Center for Teaching and Learning

2010 Symposium program

“Through the Stories We Hear Who We Are*”: Examining Teaching Through Instructor Narratives” April 20, 2010

Diane Gillespie, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW-Bothell

Diane Gillespie, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at UW-Bothell, holds a Ph.D. in Cultural and Psychological Studies in Education, and is the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Teaching Award. She has twice presented posters at the Symposium, and teaches courses like BIS 435 Interactive Learning: Theory and Practice, BIS 437 Narrative Psychology, and BIS 490 Senior Seminar: Popular Education and Social Change. You can read more about her teaching and research on her webpage.

Posters and abstracts

Poster #1. Totally RAD: Using Online Instruction to Engage Freshmen in Research and Discovery

Kathleen Collins, Amanda Hornby, and Ben Tucker, UW Libraries, UW Campus

Poster #1 abstract

The Odegaard Undergraduate Library at the University of Washington struggles to find ways to orient new, technology-savvy students to the academic research skills and tools necessary for success at the University. Using photographs, free screencasting software and web 2.0 technologies, a team of Odegaard librarians collaborated with Freshmen Interest Group (FIG) instructors and undergraduate student leaders to create an online instructional tutorial and an accompanying course-integrated research assignment. The resulting Research and Discovery (RAD) project introduced 4,000 incoming freshmen to library services, research tools and skills. In spring 2009 we tested the pilot RAD project with undergraduate peer instructors, and solicited instructor feedback through surveys and follow-up interviews. We directly incorporated their feedback into the final online tutorial and RAD project, which ran in fall quarter 2009. We surveyed thousands of freshmen via the tutorial’s online assessment, providing the Odegaard Undergraduate Library and the FIG program with a large set of data about student needs and evidence of the project’s success. The RAD project is an example of how to develop and implement student-centered instruction on a large scale, with a small number of staff, through collaboration and the use of web 2.0 tools. Incorporating visuals from the final product and pilots, this poster session will detail the RAD project, the process used to create the project, and assessment methods. This is an example of a scalable and easily replicable project that instructors and librarians can implement, regardless of discipline, to meet the needs of distance and in-person learners.

Poster #2. Improving Student Insight of Academic Performance

David C. Haak and Mary Pat Wenderoth, Biology, UW Campus

Poster #2 abstract

Metacognition, learners self-awareness of their own knowledge, provides students with a skill set that allows them to actively participate in their own learning process. This insight is critical to advanced collegiate learning and in fact has been reported to be an essential life skill. Yet, student insight in college science courses is often very superficial which, at least in part, is thought to be a result of testing and class size restrictions. Here we document differences in insight for students across the Biology curriculum using the a common instrument the Revised Study Process Questionnaire (RSPQ). We show that students in Biology gain significantly in their self-awareness over the course of the curriculum, and that most of this change is through gains in deep motive learning (metacognition). Next we measure the ability of targeted exam questions to influence student insight by using Blooms’ taxonomy to direct exam questions. The same cohort of students were asked to predict their score pre and post exam across two quarters taught by the same instructor. Students ability to predict their grade improved significantly as the quarter progressed p<<0.05, and the students who were previously exposed showed significant improvement in insight in the follow on quarter, p=0.011. This study shows that gains in student insight can be achieved by implementing targeted exam questions.

Poster #3. A Disease Roundtable Exercise to Facilitate Inquiry-Based Learning

Eyal Oren, Epidemiology, UW Campus

Poster #3 abstract

Emerging Infections of International Public Health Importance is a multi-disciplinary graduate-level course designed to introduce students to some of the newest thinking in the field of emerging infections. Typically, class sessions are structured around instructor, guest or student lectures along with time for Q&A. To further engage students in critical discussion regarding an emerging disease, beginning in 2009 we introduced a roundtable format, where individuals assigned to groups representing different geographical area competed for a hypothetical grant. Each group was expected to present, in a short amount of time, a clear and effective strategy for how these funds might be used for prevention and control efforts for their region regarding Pertussis in 2009 and H1N1 Influenza in 2010. Clear criteria were provided for evaluating strategies and after presenting in class, each group, along with the grant panel, was allocated time to ask further questions. Following the session, groups were provided with specific feedback from instructors. Groups were also surveyed (in 2009 as part of year-end evaluation, in 2010 specifically with regards to the roundtable) to allow students to evaluate the exercise. 2009 feedback indicated that 1) students were engaged and learned from other students in their groups, 2) they had to put in an extensive amount of work into preparation, and 3) students who were otherwise quiet throughout the class felt like they had opportunity to participate and present. Even in a limited timeframe (a week’s preparation), students were able to come together to produce a polished final product. We also learned from 2009-2010 the importance of providing clear criteria and feedback to students. We believe that this exercise has helped students in the areas of verbal science communication, grant proposal preparation, and in understanding public health implications of emerging diseases in terms of prevention, surveillance and control.

Poster #4. Puget Sounds: Freshman Seminar Fuels Collection Development

John Vallier, UW Libraries, UW Campus

Poster #4 abstract

In 2007 I was awarded funds to establish Puget Sounds, a collection of contemporary regional music for the Libraries. While energized to start collecting, I realized that my knowledge of music in our region was far too limited. I needed a diversity of input from those most familiar with today’s NW music scenes. In other words, I needed to hear directly from UW students!
In Winter Quarter 2007 I offered a Freshman Seminar primarily to address this issue. Each week the seminar’s 15 students would research music in a predetermined part of the Puget Sound, post their findings to our class blog (along with links to listening examples), and come to class prepared to debate the merits of including their selection in the Friends of the Libraries funded project. Weekly readings on the aesthetic and social-cultural aspects of music framed our discussions and critiques.
While the primary purpose of this class was to inform the development of the collection – and I believe the diversity of the collection points to success in this arena – I was also keen on giving freshmen a learning experience that differed radically from their larger lecture hall centered courses. I wanted them to feel prepared to sit in a circle and openly share their opinions. Similarly, I was also interested in helping students develop a more nuanced and critically grounded understanding of music. As the quarter progressed students became more comfortable speaking up and, concurrently, their reflections about music become less vague and more complex. Overall, reaction to the class was overwhelming positive. A few of the students enjoyed the course so much that they formed a student group—Northwest Music Club – that carried the basic premise of the class (discussing and sharing regional music) into an extracurricular setting.

Poster #5. The Pipeline Project: Linking K-12 and Higher Education Communities through a Service-Learning Framework

Claire Peinado Fraczek, The Pipeline Project (Undergraduate Academic Affairs), UW Campus

Poster #5 abstract

The Pipeline Project provides service-learning learning opportunities for UW undergraduates in ways that link educational seminars with K-12 tutoring in Seattle Public Schools and community organizations. Our theory is that the direct link between classroom-based seminars and external community engagement creates a deeper platform for reflection and learning.
Each quarter, the Pipeline Project offers approximately 15 different seminars on a variety of educational topics such as: Refugee Communities, General Issues in K-12 Education, Math and Science, Creative Writing, Exploring Race and Power in Education, Education for Sustainability, and Dramatic Literacy. Seminars draw students from across the university, representing a variety of departments and professional interests. Seminars integrate readings and reflection on the class topic with weekly tutoring in the Seattle community.
Each seminar is small, usually 10-20 students, and meets an hour a week. Students receive a variable number of credits depending on the number of hours they tutor in their school/community sites.
At the end of every quarter, students write reflections and submit surveys that assess their tutoring, seminar, and Pipeline experiences. Survey results are compiled by a Pipeline staff member and the seminar results are routed to each facilitator as a way to improve our teaching and learning practices.
There are three significant benefits from this service-learning model. First, students are poised to be engaged citizens, not only while they are undergraduates at the UW, but after they graduate and continue on to a variety of careers. Pipeline seminars tend to pique students’ interest in educational topics by actively reflecting on policies and procedures as they are implemented in real classrooms. Students also gain a deeper understanding of the reciprocal nature of service-learning, in which they benefit and learn alongside the communities in which they serve.

