, you can go more in-depth
    • Knowledgeable students can skip ahead if need be
  • Sharing your knowledge with others
    • Sharing your lecture videos on Youtube, for example
  • Free up time during class for active learning
    • Replace lecture time with group problem solving, individual activities, etc.
  • Be there to support students when they need you the most
    • When students may struggle the most and when they may learn the most is perhaps when they are working on their homework and preparing for exams.  Traditionally, they do those alone.  In a flipped class, they can do those during class while you are there to help and guide them, thus helping them improve their achievement and success in your course.

Research on Flipping the Classroom

  • Reviews, meta-analyses
    • What does the research say about flipped learning – by Robert Talbert, author of Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty
      • “The vast majority of the papers reviewed show either higher scores than students in traditional settings, or else the differences are not statistically significant.”
      • “One of the most consistent results in flipped learning research is that it is strongly correlated with improved class meeting attendance.”
      • ” Students tend to show higher satisfaction with flipped learning than with traditional methods…But — and here’s the big caveat — these benefits only tend to sink in over time.”
    • “Students in flipped courses exhibited gains in critical thinking, with the largest objective gains in intermediate and upper-level courses” (ref)
    • A negative result of flipping: “possibly because of poor video usage by the hybrid-flipped learners.” (ref)
    • “Meta-analysis shows a small effect of flipped classrooms on learning outcomes” and “Flipped classrooms achieved higher learning outcomes when quizzes were added in their design.” (ref)
    • “embedding self-regulated learning (SRL) prompts in a video…enhanced instructional efficiency, as evidenced by the significant difference in learning outcomes. (ref)
  • Student satisfaction
    • Instructor-made videos: “Student perceptions of this instructional strategy were overwhelmingly positive.” (ref)
    • ” Student evaluations of teaching showed that students rated the instructor significantly higher in a flipped classroom setting.” (ref)
  • Discipline-specific examples:
    • Computer science example: “Watching course content earlier has a significant correlation to course performance” (ref)
    • Biology example: “Students in the flipped sections had significantly higher quiz scores” (ref)
    • Upper-level engineering: “inverted classroom allowed the instructor to cover more material” (ref)
    • Chemistry: “students enrolled in the flipped course reported attending class more often than students in the non-flipped course” and ” students enrolled in the flipped chemistry course experienced, on average, a statistically significant increase of half a standard deviation in their grade in the subsequent chemistry course.” (ref)
    • Math – flipping without video example: “students were required to respond to a reading before class and take a quiz after class. During the active learning class, students worked together in groups on problems instead of listening to a lecture.” (ref)

 

Tips for Success, Things to Avoid When Flipping the Classroom

 

Pedagogical Uses for Videos

Via Tony Bates, Teaching in a Digital Age:

  • Demonstrate experiments or phenomena
  • Illustrate principles involving dynamic change or movement
  • Illustrate principles involving 3D space
  • Illustrate abstract principles with physical models
  • Substitute for a field visit
  • Bring students primary resource or case study material
  • Demonstrate how abstract principles or concepts apply to real-world problems
  • Demonstrate decision-making processes
  • Demonstrate correct procedures for using tools or equipment
  • Demonstrate methods or techniques of performance
  • Record and archive events important to topics in a course

 

General Resources on Creating Educational Videos

 

Sample Lecture Videos

Via Constantine Stefanakos.  See the CGM Lab Youtube Channel for more examples.

 

Recording Your Own Screencast Videos

These record what you do on the computer screen as well as your microphone, sort of like Khan Academy videos.

  • Screencastify – works in Chrome browser with Google
  • Screencast-o-Matic – my favorite tool, partly because I’ve been using it over a decade
  • OBS – Open Broadcast Software – free and open source – available in the Software Center
  • Camtasia($) – commercial option that includes extra features like video editing
  • Panopto / Kaltura – you can record your computer screen with the Panopto software or Kaltura if you school has one of those.

