The “Fearless Teaching Framework” is a conceptual model of an effective course that emphasizes four pillars that, working in tandem, promote student achievement and learning. These pillars, climate, content, practices and assessment, are evidenced in the accomplishments of our presenters. Click on a presentation to view its abstract below.
Presentations and Panels
Examining the Role of Listening and Speaking in the Oral Communication Program: An Assessment of Learning Outcomes in COMM107
Assessing learning outcomes is an important aspect of course administration. Two key learning outcomes that we focus on in COMM 107, a multi-section oral communication general education course, are related to the development of listening and speaking skills. In our most recent assessment efforts, we use a performance-based pre-test/post-test format to determine the level of listening and speaking skills that students enter the course with and then compare aggregated data from the end of the semester to see what (if any) improvements have been made. In our presentation, we will begin by summarizing the scholarly research on listening and speaking in the oral communication program/basic communication course as well as share past assessment work in multi-section courses, like COMM 107. We will then detail our assessment procedures, which will include a demonstration of the pre-test/post-test items. Next, we will review our data analysis procedures and share preliminary results. Then we will discuss possible contributions this research makes to oral communication courses as well as the basic communication course. Finally, we will conclude by facilitating a question and answer session with the audience.
“A Rich Intellectual Apprenticeship”: Teaching a large scholarship in practice class
Scholarship and practice classes are intended to provide opportunities for students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom and to use critical and creative thinking to apply this to a real-world problem. These classes require students to take initiatives; to expect and handle criticism and set-backs; to manage deliverables like they will have to in the real world; and to produce an authentic work product that draws on collaboration with fellow students.
All sounds good, right?
But, how do you do this in an introductory class of 150 students? The answer is not: have lots of TAs. This presentation will demonstrate how to use the tools in ELMS to deliver and evaluate a semester-long project that gives students an opportunity to make a difference in his or her selected community. Students create individual blogs to record their own work throughout the semester. The project has 5 steps and students are frequently evaluated by faculty and peers so there is time for self-reflection and improvement. The end result can be amazing!
Examining Exams: New Technologies for Administering Exams
Exams can be a critical component of the learning process, but grading and providing feedback is a tedious process. New technologies make this process easier, but there are disadvantages as well. We will discuss several of these technologies and their pros and cons. Specifically, we will discuss administering exams on Canvas (with and without lockdown browser), DigiExams, and Turning Technologies (clickers). While none of these is perfect, each has benefits. In Introductory Psychology, we have experimented with each of these platforms and we will discuss the pragmatic concerns with each of these. We will also discuss what the future may hold for exam technologies.
Building Inclusive Learning into Teaching: Lessons from the University of Edinburgh
In February 2017, the presenter traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, under a grant from the UMD Office of International Affairs Global Partnerships program. In her grant proposal, "Sharing Best Practices in Accessible and Inclusive Learning Between the University of Maryland, Learning Technology Design group, and the University of Edinburgh, Institute for Academic Development," Sue set out to learn new ideas and best practices in building inclusive learning into teaching that might be implemented at the University of Maryland. In this presentation, she will describe inclusive learning at University of Edinburgh—including her experiences as an active participant in the week-long Festival of Creative Learning—and the processes and the thinking that informs those efforts, and explore the possibilities that similar efforts might be applied at the University of Maryland.
Using Learning Analytics to Support Evidence-based Decision Making
Learning Analytics is the collection and analysis of data about students, their environments and their academic outcomes to better understand and support them. For the past academic year, we have been running a Learning Analytics Research Group and we want to share some of what we learned as well as explain how you can gain access to student learning data to develop your own understanding and enhance your practices. Learning analytics can be useful from multiple perspectives. Students, instructors, program directors, and institutional administrators can and should employ broad and thoughtful analyses of available data to support evidence-based decision-making.
In this session, we will explain the opportunities available to you, what kind of data you might be able to access, and invite you to our growing campus community using data to improve student learning. We will show examples of analyses and visualizations, giving participants time to investigate data from their own units to enable a discussion about what we do and do not know, and what kind of data is needed across campus to support student learning.
Integrate Critical Thinking into Your Course Assignments and Assessments
This interactive session focuses on how to incorporate critical thinking into your course. Using the Paul and Elder critical thinking framework, you will identify key components of critical thinking in your course, learn how to communicate clear expectations of critical thinking to students, integrate critical thinking into assignment descriptions, and add critical thinking components to your assessment. We will also demonstrate critical thinking modules that can be integrated into any course to teach students critical thinking. Bring your own assignment to workshop or work with examples provided.
