Engaging Students in a Changing University

CIT Faculty seminar Spring 2010

Table of Contents

Engaging Students in a Changing University
wikipage: http://www.faculty.umb.edu/peter_taylor/citseminar10, which, during the semester, was editable by all participants

a.k.a. Point of departure:


W-2-157, 12-2.30 (exc Jan 22)
Jan 22, Intro, autobiographical introductions, and initial organization

Apologies from GGabbard (for whole semester), GeneG, FH, MP. Present: DD, PT, PA
Initial guided freewriting starting from sentence provided by the instructor-
  • "I want to make sure I do not leave this semester's seminar without raising issues that concern me, such as, …
  • "When I consider times in the past when I've missed out on raising something that I would have liked to, the thoughts/ feelings/ experiences/ ideas that come to mind include..."
Autobiographical Introductions – How I came to be someone participating in a faculty seminar on “Engaging Students in a Changing University”
  • Gives participants an opportunity to 1. introduce themselves in narrative depth, their current and emerging work, and 2. learn more about each other
  • Peter Taylor will go first to model. 15 minutes maximum. Everyone encouraged to take notes on points of intersection, interest, curiosity
Discussion of commonalities & divergences
Initial organization
  • Not a syllabus given by seminar leader, but sessions volunteered by participants
  • Participants involved in and running sessions on:
    • Inquiry into some aspect of or innovation in their teaching
    • Peer observation and Reflection on each other's classes
    • Incubation of collaborations and possible interventions ("changing the university as it changes")
    • Lessons/briefings/discussions on tools, resources, ideas (e.g., on Problem-based learning, on email management)
Closing circle (something taking away to work on; something that could be improved/developed further from today)
Take-away: "Cultivating Collaborators: Concepts and Questions Emerging Interactively From An Evolving, Interdisciplinary Workshop," ms. by PT, Fifield, Young
Homework: PT to prepare for Feb 3 session & arrange audio-connection for FH whenever needed; DD to find out about state of UMB Strategic planning; PA to get "syllabus" from previous CIT seminar.
Audio recording of session available to those not present, but not for distribution beyond the group

Jan 27, More intro, autobiographical introductions, discussion of commonalities & divergences, and initial organization

Feb 3, apologies from FH for whole semester

Feb. 10, conference call check-in (snow day)
Feb 17, Donna D., visualization techniques

Feb 24, Gene G., on teaching the same course to face2face and to online students
I will present the curriculum design for teaching one key module in EEOS601 (Introduction to Applied Statistics). This EEOS core course meets the data analysis requirement for EEOS M.Sc. students and serves as a prerequisite for EEOS611, the core statistics class for EEOS doctoral students. The module that I'll present is based on Larsen & Marx (2006) Introduction to Mathematical Statistics and its Applications Chapter 4 on Special Distributions (Poisson, Normal, Geometric, Negative Binomial and Gamma in addition to an introduction to Monte Carlo simulations). The course is calculus-based; EEOS requires mathematics through calculus for all applicants. There are three different ways that the course is offered: 1) In person and via interactive TV to other UMASS campuses as part of the Intercampus School of Marine Science Graduate degree program, 2) In person during the Winter intersession (15 three hour sessions during a 3-week period), and 3) Completely asynchronous through UMASS/Boston online. I plan to offer the course in all three formats in the 2010-2011 Academic year, with Class 1 and 2 being offered as a hybrid course with in-person and online students sharing the same web site. The winter intersession class would be offered in the EEOS computer lab with all students having access to Matlab, the program used throughout the course for solving problems. All students taking the class must use Matlab throughout the course for solving problems and presenting their results.
For the workshop format, I'd like to follow the Peer Review process for Understanding by Design (UbD) curricula as described by McTighe & Wiggins. I'll provide copies of the relevant pages from their book describing the UbD design standards, the planning template and the Peer-review process. I combine UbD with differentiated instruction (DI) as described by Tomlinson & McTighe. I'll provide copies of Chapters 3 and 9 from their book (read only through page 145 in Chapter 9).
I'll provide copies of my syllabus for the Winter intersession course and Chapter 4 from Larsen & Marx (2006). This chapter is quite challenging, but the concepts are vital to understanding many advanced areas of statistics and their applications. In the in-person & interactive TV version of the course, I would devote one week (2 75-min classes) and 2 homework problems to this material. In the online version of the class, one week of the 12-week online course and one problem set would be based on this material. In the winter intersession class, I would spend 1 2.5-hour class session, the 5th of 14, on the concepts from chapter 4. I would anticipate that students would have time to have only briefly read this material before arriving for the 6-8:30 pm class and problems based on this material would be completed during the 2nd half of the 2.5-h session.

Mar 3, Ping-Ann, engaging students in abstract thinking about actual situations in the world

Mar 10, Mickaella, on assignments that allow differentiated responses
Prep includes chapter 1 and 2 of Differentiated classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners by Carol Ann Tomlinson (available by ebrary).
mid-semester Critical Incident Questionnaire

Mar 17 -- no meeting

Mar 24, PT leads viewing & discussion of "Facing the Music" -- on a changing department in a Changing University. (Reading, "I'm borrwing my way through college..." from Left Business Observer and "Is , Ought, Ends?" from Arena Magazine)

Mar 31, Getting beyond talk of deficiency in students & how to turn our frustration (e.g., about not following instructions) into productive directions. (DDeG suggests chapter 7 of Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences; also online learning (ch. 24) and online communities (ch. 27) -- dialogue process discussion initiated by PT

Apr 7, Peter Kiang guest 12-1.15, to move us from looking at the changing university and seeing this mostly negatively/apprehensively to a longer-term coalition-building perspective. Readings:Kiang, P.N. (2008). Crouching Activists, Hidden Scholars: Reflections on Research and Development with Students and Communities in Asian American Studies in Charles R. Hale. (ed.) Engaging Contradictions: Theory, Politics, and Methods of Activist Scholarship. Berkeley: CA. University of California Press, 299-318; Rhoades, G., & Slaughter, S. (2004). Academic capitalism and the new economy: Challenges and choices. American Academic, 1 (1), 37-60.

Apr 14, P-AA leads a session on implementation of new faculty development proposals in light of emerging strategic planning emphases. Rajini Srikanth as visitor from 12.15-1.15
Reading: pp. 43-63 of http://www.cit.umb.edu/documents/FacultyDevelopmentCommitteeReportFinal6
Innovative Models for Organizing Faculty Development Programs: Pedagogical Reflexivity, Student Learning Empathy, and Faculty Agency
Jay R. Dee and Cheryl J. Daly (2009)
See also: proposals for Center for Improvement of Research and Transdisciplinary Research Workshop

Apr 21, Assessment for Problem-based learning. Guest: Douglas Allchin (visiting for workshop). Manuscript for discussion

Apr 28, Learning through discussion, "led" by Gene; reading: "Knowledge building," by Scardamalia & Bereiter
I'm a big fan of the LTD method, and I'd like to demonstrate how it can be used for a graduate seminar. In the original 1977 Sage publication by W. F. Hill, pages 22-31 describe the format for the discussion. Prepare for the discussion using the guidelines on page 48-54. A central part of the LTD method is that I can't and won't lecture or participate in the discussion except as leader. In my own classes, I'd put anything that I wanted to contribute in a handout given out a week in advance

May 5, PT leads Taking stock -- where have we come and where might we go from here? post-it activity

May 12 -- no meeting

May 19 -- 3.30-5.30, Social gathering in combination with other CIT seminar

Other topics not covered directly by sessions:
PT: giving instructions that are read, understood, followed -- both in face2face and online courses. how to turn our frustration into productive directions. (E.g., showing frustration to a student whose problems relate to not reading or not following instructions might well reduce the chance that they'll read and follow next time.)
PT: compile an open-source, blackboard-free guide for other faculty
MP wants to learn more about differentiated instruction & understanding by design
Creating a culture of discussing teaching in departments beyond these CIT seminars
Assessment and grading, incl. differentiated assessment
Embedded writing support


Invitation to presentations from PT's Sci & Pol. Change course (taken up once by Ping-Ann)
Invitation to Gene's statistics class, M or W, 10-11.15, Presentation Room 3, Healey Library (taken up once by PT)
Invitation to Donna's class in Dorchester (didn't come to pass)


referred to at some point in sessions or emails
Guided freewriting
Eric Mazur on teaching large classes--confessions & innovations
http://onstayingalive.wordpress.com/, "Reflections on the difficult work of sustaining an emotionally, ethically, and spiritually healthy life in academia—no matter what happens."
Social network Nings, a glimpse, see also http://www.ning.com
Audio resources: Audacity, garageband (on MACs),...
http://prezi.com, presentations beyond powerpoint
open-source, blackboard-free guide
Sunday NY Times cover story on good teaching