There are also apps for iPhone/iPad and Android for recording lessons:

 

Options for Sharing Your Videos

  • Youtube – share your videos publicly or keep them unlisted.  You can create a separate playlist or Youtube channel to organize all your course videos.  Be sure to edit the captions for accessibility.
  • Panopto and Microsoft Stream – for videos you want to restrict so that only people at your school can see.
  • Vimeo – for videos you want to share publicly but they are too long for Youtube

 

Interactive Video: Embed Questions In or After Your Videos

These tools let you embed questions in your video to add some interactivity and help ensure students are actually watching them:

  • H5P – free and open source collection of dozens of tools for adding interactivity to your course, including one for interactive videos linked here
  • PlayPosit
  • Edpuzzle
  • Panopto Quizzes

You can also add questions without using these tools.  You might embed your video at the top of a Canvas quiz, for example, and ask them to answer questions after watching the video.

 

Technological Tips

  • Keep your videos short 
  • Good audio is key
    • It is much harder to pay attention to and understand a video when the audio is not clear or is muffled or there is background noise.
    • Find a nice quiet place to record your screencasts.
    • You can get a USB headset, for example, or a Blue microphone for even better quality.
  • Don’t worry about making your videos “perfect”
    • Your videos may not have the polish and editing that professionally-made videos have, but they can still be effective for learning. Even editing your own videos is often unnecessary if you plan appropriately.
    • Plan ahead – create a bulleted list of items you want to cover (or even a script or storyboard if you so desire) so that you do not miss something important, and so that you can pace yourself. Prepare the items you want to show in advance so students don’t have to wait while your software program launches or while you search for some file or resource.
    • Start the video on your opening slide or some resource that signifies the topic of the video. If using a whiteboard or drawing software, draw the “title” of the topic at the beginning (or before the video starts). This is so that you don’t have to edit the video later to insert a title sequence.
    • If you find yourself losing track of your place or you have to cough or something like that, just pause the recording, and then unpause again when you are ready. That way you don’t have to start all over. If you make a mistake that is not too major, just explain it and fix it while still recording. If you made a mistake, most likely some of your students will, too, and it helps pedagogically to discuss common mistakes.
    • Your first video or two, however, may take two or more takes. It takes practice to become comfortable speaking in a timed video. Go back and listen to your videos – are you speaking too fast? Is the audio loud enough? You might record a very short practice video first just to make sure everything is coming out okay.
  • Use HD Quality
    • In order to see the text or other small details in a screencast, you should record to HD quality video, and also during the video you might recommend to students that they press the full-screen button (on the bottom right of the video player if using Youtube) and/or switch to the HD quality version of the video (if it is on Youtube – see the gear icon for changing video quality).
    • I usually size the Screencast-o-Matic box to “Medium HD” for my screencasts.
  • Zoom in, select, or annotate to focus the viewer’s attention
    • Even with HD quality videos, you can better help focus viewers’ attention by selecting, highlighting, marking, or even zooming into a particular aspect of the screen. Use your mouse as your pointer or as a way to provide gestures to focus attention. Many screencast tools will add a halo or circle around where the mouse is.

 

Pedagogical Tips

See also the article: Developing a Framework for Creating Effective Instructional Video Podcasts.

  • Don’t Just Make a Video
    • Recording lessons is only the first step. The next step is replacing class time with more interactive activities. If one only records lectures and does nothing else, the pedagogical benefits will likely not be that significant.
  • Sequencing – Should students watch video lectures before or after active learning experiences?
    • Counter-intuitively, several research studies show that lectures are more effective after students have done some exploratory learning activity (like a lab, simulation, game, data analysis, etc.). When lecturing on the topic before students have had a chance to explore it or try it for themselves, students are more likely to tune out of the lecture and not retain much, because they do not see the need for learning it, or why the concepts are important, and what problems they solve. After students have had a chance to explore (and maybe fail) at something, they have more of a need to know. They have developed questions in their mind, they have run into problems that they couldn’t solve. A lecture at that point helps them see the concepts and links between their experiences, and one can also connect the concepts covered in a lecture to the previous experiences the students have had.
    • See research on productive failure and a “time for telling.”
    • You can make videos that are open-ended instead of just explanatory lectures that give students the “answers.” You can ask students to watch a video that asks some open-ended inquiries and have students think or work on them before and during class.
  • Target misconceptions rather than only showing the “correct” answers
  • Dialogue better than monologue
    • Like in the above video, there is a lot of research (e.g., 1, 2) showing students learning more by watching a dialogue between multiple people from different perspectives rather than just a single person monologue.
  • Embed questions in or around your videos
    • As mentioned in the previous section, one suggestion is to not show the “answer” in a video, but ask open-ended questions of the students, and have students do the work and the learning.
    • And as mentioned in the above Interactive Video section, you might consider embedding questions in or around your videos.  This can have the dual effect of spurring your students to think more deeply about the concepts in the video and holding them accountable for watching the videos with something like a quiz.
    • See also From Passive Viewing to Active Learning: Simple Techniques for Applying Active Learning Strategies to Online Course Videos.
  • Let students create the videos
    • Students enjoy making screencasts and teaching each other (and the world) topics they have learned.
    • They could either use their phones and the Youtube app to record and share videos, or you might use a video discussion board like FlipGrid, which integrates with Canvas.
    • Here’s just one study showing the benefits of student-generated videos: Video Made the Calculus Star

