Center for Teaching and Learning

2016 Symposium program

“Doing Race and Equity Pedagogy” April 19, 2016

Keynote speakers:

Wayne AuDr. Wayne Au is an associate professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell, and he is an editor for the social justice teaching magazine, Rethinking Schools. His work has focused generally on critical education theory, critical policy analysis, and teaching for social justice. Specifically he has engaged in scholarship about high-stakes testing, social studies education, curriculum studies, and multicultural education. Author and editor of multiple books, Dr. Au’s scholarly articles have appeared in Educational Researcher, Harvard Educational Review, and Teachers College Record, among others. He has edited multiple volumes including, most recently, Mapping Corporate Education Reform: Power and Politics in the Neoliberal State (with Joseph J. Ferrare). In 2015 Dr. Au won the Distinguished Teaching Award for UW Bothell.

Christine Stevens

Dr. Christine Stevens is an associate professor in the UW Tacoma Nursing & Healthcare Leadership programs. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science from the University of Washington. Her research focuses on social justice and how structural disadvantages affect health especially in low-income residents and adolescent populations focusing on housing and food insecurity. Christine uses participatory research to develop long-term relationships with communities and partners with residents to develop interventions that are relevant at the local level. Her teaching focuses on the social determinants of health, using social marketing to address social justice in communities, exploring how popular film and media construct our view of adolescents especially in terms of race, class, and gender. She was given the UWT Distinguished Teaching award in 2012 and featured in the Provost 2014 series of Innovators among us: Using technology to engage students.

Joyce YenDr. Joyce Yen is Director of the University of Washington ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change and has been PI or co-investigator on eleven grants ($5.2M+) to advance STEM faculty diversity; provide faculty professional development; and diversify STEM. Dr. Yen’s innovative work includes national and campus workshops to advance STEM faculty diversity and an engineering course to develop student change agents. An accomplished workshop facilitator, Dr. Yen has given over 40 national and international presentations and facilitated dozens of workshops and retreats. She has been recognized with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 2004 Outstanding Young Alumni Award, the 2007 UW College of Engineering Professional Staff Innovator Award, and the 2012 UW David B. Thorud Leadership Award. She received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a B.S. in Mathematics from UNL. She was previously an assistant professor of industrial engineering at UW.


Posters and abstracts

Symposium poster presenters: Amelia Klaus & Linda Whang

Poster #1. Toward a Process of Inquiry: Revisiting Tutor Training in the OWRC

Peter Freeman, Odegaard Writing and Research Center, UW Seattle
Mihaela Giurca, Odegaard Writing and Research Center, UW Seattle
John Holmes, Odegaard Writing and Research Center, UW Seattle
Deborah Pierce, Odegaard Writing and Research Center, UW Seattle
Jacob Kovacs, Odegaard Writing and Research Center, UW Seattle
Caitlin Palo, Odegaard Writing and Research Center, UW Seattle

Poster #1 abstract

In order to better support students in their writing and research processes—which often overlap and have no clear boundaries — and in response to tutor feedback from previous years, we sought to understand: (1) how to better integrate writing and research support services to help students navigate those processes, and 2) how to train new tutors to help students navigate those processes.

The setting for exploring these questions took place during the Odegaard Writing and Research Center’s (OWRC) annual new tutor training in Autumn 2015. The OWRC employs nearly 70 student-tutors and experiences 50% annual turnover. This means we spend 3 days each year training roughly 35 new tutors in the fundamentals of writing center theory, principles from the scholarship of teaching and learning, and practices of reflective communication.

To help answer our questions, tutors, librarians, and OWRC staff re-designed our requisite training workshops using backward course design principles (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) and elements of active learning (Bonwell & Eison, 1991) to develop outcomes and workshops around the principle of “inquiry” to assist students in navigating their writing and research processes, resulting in a toolkit for exploration and learning.

Tutors, librarians, and OWRC staff constructed learning goals, workshop guidelines, and exit surveys to help frame the scope of each workshop, help tutors trace themes and connections across workshops, and serve as a mechanism for self-assessment and facilitator feedback. Results showed 1) an uptake of writing center principles, theories, and practices, and 2) an understanding of inquiry as a recursive process of research, writing, and discussion.

Implications of this work include: 1) using a collaborative process of creating and integrating a variety of learning goals into a shared project, and 2) using backward course design and elements of active learning to help meet those goals.

Poster #2. From Cascades to Andes: A Collaborative Online International Learning Experience

Ursula Valdez, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell

Poster #2 abstract

In spring 2015, I taught a Collaborative Online International learning (COIL) course in partnership with a colleague at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru. This course aimed to create an international learning community using remote communication and offered a short instructor visit to each other’s institution. I showcase the process undertaken to achieve successful international collaborations, and share my experiences and those of students who took the course. I reflect on the role that international collaborations and intercultural communities have on the learning of students from different institutions and countries.  I discuss the structure of the collaboration, and the pros and cons of the approaches used. I provide examples of the activities, interactions and assignments used (i.e. using technology/social media) associated to 4 learning modules (parallel stories for Peru and the PNW), and how students learned, researched and shared information. I will show examples of collaborative activism that students conducted as a result of their learning of specific environmental issues affecting their present and future. In addition to this, students gained skills to deal with real local and global challenges. Furthermore, I believe they also gained an opportunity to expand their horizons on local and global issues within an international academic and cultural context.

While my course topics are focused on Environmental Sciences, the approaches and techniques are applicable to other disciplines.  The choice of parallel stories in two different regions could be used by instructors of any discipline and by those whose goals are to work on a remote international teaching/ learning collaboration. I will also provide short examples of student feedback and video snippets.

I hope that my work demonstrates the importance of providing opportunities for students to gain abilities to learn and interact remotely within an international community, using available technology and social media.

 

Poster #3. Discovering Scientific Community with Videos and the Pacific Science Center

Charity Lovitt, Physical Sciences, UW Bothell

Poster #3 abstract

Context: In Fall 2015, a 5 credit pre-major science course called Mythbusters! was offered to 30 students in a science and technology at UW Bothell. The course focused on the scientific method but the culmination of the 5-credit course was the creation of a Mythbusters! style video that debunked a myth or urban legend. With instructor mentorship, groups of students chose the topic, designed the experiments, and produced 3-5 minute films about the experiments that investigated their topic. Topics ranged from “Will gum last in your stomach for 7 years?” to “Does time fly when you’re having fun?” The films were shown on an IMAX screen at the Pacific Science Center and evaluated by high school interns who specialized in science communication. The evaluation contributed to 10% of the final project score. UWB students then participated in a panel/discussion with the high school interns about the transition from high school to college.

Questions: After the project, how do students see themselves as scientists and college students? How did interactions with high school students influence their learning?

Methods: As part of the course, videos underwent several stages of review: instructor review of their research question and experimental methodology, peer review of draft videos, and evaluation of the final video project by college students and high school interns at the Pacific Science Center. After the project, college students reflected on the experience through online discussions, in class discussions, and reflective papers.

Results: Overall, students exhibited increased connection to the scientific community. High school interns ranked videos more harshly than college students, which caused the college students to understand the importance of communication in science. Most intriguing is that the highest ranked projects were produced by groups of minority female students, suggesting that projects like this may help increase confidence in underrepresented groups.

Poster #4. Student-Driven Effort to Undo Racism in Public Health Education

Miranda Vargas, Health Services/COPHP, UW Seattle
Omid Bagheri, Health Services/COPHP, UW Seattle
Mollie Overby, Health Services/COPHP, UW Seattle
Lee Hicks, Health Services/COPHP, UW Seattle
Khanh Ho, Health Services/COPHP, UW Seattle
Jamie Smeland, Health Services/COPHP, UW Seattle

Poster #4 abstract

The Committee on Oppression, Racism, and Education (CORE) is a student-led, anti-racist group within the Community Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) program. CORE seeks to understand how they transform public health education and practice through relationship-building and anti-racist principles. They collaborate with students, faculty, and staff to recommend policies and practices to encourage equitable classroom cultures and environments. Inaugurated in 2013, CORE prioritizes relationship-building to foster empathy and center voices of color in the program.

