Attend the CSU Symposium on Teaching and Learning

The CSU symposium below is worth attending if you’re interested in gaining new student success strategies related to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. There are many great presentations on the schedule including a couple from Chico State faculty. The $50 Registration includes continental breakfast and lunch on both Friday and Saturday. If you’re only interested in the virtual sessions, registration is free.

Check it out!

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Registration for the 22nd Annual CSU Symposium on Teaching and Learning, at California State University Fullerton, on March 13-14, 2020, is open!

This year’s theme is “IDEAS: Inclusion, Diversity, Accessibility, and Student Success.” Hosted by CSU Fullerton’s Faculty Development Center in collaboration with the CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning, this year’s symposium provides an opportunity to explore IDEAS imperative to education in a state as diverse as California. All those committed to student success in higher education are welcome to attend.

The keynote speaker for the symposium on March 13 is Deborah Santiago, COO of Excelencia in Education, who will address ways for minority-enrolling institutions to become institutions that truly serve minoritized students.

There will be two pre-symposium workshops from 9:00 am – Noon on Friday, March 13. There is no additional fee to attend a workshop, but space is limited:

  • An Introduction to Inquiry-Based Learning
  • Supporting Disciplinary Learning through Deeper Reading and Metacognitive Conversation

New this year is a series of five virtual sessions, from 8:15 am-11:45 am on Friday, March 13. These sessions feature presentations on immersive and virtual reality, teaching and learning for social justice, and a sneak peek at an online teaching essentials course.

  • Attend these FREE sessions from the office, from home, or while at the symposium.
  • Those not attending the symposium in Fullerton should register, and select “virtual only.”

The symposium features presentations by California State University and California Community College faculty related to empowering first-generation students; supporting students in first-year writing, math, and quantitative reasoning; equity, inclusion, accessibility and strength-based pedagogies; assessment for improvement; technology, innovation, and online and blended learning; and the incorporation of mindfulness and wellness.

For the schedule, list of presenters, travel information, and more, visit the symposium website, or contact The Faculty Development Center at Fullerton.

 

Engage Students with Online Discussions

Given our students’ agility with online communication, using discussion forums in Blackboard can be an effective way to engage students in the learning process outside the classroom. Here are some tips that emerged from the attached peer-reviewed paper on the topic:

  • To promote equity and allow marginalized voices to be heard, online discussions may allow students to participate who often need more processing time to contribute to a discussion.
  • Keep discussion groups to 14 or less.
  • Faculty should be somewhat “present” in online discussions to clarify concepts and keep students on track.
  • Some students may be more reflective, honest, and willing to discuss sensitive topics in an online discussion.
  • Prompt questions and discussion topics posed by the instructor should relate to your course learning objectives and build in complexity and depth as the semester progresses.
  • Online discussions should be assessed in some way (e.g. quality and quantity of students’ contribution to the discussion, whether or not students initiate discussions or just respond)

For assistance on how to facilitate an effective and engaging online discussion, contact the Technology & Learning Program.

Motivating Students to Write

Effective writing is a critical skill in the modern workforce but teaching it to our students is challenging. If you’re interested in learning how to design assignments to enhance student motivation and engagement in the writing process, there will be a live CSU webcast on April 19 from 2-3pm on this topic.  This webcast, titled “Designing Writing Assignments for Student Engagement and Success”, focuses on the visual design of curriculum materials and student-directed discovery in hopes of motivating students to ask questions beyond simply “how long does this paper have to be?” and “when is it due?” To participate in this webcast, click here at 2 p.m. on 4/19.

Teach Students, Not Subjects

It’s 2019 and our incoming students are the first university class born this century. While we serve students from all age groups, most of our incoming freshman grew up very differently than most of us.  For example, they were one year old when 9/11 happened and they’ve always had Wikipedia for “research.”

Here are some realities of our students born after the year 2000…

  • Humans have always lived in space, not just traveled there.
  • They have grown up afraid that a school shooting could happen.
  • Same-sex marriage has always been legal somewhere.
  • Oprah has always been a magazine.
  • They never used a spitbowl in a dentist’s office.
  • A visit to the bank is a rare event.
  • Best-selling books have always been available on an e-reader.

Deep learning requires that we know our students and connect with them when we can. As the saying goes, “we teach students, not subjects.”

How to Manage the 8%

With six missed class days due to the Camp Fire, you and your students lost roughly 8% of the total contact hours for the semester. I encourage you to resist the desire to jump right back into course content and strive to catch up. Doubling up on lectures or assignments may not promote learning and may make an already challenging time more stressful for some students. Investing time in a mindful transition back to the classroom will create a more supportive learning environment. Consider sharing your own experience of the fire and allow students the space to discuss their thoughts and concerns. To manage the 8% of time lost, consider adjusting due dates, omitting non-essential content, modifying exams, putting additional texts on reserve at the library, or even asking students how they want to reshape the final three weeks of class. Most importantly, ensure students are explicitly clear on any changes made to the course. If you have need help modifying your Blackboard pages or managing online content,  TLP is available to assist you (898-6167).

