Presenter Resources & Materials

Panel A: Online Course Design

Judith Lanzendorfer

Community Times Three: Assessing Community in Face-to-Face, Synchronous and Asynchronous Classroom Environments of ENGL 272:
Technical Communication

This presentation will focus on observations/analysis concerning the creation of community in face-to-face, synchronous, and asynchronous English 272: Technical Communication classes taught in Fall 2014 at University of Findlay. Strategies for community building in the different environments will be used during the semester. Some strategies employed—just within the small group context—include discussion of team projects (what does it mean to function effectively “in a group”), partnering, team names, group peer reviews, among other strategies. During the semester these strategies will be analyzed and adjusted for greater effectiveness. All strategies will be used in each environment to see the level of effectiveness in each, but additional strategies may be employed in individual environments as needed. After the semester, further analysis will be completed to identify successes and shortcomings of the different strategies. Some of the hallmarks of success include individual feedback about the process from group members in weekly memos, satisfaction of the final written product, among other benchmarks. Although the presentation focuses on the instructor’s experience, time in the session will be allowed for discussion of other strategies from audience participants to improve community in face-to-face and online environments.

Ron Tulley, Tony Goedde and Heather Riffle

So There's No Chatroom? (Download Presentation or Examples)

This presentation will focus on observations/analysis concerning the creation of community in face-to-face, synchronous, and asynchronous English 272: Technical Communication classes taught in Fall 2014 at University of Findlay. Strategies for community building in the different environments will be used during the semester. Some strategies employed—just within the small group context—include discussion of team projects (what does it mean to function effectively “in a group”), partnering, team names, group peer reviews, among other strategies. During the semester these strategies will be analyzed and adjusted for greater effectiveness. All strategies will be used in each environment to see the level of effectiveness in each, but additional strategies may be employed in individual environments as needed. After the semester, further analysis will be completed to identify successes and shortcomings of the different strategies. Some of the hallmarks of success include individual feedback about the process from group members in weekly memos, satisfaction of the final written product, among other benchmarks. Although the presentation focuses on the instructor’s experience, time in the session will be allowed for discussion of other strategies from audience participants to improve community in face-to-face and online environments.

Nicole Williams

Research-Based Best Practices for the Design and Development of Online Courses

In the College of Education, we have begun to implement the Quality Matters’ research-based best practices in the design and development of our online graduate program courses. More specifically, the faculty members in the Master of Arts in Education core courses have voluntarily participated in an internal peer-review process to learn more about how to use the Quality Matters’ research-based best practices in their online courses. In addition, the new Doctor of Education online courses all use the same Quality Matters’ aligned course template. As a result, our faculty and students have reported immensely positive feedback in respect to the navigation and user-friendliness of these courses. The purpose of this presentation is to share some of these research-based best practices such as the design and development of effective course and unit objectives, course introductions, policies and procedures, course activities, instructional materials, and assessments. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops to engage in this interactive presentation. They will leave with strategies that can be immediately applicable to the development and design of their online courses.

Panel B: Teaching with Technology

Diana Montague

From Toy to Tool: Using Twitter to Study the News (Download Presentation)

Communication students need to learn how professional news outlets have
elevated the use of Twitter from a social toy to a professional tool to disseminate news in real time.

I require a Twitter account for my Intro to Mass Communication class and assign 15 news-based Twitter feeds to follow daily. Students also choose at least five additional news feeds to follow and they post their choices on a wiki so others in class can see who is following what.

Every class begins with “What’s in the news?” and students are allowed –encouraged!—to get out their smartphones to fuel the conversation. The results: Discussions about news content and coverage strategies are robust; often students compete to see who can offer the best “breaking” news of the moment. Discussions develop media literacy skills as students weigh “importance” vs. “popularity” of news stories and discuss why some stories get more coverage than others. Students who had no clue about some domestic and international issues now follow higher-profile current events and ask questions about the logistics of the political/cultural situations themselves. (At the beginning of the semester only one student could identify ISIS/ISIL. Now all students in the class follow the news on terrorism and ask insightful questions on how the terrorist groups fit together.)