 

Issues and Concerns about Recording Lectures and Flipping the Classroom

  • Intellectual Property
    • If I record my lectures, will the university own that content and potentially replace me?  I’d recommend recording your own videos and uploading them to Youtube, so that not only do you keep control over the videos (and you can take them down when you want), but also so that people outside the university can also benefit and learn from your videos.
    • If you work with the university to create videos, discuss any issues or concerns you have with your supervisor.
  • Copyright
    • An exception to the above suggestion of using Youtube is if you video uses copyrighted materials from someone else, such as a publisher.  While you have fair use to use copyrighted materials for teaching purposes with your own students, you can’t really share those materials outside the scope of your teaching.  So for example if you are recording a screencast using a PowerPoint from your textbook publisher’s site, for example, I would put share it on Panopto or Microsoft Stream (and not Youtube), so that only students here can view it.
  • Class Attendance
    • If you record your lectures, will students skip class?  There is some research that your class attendance might dip very slightly if you record your lectures.  But you can counteract this by increasing accountability and interactivity in your classes.  Start your class off with a question that students might answer related to the video, for example, or have an attendance policy, or add some required group activities to your class sessions.
  • Student Resistance
    • If you flip your classroom, try peer instruction, or try anything new or different or out of the norm of traditional teaching approaches, yes, you might expect a small amount of resistance, although the research shows that actually students show greater satisfaction in classes that use these kinds of techniques.  Still, I would recommend framing what you are doing with students: explain to them why you are doing this, why it will benefit them (perhaps share research), and basically sell them on your teaching strategy.  You may have to periodically remind your students of why you are doing this, instead of only explaining it to them at the beginning of the semester.
    • Here are some resources on reducing student resistance when you try something new in your courses.
  • Other Concerns

 

 

Did a workshop on Finding and Using Open Educational Resources (#OER) on Learning Day.  Here some of the resources we checked out: http://bit.ly/oervalencia

We also tried to make the case for open textbooks and OER to the Learning Council and at the Big Meeting. Here are the slides: https://bit.ly/insightmaterials

This all builds on a post I did last September on The Case for Open Textbooks.

There have long been calls for using evidence-based teaching techniques and technologies in the classroom to improve student success.  For example the 2012 “Engage to Excel” report by the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) notes that “Classroom approaches that engage students in ‘active learning’ improve retention of information and critical thinking skills.”

Sometimes it may seem risky to try something new or nontraditional in your class, however, partly because of the uncertainty about how students may react. And even when you are not trying anything new at all, some students may passively or even actively show signs of resistance or dissatisfaction, for various reasons.

There are actually many potential barriers to the adoption of evidence-based teaching techniques and technologies, such as: lack of time, insufficient resources or support, and, the topic of this post, the possibility of student resistance, which in turn might negatively impact student satisfaction and ratings.

How can we design and facilitate our courses in order to anticipate and reduce the potential for student resistance?  There are several techniques one may employ, many of which are backed by research.  First, however, let’s look at the causes and types of student resistance, and then we’ll look at strategies for addressing it.

What is Student Resistance?

The editors of a recent book, Why Students Resist Learning, define student resistance like so:

Student resistance is an outcome, a motivational state in which students reject learning opportunities due to systemic factors.

