I have a complicated relationship with multiple-choice (MC) questions. Their main failing is that they are fundamentally limited in their ability to assess a student’s understanding of the material. I have often found myself writing questions with answers “A and C,” “All but D,” and “None of the above,” in an attempt to make MC questions that aren’t obvious, despite being awkward or overly complicated.
But…MC questions are easy to grade. This is the crux of it. For a large class, they are almost a necessity. This gives me a guilty conscience. Continue reading
Just the other morning, I woke up feeling my neck muscles sore and painful. I knew it was a problem with my pillow and my sleep position, and that this was a temporary discomfort for a day or two. I knew the Chinese words for this symptom; “But how do you say this in English?” I asked myself, and I did not know – I was not born and raised in the U.S., and English was not my first language. Continue reading
When teaching, there is a diverse array of factors that an instructor has to be aware of. On a class to class basis you have to be sure that you have the right amount of content, that you provide opportunities for active learning and that you build in factors to increase engagement. When it comes to more of the minutia of class management, an instructor also has to make a lot of decisions in advance about what the norms for appropriate classroom behavior will be. These can range from behaviors more directly related to learning and attention such as the use of laptops, texting, and attendance, to factors such as eating and talking to neighbors, which may not be as directly tied to attention. Continue reading
I was sitting down with my undergraduate research assistants today to discuss current data we needed to analyze and it became amazing that there were some very interesting trend emerging. We didn’t get the entire analysis complete, but we got a nice start to it. Luckily I didn’t have to sigh after they left and wonder when I will next get to working on that project…I already know: Thursday at 9am at our Encouraging Writing Group. Continue reading
One of the most frequent comments I hear about teaching online is how hard it is to know how it’s going. Without those physical cues of light-bulb smiles, slouching students or confused faces, it can feel that you’re teaching into a vacuum for 14 weeks. And whatever your opinion of online CCQs, the results arrive too late to impact the students in front of you now. If you’ve shared this frustration, consider offering your students an informal mid-semester survey. Continue reading
Cheating never crossed my mind when I was a student. Not once while in grade school, high school or college. In my mind you don’t cheat, you just don’t go there. In fact, my sophomore year in high school I walked into my health class and saw there were numbers with associated letters written in pencil on the desk. I freaked out! Were these the answers to that day’s quiz? I could not have erased them fast enough! Continue reading
Every semester, CATL sponsors a bookclub to discuss books that broadly impact teaching, learning and life on campus. Fall 2013 saw an invested group of faculty and staff discussing Whistling Vivaldi, an insider’s view into Claude M. Steele’s research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. Dr. Gaurav Bansal offered this review of the book.
In Whistling Vivaldi Claude Steele describes that no one is immune from the threat or fear of being stereotyped – that is the fear of what other people could think about us solely because of our race, gender, age, etc. Claude talks about the series of creative experiments he has carried out where he deliberately induced or cleverly removed the stereotype threat. The book shows that the fear of being stereotyped hinders our performance – and it affects each group differently. It affects African Americans on test of intellectual abilities, as it hinders the Math performance of female students among others. The findings presented in this book unearth the powerful and prevalent ways in which group identity affects us all. Every one of us is part of some group affected by negative perceptions and stereotype threats. The awareness of this commonality should help us reconcile with the experiences of others around us.
Copies of Steele’s book are available from the CATL library in IS1144. Interested in suggesting a book or joining us for the Spring Bookclub? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
When I was a kid, we moved every few years. My father was in Corporate America, in Middle Management, and in what at that time was this growth industry called Data Processing. This meant, he was relocated every 2-3 years until I was about 13. When you’re a kid, making friends is pretty easy. Nearly all the members of your peer group are open-minded, still, and while politics will emerge as one grows older, there always seemed to be someone who would latch on to the new person and claim “friends.” Continue reading
As I am sitting here trying to write this blog, I am trying to think how I can help a professor who has many hours of teaching students and framing their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. How can I help them understand what it might be like to be a Veteran in the classroom?