The OSU Instructional Support teams have really stepped up and used this opportunity to strengthen the cadre of resources available to faculty to support teaching excellence. They are now putting out bi-weekly “Timely Teaching Tips” with new ideas for you to consider implementing in your classes and timely reminders to help keep both faculty and students as engaged as possible while we’re remote. Here is a list of recorded training sessions as well as the Timely Teaching Tips for weeks 4 & 5! I especially like the reminder to solicit mid-term teaching feedback (you can set up a non-grading, anonymous survey using the “quiz” feature in Canvas), how students can set up remote study groups, and the instructions for creating rubrics to grade work submitted through Canvas. Rubrics are extremely helpful for students to understand how they will be assessed and make your grading work much easier and more objective.

Recorded Sessions

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I have been reflecting on the types of students we have in our classrooms this term, especially as it relates to their level of “comfort” with technology as their primary tool for learning. “Comfort” is a tricky word in this context. For most of us as instructors, we learned in an environment completely or mostly devoid of technology as we know it today. In middle school, the first PET computer I learned on required me to insert a cassette tape and wait up to an eternity for the program to load. Then came the first Apple computer, dot matrix printers, and the rest is history.

The difference between “then” and “now” is pretty obvious when it comes to technology. Think about the difference though, between Gen Z students and millennial students. The last birth year for millennials is 1996, with Gen Z-ers born in 1997 and beyond. (I’ve heard that those born today may be called “Gen C.” I can’t even imagine what life will be like for them yet). Continue reading

In several of my classes I have students complete projects of some kind. My WIC class requires a research paper and other faculty in my program have students write large research papers as well, so I try to spice up my “project” options whenever I can. I have found that students are more invested in their final product when they are allowed some choice and creative license around what that final product looks like.

In my aging class, I assigned a final project where groups of students were asked to demonstrate their knowledge about how to work with older adults with various physical limitations. I gave them several prompts indicating what their final project must contain (exercise instruction with and without modification, progression, special considerations for the particular limitation, etc.) but allowed them to demonstrate that knowledge in a paper, Powerpoint presentation, video, podcast, or in any other format that I approved ahead of time. Continue reading

Research on group testing is interesting. Before you stop reading because you think you would never do something this inhumane to your students, consider this — in virtually every study conducted on group testing, exam scores improve the most for low- and middle-achieving cohorts. Students report lower test anxiety and generally enjoy this form of collaborative problem solving over standard testing methods. In addition, they report that it promotes deep learning of difficult content.

The assumption is that students are debating, negotiating, sharing, and working through what they collectively know about a complex problem to come to a solution. Isn’t that what we do at work every single day? How many times in a week do we listen to each other’s ideas, debate an issue, and yes, sometimes compromise, to reach a final answer? I wonder if by NOT having students engage in activities like collaborative testing, we are doing them a disservice as we send them out into the world where employers expect them to have these skills. Continue reading

About  20 years ago, I participated in my very first item-writing workshop with the American Council on Exercise as part of a three-day exam validation exercise. This was one of those paradigm-shifting experiences for me as an educator because I had never been that immersed in exam accreditation before, but also because I never knew that there was an actual art and process to writing valid multiple choice questions. The key here is the word “valid.” Who knew that carefully constructed multiple choice questions could actually utilize all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy? I thought multiple choice questions were only for the two lower levels of the pyramid: remembering and comprehending. The experience of exam question item writing for accreditation completely changed the way I assessed my students.

Here are some of the basics, but if you search the internet for “writing better test questions” or “writing better multiple choice questions,” you will find some very good resources to help you write really good stems for all types of questions. As with everything we write, nothing can substitute for good planning before you start. Continue reading