The kinds of systemic factors that may influence resistance are presented in the book’s diagram model of student resistance:

diagram of factors influencing student resistance

(This image and the one below are via an interview with the book’s editors)

Examples of Student Resistance

Several examples of student resistance are listed in the book. They divide the examples by the type of the resistance (passive or active) and the motivation for the resistance (asserting autonomy or self-preservation):

forms of student resistance

Resistance to Group Work

Group work, group projects, group presentations have long been a special source of complaints by students.  Here are some common ones from the article “Group Work Can Be Gratifying: Understanding & Overcoming Resistance to Cooperative Learning“:

  • “I’ve had bad experiences with group work. Why don’t you just lecture?”
  • “I don’t want to rely on strangers. Why can’t I form a group with my friends?”
  • “We waste a lot of time in meetings. No one wants to take responsibility.”
  • “I don’t know what we are supposed to do or why we are doing it.”
  • “I have to do all the work and don’t get the credit. I feel exploited.”
  • “The group work just feels like busy work to me. What’s the point?”
  • “I worked harder than other people in my group but I got the same grade. That’s unfair.”

If you are using student groups in your courses, consider some of these resources for improving their effectiveness:

Measuring Student Resistance

There has recently been some new research on measuring student resistance that began with the creation of the Student Response to Instructional Practices Survey (StRIP), which includes items related to student resistance:

  • I did not actually participate in the activity.
  • I gave the activity minimal effort.
  • I distracted my peers during the activity.
  • I pretended to participate in the activity.
  • I surfed the internet, social media, or did something else instead of doing the activity.
  • I rushed through the activity.

Other Examples of Student Resistance?

Are there other examples not listed above?  Is plagiarism a form of student resistance?  Copying homework problems?

Feel free to share your thoughts below.

How Prevalent is Student Resistance?

The good news is that student resistance is not as widespread as you may think.  Several studies and surveys have shown that on average, most students like and prefer when instructors adopt active learning and other innovative teaching strategies and tools (see, e.g., the article “Students’ Expectations, Types of Instruction, and Instructor Strategies Predicting Student Response to Active Learning“).

So it is not as bad a problem as we might think. However, there is still a likelihood of student resistance, especially when you first adopt a new technique. This may be why, for example, some instructors may abandon a new technique after the first semester of trying it.

What can we do to anticipate and address the potential for student resistance in our courses?  Again, feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas below, and here is a list of some strategies that have been identified by others.

Strategies for Addressing Student Resistance

Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent, authors of the book Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide, identify Eight Ways to Defuse Student Resistance, including:

  • Ease into new teaching techniques or technologies.  For example, if you are trying out flipping the classroom, try it out one week at first before switching the whole course to the technique.
  • Explain what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what the benefits are to the students.  I’ll share some example explanations below.
  • Survey your students about their experiences to get their feedback.  I’ll share some example techniques for collecting student feedback below, as well.

In recent research on strategies to mitigate student resistance to active learning (Tharayil et al., 2018), both explanation strategies and facilitation strategies have been identified:

Explanation Strategies

  • Providing students with a rationale for using active learning in the classroom by explaining how the activities relate to their learning, connecting the activities with course topics, discussing their relevance to industry
  • Communicating overall course expectations for student participation at the beginning of the semester
  • Providing explicit instructions about what students are expected to do for a specific active learning exercise

Facilitation Strategies

  • Establishing verbal or non-verbal cues such as setting a tone for risk taking, caring about students’ success, encouraging responses by using uncomfortable silences, etc.
  • Confronting students who are not participating in activities by physically approaching them, calling on them during more structured lecture, etc.
  • Using points or grades to encourage participation
  • Walking around the room during active learning instruction
  • Encouraging students to provide feedback about an in-class activity
  • Prompting students to ask questions about an activity during that activity
  • Establishing an “active learning” routine by having a standard type of “bell work,”
  • Creating student groups, reframing tasks, etc
  • Use incremental activities: giving hints, decomposing a problem into parts,…

Some more concrete details about strategies are listed below.

1. Framing: Explaining to Your Students

Here are some examples of instructors explaining to their students the rationale for using some new teaching technique or technology:

See the Physport series on productively engaging students in active learning for more resources and examples related to framing.

2. Student Testimonials

Instead of you trying to explain the rationale, have former students explain what it takes to succeed in your course.

This is a technique that may not only help reduce potential student anxiety and resistance, but it also has been shown in studies to improve students’ sense of belonging, which in turn reduces equity gaps, including for international students and minority students.

2a. Video Testimonials

You can create or have your students create video testimonials.  Here is a “realistic job preview” video by and for students taking courses online:

Here also is a video of students in first year engineering at Ohio State.

2b. Text and Letter Testimonials

In a college success course I taught, I had students at the end of the semester write letters of advice to next year’s freshmen.