Assessing the success: Each student also does a weekly news summary, and class discussions often precipitate additional insight in the summaries. A final exam question asks students to choose a news story that changed over the semester and trace how news coverage developed over the four months. Students can use compiled news summaries to develop this essay so the daily Twitter following has a cumulative effect on their ability to develop media literacy skills.

Anne Albert

Teaching with Technology - Why not use that SMART Board in your Classroom? (Download Presentation)

Looking for ways to improve your teaching, engage today's students, and add another dimension to your class? Let's talk about using the SMART Board in class. Our students increasingly have had SMART Board experience before coming to UF. They are being used in elementary, middle and high school classrooms. How can they be useful in the courses you are teaching?  What new opportunities for interactive learning can they facilitate?  Since receiving a 2010 Academic Program Partnership grant, I have been teaching in a classroom with a SMART Board (for at least some of my classes) each semester. I will present some ideas on using this technology. I hope the session will be attended by both faculty who use the SMART Board and can add their ideas to mine, and those who have ignored the SMART Board in their room, not knowing what to do with it! 

Panel C: Experiential Learning

Marie Louden-Hanes

A Class Act: readings and research in art history

Moving out of the classroom and into a regional art museum is what we are doing in this research – based class. Class Act is a collaborative research project that brings members of the group together for an active on-site investigation of a single work of art. This project prepares students for a public presentation for an undefined audience. This interdisciplinary approach engages students - regardless of the number enrolled in the class - as active partners in research. Their common goal is to work toward revealing the unspoken parts of the painting. Their methodology must include exploration and discovery of the time and place created by the artist as well as the contextual environment of the artist. To correctly read the painting and listen to what it has to say, students must experience the art first hand by standing in front of the original painting in the museum. This, then, is where the project begins, where research is initiated and where their project ends. The final act of the semester is a return to the museum where students present their findings - where they explain the visual narrative of the painting – in a public presentation of their research. Best practices in public speaking are reviewed and rehearsed in preparation for the final act of presentation in the museum. Students recognize that they are presenting their research for more than a final grade. They understand and acknowledge that through their research they are representing The University of Findlay on a public stage for an undefined audience.

Todd Beitzel

It Always Feels Like Somebody’s Watching Me: Role Playing as a
Mechanism in Facilitating Experiential Learning in Probation Work

In certain academic disciplines, educators often find it difficult to communicate, in words, the issues, challenges, and conundrums students will experience once they enter their chosen profession as an intern or as an employee. Role-playing can be utilized as an effective strategy to create experiential learning opportunities for students to comprehend concepts that are easier to grasp when experienced. This presentation will discuss a role-playing exercise that is used to convey the challenges and complexities of probation work. In this role-playing exercise, students are asked to play the roles of both probation officers and probationers. Students learn first-hand the challenges of supervision, rule adherence and enforcement, as well as the tedious nature of documentation and paperwork. Student experiences and learning are assessed through a reflection paper that addresses specific open-ended questions.

Hiro Kawamura, Chris Sippel, and Jamie Welch

Study Abroad Pedagogy: Coaching toward Linguistic Proficiency and Intercultural Sensitivity Development (Download Presentation)

A study abroad program provides a unique sociocultural environment for learners. They find themselves in an unfamiliar sociocultural environment and are removed from the pre-existing social networks. Even when they study abroad in a country where local people speak the same language as theirs, the different cultural environment may create challenges for them. What are the implications of these for instruction? What do instructors need to keep in their mind when they work with students in the study abroad context? The three presenters will address pedagogical issues associated with study abroad and other types of intercultural programs and share their teaching experiences with the audience. First, Sippel will examine the pedagogical issues associated with an intercultural service projects through a short study abroad program and a semester-long intercultural service learning program in Findlay, Ohio. Second, Kawamura will discuss how he “coaches” study abroad students during short-term programs. Lastly, Welch’s paper will discuss instructional techniques to assist international degree-seeking program students. This session will help the audience understand pedagogical issues associated with study abroad and other types of intercultural programs. This will help UF faculty develop effective teaching strategies for international students in their classrooms.

