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Thinking about fall semester teaching

  • 1.  Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 05-02-2020 11:55
    Hello All,

    I know it's too early to make plans for the fall semester. At the same time, though, many of us are hearing about the possibility that fall courses may be a mix of online and in-person (or completely online). And book reservations for the fall semester are due soon at many universities.

    Do you have ideas on how you will handle a fall semester online or hybrid course?

    I felt like this semester, we were encouraged to go asynchronous with our materials as much as possible (at least at my university). Based on a student survey of needs and technological access, I prepared most of my material so that students could review it on their own time, with an optional live lecture/discussion once a week that students could watch asynchronously if they could not attend. It was fine, but I absolutely missed the in-person class meetings.

    My last class meeting was this past week, and we're moving into final exams, so what worked well and didn't work as well this semester is fresh in my mind. I've wondered what I might do differently if I knew in advance the whole semester would be online.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas,
    Candice

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    Candice Mills
    The University of Texas at Dallas
    Email: candice.mills@utdallas.edu
    Web: www.utdallas.edu/thinklab
    Twitter: @CandiceMMills
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  • 2.  RE: Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 05-14-2020 15:50
    Hi Candice,

    Sorry for delayed reply--we just finished classes. I have the same question. My school is in a covid hotspot (Chicago)--looking at 140,000 cases by August, I am thinking we will be teaching online.

    Does anyone have good resources for teaching a child development lab class? I really would prefer not to use  canned data sets but thought if there are video or even transcripts of data collected on children, that might be a good option--so students get the feel of observing children's behavior, coding that behavior and then creating their own data. I know there is a big resource for video examples--wondering id there is a source for actual video data. 

    I have no idea I will do this typically Engaged Learning, hands on class remotely. So if someone has done it successfully--I would love their ideas. 

    Thanks and stay healthy, safe and sane

    Breckie

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    Breckie (Ruth) Church
    Professor
    Northeastern Illinois University
    Chicago IL
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  • 3.  RE: Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 05-14-2020 23:47
    Hi Ruth,
    Are you familiar with databrary? This is an online library where researchers share data and methodology with other researchers. Participants give different levels of permissions for sharing videos of their study sessions - some participants consented to viewing online. I have used for a Strange Situation lab in an infant class.

    Best, Jessica

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    Jessica Grady
    University of the Pacific
    Stockton CA
    215-237-3126
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  • 4.  RE: Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 05-15-2020 18:12
    Edited by Angela Chow 05-15-2020 18:14
    Hi Candice, Ruth, and Jessica,

    Hello! I have the same concern. In Spring, I taught very large class and I had students who were from another side of the globe so it was impossible for me to have live classes. I eventually recorded my lectures so my students could go through the materials and participated in online discussion at a time that worked for them. 

    As for now, although we were still waiting for my university to announce what to do in the Fall, I have started thinking about what should I do for the Fall. Even if the school decides to switch all classes to online (we don't know yet), I would like to have some live sessions. I am wondering if someone can share their experiences in teaching online live classes? 

    Thanks a lot!

    Best,
    Angela

     

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    Angela Chow
    Assistant Professor
    Indiana University Bloomington
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  • 5.  RE: Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 05-16-2020 14:00
    Hi Angela,

    If you have a big class; I would suggest doing live lecture/discussion with smaller groups. This is doable and it really can be almost as satisfying as face-to-face--but the internet has to be cooperative---low bandwidth for any of the parties makes it really annoying. 

    I plan to do a flipped class; Have video of lecture available asynchronously and require students to read chapters ---ask students to answer questions for each chapter--I am going to require students to create outlines of chapters and to list 5-10 essential ideas that they got from the chapter (this I use in my face-to-face classes and it works really well--I see what they get from the chapters which in some cases is hilarious and baffling--but its information). Then I will meet with small groups and ask each group to lead discussion on the chapter--I will of course chime in when I think they need additional information.

    To assess their understanding, I will create oral exams for each group--each person will answer questions. 