Utilizing Diversity: A Funds of Knowledge approach to making any classroom inclusive
In this interactive session, participants will learn how to apply the concept of “funds of knowledge” to their classrooms. Funds of knowledge is an approach to diversity and inclusion that utilizes instructors’ and students’ unique backgrounds and experiences to enrich the classroom. However, there are limited resources and information about how to integrate funds of knowledge into collegiate-level curriculum. As a result, we created an interactive online toolkit focused on this perspective, which will allow university instructors to make their class more inclusive. This toolkit functions both as a training space and a collaborative resource site that instructors can draw on to implement inclusive practices in their courses.
This session will introduce participants to funds of knowledge, encourage them to incorporate the multiple ways of knowing they bring to the classroom, and teach them strategies for drawing on their students’ many funds of knowledge to enhance learning. We will also introduce the toolkit and explain the resources it offers. Finally, participants will workshop a lesson plan to utilize funds of knowledge.
Designing for All: Exploring course accessibility in ELMS Canvas
This presentation focuses on the concepts of Universal Design and accessible content creation for courses face-to-face, blended and online. Participants will gain an understanding of accessibility and the importance of the use of accessible course design to foster engagement and learning of all students, including those with disabilities. We will give an overview of tools, resources, and techniques within ELMS Canvas which aid in the development of courses that are accessible to all. We will show an example of a course before and after the implementation of some of the tools and techniques proposed. For example, we will give an overview on how to use the accessible course checklist, make documents in accessible format, caption videos, and how to use the Canvas Design tool. Come learn about best practices, share ideas and discover more about how to improve accessibility and the quality of your course design.
(Climate, Content, Practices)
Digital Pedagogy: New approaches in blended and online learning
The Digital Pedagogy Research Group will present ongoing research in teaching writing and critical thinking in blended and online course platforms. Current research includes investigations into promoting community in online spaces, methods of promoting autonomy and metacognition online, methods of teaching medical professionals to create consent documents, and strategies in using Universal Design to enhance learning outcomes.
Using Student Avatars to Support Novice Teacher Practice
With the preparation of teachers turning to a greater emphasis on opportunities to engage in hands-on practice, teacher educators have sought a number of ways to provide novice teachers with experiential learning, including the use of explicit modeling, case studies, examination of classroom video footage, rehearsals of practice with peers, tutoring, and service learning. However, providing novice teachers with both sufficient support and sustained opportunities for engaging in practice can prove challenging. A recent addition to the tools that teacher educators can leverage to help novices learn to “navigate the rapids” of the complexity of classroom interactions includes the use of student avatars. These avatars can be given learning profiles, classroom contexts can be set, and demands of classroom management can all be adjusted in ways that meet novice teachers where they are, and stretch them in their teaching capabilities. In this panel, three experienced teacher educators from the areas of science education, adolescent literacy and special education, and ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) education, discuss their use of student avatars with novice teachers. We share our approaches to using the avatars, decision-making processes, challenges, and lessons learned, as well as the learning of our novice teachers.
Improv in Every Classroom: Using fun exercises as teaching tools
During this session, participants will learn how to use fun improvisational theater exercises as teaching tools in their own classrooms. The presenters will demonstrate five exercises borrowed from improvisational theater that are now being taught at universities around the country. These exercises have been used effectively to teach scores of undergraduate students in multiple sections of INAG110 Oral Communication, a course that meets the Fundamental Studies Oral Communication requirements of the General Education Program at UMD. Participants will actively engage in those exercises. In addition, they will learn how to facilitate the exercises in future class sessions to help their students think creatively, listen attentively, and use vivid language and storytelling to communicate effectively regardless of whether the subject matter is liberal arts or STEM oriented.
Common Core Kids: Strategies for instructing the next generation
The state of Maryland is now completing its fourth year of implementation of the K-12 Common Core State Standards (CCSS). CCSS has drastically changed not only what students learn, but how they are being taught. What does this mean for instruction at the university level? How is the “Common Core Kid” learning differently? (And why should you care?) Gain insight into the instructional focus and teaching strategies utilized in the CCSS to support student learning and how it will impact your success with the future generation of university students.