(Sippel) Milton J. Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (1993) was developed in order to facilitate an understanding of why people behave the way that they do when confronted by cultural difference and then how they adapt both internally and in their behavior in response to education and training. As an educator working with students to develop intercultural competence and intercultural sensitivity, Bennett’s model is extremely helpful. To reflect on how a student moves through its developmental stages, allows one to provide specific and appropriate experiences that will lead to further introspection, increased cultural engagement and personal growth. As such, several programs have been developed to meet UF students where they are in their development of intercultural sensitivity. Co-curricular programs such as Service Ambassadors, a semester long service-learning program in Findlay, and Oilers Serving Abroad, a short-term service experience in the Dominican Republic, aid UF students in progressing to further stages in the developmental model by providing and ultimately assisting them in identifying the role that diversity plays in the quest to have a “meaningful life and a productive career.” Utilizing reflective surveys after the programs, students’ display increased comfort in engaging diversity and piqued interest in learning about other cultures.

These results uplift the contention that these sorts of activities meet students at the appropriate developmental level and help them to continue on the path to acquiring further intercultural sensitivity.

(Kawamura) From the pedagogical viewpoint, study abroad can be categorized into three types: (1) a very short (1 week ~ several months), (2) short (several months ~ 1 year), and (3) a degree seeking program. This presentation will address pedagogical issues associated with type I and II study abroad programs. Learners’ in-the-country experiences are very different among these programs. The author has been working with study abroad students of the UF Japanese program (both American and Japanese students) by assuming the role of a “coach.” Here “coaching” refers to deliberate intervention that helps learners’ linguistic and cultural gains during study abroad. Based on the data collected through skype meetings and students’ post-study abroad reflection papers, it seems safe to state that deliberate intervention helps study abroad learners’ linguistic and cultural learning. This finding is supported by the studies by Sanford (1996) and Berg, Connor-Linton and Paige (2009). This presentation will discuss various types of “coaching” techniques the author has been using.

(Welsh) I will start my presentation by stating the mission of the IELP at The University of Findlay, which includes: increase English proficiency, assistance with adjusting to in the United States, and facilitate academic success.

Next, I will discuss various steps taken in pursuit of this mission: proper placement, creating a welcoming learning environment for students whose environment has been drastically altered, keeping structure and focus with course objectives/student learning outcomes, and students’ needs at the forefront, explicit and continual socio-linguistic and cultural training and feedback, and academic skills training.

Next, specific classroom techniques used in the IELP will be described.

Following classroom techniques will be a brief discussion of challenges:  Assessing students:  fluency vs. accuracy. Stifling growth through over-correction vs. preparing students for “the real world.”
Following challenges, is a discussion of results:  the desired outcome is seen when our UG students begin to take classes outside of the IELP, or the Grad students begin taking classes in their program. Their advisor helps the UG students choose appropriate classes for their first year outside of the IELP. By the time students are out of the IELP, it is our hope that they have enough language and cultural skills to be able to engage in this new academic culture. Assessment of results is found in the Academic Program Review results via Task Stream (Dr. Laverick) and anecdotal evidence (Marzog’s story, Ziyad’s story, etc.)

Finally, the impact of what we do in the IELP concludes this presentation: students are able to pursue their goals. They have been equipped with the necessary linguistic skills, logistical knowledge, and cultural awareness to function well in an American university.

Panel D: Student Evaluation and Assessment

Anne Beekman

Objective Rubrics for Creative Works

In the arts and humanities, instructors must provide impartial evaluation in subjects where there are no absolutes. This presenter is a professor in the ultimately subjective field of visual arts, and will share strategies for developing and using rubrics when grading creative work.

The session discusses how she devised a multi-criteria system of scoring—evaluating technical skill, aesthetics, originality, communication, and resourcefulness—that gives students individualized feedback, lessens grade disputes, makes the grading process more efficient, and provides measurable outcomes for assessment.
Without sufficient feedback, students may believe the evaluation is “just your opinion,” and the teacher may question if they are fairly assessing work when a student has a differing point of view. Critiques that are overwhelming, generalized, or focus on the negative result in loss of engagement in the classroom. Some students are so grade focused they do work they think the instructor will like, rather than developing their own voice. Encouraging self-expression begins by examining the difference between objective and subjective analysis.

