D1. Paper Session - Klokkeklang Level 0
Jennifer Robinson, Jill Robinson, John Arthos, Logan Paul, Chung-Chieh Shan
The age of “big data” offers tantalizing possibilities for working at intersections of learning, faculty knowledge, and teaching – what we know as SOTL. Although such an approach has been proposed (Baepler and Murdoch 2010), faculty are just beginning to explore its potential. Bringing SOTL and faculty perspectives to learning analytics offers important insight on how to use the digital trail students leave today. Most importantly, SOTL and faculty perspectives keep focus on the people, roles, goals, knowledge domains, and contexts of these analytics. This project explores the possibilities of using learning analytics to inform disciplinary instructors about movement of student aggregate groups through their courses. Our team of six faculty members from the physical sciences, information sciences, social sciences, and humanities teaching 5 courses and 7000 students per year at a research university in the US – has been collaborating to use big data to illuminate student learning in our large introductory courses, courses that set the stage for success in students’ college experience. Specifically, we define and track the phenomenon of grade surprise in our courses. We ask students to comment on their grade expectations for a specific assignment (first high stakes assignment of the semester) and probe their reasoning and their responses to actual grades. This moment of intervention is important because most of our students, ranked in the top 10% of their high school classes, are used to getting A grades. However, in college they often must cope with a reordering of their success relative to peers. The goals of the study are to understand grade surprise and students’ experiences of it, prepare them to evaluate their preparation accurately, equip them to recover from surprise when necessary, and share resources and strategies with the widest range of students possible. Overall, the study models how to close the gap between institutional data and classroom teaching and learning. Initial findings indicate a diversity of ways in which students enter particular general education courses, the purposeful and labor-intensive teaching designs that faculty teach for a particular knowledge base, and “sticky” differentials in student success. The conclusions include that the grade surprise questionnaire itself prompts reflection; instructors can learn to build on this reflective awareness; and instruction before the first assignment may mitigate the negative effects of surprise. Audience members review the ethics, possibilities, and specific applications for these ideas in their own educational environments. They will also be invited to join the study.
George Rehrey, Dennis Groth, Linda Shepard, Carol Hostetter
Learning Analytics (LA), along with big data that is at its core, can provide scholars with new forms of evidence of student learning for SoTL studies. Many colleges and universities are already in the midst of determining how to make the best use of this new evidence, which can range from individual student “clicks” collected in learning management systems to very large and complex data sets typically handled by data stewards and institutional research offices.
However, as social marketing theorists (Kotler & Zaltman, 1997) and change management experts have pointed out in the past (Kavanagh & Ashkanasy, 2006; Kotter, 1996), adoptions of new practices will not be brought about by simply giving people large volumes of logical data (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). Instead we need to create conditions that appeal to both the heart and the head (Macfadyen, Groth, Rehrey et al., 2017). Incorporating LA in SoTL research is certainly one possibility for creating those conditions.
As this new LA terrain unfolds, it appears likely that the SoTL community can play a vital role in how this new evidence of student learning will be shaped and used by institutions of higher learning (Rehrey, Groth, Shepard &Hostetter, 2019; Siering & Shepard, 2017). This will especially be the case as LA, big data and predictive modeling influence important resource allocations, along with programing and institutional decisions.
This session will explore how LA can play an active and collaborative role in supporting student success initiatives at institutions of higher learning, while simultaneously integrating and advancing the SoTL in new, and as of yet, unanticipated directions. This includes the management of cultural change, which will accompany any role that LA might play in conducting future SoTL research.
Noteworthy in this regard is the fostering of collaborations and new communities that will inescapably include programs and support units that are usually not considered typical partnerships for SoTL research (Rehrey, Siering and Hostetter, 2015), but remain a necessity when using big data.
Participants will also be given an opportunity to reflect upon the ways that LA might be used in their own SoTL studies, while creating new research collaborations that include academic support units, deans, chairs and program directors. Involvement in these intersecting collaborations can provide the for opportunity for SoTL practitioners to have a voice in the shaping of this rapidly unfolding landscape (Rehrey, Groth, Shepard, Hostetter & Fiorini, 2018).