CORE emphasizes how change happens, not what has changed. COPHP students, faculty, and staff develop a shared language about institutional racism and social justice through the People’s Institute’s principles and annual Undoing Institutional Racism (UIR) workshops (required for first year students). CORE students meet weekly to strategize around consulting with faculty on curriculum, guiding a more socially conscious admissions process, and more. CORE’s progress is tracked via end-of-block surveys to measure our transformational anti-racist work.

Founding CORE members emphasized relationship-building towards racial justice within COPHP. UIR workshops stimulated a threefold increase in CORE membership among incoming classes. This growth measures interest in addressing internalized and institutionalized racism in public health. An indicator of progress in bringing voices of color to the conversation is in admissions: the 2015 entering class comprises 25% underrepresented minorities, the highest proportion in the program’s history. Augmenting the diversity of COPHP feeds the virtuous cycle of relationship-building and organizing in favor of equitable public health systems.

Through accountable relationships with faculty and staff, COPHP curriculum and program operations increasingly infuses CORE’s work. CORE members support other COPHP students, challenge classroom culture, and advocate for systemic transformation. Further, we consult with students in other graduate programs so they can utilize these strategies to examine their own policies and practices and transition their departments toward anti-racism.

 

Poster #5. FemTechNet @UW: Distributed Open Collaborative Courses (DOCCs) in Action

Ivette Bayo Urban, Information School, UW Seattle
Regina Yung Lee, Gender Women & Sexuality Studies, UW Seattle

Poster #5 abstract

What are some ways that intersectional feminist pedagogies can be practiced and embodied at a research university?

FemTechNet (FTN) was established in 2012 as a self-organizing scholarly network that investigates topics in feminism and technology. FTN’s first project was designing an alternative to the MOOC, online course structure in 2013. Based around a modifiable syllabus “spine,” and assuming distributed collective learning, the Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC) pioneered much-needed feminist interventions into online learning models. After participating in the 2015 FTN Summer both instructors designed successful versions of the FemTechNet DOCC for Autumn 2015 at the UW Seattle Campus. Both are teaching graduate level DOCCs for Spring 2016.

The DOCC shows significant potential for increased student engagement with feminist methods. Our poster will demonstrate our most successful instruction and assessment methods, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, discussing their pedagogical innovations based on student results, and their potential applicability across a wide range of disciplines. We assess the impact of the DOCC on student learning through personal reflections, reflections from students and dialogues with other DOCC instructors.

Through our DOCCs, we contributed to feminist education for critical consciousness (hooks, 2000). We embodied feminist technologies of accountability, care, collaboration and collectivity through our designs and implementations of the DOCCs. Our poster maps these contribution to feminist creation of knowledge in theory and practice in ways extending well beyond our own institution.

We share our results with other instructors to demonstrate the practical benefits of using the FemTechNet DOCC framework as one of those collective avenues. Our poster provides the theoretical underpinnings for our methodological innovations, and practical examples gleaned from this experimental quarter of work. We propose this poster as a set of methodologies with feminist grounding and wide-ranging applications in the context of contemporary pedagogy in higher education.

Poster #6. Development and Validation of a Survey Measuring Student Engagement

Alison Crowe, Biology, UW Seattle
Ben Wiggins, Biology, UW Seattle
Karen Freisem, Center for Teaching and Learning, UW Seattle
Dan Grunspan, Anthropology, UW Seattle
Sarah Eddy, Biology, University of Texas Austin
Leah Wener-Fligner, Drama, UW Seattle

Poster #6 abstract

Active learning has been shown to promote student learning.  However, it remains unclear whether all types of active learning are equally beneficial for different demographic populations.   The primary measure used to determine relative effectiveness of different active learning strategies has been student performance on pre/post tests.   There has been increasing interest in broadening this approach to include measures of student attitude to provide a more holistic view of the student experience in an active-learning classroom.  The expectancy value theory proposes that the value students place on a given activity directly influences their level of motivation to engage in that activity, thereby impacting their performance.  In order to compare student perception of the different active learning approaches that we implement in our classrooms, we have combined qualitative and quantitative methods to iteratively develop and validate a survey.  The resulting Student Engagement Survey for Active Learning Environments (SESALE) measures multiple facets of the student experience during active learning exercises in a college setting. SESALE contains 25 questions, 20 of which are focused on student experience during the active learning exercises and the remaining 5 addressing which roles students performed during these group activities. The survey was administered to a large introductory biology class and student responses were subjected to exploratory factor analysis.  Of the 20 items on student experience, 17 loaded onto 3 factors which cumulatively explained 52% of the variation in student response:  1) value of activity, 2) personal effort and 3) student-perceived instructor effort.  SESALE provides a rapid, easily administered means to gather information about student experience during in-class group activities in an active-learning classroom. Gaining a better understanding of when and why students engage will help inform instructor best practices and provide another measure for comprehensively assessing the value of different active learning strategies.

Poster #7. Student Learning of Local Tree Diversity and Common Ancestry

Jennifer H. Doherty, Biology, UW Seattle
Yael Wyner, Secondary Education, City College of New York

Poster #7 abstract

Neighborhood trees provide urban students with a local context for understanding biodiversity, which can be used to ground biodiversity in a central tenet of evolution, common ancestry. We developed a curriculum that asks students to group organisms by shared characteristics to help them discover the centrality of common ancestry to biodiversity. We asked, “How does this curriculum improve urban middle-school student understanding in three dimensions: 1)how to identify trees, 2)how to group trees by relatedness and 3)what it means to be related?” The two part (Fall and Spring) curriculum was tested in middle-school classrooms of 12 teachers in a large urban school district in the northeast US. Students completed written assessments at three time points: pre-Fall, post-Fall and post-Spring implementation. Results are presented from 260 students who took all three assessments and a comparison group of 265 demographically similar students who took the assessment at the end of the school year. Analysis shows growth in students thinking about the three dimensions. For identifying, more students before and without the curriculum used uninformative characteristics like location, size and animals that live in it to identify trees. With instruction students used characteristics like leaf edge and arrangement and fruits. For grouping by relatedness, students with instruction improved their ability to recognize the importance of fruits over leaves. Finally, many students with instruction moved from understanding relatedness as a synonym for similarity to an awareness that relatedness is based on shared ancestry. We conclude that middle school students are able to apply the concept of common ancestry, supporting the position that it can be introduced to students at the same time as natural selection. Bringing learning about local trees to schools can provide a context for supporting learning about the important evolutionary concept of common ancestry.

Poster #8. A Novel Pathway to Expertise in Physiology

Jennifer H. Doherty, Biology, UW Seattle
Mary Pat Wenderoth, Biology, UW Seattle

Poster #8 abstract

Expertise in physiology is about recognizing and understanding the significance of the patterns found to exist across multiple physiological systems and then being able to effectively apply those patterns or general models (GM) to solve novel problems. General models are a type of thought organizer that guide students to construct causal explanations based on recurring physical principles rather than relying on explanations based in teleological and anthropocentric reasoning which reinforce physiological misconceptions. We propose to use GM to scaffold our teaching of physiology and by so doing predict that we will be able to move students more quickly and efficiently along their pathway to physiological expertise.

We will design and implement GM teaching methods across the curriculum at both 2- and 4-year colleges. By implementing GM across the curriculum, we will be able to assess the impact multiple iterations of GM-based teaching has on the rate at which students move along the path to expert type thinking. We will focus on four GMs central to understanding all physiological processes: flux/flow, mass balance, control systems and elastic structures. We will assess the efficacy of the GM teaching strategies by developing and using a GM rubric to examine students’ ability to appropriately use the four GM to help solve complex homework and exam problems. We will compare the performance of students on these problems from different iterations of the same course with instructors that do and do not use general models.  We will also create a Taxonomy of GM Teaching Methods that can be used to assess the fidelity of implementation of GM teaching methods and thereby evaluate the effectiveness of this novel teaching strategy.