Examples of rubrics for self, peer, instructor and external expert evaluation that enhance learning will be shared.

Sandra Earle

Group Testing After Individual Testing in Pharmacokinetics (Download Presentation)

Introduction: Individual written, high-stakes examinations are a foundation of assessment of an individual’s mastery of knowledge in higher education. The process of studying for and taking this type of examination is an important tool for learning. However, often especially in final examinations, an opportunity is lost. Student’s cannot learn from their mistakes or even learn from things they have answered correctly if there is no time or interest in a post examination review. In an attempt to remedy this, a group assessment has been added after taking the test alone.

Methods: Students are given one hour to complete their individual effort on the examination. After time has expired, students divide themselves into groups of no larger than four. They self-select these groups prior to the exam. They have 45 minutes to complete the same examination as a group.

Discussion: Students improved their performances when working together. They had the experience of having to teach each other and learn of mistakes made. The discussions are animated and passionate. Another benefit of this type of testing is that students teach each other and must be convincing and authoritative in their explanation of their “correct” answer. Barriers include the time it takes to give two examinations and the effort in grading the additional tests. Also since they self-selected, strong students tend to group together and weaker students also seem to cluster. Additional surveying and testing will be added next semester.

Panel E: Tools for Developing Student Relationships

Andrea Mata

The Power of Building Relationships (Download Notes)

Humans possess a strong need to belong. This need motivates us to behave in certain ways and avoid interacting with others in negative ways. If harnessed appropriately, professors can use this need in their students to their advantage in the classroom. One way that we can harness this need and hence motivate our students to behave in a positive way instead of a negative way is building positive and strong relationships with our students. This presentation will dive deep into psychological research on the benefits of building positive and strong relationships with students. These benefits may include: creating a more enjoyable learning environment, setting students up for success, increasing positive marks on teaching evaluations, and improving student retention. In addition to listing the benefits, I plan to explain why building strong and positive relationships with students leads to these benefits, and hence what we, as professors can do to build better relationships with our students. Consider this a presentation that focuses on providing professors with evidenced based tips based on psychological research on building higher quality relationships with students. (See chart in attachment)

Brent Wickham

Engaging Non-majors to Develop Their Understanding of Accounting

Students often don’t understand why they have to take certain courses outside their concentration. In teaching Introductory Accounting, we also face the challenge of engaging non-accounting majors and help them develop an understanding of basic Accounting Principles. Students can have a general fear of accounting and numbers.
It’s important early on to get to know your class. Prior to start up, I review the class roster so I know their majors. Typically, 5-10% of the class are accounting majors. The first class, every student introduces themselves and are encouraged to share what interests they have outside of class. I introduce myself as well, sharing “non-accounting” interests and let them know I struggled with understanding accounting early in my studies.

When we cover certain topics, examples are given that connect to their interests and how it applies to their major. Within the first week I show a “hip” video that highlights all the different areas that accountants work in. Many times, this video ignites a spark by showing a career that just happens to connect with one of their areas of interest. The students also find an “accounting related” article that interests them or is from their discipline to share and we discuss the connection between the article and a topic covered in class.

Since students have different learning styles, using multiple teaching techniques and assessment measures is important. We use an “on-line” homework management system that offers additional reinforcement of what we cover in class.

This approach appears to be working as attendance and retention rates are high and the majority of the students are engaged and performing well. This semester, two students have or are considering changing their major to Accounting and two others are planning on adding Accounting as either a second major or a minor.