D2. Paper Session - Gjendine Level 0
Helen Walkington, Eric Hall, Jenny Shanahan, Elizabeth Ackley, Kearsley Stewart
What do successful educators do in order to ensure student engagement, retention, and quality enhancement in relation to undergraduate research as a high-impact educational practice (HIP)? Kuh and O’Donnell (2013) called for the essential features of each HIP to be defined, in order to evaluate the quality of the experience. This paper is set within the twin contexts of Kuh and O’Donnell’s eight quality characteristics, and ten salient practices of faculty mentors / supervisors of undergraduate research, identified through an extensive literature review of the past two decades (Shanahan, et al, 2015). It presents new data from in-depth interviews with 32 international faculty (Australia, Canada, UK, US) who have received excellence awards for undergraduate research mentoring. The data reveal a freedom - control dialectical which illuminates the ways in which expert mentors negotiate the desire to create opportunities for students to experience freedom and creativity in research, yet at the same time maintain control over the topic, outcomes, and quality for novice researchers.
The research reveals that the defining characteristic of award-winning mentors is their ability to establish and sustain challenge, longstanding engagement, and a sense of achievement with students. It provides exemplars of salient practices in the words of the mentors and contributes to the literature on what excellence in teaching means in the context of novice researcher mentoring, including forms of practice not apparent in the literature. There are clear implications for the induction and training of mentors, in particular for identifying inclusive practices, the importance of tailoring practice to the needs of particular groups of students and resource implications for institutions in supporting this work.
In relation to the conference theme, this paper informs a culture of research-based learning by focussing on educators who create a learning culture for students through engagement in research. Sharing the practices of award-winning mentors across international boundaries, disciplines and institution types is a further example of evolving a learning culture.
We share, for the first time, the practices of award-winning undergraduate research mentors. The data come from 32 award winners in four countries and cut across a range of disciplines and institutional types. The paper will promote reflection on the practices of the audience members. It will highlight not only actual behaviours but also underlying value positions, together forming a set of practices that can be meaningfully shared.
Alicia Prowse, Stephen Powell, Elizabeth Walshaw
To generate a culture of learners and learning, many have argued for a more personalised approach to learning, teaching and assessment in HE (eg Popovic and Baume, 2016). A central contradiction in many UK HEIs is the expectation created around personal academic development in a mass higher education system. Personal tutoring (academic advising) is often seen as a ‘cure-all’ to help learners focus on their own pathways to ‘success’. However, staff and students often report an imperfect situation, arguably borne from a mismatch of expectations generated. Mixed messages reach students: ‘You will be looked after at every step in a personalised way’ vs. ‘You are on your own and need to be autonomous’. What should students make of this? Is the culture they are entering all about their vision of learning, or someone else’s? What are the actions needed to improve this? In addition, institutions communicate poorly to staff about the intended purpose of personal tutoring (PT).
Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) has been used in education as an action research-based model of change and here we apply it to personal tutoring. The methodology considers the whole system (the institution, including its students and staff) as a ‘learning system’ that can explore, examine and problematize itself and generate its own solutions. This articulates well with the thread for the ISSOTL conference on ourselves as learners within a learning culture. In this research we learned about personal tutoring, alongside academic and support staff at all levels, students and their representatives.
Using SSM we derived a purpose statement, activity model and statements of efficacy, efficiency and effectiveness of personal tutoring as a series of activities. We had conversations with personal tutors and other stakeholders, including students, around these, recording social and political implications as we progressed. We gathered models of PT and categorised these on emerging dimensions and present this as a case study using SSM for action to improve personal tutoring. Our findings include our documented process of learning, our students contributions, our models of personal tutoring surfaced through the institutional learning process and the explicit use of a change model with associated measures for the ‘success’ of the personal tutoring models.
D3. Paper Session - Småtroll Level 0
Jan Reinert Karlsen, Robert Gray
Interdisciplinary integration is a major challenge in student learning, especially when topics are shared at a social level, but not on an academic level. This is especially the case when we consider interdisciplinary subjects (e.g., the refugee crisis) that, on one hand, cannot meaningfully be delineated or understood from one disciplinary perspective alone, and on the other, cannot be addressed without considering the assumptions and limitations of the multiple perspectives of the experts addressing such issues. The challenge is increased by the fact that interdisciplinary subjects often mobilize strong emotions and personal engagement confounded by commonsensical understandings of science, differences between academic cultures, and heavily framed media narratives. This leaves us with the question: How can one integrate different disciplinary perspectives into a meaningful and critical interdisciplinary learning process that does not reproduce simplistic representations of science and society?
