American Mathematical Society – On Teaching and Learning Mathematics blog
Do you remember that feeling when you first walk into a class outside your comfort zone? Do you remember that exact moment when you feel your muscles tense and you wonder whether you’re going to be lost from day one, or whether you’ll hang in there through the first few weeks? I have to admit, I often had that feeling in math class, but recently I had the opportunity to meet with a Mathematics faculty member who reminded me of those teachers who are able and determined to see all students succeed regardless of their comfort-level with the content.
Professor Priscilla Bremser was kind enough to take some time during j-term to meet with me to discuss the ways in which she has transformed her math classes over several years teaching at Middlebury. In this article Professor Bremser outlines her inspiration, thought process and methods for making several changes in her classes, as well as her reflection on student responses and connection to the larger mathematics teaching community in Vermont and beyond. Priscilla’s teaching story is one of connection between educators as well as a deep attention to her students’ instructional needs.
Click here to read the story>>
Some course concepts can be trickier for students to understand than others. These “muddy points” are often the areas where technology provides us with some tools that can approach the content from a different angle, and make a concept more visible. In this story, Vickie Backus, Senior Associate in Science Instruction in Biology, explains the iterative process she used to create and then fine tune an animation to help her students better understand the concept of how natural selection can lead to evolution.
Vickie is a member of our flipped classroom community of practice and will be presenting additional information about this process at a meeting on Tuesday April 5th. We know this is a ways off, but you can sign up here to reserve a spot and receive an email reminder prior to her session.
Our next meeting will be on March 15th at 12 where we will discuss student considerations for flipped classrooms with ADA Coordinator Jodi Litchfield and Director of Learning Services, Yonna McShane. Additional details can be found here.
Think back to the most confusing learning experience of your life. Did you feel like you understood the context of what you were learning? When Assistant Professor of Physics Michael Durst began teaching PHYS 0301: Intermediate Electromagnetism he envisioned an assignment where “students would explore more deeply the history of electricity and magnetism” as well as the “chronology of…experiments which led to our current understanding of electricity and magnetism.”
Through a discussion with Academic Technology staff in the library, Michael decided that the JS Timeline plugin for WordPress would allow a means for students to place people, discoveries and real-world applications of electromagnetism in the context of time.
In this article Professor Durst describes his process of creating and revising the assignment as well as how it has become a collaborative class resource among multiple cohorts of students.
Sample Timeline Entry
Professor Glen Ernstrom leading a session in CTLR about POGIL
As Assistant Professor of Biology and Neuroscience Glen Ernstrom read articles about the effectiveness of active learning activities in the sciences he began to consider how he could integrate some of this teaching methodology into his classroom.
In this article Glen explains how he uses process-oriented guided inquiry lessons to help students work through some of the more difficult concepts in his class. Using methods to encourage metacognitive understanding Glen guides students through activities that allow them to work
“…in groups and compare[ing] the results of their work in class, they can measure themselves with their peers and see how well they are in doing. They get immediate feedback on their understanding.”
Glen was kind enough to share links to supporting research and resources to help others learn more about POGIL and how they can try it out in their own classes as well. To read the full article and view resource links please visit the Teaching at Middlebury site here.
What’s the Secret to Learning a Second Language? (salon.com) – talks about language acquisition methods, with contributions from Middlebury’s own Michael Geisler.
Wondering what the fuss over Open Access is all about? Do you like cartoons and animation? This video is for you!
The Curricular Technology Team in collaboration with Shel Sax and academic liaisons has organized a number of learning management system (LMS) training workshops, see:
Segue from Segue > LMS Pilot Training Sessions
CTLR LMS Roundtable discussion
The first workshop in the 6th annual CTLR Pedagogy Series was a discussion of LMS platforms lead by Mary Ellen Bertolini, Jason Mittell and Louisa Burnham. Online discussion, assignments and grading were all hot topics.
Sakai Overview and Training
Yesterday, Scott Siddall from Longsight, an open source service provider, lead a day long training session in Sakai. A number of faculty have agreed to pilot Sakai this spring and attended the afternoon session to get an overview of the platform and hands-on training. There will be more training sessions next week. Here are dates:
- 10 – 11:30 am, Tuesday, Jan 18th, Library 105 – Shel Sax
- 2 – 3:30 pm, Thursday, Jan 20th, Library 105 – Shel Sax
Moodle Overview and Training
Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll lead a workshop on Moodle, providing an overview of this LMS platform and then hands-on training for faculty who have agreed to pilot it. Here is schedule:
- 2 – 3:30 pm, Thursday, January 13, Library 105 – Alex Chapin
- 2 – 3:30 pm, Friday, January 14, Library 105 – Alex Chapin
While all of these training sessions are primarily for pilot participants, other faculty and staff are encouraged to attend at least the first part of these sessions where we’ll give an overview of the platforms and their distinguishing characteristics.
Carrie Macfarlane has recently added two new posts to the Teaching with Technology blog on case studies she has done with faculty in the Biology department. The first is on an evolution simulation model developed by Matt Landis for his course on “Ecology and Evolution” (BIOL0140). The other is on the use of wireless projection by Chris Watters in his class on “Human Nutrition from an Evolutionary Perspective” (BIOL0222).