Assessment Brief No. 90 Focuses on Incoming Oxford Campus Class

Dear Colleagues,

Assessment Briefs are one-page news briefs that highlight assessment projects or provide information about how to conduct assessment projects. Most briefs also provide useful suggestions for ways to use the information (e.g., changes that you can make to a class).

Assessment Briefs are distributed approximately once a month. Previous assessment briefs can be found at the website of the Center for Teaching Excellence:

This assessment brief is our annual issue on the characteristics of the incoming Oxford campus class.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.

New Issue of the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching Focuses on “It Is Not All About Content”

Journal Cover shrunkA new issue of the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching is now available online at the Journal website:

Volume 27, number 2 (2016) focuses on It Is Not All About Content. The editors of the issue describe it in this way:
“As subject experts, most of us are eager to have our students learn our trade. We have studied, reviewed, assessed, researched, and (usually) happily transmitted what we have learned to our students and to our colleagues. But not everything that goes on in our classroom, clinics, laboratories, hearts, or brains is about content. The articles in this issue of the Journal show how instructors have gone beyond their subject matter to embrace their and their students’ personal issues in learning.” (From “A Message From the Editors,” p. 1).

Three of the articles in the issues are authored by Miami faculty: Susan A. Baim, Business Technology, Miami Middletown; Stephen John Quaye, Educational Leadership, Miami Oxford; and Virginia B. (Ginger) Wickline, Clinical Psychology, Miami Middletown.

The articles in this issue are:

Testing the Contact Hypothesis: Improving College Students’ Affective Attitudes Toward People With Disabilities
V. B. Wickline et al.

How Intergroup Dialogue Facilitators Understand Their Role in Promoting Student Development and Learning
S. J. Quaye & M. R. Johnson

Enhancing Student Success in Online Learning Experiences Through the Use of Self-Regulation Strategies
L. A. Sharp & J. H. Sharp

Textbook-Bundled Metacognitive Tools: A Study of LearnSmart’s Efficacy in General Chemistry
V. Thadani & N. C. Bouvier-Brown

Open Space: Nurturing Reflection, Dialogue, and Radical Listening in Higher Education
D. J. Bach & A. Cook-Sather

Assessing the Effects of Closed-Captioning on Undergraduate Students’ Recall and Understanding of Video-Based Information
B. K. Dallas et al.

Putting the Learning in Case Learning? The Effects of Case-Based Approaches on Student Knowledge, Attitudes, and Engagement
M. Krain

Building Professional Social Media Communications Skills: A STEM-Originated Course With University-Wide Student Appeal
S. A. Baim

For those who are not aware, the Journal is a peer-reviewed venue published four times a year at Miami University by and for faculty at universities and two- and four-year colleges to increase student learning through effective teaching, interest in and enthusiasm for the profession of teaching, and communication among faculty about their classroom experiences. It answers Ernest Boyer’s (1990) call for a forum to present the scholarship of teaching and learning. The Journal provides a scholarly, written forum for discussion by faculty about all areas affecting teaching and learning, and gives faculty the opportunity to share proven, innovative pedagogies and thoughtful, inspirational insights about teaching.

We invite you to use the Journal as a resource for teaching and learning. On the website, click “Issue Archive” to access all issues of the Journal published since its inception in 1990; to locate teaching and learning topics you wish to research, click on “Search Archive.” This electronic version of the Journal is provided by funding from the Committee for Teaching Excellence for all Miami faculty and staff.

For information about submitting manuscripts or other inquiries, click “Submitting Manuscripts” on the website ( or contact Gregg Wentzell, Managing Editor, at the Center for Teaching Excellence, 317 Laws Hall, on Miami’s Oxford campus (telephone: 529-9265; e-mail:

Enjoy reading, and watch for the next issue of the Journal (volume 27, number 3), due out in late summer 2016.