This paper presents the results from an ongoing course redesign process where formative assessment strategies were used successfully to increase interdisciplinary integration in a course on the refugee crisis. The original course design presented a series of disciplinary perspectives on the topic, including discussion groups where students discussed and reflected across disciplinary perspectives and academic cultures. However, when evaluating final exam papers, students’ integration of multiple perspectives was, often, insufficiently achieved.
Beginning in Fall 2017, a new student-centered approach emphasized students’ learning about the rationales and differences of disciplinary perspectives in lecture sessions and then using seminar sessions to empower students to think critically upon the issues. In Spring 2018, we added a new process where students wrote a reflection paper after completing the reading assignment, attending lecture, and participating in a discussion session for each module. The students would then receive feedback from a teaching assistant using a specially developed rubric and providing additional, substantive comments. This new “assessment for learning” process now forms the basis for the final exam, which consists of a synthesis of the reflection papers into a coherent essay.
In order to determine whether the new approach worked, we analyze the students’ submissions, classroom observations, and course evaluations to find which strategies stimulated the most learning and fostered development of the theoretical and practical dimensions of the course subject matter (e.g., interdisciplinary communication skills). In this paper we will share our analysis and discuss the extent to which student perspectives and learning outcomes match with our intentions.
Sarah Bunnell, Aimee Knupsky, M. Soledad Caballero
What happens when you encourage faculty and students to engage in team-taught, interdisciplinary teaching and learning? This paper presents the results of a three-year, multi-institutional grant investigating interdisciplinary team-teaching between the arts/humanities and the sciences. Previous literature on interdisciplinary team-teaching suggests that it is valuable for faculty, if resource intensive (Anderson & Speck, 1998; Rives-East & Lima, 2013). Less is known about how students engage in interdisciplinary thinking and how they might use this new skill to engage later learning. The grant investigated the common intersections and challenges of inviting students and faculty into cross-disciplinary explorations. Across 10 team-taught, interdisciplinary courses at four liberal arts colleges, faculty and students were asked to consider the challenges and benefits of learning or teaching in an interdisciplinary framework, as well as how their own views of their discipline changed in response to these interdisciplinary experiences. Faculty were asked to reflect on their experience teaching with a colleague from outside of their discipline, while students were asked to reflect on their learning experiences when taught by a team of faculty from disparate disciplines.
Data were collected at four time points (beginning, middle, end of semester, and a six month follow-up). Instructors developed pre- and post-test synthesis assignments that were shared and coded using the AAC&U Creative thinking and Critical thinking VALUE rubrics. Analysis of student reflections indicated that the benefits of interdisciplinary team-teaching far outweighed the structural challenges; benefits included being exposed to multiple perspectives, the ability to construct a more well-rounded understanding of a concept, the creation of a community of learners, and a decentralization of power in the classroom. These perceptions connect with the rationale that has been used in calls for embracing interdisciplinary learning (Ausburg et al.; 2013; Tuana, 2013). Faculty reported immediate benefits including increasing their pedagogical skills and serving as co-learners in the classroom, along with long term benefits of collaborative scholarship. For students, thinking in an interdisciplinary way came to mean more than taking on multiple perspectives and grew to include the goals of applying knowledge to real-world contexts, finding connections, thinking creatively and generating new ideas, and appreciating challenge and complexity.
Participants in this session will be invited to interrogate their working definitions of interdisciplinarity. They will also be asked to imagine how engaging in collaborative, interdisciplinary teaching and learning may impact their disciplinary thinking, the skills and problems they approach, and their professional development.
D4. Paper Session - Bekkelokken Level 0
Discussing online is a commonly used learning activity in higher education. Developing new knowledge, scrutinizing established conceptions, and contrasting conflicting views require the ability to think critically, propose sound arguments and evaluate arguments tenability. Discussions with peers may enhance such capacities. For this presentation, the context is online discussions, yet, the key points are relevant for classroom discussions as well.
Educators and researchers strive to understand how participation in online discussions influence students learning, and how to best facilitate learning discussions. To investigate such topics, researchers need a framework to analyze the quality of discussants’ postings. An extensive number of different frameworks and coding schemes to analyze participation in online educational discussions have been suggested in the research field; however, no consensus about framework and coding schemes is established. For teachers and facilitators of discussions for learning, a sound conception of critical thinking and argumentation is a useful guide.
A commonly used framework based on the Toulmin-model categorizes discussion posts as: 1) Simple claims without any kind of evidence, 2) Grounded claims that provide evidence but lack limitation of the context wherein a claim is valid, 3) Qualified claims that limit the context where the claim is valid but lacks evidence, 4) Grounded and qualified claims that provide evidence and limit the context where the claim is valid, 5) Non-argumentative moves. According to this framework, category 4 – grounded and qualified claims – represent the most rational argumentation while category 1 – claims without evidence – represent the less rational argumentation.
How adequately does the framework that builds on Toulmin operationalize critical thinking and rational argumentation in (onlin) educational discussions?
During the session, the audience will articulate and discuss their conceptions of critical thinking and rational argumentation. Further, audience will analyze excerpts from discussions according to the Toulmin-model and discuss the usefulness of this model. Activity will take place as challenges to the audience during the presentation and as a short discussion at the end.
In this paper, I will forward the case that we have a responsibility to teach question-asking, and that this should play a prominent role in our course goals. Specifically, I will argue that we should have as one of our goals that students should be able to identify different types of questions that matter within a discipline or class, and when and how they are and ought be utilized. I will then claim that to accomplish this, we need to have students practice, and ultimately be graded, on their abilities with regard to questions, specifically, in asking good questions and in identifying types and uses of questions. I will give examples and ask for attendees to share how this works in their own classroom.
D5. Panel Session - Peer Gynt Level 2
Nicola Simmons, Jen Friberg, Diana Gregory, Virendra Mistry
Notions of the learning organization (Senge, 1990) often apply when we consider institutional cultures around teaching and learning. How often, however, do we apply the lens of learning as a community of scholars to the development we have experienced within the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning? We welcome the theme of this year’s conference as an opportunity to consider what ISSoTL may have learned over the years and how that learning can inform our way forward.
We consider ISSoTL’s development through two lenses: 1) the foci of ISSoTL conferences since inception, including conference themes and the predominant session themes each year; and 2) adult developmental stage literature, to explore whether stages in ISSoTL’s development might mirror phases of human growth and development. For example, in what year did we have our adolescent rebellion, and are we now moving into a time when we are ready to think about what we, from an organizational perspective, give back?
The last is a question that profoundly occupies the thinking of ISSoTL’s Advocacy and Outreach committee, as we consider ways in which we can mentor SoTL newcomers, provide support for those who are finding their way in SoTL, and help others realize what their SoTL legacy will be for future SoTL scholars.
Ultimately, this panel session addresses the ways in which our prevalent themes over the years (from defining SoTL at the Washington conference in 2006 to the importance of small social networks in Hamilton in 2012 to whatever this year’s hot topic turns out to be in Norway in 2018) define ISSoTL’s culture. What do we learn from these themes? How can we apply that learning to where we go next? In true developmental fashion, we draw on the past to anticipate and discuss with you what comes next (Kelly, 1955): the “what?”, “so what?”, and “now what?”.
We look forward to sharing the historical trends of ISSoTL’s themes and then invite you to participate in small group activities and discussion discussing the relevance of the trends and how they might parallel developmental stage theory. Following that, and drawing on these trends, we will ask you to engage in a lively discussion anticipating where ISSoTL could and should go next.
D6. Paper Session - Bøygen Level 2
Gladys Sterenberg, Kevin O'Connor
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning proposes that meaningful teaching and learning can be generated and sustained through engagement in communities of practice. In teacher education, communities of practice have been implemented to address the gap between practitioner and academic knowledge. However, research suggests that within communities of practice the dualism of theory and practice is maintained, power relationships contribute to defined roles as experts and novices, and learning is limited to enculturation into existing practices.
These concerns have led researchers to reconsider ways in which such communities can integrate the traditional binary opposites of academic and practitioner knowledge by fostering democratic ways of knowing through overlapping communities of practice, communities of praxis, communities of inquiry that focus on knowledge of practice, and hybrid spaces resulting in “a shift where academic knowledge is seen as the authoritative source of knowledge about teaching to one where different aspects of expertise that exist in schools and communities are brought into teacher education and coexists on a more equal plane with academic knowledge” (Zeichner, 2010, p. 95).
Our qualitative study investigates how teacher candidates connect theory and practice through school-based seminars designed to facilitate hybrid spaces. We envision that holding seminars in school settings provides a context that reflects the socio/political/economic complexities of the classroom and heightens our students’ abilities to unpack both the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching and learning.