In a research article on “Closing global achievement gaps in MOOCs,” students read testimonials, such as this one:

“When I first started the course, I worried that I was different from the other students. Everyone else seemed so certain it was the right level for them and were so happy to take it. But I wasn’t sure I fit in – if I would make friends, if people would respect me. Several days after I started, I came to realize that almost everyone who takes the course feels uncertain at first about whether they fit in. It’s something everyone goes through. Now it seems ironic – everybody feels different at first, when really we’re all going through the same things.”

2c. Ask Students to Reflect on the Explanation/Testimonials – Not Just Watch or Read

If you just have students passively watch or read an explanation or testimonial, it may have no impact on improving their success in the course. Here is a sample writing activity students did after reading the aforementioned student testimonial:

Now consider the strategies and insights for how to learn best that you just read. What are your own strategies and insights about how to learn best? And, how are they similar or different to the ones that you just heard about from other students? Please write at least a paragraph. Focus on your thoughts and feelings, and don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or how well written it is.

2d. Generating / Creating Student Testimonials

You’ll also have to think about how you will collect and present student testimonials. Will you ask former students to visit your class and speak with the current students?  Or create a video or collect written testimonials?  Here is how student testimonials were collected in the aforementioned article:

New students really appreciate hearing directly from students who already have some experience with learning in an online course. To give the new incoming learners a chance to hear directly from somewhat more experienced learners, we would like you to write a note to an incoming learner about your experience and what you’ve learned so far. Write about how they may feel unsure at first of their belonging in the online course but ultimately come to feel that they belong. We will give your note to a student who enrolls in the course for similar reasons as yourself, so you can imagine it is a student like you. We know it can be difficult to write that way, but we believe it will be particularly meaningful for new learners if they feel as though a more experienced learner is speaking directly to them.

The remaining strategies for addressing student resistance are related to soliciting feedback from your students about your teaching and the course.  By getting their feedback early and throughout the semester, you can make adjustments that will help improve student satisfaction and learning and reduce student resistance, as opposed to waiting for the traditional end of course survey when it is too late to make changes for those students.

3. Midterm Student Feedback

Midterm Student Feedback (MSF) involves collecting feedback from students near the start or middle of a course in order to give the instructor an opportunity to make adjustments and improvements.  Usually an outside consultant collects the feedback and provides guidance for the instructor on translating the feedback into positive changes in the course. The entire process is confidential to the instructor and anonymous for the students.

You can also survey students yourself. See this Stop-Go-Change activity.

Here are some different examples of questions that you might ask of your students:

  • via Clark & Redmond (1982)
    • What do you like about the course?
    • What do you think needs improvement?
    • What suggestions do you have for bringing about those improvements?
  • via Simmons College and others
    • What do you like most about this course and/or the instructor’s teaching of it?
    • What about this course and/or the instructor’s teaching of it needs change or improvement?
    • What suggestions can you offer that would help make this course a better learning experience for you?
  • via U. Michigan
    • What are the major strengths in this course?
    • What changes could be made in the course to assist you in learning?

See the MSF Guidebook for more examples and details: bit.ly/msfguidebook

4. Minute Papers, Exit Tickets

You can also collect feedback from students yourself by asking students to answer questions at the end of class (exit ticket) or the end of an assignment or module.  Here are some examples of the types of questions you might be interested in asking.

  • What was the most important point of the class?
  • What question remains unanswered in your mind?
  • What question from this class might appear on the next quiz/test?
  • What was the muddiest point of the class?
  • What was the main concept illustrated by the in-class demonstration/experiment?

Here are some of the types of questions you might want to ask when your students turn in a paper assignment:

  • Paper 1: I’m most satisfied with . . . I’m least satisfied with . . . I’m having problems with . . .
  • Paper 2: In writing this essay, what did you learn that surprised you? When editing your paper, what were you unsure about?
  • Paper 3: Point out specific places in your argument at which you were aware of accommodating your audience (their knowledge or attitudes). Point out places in which you used sentences for rhetorical effect.
  • Paper 4: Why did you choose this particular arrangement?
    What would you do differently if you had more time?

See bit.ly/minutepapers for a longer list of potential questions.

How will you collect feedback from students to improve upon what you are doing in your courses?  Doing so may also help reduce student resistance, as well.