New Issue of the Learning Communities Journal Features FLCs in Hong Kong

LCJ LogoA new issue of the Learning Communities Journal is now available online for free download at the Journal website:

Volume 8, Number 2 (2016) focuses on The Community of Practice Initiative at Hong Kong Baptist University. As the Editors’ message describes it,
“This special online-only issue of the Learning Communities Journal includes noteworthy contributions—indeed, breakthroughs—in the field of faculty learning communities (FLCs) and communities of practice (CoPs). For the first time, a hybrid model of an FLC/CoP has been designed, implemented, and assessed. The survey designed and implemented by Beach and Cox (2009), which has assessed the impacts of FLCs on members’ educational development and their students’ learning in the U.S., has been used again to measure the impacts of this hybrid FLC/CoP model. Direct comparisons have been made between FLC and hybrid FLC/CoP outcomes, and they are published in this issue. In addition, this issue contains the robust scholarship of teaching and learning that these hybrid FLC/CoPs have generated. Also of note, this project has taken place in Hong Kong, providing an international perspective and application of the FLC model in a different culture.”

The articles in the new issue are as follows:

Establishing Communities of Practice to Enhance Teaching and Learning: The Case at Hong Kong Baptist University, Eva Wong et al., Hong Kong Baptist University

Networked Learning Communities: A Perspective Arising From a Multidisciplinary Community of Practice on Student ePortfolios, Tushar Chaudhuri & Chan Wai Yin, Hong Kong Baptist University

Designing and Implementing a Two-Level Community of Practice Project to Develop a Teaching Portfolio Framework, Atara Sivan et al., Hong Kong Baptist University

Using a Community of Practice to Enhance Undergraduate Students’ Graduate Attributes Through Problem-Based Learning, Siu Yin Cheung & Kevin K. M. Yue, Hong Kong Baptist University

A Community of Practice to Assess Students’ Teamwork Skills in a Team-Based Learning Setting, Peter Lau & Theresa Kwong, Hong Kong Baptist University

The Impact of Peer Tutoring in a University Language Classroom, Angela Ng & Peter Lau, Hong Kong Baptist University

A CoP Project Enhancing Student Learning Through a Holistic Mentoring Program in the Sciences,
Karen Ka Wai Mak et al., Hong Kong Baptist University

Service Learning for Whole Person Education in Chinese Medicine Developed by a Community of Practice,
Hong Qi Zheng et al., Hong Kong Baptist University

Assessing the Effect of Communities of Practice in Higher Education: The Case at Hong Kong Baptist University, Theresa Kwong et al., Hong Kong Baptist University

The Learning Communities Journal is a peer-reviewed journal published at Miami by and for faculty, faculty developers, and administrators at universities and two- and four-year colleges to share research about, experiences with, and student and faculty learning through learning communities. The Journal provides a scholarly, written forum for discussion about all areas affecting faculty and student learning communities, and gives community participants the opportunity to share proven, innovative strategies and thoughtful, inspirational insights. It celebrates 30 years of learning communities at Miami University.

We invite you to use the Journal as a resource for teaching and learning. Click “Issue Archive” to access all issues of the Journal; to locate teaching and learning topics you wish to research, click on “Search Archive.” This electronic version of the Journal is provided by funding from the Committee for Teaching Excellence for all Miami faculty and staff.

For information about submitting manuscripts or other inquiries, click “Submitting Manuscripts” or contact Gregg Wentzell, Managing Editor, at the Center for Teaching Excellence, 317F Laws Hall, on Miami’s Oxford campus (telephone: 529-9265; e-mail:

Enjoy reading, and watch for the next issue of the Journal in Fall 2016.

Announcing CTE Summer Book Clubs!

We invite you to join us for Summer Book Clubs!

Summer is a great time to read a new book and talk about it with colleagues. The Center for Teaching Excellence invites you to attend one or more of our four book club sessions this summer! We have chosen four books that will generate discussion around our teaching and learning topics. We will supply the books or Kindle editions and facilitate discussions of the following books this summer:

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin R. Banaji
Book discussion facilitated by Rose Marie Ward on Thursday, June 23, from 10 am to 12 noon.

“Blindspot” is the authors’ metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups—without our awareness or conscious control—shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential.

In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot. (Description from

Asking for It: The Alarming Rise ofRape Culture–and What We Can Do about It,
by Kate Harding
Book discussion facilitated by Rose Marie Ward and Glenn Muschert on Thursday, July 21, from 2 pm to 4 pm.

Every seven minutes, someone in America commits a rape. And whether that’s a football star, beloved celebrity, elected official, member of the clergy, or just an average Joe (or Joanna), there’s probably a community eager to make excuses for that person.