Poster #9.  Room for Improvement: Students Navigating Canvas Courses

Abigail Evans, UW-IT Academic & Collaborative Applications, UW Seattle
Janice Fournier, UW-IT Academic & Collaborative Applications, UW Seattle

Poster #9 abstract

Although students are generally satisfied with their instructors’ use of online tools, some do report a frustrating inconsistency in Canvas course organization. These were some of the findings from a Spring 2015, UW Information Technology survey of UW Seattle students about their use of online teaching and learning tools. The goal of this project was to find out how instructors’ use of online tools, especially Canvas, affected students’ learning experience. 82 students from a representative range of departments and campus units completed the survey.

The survey asked students to specify a course they had taken in the previous two quarters (Autumn 2014, Winter 2015) in which they had used the greatest number of online tools. The questions that followed asked participants about technologies used for that course specifically, as well as some general questions about technology support and their experience across multiple courses.

68.7% of participants reported that Canvas was used to create their course website. When asked what they used Canvas for, the most common tasks were accessing information and resources, collaborating with classmates, and submitting assignments. Overall, relatively few respondents reported finding tasks difficult to complete in Canvas but the most commonly reported difficult tasks were accessing feedback on assignments, accessing course materials, and accessing announcements from the instructor.

Many of the students commented that different instructors use the same features in different ways, affecting students’ ability to efficiently find the information they needed. Given that organization of course content was the most commonly cited factor impacting student experience of a course website, taking steps to reduce inconsistency could improve their overall Canvas experience. These findings are being used to inform further research on students’ experiences with Canvas in order to develop best practice recommendations and guidelines for creating effective course websites.

Poster #10. Social Media in the Classroom

Tara Coffin, UW-IT/Public Health Genetics, UW Seattle
Janice Fournier, UW-IT Academic & Collaborative Applications, UW Seattle
Abi Evans, UW-IT Academic & Collaborative Applications, UW Seattle

Poster #10 abstract

In an effort to understand how UW instructors and students use social media for educational purposes, we investigated data from the 2015 EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) survey (N=426 UW Students, N=638 UW Instructors). This survey provides insight into the current use of social media for educational purposes, assessing student and instructor perceptions. We analyzed survey responses in 2015, noting trends observed in previous years, and placing this data within the wider research context of social media as a pedagogical tool.

Findings from the ECAR survey show that UW students are increasingly using social media as a learning tool, and outside research suggests that this trend has a positive impact on student outcomes. UW students reported that technology like social media is an effective way to stay connected with their instructors, institution, and other students. Students indicated they would be more effective if better skilled with using social media as a learning tool, imploring instructors to support their academic success through social media use. But, students also want to ensure their online social lives and online academic lives stay separate, and both students and instructors at UW are concerned that social media may pose a distraction in class.

Analysis of ECAR data allows UW-IT to pinpoint areas of need and discover opportunities for innovation. While this year’s ECAR survey answered many questions about how students and instructors feel about social media as a learning tool, it revealed that we have much to learn in regards to how social media is used at UW, particularly among instructors. Based on our analysis, we have made the following recommendations:

  • Identify needs of instructors and students using social media as a learning tool
  • Evaluate how instructors social media use in the UW classroom impacts student outcomes

Poster #11. Educational Alliances: Building Community in Active Learning Classrooms

Amanda Hornby, Odegaard Undergraduate Library, University Libraries, UW Seattle
Janice Fournier, UW-IT Academic & Collaborative Applications, UW Seattle
Marisa Petrich, iSchool, UW Seattle
Louise Richards, Odegaard Undergraduate Library, University Libraries, UW Seattle

Poster #11 abstract

Using the concept of “educational alliances,” the idea that certain types of social interactions lead to greater trust, respect, cooperation and responsibility for learning, an interdisciplinary research team looked at social interactions in the Odegaard Library Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs). Our goal was to better understand the nature of these instructor-student and student-student interactions: how they are facilitated and how they affect the quality and perceptions of student learning experiences.

We conducted our research with four instructors teaching undergraduate courses in the ALCs during Winter Quarter 2015. Courses ranged from 100 – 400 level, ranged in size from 30 – 56 students, and were in the humanities and sciences.

The four participating instructors agreed to share their syllabi and lesson plans, allow classroom observations, and be interviewed by the research team. Students in their courses were invited to complete a questionnaire and participate in a focus group. Instructors demonstrated a variety of active teaching techniques, including cooperative groups, inquiry and problem-based learning, and peer review.

Data from each source were analyzed using dimensions within the “educational alliances” framework: mutual respect, shared responsibility for learning, effective communication, and cooperation. Results suggest that specific instructional practices (such as encouraging students to take ownership of their learning, and designing substantive collaborative activities) had a positive effect on the learning environment in regard to these dimensions. Among other findings, students reported feeling accountable to classmates and instructor, and for learning in class and arriving prepared.

By closely examining these courses, we learned which teaching and learning practices best supported student group work, student participation, student learning outcomes, and supportive learning communities. This poster session will highlight the findings and practices that can be applied to active learning and traditional classrooms alike, and that promote “educational alliances” across disciplines.

Poster #12. Educating the Citizen Engineer: A Community-Based Learning Approach

Steven Collins, Engineering and Mathematics, UW Bothell

Poster #12 abstract

This poster summarizes the author’s first effort at teaching a community-based learning course as part of the Professional Practice series required of Mechanical Engineering students in their senior year at the UW Bothell Campus.  Entitled Citizen Engineer, the course examines the role of engineers in sustainable local, national, and global development.  It encourages students to see the connections between engineering and larger societal contexts that shape, and are shaped by, engineering practice.

The course was taught in fall 2015, with generous support from the campus Office of Community-Based Learning and Research.  The purpose was to observe how fourth-year engineering students respond to a teaching approach centered on projects with community partners that integrate engineering design and problem solving with project management and communication with diverse constituencies.  Would such projects, by requiring whole mind-body engagement, learning by doing, and critical reflection, deepen students’ understanding of sustainable development?  Would it help to crystalize their personal stake in it, sharpen their sense of ethical responsibilities as engineers, and clarify the connections between global and local?

Each student was assigned to a project team and charged with delivering a solution to an engineering problem, defined by the partner, on the theme of sustainable development.  Complementing the projects were readings on engineering and development, critical writing assignments, and, at the end, a reflective essay in which students situated their projects within the larger course narrative.  The reflective essay served as the primary means of assessing outcomes.  Did the reflections justify an affirmative response to the above questions?  Yes and no: the results are mixed, and surprising.  This poster will provide an overview of the course, summary of findings, and lessons that will be used in the design of the next version and shared with the broad community of engineering faculty.

Poster #13. Assessing Group Dynamics and Efficiency of Collaborative Assignments

Ursula Valdez, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
Jeffrey Jensen, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, UW Bothell

Poster #13 abstract

Working in group assignments can be challenging as usually students struggle due to different working strategies, commitment levels and approaches to complete tasks. Designing efficient and engaging group assignments is also challenging for instructors, as those differences need to be considered and group assignments should be efficient and engaging.

As current fellows of the UWB Faculty Learning Community, we are collaborating to assess the efficiency and group dynamics of group assignments. We have designed a pilot assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of in-class group assignments using two group assignments in each of our respective winter 2016 courses. Our study addresses the following question: Is group work more productive, efficient, and positively perceived by students when roles are pre-assigned, or when student roles are self-assigned for in-class group activities? Before working on each assignment students complete a pre-survey regarding their perceptions of group work efficiency and their choice of potential roles. We then split the class in two groups, and we pre-assign roles to half of them, and the other half can self-assign their own. At the end of the exercise we conduct a post-survey about the group dynamics and also ask 3 content questions. So far, we have found that students have been highly engaged during group work and we found that prior to in-class work at least 40% of the students feel “neutral” regarding the efficiency of group work and about 50% “agreed” that group work was productive. After the exercise, about 85% of the students “strongly agreed” that group work was productive. Regarding the content learned during the exercise at about 85% of students provided correct answers.

We plan to refine and test our model within our colleagues’ courses and hope that we can contribute with a tool that enhances efficiency in group assignments and student engagement.

Poster #14. What do UW faculty and TAs report about teaching international and multilingual students?

Sandy Silberstein, English, UW Seattle
Mutallip Anwar, English, UW Seattle
Ryan Burt, Academic Support Programs, UW Seattle
Mihaela Giurca, International & English Language Programs, UW Seattle
Katie Malcolm, Center for Teaching and Learning, UW Seattle

Poster #14 abstract

In response to an increasingly global and multilingual student body, the University of Washington has been in the process of developing a range of support systems. To best understand current needs, in Spring 2015, the College of Arts & Sciences with campus partners surveyed faculty as well as teaching assistants on the academic needs of international and/or multilingual (I/M) students as well as the pedagogical needs of those who teach them. Two versions of the survey were developed. The faculty survey was sent to all voting faculty in the units with the most teaching faculty: the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, the Built Environment, Education, Engineering, and the Environment as well as the Foster School of Business, the iSchool and the Schools of Nursing, Public Health, and Social Work. A survey was also sent to those who were TAs in Spring 2015. A total of 377 faculty members and 522 TAs participated in the survey.

In this poster, we will share our analysis of the survey data within the six categories that comprise the surveys: demographics; measures of student assessment; teaching experience (benefits and challenges of teaching I/M students and the academic challenges they face); pedagogical changes (made by faculty and TAs in support of I/M students); instructional support (pedagogical resources used by faculty and TAs and their desires for additional support); and student support (resources promoted to support I/M students). The survey provides a wealth of data on the creative pedagogical responses being made in response to a changing demographic context and on both the resources used and those desired by our colleagues. Our poster will share these findings in order to advance university-wide conversations about effectively teaching international and multilingual students.

 

Poster #15. Investigating the Language Demands of Undergraduate Courses

Sandra Janusch, UWEO International & English Language Programs, UW Seattle
Wei Zuo, Center for Teaching & Learning, UW Seattle
Mihaela Giurca, UWEO International & English Language Programs, UW Seattle
Nasrin Nazemi, UWEO International & English Language Programs, UW Seattle
Amy Renehan, UWEO International & English Language Programs, UW Seattle

Poster #15 abstract

Multilingual international students who fall below university-determined threshold scores on standardized tests of English language proficiency such as the IELTS or TEOFL often attend intensive English language programs (IEPs) with the aim of gaining the proficiency needed for university-level work and admission to degree programs. While admissions departments rely heavily on these test scores to make admission decisions, IEPs often use their own classroom-based assessments to determine the academic preparedness of their students. But how closely do IEP learning outcomes align with the actual linguistic demands found in university coursework? How closely do IEP instructor perceptions of those demands match reality?

To begin the process of addressing these questions, an investigation into the linguistic features of five general education undergraduate university courses was conducted. This data was then compared with IEP instructor perceptions of the language proficiencies and academic skills they believed their students needed in order to be prepared for university classes. The purpose of this project was to foster meaningful discussion surrounding IEP curriculum, IEP instructor expectations, university admissions, and the ‘real world’ of the undergraduate university classroom language.

Poster #16. Interprofessional Oral Health Education in Group Prenatal Care

Ira Kantrowitz-Gordon, Family and Child Nursing, UW Seattle
Amy Kim, Dentistry, UW Seattle
Donald Chi, Dentistry, UW Seattle
Stephen Chadwick, Dentistry, UW Seattle
Mayumi Willgerodt, Nursing and Health Studies, UW Bothell

Poster #16 abstract

Health professions students need to learn to effectively communicate and collaborate to deliver quality patient-centered team-based health care. The aim of this project was to develop and test an experiential interprofessional education module for doctoral students of dentistry (3rd year) and nurse-midwifery (2nd year) to deliver oral health education to women and partners at group prenatal care sessions. Pairs of nurse-midwifery and dental students worked together to present a structured and interactive presentation at a CenteringPregnancy® group prenatal session.  These sessions provide opportunities for health education to promote health for mothers and babies.  Students prepared by completing two courses from the Smiles for Life curriculum: Course 2, Child Oral Health (dentistry students), and Course 5, Oral Health and the Pregnant Patient (nurse-midwifery students).  Faculty from Schools of Nursing and Dentistry met with students to review key didactic content and orient them to the interprofessional experience. Students then met as pairs to plan their presentation to the prenatal groups.  The learning objectives for nurse-midwifery and dentistry students included:  1) learn oral health recommendations for pregnant women and infants; 2) plan for group presentation as an interprofessional team; 3) use facilitative discussion techniques for group presentation of health information; and 4) understand each team member’s role in oral health care of pregnant women and infants.  We pilot tested the educational program at four CenteringPregnancy® prenatal groups.  A five question knowledge test given to pregnant women and partners immediately before and after the session showed that families increased their knowledge of oral health self-care in pregnancy and infancy.  Evaluation of the student outcomes was measured using an interprofessional evaluation survey used at the University of Washington.  Findings demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of interprofessional patient education as a means to develop communication and collaboration skills among nursing and dentistry students.

 

Poster #17. Biomedical Postdoctoral Fellows’ Discourses on Scientific Identity

Rebecca Price, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
Sharona Gordon, Physiology and Biophysics, UW Seattle
Ira Kantrowitz-Gordon, Family and Child Nursing, UW Seattle

Poster #17 abstract

Recent, high-level publications such as the National Research Council’s Report, The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited, highlight the changes and stresses associated with the postdoctoral stage of a career in the biomedical sciences. Therefore, training programs need to be developed to respond to these changes and provide strategies for addressing these stresses. To help inform the development of these kinds of programs, we asked the research question “How do postdoctoral fellows in biomedical fields identify as scientists?” We conducted and analyzed in-depth interviews with 20 postdoctoral fellows from diverse backgrounds from the University of Washington and affiliate research institutions. We used discourse analysis to uncover assumptions and dispositions that shaped their identities. We found that, whereas many of the interviewees indicated that they wanted to be scientists since early childhood or college, they did not consider themselves to be scientists at the time of the interview, despite having obtained PhDs in their fields and having extensive postdoctoral experience. They constrain their concepts of “scientist” to grand achievements, focusing on people whose discoveries are in text books or are field-changing, Nobel-prize winners, or at the very least being a principal investigator at a research-intensive university. This perspective differs from a more inclusive definition of scientist that encompasses all ranks of individuals who engage in doing science, including but not limited to lab technicians; teachers in high school, college, and university; researchers in industry and different academic and hospital environments. We suggest that postdoctoral training programs promote a more open, dynamic definition of scientist that depends on an individual’s context, including stage of career. We predict that a broader definition of scientist would help postdocs validate their own achievement and the diverse career opportunities that open to them.

Poster #18. Understanding Digital Scholars’ Needs at the UW

Abigail Darling, Information School, UW Seattle
Becky Ramsey, Information School, UW Seattle

Poster #18 abstract

The development of robust support for digital scholarship–work that focuses on the juncture of technology and traditional humanities and social science scholarship–is of critical importance to academic libraries. UW students and faculty have been and are doing innovative work in this area, but support from the library has been inconsistent. In consultation with the UW Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Task Group, we will conduct a needs assessment of faculty and graduate students working on digital projects. Through a series of focus groups, interviews, survey questions, and reviews of successful programs at other institutions, we will identify key needs as well as potential training and tools to meet those needs.

As scholars develop more robust projects using more complex technologies, the UW Libraries are eager to provide supports for their endeavors. Over the years, various workshops, consultations, events, etc. have sought to meet this need, but no single program has yet gained traction. Therefore, the Digital Scholarship Task Group is looking to understand what kinds of support programs will best meet the needs of digital scholars and their students. Our inquiries include conversations with key stakeholders in the UW community, focus groups of faculty and graduate students working on digital projects, and interviews with leaders of successful programs at other institutions across the country. We will be looking carefully at past programming as answering questions about why it failed to take hold and what successes should be duplicated in future initiatives. Ultimately, the measure of our findings will be the library’s ability to create programs supporting digital scholarship that create community and thrive in the UW environment. Rather than simply documenting best practices at other universities, we will be delivering concrete recommendations tailored to the needs of our institution.

Poster #19. Doing Interactive Theater for Pedagogical and Institutional Change

Theresa Ronquillo, Center for Teaching and Learning, UW Seattle
Janelle Smith, Social Work, UW Seattle
Tikka Sears, Center for Teaching and Learning, UW Seattle

Poster #19 abstract

What are UW educational community members learning from participating in Interactive Theater as Pedagogy Project (ITPP) workshops and performance events, specifically with regards to classroom and institutional issues of power, privilege, and oppression?

Developed to creatively promote inclusive and equitable educational environments at UW, ITPP uses interactive theater and Theatre of the Oppressed to advance dialogue among UW educators and administrators and generate responses to issues related to classroom and institutional climate. Over the last 4 years, ITPP has performed plays and facilitated critical dialogue about daily encounters with white privilege, homophobia, and ableism on all three UW campuses, engaging nearly 800 students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

In our performances and workshops, ITPP performs a short play showing an unresolved instance of oppression that occurs in a higher education setting. Through facilitated reflection, dialogue, and interventions–whereby audience members (activated as ‘spect-actors”) can enter the play and try to change the outcome of the scene to a more just one–participants raise their critical consciousness and build skills in change-making. Following performances, we administer mixed-methods surveys with spect-actors, asking them to reflect on what they learned through their participation (N=278). Quantitative results show that 98.6 % of audience members reported a heightened awareness about recognizing power, privilege, and oppression in themselves and others, and 92.8% reported feeling more empowered to speak up during an oppressive situation. Qualitative results reveal a range of comments about pedagogy and institutional climate, including the value of using theater in classrooms to promote interactivity and critical discussions about social change.

Through our research, we have learned that theater is a powerful pedagogical practice that is indeed making an impact at UW. Because ITPP aims to engage participants in practical experiences that promote behavior change and institutional transformation–going beyond discussions, oppression and equity–we believe that sustaining and expanding this crucial program at UW is vital.

Poster #20. Interpreting Pre- and Post-Tests For In-Person and Online Astro 101

Oliver Fraser, Astronomy, UW Seattle
Lindsey Wright, Astronomy, UW Seattle

Poster #20 abstract

The popular lecture courses, Astro 101 and Astro 150, have recently expanded to online sections. We would like to compare the learning in both environments, and as part of that, we are using a standardized test (the Test Of Astronomy Standards, or TOAST*). Early results of these pre- and post-tests show that they are not well characterized by a single average, a results we imagine is common. This poster will demonstrate how we compare the scores for each class as a guide for other instructors who might use pre- and post-testing, and how we interpret these scores and what they may mean for these classes.

A comparison of the gains between the online and in-person sections of these courses is straightforward, but difficult to interpret due to the nature of the two courses. Online Astro 101 has different learning
goals than the in-person class due to the different opportunities and constraints from the traditional instructor and TA led lecture and section class. These courses aim to teach quantitative and symbolic reasoning in the guise of a survey of astronomy; they are not part of the astronomy major, and as such the raw amount of astronomy taught is not necessarily an interesting measure of either course. This work is an attempt to develop and interpret an initial baseline from which the courses can both develop.

* Stephanie J. Slater, “The Development And Validation Of The Test Of Astronomy Standards (TOAST),” (JAESE). 1 1-22 2014.

Poster #21. You Choose: Workbook Exercises vs. Journal Entries in Grammar Acquisition

Chad Frisk, Intensive English Language Program, UW Seattle
Marc Hasstedt, Intensive English Language Program, UW Seattle

Poster #21 abstract

Can students internalize grammar structures simply through completing workbook exercises, or do they need something else?

As two instructors teaching a grammar course in the UW’s Intensive English Language Program (IELP), this was a pressing question for us. In our experience as language learners, we have found that while workbook exercises do provide useful practice, they may not always lead to mastery of the target forms. We wanted to explore whether targeted journal exercises could supplement workbook practice, and help students better grasp new grammar structures.

We provided our students with a (largely) daily choice between workbook exercises and journal prompts. Then, at two points in the quarter we gave them opportunities to reflect upon the value offered by each assignment type.

Student responses indicate that they saw value in both. Many felt that workbook assignments were useful for targeted practice, whereas the journal assignments required them to integrate new structures into their current grammatical vocabulary.

We believe that students left our class with an increased metacognitive awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of different types of language practice. We hope that this will affect their future study choices and ultimately help them approach their personal language learning goals. In this poster session, we will share their thoughts. Hopefully, this will convince you to try incorporating occasional journal exercises into your own language classroom.

Poster #22. Queering the Library Classroom

Reed Garber-Pearson, Odegaard Undergraduate Library & Information School, UW Seattle

Poster #22 abstract

I teach “one shot” instruction workshops for the UW Libraries on topics such as search strategies and source evaluation. Because librarians generally have a short amount of time to get acquainted with students and address learning outcomes, it can be challenging to create environments with intentional consciousness around the privileging of voice through research practices. In my experience, students rarely enter the classroom expecting to be recognized for their individual and community stores of knowledge, therefore may not believe they are qualified to participate. This not only limits the voices represented through academic research, but can leave students feeling disempowered. My working qualitative practice asks how library instructors can operationalize queer and Indigenous theories in the classroom in order to present alternative visions of knowledge creation and sharing.

Indigenous and queer theories offer a helpful lens from which to view research practices because they highlight the fluidity of individual practices and experiential knowledge and value community accountability. Examples of activities I use to decenter citation-based research knowledge are asking students to consider what they already know and how their own lived experiences can be used in the classroom, employing a multiplicity of source types (academic journals, blogs, newspaper articles, interviews, etc.) in activities, and exercising active learning strategies for students to learn through practice and sharing.

Through observation of class activities, student and instructor reflection, and formative assessment methods such as “flipping” the classroom, I seek to discover if using queer and Indigenous pedagogical practices might contribute to the validation of experiential and identity-based knowledge in the classroom. Implications of this work go beyond that of the library and impact how knowledge is valued and shared in higher education. These practices may offer methods for creating more equitable learning environments where students actively participate in constructing and sharing knowledge.

Poster #23. Evaluating the Success of Utilizing Standardized Project Management Methodologies in a Non-Profit Organization

Debra Hildebrand, Business, UW Bothell

Poster #23 abstract

My research interest lies in the efficacy of utilizing quantitative project management methods to increase the success rate of projects. The BBUS 441 Business Project Management course is comprised of undergraduate 4th year Business students who through Community Based Learning and Research (CBLR) partner with a local non-profit organization to plan and execute a project. By establishing and working with community nonprofit organizations, projects are selected that give students the largest experience with multiple stakeholders and technical project management skills needed.

This course enhances student learning by giving them the ability to see first-hand how the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom is applied to a real project, and the effects (positive and negative) it has on an organization and/or a specific project. Students can see how the different agendas and viewpoints of all the stakeholders in an organization make project management a complicated endeavor, thus learning that their people skills are just as important as the technical skills.

With an established partnership through the CBLR, it is agreed upon that regular onsite meetings are scheduled with the students to report status and communicate with stakeholders. Additionally, the partnership requires agreement that regular evaluations be conducted between the students, project team and the organization. These evaluations assess the student and partner learning, and stakeholder/partnership engagement. Through the evaluation process I hope to learn more from the partners and students how the implemented project management methods helped and/or hindered the project success.

A majority of nonprofit organizations and public agencies lack the resources to develop methodologies and best practices in their organizational processes. Faculty engaging in CBLR projects can use this course as a guideline for leading students toward teaching community partners tools, practices and methodologies as part of their course objectives.

Poster #24. Office Hours: Driving Student Comprehension, Interest, Interaction, and Satisfaction

Linda Martin-Morris, Biology, UW Seattle
Moon Draper, Biology, UW Seattle

Poster #24 abstract

Office hours are often under-utilized by both students and faculty.  There are anecdotal arguments that office hours do not merit the use of time. We were interested to learn how office hour participation could be increased and whether increased participation in office hours would enhance student performance and satisfaction.

We have independently undertaken interventions to help students increase their office hour participation. Students from a non-majors course and a majors course are afforded extended office hours under specific circumstances that encourage participation.  The two courses present unique challenges, one a matter of breadth and the other, depth.  Students in non-majors courses are isolated and unaware of the knowledge base of those around them, while majors courses expect a common core, but students are reluctant to share deficiencies in their knowledge.

Direct results are measured by attendance at office hours, participation in class, exam averages, and course evaluations.  Indirect results are collected from student communications and general perceptions of both the students and the instructors.

We find that our interventions do lead to increased office hour participation and that students feel more connected to the instructor as a result.  We observed students volunteering vulnerable gaps in their knowledge with increasing ease and course evaluation outcomes showed that student perception of the instructor are enhanced.

Poster #25. Building a Global Classroom: Global Considerations and Globalized Teaching Methods

Ekin Yasin, Communication, UW Seattle

Poster #25 abstract

As an educator, I hope to understand best practices to build a global classroom, a classroom that takes into consideration the diversity of backgrounds and nationalities present. When I was an international student myself attending college in the US, I also struggled with the course contents. Professors systematically made assumptions about our backgrounds that did not always match the reality of the diversity in the classroom. How can we undo our assumptions to create a learning environment that is as inclusive as possible?

As an attempt to tackle with this question, in both very large lecture class settings I teach to 430 students and in smaller lectures in the field of Communication, to 95 to 165 students, I have experimented with developing teaching methods to develop a global classroom. I implement two methods. The first method is developing techniques to understand the global makeup of the audience, students. For example, I use a culture mapping exercise in class where we create a visual display in a class session of our global identities and connections. Recognizing diversity as a community is the first step. The second method is supplementing course content to internationalize the course materials. I assessed gaps of course texts and came up with global examples that broaden the textbook discussions, which I use during lectures. These methods allowed for a broader group of students, to be considered during class. As a result, I have seen a significant increase in in-class participation of all students. The poster will feature methods used in the classroom, classroom activity samples that try to orient class content within a global context. The poster will also feature reflections of class learning outcomes and student feedback to the creation of a global learning environment. The poster will also offer insight as to how to apply these techniques across disciplines.

Poster #26. Teaching Systems Thinking Framework with Environmental Case Studies

Yen-Chu Weng, Program on the Environment, UW Seattle
Lauren Hartzell Nichols, Integrated Social Sciences / Philosophy, UW Seattle

Poster #26 abstract

As the scientific community is increasingly aware of the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to environmental studies, scholars are confronted with the challenge of how to teach students the skills for analyzing complex socio-environmental systems. To achieve this objective, we adopted the systems thinking framework (STF) in an environmental studies course. The STF is a tool for systematically analyzing components of a complex system in a hierarchical order. Through systems mapping, students learn how to visualize connections within a system and grasp a holistic understanding of a socio-environmental system.

The course “Analysis of Environmental Cases” focuses on synthesizing information from diverse stakeholder perspectives. Without a framework, however, students were left without tangible tools for analyzing cases on their own. In 2015, we introduced the STF and we were interested in exploring if students were able to apply the STF to analyze other cases and how has the STF deepened their analysis.

The course was structured in three parts with two demonstration cases and student presentations in the last part. Students worked in groups to analyze a case of their own chosen topic. Students were asked to analyze the environmental, social, economic, political, and ethical dimensions of their case and synthesize diverse sources to present a comprehensive analysis. In addition, students also wrote a reflection essay on this research experience.

Overall, students were able to identify more factors related to their case and traced the connections among these various factors through systems mapping. The analyses were better balanced with equal engagement with different dimensions of the case. Students also expressed that they felt confident of applying the same framework to other cases. From our experience, the STF provides a set of tools for analyzing complex socio-environmental systems and trains students to synthesize diverse sources in an interdisciplinary manner.

Poster #27. Professional Learning Communities: Supporting Early Childhood Faculty to Teach Online

Miriam Packard, Education, UW Seattle
Catherine Mutti-Driscoll, Education, UW Seattle

Poster #27 abstract

The Early Childhood and Family Studies (ECFS) program in the College of Education launched an online B.A. completion program two and a half years ago with courses taught by tenured faculty, senior lecturers, and graduate students. The online ECFS students are generally older than traditional undergraduate students, work full time, and parent children. Most of the ECFS instructors had only taught traditional undergraduate students in face-to-face courses. To support faculty in developing and teaching effective online courses for diverse students, the program developed a professional learning community (PLC). After meeting quarterly for two years, we evaluated it: 1) What, if any, impact does the PLC have on faculty’s sense of identity as online faculty? 2) How, if at all, does participation in the PLC connect online faculty with a community of learners? 3) How, if at all, does participation in the PLC impact teaching practice?

To address these questions, we conducted a survey of the participants at the end of several quarterly PLC sessions in 2014-2015. The survey combined close-ended and open-ended questioning. Data was analyzed using a mixture of quantitative simple statistics and qualitative methods including categorization and thematic analysis. The results demonstrated that the PLC was an effective mode of professional development for this group of faculty. They felt that participation made them more confident online teachers, increasing their sense of identity as an online educator. They appreciated connecting with a community of learners, using at least one resource from the PLC in their teaching practice.

Higher education is changing, requiring more faculty to teach online. However, many current faculty, adjunct instructors, and graduate students do not have the necessary expertise to teach effective online or hybrid courses. Addressing this important need, the PLC model described in this research supports diverse faculty to effectively teach online.

Poster #28. Enhancing Student Collaboration: Interprofessional Learning Experiences in Pediatric Therapy

Jennifer Pitonyak, Occupational Therapy, UW Seattle
Cheryl Kerfeld, Physical Therapy, UW Seattle
Tracy Jirikowic, Occupational Therapy, UW Seattle

Poster #28 abstract

Interprofessional education (IPE) is learning that engages students of two or more disciplines with the intent of improving collaboration.1 The Institute of Medicine (IOM) proposed an interprofessional (IP) learning continuum (IPLC) model to guide measurement of IPE outcomes such as learner responses, perceptions, and knowledge.2 This poster describes findings from a mixed-method study of student response to and learning outcomes of four IP experiences within occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) pediatric courses, as well as pedagogical and practical solutions used to address implementation barriers.

Faculty identified content to address objectives of sharing knowledge and skills, discussing overlapping and discipline-specific roles, and developing collaborative behaviors. Experiences were created, implemented, evaluated, and revised over several years and included lecture, discussion, and case-based learning addressing topics of family-centered care, teaming, assistive technology, and transitions.

Student perceptions of the experiences and learner outcomes were assessed by analysis of data from course evaluations, peer/self-assessment of participation, and performance on learning assessments. Responses indicated positive perceptions of the value and usefulness of the experiences in preparation for practice. Qualitative comments suggest 3 main themes. Students gained experience negotiating timelines and practical issues in order to achieve collaboration; valued the opportunity to practice IP communication; and positively perceived the opportunity to share knowledge about roles.

While implementing these learning experiences, faculty identified and addressed barriers in 3 areas: curriculum alignment; faculty commitment to IPE; and practical administrative issues. Results of this process of IPE development, evaluation, and revision are useful for other faculty working on IPE implementation and provide a foundation for future research guided by the IPLC model.2

1. Interprofessional Education Collaborative (2011). Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. Retrieved from https://ipecollaborative.org/uploads/IPEC-Core-Competencies.pdf
2. IOM. (2015). Measuring the impact of interprofessional education on collaborative practice and patient outcomes. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.

Poster #29. Designing and Implementing an Introductory Biology Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience

Joya Mukerji, Biology, UW Seattle
Katie Dickinson, Biology, UW Seattle
Hannah Jordt, Biology, UW Seattle
Peter Conlin, Biology, UW Seattle
Benjamin Kerr, Biology, UW Seattle
Scott Freeman, Biology, UW Seattle

Poster #29 abstract

Previous studies have shown that students who perform experimental research are more likely to: 1) improve their critical thinking abilities and understanding of how science is conducted, 2) identify themselves as belonging in the scientific community, and 3) pursue science-related careers. To make research opportunities accessible to UW undergraduates, we are creating a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE), in the first 2 quarters of the introductory biology series (BIOL 180 and 200). Students will engage in authentic research, performing experiments to address presently-unanswered questions about antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, as instructors gradually provide less scaffolding, students will progressively gain autonomy during the CURE.

To investigate how CURE participation influences students’ scientific abilities and attitudes, we will assess student learning outcomes in 3 domains — 1) Concepts, 2) Competencies, and 3) Affect – versus students in the same lecture who attend non-CURE labs. Our survey will include items from published instruments designed to assess students’: 1) understanding of key ideas in evolutionary and molecular biology, 2) their ability to perform science process skills, and 3) their attitudes regarding both science and their abilities to overcome challenges. Additional custom-designed survey items will address specific course goals, such as understanding connections between genotype (molecularly-encoded properties) and phenotype (observable traits).

The UW Introductory Biology CURE will provide students with an authentic research experience over 2 quarters, in which student-designed experiments address questions with unknown outcomes. Unique features of the UW CURE include the experimental nature of the research (most prior CUREs have engaged students in descriptive research), and the scale and context of the course: the UW CURE will serve 1000’s of students per quarter at a large research-based university. Therefore, the findings of this study may set a precedent and inform the design and implementation of future high-enrollment CUREs at research-based higher education institutions.

Poster #30. Helping STEM Students Learn Through Reflection: A Sampler of Techniques

Ken Yasuhara, Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching, UW Seattle
Theresa Barker, Electrical Engineering, UW Seattle
Colleen Craig, Chemistry, UW Seattle
Dan Feetham, Engineering, UW Seattle
Lauren Fryhle, Engineering, UW Seattle
Dianne Hendricks, Bioengineering, UW Seattle
Kathryn Mobrand, Human Centered Design & Engineering, UW Seattle
Arianna Aldebot, Career Center @ Engineering, UW Seattle

Poster #30 abstract

When students reflect—or dedicate time to revisit and learn from past experiences—they can gain more from their educational experiences and be better prepared for future action. The Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE) seeks to understand the many ways in which engineering students can benefit from reflection and how educators can help them practice reflection. CPREE is working with engineering educators at twelve institutions across the U.S., including UW, to identify, adapt, and develop reflection activities to use with their students. CPREE’s primary interest is in reflection activities used with undergraduate engineering and pre-engineering students, particularly during the first two years of undergraduate study. This poster features a sample of local engineering educators’ reflection activities.

The educators featured in this poster cite a variety of benefits of facilitating student reflection. In some cases, the reflection activity serves as a formative assessment of sorts, informing the educator of the effectiveness of specific prior activities or aspects of a course. In others, reflection responses feed directly into subsequent features of the course, like a grading rubric. Each educator has their own way of assessing student impact for their reflection activity. In most cases, the content of student responses to reflection prompts indicates how substantively students are reflecting and how reflection might benefit them.
CPREE is compiling detailed accounts of and rationale for the reflection activities, as well as a variety of “tips and tricks” concerning how to successfully present, motivate, and conduct reflection activities with engineering students. By showcasing local engineering educators’ reflection activities with concrete details and “behind the scenes” rationale and advice, we hope their colleagues will newly consider incorporating reflection into their teaching.

Poster #31. Beyond Boxes: Introducing ‘Gender Fluidity’ to First-Year Students

Karen Rosenberg, Writing and Communication Center, UW Bothell
Lauren Lichty, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell

Poster #31 abstract

Gender fluidity, or the concept that the categories of “woman” and “man” are not fixed or stable, is unfamiliar to many first-year college students. Recognizing that gender categories are as much an artifact of culture as biology can threaten one’s sense of identity and quickly unravel the gender binary many rely on to make sense of the world. In co-designing a course for first-year students at UW Bothell, we sought to introduce these concepts without alienating our students. Our research question became, “what scaffolding do students need to engage with concepts of gender fluidity with minimal resistance?”

We designed our Autumn 2015 course to gently bridge students from dominant cultural narratives into an understanding of gender as both constructed and fluid. We positioned students as knowledge producers while simultaneously identifying the influence of dominant cultural narratives. We began by unpacking assumptions about our classroom. All 44 students examined the gap between their expectations and the realities of our classroom. We tied this conversation to course themes of power, oppression, and activism. We then learned guidelines for talking respectfully across difference. Students surfaced (and critiqued) existing patterns of thought, thus practicing the very same process of conversation that unfolded in our examination of the gender binary. In response to gender-troubling case studies, students saw and named for themselves the ways the gender binary fails.

Through a systematic review of written work, including personal gender reflections at the beginning and the end of the quarter, we looked for signs of resistance or rejection of the concept of gender fluidity. As expressed in their written work and during class discussions, students themselves identified limits of the binary and engaged with the concept of gender fluidity. We offer this “gentle bridging” methodology as one way to teach course content that undermines dominant cultural narratives.

Poster #32. How Much Is Nature Worth?

Maura Shelton, First Year and Pre-Major Program, UW Bothell
Cleo Neculae, First Year and Pre-Major Program, UW Bothell

Poster #32 abstract

During a Fall 2016 course, First Year students will engage in interdisciplinary projects relating to the value of ecosystem services (e.g., water quality, public health, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and recreation) for the watershed surrounding the UW Bothell campus. Our poster will present the course design.

Our overall research goal is to use methods that help students develop capacities as critical consumers of science research by gaining practice with inquiry methods, scientific assertions, supporting evidence, limitations of the research process and challenges of working with a community partner.

Overall methods developed will relate to identifying (in collaboration with community partners) a set of research issues initially related to sustainability and storm water for students to investigate. Students will work in groups to explore research questions by reviewing literature, analyzing existing quantitative and/or qualitative data, and doing any necessary field work to gather data. The process and community partner involvement will be broken down into multiple steps with opportunities for assessment at the completion of each step. Assessments will be based on the instructors’ and peers’ review of products including literature review, description of data sets, explanation of methods used to analyze data, discussion of results and their implications for stakeholders. Students will be provided with rubrics to better understand the requirements of each assessment. At the beginning and end of the course we will administer a qualitative survey to assess changes in students’ perceptions of economic and community values of nature.

The purpose of this course is to stimulate interest in research via the local community/UWB as a first college experience. Results to be shared are based on effective methods to: 1) create an umbrella for student research design; 2) achieve valid results to be used by community partners/UWB; 3) increase the number of undergraduate research projects with a community focus.

Poster #33. Librarian Canvas Integration & FIG CORE: What We Learned

Amelia Klaus, iSchool, UW Seattle
Linda Whang, Odegaard First Year Experience Librarian, UW Seattle

Poster #33 abstract

This presentation will cover the FIG CORE (COmmunities & REsearch) project for the 2015-¬2016 academic year, a collaboration between UW First Year Programs (FYP) and the UW Libraries. First-year Interest Groups (FIGs) are two-credit, peer-led classes provided by FYP that allow incoming freshmen and transfer students to explore the university as a cohort and learn important foundational skills that will help them thrive in the university environment. In Fall 2015, over 3,500 first year students were enrolled in one of 160 FIGs. The FIG CORE Project was created to introduce these students to Seattle communities and to the research process.

Starting in Winter 2015, FYP and UW Libraries partnered to retool the FIG library research assignment to A) better meet FIG goals, and B) make it compatible with Canvas courses via embedded modules. The goal was to build an assignment that would guide students through the entire research process, from real-world observation to formulating a research topic, gathering information on that topic, and finally, presenting their findings via group and individual projects. The FIG CORE Canvas modules introduced students to library and other information resources, source evaluation techniques, citation basics, and oral and written presentation styles.

We were curious to see how librarians could use Canvas to create course-integrated modules that would improve student research skills. We were also curious to see what barriers the move to online integration created or removed for students. We evaluated feedback from FIG students, FIG leaders, and librarians. We analyzed the results and created a list of recommendations for improvement that can be implemented for the FIG 2016¬-2017 class.

By integrating instruction into Canvas, the libraries were able to reach over 3,500 first year students in one quarter and teach critical research and evaluation skills integrated with course content.

Poster #34. Evidence-based Design of a Companion Course for General Chemistry

Cynthia Stanich, Chemistry, UW Seattle

Poster #34 abstract

The Chemistry Achievement Workshop (CHEM 192) is a companion course for any student in the first quarter of the General Chemistry sequence (CHEM142), and is designed to increase underrepresented student success and persistence in the general chemistry sequence. The workshops focus on three skills that have been shown to increase retention of students in STEM fields. First, activities that address difficulties inherent in the transition from high school to college will endow students with more resilience toward stress and setbacks that can happen in large-lecture courses.  Students will complete writing assignments and discuss various challenges as a class. Second, developing study skills and metacognition will create self-aware learners better equipped to excel without a companion course in later quarters of the General Chemistry Sequence. Third, these workshops will develop confidence and self-efficacy as students work together in small groups to practice higher-order problem solving. The course will also offer a sense of community and self-identification as a STEM professional through close scholastic relationships with a small number of classmates taking the same large-lecture course. CHEM 192’s efficacy will be measured using 1) the Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS) survey, and 2) final grades in CHEM 142 specifically comparing performance by students who registered for CHEM 192 and students who did not. These two measures have been chosen to determine the efficacy of the combined components of the course and are not intended to elucidate efficacy of any one component of the course. This poster reviews the literature basis for this companion course and presents examples from the course curriculum.

Poster #35. Identity Transformation through Collaboration: Narratives of Becoming an Architect

James Thompson, Built Environment, UW Seattle

Poster #35 abstract

The idea of collaboration is increasingly considered a means to achieve various learning outcomes across all disciplines, as well as an outcome in and of itself. Although the potential ‘transfer of learning’ from academic to professional contexts is one of the most commonly touted benefits of collaboration in higher education, prior studies on team-based activities in design-based fields have focused narrowly on particular project or course goals. Taking into account the broader aim of education to support self-authorship, this project examines how aspiring architects construct meaning from transformative collaborative experiences and how these narratives potentially contribute to their broader life histories.

In this study, eight recent graduates of the Masters of Architecture program at the University of Washington participated in a series of in-depth interviews in which they discussed their graduate school experiences within their personal life histories. Adopting an interpretative approach informed by interdisciplinary theories of ontological learning, student agency, and narrative identity, analytical procedures ultimately produced a series of passages that evoke the transformative potential of designing in teams. Participants’ collaborative experiences shaped their student narratives, which then became prologues to their narratives as emerging architects. This study thus helps broaden our understanding of how aspiring design professionals make the transition from school to work by expanding the focus beyond skills and knowledge to ‘ways of being’ and, specifically, narrative processes. Findings also lead to questions of how educators might employ a ‘transformative pedagogy’ to structure collaborative projects in a way that promotes self-authorship.

Poster #36. A Help or a Hassle?  Technology in the Language Classroom

Fatih Thompson, English – MAT(ESOL), UW Seattle
Cherie Andreassen, English – MAT(ESOL), UW Seattle
Wenxi Lu, English – MAT(ESOL), UW Seattle

Poster #36 abstract

As technology continues to proliferate, educators are impelled to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of utilizing specific technological tools in their classrooms.  How do teachers perceive the usefulness of different types of technology in their instruction, and what factors drive them to try a new resource?  Several studies have been done in recent years concerning general technology use in the language classroom (e.g. McClanahan, 2014; Toyama, 2015), in addition to “how-to” studies that focus on best practices for integrating specific tools (e.g. Zhang, 2012), but there have been no major studies concentrated on the views instructors have of these tools, which ones they prefer, and why.  Such information might prove constructive to administrators, who have expectations of teachers’ technological acumen and who wish to isolate reasons for teachers’ participation with or resistance to technological tools, as well as to educators, who might benefit from an awareness of more efficient or effective tools to use in their classrooms.

The current study focuses on the perceptions of instructors in the specific context of adult Intensive English Programs (IEPs).  It employed a mixed-methods approach, incorporating an online survey that was distributed via email to instructors in IEPs in the Puget Sound area.  Results from over thirty respondents help point to the popularity and user-friendliness of particular resources as well as the perceived limitations of others.  These results shed light on what works well and what can be done to improve technology use in education.

Poster #37. Constructing Model Ecosystems to Teach Earth’s Biosphere Properties

Frieda Taub, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, UW Seattle
Josephine Archibald, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Seattle University
Christina Tran, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, UW Seattle

Poster #37 abstract

Can student-driven experiments utilizing model closed ecological systems serve as a tool to allow pre-majors a better understanding of basic ecology concepts with the assistance of active learning techniques? Non-science majors taking an Environmental Science course at Seattle University constructed and observed simple aquatic ecosystems. Student teams customized their activity by choosing a pollutant among those supplied by the instructor. There were two laboratory sections of 18 students each; teams of 3-4 students were formed. Each team constructed 24 ecosystems (in canning jars), half with algae (microscopic “plants” that convert carbon dioxide and water to form organic food and oxygen), and half with algae+ grazers (small animals that eat the algae, use oxygen, and release carbon dioxide and other plant nutrients, Daphnia magna). Half of the (algae only) and (algae+ grazers) ecosystems were treated with a pollutant (ant killer, weed killer, or oil) and monitored for 4 weeks. Comparison of pre- and post evaluation questionnaires indicated increased understanding of Ecology and Nutrient & Energy Cycling, a moderate increase in understanding the Carbon Cycle, and a decreased understanding in the Relationship of Respiration and Photosynthesis. Following the close of the activity, we found room for improvement in ways of tailoring the experiment and course outcomes to accommodate themed courses. Specifically, students should research the expected effects of the test chemicals (Safety Data Sheets) and estimates of algal density need to be improved. The Student and Instructor’s Manuals are being revised to address these issues. More comprehensive explanations will be introduced into the lesson plan. A push for pre-majors/non-science majors, as well as STEM majors, to be exposed earlier to basic ecological concepts will encourage students to have better understanding of possible chemical impacts on ecological communities.

Poster #38. Fostering a Student-centric Learning Community: A TLC Ethnography

Margaret Lundberg, Academic Affairs – Teaching and Learning Center, UW Tacoma

Poster #38 abstract

Every space where people gather has a unique culture, and UW Tacoma’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) is no different. To better understand the TLC’s “lived culture”—a reflection of its everyday experience—an ethnographic project was begun Winter 2016 to uncover the reality of student lives in order to more effectively support their learning experiences—a cultural model that could benefit classrooms as well.

To enrich the demographic information already available—majors, class standing, appointments per quarter, etc.—I needed to hear the student’s stories. Many UW Tacoma students are the first in their families to attend college. Many are veterans, immigrants, or students whose home language is not English. Many of our students are also employed—sometimes in multiple jobs—and have dependent children. Many have returned to college after years away from the classroom.

UW Tacoma students are seldom traditional.

Based on an anthropological model of participant-observation, my methods include anonymous surveys, video and face-to-face interviews with students, staff and peer tutors. The stories gathered will offer a history and background that can help create the conditions for greater student agency and learning (Grimm, Penti, Barnett, Townsend, & Islam, 1998).

Currently, survey results have been recorded; interviews are being transcribed, and coding and analysis will begin in late March. Although the data collection and analysis is not yet complete, early patterns are emerging. I am learning that the TLC is viewed by students, tutors and staff alike as not simply a location for writing or quantitative help, but as a community of support. Although constrained—by design—within the boundaries of our own learning community, I believe this study can contribute to discussions about student success and retention in both learning centers and the larger university setting.

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