More Resources

You can find some handouts and slides related to the topic of addressing student resistance here: bit.ly/studentresist

 

Here are a few resources related to supporting students (and others) in psychological distress:

1. Trauma-Informed Practices for Postsecondary Education: A Guide (pdf)

2. Mental Health First Aid (MFHA), an 8 hour face-to-face training course:

MHFA is an evidence-based training program designed to instill participants with the necessary skills to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. MHFA’s action plan, summarized by the acronym ALGEE, is simple and easy to remember.
  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen non-judgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

The primary focus of MHFA is not what the specific mental health issue is or naming the problem, but how to recognize when someone may be experiencing an issue and how provide assistance. MHFA is often compared to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) since both programs focus on training individuals to become first aiders, not medical experts. Since the goal is to assess warning signs of mental health and substance abuse issues, and not become mental health experts, participants concern themselves with providing resources and encouraging professional-help and self-help. Remember, individuals trained in CPR don’t know if someone has had a heart attack, or some other medical issue, but they do know something is wrong. According to research studies, MHFA participants:

  • Understand the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions
  • Can identify multiple professional and self-help resources for individuals experiencing a mental health illness or addiction
  • Have increased confidence in assisting someone in distress
  • Demonstrate increased mental health wellness themselves

3. And see the article “Psychology And Trauma In Schools: How Can Teachers Help?

Dr. Raviv: From my perspective, the most important role a teacher plays is developing a strong relationship and intimate knowledge of his or her students: as learners, as individuals, and as members of their classroom community.
The first step of becoming trauma-informed is to understand the ways in which some of the behaviors that concern teachers–reactivity, social withdrawal, tardiness, and absenteeism—may be manifestations of traumatic exposure.  Viewing student behaviors through a “trauma lens” rather than labeling students as defiant, disengaged, or unmotivated opens the door for considering alternative strategies to connect to and support students and respond to these behaviors.
In our work with teachers and schools, we emphasize three key components that form the foundation for a trauma-sensitive classroom:
  • Creating safety (physical and emotional)
  • Emphasizing positive relationships
  • Supporting and teaching emotion regulation.
Tips & Tools for Family Safe Device Usage (Google Docs)

Tips & Tools for Family-Safe Usage of Devices A copy of this document is online at: bit.ly/ortonasafe General Tips Talk to your kids about their use of devices: time limits, rules, online dangers Read the description, content rating, and user reviews of apps & games Try them for yourself & play…

I updated an old handout I made for parents at the elementary school where my wife used to work: Tips & Tools for Family-Safe Usage of Devices.

It has suggestions for parents to help monitor and support their children’s use of devices such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops.  If you have any additional suggestions, please let me know.

You can access the handout here:

bit.ly/ortonasafe

 

I posted some resources for improving student success in college math courses over on the POD list, copied below:

I highly recommend this free ebook that MAA (mathematical association of america) put out last year: Instructional Practices Guide: Guide to Evidence-Based Instructional Practices in Undergraduate Mathematics.

If you have an engineering program in which a high percentage of students are underprepared or failing calculus & physics, see the Wright State Model for Engineering Mathematics Education. 89% of students who took their engineering math course went on to pass Calculus, vs. only 60% of students who did not.  There are other examples out there of teaching math in context (biology, business, etc.) to improve student success.

Adopting open (free) textbooks can improve student success in math and other disciplines, perhaps partly because a significant percentage of students don’t even buy the textbook. See for example the free math books offered by OpenStax and Active Calculus.  See also my previous post on The Case for Open Textbooks.

Adaptive learning tools such as ALEKS can help.  Here’s information about a precalc class that went from 45% passing to 55% when adopting active learning methods, and then 70% passing when adopting ALEKS. ALEKS can be integrated with the OpenStax precalculus textbook.

Some also combine the use of adaptive learning tools with the ’emporium’ lab classroom model which has been shown to increase student success, although an increasing number of colleges and states are abandoning traditional remedial math courses and doing co-requisite remediation instead, which appears to be more effective.

Freshmen college success courses can help improve student success but vary widely in their impact on graduation rates.  Some (extended orientation courses) can be worse than not having any course at all.  Whereas for example Ohio State students who took Bruce Tuckman’s Learning and Motivation Strategies course were 45% more likely to graduate.

There are more ideas specific to math education in conferences like RUME and math education journals like PRIMUS.