Matt Stolick

The Student Information Sheet: A Useful Pedagogical Tool

In every class I have taught over 15 years I have employed a “student information sheet,” basically a first-day handout I distribute to students to have them fill out. They have been many times crucial in helping me connect with and better teach students. In this presentation I reflect upon these sheets and talk about the myriad of purposes served by these sheets. I also discuss things I have learned and usually learn about my students from these sheets. Further I examine each element of the sheet including: Name, Class, e mail address, major, hometown, things they hope to learn in this class, 3 characteristics you think reflect a good teacher, 3 characteristics you think reflect a good student, what grade you plan to work for, 3 words other people might use to describe you, a major area of your personal interest, and I also want you to know this about me. I plan for discussion and sharing of similar lessons learned from and purposes served by student information sheets and types of questions potentially asked on these sheets.

Panel F: The Flipped Classroom

Lindsey Buddelmeyer, Cyndy Goodwin, and Tara Griffiths

Jumping into Flipping the Classroom (Download Presentation)

A unique teaching pedagogy known as “Flipping the Classroom” has been gaining momentum over the past several years (Berrett, 2012). This teaching strategy entails students learning new material (gaining exposure) outside of the classroom through voiceover power points or assigned readings, using class time to apply (process) that knowledge through the use of problem solving and critical thinking activities (Brame, 2013). It is important that students take the preliminary steps of learning the material. Educators must propose an assignment based model where students have to produce work demonstrating they completed the readings prior to class. The use of processing and hands on activities in the classroom allows educators and peers to provide immediate feedback directly to students and reduces the need for the instructor to provide extensive written feedback. Flipping the classroom technique compliments Bloom’s Taxonomy in that students are responsible for lower level tasks of remembering and understanding outside of the classroom. The classroom environment supports the application, analyzing, evaluating and creating of learning. Such a model promotes critical thinking and problem solving.

In the flipped classroom, the traditional lecture is at a minimum. Flip teaching requires students to first study a topic by themselves, typically using video lectures or narrated powerpoints prepared by the teacher. Flipping changes teachers from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side”, allowing them to work with individuals or groups of students throughout the session and freeing class time for hands-on work.

The occupational therapy program has two formats of delivery – the Traditional and Weekend. The weekend format works best utilizing contemporary andragogical principals requiring instructors to maximize in-class time. The flipped classroom offers a unique approach to both groups of students in our program. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the flipped classroom and share the experiences of two faculty who have used the technique with good success with both our adult and traditional aged students.

  1. Brame, C., (2013). Flipping the classroom. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved Monday, November 17, 2014 from
  2. Berrett D (2012). How ‘flipping’ the classroom can improve the traditional lecture. The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 19, 2012.

Gregg Mott and Andrew Baker

Flipping the Classroom

In a move away from teacher-centered classroom lectures, a “flipped” classroom opens more opportunity during class time for practical application of content learned. Rather than assigning traditional types of homework outside of class, the students independently learn the content, often via video clips. The following class period will be used for practical work to strengthen content mastery. (58) 

The implications of this approach are being investigated in an ESL class in Spring, 2015. In this session, you will learn of the anticipated benefits the flipped classroom may provide students, an update of the study being conducted, and the general pattern of “flipping” a lesson.

Panel G: Undergraduate Research

Heather Yu and Peter Ronhovde

Learning Through Research in Physics (Download Presentation)

General Physics II (PHYS251) features a semester-long research project to investigate the links among physics, everyday experience, and other disciplines. Each student comes up with his/her own research idea and puts forward a hypothesis for the research. The project must involve at least one physics concept and it should include creative as well as experimental components. The implementation of the project includes the following steps: (1) exploring the research idea; (2) writing a project outline (including Title, Objective(s), Background, Method and Materials); (3) peer-review of project outlines; (4) Instructor’s comments and suggestions; (5) revising the project outline according comments from peers and the instructor; (6) conducting the research; (7) making a scientific POSTER; and (8) in-class presentation.

While conducting the research, students learn to design an experiment, analyze their data, and draw conclusions based on the data and observations. For many students, the POSTERs they write are their first scientific presentations. Students’ skills in critical thinking, effective communication, and applying physics knowledge/methods are assessed. The opportunities of enhancing students’ learning and the challenges in implementing research in our course will be discussed.

Panel H: Effective Teaching Strategies

Cynthia Fitzpatrick and Sandra Earle

Personality and Learning Styles: What Does It Matter (Download Presentation)

Oiler Pharmacy 150 is the introductory course for Pharmacy freshmen and a few upper class transfer students. Each year study skills have been part of the syllabus. In 2013, Dr. Earle requested that the new students do short, free on-line evaluations of their personality type and learning style. The students were cautioned that these were only snapshots that give indications of preferences. Following the activity, the interruption was presented to the class. Dr. Earle used graphs and charts to show the preferences of the group and each characteristic was discussed in class. Along with this discussion was explanation of study ideas for the different types of personalities and learning styles.

The Myers Briggs short evaluation discusses:  (1) where you get your energy, (2) how do you take in information, (3) how do you make decisions, and (4) how do you like to live your outer life and what do you want others to see. Through these questions a profile is developed. The profiles of the students were charted and a lively discussion followed. Students were asked to move around the room depending on their answer to the profile.

The VARK evaluation evaluated the students on their learning style. Each style has tips for study which were discussed and, again, a lively discussion happened. The students saw themselves as these learners and were inquisitive about the study tips. Multimodal – learning using all the styles – was preferred by over half of the students.

Allowing the students to understand themselves and their learning styles has made a difference in study patterns. With just two years of data, we cannot make valid statements, but by collecting the data a pattern is starting.

Yaseen Alhaj-Yaseen

Effective Teacher Attributes

Many teachers are responsible for teaching core courses. The importance of these courses comes from the fact that they represent the foundation upon which advance material are going to be built in upper division courses. Midterm and final exam grades are believed to be good and reliable indicators of how effective our teaching approach was during the semester. Many teachers, however, are confused about what affects scores in their exams. This confusion affect the way we teach our classes, deal with our students, evaluate their performance, and advance and improve our teaching philosophy. Lecture organization, presentation clarity, meeting course objectives, relevance of subject, and stimulation of interest are the top most influential factors. On the other end of the spectrum, supplementary materials, the nature of course materials, concern for students, course’s intellectual challenge, and fairness of the exams are among the least influential elements. While generalization is difficult, research shows that these factors, the most and least influential, tend to be always among the top factors at the two extremes across all disciplines, despite their rankings. Understanding these factors will help instructors becoming more effective in teaching their core courses. My presentation focuses on most influential factors in improving students’ grades and hence maximize the effectiveness of the instructor in the classroom. Examples of success and failure from my personal experience will be provided.

Jennifer Fennema-Bloom

Optimizing Memory and Retention through classroom instruction: How the brain works

Since as early as the 1980’s research on memory, retention and learning illustrates clearly that a learner’s ability to retain, recall and apply information is heavily dependent on the type of teaching method employed (Hall, Meyer, & Rose, 2012; Cast, 2011; Sousa, 2001; Stahl, 1985). Curriculum design and teaching methods that require learner interaction, communication, application and multiple means of representation and engagement create stronger neural pathways, which can increase both memory retention and productive learning outcomes. This session is designed to: 1) provide an overview of how memory works; 2) illustrate how instructors can optimize memory retention; and 3) provide multiple techniques, activities and protocols that instructors can employ to maximize classroom instructional time and increase both student engagement and learning outcomes.

Panel I: International Student Engagement

Joanna Schrecengost, Erin Violette, and Sean Farmer

Internationalizing: Strategies for the Globalized Classroom

In order to properly and successfully instruct international students, it is paramount to move beyond stereotypes and to have an understanding of the educational, cultural and cognitive factors that affect students’ learning. However, according to a 2005 report, while most academics are aware of the specialized needs of the international students in their classroom, many are unsure as to how they can address those needs (Ryan). The purpose of this session is to encourage the use of a variety of research-based strategies and pedagogical approaches meant to assist international students studying in a western educational context. Additionally, we will assist instructors in mindfully troubleshooting common problems and preparing lessons that will help students gain necessary skills to be successful in problematic areas. Educational and cultural backgrounds of common people groups will be explored. Issues addressed will include, addressing issues of academic integrity, improving student participation, adjusting lectures and course materials to increase accessibility, and cultivating a supportive classroom climate. An interactive panel presentation to include audience participation and hands on activities will conclude with a roundtable discussion to address participants’ specific questions or classroom issues.