Poster #6. The UW Advising Podcast: Extending the Advising Experience and Enhancing Student Engagement

Clay Schwenn and Kurt Xyst, Undergraduate Academic Affairs, UW Campus

Poster #6 abstract

In June 2006, Undergraduate Advising at the Gateway Center began to examine the possibility of anytime, anywhere advising. Given the need to extend the classroom and offer time-shifted, 24-7 access to information, two advisers started recording the UW Advising Podcast. The Advising podcast has given advisers an opportunity to extend classroom learning by profiling internships, student clubs, study abroad, research, and professional opportunities. What started as a modest side project has grown to include over 85 episodes with 4000-7000 subscribers visiting 10,000-14,000 times per month. By approaching advising through the podcast, students can consider their progress prior to their formal advising appointment (rather than the appointment being the catalyst for that consideration), contextualize the discrete events that happen during their education, and extend direct access to websites and other student resources. The Advising Podcast connects with diverse groups of learners, particularly those who might benefit from a more process-oriented, introverted advising experience. Overall, the continued growth of advising podcast subscriptions serves as a testament to the power of approaching advising in this way.

Poster #7. Conversations Beyond the Classroom: Collaborative Online Student Discussion Using DISQUS and Google Wave

Ben Marwick, Anthropology, UW Campus

Poster #7 abstract

Weblogs and wikis have become widely used in tertiary education as constructivist learning tools. This approach holds that students learn best when they construct their interpretations of a subject and communicate their acquired knowledge to others. In Archaeology 101 I have been using a sophisticated and free blog comment management system called DISQUS to provide a structured process for students to collaborate constructively out of the classroom. DISQUS is unique because it allows threaded or nested comments so discussion context is preserved in the appearance of the comments on the page. When students want to leave a comment that is actually a reply to another student’s comment, their comment/reply is indented right under the original comment. On any comment thread/discussion with a lot of action, for example with 150-200 students posting, this is essential to make sense of the discussion and can be used to structure and measure deep engagement in the discussion. A second feature of DISQUS is that it lets students rate comments they like (and dislike). Comments can be sorted so that most liked comments float to the top, providing a quick impression of comments that resonate widely with others. A final detail is that all the comment data, including text and the number of likes, can be exported as XML for grading and analysis in Excel. Google Wave is a newer but similar online tool that provides high resolution comment structure and interactivity. I have been using Google Wave as a content management system and discussion board for Archaeology 482 (15 students). Unlike DISQUS, Google Wave provides very fine-grained control over who participates in the discussion within the threads. This allows the instructor to privately reply to a student or a group of students in a thread that includes the whole class. Familiarity with the structure and resolution that two tools can bring to online student discussion is likely to make these discussions more productive and focused as well as more efficient for the instructor to assess and monitor.

Poster #8. How Not to Write Assignment Prompts: Crafting Well-designed Writing Assignments for Diverse Groups of Learners

Jenny Halpin and Pamela Saunders, English and Music, UW Campus

Poster #8 abstract

As an interdisciplinary writing center, the OWRC is a key setting for gauging the effects of instructors’ assignment prompts on the learning of diverse students across many courses. Students are reluctant to express major difficulties with assignment prompts in the classroom context; thus the OWRC becomes one of the only places their confusion is made visible – and where potential strategies are openly discussed. However, our one-to-one tutoring model means we have been limited to exploring solutions for gaps between instructor intentions and student understanding case-by-case. This is not enough. The OWRC is well-positioned to articulate the most common, high-level causes of communication breakdowns embodied in written assignment prompts; therefore, we sought – through tutor focus groups and written reflections – to gather data for instructors about steps they can take to make their assignments and prompts more accessible and meaningful for the diverse learners the OWRC serves: non-native speakers of English, non-traditional students, so-called “basic writers”, and students from a very broad range of educational backgrounds. Our inquiry yielded expected findings about common stumbling blocks for students in written assignment prompts – unclear communication of expectations in writing and in verbal framing, overuse of inaccessible or idiomatic language in the prompt, and faulty instructor conceptualization of both the nature and levels of difficulty of actual writing tasks. We also had some less expected findings about the importance of inviting students to participate in ongoing two-way communication with instructors throughout the writing process and about cultivating a learning environment in which students are comfortable expressing confusion. We seek to present our strategies for better conceptualizing and writing prompts and also to hear participants’ ideas on how the OWRC can work alongside other scholars of teaching and learning to develop sustainable ways of collaborating with instructors interested in designing assignments that best support diverse learners.

Poster #9. Information Table on the Huckabay Teaching Fellowship for UW Graduate Students 2010 Fellows

Erin Ellis, Andrew Fleming, Brian Hutchinson, Noelle Machnicki, and Todd Rygh Interdisciplinary, UW Campus

Poster #9 abstract

Abstract Not Available Yet

Poster #10. Connecting Fieldwork, Career Exploration, and Academic Content

Dana Nelson and Tracy Maschman Morrissey, Psychology, UW Campus

Poster #10 abstract

As a graduation requirement, each psychology major must participate in at least one applied course, working either as an undergraduate research assistant, a teaching assistant, or an intern in a community setting. The internship course (Psychology 497) has been modified in recent years to enhance the connections students make between their practical experiences and their formal academic training, and demand for the course has increased.
Psychology 497 students choose an internship based on their interests and/or career goals, and they earn one credit for every three hours of fieldwork; students taking the course for the first time earn an additional credit for participation in a weekly seminar. During the seminar, students consider strategies for increasing positive experiences in their fieldwork (understanding values, ethics, and diversity), explore issues related to future careers (e.g., preparing for interviews, learning about graduate school), and learn about the community organizations in which their fellow students are participating. Students also complete a series of short papers that require them to link their fieldwork experiences with research or theories they have encountered in the classroom or in the psychological literature.
The proposed poster will describe the course in detail and provide examples of students’ internship experiences. Psychology 497’s framework may serve as a useful model for other courses that are designed to link practical experiences with career exploration and academic content.

Poster #11. Experiential Learning in the UW Greenhouse

Michael Stefancic, Jacqueline White, Jennifer Ruesink, and Doug Ewing Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, and Biology, UW Campus

Poster #11 abstract

Winter 2010 was the first offering of BIOL 490: Explaining Biology – an interdisciplinary seminar including graduate students and senior undergraduates in the Department of Biology and the College of Education. Working out of the University of Washington Greenhouse, the seminar class designed an informal science education exhibit for the students in BIOL 180: Introductory Biology. This presented a unique opportunity for the BIOL 490 students from multiple disciplines to design a learning experience for undergraduate students, creating a community of learners on multiple levels. The exhibit built off the key learning goals for BIOL 180 students, as defined by the instructor, and presented live plant specimens and an interactive “Tree of Life” display to explore plant evolution and adaptations. Students were encouraged to visit the exhibit via extra credit for completing a post-visit survey. We analyzed these survey results to identify connections between student learning and their experiences in the exhibit, including duration of stay, exploration of particular content areas, and group size. Preliminary findings indicate that BIOL 180 students who visited the greenhouse identified misconceptions about plant evolution and adaptations, increased their test scores, gained a greater appreciation for plants, and expressed interest in continuing to visit a University of Washington educational resource – the Department of Biology’s greenhouse.

Poster #12. Save Points: Teaching (with) Video Games

Edmond Y. Chang and Timothy Welsh, English, UW Campus

Poster #12 abstract

As part of the Critical Gaming Project (CGP) at UW, we have offered several undergraduate CHID and ENGL courses on video games. Like reading, watching films, and argumentative writing, playing and critiquing video games is an acquired skill, a “digital” literacy. Ironically, students, who are assumed to be enthusiastic and embracing of games, are often resistant to analyzing video games — to do so would take the “fun” out of games. Therefore, drawing on our experiences developing, teaching, and assessing these courses, this session hopes to explore and illuminate the ways video games can be brought into the classroom, the challenges and logistics of using video games, and most importantly, different critical approaches to playing and teaching video games. Our session will include interactive examples of game-play and video game pedagogy.

Poster #13. Stereotypical Classroom Environments as Vehicles for Perpetuating Underrepresentation of Women in Computer Science

Joshua A. Tabak, Sapna Cheryan, and Andrew N. Meltzoff, Psychology and Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, UW Campus

Poster #13 abstract

Our research seeks to understand how stereotypes of computer science (CS) educational environments impact women’s interest in and perceptions of CS – a field in which women are strongly underrepresented. Undergraduate participants were given a choice of enrolling in one of two classes in a process that mimicked the college course registration or shopping period, where students learn about and try classes before selecting one. The two classes were described as identical in curriculum and gender composition of the students. The only differences were the physical classroom environment and the sex of the teacher. Participants read a list objects that appeared in each classroom. One classroom contained science fiction books, computer parts, electronics, computer software, technology magazines, video games, computer books, and Star Wars and Star Trek items (stereotypical). The other contained water bottles, coffee maker, art pictures, nature pictures, lamps, pens, general magazines, and plants (non-stereotypical). Participants then imagined each classroom environment. The results of this study indicated that physical design of classrooms can determine students’ educational choices and expectations. When a classroom was portrayed in a manner consistent with current computer science stereotypes, students imbued the teacher and students with those stereotypes. These inferences about the people in the classrooms, in turn, affected students’ interest in taking the class motivation to take the classes. The stereotypical classroom made women, but not men, believe that they would not fit with the teacher and students there, deterring women from computer science. In contrast, the non-stereotypical room caused women to experience an enhanced sense of fit with the teacher and students and encouraged their interest in that computer programming class. These effects held whether the teacher was male or female, suggesting that women look to more than just the gender of students and teachers when deciding where they fit best.

Poster #14. A Case Study Approach to Teaching Hypothesis Testing to Beginning Biology Students

Brian J. Buchwitz and Barbara T. Wakimoto, Biology, UW Campus

Poster #14 abstract

The UW’s introductory biology series is a gateway to the bioscience majors. The series, which consists of BIOL 180, 200, and 220, is considered challenging by beginning students because it asks them to demonstrate discipline-specific skills in addition to mastering content in biology. Instructors ask students to “think and write like biologists,” and strongly emphasize formulating and evaluating hypotheses and understanding experimental design. Our experience indicates that many students enter BIOL 180 with little or no practice in these skills and that the pace makes it difficult for them to adequately self-assess what they need, as individuals, to improve these science process skills. Therefore, we are developing exercises to help students develop these key skills in BIOL 106, a course that selected freshmen complete as part of the UW-Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biology Fellows Program before enrolling in BIOL 180. BIOL 106 addresses hypothesis formulation and testing explicitly using a case study approach. Students learn about a scientific observation that is published in a research paper. Then, they are asked to (1) propose their own hypotheses to explain the observation, (2) identify and examine their assumptions, (3) revise their hypotheses as needed, (4) analyze data figures from research papers, then (5) reflect and revise their work after self-, peer-, and instructor assessment. Assessment is helping us identify common misconceptions that beginning students have about formulating and testing hypotheses and evaluate whether our approach is effective at improving students’ critical skills in experimental design through practice and reflection. Preliminary results show that students are gaining a more realistic view of what is entailed in formulating a good hypothesis and incorporating appropriate controls. Our approach has the added benefit of introducing freshmen to scientific literature and research seminars, but requires careful selection of material that is accessible enough to beginning students to encourage their interest and creativity.

Poster #15. Evaluating the Impact of an Evidence and Systems-Based Learning Curriculum: UW Resident Training Initiative in Miscarriage Management Program (RTI-MM)

Sarah Prager, Deb VanDerhei, Jeana Kimball, Blair Darney, and Nancy Stevens Obstetrics and Gynecology, Family Medicine, and Health Sciences, UW Campus

Poster #15 abstract

(1) What you were trying to find out or better understand:
The goal of RTI-MM program is to increase the number of family medicine physicians who offer office-based miscarriage management. The evidence and systems-based curriculum was delivered to family medicine residents, faculty physicians and support staff at ten WA State Family Medicine Residency Network sites. Miscarriage is often managed in the operating room, despite evidence that office-based management is appropriate for many women experiencing early miscarriage, and has the potential to reduce patient wait times, increase patient satisfaction with care, and save time and financial resources. We are evaluating the impact of the RTI-MM training model on knowledge, attitudes, and practice of office-based miscarriage management.
(2) Relevant characteristics of your setting — course, type of students, etc.:
Our “student” population consists of 395 resident and faculty physicians, family medicine fellows, medical students, nurses, advance practice clinicians, and clinical and administrative support staff.
The RTI-MM curriculum includes 3 sessions per Residency Site:
one 4 hour didactic and hands-on session at each site focused on physician and advanced practice clinician needs
two 3 hour interactive sessions per site focused on support staff information needs
We have completed all 10 initial sessions, and 13 of 20 support staff sessions.
(3) What you did to examine the effects of your teaching:
The RTI-MM evaluation includes:
baseline and 6-months post Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice (KAP) survey
participant evaluations of each training session
qualitative process evaluation (planned for summer 2010)
(4) What you learned, expected or unexpected, by approaching your teaching in this way:
Our experience with the RTI-MM training model and curriculum highlighted the importance of: – a systems approach to encourage practice change – stakeholder and site champion involvement in the project – tailoring the curriculum to individual sites – follow-up trainings and continued contact with sites after initial training.

Poster #16. Contemplative Curriculum in Unexpected Places: How My Four Paths Lead to Mile One

Dorothy Paun, College of the Environment, UW Campus

Poster #16 abstract

I began my academic career as a traditional business professor but over time became more interdisciplinary. Wikipedia describes an interdisciplinary field as one that crosses traditional boundaries, between academic disciplines or schools of thought, as new needs and professions emerge ( Interestingly, Wikipedi states that interdisciplinary and interdisciplinarity are twentieth century terms, based on Greek philosophy, and that interdisciplinarity is a “remedy to the harmful effects of excessive specialization.” I found both a remedy and cure as I expanded my singular focus on business financial performance to include a triple bottom line focus on environmental, social responsibility, and finance performance: through pioneering a teaching and research model and method for integrating these three dimensions, new meaning, purpose, and depth came to my work. As a faculty marshal at UW’s Convocation to honor His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, I was inspired by his message, which clearly touched on social responsibility issues and subtly on the environment. As a result, I began to study Buddhism and engage in mindfulness and contemplative practices, which on reflection seem like a personal mirroring of my professional movement toward greater interdisciplinarity. I’d been pondering the relationship between interdisciplinarity and integration when I discovered “contemplative curriculum.” The contemplative curriculum movement in higher education believes that society needs a system of higher education that trains students for reflective insight as well as critical thinking. According to the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (, contemplative curriculum contributes to an integration of disciplines and values. This Association’s mission is to stimulate scholarship and research concerning contemplative pedagogy, methodology, and epistemology, within and across disciplines. Evidence suggests that contemplative approaches improve student focus and attentiveness and deepens their understanding and insight. At the symposium I will share insights on contemplative curriculum practices that I’ve used into the classroom.

Poster #17. Assessing Program Learning Outcomes: An Outcome-Oriented Approach

Yong-Woo Kim, Ahmed Abdel Aziz, Ken-Yu Lin, and Omar El-Anwar Construction Management, UW Campus

Poster #17 abstract

Assessing the Program Learning Outcomes is an essential task that is performed periodically to evaluate and improve the students learning and experience in the various university programs. It has been the tradition of the Department of Construction Management in the College of Built Environments to assess its Program Learning Outcomes by examining the contents of all the courses and projects offered to the students and ensuring it is covering all the essential parts of students learning. This year, the department decided to change its evaluation procedure from a content-based approach to an outcome-based approach. In the new approach, the courses and learning experiences are directly linked to the required outcomes.
The objective of this session is to illustrate how the new methodology is adopted by the Department of Construction Management at UW in order to assess and enhance its Program Learning Outcomes. This methodology consists of five main steps: (1) identification of the required learning outcomes; (2) a micro-level examination of the contribution of each course to each of these outcomes; (3) a macro-level assessment of the program contribution to each of the outcomes (through capstone projects, internships, etc.); (4) evaluation of the achievement level of each outcome; and (5) recommendations to enhance the Program Learning Outcomes. This process requires a deep involvement of all the faculty members in the Department as well as feedback from the Department’s Industry Advisory Council.

Poster #18. Contribution of Short-Term Study Abroad Programs to Health Care Education: Insights from UW Students

Jaime F. Olavarria, Psychology, UW Campus

Poster #18 abstract

Although short-term study abroad programs are currently the most common type of undergraduate study abroad in the United States, little is known about their potential for contributing to education at the college level. To obtain information on this issue, comments and opinions were extracted from essays that University of Washington students submitted at the end of a three and half week Exploration Seminar on Public and Mental Health Care in Chile. These anonymous comments illustrate, in the students’ own words, that short-term abroad programs can have a profound impact on college student’s opinions and attitudes toward health and social issues. Although brief, the abroad experience seems to have been sufficient to raise the students’ level of awareness regarding health care issues and offered a reference framework from which to evaluate health care in other countries including the United States. Students came back not only with significant knowledge about how Chile provides public health care, but also with the determination to engage in health care debates taking place now in the U.S. Some of them admit that they are now passionate about certain ideas such as health care being a right of all persons rather than a business, or about the role that biopsychosocial factors in families and communities have in the design of effective health preventive measures. From these strong testimonials it is clear that many students will not soon forget their experience abroad, and it is highly likely that the impact of their experiences will further fuel their interest on health and social issues. Collectively, the student’s comments suggest that short-term study abroad programs can effectively contribute to education at the college level.

Poster #19. Assessing Students’ Consideration of Context in Engineering Design

Cynthia J. Atman, Deborah Kilgore, Ken Yasuhara, Jennifer Turns, and Jim Borgford-Parnell, Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching, UW Campus

Poster #19 abstract

There is widespread recognition that the engineering education community must prepare our students to consider the complexities, opportunities and challenges of the contexts in which they do design. At the same time, recent research shows that engineering students do not make considering context a priority, nor do they feel prepared to. One reason may be that there has been relatively little systematic work to assess student learning in this respect. Such efforts would serve to clarify for students the knowledge, attitude and skills required to consider context in engineering design, and would communicate to students the importance of learning in this area.
We are developing assessment techniques that may be used by instructors and students to assess students’ consideration of context in engineering design. We use “assessment technique” to refer to a complete set of designed materials and processes: written questions for pen-and-paper or web-based administration; rubrics to guide interpretation of responses; and processes for administering the questions to students, applying rubrics, and responding to results. We will develop the assessment techniques with extensive input from engineering faculty and students, and validate them in three ways: (1) debrief student respondents to improve clarity and precision of questions, (2) invite a sample of students to answer previously validated research questions, with the expectation that their responses to research and assessment questions will be consistent, and (3) invite a sample to participate in an open-ended interview on broad topics related to considering context in engineering design, with the expectation that interview and assessment question responses will be consistent. We will field-test the questions and rubrics in engineering courses, and prepare supporting materials for using these resources in engineering classrooms. We will disseminate broadly both the assessment techniques and written research reports.

Poster #20. Integrated Interdisciplinary, International, Inter-Institutional Education: An Evaluation of the IGERT Program for Training Graduate Students

Kimberly S. Sheldon, Julie K. Combs, Adam Freeburg, Amanda Henck, R. Gus Jesperson, Alicia Robbins, Haldre Rogers, and Elizabeth Wheat, Biology, Forest Resources, Anthropology, Geosciences, UW Campus

Poster #20 abstract

Global environmental challenges transcend disciplinary, institutional, and political boundaries. Future environmental leaders must be trained accordingly. To be effective, they will need to collaborate successfully with an interdisciplinary, culturally and institutionally diverse group of colleagues. Traditional graduate school programs in the sciences, however, are not designed with this in mind. To address these limitations, the National Science Foundation (NSF) developed the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT). Each IGERT program must integrate research across disciplines and institutions, and promote an international perspective. Despite this mandate, many IGERT programs fail. The IGERT program at the University of Washington titled Multinational Collaborations to Challenges in the Environment (MCCE) systematically and rigorously integrated interdisciplinary, international, and inter-institutional training. MCCE brought together students from traditionally unrelated disciplines who worked across institutional boundaries and were required to collaborate abroad during their second year of funding. Here, using the MCCE IGERT model of education as a case study, we show how integrated approaches to graduate education enhanced students’ abilities to address multifaceted environmental challenges.

Poster #21. Performing Evolution: An Artistic Exploration of Natural Selection and the Scientific Method

Rebecca M. Price, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program, UW Bothell

Poster #21 abstract

Natural science instructors rarely use kinesthetic learning, despite its effectiveness, because few of us know how. I have developed a performance-based exercise about natural selection that may help others use kinesthetic learning because it is easy to implement. I developed it for an interdisciplinary course on Biological Evolution and Performance Art for students in the first quarter of their first year at UW Bothell; about 40 students take the class. In a brief introduction, students learn a vocabulary of poses. Then, all but two students distribute themselves throughout a room and strike a pose; these are the “prey.” The two remaining students are “predators.” The predators choose a criterion in secret for selecting prey, for example “hands above the waist.” The first round begins, and predators have ten seconds to hunt. Every time a predator touches a prey, that prey “dies.” Round 2 begins when the population reproduces – in this model, the population size remains the same, so the people who died become babies. To illustrate heritability, the babies copy a survivor’s pose. Then the predators have another ten seconds to hunt. Round 3 follows exactly like Round 2, etc. Four rounds are usually sufficient to demonstrate selection. The exercise stops early if students guess the predators’ criterion because the simulation is no longer a sorting process. During each round, the predators count the proportion of survivors who had the criterion, tabulating the results for the whole class. I will formally evaluate whether this exercise enhances students’ mastery of natural selection because anecdotal evidence is quite encouraging. One pleasant unexpected outcome is that the exercise models the scientific method, too. Students construct hypotheses at the outset, predicting what will happen; the predators collect and tabulate data in real time; and students analyze the results to evaluate and revise their predictions.

Poster #22. Storytellers as Educators

Avery D. Hill, Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, UW Campus

Poster #22 abstract

Storytelling emerged within human culture as the first form of formal education. Thus, we can think of storytellers as the world’s first teachers. The purpose of this study was to explore the insights of storytellers today into the use of storytelling principles, methods, and tools in formal teaching. In-depth interviews were conducted with six storytellers from a cross-section of disciplines including classroom teachers, “griots” or cultural historians, professional storytelling performers, and counselors. All participants had at least five years experience as a practicing storyteller in their field. An exploratory qualitative descriptive design was used for data collection and analysis. Interviews consisted of open-ended questions, were transcribed verbatim and reviewed for accuracy. Findings from the first round of analysis reveal mention by all participants of certain fundamental paradoxes of the learning experience facilitated by storytelling. Two such themes have emerged to date: (1) stories can be used to embed complex information and content into a simple structure and format, so that listeners are better able to access, remember, and transfer content learned; and (2) listening to a story is not a passive, but an active act of learning, in which listeners’ participation ultimately determines the effectiveness of the storyteller’s practice. In sum, participants illuminated storytelling as a method of conveying information that can be easily utilized by classroom teachers in different variations and settings. Common threads across participants’ varied responses are shared using a conditional matrix.

Poster #23. Ten Years of Teaching Trans/Gender Studies

Amanda Lock Swarr, Women Studies, UW Campus

Poster #23 abstract

What does it mean to teach a Women’s Studies course focused on unsettling the concept of “woman”? Answering this question has been my project and privilege over the past ten years as I have taught a course in Women’s Studies, the name of which has morphed from “‘Real’ Women: Sex, Gender, and Transgender Queries” to its current formation at the UW as “Trans/Gender Queries.” This article reflects on teaching this course in what is now sometimes referred to as Transgender Studies six times at three universities. At the UW, this is the first time a course in Transgender Studies has been granted permanent status. I follow the life of this course, including its birth and development, cross-country moves, relationships, and growing pains. In so doing, I reflect on changes in the field, disciplinary and institutional locations and contexts, challenges confronted, and my own feminist pedagogical failures, successes, and goals.

Poster #24. Partnering Students with Field Researchers as an Alternative for Hands-on Opportunities in a Class-based Tropical Ecology Course

Ursula Valdez, Biology, UW Campus

Poster #24 abstract

Opportunities for hands-on learning experiences are limited in class-based ecology courses for undergraduates. However, using field-based connections and student creativity it was possible to generate high motivation and engagement in a tropical ecology course. This is the follow-up on a project I started as a Huckabay teaching fellow in 2009. My Huckabay project focus was to design a tropical ecology course with components of active and participatory learning, as well as with the incorporation of student participation in real field-based research even if not in the field. In Summer 2009 I taught BIOL 497 Tropical Ecology and I applied innovative approaches to engage students in the topic. I offered a diversity of activities oriented to full participation of students during lectures and student-led discussions. Students learned basic principles of tropical ecology, and also developed in-class activities based on topics and readings assigned. In addition, students worked in research projects in partnership with researchers based in the field at the time. Two students and their field-based partner shared ideas, developed hypothesis and with data collected in the field answered research questions. Students explored on the community structure, behavior and parental relationships of birds in Ecuador and Peru, analyzed primate survey data in the Amazonian rainforest, elaborated molt schedules for birds in the tropical Andes and evaluated effects of urbanization on wildlife in Colombia. Besides working on scientific reports, students also communicated their findings in creative ways and targeting general public (through puppet shows, games, designing children books and others). I conducted assessments of student knowledge pre-and-post course sessions, as well as I received formal feedback from students by the middle of the quarter that was timely incorporated to improve the efficiency of the educational approach. Course reviews were highly positive, and BIO 497 will be offered again in summer 2010.

Poster #25. Mindfulness in the University Classroom: Introducing Practical Techniques to Your Lecture

Jaime Diaz, Psychology, UW Campus

Poster #25 abstract

The incorporation of “Mindfulness” into educational practice has been reported at various levels and typically with successful outcomes. However, the training of the students in these “Mindfulness” techniques, which can be a significant commitment of time, has been a problem for many who wish to adopt these practices. The purpose of my current study is to determine if a very brief exposure to meditation and deep breathing at the time of lecture will be of some benefit to helping students learn more efficiently. This is a preliminary report on these efforts. Over 320 students, over the last two years in either 300 or a 400 level Psychology classes, provided feedback to the following practice: before lecture began the class was asked to close their computers or to notebooks, a meditation chime was sounded as the professor asked to students to “be present” in this moment – ignore the “to do” list and focus on the class materials, and then the students were asked to take a slow inhale, pause a second and take a slow exhale. After a brief pause, class would then begin. The entire exercise took approximately 2 minutes. The overwhelming majority of students, in some classes as high as 80% or greater, said that the “meditation moment” did indeed help them focus better on that day’s lecture. An additional surprising result was the feedback that many of the students said they went on to use this technique in other classes and/or before working on homework. The data from this preliminary report are encouraging because it implies that “mindfulness” techniques like meditation/deep breathing may be introduced into a class without a long training commitment. The next phase of this study will attempt to determine if this perceived improved focus actually translates into better performance measured by objective criteria.

Poster #26. Ambitious Pedagogy by Novice Teachers: Who Benefits From Tool-Supported Collaborative Inquiry into Practice and Why?

David Stroupe, Biz Wright, Christine Chew, Melissa Braaten, Jessica Thompson, and Mark Windschitl Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, UW Campus

Poster #26 abstract

1) Because we teach future teachers, our most faithful indicator of good instruction is the eventual sophistication of our students’ teaching and their ability to improve their own practice. In the research presented here, we describe how eleven secondary science teachers engaged in the regular analysis of their students’ work over two years, spanning preservice and in-service contexts.
2) The analyses were facilitated by tools that allowed them to situate their current repertoire of instruction within an explicit continuum of development, and to visualize their practice as an object of critique, evidence-based analysis, and target of ongoing refinement. This research is unique not only for its look across early learning-to-teach contexts, but also because it links the analysis of student work with the evolution of classroom practice.
3) We facilitated Critical Friends Groups meetings four times over the course of two years. Each time we had novice educators interrogate their own teaching, by looking at students’ work that revealed their thinking.
4) Findings: More than a third of the group developed elements of expert-like teaching, with the greatest gains made in pressing their students for evidence-based scientific explanations, a practice that was the focus of their regular examinations of student work. For a majority – those who initially held the most problematized images of the relationships between teaching and learning – the system of tools (rubrics and protocol) was critical in allowing deep analyses of students’ work and supporting a shared language that catalyzed conversations linking “what counts” as scientific explanation with the re-calibration of expectations for students. This, in turn, helped participants envision more specialized forms of scaffolding for learners.
Conclusions: Those who begin their careers with a problematized view of the relationships between teaching and learning are not only more likely to appropriate sophisticated practices early, but also to benefit from evidence-based collaborative inquiry into practice. This study also highlights the potentially powerful role of tools and tool-based routines, tailored to the needs of beginning teachers, in fostering ambitious pedagogy. This success we believe, can support the design of more robust systems of tools for early career teachers’ collaborative inquiry and can inform theory around the implementation of these tools. We, as educators of novice teachers, need to attend closely to those individuals who struggled to investigate their own teaching and to make improvements in their practice.

Poster #27. Using the Ethics of Stem Cells to Promote Interdisciplinary Data Analysis

Bryan White, Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, UW Seattle & Project for Interdisciplinary Pedagogy, UW Bothell

Poster #27 abstract

Although science education reform emphasizes teaching the process of scientific inquiry, biology is often taught as a rhetoric of conclusions where findings have been discovered by someone else. Biology becomes a science of word associations, memorized from the textbook, with minimal connections to students’ everyday lives. This may be especially true for non-majors with their limited experiences in science. We need to give all learners various opportunities to pose their own investigations, create data themselves, and practice analyzing and interpreting their own data. This can be a daunting task for teachers and learners who are used to lecture-type courses, have excelled in a vocabulary-rich format, or are new to science. In this study, I propose that teaching a science course focused on scientific inquiry with many opportunities for interdisciplinary data analysis and interpretation may be one way to increase scientific literacy and help non-scientists become able to interpret scientific data to make decisions in their everyday lives. I designed a course for non-majors on the science and ethics of stem cells. Students designed their own experiments and generated data around questions of regeneration and development using zebrafish and planaria as model systems. In addition, students designed a bioethics survey and created a large data set in which to analyze and interpret attitudes of the public around the use of stem cells in scientific research. By giving students opportunities for data generation, analysis, and interpretation using both basic science and social science methodologies, it makes commonalities between the disciplines visible and allows learners to form a deeper understanding of these processes. In addition, it may increase non-majors’ interest in science courses and their willingness to take future science classes. Most importantly, it increases scientific literacy and engenders analytical skills that will help learners think critically about climate change, stem cells, and other important science questions of the 21st century.

Poster #28. Subject Guides: Improving Student Resources through Usability Testing

Christine Tawatao and Rachel Hungerford, Information School and UW Libraries, UW Campus

Poster #28 abstract

Subject guides are an invaluable tool in helping students start their research process. With the increase in information overload and the popularity of using Google to find information, students need hand-crafted guides to show them how to conduct research and how to use the library to find the resources they want. The guides are an essential piece in students’ learning in that they:
Provide a central location for resources in a particular subject
Educate students on how to conduct research in specific fields
Offer tutorial videos on how to perform general tasks (i.e. finding articles)
Recently the guides moved to a content management system, resulting in great changes to the entire site. One major benefit of this system is that it is now easier and faster to create new guides, giving librarians more time to focus on content and creating more guides. However, in shifting to a new system, the site has also changed in layout and features. To ensure that the new guides would serve the university population as best they could, we set out to test the guides’ ease of use.
Usability testing has aided in transforming the guides into a digital environment in which students will be able to locate resources more easily, and just as importantly, a place where they can find the information they desire.
This poster will highlight our 2009 usability testing methods; key findings on how undergraduates and graduate students interact with the guides, their trouble spots, and their comments; and ways that instructors and librarians can use the guides to supplement their teaching.

Poster #29. Place and Space: Thinkings on Radical Pedagogy

Anu Taranath, Amy Hirayama, and Brandon Maust, English, UW Campus

Poster #29 abstract

Our 2009 Exploration Seminar to Bangalore, India focused on notions of social justice, globalization, and the possibilities and challenges of social change. On a programmatic level, my co-directors and I prioritized a notion of “radical pedagogy”, from which we hypothesized “radical learning” might emerge. Radical pedagogy for us referred to a teaching and learning philosophy that questioned the very nature of teaching and learning. As a research question, we wondered what “radical” meant in three ways: to us as teachers and scholars of pedagogy; in the geographical and cultural site of study abroad; and in conjunction with the social justice themes of our academic work. Must one have radical teaching to yield radical learning? To what degree did being abroad in a culturally and racially challenging environment for most students affect their notions of learning? And how could we measure what radical learning might be given the heterogeneity of our students and learning styles? To answer our questions about radical teaching and learning, we implemented a conscious strategy of transparency, continually dialoguing with students about our goals, motivations, rationales, and philosophies regarding teaching and learning. We also continually revised our pedagogical strategies by being accountable and process-oriented with students throughout the program. We explicitly demonstrated to students that this was an evolving and responsive teaching process and importantly, we were holding them responsible for their learning. We learned that radical teaching and radical learning are not always interrelated, and that it does not work for all students. We learned that the geographical site that pedagogy is practiced matters immensely to how comfortable students are to feeling discomfort. Radical pedagogy in a Seattle classroom looks very different to radical pedagogy practiced in India; the decisions and rationale might be similar on the part of teachers, but the outcomes of student learning vary based on place and space. This experience taught us to think more carefully about providing structures of support that are recognizable to students to enable deep and meaningful learning opportunities.

Poster #30. How Do I… Online Tutorials for Students on the Go

Lauren Ray and Stephanie Earls, UW Libraries, UW Campus

Poster #30 abstract

Academic librarians are increasingly challenged to explain a complex array of online library research tools to students. As we struggle to find creative ways of engaging students in the process of research, we understand that when students approach the resources we provide online, they most often do so without in-person instruction or the guidance of a librarian. How do we get students to think of Libraries resources as part of their research and discovery experience while providing instruction in a way that fits in to their busy, media-rich lives? In early 2009 the Educational Outreach Services Librarian, along with a Graduate Student Assistant, began developing a series of short how-to screencast tutorials that teach students about using and navigating online resources in order to strengthen their research skills. These screencast videos, which are less than 2 minutes in length and are geared towards students enrolled in evening, online and other fee-based degree programs, address commonly-asked questions such as “How do I set up RefWorks to manage my citations?” and “How do I find background information on my topic?” They are prominent on the UW Libraries home page, shared via our YouTube channel, and will soon be accessible on the university’s mobile application, m.UW.
While UW subject liaison librarians offer in-person research skills workshops to individual courses in the departments they serve, we were trying to find a way of scaling these efforts by creating repurposable e-learning tools that could be shared at point of need. Our presentation will describe how we have successfully produced a series of screencast tutorials and continue to work with subject librarians to develop content that can be taught in this format. We will also describe how we have developed a workflow for drafting, producing, editing and publishing the videos using Camtasia, Jing and iMovie, and how we assess the use of the tutorials using Google Analytics and usability feedback. We will also present how faculty can embed them into individual course web sites using Catalyst Tools and other course management systems.

Poster #31. Practical Applications of Adult Learning Theory in Leadership Preparation and Public Schools

Margery Ginsberg and College of Education doctoral students, “Leadership for Learning Program”, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, College of Education, UW Campus

Poster #31 abstract

This poster session features scholar-practitioners who are teachers, principals, school district leaders, and non-profit innovators. This group, all of whom are doctoral students the College of Education’s (on-going) Instructional Renewal module in the Leadership for Learning program, will share practical applications of adult learning theory for helping PreK-12 teachers close the achievement gap between low and high performing students. Applications of adult learning in schools include home visits, shadowing students, lesson study (research lessons), data analysis, and instructional partnership with families and organizations.
In my role as core faculty in the College of Education Leadership for Learning program, I was trying to learn more about how to construct relevant field-based educational experiences that have reciprocal value: they contribute to public schools while extending the knowledge of veteran educators who are doctoral students.
To examine the influence of my teaching, I examined 1) final products (several of which will be exhibited), 2) doctoral students’ written reflections on field-based learning experiences, and 3) field notes from participating in the activities at a Seattle high school. What I learned falls into three categories: 1) methods to diminish assignment ambiguity, 2) ways to mitigate positional challenges for executive leaders, and 3) the need for ongoing investigation into the contributions and impositions of university-school partnership.

Poster #32. Avatars as Public Citizens

Ran Hinrichs, iSchool, UW Campus

Poster #32 abstract

I was trying to find out if we could develop deep learning habitats that could persist in virtual worlds. My theory is — if we create immersive, interactive communities in which users virtually cohabitate in an environment that they cocreate would their learning become more dependent on each other’s experience and academic survival. Would they develop as a cohesive unit that grew organically dependent on each other’s skills and support. If we developed this persistence would it affect our collective learning experience. We found in fact we grew dependent on each other, shared common learning needs and got to a point in which they experienced separation when not together. Today 18 months later, they continue to interact both personally and feel like big brothers and sisters to the new incoming 3 quarter course in virtual worlds. In short, they depend on each other for achieving gains long after initial contact. The students are comprised of entrepreneurs from the UW extension program and ISchool undergrads and grads who must take the course for three quarters to receive the certificate in virtual worlds. We created an island in second life gathering the students in shared spaces to norm the environment. They were then given a large circular platform to keep common objects that were built. They then were given their own parcels and challenged to build a home. They had four mentors to support their advances. After they demonstrated their expertise, they were selected to form groups and build visionary large projects, the future library, innovative museum and an entertainment coffee shop. Once completed a live home show inviting the public ended quarter two. They essentially learned architeture, 3d design and dev skills, civic design, furniture design, project management. Then in quarter three they built an entire island sim. This required group project management. They built an educational lesson in teaching digital photography in a virtual world, a non profit for sustainable seafood and a marketing component for and end of the year summer show. What I learned was how you create a community of learners rather than supporting a class. The students use virtual worlds to meet at all times of the day and night. This full spectrum of access to each other, combined with constant engagement in productive projects, created a self motivation for learning in which the students surpasses all the requirements and learned a lifelong set of skills. They learned by doing and they created a lifelong learning partnership in bonds that seem unbreakable. And we only know each other by avatar name. The island in second life morphed to accommodate the students needs. We started in a virtual auditorium. We observed desirable virtual learning behaviors. There were tools to support Q and A, presentation, event management and simple evaluation criteria to criticize virtual worlds. We learned to critique fairly using a design they developed on an open wiki.

Poster #33. Literacy Through Photography: An Exciting UW – Seattle School District Partnership

Christine Stickler, The Pipeline Project (Undergraduate Academic Affairs), UW Campus

Poster #33 abstract

Photography is a medium of communication that is particularly accessible to children. Children are able to make powerful photographs directly from their lives and to use the pictures they create as raw materials for expressive writing. Based on the work of Wendy Ewald of Duke University, LTP has been offered as a an outreach seminar here at the UW since 2005 by Christine Stickler of The Pipeline Project
UW students enroll in a two- quarter seminar through the Pipeline project that allows them to explore the themes and practices of LTP while beginning to tutor in the K-12 classroom. They introduce their students to LTP by familiarizing them with cameras and the themes of framing, content, lighting and props.
Children then create written and visual images that represent their ideas of self, family, community and dreams.
Magic is the word we would use to describe the effect of LTP on both our K-12 students and the undergraduates that work with them. For example, it is remarkable to see ESL students who are struggling to acquire and improve their English skills make the transformation to viewing themselves as writers and photographers.
Additionally there is the undeniable power of combining both the written word and the visual image as a means of describing their world to us. This process stresses the write-shoot-write approach that helps students improve both their writing and their development of a personal voice in that writing.
Additionally many of our UW students who have taken this seminar have gone on to create their own LTP programs both locally and internationally. (South Africa, India, Eastern Washington, India, Cuba and Alaska!)

Poster #34. What do We Think We are Preparing Students for when We Talk about Professional Socialization? What do They Think?

Kathleen Gygi, Human Centered Design & Engineering, UW Campus

Poster #34 abstract

This poster reports on my doctoral study entitled “Getting on the same page”: Negotiation and intellectual collaboration in a student research group, which investigates the role of negotiation in knowledge construction and professional socialization in a student research group. The setting was a quarter-long directed research group in the Human Centered Design & Engineering Department. Directed research groups entail students’ learning research by doing research. Participants, including undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, were involved in the labor intensive process of qualitative analysis of interview data. I was a research assistant helping to manage the group’s activities. Negotiation was used as both a training tool and a way of improving reliability in the analysis. Afterwards, the opportunity arose to go back and interview participants about their overall experience and relevance to their future career plans. Students’ understanding of research varied widely, as did the professions they imagined for themselves and the perceived relevance of this research experience to their career plans. My study raises questions about what we think we are preparing students for when we talk about professional socialization, career preparation, or even relevance and how this influences our teaching strategies (how do we help them be prepared?). A further question I would ask my peers at the SOTL forum is how do we prepare students for future careers when there is so much uncertainty about what those careers might be? There is limited research on the impacts of undergraduate research experiences on professional socialization. However, my study suggests that professional socialization might be too broad a concept to guide effective practice for short-term research experiences. The concept of roles might be more fruitful: Students in my group were actively negotiating roles within the group, within the institutional context, and in the context of imagined futures.

Poster #35. Campus Learning Spaces: Understanding Students’ Current & Future Needs

Cara Lane, Janice Fournier, Tyler Fox, and Henry Lyle, Learning & Scholarly Technologies, UW Information Technology, UW Campus

Poster #35 abstract

A significant portion of students’ learning occurs outside of the classroom, for instance, completing course readings and assignments, researching and writing papers, studying in groups, and collaborating on projects. On the UW campus, students engage in these activities in a variety of learning spaces, including computing centers, libraries, cafés, study rooms, and almost anywhere they can plug in a laptop. In autumn 2009, Learning & Scholarly Technologies set out to increase our understanding of how students use existing spaces to support their learning and to identify their needs for the future. To this end, we gathered survey data from 3,250 students and conducted focus groups with 24 students. Our poster session will share key findings related to students’ work habits and needs. For instance, our data show that students tend to use Mary Gates Hall Computing Resource Center for quiet, independent work and the Learning Commons in Odegaard Undergraduate Library for both independent and collaborative activities. We also discovered that while 93% of survey respondents reported owning a laptop and/or netbook, only 35% of this group frequently brought this equipment to campus. Students would like to see improvements to a variety of campus spaces to better support their computing and studying needs. Students emphasized the importance of (1) electrical outlets for charging laptops, (2) quiet areas to work without distraction, (3) evening access, and (4) comfortable furniture. In focus groups, students also described specific environmental features that best accommodated individual or group work. This session will provide valuable information for anyone involved in designing or managing any type of campus learning space, from student lounges and cafés to computer centers and libraries. It will also be of interest to faculty members who wish to increase their understanding of how students engage in a variety of learning activities outside the classroom.

Poster #36. Social Identity Construction and Language Choice on Facebook

Jennifer Zinchuk and Aleksandra Petrovic, English (MA TESOL), UW campus

Poster #36 abstract

As language teachers and learners, bilinguals, and Facebook users, we noticed that our students and peers often use multiple languages on social networking sites. As these individuals use different languages on such sites, their multiple linguistic identities come into contact as they often write for multiple audiences. However, most current research on bilingual identity, code-switching, and computer-mediated communication focuses on speakers who speak the same languages (for example, studies on Mandarin and English language use in chat rooms). As opposed to chat rooms, Facebook users show their group identities implicitly, in a one-to-many style. Considering the importance of social identity in language learning and identity formation, we designed a research project asking: How do adult bilinguals construct social identities through language choice on Facebook? We asked 31 adult bilinguals about their language choices on Facebook. Based on survey responses and follow-up interviews, we found that they chose a particular language based on group identities, language teacher/learner identities, and self-expression. Code-switching is also fairly common, mostly for clarity or self-expression. We did not anticipate that a language teacher/learner identity would be so prevalent in our survey and interview responses. This has implications for both teachers using Facebook to encourage their (former) students as well as potential classroom applications.

Poster #37. Problem-based Learning in Teaching Public Health Practice

Peter House, Beth Mizushima, and Xeno Acharya, Community Oriented Public Health Practice Program, UW Campus

Poster #37 abstract

The Community Oriented Public Health Practice Program (COPHP) is an 8-year-old initiative. Our poster will describe our work to improve public health teaching at the University of Washington School of Public Health (SPH). COPHP uses the problem based learning pedagogy, an innovation in the SPH. Our master’s degree program prepares students for careers as public health practitioners. Combining rigorous academic activities with a commitment to social justice and community involvement, COPHP is uniquely structured to build practical skills that its graduates will apply in community settings as problem-solvers, innovators, advocates, and leaders in addressing health problems. Many of our problems push the students beyond the walls of the university to work on actual problems in the community.
Our students are older and have more work experience than is typical of most of the graduate programs in the SPH. To gain admission, students must show a minimum of two years of work experience in a field of relevance to public health practice.
Our faculty continually searches for better understanding of how our students learn in this student-centered approach to education. We have surveyed our students at the end of each quarter as one measure of the effectiveness of our approach. We also have employed an informal approach to peer review as a way for faculty to help each other improve teaching and to gain insights into how our students learn. Each faculty meeting devotes significant time for discussion of student learning and ways to improve our teaching. We have learned that problem based learning is an effective way to train public health practitioners. We have also learned that we need to apply traditional teaching methods from time to time in order to complement the problem based learning components of the program.

Poster #38. Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning

Petia Parpoulova, English, UW Campus

Poster #38 abstract

As a comparatist I have taught a number of general education courses connecting disciplines across the humanities: literary, cinema, and visual studies, philosophy, and architecture. In each of these courses a common learning problem has surfaced: despite repeated in-class analytical exercises, in their own work a large number of students have been unable to demonstrate an ability of isolating relevant data, identifying patterns in it, and adequately analyzing it. To address this problem, in my recent teaching I have tried to develop a series of comparative and contrast exercises that rely on a cognitivist model of learning. According to this model, in the process of learning we negotiate between already established ways of organizing information (existing frames and schemata) and novel representations of it. Learning takes place when we reconfigure our habitual information frameworks to accommodate new perspectives being offered. In my teaching, I work on developing students’ analytical abilities in a series of consecutive steps. First, I make students aware of the schemata, which they use on a daily basis to organize information. Thus, I ask them to describe the ways in which information is presented to them in familiar contexts, such as popular travel, art, and cooking shows, advertisements, and music videos. Second, students have to compare and contrast these recognizable patterns to less familiar ones presented in cinematic, literary, or theoretical texts. In my experience, postmodern works, which re-work and re-organize information frameworks that we utilize on a daily basis, offer especially useful material for the purpose of such analytical exercises. I would like to use John Lanchester’s postmodern novel The Debt to Pleasure to discuss the series of targeted interventions I developed in my last class English 242 Reading Fiction, in order to improve student analytical abilities.

Poster #39. Practice Makes Perfect-er

Scott Freeman, Biology, UW Campus

Poster #39 abstract

In an effort to reduce failure rates in an introductory biology class that enrolls 700, I required students to do almost constant practice with course material–via daily reading quizzes, in-class clicker questions, in-class informal-group exercises mediated by random call discussion, weekly peer-graded practice exams, and weekly submission of a class notes summary. Over the course of 4 100-point written exams, the left-hand tail of the distribution almost disappeared. This result indicates that students who initially struggled in the course performed much better later in the quarter.

Poster #40. Diversity and Culture Learning Goals for UW Psychology Majors

Ricardo Contreras and Beth Kerr, Psychology, UW Campus

Poster #40 abstract

A diversity and culture enhancement project was undertaken to address a key component of the psychology department’s learning goals for majors.
The project had three main objectives:
to gather an accurate and current picture of the department’s status with regard to its Diversity and Multicultural Awareness Learning Goal
to harvest key opinions about what the department’s goals should be with regard to graduating majors’ knowledge in diversity and culture, and
to create a database from which faculty and graduate student teachers could easily access diversity-related material for instructional use
Departmental diversity status and goals were explored through individual interviews with faculty, academic advisors, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Interview responses yielded a series of recurring themes that were used to guide a search for research articles that highlighted and supported the department’s learning goals. The selected articles were placed in an internal webpage available via the department of psychology website, organized by area and topic. The site also included a synopsis of the diversity and culture suggestions obtained through the individual interviews. Quarterly emails remind all psychology instructors and teaching assistants of these resources and encourage their use.



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