Supplemental Instruction: Resources and Links

For majors in mathematics and the sciences, success in their college degree plans is particularly impacted by their experiences in their first year. STEM majors who have a negative first contact with required STEM courses are at disproportionate risk of abandoning their major — or abandoning college altogether. So a little assistance in that first year goes a long way toward keeping students on track to successful completion of their degree. Supplemental instruction, and peer-cooperative learning programs like it, have proven to be an effective form of such assistance. Continue reading “Supplemental Instruction: Resources and Links”

Gone TPSE-Turvy, Part 2: Sacred Cows

Mistrust the “must.”

That’s the word that characterizes so many aspects of the math major curriculum that it ought to be the subject of its own course. That course would probably be a required prerequisite of every other course in the program.

Every “must” in a curriculum erects barriers for students. Some of those ramparts are worth manning. Some are not. All of them restrain the flexibility of our programs and narrow the pipeline of potential talent in them. To get where TPSE envisions math programs are going, some of our “musts” will need to become “shoulds,” or even “coulds.” Continue reading “Gone TPSE-Turvy, Part 2: Sacred Cows”

Reflections on #HumanMOOC

The three-week #HumanMOOC, a course on “Humanizing Online Instruction,” is concluded.

I signed up and participated in the course because, while I haven’t taught a (fully) online course before, I’d like to do so someday and, meanwhile, I wanted to learn more about how to engage in good pedagogy online for the sake of my face-to-face and hybrid courses. I saw it as an opportunity to hear from experienced online educators and, indeed, scholars of online pedagogy, what works best in online teaching beyond telling students “here are my PowerPoint slides and a discussion board, now go to town and learn.” Continue reading “Reflections on #HumanMOOC”

Social Study Guide project draft

I use peer review pretty regularly in my teaching, especially for project work, but I haven’t done much to design it in an online-friendly way. In particular, I haven’t yet used a peer review rubric to give students guidelines on what kind of feedback I’m looking for. (Mostly I’ve been in the habit of checking to see that feedback was given, rather than assessing its quality.)

So here’s a rough outline of a project I’m working on for the upcoming spring semester, and peer review guidelines intended to create some cognitive presence outside my classroom around it. Continue reading “Social Study Guide project draft”

Adventures in Online Teaching

I’m not new to teaching. I’m not new to technology, or to the internet. But however I’ve smushed those things together before, I still have not had the experience of “teaching online.” That’s in part because my institution – Bridgewater State University – has not been as quick as others to jump into online education (but we might soon), and in part because I teach in a discipline, mathematics, that poses special challenges to online learning that I haven’t yet learned how to overcome.

I also haven’t been a student in an online learning environment before. Today I’m starting a class called “The Human MOOC,” offered by Canvas Learning, about ways to translate the human interactions that make teaching, and make teaching fulfilling and effective, into online education. I’ll keep notes and share thoughts along the way in this blog under the #HumanMOOC tag along the way.