Chris Moser and Allison Baer

Teaching and Engaging Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

The University of Findlay prides itself on having a large community of international students in many of our programs. As a result, we, as faculty, are frequently presented with classes filled with students representing many different cultures and languages. For international students to learn and succeed in our classrooms, faculty must not only acknowledge and understand the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students, but also create classroom environments and implement instructional strategies that address their unique needs. This presentation will discuss:
the importance of possessing a willingness to understand and relate to our diverse students;
the necessity of engaging in diverse activities and initiatives to increase our knowledge of other cultures;
the implementation of skills and strategies to better teach our diverse students.
As part of the session, the presenters will discuss strategies for teaching and engaging diverse students, as well as opportunities for faculty to increasing their understanding of other cultures and languages and develop their own cultural competencies. In addition, the presenters will help participants better understand that the initiatives and teaching strategies utilized to address the unique needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students enhances the learning experience for all classroom students.

Erin Laverick

The Benefits of English Language Learners Using Their Native Languages in Academic Writing

In recent years there has been an increasing amount of research and discussion about language diversity and variation in the writing classroom. Horner et al. (2011) have called for translingual writing as a means to value students’ native dialects and cultures. The translingual approach is especially relevant when working with English language learners (ELLs), who enter our classrooms with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, find a voice in the academy.

In an academic writing course offered through The Intensive English Language Program (IELP), I have begun using the translingual approach, teaching my students how to bring their native languages and cultures into their academic writing. Students learn how to provide context clues for their audiences, translate, and implement visuals from their home countries to effectively communicate with an audience. Students also learn how to analyze potential audiences before bringing their native languages and cultures into their writing assignments. The impact of teaching through a translingual lens is that students inherit additional rhetorical tools to use in their academic writing when they matriculate into their undergraduate and graduate programs at The University of Findlay. I assess their abilities to clearly communicate with an audience through their written reflections and the rubrics I design.

In this presentation, I will discuss and share effective ways for ELLs to bring their native languages and cultures into their academic writing, so audience members, who do not speak a second language, can participate in the students’ conversations. I will also share the assignments and rubrics I use to assess  student writing and provide sample student work.

Panel J:  Roundtable on Interdisciplinary Outreach and Team Teaching

Courtney Bates, Elkie Burnside, Terry Olthouse

More Than a Pretty Picture: Using the Mazza Museum to Create Critical Thinking (Download Documentation and Notes)

This panel presentation will offer perspective on ways to incorporate the Mazza Museum collection and staff support into classrooms to create compelling assignments focused on critical thinking. In English 202, students script a critical visual analysis of a single object on display. Dr. Bates will compare the differing outcomes when students shifted from an online video as a final project to multiple in-person presentations as part of the 2014 Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity. In English 272 and 282 students explore document design as an aspect of rhetorical composition. Dr. Burnside will examine how collaborating with Mazza staff for in-class sessions provides opportunities for students to transfer knowledge into discipline specific documents. Terry Olthouse, Education Coordinator for the Mazza Museum, will lead a brief activity that allows audience members to participate in a short activity in which they will review the collection on display, brainstorm assignment ideas, and share results.

Although these presentations center on use of the Mazza through the English Department, the panel will discuss outlines for ways in which various disciplines can adopt assignments specific to their learning outcomes. We request that this panel be held in the Mazza museum to allow audience members to participate.

Courtney Bates, Elkie Burnside, Nicole Diederich

Interdisciplinary Outreach through English Instruction (Download Documentation)

Three professors from the English Department will share their experiences teaching writing and literature in an interdisciplinary context. Dr. Bates conducts flash classes at student club meetings, which include a poem, a mini-lecture, and a brief creative writing exercise; these events helped pharmacy, equestrian, and graphic design students, among others, enjoy literature in a low-stakes setting.