    I will do a written exam that is short answer --I will not use test banks--it's too easy to cheat. 

    This could all work awfully--I have never done this before--so we will see. 

    Engaging students and helping them feel they are truly learning helps everyone's psyche--and of course follows our ultimate mission--to promote student learning.

    If you can only address large classes--you have to use a Master class approach--maybe offer additional discussion groups and hope for the best.  

    Hope this helps!

    Breckie

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    Breckie (Ruth) Church
    Professor
    Northeastern Illinois University
    Chicago IL
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  • 6.  RE: Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 05-16-2020 16:00
    Edited by Angela Chow 05-16-2020 16:01
    Hi Breckie,

    Thanks for sharing your ideas with me! I like the ideas of having live lectures/discussion with smaller groups a lot! In my course, I have a project component which the student groups have to work on self-identified topic through-out the semester. I would talk to each group for several times and comment on their interim work before their final presentation in class. I plan to keep this component even if the course switches to online in the Fall (we still don't know). But I think this is feasible!

    Thanks a lot!

    Best,
    Angela

    ------------------------------
    Angela Chow
    Assistant Professor
    Indiana University Bloomington
    1-812-8562986
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  • 7.  RE: Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 05-18-2020 11:11
    Hi Angela,

    So glad my limited experience helped. Very challenging for sure. I am still trying to figure out how teach a lab class online. 

    Breckie

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    Breckie (Ruth) Church
    Professor
    Northeastern Illinois University
    Chicago IL
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  • 8.  RE: Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 06-02-2020 12:29
    As of right now, we are likely doing a blended approach. If we have in-person meetings, I'll make the Zoom meetings optional. If we are totally online, I'll require one Zoom class a week and hold one optional one. That's what I'm doing with my class that starts on Thursday (eep!) so I'll let you know if it actually works :) 

    My department is looking at investing in some home studio equipment. My first summer class got a grant to work with a studio in another college at the university, so I get to try out some nice toys. A good clip-on camera makes all the difference! The ring light doesn't suck either :)

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    Heather Quimby
    Dr.
    University of Texas at Austin
    AUSTIN TX
    5127893063
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  • 9.  RE: Thinking about fall semester teaching

    Posted 06-02-2020 15:26
    Hi Heather and Candice,

    I agree that "in person" classes are hard to beat. I have done a lot of synchronous zoom classes and meeting with students--I am running a research program all online this summer. Creating a sense of community is possible online as well as in person. Students are craving this sense of connection even if established through a computer screen. 

    I really don't believe in lecturing; as a cognitive psychologist it probably is one of the most ineffective ways to impart knowledge but I understand the necessity in some of our universities. Active student engagement is essential and making students pull their weight in the learning process (as opposed to passively engaging) is difficult but hugely beneficial for learning. 

    I plan to do flipped classes on line in the Fall. The thing about asynchronous lectures is that's it's so difficult to sense what students are getting from the material. Even with lectures, one can incorporate socratic questioning, 5 minute assessments  like "what are 3 take home messages that you got from the lecture so far"--which can enable you to adjust the lecture if need be. An asynchronous lecture just doesn't give you that ability. HOWEVER, if you are teaching a 300 student lecture (not sure why we cling to this approach--even at the most expensive and prestigious universities) you may not have a choice. 

    I do understand how asynchronous curriculums can really work for students with life constraints; parents, full-time workers, etc. so that is a consideration we should all be aware of when designing online classes. 

    I would say, what you missed about in "in-person" classes, try to incorporate into your online classes. I feel keeping things as personal and engaging as possible can't hurt. 

    Our job as teachers is not easy--it is noble and will give our civilization sound foundation.  I think we should all trust in our sense of what's right, will help our students feel connected during this time of disconnection and will benefit learning. 

    Good luck!!

    Breckie

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    Breckie (Ruth) Church
    Professor
    Northeastern Illinois University
    Chicago IL
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