Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Critical Inquiry

"I love statistics": How mastery learning changed students' learning

Statistics elicit overall student angst, which affects grades, attitude, attrition and learning. Although students attended tutoring, were allowed to re-do homework and engaged in interactive classroom experiences, PSY 230 course retention rate remained at 25%. I used a different pedagogical technique this semester - Mastery Learning - which was used successfully in K-12 grades. Rather than a traditional letter grade or percentage on assignments, students received "not yet" grades and instructor feedback. Resubmissions were accepted as many times as necessary to reach mastery.

It's Not Just About the Competencies: Becoming Empowered Outside of the Classroom

There were some incidents on campus last semester where students were not comfortable taking care of their personal space. We have found that students do not feel empowered to make decisions and share their thoughts. In order to be successful in life, students need the tools to be able to express themselves confidently, even if they are uncomfortable due to pressure and concerns of rejection. At times, social categories impact how much personal power we have and how we use it. This includes, gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, age, religion, etc.

Don't throw your lecture out yet!

After completing midterm evaluations, students expressed a desire to have less lecture and more activities. Therefore, I designed and implemented a CATS to assess different approaches to learning in my COM 100 courses (5 sections) over a two-week experimental period. I compared a traditional lecture based approach (control group – 1 section), balanced lecture and interactive learning approach (experimental group 2 sections), and completely interactive learning approach with no lecture (experimental group 2 sections).

Trigonometry: Teaching concepts "out of order" and contextualizing content

A prerequisite to physics is MAT182.  Students need to know law of sine/cosine, and vector concepts from trig to be successful in physics.  In the past, I would spend a lot of time classify triangles (SSS, ASA, etc) to help students know which "law" to use, and this was done at the end of the semester.  I did not spend time using law of sine/cosine with vector applications .  Students typically scored a low B on law of sine/cosine problems.   In F17, I taught the "laws" and incorporated vectors in week 4 to show students real life applications.

If Men Could Menstruate: It's All in the Directions in the Assignment

Sociology courses have topics that are taboo, disturbing, offensive and controversial. SOC 212 (Gender and Society) students read "If Men Could Menstruate" by Gloria Steinem. Students tend to get defensive and miss the important point on power in society. On average 50% of the students would be defensive in the discussion responses and miss the importance of the article. I decided to rewrite the directions for the assignment so that students would focus on critically thinking as sociologists.

Creating teamwork and collaboration through the use of Popsicle sticks

While working in classroom, I found that students gravitated towards friends to create their team or learning community.  This behavior created "clicky" groups in the classroom and I noticed silos of learning taking place.  What I decided to implement in my classroom was randomizing the groups with Popsicle sticks.  Each time we had a learning activity I used these sticks (that had a student name per stick) to randomly place the students into groups.

Destroying the Box: Learning to Unleash Creativity Learner Inquiry Group

We specifically investigated how we can integrate creativity more effectively in the classroom for the benefit of both students and faculty. Our investigation included: reading Creative Confidence, learning more about Design Thinking challenges, locating and sharing creativity resources, using creativity to personally address one teaching challenge, and implementing at least one actitivty/lesson/strategy that we deveop using creativity to at least one class this semester.

Excavation Journal: Mining the Creative Mind

Students kept an Excavation Journal through the five weeks of ENH251: Mythology. They were advised to use their journal to record: observations, notes, questions, ideas, images, sketches, maps and artifacts in addition to the answers to the various Dig Sheets. Each Dig Sheet focuses on a particular area of world mythology, engaging the student in reflective thinking about assigned readings while also encouraging their use of creativity.

Increasing Student Comprehension and Engagement

In my Ethics course I assigned students a criminal justice current events assignment. This was a written report in which students were given the choice of choosing an incident of unethical conduct. I found that about half of the students did not have a clear comprehension of what was involved and why it was a problem. Many students were not able to answer basic questions. Three semesters ago I changed the assignment to include an oral presentation in class.

Increasing Student Participation...with some chocolate

I had nine students who were disengaged in group discussions. They had not actively participated in our class discussions by: being active, speaking up, volunteering for activities, or asking or answering questions.
To help, I used nine small candy bars, and taped them to the bottom of these student's desk. Students discussed nine key points in small groups. This way every student was actively involved in the learning of the material. After, students had to reach under their desk, and if they had a chocolate bar they were the chosen ones to share.

I discovered: