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EDCI 943: Observation #1- Fall 2017

Principles of College Teaching -EDCI 943

Observation #1 – Fall 2017

Here you and your partner can post your interview questions and the observed instructor’s responses to these questions. Please refrain from listing the instructor’s name in your post. We will discuss your observation and interview experiences during class.

10 thoughts on “EDCI 943: Observation #1- Fall 2017
  1. Observation of class:

    Instructor began course with uplifting music. Later during the interview, we learned the music was specifically chosen to correlate with the topic of the lecture.

    During the lecture, instructor allowed students to interact by asking questions about lecture content.

    Instructor constantly walked around front of room; never positioned behind computer.

    The lecture PPT was almost strictly pictures. Rarely was text used. Instructor also used pointer to further instruct.

    Very few students had laptops or technology out. Students seemed very engaged.

    Post observation interview:

    Instructor has been teaching over 40 years. This course has been taught over several years in a variety of ways throughout the various institutions he has taught at, so he is very familiar with the course material.

    His course plan is to engage the students with visuals and speak on those visuals. He also gives “quizzes on the go” which acts like a pop quiz that students obtain at the start of class and complete throughout the lecture. This helps students feel engaged and gain extra points.

    Instructor feels that not all students are fully prepared for college, so he tries to assist the students in every way possible throughout the semester. He’ll bold text on an exam for clues, talk with students if they are struggling and is constantly refreshing his lectures with up-to-date information.

    Some advice to future instructors is to always change content and keep the lectures fresh. His office was floor to ceiling non fiction books about varying topics, including Disney books. He is always learning about new concepts, new methods of teaching and feels that as long as you are an instructor, you should still be learning. He also mentioned that the challenges with being an instructor will never stop. There is always a new class of students to teach.

  2. Jordann Brandner, TJ Wukitsch, Kim Newberry

    General Notes During Class – Mike Wesch
    · Started class with a music video and challenged students to figure out how it is related to the material today, but then also explained how it was related to the concepts they’d be learning today
    · Knows student’s names, also already sort of knew which students were struggling with the material and checked in with these students during class
    · Some slides with only photos/pictures, didn’t use text unless he had to
    · Tells stories to teach, seemed to give more meaning to the material being presented
    · Foreshadows within class
    · Posts slides after the lecture has been given, doesn’t reinforce idea of memorization and keeps spirit of mystery “what will I learn today”
    · Makes connections with something they’re familiar with to explain difficult concepts, including cultural references, movies, actors, and own personal life
    · Asks students to explain and define things, not afraid to have a moment of silence or a pause to encourage thinking
    · Checks in on students to see if they get it
    · Calls attention to previous lessons, constantly related current material with previously covered material to highlight the relationships and influences between material
    · Really knows how to create powerpoints – e.g., text on top of video, seamless piecing together of video clips
    · Allows students to ask personal questions
    · Gives questions for practice for exams and holds review sessions
    · Invites students to go running with him
    Kept a conversational tone, which encouraged discussion and lessened the power dynamic
    Students showed constant engagement – e.g., taking notes, reacting to videos, asking and answering questions. Rarely distracted.
    Sometimes used the phrase “does this make sense” – should be careful about this, specific questions are better than a general question like this, but this wasn’t used too often
    Had a very open posture and was engaging to the students.
    Interview
    When should you ask questions and what if the students don’t answer?
    Gave example of how the first day he had people stand up and do a human scatterplot, where students move to different locations based on their answers to the questions. Encourages diversity and discussion, makes the space more personal. But after that class, the students still weren’t too engaged and didn’t feel comfortable asking/answering questions. That is when he realized that students can only hang on to 4 or 5 big ideas and that he needed to make an environment that was conducive to making mistakes. Present the ideas as a challenge to the students. This worked better.

    · Class size is just big enough to make people shy, personal stuff
    o Find the wisdom in what someone said, regardless of how mundane the comment was, nurture a sense of if they’re saying something, there is a reason and you need to seek the bigger reason, treat them as if it was a brilliant thought to make it a deeper question

    How can you correct students without making them feel uncomfortable or discouraging them from asking future questions?
    Hope that other students step in. If not, anticipate these kinds of things and try to prepare ahead of time. Give personal examples of how language is constantly changing and how these ideas are difficult to understand, and show that even you had to be corrected at one point. Also, try breaking the tension with humor. Frame questions in a positive light and as difficult to figure out and that mistakes are ok to make.

    · Hope other students step in
    · Anticipate and prepare ahead of time
    o Complex thing, words are constantly changing, language is important, and its okay to make a mistake, I’ll still correct you, but its fine
    · Break tension and tell something funny with the lesson embedded

    How can you confront adversarial students?
    Try to create allies out of adversaries. See their contributions as gifts and opportunities. Always show them respect but challenge their ideas. Do not let ignorant or incorrect ideas stand but handle it tactfully and frame it as a good opportunity for further discussion. If necessary, refer back to the strategies for “correcting” students. Show that the professor is not infallible and that we all make mistakes. In severe situations, speak with the student outside of class and come to an agreement or have them unenroll.

    · Create allies, see their contributions as gifts/opportunities
    o Respect them but still challenging their ideas
    o Teaches students to understand other perspectives and how to address them in a good way
    · If it is a permanent problem, talk with them and ask them to unenroll maybe
    · Hope another student will rise up
    · Create an atmosphere where you might make mistakes
    · Stories of own ignorance and how you got past it
    o had to learn it all too, prof. is not infallible

    How did the structure of your class evolve over time?
    Used to focus on the personal journeys of the students, but after having students “figure out” the system, hiding from personal journeys, and not appreciating the content or ideas, he decided to move to a more content-based format. He realized that personal journeys are unavoidable, so it wasn’t necessary to have students explicitly create them. Since moving to a more content-based format, he’s been thinking about increasing the number of students who can enroll, from 50 to 450.

    · Sometimes a personal journey is unavoidable
    · People were undervaluing the content and hiding in faking the personal journey
    · Present mind-blowing ideas and let the journey happen

    How do you think about teaching?
    Student centered teaching. ALways think about what you want your students to get out of it. Teaching is like crafting an initiation ritual. What does it take to become a _____? Build the content of the course around those pieces or ideas and then engage the students in challenges. Does this material need to be memorized or put into practice? Then base the activities and assignments on that. Additionally, treat the readings as information or the “what” and the lecture as inspiration or the “why,” and make sure the students understand the meaning behind what they are learning.

    · How do you want them to think at the end of it?
    o Teach to that, big idea focused
    o Is there a way of being that you’re trying to teach? Teach content with that underlying current
    · 10 cores, 10 challenges to address each core lesson
    o Memorization or practice? Assignments should focus on your goal (usually practice) if application to be the goal, the assignments should have them apply the knowledge to something.

    How did you develop or craft your stage presence?
    Being insanely well prepared is usually a good idea. This helps build confidence. Also, envisioning what the class will be like. He reminds himself that he loves his students and that in the end, it is not about how he performs or what he thinks. It’s about what the students need to learn and whether or not they are learning. It also helps to be enthusiastic about what you are teaching, even if it’s 2 minutes of a 50 minute lecture, and transforming those “have-to’s” into “want-to’s.”

    Building a show they can learn from, not just a lecture; what about stage presence
    · Be well-prepared
    · What’s the 2 minute version?
    · Remind yourself to love your students
    o Its not about me, its about the students
    o Allows you to not be self-conscious a little
    · Enthusiasm! 😊
    · Transform “have to’s” to “want to’s”
    o Even if its something small

    How do you incorporate media into the classroom and choose the appropriate video content?
    He watches tons of videos and only uses the very best. He is super strict about the timing of clips, said even 1 sec off could be too long. So he ends up using lots of short pieces. The goal is to always show stuff (videos or powerpoint text) that you are talking about or saying in that moment. He uses youtube and video editing software to piece the clips together, makes everything more seamless. And has the videos play automatically. Using relevant videos is a great way to break up the classroom experience and supplement the lecture content.

    · Only the very best
    · Even 1 second too long is too long, edit the videos, know the stop point
    · Never show something you’re not saying
    · Line-by-line animations
    · Download the video, crop, and insert into the powerpoint, play automatically

    Powerpoints after, not ahead of time
    Storytelling, storytelling, storytelling 😊
    Think of lecture as inspiration, and reading as information

    Pay attention to the students who are the best students, and how they learn
    · Knowing how they learn makes it easier to teach that strategy to other people
    Think of it more like an initiation ritual, a series of trials for the students to experience, practice, and prove themselves to themselves.

  3. How refreshing to find a 40-year veteran who still loves his job and loves to engage his students. We have lots of teachers like that here at K-State. I love this place!

  4. Sharpe and Barts Observation #1

    Start with review from last class. The problem is about beer. There are handouts. This is a big class. Several hundred students in a large lecture hall. He is using a microphone.

    His handwriting is terrible. The class starts on time. He asks for some student input. Uses a video projector. He is dressed up. He is wearing a suit. References previous class.

    Also writes on board. Specifically addresses desire for students to understand. Apparently played Weird Al. Has Big XII students for the week. Assigns them a specific opening question. Asks these students to sit in a particular part of the room, asks each of them by name the question, gets a collective opinion, creates individual interaction, gives them personal feedback, does not criticize mistakes. Knows how to use the technology in his classroom. Brings up a YAHOO! Sports article about college basketball.

    He gives his view, states it is an economic perspective, asks students what they think without judgement, it is casual but makes them think.

    Brings up the relevance to sports at KSU. Maybe this makes this personal for students. Uses visuals.

    In talking about the question, he does reference the concepts that he wants students to learn. MRUniversity, uses online resources that present the material in different ways, gives them additional materials to pursue for individual further learning and review outside of class. Willing to adjust tasks for the day to accommodate student questions. The students call him doctor.

    If prices increase, the nominal GDP increases (inflation). The other way that GDP can increase is if more nominal goods and services (or better or more valuable) are produced. We typically expect BOTH prices and production to go up. We need to add up the changes overall.

    He seems incredibly comfortable in front of the classroom and with his material. References notes? Walks around the classroom while teaching. This feels comfortable and natural. Gives time for students to think about questions, allows one question to lead into another. Does not let them hang so long it interrupts flow or makes people feel awkward. Presents different versions of the model, makes them available to students.

    Says important terms multiple times. Mentions exam and the type of question that might be asked. Gives non-threatening ways to participate. Acknowledges that this lecture is not the most interesting. Emphasizes what needs to be known, even if it is not all the information ever. Students for the most part seem engaged. Writes important things bigger.
    Illustrates concepts with orally created examples. Uses a word document that he scrolls through instead of a powerpoint. Makes abstract concepts tangible, relevant. Not at all reading off of the text on the projector, but leaves it up there for students to use if desired.

    Seamless transitions from use of different technologies (projecting computer, projecting handouts, writing on board, etc.). Acknowledges when things are confusing but also takes the time and care to simplify them. Communicates respect for students and their intelligence in the way that he addresses them and approaches the material. Has the material clearly easily accessible in his working memory. Checks in with students to gage understanding. Seems unhurried, completely in control of the class, but also aware of time and flow.

    Has a dice that he throws at students and the one it hits has to answer the question. Asks for guesses in a non-threatening way.

    The word document is the class notes that appear to have been posted, so students can follow along. He can somehow bring in additions to the word document that had been previously hidden (how does he do this?? They were white and he turns them red #magic) Also types into the document. Encourages students to interact and share ideas in a controlled way, though does not overuse this. Tries to give students confidence.

    Brings in almost 10 different websites, tools, articles, media to supplement “boring” lecture. Uses the last two minutes of the class to re-enforce the concept, rather than trying to fit in new material. Is not afraid to use humor but does not over-rely on it.

