Andres Carrillo, Ph.D. Exercise Science

Overview

As a 2013-2014 faculty technology fellow I addressed a teaching related topic. The main objective of my project was to initiate the conversion of a scientific research methods course (IND 350) into a hybrid learning course. Specifically, some of the material previously covered in a traditional classroom setting was replaced by online learning activities. The main assignments that were replaced by online learning activities included in-class presentations and in-class discussions. The in-class presentations were replaced by online presentations using Panopto. Panopto is a video capture and management software that was used to record each student’s presentation. In-class discussions were complimented by and expanded on with the use of online discussions through Moodle. This allowed for extensive student interaction that led to valuable discussion and analysis of course material.

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A secondary objective was to incorporate technological methods of learning into a kinesiology course (EXS 345). EXS 345 is a course that heavily relies on figures/pictures of anatomy to generate discussion on movement analyses. PollEverywhere is a program that was introduced to the students as an in-class technological method of generating discussion on a particular aspect of the course. PollEverywhere is a software that allows students to respond in real time to prompts that are introduced by the instructor. All answers provided by the students are integrated into a figure that are immediately updated when a response is submitted.

Planning Process 

During the faculty technology summer workshop time was spent relating a potential use of technology to specific learning outcomes. An important part of the IND 350 course is to match a student with a faculty member who would serve as their tutorial adviser. After some thought regarding the teaching and learning value of implementing a certain technology, my initial plan for the IND 350 course was to have the science faculty use Panopto to record their research interests for all the students to watch as they pleased. The videos would available for the following years and could be updated as needed. The main idea (or plan) was to use technology as a way to provide the students with more of an individualistic approach to selecting a research topic and preparing for their tutorial. This is relevant because the students in this course range from mathematics to exercise science.

After some discussion with other faculty members I decided to have the students complete their final presentations using Panopto instead of having the faculty record their research interests. This decision was mainly because of logistics, but I’m still hopeful that once more faculty become familiar with the program, videos can be made on their research that can be distributed to the IND 350 students.

Implementation

During the fall 2014 semester, Lauren Panton and myself introduced and assisted the IND 350 students with the Panopto program. At first there seemed to be some resistance with the incorporation of online presentations rather than the traditional in-class presentation. After a while, however, the students become familiar with the program and carried out the task with few problems. The recorded presentations were made available to all students, but they were required to evaluate only five. This was found to be a much more efficient use of time given that there were ~25 presentations. The students liked that they could watch the presentations that were most relevant to them.

As mentioned above, the use of PollEverywhere was incorporated into the kinesiology class (EXS 345) as an additional way to review for exams. Prompts were provided along with relevant figures. After each question, we would have a short discussion on the topic. Thus, it also served as an efficient way to stimulate an organized discussion. Other than a few students having problems with submitting the response, the feedback was quite positive.

Assessment

I generated an online discussion for the purpose of generating student feedback. The feedback regarding Panopto was mixed. The majority of students felt that it was beneficial to learn a new technology like Panopto. A few students, however, felt uncomfortable with the idea of presenting to a computer screen. Others realized the importance and growth of technology use in society. One student said: “I think that technology is something that is continuously growing in our society. More companies than you would think are turning to making videos rather than do in-person conferences. For example, if you are working on a project for a large corporation that is located in several cities, they would do a video conference rather than fly everyone to the same location. I think it is a medium that we should try and get used to using. It may not be terribly comfortable, but it is always good to learn new skills.”

Feedback regarding PollEverywhere was positive. The students found this technology useful as a way to review the material and stimulate an organized discussion.

Value/Next Steps

The use of Panopto was valuable and I hope to encourage the rest of science faculty to generate their own research videos so that we can distribute them to the IND 350 students. Perhaps in the future I’ll spend more time making sure the students are comfortable with the software. Also, next time I teach the course I hope to incorporate the use of Voice Thread as an online discussion tool rather than using Moodle. I will also continue to use PollEverywhere as it was a useful tool and the feedback I received was positive.

Tracy Bartel, Ph.D. Education

NOTE: For more information on any of these technology tools, please click on the tools name and it will take you to the coordinating website.

simSchool : Instructors can use this tool with pre-service teachers as an applied activity in classroom management and differentiated instruction in this game-like application.

I am presently piloting this technology tool in my Child Development course and I am hoping that I will be able to expand it to the Adolescent Development and Contemporary Education and Technology course.

VoiceThread : Students can engage in an on-line forum discussion using varied modes of responses (microphone, webcam, text, phone and audio-file upload).  Instructors can present the topic for discussion several different ways: uploading a document, image(s), audio file(s) or video(s).

This tool was piloted in my Contemporary Education and Technology course last semester.  At the end of the semester, I found that students enjoyed using this tool and that their level of discussions were at a higher level in comparison with the other courses that used the “written text only” forum discussion in Moodle.  I now use this as a tool in all my online, hybrid and “on the ground” courses.

VoiceThread Snip
PollEverywhere
: Instructors can embed classroom polls into PowerPoint lectures and student responses can be seen on the screen within 2-5 seconds of responding.  Poll questions can be either open-ended or multiple choice in format.

I piloted this tool last semester in my Contemporary Education and Technology course as well.  In order to keep the students’ responses anonymous, at the beginning of the class I took attendance so that students would receive class participation points for participating in this in-class activity.  There is an option in Poll Everywhere to track individual student responses instead of having the students’ responses be anonymous.

PollEverywhere SnipPanopto : Instructors can use a webcam to record their image in sync with PowerPoint lectures or use audio to discuss a document.

I use this technology tool predominantly in my online courses.  I have also had my students use it to give presentations to upload to the Moodle course shell.  This tool is beneficial when the instructor cannot make it to the regularly scheduled class time (illness, weather, conferences).

Panopto Snip

Rubistar : Instructors and pre-service teachers can use this tool to create rubrics for a variety of assignments.  Rubistar allows you to select from a wide variety of grading categories to add to the template and permits editing of any content.

For years I have hand-made my grading rubrics as a teacher, administrator and as a college professor.  Rubistar saves me time and increases the clarity of the rubrics for each of the courses that I teach.

Rubistar Snip

Update!

Congratulations to Tracy for recently having her work published in the online peer-reviewed Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy. The article, Inspiring Student Engagement with Technology, addresses the question of how to replicate the educational benefits of in-class discussions and lectures in an online environment.

Kudos to Tracy and the other technology fellows for their ongoing work!!

Sherie Edenborn, Ph.D. Biology

Overview

In the Fall of 2012, I developed a series of paperless grading modules using Moodle and iClicker  to conduct weekly assessment in a large (50-100 students) microbiology class for students from the Shadyside School of Nursing.  The assessment modules (Figure 1 ) were integrated into three-hour classes along with activities such as case studies and lectures, and were designed to encourage the development of  basic learning behaviors defined in the cognitive domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy  (knowledge/remember, understand, apply, analyze). These modules do not require the students to have laptop computers in class.

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Figure 1. Example of a weekly Moodle module.

Implementation

Each week students were given a homework assignment in Moodle that was designed to help them gain a basic understanding of terms and concepts in microbiology (Knowledge/Remembering). When they came to class each week we reviewed and discussed this information during the first hour of class using an iClicker quiz (Understand).  After the iClicker quiz, the students were asked to use the knowledge they had gained to work through a case study (Apply). In the final hour of class, new information for the following week was introduced using a standard lecture format. After each class, students took a post-quiz using Moodle that integrated what they had learned from the homework, iClicker review, and case study.  This pattern was repeated each week  (Figure 2).

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Figure 2. Use of Moodle homework, iClicker reviews and case studies to engage different thinking skills as described by Bloom.

Successes

  •  Polls and evaluations from students suggest that this approach improved their ability to retain information and apply what they had learned to real-world problems (see student comments).

Challenges 

  • Setting up three electronic quizzes each week and troubleshooting problems was more time-consuming than paper quizzes.
  • Students who had little experience with technology struggled at the beginning of the class.

Assessment

Student comments on teaching evaluations were largely positive (see below) and in-class polling suggested that the paperless system was preferred to paper exams.

STUDENT FEEDBACK ON PAPERLESS GRADING SYSTEM

POSITIVE REVIEWS

  •  I thought the iClicker was really helpful. We knew right/wrong answers immediately AND discussed them which helped learn information. The Moodle quizzes and homework also help solidify the content of the material. I also like the paperless path. Best of all, the instructor’s passion for microbiology was infectious. Get it? Infectious.

  •  This professor tried, for the first time I believe, to make this course completely paperless. I was worried because I am much older than most of the other students. However, I really liked it. I especially liked the clicker quizzes every week. There were some glitches, which I’m sure can be worked out, but when we took the quiz one question at a time we not only got the results immediately, but the professor then explained why a certain answer was right.

  • There was instant reinforcement. For me, it was a great way to learn. Waiting a week to get a quiz back and then finding out the right answer, I sometimes forget my thinking process in putting the answer that I did. This was so much better. Also, I appreciate the way the professor gave us the resources to be able to find answers as we move on in our nursing careers. She repeated certain topics throughout that she knew we would see in the hospital and gave us the skills to think critically about diseases. I very much appreciate that. I will miss the classes!

  • I liked the case studies and applying the knowledge I learning to working out problems. I liked how everything was online.

  • I loved being able to do the homework and quizzes online from the comfort of my own home and at my own pace.

  • I enjoyed the paperless testing.

  • Loved all the quizzes and clicker tests gave a chance to see the material multiple times and help me retain the information.

  • There is a ton of work but it is what reinforces the concepts and let me retain the info.

  • I enjoyed weekly clicker quizzes rather than larger tests. More work weekly but less stressful. Made class more enjoyable.

  • The best feature was the online assessments. She has this course set up for people to pass it. Plus, with online homework , and quizzes we didn’t kill tons of trees to complete the course. At first it seemed like a lot, but it was definitely manageable. With all of the assessments I also feel like we had a better opportunity to learn the information.

  • I was initially nervous about the majority of assignments being online, but by the end of the semester, I thought this system worked very well. It allowed the students to have a multitude of opportunities for points and how the assignments were layered (homework, clicker quiz, post-class quiz) truly did increase my understanding of the course content.

  • the weekly iClicker quiz was a way to keep me up to date on material. Labs were helpful too.

  • Paperless course is very nice concept! I enjoyed the format, and I think it especially applies to non-traditional students.

  • The best thing was the way she tested us. I liked the paperless system. Also, there were lots of opportunities for points.

  • Its best features are the fact that so much of it was online and Dr E lays out a very specific routine for quizzes and homework. You always know what is expected of you

  • I believe Dr. Edenborn has carefully constructed a wonderful way for us to learn through repetition & application of the material. I think this would be beneficial for other courses to consider using.

  • I found that the homework submissions, the clicker quizzes and post quizzes really made the information stick.

  • The way the Moodle modules were set up with the homework questions and post class quizzes was very beneficial in learning the material. I believe it helped in understanding and applying the material being taught.

  • I believe Dr. E. set the course up in a way to facilitate learning and retention of the material. It was one of the hardest courses I have taken but one in which I feel I have learned the most and will remember the most.

  • I think that implementing the paperless course went well.

  • I liked the clicker quiz every class. I also liked the tons of opportunities to get points in this class.

  • I loved the paperless format. The regular clicker quizzes and online assignments kept the class at a good pace. I retained a lot more information than if the entire class had had only a few tests.

  • I like the new integration of paperless tests and quizzes. I know it was the first year for it and I think it went very well. I like the constant application to real life situations, this definitely aids in learning.

  • I love how it was set up for weekly modules-this really helped me retain the information, because it was reiterated at least 2-3 times.

  • I liked the various learning techniques, even though getting it all done sometimes was challenging.

 NEGATIVE REVIEWS

  • I don’t like the way Moodle is set up. ALL assignments should be displayed in the drop down box, I missed a lot of assignments when the course started because I thought that’s how they were.

  • Well, a lot of her tests and quizzes come from Moodle and there have been more than one occasion where I was taking a quiz and my computer froze or I submitted it and it actually didn’t go through. I would appreciate it if when an error like this did occur if she would be a little more understanding and allow for one to retake it. I think it’s important considering the student actually WANTS to partake in the activity.

  • The online work was adequate but I did get penalized in the beginning of the semester by not taking the lab quiz which closes Friday. It was just strange with so many different due dates in one week.

  • What suggestions do you have for improving either the teaching or the materials of the course? Little bumps in the road with the paperless grading system

  • What suggestions do you have for improving either the teaching or the materials of the course?Learn how to use Moodle before using it with your students.Have you had special difficulties in this course? If so, how could they or how have they been helped? Not using Moodle.

Pedagogical or Teaching Value 

See student comments.

Next Steps

Cross my fingers, migrate the Moodle shell, and try the system out on my class in the Fall of 2013.

Resources