The participants were fourth-year teacher candidates enrolled in an integrated practicum semester. Evidence of 32 participants’ experiences was gathered from class assignments (reflective journal entries, responses to discussion prompts, and a portfolio) and 11 interviews. This data was analyzed using Gutiérrez’s (2008) framework of characteristics of hybrid spaces. The results show that most teacher candidates co-created and applied new knowledge to their practice and were able to grapple with theoretical ideals by interrogating their own experiences. Most teacher candidates were able to participate fully in the hybrid space and many linked their emerging identity as teachers to interactions within the community. We conclude that teacher candidates’ abilities to form theory-practice links were enhanced by their engagement in the in-school seminars designed to facilitate hybrid spaces.
Corinne Green, Michelle Eady, Sharon Tindall-Ford
Across Australia and around the world, there are ongoing concerns regarding the perceived divide between theory and practice in initial teacher education (ITE) programs. This divide can result in programs where the theories of education that pre-service teachers (PSTs) study at university remain distinct and separated from the development of their practice through school placements. Research suggests that this approach may lead to graduate teachers being unprepared for the complex realities of the teaching profession.
Work-integrated learning (WIL) is a significant priority for tertiary institutions around the world, facilitating the connection of theory and practice in meaningful ways, and the development of work-ready graduates. Within ITE, WIL can be provided through school-university partnerships that utilise the expertise of in-service teachers and teacher educators to meaningfully integrate theory and practice for PSTs. This is a dynamic approach to ITE that aims to capitalise on the learning opportunities available in both the school and university contexts. As such, it aligns with SOTL discussions of best practices in work-integrated learning.
Zeichner’s (2010) concept of ‘third space’, where school and university meet, can be used as a framework for understanding and implementing such partnerships. A range of literature exists that explores school-university partnerships from a theoretical perspective, and grounded in specific examples. As these pieces of research typically provide an overview of school-university partnerships in general, or rely on findings from one or two partnerships, a broad understanding of partnerships and the research gaps that remain can be difficult to ascertain.
This presentation details a systematic literature review to provide collective evidence regarding the implementation of school-university partnerships in Australia for the purpose of developing PSTs. The systematic literature review reports on 59 sources published between 2012-2017, providing insights into the range of school-university partnerships in existence as well as the benefits and challenges encountered through their implementation. Participants in this presentation will be encouraged to critique the ideas presented and connect them with other work-integrated learning opportunities. SOTL conversations are encouraged from a specific (i.e. school-university partnerships within ITE programs) and general (i.e. work-integrated learning within tertiary programs) perspective. The review also uncovers opportunities for future research.
This presentation is linked to the ISSOTL18 conference theme through 'an inclusive learning culture'. The systematic literature review explores the benefits, challenges and opportunities associated with these work-integrated learning partnerships as they connect tertiary student learning to work experiences beyond the classroom.
D7. Workshop Session - Troldtog Level 3
Sophia Abbot, Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, Alison Cook-Sather
- learn about the growing field of student-staff partnership in SoTL;
- use international case studies to explore the different levels (micro-, meso-, and macro-) at which student-staff partnership contributes to developing cultures that learn; and
- develop ideas and practices for facilitating these micro-cultures through partnership at varying levels of their own universities.
D8. Workshop Session - Bekken Level 3
Susanna Barrineau, Alexis Engström, Ulrike Schnaas
As highlighted in the special issue on co-inquiry in ‘Teaching and Learning Inquiry’, student expertise on being learners brings important perspectives into the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and makes the field stronger (Poole and Chick, 2016). SoTL as an arena for collaboration between educators and students has the potential to enhance learning for all involved and include and support a larger number of students in the developing of teaching and learning. In the growing higher education field of students as partners, Mercer-Mapstone and colleagues (2017) highlight the relative lack of examples where students are engaged in SoTL, and there is also a call for ‘expanding student engagement in SoTL by encouraging a diversity of student voices to engage in co-inquiry with faculty’ (Felten et al., 2013).
Related to the conference theme ‘a culture of learners’, this workshop therefore invites students and educators to explore what it means to engage in co-inquiry relationships – what it means to succeed as well at what it means to fail – with the guidance of a number of tools from a newly developed ‘Active Student Participation Companion’. This Companion is part of an effort to provide practical guidance for educators and students in working together in more co-creative ways in higher education and is one output of a two-year university-wide project developing active student participation.
