Why Professors Should Ask Students For Feedback Long Before the Semester Is Over — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig
This article is part of the guide Better, Faster, Stronger: How Learning Engineering Aims to Transform Education.

Excerpt:

About a month into each semester, Gayle Golden sets aside a little time to ask her students about their learning.

The journalism instructor at the University of Minnesota keeps the process simple, with brief questions similar to these:

  • What should keep happening in this class?
  • What should we start doing in this class?
  • What should we stop doing in this class?

Golden collects the results, which students give anonymously, then studies the feedback and makes a list of all the information she’s received. During the next class period, she discusses the findings with her students. She tells them which suggestions she plans to put into practice, which recommendations she can’t act on, and why.

From DSC:
Speaking of feedback…

I think it would be good to have our students journal about their learning — integrating their notes, readings, experiments, lectures, etc. Students could check in on these 3 questions for example.

And in the (potentially) digital process, they could also submit a form to their faculty member to answer the question:

  • What do I want my professor to know about my learning experience today?

Such a question could be electronically delivered to the professor on any given day. This type of feedback loop would provide real-time, formative feedback to the professor as well as help the students develop their metacognitive skills.

I would think that such a process could also be used within the K-12 realm, including homeschoolers.


Also from edsurge.com, see:


 

 

Learn How To Study Using… Dual Coding — from learningscientists.org by Megan Smith & Yana Weinstein

Excerpt:

This is the final post in a series of six posts designed to help students learn how to study effectively. You can find the other five here:

What is dual coding?

Dual coding is the process of combining verbal materials with visual materials. There are many ways to visually represent material, such as with infographics, timelines, cartoon strips, diagrams, and graphic organizers.

When you have the same information in two formats – words and visuals – it gives you two ways of remembering the information later on. Combining these visuals with words is an effective way to study.

Now, look at only the visuals and explain what they mean in your own words. Then, take the words from your class materials and draw your own visuals to go along with them! 

Now, look at only the visuals and explain what they mean in your own words. Then, take the words from your class materials and draw your own visuals to go along with them!

From DSC:
As the authors comment, this is NOT about learning styles (as research doesn’t back up the hypothesis of learning styles): 

When we discuss verbal and visual materials, it does sound like we could be referring to learning styles. However, it is important to remember that a great deal of research has shown that assessing your learning style and then matching your study to that “style” is not useful, and does not improve learning (2). (For more, read this piece.)

 

Rebooting the final exam — from roberttalbert.medium.com by Robert Talbert

Excerpts: 

It’s probably better not to give final exams at all, but if you must, then here are some alternative approaches that do more to help students.

Here are some ideas for what your students might do on a final exam like this.

  • Create a mind map of the course or a portion of it.  
  • Write a new catalog description for the course.  
  • Write a letter to an incoming high school student who will be taking the course next semester.  
  • Write a short essay about: What are the main ideas of this subject, and how do they all connect together?  
  • Write about their metacognition.  
  • Leave one piece of advice to the next round of students taking this course. 
 

Self-Assessment (emphasis DSC)

Turn each of your learning outcomes or objectives into a question. Then, ask each student to self-score how confident they feel about being able to demonstrate that outcome or task.

Example:
Learning outcome: Students will be able to compare bacteria vs. viruses.

Change it to a question:  How confident are you in comparing bacteria vs. viruses based on today’s lesson?

Now ask students to score their confidence or ability to do this outcome using a simple scale such as:  “1 = I’m not confident that I can do it” to “5 = I am very confident that I can do it.”

 

From DSC:
Below are some great questions and reflections from Mr. Andrew Thorburn:

“I’d like to suggest not only the tools to learn and adapt, but marry that with — and to the learning model of — forgiveness and growth from not getting it right the first time. Perhaps a reflection or question from an instructor, a friend, and/or a mentor asking:

  • What did you expect to gain from engaging this learning?
  • What was the outcome? Was it what you expected?
  • If you were to do it over, what would you do differently, expect, or hope the outcome to be?
  • What would you want yourself to be like?  Why?”

We need to change how we feel about learning and appreciate the process of personal growth. 

 

From DSC:
I was reviewing an edition of Dr. Barbara Honeycutt’s Lecture Breakers Weekly, where she wrote:

After an experiential activity, discussion, reading, or lecture, give students time to write the one idea they took away from the experience. What is their one takeaway? What’s the main idea they learned? What do they remember?

This can be written as a reflective blog post or journal entry, or students might post it on a discussion board so they can share their ideas with their colleagues. Or, they can create an audio clip (podcast), video, or drawing to explain their One Takeaway.

