Our very own Dustin Shell is presenting this weekend at an international conference dedicated to educational research called, The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) in Milwaukee, WI. He has three presentations, so if you are attending, be sure to check them out. These will definitely be interesting and fun sessions to attend - Dustin was the highest-rated presenter at the GCASTD Conference earlier this month!
Workshop: Reducing the Distance in Distance Learning
Modeling behaviors is an important tool for any educator. One inherent problem with distance learning (DL) is the inability to model desired behaviors for our students. In a course teaching the process of differential diagnosis, on-site students had the opportunity to see behaviors in action but distance students did not. We wanted to replicate this experience for students not physically present. We developed a first person interactive case study (ICS) that we used as a teaching tool for the distance learners. We are in the process of formally investigating whether or not learning outcomes for our DL students are similar to those of our on-site students. Informal comments indicate that this is an effective and valued strategy.
Our work is grounded in theory about the relationship between experience and learning. The importance of experiential learning has been discussed by authors including Dewey, Jarvis, and Fenwick. Simulation in learning enhances student experiences and nurtures competence, confidence, and the ability to ‘think on their feet’.
Interactive media can be used to create online experiential learning environments for all majors. Using interactive media to create experiential learning for students at a distance can met the needs of each stage of Kolb’s Cycle of Learning. Designing ICS involves some collaboration; however faculty can create the substance of an ICS with common technology tools (i.e. PowerPoint and Word). This workshop will demonstrate a method that could be used by faculty in an y discipline to bring the experience of role modeling behavior to the student at a distance.
Research Presentation: The Impact of Learning Space on Teaching Behaviors
Traditional learning spaces have been the same for many years. In a traditional classroom the teacher stands at the front of the room and there are rows of students seated facing the teacher. With the value placed on active learning and student engagement, educators have been rethinking learning spaces. Ideas from social constructivism and adult learning support the importance of collaboration and context. Thus, many academic institutions have chosen to renovate traditional classrooms and turn them into learning spaces that are more conducive to collaboration. The overall intention is to improve student learning outcomes. However, little data exist to support the notion that changing physical space has any impact on student learning. We do know that teacher behaviors have an important impact of student learning. In this study, we will use a mixed method design to take a first step toward identifying the impact of changing a learning space on educational outcomes. We have archived video-recordings of faculty teaching in traditional and collaborative classrooms. A panel of expert teachers will independently view randomly selected 20 minute segments of the video recordings and describe the teaching behaviors that they observe in each. The narrative data they generate will be subjected to thematic analysis by persons skilled in qualitative research. These narrative data will then be quantitized (transformed) and the frequency of each theme within the video-recording segments will be identified. Descriptive statistics will be used to compare the themes derived from teaching behaviors in the traditional and collaborative classrooms. We will formulate a meta-inference comparing the teaching behaviors in the different classrooms based on our results. Identifying teaching behaviors will provide a first step toward evaluating whether a change in learning space has an impact of student learning outcomes.
Roundtable: Developing a Sense of Community in an Online Environment
This roundtable will be guided by the question, “What strategies are best for building community in an online environment?” We will share our insights into the use of various instructional technologies to assist in building community among distance-learning students. We have a number of “lessons learned” and we will encourage others to share lessons from their own experiences. This session will provide an opportunity for networking and the possible development of collaborative evaluation projects.