If you want to better understand a framework for trauma and how to support students returning to school, see the attached flyer promoting a presentation later this week. Also attached is a list of support resources for both you and your students.

Best wishes to you and your loved ones from all of us in the Faculty Development Office.

Text Students Without Giving Out Your Cell Number

If you want to use this popular communication format to help students learn but don’t want to give out your cell phone number, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are several apps for texting in an educational setting. One of the most frequently used is Remind. It’s easy to set up, free to use, works with either a web-interface or a smartphone app, and keeps cell numbers private for both sender and receiver. Other features include audio texting, attaching files, and translating text messages into various languages. Students can choose whether or not they wish to receive your text messages, so this could be a supplemental and optional form of communication to help those students who feel they could benefit from it. You could text students a last-minute change in classroom location, an upcoming due date reminder, or anything else related to your course content, protocols, or assessments.

If you’re more comfortable using e-mail or making announcements in class to communicate with students, that is perfectly fine. Software such as “Remind” may be helpful if you’re searching for an effective tool to communicate with your students on a platform with which they are familiar, comfortable, and competent.

Make Office Hours An Accessible Resource

“Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement.” This is first of Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education at Chico State. One relatively untapped resource to increase student involvement outside of class is office hours.

In a low-stakes office meeting with you, students can learn about resources they need and ask questions in a safe environment without their peers present. Investing time with students can actually be a long-term time-saver if you can address problems before they get worse or help with initial drafts of papers before they’re submitted. So, why are office hours seldom utilized by students? Maybe they’re nervous. Maybe they don’t feel their reason for visiting is worth your time. Maybe they don’t want to appear to need extra help. Whatever the reason, helping students access your office hours is a great way to boost student engagement. Here are a few ways to help students access this valuable resource.

  • Prop your door open during scheduled office hours and warmly greet them. Display your Safe Zone Ally placard on your door if you earned one from the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. If students apologize for bothering you, remind them that office hours are devoted to them and you’re glad they stopped by.
  • Stagger office hour days and times to enable students with varied schedules to access you.
  • Post office hours on your syllabus, on Blackboard, on your office door, and remind students about the benefits of office hours at key points in the course when you know students will need them most.
  • Consider making an office hour visit an assignment with points attached to it. If necessary, you can give students a specific purpose for visiting (e.g. bring your most recent assignment and the single biggest question you have about the topics covered so far).
  • Consider occasionally holding office hours off-campus at a coffee shop, the library, or a park as long as the location is accessible to all your students. If you regularly hold some of your office hours outdoors, you could have a “walking meeting” which might be less intimidating to some students.
  • Offer some office hours online. Zoom is a great platform for this and you have a free account through Chico State. Contact TLP if you need assistance.
  • Consider offering some group office hours to be held in an empty classroom. Perhaps these could be theme-based office hours (e.g. test prep, participating in research, finding internships, applying to graduate school)

Faculty are partners with students in the learning process. The more resources students can access, the more successful the partnership.

Join FDEV Book Club to Learn Why Students Resist Learning

Book club invitation to the first 20 respondents – See below

No matter how applicable, relevant, or even entertaining your teaching is, some students will not be engaged in class. Some are blatantly disengaged as they sit in the front row texting or even sleeping. Others go to the trouble of faking engagement by pretending to type lecture notes while checking Facebook. So, why are some students disengaged to the point of resisting learning? And what can you do to re-engage them so they can be successful in your class?

In their book, “Why students resist learning: A practical model for understanding and helping students,” Tolman and Kremling (2017) answer these questions and more. They posit that student resistance is less of an enduring trait and more of a temporary (and thus changeable) motivational state due to several factors. One factor, for example, is that students may resist learning if they see a professor as part of an oppressive system trying to force a point of view they do not accept. Resistance can also occur if a professor creates assignments or assessments without a rationale behind them. Many other variables can contribute to resistance including students’ past classroom experiences, cultural background, and institutional culture. The authors recommend innovative pedagogical changes (e.g. active-learning, team-based projects, inclusive pedagogy) rather than blaming students for their lack of engagement.

If you’re interested in reading this book and discussing strategies to increase student engagement on our campus, click here to join the Spring ‘18 FDEV book club. We’ll meet monthly on four occasions this semester to discuss the book, engage in open dialogue, and learn from each other.

There is no compensation for participating though FDEV will provide a free book for you as well as coffee and snacks at each gathering. The book is pricey so participation is limited to the first 20 respondents.