From DSC:
This made me think of tools like VoiceThread — where you can leave a voice/audio message, an audio/video-based message, a text-based entry/response, and/or attach other kinds of graphics and files.

That is, a multimedia-based exit ticket. It seems to me that this could work in online- as well as blended-based learning environments.


Addendum on 2/7/21:

How to Edit Live Photos to Make Videos, GIFs & More! — from jonathanwylie.com


 

Philippians 4:8 — from biblegateway.com

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

From DSC:
Many people talk about engagement when they discuss learning, and with good reason. It seems to me that what they are really getting at is the topic of getting and maintaining someone’s *attention.* Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning. I wonder if some of the next generation learning platforms that employ some level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled features, will look to a learner’s preferences (as stored in their cloud-based learner’s profile) in order to help gain/maintain such attention.

And this also helps explain why allowing more learner agency — i.e., more choice, more control — in pursuing their own interests and passions really helps: A motivated learner is paying closer attention to what’s going on.

 

Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning.

 

 

From DSC:
And along these lines, that’s one of the key reasons I’d like to see more involvement from the Theatre Departments, Computer Science Departments, and from those involved with creative writing across the land — in terms of helping develop content for remote and online-based education. Actors, actresses, set designers, costumer designers, audio/video editors, programmers/software developers, and more who could collaborate on these kinds of ideas.

Last comment on this. I don’t mean that we should present our classes like many advertisements do (i.e., running a thousand images by me within 30 seconds). But changing things up periodically — both visually and audibly —  can help regain/reset your students’ attentions.

 

Metacognition and Learning How to Learn Online – Preparing for Fall Teaching in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, or Remote Courses — from prawfsblawg.blogs.com

Excerpt:

Here are some specific metacognition prompts that you can also use, either through polling software or reflection that students do on their own:

  • What helped you learn in the spring when classes went online? What practices or strategies do wish you had adopted?
  • If you were to do [name specific assignment] again, what would you do differently? What would you do in the same way?
  • Think about today’s class. What strategies did you use to prepare? How do you think they worked? What other strategies would you like to try?
  • What does fully preparing for class include for you? Create a list of the things you want to do on your own to understand the material before coming to class.
  • If you were to spend 30 minutes after class reflecting on what we learned today, what specific things would you do during this time?
  • What are your goals for this course in light of your larger motivation in coming to law school?
  • What have you done so far this semester that has helped you to achieve these goals? What specific strategies could you try to help you achieve these goals?

For the full series on preparing to teach this fall, see:

 

Pedagogical considerations for instructional videoconferencing sessions — from onlinelearningconsortium.org by Amanda Major

Excerpt:

Presented here are recommendations and strategies to support educators.

We hope you find these pedagogical considerations for faculty holding a synchronous class session via a video conferencing tool as timely, practical, and rewarding. The intent is to allay your anxieties about offering quality instruction to your students; thereby, helping you to adapt quickly to this new situation.

The ending points of your content delivery should make a lasting impression. Try these ideas:

    • Wrap-up your session with a Parking Lot designed as a quadrant (see below), use a shared document and include the following quadrant headings/questions so students can respond in real time:

 


 

 


 

Also see the idea of a learning journal here.

Have the students keep a learning journal, while answering these questions each week

 

 

A new affordance of a 100%-online-based learning environment: A visual & audible “Table of Contents of the Key Points Made” [Christian]

What new affordances might a 100%-online-based learning environment offer us?

 

From DSC:
As I’ve been listening to some sermons on my iPhone, I end up taking visual snapshots of the times that they emphasize something. Here are some examples:

A snapshot of one of the key points made during a sermon

 

Another snapshot of one of the key points made during a sermon

 

Another snapshot of one of the key points made during a sermon

 

Which got me to thinking…while tools like Panopto* give us something along these lines, they don’t present to the student what the KEY POINTS were in any given class session.

So professors — in addition to teachers, trainers, pastors, presenters, etc. — should be able to quickly and easily instruct the software to create a visual table of contents of key points based upon which items the professor favorited or assigned a time signature to. I’m talking about a ONE keystroke or ONE click of the mouse type of thing to instruct the software to take a visual snapshot of that point in time (AI could even be used to grab the closest image without someone’s eyes shut). At the end of the class, there are then just a handful of key points that were made, with links to those time signatures.

At the end of a course, a student could easily review the KEY POINTS that were made throughout the last ___ weeks.

****

But this concept falls apart if there are too many things to remember. So when a professor presents the KEY POINTs to any given class, they must CURATE the content.  (And by the way, that’s exactly why pastors normally focus on only 3-4 key points…otherwise, it gets too hard to walk away with what the sermon was about.)

****

One could even build upon the table of contents. For example…for any given class within a law school’s offerings, the professor (or another team member at the instructions of the professor) could insert links to:

  • Relevant chapters or sections of a chapter in the textbook
  • Journal articles
  • Cases
  • Rules of law
  • Courts’ decisions
  • Other

****

And maybe even:

  • That’s the kind of “textbook” — or learning modules — that we’ll move towards creating in the first place.
    .
  • That’s the form of learning we’ll see more of when we present streams of up-to-date content to folks using a next-generation learning platform.
    .
  • Future webinars could piggyback off of this concept as well. Dive as deep as you want to into something…or just take away the main points (i.e., the Cliff notes/summaries) of a presentation.

At the end of the day, if your communication isn’t in a digital format, there is no playback available. What’s said is said…and gone.


* The functionality discussed here would take a day’s worth of work for a developer at Panopto (i.e., give a presenter a way to favorite existing TOC items and/or to assign a time signature to slots of time in a recording) — but it would save people and students sooooo much time. Such functionality would help us stay up-to-date — at least at a basic level of understanding — on a variety of topics.


 

 

From DSC:
I’m embarking on a journey to discover how our emotions impact our cognition. Why? I have a suspicion that the Socratic Method is actually hurting some students’ learning, vs. helping them.

 

 

From DSC:
Here’s an idea that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now. It’s not necessarily a new idea, but the seed got planted in me by a former colleague, Quin Schultze (which I blogged about in January of 2018). I’m calling it, “My Learning Journal.The purpose of this device is to promote your metacognition  — helping you put things into your own words and helping you identify your knowledge gaps.

I realize that such a learning strategy/tool could take some time to complete. But it could pay off — big time! Give it a try for a few weeks and see what you think.

And, with a shout-out to Mr. James McGrath, the President of the WMU-Cooley Law School, the article listed below explains the benefits of taking the time for such reflection:

Reflective learning – reflection as a strategic study technique — from open.edu

Excerpts:

Rather than thinking of reflection as yet another task to be added to your ‘to do’ list or squeezed into a busy study schedule, view it as something to practice at any stage. The emphasis is on being a reflective learner rather than doing reflective learning. 

Developing a habit of reflective learning will help you to:

  • evaluate your own progress
  • monitor and manage your own performance
  • self-motivate
  • keep focus on your learning goals
  • think differently about how you can achieve your goals by evaluating your study techniques, learning strategies and whether these best fit your current needs, identifying your skills development needs or gaps in knowledge
  • think about and overcome what may be blocking your learning by using a different approach, or setting more pragmatic (realistic/achievable) goals
  • support and enrich your professional practice ensuring that you are better placed to respond to and manage new, unexpected and complex situations – a key requirement at Master’s level.

From DSC:
Pastors, trainers, K-12 educators, student teachers, coaches, musical teachers, and others: Perhaps a slightly modified version of this tool might be beneficial to those with whom you work as well…?

And for educators and trainers, perhaps we should use such a tool to think about our own teaching and training methods — and what we are (or aren’t) learning ourselves.

Addendum on 5/14/20:

Perhaps someone will build a bot for this type of thing, which prompts us to reflect upon these things. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about or something like Woebot, which Jeremy Caplan mentioned here.

 

The Secret to Student Success? Teach Them How to Learn. — from edsurge.com by Patrice Bain

Excerpt:

Abby’s story is hardly unique. I often teach students who react with surprise when they do well in my class. “But I’ve never done well in history,” they say. This is almost always followed by a common, heartbreaking confession. “I’m not smart.” Every time I hear this, I am faced with the gut-wrenching realization that the student has internalized failure by age eleven. Yet every year I see these same students soar and complete the class with high grades.

This raises two questions for me: How can we turn eleven-year-olds who have internalized failure into students like Abby who retain information for years? And how can we teach that poor grades don’t indicate failure, but rather that we haven’t found the correct learning strategy?

Enter research.

 

5 proven ways to make your good online course great — from campustechnology.com

Excerpt:

Recent research uncovered just a handful of distinct elements that set great online teaching apart from the merely good. The findings came out of interviews with eight faculty members who have won awards for their online teaching from three professional associations: the Online Learning Consortium, the Association for Educational Communications & Technology and the United States Distance Learning Association.

Again, the report is here.

 

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian