Process for the Development of Higher Level Thinking Skills in a Learner-Centered Environment
Dr. Barbara Limbach, Professor, Chadron State College
Dr. Wendy Waugh, Professor, Chadron State College
Using antiquated teaching methods in modern day learning environments is no longer acceptable. The challenges of the 21st century demand that educators seek out and utilize new methods to enhance the education of students where teachers empower learners to solve problems and think critically. A five-step pedagogical process to transition courses, in any discipline, toward one that develops critical thinking skills in a learner-centered environment is presented.
Step 1: Determine Learning Outcomes and Objectives
Considering the importance of a course, course placement in a program, and the course role in providing a base of discipline knowledge, a teacher should carefully identify key learning outcomes and objectives that recognize what learners should know when they exit the course. The development of well-written outcomes and objectives will greatly accelerate a learner’s movement into higher level thinking (Ball & Garton, 2005). To make critical thinking happen, these learning outcomes and objectives, as well as the linked activities and assessments, must require students to perform and demonstrate higher level thinking. Read Full Post
- The Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) has approved the Math & Science Building renovation/addition. A major renovation has not occurred with the Math & Science building since 1968. The possibility of the renovation/addition began with the 2012 CSC Facilities Plan. For a building to be renovated, it must be on the 10-Year Facilities Plan. While participating in the 2012 Facilities Plan may have seemed time consuming, efforts by Math & Science faculty, Deans, Foundation, President, Cabinet, and Dale Grant were vital. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who has kept this project moving forward.
This week, Magna Publications featured a webinar by Tom Pusateri on classroom assessment techniques. This techniques are featured in a book by Angelo and Cross (initial edition by Cross and Angelo is available on ERIC) . Angelo and Cross (1993) suggested that these techniques could be used to find out how much, how well, and how students are learning. They provide a record of student feedback that can inform teaching and potential changes to teaching. A brief listing of 50 classroom assessment techniques is available from the University of Oregon.
CATs are useful because they have the potential to actively engage students in learning in low stakes learning activities that are often anonymous and ungraded. They give faculty members an opportunity to examine the impact of their teaching using data about student learning, and to change the learning environment.
It’s also important to “close the feedback loop”. Evaluate what you found. Think about changes you might make to teaching. Share information with students, and ask them about what changes they might make in their learning processes. You can also use CATs to demonstrate reflective teaching – e.g., that you are collecting evidence about student learning, and make changes to teaching based on information you have collected. Read Full Post
Beyond Powerpoint: Screencasting Mon, September 22, 3pm – 5pm Library 106
This workshop introduces faculty to podcast’s engaging cousin, the screencast. Faculty will develop and deploy a short screencast and learn about the applications (and AV devices) that facilitate screencasts as well as the contexts appropriate for screencasting, such as tutorials, hybrid and fully online courses. Please register at http://academic.csc.edu/tlc/workshop_signups/register.php
Getting Started with Classroom Assessment Techniques Tue, September 23, 12:00pm – 1:30pm Library 108
http://www.magnapubs.com/catalog/getting-started-with-classroom-assessment-techniques/ Classroom assessment techniques (CATs) are simply proven strategies that instructors can use to determine whether and how well students are learning course material. Using CATs can help you identify and address areas of confusion so that your students will perform more successfully on examinations and assignments. This live webinar will demonstrate a few common CATs, including the Minute Paper, the Misconception Check, the Background Knowledge Probe, and Teacher-Designed Feedback Forms. Read Full Post
Many of you are familiar with Bloom’s taxonomy and have used the associated verbs as a basis for creating learning outcomes at both course and unit levels for your classes. I ran across an interesting new tool today, free from Axiom Education. Basically you can enter the text of your outcome, and it will score it based on either Bloom’s original taxonomy, or the revised taxonomy. This type of tool is a useful way to check your outcomes, in terms of whether they are appropriate for the level of your course and whether you are scaffolding students in terms of including lower level outcomes that support higher level outcomes. The tool is available at https://www.axiommentor.com/bloom_taxonomy.cfm
Image by Doug Belshaw, licensed CC BY SA
Monday, September 15 3:00 – 5:00 Library 106: Exploring Free Survey Tools
Description: In this workshop, faculty members will explore the basics of free and open source survey tools, including Google Forms and LimeSurvey. Please register at http://academic.csc.edu/tlc/workshop_signups/register.php
Wednesday, September 17 Noon Library 108 Jumpstart: New Faculty Meet with Jerry Cassiday, Counseling and Disability Services
Description: Jerry will discuss procedures for students to receive disability accommodations, and general counseling services available to students.
Wednesday, September 17 3:00 – 5:00 Library 106: Exploring Free Survey Tools
Description: In this workshop, faculty members will explore the basics of free and open source survey tools, including Google Forms and LimeSurvey. Please register at http://academic.csc.edu/tlc/workshop_signups/register.php Read Full Post
“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words”
Arthur Brisbane, a newspaper editor, offered this timeless advice in 1911. Visual images are one quick, relatively easy, potentially powerful way to disrupt the monotony of text monopoly in an online learning environment. As preferred learning styles of students vary, inserting an image provides opportunities for students to engage with materials in different ways and can enhance a course for everyone. Adding relevant visual images to introduce content or topics may be an effective strategy for assisting student memory processes in making concepts stick and recalling them via visual cues.
Be Respectful of Copyright
When adding an image to your course, be respectful of digital copyrights. Be aware that there are limitations to using images found on the Web. Look for images which carry a Creative Commons license which grant copyright permissions allowing the image to be copied, distributed, remixed, and edited. Read Full Post
There has been a great deal of interest in learner-centered teaching in the past 20 years, beginning with Barr and Tagg’s (1995) article on the shift from the Instruction Paradigm to the Learning Paradigm in higher education. While there are several aspects to the Learning Paradigm, the emphasis is on construction of the learning environment to produce learning in all students, to elicit student discovery and construction of knowledge, student control of the learning process, active and collaborative learning techniques and processes.
Since then, many educators have been using learner-centered approaches. Maryellen Weimer from Magna Publications (2012) suggested that there are five basic characteristics to learner-centered teaching. Read Full Post
The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an “international community of experts in educational technology -from the practitioners who work with new technology on campuses every day; to the visionaries who are shaping the future of learning at think tanks, labs and research centers; to its staff and board of directors; to the advisory boards and others helping the NMC conduct cutting edge research”.
This semester, the NMC is hosting a free webinar series called NMC on the Horizon. These events are scheduled at 9:00 am on Wednesday mornings, but you will need to set up an account with NMC (Chadron State College holds an institutional membership). Read Full Post
Tuesday September 2 11:00 in Library 108 (Graves Room in Lower Level of the Library) Meeting with Pat Beu, Cheryl Butler and Frances Gonzales
Pat Beu, Senior Director of Student Affairs, will meet with new faculty members to discuss several processes related to student services.
Please bring your own lunch or stop by the Library Learning Commons Coffee Shop to grab something before you come. Read Full Post