In Asking for It, Kate Harding combines in-depth research with an in-your-face voice to make the case that twenty-first-century America supports rapists more effectively than it supports victims. Drawing on real-world examples of what feminists call “rape culture”—from politicos’ revealing gaffes to institutional failures in higher education and the military—Harding offers ideas and suggestions for how we, as a society, can take sexual violence much more seriously without compromising the rights of the accused. (Description from

The Missing Professor, by Thomas Jones
Book discussion facilitated by Gregg Wentzell on Wednesday, July 27, from 10 am to 12 noon.

Read one way, this is an entertaining parody of an academic mystery and a humorous take on academic life. Turning the book upside down reveals another purpose. Each chapter is constructed as an informal case study/discussion story, as is made manifest by a series of discussion questions intended for faculty development, new faculty orientation, and conversations among faculty, administrators, and academic staff.

As the mystery unfolds, each chapter finds Nicole encountering challenging situations—such as, the first day of class, student incivility, teaching evaluations, peer observation, academic assessment, the scholarship of teaching and learning, faculty and student rights and responsibilities, core curricula, and tenure standards. (Description from

The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science
(Women Writing Science)
, by Julie Des Jardins
Book discussion facilitated by Lisa Sheard on Tuesday, August 2, from 10 am to 12 noon.

Why are the fields of science and technology still considered to be predominantly male professions? The Madame Curie Complex moves beyond the most common explanations—limited access to professional training, lack of resources, exclusion from social networks of men—to give historical context and unexpected revelations about women’s contributions to the sciences.

Exploring the lives of Jane Goodall, Rosalind Franklin, Rosalyn Yalow, Barbara McClintock, Rachel Carson, and the women of the Manhattan Project, Julie Des Jardins considers their personal and professional stories in relation to their male counterparts—Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi—to demonstrate how the gendered culture of science molds the methods, structure, and experience of the work. With lively anecdotes and vivid detail, The Madame Curie Complex reveals how women scientists have often asked different questions, used different methods, come up with different explanations for phenomena in the natural world, and how they have forever transformed a scientist’s role. (Description from

For more information and to register please visit:

Summer Book Club 2016 Registration

We look forward to reading with you this summer!

Saving Time in the Grading Process With Video Feedback

In “No More Grading In Your Pajamas: Using Video to Provide Feedback on Assignments,” Zara Risoldi Cochrane, Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, describes a method of video grading in an online course that can save significant time—especially at the end of semester when plonger papers may be due. As she describes it,

“In our online course, we hypothesized that providing recorded video feedback on students’ assignments would reduce faculty grading time compared to traditional grading using written feedback. At the same time, we believed that video feedback could simulate face-to-face interactions with our distance learners and improve the overall student experience.”

To read the article, click on

Cochrane, Z. R. (2016, April 28). No more grading in your pajamas: Using video to provide feedback on assignments. The Scholarly Teacher Blog. Retrieved from

Darrel Davis Receives 2016 Knox Distinguished Teaching Award

By Susan Meikle, news and communications

Darrel Davis

Darrel Davis

Darrel Davis, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, is the recipient of the 2016 E. Phillip Knox Distinguished Teaching Award. The award recognizes one faculty member who uses creative, innovative and engaging teaching methods at the undergraduate level.

Davis was honored at the University Awards Reception on Monday, April 25, at the Marcum Conference Center.

Established by Miami alumnus E. Phillips Knox, a 1968 graduate, the award is presented to faculty members whose achievements unequivocally merit recognition for excellence in teaching. Award winners receive a professional expense allocation of $3,000.

The Center for Teaching Excellence University Senate committee selects the awardee from nominations, by examining the nominees teaching portfolios and through interviews with the finalists.

Davis joined Miami in 2007 as a Heanon Wilkins Fellow before becoming assistant professor in 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University College of Belize (1994), and his master’s (2000) and doctoral (2007) degrees from the University of South Florida. He is a former high school teacher and has taught numerous online, hybrid and face-to-face courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Darrel Davis on teaching
Davis exposes students to rich and diverse experiences. He believes that students learn best when they make meaningful connections to content and that “the student-faculty relationship is the cornerstone of academic and lifelong success.” He uses strategies including simulations, case studies, group work, class discussions, lectures and reflective writing. His students said:

• “I think what is awesome about Miami — and something I didn’t really expect to be true until I sat in Dr. Davis’ classroom — is how great the professors really are. His class stretched us to see what we were capable of as individuals. What I learned in his class still impacts me today, and I am a better person for it.”
• “His curriculum allows for students to explore their interests and think beyond the current situation of educational practices. This commitment and creative curriculum sets him apart from any other professor I have met at Miami.”

Davis uses his enthusiasm and humor to reduce student anxiety; shares his experiences to create a sense of community and belonging; fosters respect through his organization and attention to detail; and creates a trusting atmosphere through his humility, he said. His students and colleagues said:

• “Dr. Davis displays a contagious enthusiasm in his teaching. The
 energy in the classroom noticeably increases once the lecture starts. Yes – the lecture. Although it doesn’t stay a lecture for long – he wants his students to think, and discussions and questioning are both central to his teaching style.”
• “In my work with Darrel, I find him to be the consummate professional – a smart problem-solver, a critical and creative thinker, with a terrific sense of humor, who considers student learning at the heart of the teaching enterprise.”

Global perspectives
Davis helped to develop Miami’s first student-teaching experience in Belize, his home country. He also developed new study abroad workshops in Honduras and Belize. The study abroad workshop in Belize is focused on technology and “students not only grapple with technology and its implications within education,” but do so in an international context, Davis said. His students and colleagues said:

• “My perspectives were transformed during the time abroad. I have a different understanding of myself as a teacher and facilitator in a global community and the potential impact these understandings can have on a developing community.”
• Working with two other faculty members, Davis “created these programs to meld together the teaching of culture, language, and technology in educational and social contexts quite different from southwestern Ohio.”

Redesigning EDP 201 – one of Miami’s largest and a Top 25 course
Davis redesigned EDP 201: Human Development and Learning in Social and Educational Contexts. Taken by more than 250 students each semester, the course is required in teacher education programs and fulfills a Global Miami Plan requirement. He implemented a free course textbook; developed the first honors section for the course; integrated research into the course; organized a public poster session for students; and integrated service-learning.

• “Dr. Davis has set up the class so you cannot avoid applying the course material to real situations. The service-learning component of the class, in which students tutor local high school students, made the class more relevant. The practical applications of the course material made me value the class lessons and information more because I experienced its usefulness firsthand,” a student said.

Service Learning and Miami Connections
Davis partners with Leah Wasburn-Moses, professor of educational psychology and founder and project manager of Miami Connections, an alternative school located on Western campus.

• “Dr. Davis’ class alone encouraged me to add a special education minor. He helped me discover my true passion through service learning opportunities like Miami Connections,” one of his students said.
• “Instead of going the “safe” route and selecting more standard placements, Davis offers an opportunity he felt would provide a richer experience for students,” Wasburn-Moses said. “Such faculty support is vital to the success of Miami Connections. In fact, the success of youth involved in Miami Connections can be traced directly to the involvement of Dr. Davis’ students, something that few college professors can claim.”

Teacher, mentor, coach
Davis’ impact is not limited to the classroom: He has coached the Miami men’s club soccer team for more than five years. His players said:

• “He is a mentor to the entire men’s club soccer team. My time at Miami would have been a completely different experience without the close relationship I have built with Dr. Davis. He has taught me the power of communication and helped me learn the responsibilities that come with a position of leadership.”
• “All of our time, effort and hard work certainly paid off as just this past season we achieved our first ever undefeated regular season in the Midwest Alliance Soccer Conference in program history.”

The Knox award was last presented in 2012.

Latest Issue of the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching Focuses on Topics Such as Giving Feedback and Students’ Socialization to College

Journal Cover shrunkThe authors in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed Journal on Excellence in College Teaching ( explore various approaches to making learning most effective for those involved, from strategies used inside and outside the classroom; to technologies; to views of the college learning experience as portrayed in the popular media, of some of which students and faculty may need to be disabused. Published at Miami since 1990, The entire Journal archive is accessible free of charge to all Miami faculty and staff from on campus at

Amy Mulnix relates her experience working with and learning from a cadaver dog in advocating the need to assist faculty to investigate how to help their students learn better. She encourages faculty to share their personal experiences of learning as a form of meta-learning to help “better align what we do in the classroom with how people learn” (p. 21).

Nancy Chick et al. explored how to facilitate student academic inquiry across the curriculum. They found baselines and discovered differences in different disciplines. They also reconsidered the work on the cognitive development of college students, particularly Perry (1968), Belenky et al. (1986), and Baxter Magolda (2002). In addition, the authors reaffirm the view of learning as a social act that engages learners not only in cognitive and metacognitive disciplinary practices, but also in negotiating the social norms of the academy as a whole.

