Despite having to spend considerable time adjusting my curriculum and course schedules for five classes to fit the rare closure of our campus six days this wintery spring 2019 semester in Wisconsin, I still managed to discover some new lifelong learning gems this February. Here it goes…
“The sun is setting, and the meadow is thick with fog, or smoke; roll a perception check” your friend tells you and others around the table."
If this sounds unfamiliar, then you haven’t spent time as an Elf Ranger, Dwarf Wizard, or Dragonborn Barbarian—i.e., you haven’t played Dungeon and Dragons (DnD). It was one-part my enjoyment of DnD and one-part my continued efforts to increase engagement and motivation in my classes that led me to experiment with gamifying one of my spring classes after reading this piece from my colleague and Sport Psychology Teaching Aficionado Dr. Amber Shipherd. Put briefly, gamifying a class is done by incorporating common elements of gaming such as competition and earning rewards. This approach has been studied in different contexts and has been found to have positive effects on engagement as well as learning. I hope that by adopting gaming elements throughout the course my students will have similar positive outcomes this semester. In the remainder of this post, I will discuss some of the strategies I am utilizing; I will follow-up again at the end of the semester with an update on how things went and lessons for others who might want to experiment with similar approaches.
Here at The Novice Professor (and everywhere else) academics are heading into a new school year. As "this" year comes to a close we are reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the upcoming year. To inspire you, and help hold ourselves accountable, we are sharing our goals with you in this week's posts, spanning several topics of academic life.
Since the Novice Professor is all about bettering ourselves as academics, it's no surprise that three of us have big goals centered on Professional Development.
This week, we asked guest contributor Eric Landrum about using grade information for faculty assessment purposes. Below, he gives informative examples about how he utilizes detailed rubrics as a form of assessment for faculty improvement.
Traditional textbooks now come with some really cool online supplements. The goal for many who use these supplements in their courses is to increase student learning. While supplements vary in their offerings, most include some kind of quizzing component based on learning and memory principles like spacing and testing effects. Principles that we know can be effective for learning and retaining information. The purpose of these textbook supplements is great, but they often come with a pretty hefty price tag; especially when students need to buy the accompanying textbook new in order to get the access code. I am a passionate supporter of the trend in higher-ed toward cheaper (or free) textbook options, so I have wondered about the utility of these supplements in the face of the high price tag that often accompanies them.
Researchers in psychology know that learning isn’t simple. Learning and memory have been researched extensively throughout psychology’s evolution. They are complex topics that have spawned more than 100 years of research. Despite this, when it comes to teaching psychology, we seem to fall short in extending what we understand about the mind by applying it to those minds that are trying to learn in our classroom. To this end, Chew and colleagues (2018) discuss how we need to “Practice What We Teach” in an article published this month in Teaching of Psychology. In the article, the authors highlight numerous points (9 total) that need to be addressed in our field in order to promote teaching and learning in psychology. The article itself is fairly short (about 5 pages of text, excluding references), so I strongly encourage folks to read their concise review of how we can improve teaching in our field.
I won’t review each point they raised, but there were a couple key themes that really struck home for me. [read more below]
Podcasts are one of the main ways that I keep up-to-date on news and research in psychology. They give me a chance to learn about topics outside my field, all while keeping me hands free. This allows me to learn about the world around me while commuting to school, working on monotonous data tasks, or doing chores around the house.
After Ciara’s post on using YouTube videos in the classroom, I thought about putting together a list of podcasts for the classroom. Podcasts could be used as a tool for students, to help them make the most of students’ increasingly busy schedules.
[Read on for more podcast resources!]
Guest Contributor: Dr. Bob DuBois, Waukesha County Technical College
In 2009, I attended my first National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP) and started thinking deeply about how to transform students to lifelong learners. As a result, my students, colleagues, and I will never be the same. In 10 years, the drive to incorporate the science of learning into my teaching has prompted a campus lifelong learning book club, a series of four student workshops, two full-day professional development in-services, and numerous professional keynote presentations, workshops, and seminars. And, of course, I attend NITOP every year.
Initiating a Lifelong Learning Book Club helped initiate discussions across my campus about the science of teaching and learning. It even convinced some to abandon popular myths about learning (e.g., learning styles). Each semester, we read, reflect on, and discuss at least one current book. We began with Daniel Willingham’s book, Why Don’t Students Like School? and as of this spring, we have read 21 books, including, for example: