Article Discusses How Student Perceptions of “Good” vs. “Bad” Workloads Impact Course Evaluation Scores

In his article “Distinguishing Between Good (Useful) and Bad Workloads on Students’ Evaluations of Teaching,” Herbert Marsh (2001) investigated student perceptions of how course workload impacts their learning and, in turn, how these perceptions impact their course evaluation scores. Moreover, he found that workload was a stronger predictor of evaluation scores than were grades.

“Good Workload (valuable in advancing education) had substantial positive effects on SETs and Perceived Learning, whereas the effects of Bad Workload were negative. SETs had nonlinear relations with Good Workload (the positive Good Workload-SET correlation became smaller for higher Workloads) and Grades (the positive grade-SET correlation became smaller for higher grades). The positive grade-SET correlation was completely eliminated by controlling for Good and Bad Workloads and other background variables. In contrast to misguided suggestions that teachers can improve SETs by decreasing Workload (at the likely expense of effective teaching), these results show that SETs and teaching effectiveness can both be improved by increasing Good Workload and decreasing Bad Workload.” (from the article’s abstract)

While an older article, its central idea that students perceive academic challenge in differing ways and, as a result, that not all types of challenge are viewed positively in terms of the promotion of learning, remains relevant.

Marsh, H. W. (2001). Distinguishing between good (useful) and bad workloads on students’ evaluations of teaching. American Educational Research Journal, 38(1), 183-212.

Respond to the Seminar: Non-Native English Speaking Faculty and International Teaching Assistants: Ways to Improve Course Evaluation Scores

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Date and Time: Thursday, February 16th, 2:30 – 4:00 pm
Location: 320 Laws Hall
Presenter: Eun Chong Yang, American Culture and English

Teachers at Miami have their courses evaluated by students to improve the quality of instruction and students’ learning (MUPIM 7.2.B). This end-of-semester formal evaluation serves various purposes, including self-assessment, job promotion, and program development. However, many Non-native English speaking (NNES) faculty and international teaching assistants (ITAs) question the validity of formal evaluations because they may receive low scores, student resistance, and negative comments based on their ethnic, racial, cultural, or linguistic identities (Sommers, 2012). In this seminar Eun Chong Yang, NNES facilitator, will share her 17-year experience of success in the classroom that has translated into high scores on her course evaluations and discuss her strategies. Attendees will also have the opportunity to share their own experiences in small groups, during which practical suggestions will be offered to improve future course evaluations.

Companion Books in the CTE Library Focus on Flipping the Classroom

José Bowen, former Dean of Fine Arts at Miami University and now President of Goucher College, has published a new how-to guide to accompany his book Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning (Wiley, 2012).

417qoAcDkqL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_As described on Amazon.com, “Teaching Naked flips the classroom by placing the student’s first contact with the material outside of class. This places the burden of learning on the learner, ensures student preparation, and frees up class time for active engagement with the material for more effective learning and retention” (From Amazon.com:
https://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Naked-Technology-Classroom-Learning/dp/1118110358/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1486571925&sr=8-2&keywords=teaching+naked+techniques).

51qdfgKw5-L._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_Bowen’s new book, coauthored by C. Edward Watson, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and Fellow in the Institute for Higher Education at the University of Georgia, is Teaching Naked Techniques: A Practical Guide to Designing Better Classes (Wiley, 2017) and is described as “both a design guide and a ‘sourcebook’ of ideas: a great companion to the award-winning Teaching Naked book.”

Teaching Naked Techniques helps higher education faculty design more effective and engaging classrooms. The book focuses on each step of class preparation from the entry point and first encounter with content to the classroom ‘surprise.’ There is a chapter on each step in the cycle with an abundance of discipline-specific examples, plus the latest research on cognition and technology, quick lists of ideas, and additional resources” (From Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Naked-Techniques-Practical-Designing/dp/1119136113/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486571925&sr=8-1&keywords=teaching+naked+techniques).

Both of these books and 1000 other teaching and learning titles are available in the Center for Teaching Excellence library in 317 Laws Hall on the Oxford campus. Come in and browse our selections, or search online at http://miamioh.edu/cte/library/index.html

Respond to the Seminar: Writing Across the Curriculum: Strategies to Empower Students for Their Chosen Careers

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Date: Thursday, February 9th
Time: 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Place: 320 Laws Hall

Presenter: Scott Johnston, Architecture and Interior Design; Institute for the Environment and Sustainability

While the value of being able to write well is an asset in any field, the notion of what good writing should look like is often much more disciplinary. And for most of us, teaching writing was probably not at the top of the list of why we became college professors. The instructor will present strategies for designing writing challenges aimed at building the skills students will need to be effective communicators in the career fields they intend to pursue. The latter part of the workshop will engage participants in a writing exercise as a way of challenging them to come up with creative new strategies for writing assignments in their own courses.

Respond to the Seminar: Cultural Considerations and Inclusive Practices for Academic Integrity

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Day and Time: Wednesday, February 9, Noon – 1:00 pm

Location: Laws Hall 320

Presenters: Brenda Quaye, Coordinator for Academic Integrity, and Carol Olausen, American Culture and English

What are the different motivations of our domestic and International students that affect how they approach their education? How do student backgrounds affect how they view academic integrity and complete their class work? What are the best practices for working with International students with regard to academic integrity? To learn about these issues and more, please join Brenda Quaye, Coordinator for Academic Integrity, and Carol Olausen, Director of the American Culture and English (ACE) Program, at the next Academic Integrity Lunch ‘N Learn.

Kate de Medeiros, Sociology and Gerontology, Named Ohio’s Educator of the Year

The Hamilton Journal-News reports that “Kate de Medeiros, Associate Professor of Sociology and Gerontology and the Robert H. and Nancy J. Blayney Professor of Gerontology, has been named Educator of the Year by the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education (OAGE), Miami officials announced Monday. She will receive the award at the annual OAGE conference in April.”

“de Medeiros received her doctorate in Gerontology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2006 and joined Miami University’s Department of Sociology and Gerontology in 2011.”

To read the full article, go to http://www.journal-news.com/news/miami-professor-work-with-older-adults-wins-award/KbdLG8j7dPCkBWTdOIE3UJ/

FLC Proposal Deadline Extended to February 15th!

Organize a community of 8 to 12 faculty, professional staff, and/or teaching assistants to engage in a year-long series of seminars and activities about enhancing teaching and learning. Participants develop individual or group teaching projects and may construct a course mini-portfolio to provide evidence of student learning.

More information about FLCs can be found at: http://miamioh.edu/cte/faculty-staff/faculty-learning-communities/index.html

Proposals can be submitted at: https://miamioh.formstack.com/forms/flc_1718

Please contact the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at 9-9266 or cte@miamioh.edu for additional information.

Drop-In Writing Hours at the Howe Center for Writing Excellence

The Howe Center for Writing Excellence, located on the first floor of King Library, offers drop-in writing hours for undergraduate students on Sundays from Noon-3:00 pm.

Drop-in writing hours are also available for faculty and graduate students every Friday morning from 8:30am-noon. Coffee is brewing and there is plenty of space to work, as well as an HCWE staff member to consult with for those who would like feedback.

To keep up with all of HCWE’s offerings, see their website and calendar: http://miamioh.edu/hcwe/

Assessment Brief #93: Master of Computer Science Assessment Activity

Assessment Brief #93:
Master of Computer Science
Assessment Activity
January 2017

This brief features the assessment activity for the Master of Computer Science (MCS) program, and its alignment with the assessment requirements of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). HLC promotes “full cycle” assessment of degree programs—meaning that programs have clear and meaningful learning outcomes, multiple measures of assessment, data collection & analysis, sharing of findings, and development and tracking of plans for improvement.

Learning Outcomes & Method
Because the mission of the master’s degree program focuses on acquiring research skills and specialized knowledge, the outcomes in the assessment plan focus on explaining and applying timely computer science topics, engaging and identifying the relevant professional literature, and communicating research findings. These outcomes are assessed via three methods: (1) assessment of the final defense using a rubric; (2) student exit surveys; and (3) faculty reflections. The rubric includes thoughtful quality descriptors and several levels of gradation. Three faculty members assess students’ final defenses, and scores are averaged.

Findings & Strategies for Improvement
Direct assessment findings (scoring of student work via the rubric) suggested that students are meeting outcomes at a satisfactory level, scoring an average of 3.39 (out of 4) with 100% of students scoring above 2 on all three outcomes. However, the faculty commented that they would like to see average scores closer to 3.50. Indirect assessment of the students’ perceptions suggest that students are satisfied with their level of attainment of the outcomes. The faculty reflections, however, were more mixed in their perceptions of student learning.

Faculty discussed these findings and identified several strategies for improvement: (1) increased coverage of specialized knowledge in the form of a Machine Learning course; and (2) improvement of students’ technical interview capacities through the Technical Interview Seminar.

Conclusion
The strengths of the assessment plan for this degree program include: (1) concrete outcomes that connect directly to the program mission; (2) effective rubric with concrete quality descriptions; (3) scoring of student artifacts (defense) by an outside and trained faculty member; (4) sharing and discussion of findings among all program faculty; and (5) generating strategies for improvement that are tracked in subsequent reports.

The assessment activity could be enhanced by incorporating questions that focus directly on the student learning outcomes in the two indirect assessment measures (senior exit survey and faculty reflections).

A GSTEP Member Shares Her Reflections on the First Class

The Graduate Student Teaching Enhancement Program (GSTEP; http://miamioh.edu/cte/graduate-students/teaching-enhancement-program/index.html) is designed for graduate students who are interested in developing their teaching skills while enhancing relationships with other graduate students and faculty. The GSTEP Facilitator is Jennifer Blue (Center for Teaching Excellence; Physics).

In this CTE Blog, Michelle Veite, GSTEP member, shares a reflection on the first class meeting that she wrote in partial fulfillment of the program requirements.

GSTEP Class 1 Reflection: Preparing for an Academic Job

Let me start off by saying that I have taken this class before, in the fall of 2012. I was on a Graduate Assistantship (GA) and not formally teaching at the time, but tutoring undergraduates one-on-one. I initially took GSTEP to introduce me to the collegial world of teaching due not teaching as a GA. The class offered exactly what I was anticipating and then some. That next fall, I began teaching and have taught ever since. I decided to take the GSTEP class again because I really enjoyed it and wanted to refresh myself on the preparation I had acquired the first time and enhance my understanding of what I know now that I have taught.

While I remembered certain differences between teaching expectations among doctoral/research and undergraduate teaching institutions, I did not remember the teaching preparations I could be doing now to prepare myself for a future teaching position. I was surprised to see how many of these items I could already check off. Some of these included (a) seeking more independent teaching experiences, (b) going to seminars relating to teaching, (c) learning from and having open discussions with outstanding professors, (d) going to conferences, (e) applying for research support, and (f) seeking other opportunities to get involved in Miami University governance or the graduate student community.

I honestly believe I was directed to complete all of this preparation due to taking GSTEP in 2012. Without GSTEP, I would not have initiated discussions with professors about their teaching experiences and how they have become the outstanding teachers they are today. I also know that I would not have run for leadership roles within the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at Miami to increase my awareness about governance at the university level. I have learned a vast amount of information about how decisions are made and how a university is run through my participation in GSA and GSTEP. I am also on the University Senate to expand this knowledge and increase my commitment to the Miami community. Additionally, I have applied to four different areas to gain support for my research. I was able to gain experience about the process and obtain three out of the four areas of support.

The information learned in GSTEP is invaluable. Every aspiring teacher within the graduate student community should be required to take this class for the conversation and discussion it generates. Without the knowledge and direction obtained from this class, I would not have chosen the path I have today, especially regarding my involvement within the graduate community.

For more information about the GSTEP program, visit the CTE website (http://miamioh.edu/cte/graduate-students/teaching-enhancement-program/index.html).