Arguing that feedback as a learning tool is effective only when students are able to understand and use it to improve their work, Michael Howell developed a 5-step method for providing useful feedback to students on their writing and other assignments. The results have included being able to give more thorough feedback while reducing grading time.

Lewis Magruder (Theatre, Miami) explored the value of two methods—one conventional, the other digital—to teach students to design physical environments. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and reminds instructors to assess their chosen method’s usefulness for optimizing their learning objectives.

Dave Knowlton and Shanda Nygard reviewed the existing literature about Twitter’s use in the higher education classroom. They put forth three theoretical frameworks that could be used to conceptually support Twitter-driven assignments. They conclude that research on using Twitter must consider the impact of any assignment on students’ thinking.

Alexander Cohen used an ongoing (entire-semester) simulation to help students connect to course concepts. The approach “engages students, fosters voluntarism, and encourages information retention over time” (p. 173). It also facilitates students’ development of skills they will use in all areas of their academic and professional lives, such as problem solving, critical thinking, and experiential learning.

Alexa Darby and Mary Knight-McKenna seek to motivate faculty to incorporate service-learning experiences into their teaching. Academic service-learning provides authentic learning opportunities for students and can assist communities in ameliorating societal problems. Both of these needs are ongoing and are vital to the goal of producing graduates who view themselves as global citizens. In addition, the experiences of faculty members using this pedagogy can provide insights into how to support faculty while addressing institutional, community, and societal needs.

Mara Berkland and Jennifer Keys’s analysis of college guides, such as The Naked Roommate (2011), found that many have the wrong focus (social acclimation over academics), and often the wrong facts—both of which “could disrupt students’ transition to college by undermining both their identification with the college and their academic performance” (p. 197). The key is for professors to convey to students what all of us as members of the higher education community expect from each other. This approach will lead to greater student engagement in learning and, as a result, an increased likelihood of success.

The Journal’s editors encourage faculty and to explore how their students learn best and to implement teaching strategies that will allow students to realize their fullest potential as learners.

Respond to the Seminar: International Students’ Perspectives on Academic Integrity

Use this space to continue the dialogue about this seminar. Leave a reply below.

Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Time: 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Place: 320 Laws Hall

The session will be moderated by Brenda R. Quaye, Coordinator for Academic Integrity, who will also provide a brief overview of academic integrity as it relates to International students at Miami.

In this session, participants will hear insights from a panel of current international students on how they and fellow international students think about academic integrity. The students will discuss their educational backgrounds and systems prior coming to Miami as context for what understanding they bring with them as new students. They will share their thoughts on the aspects of academic integrity and dishonesty that they have found most confusing or in contrast to their prior educational expectations, why international students might commit academic dishonesty, and discuss their ideas of how faculty and staff can help international students better understand and maintain academic integrity. Participants will have time to ask questions of the panel members.

Respond to the Alumni Teaching Scholar (ATS) FLC Members Symposium

Use this space to continue the dialogue about this seminar. Leave a reply below.

The Alumni Teaching Scholars (ATS) Faculty Learning Community members presented a symposium of their work with their teaching projects to the MU campus.

Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Time: 8:45 am – 12:50 pm
Place: Rooms 201, 220, & 320 Laws Hall

#1Creative Risk: Exploring This Generation’s Relationship to Creative Risk and Personal Challenge
Saffron Henke, Theatre

#2Using Scaffolded Writing Assignments to Enhance Student Critical Thinking
Ziying Jiang, Geography

#3The Relationship Between Students’ Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy Qualities and Transformational Leadership Instructor Rating
Lucinda Parmer, Commerce

#4Establishing the Learning Contract: Engaging Students With Business Case Studies
Gregory J. Fisher, Marketing

#5 Muting Bias: Can Perspective-Taking Increase Students’ Evaluations of Minority Faculty?
Dara Marshall, Accountancy

#6I Won’t Back Down: Creating Digitally Literate Students in Content Area Courses
Michelle Cosmah, Teacher Education

#7Using Agile Team Techniques to Promote Entrepreneurial Thinking
Michelle Conger, Institute for Entrepreneurship

#8Encouraging Deeper Student Reflection Through Integration, Collaboration, and Partnerships
Stephanie Danker, Art