Using an Active Learning Classroom method, the purposes of this workshop are to reflect on 1) one’s own teaching and learning context, one’s role(s) within that context, and how these may change when students are invited to take a bigger responsibility for developing education; 2) the pedagogical benefits and possible ways to work with the challenges of engaging in co-inquiry; and 3) the power dynamics, who is invited, and who feels included in this relationship. After a brief introduction and contextualisation, workshop participants will work in groups to develop concrete ideas for how they could develop their teaching and learning contexts. The Active Learning Classroom (abridged to accommodate a ‘traditional’ classroom) approach of this workshop plays on small group work and peer review at different stages of the process. At the conclusion, the goal is for each participant to have a developed idea (or several) for how to engage in co-inquiry, and a clear understanding of the reasons for doing so.
D9. Panel Session - Nina Level 3
Stacey Cozart, Ketevan Kupatadze, Maja Jankowska
As the internationalization of higher education continues, international faculty are a growing presence on campuses in higher education, yet their personal and professional experiences and impact on their institutions are under-researched if not understated. This panel will address international faculty experiences, focusing on the ways foreign-born academics perceive themselves as contributing to the growing internationalization and diversification agendas of their institutions and/or the extent to which they perceive their voices as being valued by the institutions as they design and implement such agendas. The panel presenters represent three international institutional contexts in the US, Denmark, and the UK, with different cultural, microcultural, and pedagogical perspectives. Drawing from cross-contextual, cross-cultural, and cross-disciplinary experiences, they will share both their own professional and personal perspectives as international faculty/staff and those of other international teaching faculty. The experiences and perspectives presented and discussed by the panel will shed light on our understanding of the increasingly globalized environments for teaching, learning, and advancing knowledge, as well as on international faculty’s experiences and role in such environments. The panel participants will encourage the audience to share their personal and institutional experiences with or as international faculty and to engage in a dialogue on how to increase inclusivity in higher education institutions, going beyond the appealing rhetoric about diversity to embrace it as a core of our education system. Together with the audience, the panel participants will consider academia as a space that can model our society’s transformative appreciation for inclusivity and diversity.
Higher education is characterized by the increasing presence of international faculty and students. At the same time, universities are increasingly focusing on educating interculturally competent citizens and preparing graduates for careers in a globalized world. While the effects of student diversity and inclusivity of students have received considerable attention from researchers, with the teaching and learning challenges being among the main areas in focus, the experiences and inclusivity of teaching faculty is under-explored. The need to further research the perspectives, experiences, and roles of international faculty, including the extent to which they contribute to the transformation of the educational environment, appears timely in the context in which they are (and we wish them to continue to be) part of our higher education system.
This panel will draw on the relatively recent discussion within the ISSoTL framework on the importance of creating and supporting inclusive teaching and learning communities or cultures. Recognizing the need to engage more deeply with how we conceptualize and practice teaching and learning in the global context, the panel participants will engage the audience in the discussion about the ways inclusion and exclusion of “the other” has been, is and should/will be practiced in Western higher education institutions. Since the focus will be on teaching faculty, it is important to underscore that this subject falls within the parameters of the ISSoTL due to the impact on teaching and learning and on the student body that all teaching faculty have.
The presenters’ intention will be to draw from cross-contextual, cross-cultural, and cross-disciplinary experiences in order to:
- a) Understand whether, and to what extent, university communities are or can be characterized as inclusive communities of practice from the perspectives of the international faculty interviewed; and
- b) Explore ways in which to build civic capacity on university campuses for more inclusive and welcoming environments for everybody.
Some of the specific questions that the presenters will address are:
- How do international faculty members experience and perceive the educational environment at their respective institutions? What challenges and opportunities do they identify in relation to working and teaching in international contexts?
- What role (and voice) do the international faculty have in co-creating and identifying with institutional microcultures?
- Can academia be viewed as a model for our society’s transformative appreciation of inclusiveness and diversity? And, how can academia model these values for students?
Methods and methodology: The presenters will report on the results of interviews conducted with international faculty with teaching responsibilities employed at the presenters’ home institutions. The interviews conducted as part of the study were predominantly oral, semi-structured, and audio recorded, lasting between one and one-and-a-half hours; although some chose to answer the interview questions in writing. Faculty members gave free and informed consent to participate in the interviews and were assured anonymity, in the US following the IRB (Institutional Review Board) requirements of the institution.
The researchers used an inductive approach to analyzing the qualitative data in order to summarize the findings, find major trends in and links between the interviews, and to establish clear connections between our research questions and focus and interview results. In addition, the interviews have been analyzed from the perspectives of hospitality theory and critical cosmopolitan theory within the framework of higher education.