- Analyze expectations of the CCSS framework
- View instructional focus of the CCSS
- Acquire innovative strategies for teaching and learning with CCSS kids in higher education
Direct Industry Collaboration in the Classroom—Case Study: Under Armour
Experiential learning can be vastly enhanced by bringing the "real deal" into the classroom. Under Armour is one of the most relevant brands in sports, especially at the University of Maryland. For two years, Prof. Oliver Schlake has teamed up with innovation leaders at Under Armour and students from all colleges at UMD to bring new ideas and solutions to the Baltimore-based company. Building a working curriculum has its challenges, some of them unexpected. The session will give interested faculty a forum to discuss what works and what doesn't when working intensively with industry partners. If time allows, all participants can get hands-on experience with one of the prototyping exercises of previous classes.
Active Learning: The use of simulations to enhance student learning
In this session, participants will learn how simulations can be developed and used in the classroom to help enhance student learning. Participants will brainstorm potential simulation exercises for use in their classes.
Leveraging Strategic Partnerships to Enhance Learning
During this session, we will introduce the Live Case initiative at the Smith School, which leverages strategic partnerships with companies and other organizations outside of the University to provide real world applications of course content. We will share two successful examples of the Live Case model–one with Target and the other with Cornerstone Grill and Loft. Participants will hear the perspectives of the faculty involved and the instructional designers who designed the experiences. They will walk away with ideas for strategic partners in their field and an implementation plan for a Live Case type of activity in their course.
Critical Thinking: Moving toward greater learning
“Invest a few moments in thinking. It will pay good interest." While interest earned is important in finance, we want students to know more than calculating right answers to problems. We want them to think critically about interpreting problems, designing solutions and analyzing and evaluating solutions. We will draw upon six concepts that we will refer to as “intellectual standards” from the Foundation for Critical Thinking. These are standards that can be used for students to evaluate their own work or critique others’ work. These standards are, (1) Clarity - Can others understand your point? (2) Precision: Is your point specific enough? (3) Relevance: Do the points connect? (4) Accuracy: Is the point correct? (5) Depth: Do you address the complexity of the topic? (6) Breadth: Do you cover all KEY viewpoints? These standards will be related to Bloom’s taxonomy. The presentation will include results of our study that explores the level of student learning in the introductory financial management course. Two measures of student learning are used to analyze the amount and level of student learning gained in the course—pre- and post-assessments and grading rubrics of financial management project exercises.
Using UMD’s GenEd Writing Rubrics to Assign and Assess Writing
Since all University of Maryland students take two general education writing courses, it can be useful for faculty across campus to better understand what students learn in those courses and, where possible, to integrate some of those key concepts into informal and formal writing activities in their own courses. Indeed, integrating writing activities and projects into courses, no matter the discipline, can be a way to help students both deepen and demonstrate their learning. Participants in this session, which is led by the director of Maryland’s Professional Writing Program, will examine several key concepts about writing that students learn in their upper-division required writing course. Participants will practice responding to a sample piece of student writing using these concepts and discuss strategies for developing writing activities or creating writing activities that on this learning students are doing in their GenEd required writing courses and, in turn, deepen students’ learning about the disciplinary knowledge and analytical activity in their own courses. Participants will leave this session with detailed language and ideas they can put to use in their own courses to assign, teach, and evaluate writing more effectively.
AMPing Courses—Creating a campus-wide mentoring program
The University of Maryland’s Academic Peer Mentor Program (AMP) trains select undergraduates to advance the learning outcomes of their fellow students. Through coursework and hands-on experience, AMPs learn about the science behind effective teaching and develop the professional skills necessary to support the performance of others. Working closely with program faculty, AMPs are critical elements of courses designed to create the active learning environments proven to help students learn. We will describe the features of the program, provide examples of how AMPs have been utilized, and help you brainstorm opportunities to provide more peer support in courses across campus.
Unpacking Diversity in the Classroom: Ensuring productive dialog among students
University classrooms can offer spaces of student enlightenment and transformation by way of critical engagement and reflection, leading to the deepening of students’ awareness concerning important issues. With the rise of various social justice movements spearheaded by populations whose voices are in need to be heard, the need to equip and empower students with opportunities to effectively engage in conversations regarding diversity is imperative now more than ever. Therefore, using thoughtful reflection and engaged conversation, the presenters will discuss how they have unpacked the concept of diversity in their own classrooms, as well as how these experiences have shaped their identity formation as instructors. In addition, they will discuss the increasingly complex construction of diversity, i.e., in terms of race, gender, class, income, education, sexual orientation, and how this brings another layer of challenges and benefits when integrated in classroom discussions. Attendees of this presentation will be encouraged to offer their own experiences to further shape the discussion.