eLearning Technology Blog

Resources & Methods for Executing the Flipped Classroom

by WSU Online 13. November 2013 15:16

When considering options to replace lecture during class time, you could try some of these techniques: Peer Instruction, POGIL, Team Based Learning, Project Based Learning and Just in Time Instruction.

Common among all of these models is a focus on active and collaborative engagement rather than passive note taking. These techniques often include opportunities for students to apply ideas in problem solving, reason in new contexts, practice monitoring their own thinking, explain and defend reasoning and analyze others’ reasoning. Students voice their questions, hear those of others, and realize they are not alone in struggling to master the material. All of these techniques provide feedback to the instructor about students understanding (feedback that is much more frequent than Midterm and Final exams). The instructor can then use this formative assessment to guide teaching and address student misconceptions.

Peer Instruction
Peer Instruction was developed by Eric Mazur at Harvard in the 1990’s. This well-researched model has been shown to have a positive impact on learning and retention and is also considered to be an energizing alternative to lecture.

In a recent study Improved Learning in a Large-Enrollment Physics Class, a comparison was made between traditional lecture and peer instruction in two large sections (N = 267 and N = 271) of an introductory undergraduate physics course. The traditional lecture course was taught by an experienced and highly rated instructor, and the experimental course was taught by an inexperienced instructor using research- based instruction. In the results, they found increased student attendance, higher engagement, and more than twice the learning in the section taught with research-based instruction.

See this Peer Instruction FAQ  for other questions you might have. This brief video shows Mazur in the classroom and Richard Zollars (WSU Chemical Engineering) explains how this method has rejuvenated his teaching in a recent panel discussion.

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL)

In POGIL students have specific roles and work in small groups using carefully designed materials which guide their inquiry.
Samantha Swindell (WSU Psychology) piloted this method in her course and says that it has made her more excited about teaching.  Prior to class students listen to a prerecorded lecture, do readings and then create a list of questions on the lecture and readings. Samantha reviews these questions as students work collaboratively on the structured exercises. They then regroup as a class to discuss the answers. Representatives from each group present the groups answers, questions, and thoughts. Samantha addresses misconceptions and responds to questions. At the end of class the group submits a “master form” which includes the structured work questions with the group’s answers.

Using Angel
A LMS like Angel provides many useful tools for flipping your class. Lecture recordings and readings can be posted along with assignments that help you to understand where the students are having trouble. Prior to class, polling and quiz tools can be used to gather information on student questions, misconceptions or confusion. These tools can also be used to prompt an online version of peer instruction; students respond to online concept tests, then use the discussion forum make an argument for the best response. The discussion forums can be used to collect student questions on the reading and lecture materials. They also allow the instructor to respond to important questions once instead of multiple times as in office hours. Students can return to these responses multiple times or ask further questions when needed.

If you would like to know more about implementing some of these ideas in your course please contact the global campus at global.elearning@wsu.edu.

Theron des Rosier


Art is One Big Journey

by WSU Online 30. August 2013 13:14

The first thing Kyle Cossairt does is sketch. He always starts with his sketch book. “I create rough drawings about what comes to mind when thinking about a specific concept or idea.  I then scan the drawings and essentially re-draw them into Adobe’s Illustrator program for an editable, digital copy.”

And sketching is just the tip of the iceberg.

We sat down with WSU Global Campus’ new graphic designer Kyle Cossairt to learn a little about the way he sees the world and the role of graphic designers within education.
“What I like the most about my work is the creative process -- working in a wide open field that’s expanding every day. By 'expanding,' I mean the uses and the tools are expanding.  For example, taking print and merging it with web, animation and video projects. Every aspect of art is being combined into new arenas.  

Being a designer feels like being an adventurer, so much new territory to explore. There are new challenges, new media, and new opportunities to take someone’s idea and flesh it out. Taking artistic journeys and finding yourself at a collaborative destination, that’s what it’s all about.”
Kyle’s the first to confess that a significant part of his journey has been combining fine art techniques with digital technology. Though many people may not think these two disciplines are combined frequently, doing so has become increasingly popular and effective.  Take for example Cossairt’s Buffalo Soldier, a promotional piece showcasing an upcoming event.

“I created the Buffalo Soldiers poster with water color, and then scanned the painting into Photoshop.   Doing so allowed me to not only manipulate the painting, but add additional elements – including the typography.”
And we know that such fanciful feats are great for marketing campaigns, but what about in the classroom? Cossairt offers these tidbits for would-be designers looking to spruce up course spaces, materials, or syllabi. “Don’t go crazy. Pick one or two fonts – one for a header and one for the body of your text. Leave plenty of white space; it doesn’t have to be jam-packed or full of stuff.  Allow room for the eye to rest. Don’t go crazy with colors either.  Utilize themes if possible, such as bullet points for lists; this is what the eye will gravitate towards. If you use pictures, animations, or illustrations make sure they are thematically tied to your topic and not something chosen haphazardly or randomly. It’s okay to use a simple design layout because what will set you apart is the content.”

Paying attention to the visual aspects of the course materials and course space may not only put students at ease, it can also increase learning.  As an artist, Cossairt fondly remembers his instructors who considered the needs of a visual learner in their courses.

“Allowing students the freedom to sketch out or illustrate concepts taught in the class was always an effective way for me to digest the information.” In a sense Cossairt did what he’s doing now, visualizing abstract concepts with pen in hand, for the rest of the world to see. And, that audience, the world, will be seeing his creative endeavors here at the Global Campus, reaching students and impacting people on a wider scale through graphic design.
Rebecca L Stull

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