Outcomes and Insights: By increasing and improving our knowledge of international academics’ experiences, values and beliefs, as well as their impact on local and international teaching communities and, specifically, on students, we aim to point towards ways in which institutions will be more inclusive spaces and be better able to improve the international communities of teaching practice. Increased knowledge about international faculty experiences will also contribute to improved academic and intercultural learning in students.
The panel hopes to contribute to the development of higher education institutions as cosmopolitan – transformative and inclusive – spaces where our society’s views about inclusivity, diversity and interdependence are articulated and modeled.
D10. Paper Session - Bukken Level 3
Lorelei Patrick, Hillary Barron, Julie Brown, Sehoya Cotner
Active learning (AL) teaching techniques benefit all students and can close the achievement gap for under-represented minority, first-generation, and female students in STEM disciplines. However there has been relatively little emphasis on training teaching assistants (TAs) in the use of AL. Specifically, will TAs feel more knowledgeable about AL, find AL more useful, and use AL more often if they are presented with evidence for AL’s effectiveness or if they are able to facilitate AL themselves? To investigate this question, we offered an AL workshop and split participants into an Activity (A) group and an Evidence (E) group. The A group worked in teams to learn an AL technique in depth with a workshop facilitator, then these teams modeled the activity with their peers acting as students; only a small portion of time was devoted to presenting or discussing the evidence of AL effectiveness. In the E group, facilitators modeled the activities with all TAs acting as students and spent significant time presenting evidence of AL’s effectiveness. Pre- and post-workshop data were analyzed to assess TA perceptions of AL and the usefulness of the demonstrated techniques in their labs. Post-semester survey data will be collected and lab observations are in progress. Based on our preliminary survey data, E group participants reported greater knowledge of AL after the workshop than A group participants. However, A group participants found all of the active learning techniques more useful than E group participants. Both groups reported that the most useful active learning topics were Easy Assessment Techniques and Sequence Strips, which can be easily integrated into lab settings. There was little agreement on the least valuable techniques but TAs from both groups reported techniques requiring more time, materials, and planning as among the least useful aspects of the workshop. This is somewhat surprising given that some of these techniques were already commonly used in several of the lab courses taught by participating TAs. These results suggest that actually modeling AL techniques made them more useful to TAs than simply experiencing the same techniques as students—even with the accompanying evidence. Furthermore, assembling an easily implemented toolkit of strategies transferable to any course will facilitate TA adoption of AL. These lessons will be especially important for STEM TAs who are called upon to facilitate different types of inquiry as they assist with the development of the next generation of scientists.
MaryGrace Erickson, Dan Guberman, Elizabeth Karcher
Undergraduate teaching assistants (TAs) can influence the dynamic of a classroom environment and student learning, especially as laboratory facilitators and in active-learning (Basinger et al, 1984). Recently, discussions around creating student partnerships have proliferated, rarely taking into account undergraduate STEM TAs’ distinct roles and needs within a traditionally hierarchical system, and how to incorporate them into active learning classrooms (Cook-Sather et al, 2014). For this study, we expanded TA responsibilities prioritizing competence, autonomy, and relatedness through having them design laboratory activities (Deci and Ryan, 2002). We hypothesized that TAs would be highly motivated to perform effectively, and pursue further opportunities in the discipline (Gagne, 2014). TAs shared their experiences and outcomes as learners, designers, mentors, and teachers. Investigating undergraduate TAs’ role within a university’s learning culture may present opportunities for enhancing learner-centered instruction.
This case study explored the experiences of six undergraduate TAs during a introduction to animal agriculture course. TAs were responsible for assisting in one two-hour weekly laboratory of 50 students and outlining one lab session, including creating interactive collaborative learning stations. TAs also administered and graded weekly quizzes. During weekly group meetings, TAs discussed questions and concerns. Questionnaires given the first and last week of the 15-week course utilized open-ended and Likert scale questions to investigate TAs’ perceptions of their experience, changes in skills and motivation, and views related to active learning. Focus groups allowed TAs to further expand upon their experience by elaborating on perceived conceptual changes and factors related to their basic psychological needs.
Results indicate that TAs initially had little experience with active learning and defined it as any non-lecture instruction. They felt the laboratory stations more effectively reinforced learning than more didactic methods previously used. TAs believed they played an important role in learning and reported developing mentoring relationships with students, supporting autonomy and relatedness. Student feedback confirmed TAs were viewed as “very” or “extremely” knowledgeable (81.98%), approachable (76.12%), and engaged (79.28%) with the class. TAs cited preparing laboratory materials, leading discussion, and mentoring students as most valuable to their development. Engaging TAs in this more active role supported autonomy and relatedness by providing chances for choice, creativity, and connection. Perceived competency improvements included increased knowledge of course content and improved organization, leadership, and communication skills. These results and future studies considering the role of undergraduate TAs may generate opportunities for supporting TA development and effective incorporation into learning environments.