    Interview Questions

    1. How long have you been teaching the observed course?
    He has been teaching Principles of Economics since he came to KSU, for 14 years.
    In 2004 he came to KSU
    He had taught micro economics at U of Arkansas since he finished grad in 2000.
    Almost always teaches a big lecture, some summer classes, was a recitation leader in grad school.
    This class is 230-240, the biggest classes he’s had.
    It was previously capped at 150.
    He took on a bigger share of students 7-8 years ago.
    Teaching now is not remarkably different from 2004, though more things are on a flash drive now.
    He uses handouts in about ¼ of classes.
    He goes to a lot of teaching conferences.

    2. How has the course plan (e.g., lesson plans, activities, syllabus etc.,) changed/remained the same since you began teaching the course?
    It has changed a little bit, some things emphasized more than in the past, less time spent now on the boring details, trying to spend more time applying concepts to people’s lives, make clear things that would not be intuitively grasped
    We have many majors represented, try to work with a generalist audience, take our meaningful things if this is the only econ class they take, “life lessons.”
    When he goes out to speak with economists, they see the world the same way (think about things at the margin, opportunity costs). There are many sayings in economics, no such thing as a free lunch, demonstrate that.

    3. What are the student learning outcomes for the course? How do you accomplish these outcomes during class? How do you assess these outcomes?
    He was accumulated more examples over time. Does not have specific SLOs for each class, has a course statement with broad SLOs. You really need to hit them in a class like this. But not the same level of individual class level organization. He has taught high school teachers who want to be certified in econ, sees their organization and specific documentation. He does not do this. He has SLOs, but they feel more intuitive. What do they want students to get out of each unit, re-enforce this throughout the semester. Hit hard property rights and importance of governance. The great recession is new, and they want students to understand this (end of the semester). Economic concepts have not changed significantly, try to keep examples and stuff current. The college scandal, make sure that students understand and can connect this to the class. There will probably be a question about this on the exam (wage ceiling). Not in a vacuum. Exams incorporate both the broad concepts and some of the more applied examples that the class has discussed. Things they should know.

    4. How do you get students engaged/interested in the class?
    Try to be Socratic in nature, do at least one think, pair, share per calss. Let them talk. The big 12 thing is new (10 people). Learn who some of the people are by doing that, can go to those people, have been doing for 5 years, most people like it.

    5. TEVALs?
    Try to incorporate what is reflected in bigger patterns, oversees grad students. Want at least some people to say that you are too hard. Switched to using more type written notes. Got good feedback on big 12, kept it going. People like the videos, try to show them most classes, a lot of The Office. Solicit personal feedback halfway through the semester, show both that people think it is too fast and to slow, to show them the diverse composition of the class.

    6. What are your thoughts on posting materials before/after class or not at all?
    He likes to post an outline, more stuff posted for this lecture than is usually posted. Doesn’t want students to spend a lot of time writing things down. Leave blanks for graphs and examples. Do not put those up in advance. The 11:30 class is not as good. Try to accommodate both. Respond to that perceived frustration.

  5. Instructor Observation Notes – Team:
    Yanqun Peng
    Derek Clements
    Paul Karr

    Yanqun Peng
    Observation notes
    1. The instructor arrived 10 minutes earlier to listed all the equations from previous class and Learning objectives on the white board.
    2. Talked about tuition fee increasing, what is it going on in the department and the field? Updating with that. I think it is important to let students to know the big pictures.
    3. She used “Sir” “Mam” for being respectful.
    5. After lecturing, students do their own equations. Playing music when students are doing the calculations. Instructor shared that she let the students pick their own music.
    6. Goes person by person, making sure anyone who needs help gets her attention. Worked another problem after observing students’ practice.

    Derek Clements:
    Interview notes
    1. We don’t have tests, we have celebrations of knowledge.
    2. Took a week long seminar to develop teaching techniques.
    3. Uses lots of demos.
    6. Gives quizzes without a time limit. Tells students it should take 30 minutes in order to ensure they are prepared for the test. Quizzes are only worth 8% of the total grade, so it’s ok if they don’t do well on them.
    7. Creates an environment where it’s ok for students to fail. Makes failing safe so that they know the material before the celebration of knowledge.
    8. Learns student’s names by asking them to fill out a form with info about them. Must include a fun fact and a current picture.
    9. Allows students time to work the problem on their own so that the students know what they don’t know.
    11. Has template for board notes so that she doesn’t have to look through all of her notes. Just draws what is on the template.

    Paul Karr:
    1. Posted Learning Objectives on the board for the whole class. 1, 2, 3. Concise and followed the lecture. Gives the students a roadmap for the class.
    2. 8 minutes into the lecture she played a silly video to reset their attention.
    3. Water tank demo – simple but engaging and helpful.
    4. 23 minutes into the lecture she played another video to reset the attention span again.
    5. She had them do a problem in their seats and then explained the solution after they tried it on their own.
    6. Called on a couple kids by name.
    7. A lot of enthusiasm and unapologetic quirkiness.
    a. Stuck a Picture of Darcy on the board – “here’s Darcy”, as if he’s watching the presentation.
    b. Muppets “munumuna” song a reminder of what a “manometer” does.
    c. Picture of Bernoulli
    8. I was inspired to post learning objectives on the board like she does. Tried it twice today and it was great.
    9. I was also inspired to do “board notes” like she did to plan out what I would draw on the whiteboard during lecture. I also tried that twice today and it was a HUGE help.
    10. And lastly, I have a renewed commitment to learn my kids’ names and I printed off 75 flash cards for myself to carry around in my pocket all day.

  6. Joab Esamwata, Yile Su, and Nick Sevart’s Observation:

    General Notes:
    -Class was well conducted
    -The big three questions were answered but in a more subtle way without being explicit
    -The professor used the white board instead of power point, and we think it played a critical role
    -There was a nice flow to the class
    -The professor seemed to know the subject like the back of their hand
    -The professor was well prepared for the class
    -The professor subtly mentioned SLOs at the beginning of the class
    -The professor gave a quick review of the previous class
    -The professor demanded class participation, and the students seemed to be quite responsive

    Interview Questions:
    Q1) I really enjoyed watching your lecture. I noticed your use of candy when teaching gustation to engage students’ attention and participation. What else you have found helpful in your teaching that helps bring back students’ attention?

    A1) I think teaching is about 99% instinct so unfortunately I don’t have a lot of tips or tricks about this one. It also depends upon the group of students you have. Some are just dialed into the material and some aren’t. The group you saw has been very easy to work with from day 1 this semester and that makes a huge difference because the mood is just upbeat which makes my job enjoyable. If you had seen this same class last year it would have been a completely different story.

    Q2) I also noticed you checking in with students intermittently to make sure they can ask questions. I really like the space you provide there for students. What other methods do you think can be helpful for instructors to use to encourage students’ questioning in class or outside of class?

    A2) Never ever ever make a student feel bad or silly for asking a question. Sure, I get some pretty unsophisticated questions, but you have to treat them all as if they were the most novel thing you ever heard because it creates an environment where students feel more and more comfortable and then the level of sophistication rises as well. I always reward the ‘try’ by acknowledging the attempt.

    Q3) I noticed a high level of participation by students in your class, what will you attribute this to, and how do you create such an environment?

    A3) I honestly do not know. I’m always surprised at this to be quite honest. We just have great students at KSU.

    Q4) One of your students I was seated next to, appeared to be detached and somehow aloof from the rest of the class, and I noticed that you kept throwing glances at her. Would you say that was a polite way of letting her know that you were concerned about her situation? How do you address cultural difference concerns in your class?

    A4) Yep! She is very shy and withdrawn in lecture and lab and doesn’t really talk to her class or lab mates either. Students like her seem to respond the best to subtle cues. Calling them out on something would be devastating.

    A4 cont.) Cultural differences… this is a big one, especially in the sciences where diversity is a real issue that we are trying to improve upon. A couple of things I do is show videos or interviews from scientists of many, many countries. I want to establish early and often that science is universal and it doesn’t matter what background you come from.

    Q5) Do you always use a white board over other types of presentations? Have you found that using the white board is better than power point or a picture?

    A5) ALWAYS. I loathe, detest, despise Powerpoint or any form of passive learning and do not use it in any of my four classes. The problem with that form of teaching is that it artificially makes a non-linear and ill-structured domain like science (and I mean any type of science) into a linear and straightforward process. And then we test students and expect them to think critically or creatively or outside of the box? Why? If we’ve only used PPT then we haven’t even modeled or demonstrated how to think about something in a non-linear way. Why? Are we afraid of doing so in front of students? Do we think learning should be nice and neat with no dribbles anywhere? Are we afraid we might not know the content very well ourselves or be able to explain or field a random question from students? Do we hide behind our canned PPT lectures produced by textbook companies because we hope the professional appearance of those slides will subdue our students? This is not teaching and it does not lead to learning.

    A5 cont.) The other reason I draw everything is because humans are mostly visual learners, it’s why our occipital lobe (visual processing) is the largest of our brain lobes. We also do much better if we can discuss what we are drawing right as we are doing it because it uses a dual channel approach and this has been shown to increase the amount of info that students can process in working and long term memory. Also, it gives students something to do – they have a job and it helps keep them focused and on task. Plus, if you are having to draw something it’s a lot harder to text or scroll through FaceBook.
    *Sorry for the rant. I just think PPT allows some teachers to hide behind a slick looking presentation instead of actually teaching. I’m sure that is not true for all, but if it’s true of even a handful then that is too many.

    Q6) I seemed to me that you knew the information like the back of your hand. I am sure that you have given the lecture several times, but it was still impressive to see you conduct the entire class from the white board without any notes. Having said that, how do you prepare before a class?

    A6) Yes, I have given that lecture a few times but I also created the e-texts I use in my courses. Having to amass and write about your subjects at a level that is comprehensible for undergraduates makes you have to become ultra-familiar with these processes. It was actually harder to write these than it is most academic/peer-reviewed articles because you need to use simpler language and that can actually be quite difficult.

    A6 cont.) I do still prepare before class though. Usually I prepare an hour outside of class for every hour inside of class. My preferred method is reading journal articles to make sure I am up to date on the topics then challenging myself to explain the topics in a way students can understand. This helps insure that they are getting the most accurate info as the discipline currently understands it and keeps the info fresh and new for me too because I’m always challenging myself.

  7. Tiffany Lawless and Chase Hood

    General class notes:

    – Opened by asking how everyone’s doing and with announcements

    – Incorporates review questions from last lecture

    -Writes SLOs at the beginning of the lecture on the slides

    -Owns up to mistakes when he misspeaks

    – Did a good job explaining things. Interactive examples. Pointing out what is important and how this information builds on previous lessons.

    – Good job of explaining the conceptual logic behind the equations/reactions and their results.

    – Provided real world examples, in this case, acid rain and ocean acidification. Explained how ocean acidification makes it more difficult for organisms to produce calcium structures and if they die of a huge source of oxygen in the atmosphere will be gone.

    – Did not notice student watching House M.D. on their computer.

    – Saying things like “this should be obvious” and “you should know this” when students didn’t answer immediately.

    – Made clear what was expected to learn and what the students would be tested on.

    What do you do when students don’t want to engage?
    Tie back to their career or current life.

    What’s one thing you’ve noticed about students that you try to counter?
    Students worry about grades. I don’t curve so there’s no competition. I give extra practice time during their recitation section. I give them old exams so they can practice. I employ a “smart” homework grading system that will give them immediate feedback and let them try problems again for partial points.

    Can you sum up your teaching philosophy in one sentence?
    Engage your students in their learning.

    How about your teaching methods?
    Create necessary responding.

  8. Audrey, Stuart, Jason, and Inneke

    Interview:

    •4th year teaching this course at K-State
    •Teaches the course every semester and even teaches it online during the summer, but doesn’t like teaching online as much
    •Uses variable scoring assignments and now even offers choice assignments and project differentiation to help students take ownership of the work, course and their grade.
    •There is also a lab component of the class
    The instructor has started leaving video comments on assignments via Canvas.

    Class:
    •The instructor plays music before the class to set the tone.
    •Very obviously prepared
    •Most students were engaged. Very few seemed to be on their phones or on social media on their laptops.
    •Lots of movement and action in this class
    •since the instructor is teaching teachers, they often model good teaching
    •Emphasizing what’s important, “This will be on the quiz”
    •Implements volume change in voice, which draws more attention.
    •incorporates group learning

    Overall, great instructor and interesting approach to teaching.

  9. Emily Koochel, Jessie Gardiner, Damaris Hansel

    Notes on David Fallin’s class.

    In-class observations:

    Waited outside the classroom before coming in then made an entrance.

    Immediately walked and greeted the class. Set the tone and environment for the class going forward.

    He had people have name tags out and he would use their names when talking.

    Involved the students in a review to make sure he is on the right track.

    Used slides and projection at the same time, to explain the topics.

    Involved the students in making the information applicable to them and their experiences.

    Engage the class with questions and critical thinking about US cultural symbols.

    Encouraged students to do things that will take advantage of things outside of his class that would help them be successful in real-life.

    Used humor to engage the class about marketing using international branded products.

    He clearly has done his research to make things relevant to his students’ current life.

    Interacts with students directly to make sure they are doing alright while in class.

    He also attempted to stop disengaged students who were talking to pay attention to him by walking close to them and looking at them.

    Everyone took notes on paper, none of the students had computers.

    Used a quiz to take attendance and made sure technology was working well for them.

    Talk after class
    The questions below and the conversation led to the following comments from Dr. Fallin:

    Questions
    – How long have you been teaching?

    Forever. He has teached since 1996, maybe even longer.

    – Do you incorporate SLO’s? If so, how do you accomplish and assess these?

    He incorporates SLO’s indirectly through online homework and assessments.

    – Do you have any advice?
    Don’t teach. If you do, be yourself. You are not going to meet everybody’s needs.

    – Best practices ideas?
    Implicit reviews (last three slides), and be unique and do what works for you!

    – How do you keep students interested or engaged?
    Doesn’t allow technology because it distracts him. Distance class isn’t doing well because he doesn’t know how to keep them interested.

    – What is your teaching philosophy?
    Real world application.
    Every week has at least one quiz.
    Classes are a very small part of the learning experience in college. The students should have the full college experience.

    -Extra comments:

    Worries about the future of public education at the lower level specifically. Elementary education, the way it is approached, is a worthless degree from a business standpoint.

    Too much emphasis on teaching evaluations (Tevals) immediately following the conclusion of the course.

    Online connections are harder to make with students; you heavily rely on them to communicate properly.

  10. Joab Esamwata, Yile Su, and Nick Sevart’s Observation:

    General Notes:
    -Class was well conducted
    -The big 3 questons were answered, but in a subtly way
    -The professor used the white board instead of a power point, which we believe was a critical part of the class
    -The professor was creative and effective who was able to convey knowledge to students through her graphics on the white board
    -Students were engaged throughout the class
    -The learning environment was educative, collaborative, and surprisingly enjoyable
    -The professor was well prepared for the class
    -The professor gave a refresher at the beginning of the lesson to remind the students about what they learned last class
    -The professor demanded participation, and the students were responsive

    Interview Questions:
    Q1) I really enjoyed watching your lecture. I noticed your use of candy when teaching gustation to engage students’ attention and participation. What else you have found helpful in your teaching that helps bring back students’ attention?

    A1) I think teaching is about 99% instinct so unfortunately I don’t have a lot of tips or tricks about this one. It also depends upon the group of students you have. Some are just dialed into the material and some aren’t. The group you saw has been very easy to work with from day 1 this semester and that makes a huge difference because the mood is just upbeat which makes my job enjoyable. If you had seen this same class last year it would have been a completely different story.

    Q2) I also noticed you checking in with students intermittently to make sure they can ask questions. I really like the space you provide there for students. What other methods do you think can be helpful for instructors to use to encourage students’ questioning in class or outside of class?

    A2) Never ever ever make a student feel bad or silly for asking a question. Sure, I get some pretty unsophisticated questions, but you have to treat them all as if they were the most novel thing you ever heard because it creates an environment where students feel more and more comfortable and then the level of sophistication rises as well. I always reward the ‘try’ by acknowledging the attempt.

    Q3) I noticed a high level of participation by students in your class, what will you attribute this to, and how do you create such an environment?

    A3)I honestly do not know. I’m always surprised at this to be quite honest. We just have great students at KSU.

    Q4) One of your students I was seated next to, appeared to be detached and somehow aloof from the rest of the class, and I noticed that you kept throwing glances at her. Would you say that was a polite way of letting her know that you were concerned about her situation? How do you address cultural difference concerns in your class?

    A4) Yep! She is very shy and withdrawn in lecture and lab and doesn’t really talk to her class or lab mates either. Students like her seem to respond the best to subtle cues. Calling them out on something would be devastating.

    A4 cont.) Cultural differences… this is a big one, especially in the sciences where diversity is a real issue that we are trying to improve upon. A couple of things I do is show videos or interviews from scientists of many, many countries. I want to establish early and often that science is universal and it doesn’t matter what background you come from.

    Q5) Do you always use a white board over other types of presentations? Have you found that using the white board is better than power point or a picture?

    A5) ALWAYS. I loathe, detest, despise Powerpoint or any form of passive learning and do not use it in any of my four classes. The problem with that form of teaching is that it artificially makes a non-linear and ill-structured domain like science (and I mean any type of science) into a linear and straightforward process. And then we test students and expect them to think critically or creatively or outside of the box? Why? If we’ve only used PPT then we haven’t even modeled or demonstrated how to think about something in a non-linear way. Why? Are we afraid of doing so in front of students? Do we think learning should be nice and neat with no dribbles anywhere? Are we afraid we might not know the content very well ourselves or be able to explain or field a random question from students? Do we hide behind our canned PPT lectures produced by textbook companies because we hope the professional appearance of those slides will subdue our students? This is not teaching and it does not lead to learning.

    A5 cont.) The other reason I draw everything is because humans are mostly visual learners, it’s why our occipital lobe (visual processing) is the largest of our brain lobes. We also do much better if we can discuss what we are drawing right as we are doing it because it uses a dual channel approach and this has been shown to increase the amount of info that students can process in working and long term memory. Also, it gives students something to do – they have a job and it helps keep them focused and on task. Plus, if you are having to draw something it’s a lot harder to text or scroll through FaceBook.
    *Sorry for the rant. I just think PPT allows some teachers to hide behind a slick looking presentation instead of actually teaching. I’m sure that is not true for all, but if it’s true of even a handful then that is too many.

    Q6) I seemed to me that you knew the information like the back of your hand. I am sure that you have given the lecture several times, but it was still impressive to see you conduct the entire class from the white board without any notes. Having said that, how do you prepare before a class?

    A6) Yes, I have given that lecture a few times but I also created the e-texts I use in my courses. Having to amass and write about your subjects at a level that is comprehensible for undergraduates makes you have to become ultra-familiar with these processes. It was actually harder to write these than it is most academic/peer-reviewed articles because you need to use simpler language and that can actually be quite difficult.

    A6 cont.) I do still prepare before class though. Usually I prepare an hour outside of class for every hour inside of class. My preferred method is reading journal articles to make sure I am up to date on the topics then challenging myself to explain the topics in a way students can understand. This helps insure that they are getting the most accurate info as the discipline currently understands it and keeps the info fresh and new for me too because I’m always challenging myself.

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