D11. Paper Session - Room 304 Level 3
A growing body of SoTL research explores issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion on the postsecondary landscape (Hockings, 2010: Lawrie et al., 2017). As expected, research in this area typically situates the identities and experiences of diverse students at the forefront. For example, the learning experiences of students with disabilities have informed the expanding SoTL discussion about ‘universal instructional design’ (Burgstahler & Cory, 2009; Marquis et al., 2016; Ouellet, 2004), which has come to be seen as a hallmark for inclusive approaches to teaching.
What’s missing in the SoTL inclusivity conversations however, are the identities and experiences of instructors. When the instructor is left out of the inclusivity research equation, s/he/they are presumably understood to be a disembodied, benign presence in the classroom. This assumption of ‘teaching from nowhere’ does not adequately acknowledge diversity among instructors nor does it capture a full picture of student learning. The research that does acknowledge instructor identity indicates that those associated with some identity groups (based on gender, race/ethnicity/culture, first language/’accent’, country of origin, sexual orientation, etc.) are viewed differently in the classroom than their more mainstream counterparts. This can lead to negative course evaluations (MacNell et al., 2014) and challenges to authority, teaching competence, and scholarly expertise (Alexander-Snow, 2004; Pittman, 2010).
Building on the literature that makes instructor identities visible, this session describes a workshop that was developed to support faculty to consider the relevance of their identity in teaching and learning and to strategize around identity-related challenges they may face (Zhang, 2014). We implemented a critical, strength-based approach by inviting participants to recognize how their identities could be used as a source of strength and opportunity rather than as a deficit in their teaching and learning practices and relationships (Yep, 2014). Individuals left with a call to action to think about questions they might subsequently want to ask from this standpoint about student learning in their classrooms.
Participants in this session will: take away information and resources from a workshop entitlted Identity in the Classroom: Exploring Instructor Impact; discuss SoTL and educational development initiatives that they might implement in their settings to make instructor identity visible and learn about its impact. Given the current impetus towards internationalization, Indigenization, and inclusivity on university campuses, the experiences of diverse instructors need to be addressed in order to ensure an equitable teaching and learning culture for all.
D12. Paper Session - Halling Level 3
Anne-Laure Simonelli, Jonathan Soulé, Gaute Velle, Sigrunn Eliassen, Vigdis Vandvik
Biology education aims to teach students key concepts about living organisms, as well as cross-disciplinary transferable competences, skills and practice. The learning that takes place during lab- and field courses allows students to develop and refine key practical skills (Hofstein and Lunetta, 2003; Rahman and Spafford, 2009; Smith, 2004). Learning through practice is important in terms of student experience (Orion and Hofstein, 1991) and in fostering professional and collaborative relationships between students and instructors (Hart et al., 2011). Lab- and field courses are intensive and costly. Underprepared students do not learn as much as they could from lab- and field courses (e.g., Hill and Woodland, 2002). Students’ preparedness to practical courses is thus of the highest importance so that instructors do not spend time on undue explanations.
Videos are central to the student learning experience in the current generation of Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs. Goodenough et al. (2013) found that making high-quality videos, both conceptual and instructional, through student–educator collaboration, was not only possible, but also benefitted students making the videos and subsequent cohorts who use them. Since 2016, we have implemented an innovative pedagogical activity, Teach2Learn (TE2LE) within various courses at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen and at the University Centre in Svalbard, UNIS (Norway). Students create video tutorials for their peers on various topics, such as lab-, field- and numerical methods, to foster learning within that specific topic and strengthen transferable skills, such as communication, cooperation, time management, creativity and didactics. The instructional video tutorials, which are made publically available (https://teach2learn.w.uib.no/), represent a digital resource for educators to prepare subsequent students to key lab- and fieldwork techniques.
This teaching and learning strategy is multidisciplinary with relevance for a range of subjects (e.g. toxicology, organismal biology, genetics, statistics, ecology and ocean science).
We present and discuss the development and implementation of TE2LE at the bachelor and master level in biology education. We also provide guidance for implementing such activities in different classes in higher education’s discipline programs.
John Keating, Marian McCarthy