Dr. Burnside explores how to incorporate disciplinary genres in a writing course designed for health professions and sciences majors. Dr. Diederich offers a writing and literature class designed for undergraduate students interested in continuing studies in physical and occupational therapy, a course designed and revised in collaboration with faculty in these disciplines.

Each of us makes explicit connections between the principles and concepts in English Studies and various interdisciplinary areas of study. Our desired impact is not only to educate students beyond the English major but also to emphasize the value of writing and literature to these students. We assess the results of these instructional approaches based on student feedback in formal and informal assessments as well as on feedback from our colleagues in the other disciplines.

Sarah Fedirka and Cheri Hampton-Farmer

Guess Who’s Coming to Class?: An Argument for Guest Team-Teaching

Strong written and ORAL communication skills remain among the skills most desired by employers. This presents teachers a two-fold challenge: 1) convince skeptical students that communication skills can be as important to their career futures as job-specific ones and 2) develop students’ abilities as effective communicators. Fall 2014, we were invited to guest teach on the subject of communication in all four sections of ACAD 125, a course that provides students the practical and theoretical knowledge necessary to make informed career decisions. This presentation shares our easily replicated lesson in which students practice their communication skills in a mock-business environment and using a variety of communication mediums. First, students are asked to read a brief article on a controversial business practice. After recording their impressions of the policy on a notecard, students share them in large group discussion. Next students work in small groups to plan how they would communicate this policy to an assigned audience (e.g., employees or the public) using an assigned mode of communication (e.g., email or social media). After sharing their communications with the class, students are asked to reflect on the lesson’s “take aways.”  As we address in our presentation, this layered approach promotes both hands-on learning and theoretical discussion. It also meets millennial learners’ expectations that classroom experiences will be engaging, interactive, and collaborative.

In addition to sharing our lesson, we argue in this presentation for the efficacy of interdisciplinary guest team-teaching in all courses. While course instructors may be hesitant to “give up” class time, we argue that doing so has multiple benefits: 1) it makes tangible the connections between and among fields or programs; 2) it allows students to interact with more University of Findlay faculty, creating a sense of institutional belonging among students; and 3) it can be used to promote the relevance of traditionally under-enrolled programs.

Poster Presentations

Deborah George

Bridge Program: An Alternative Curricular Model (Download Poster)

Background/Purpose: With the motivation for career advancement, many adult learners have chosen to return to graduate education. The bridge program is one relatively new alternative curricular model available for adult learners, who wish to build on their education. Evidence on the effectiveness of such programs is minimal. Thus, clinical performance outcomes between a bridge and a traditional physical therapy (PT) program were described and compared. Subjects:  Twenty-nine clinical instructors (CIs) were identified as having supervised the final internships of both traditional and nontraditional learners. Of the twenty-nine CIs, 17 (58.6%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Materials/Methods: A questionnaire that was mailed to the identified CIs, included seven demographic items and three open-ended questions. The open-ended questions concerned group differences, similarities, and possible explanations. Responses to the open-ended questions were analyzed for common themes utilizing frequencies and percentages. Results: Majority of the CIs reported that the nontraditional, adult learners had higher levels of abilities, including interpersonal skills (23.5%), communication (17.6%), professional behavior (41.2%), documentation (29.4%), and intervention skills (47.1%). The CI responses were categorized into five themes, including evaluation skills (47.1%), problem solving (17.6%), motivation (11.8%), confidence (17.6%), and supervision level (29.4%). The reasons for the differences or similarities between the two groups were focused on three main themes, which were personal maturity, life experience, and work experience. Furthermore, 58.8% of the clinical instructors agreed that past work experiences made the greatest difference with the nontraditional, adult learners’ abilities. Conclusions: According to the CIs, the nontraditional adult learners generally had a higher level of clinical performance in five main areas and this observed difference was largely due to the previous work experience in PT settings. These results support the use of the bridge program as an alternate curricular model for PT, which may be applied to other disciplines that have a large population of nontraditional, adult learners who are seeking advancement in their professions.

Sharon Ternullo

Is encouraging students to make out their own exam questions a good learning strategy?

I have found preparing exam questions has resulted in an increased depth of knowledge in topics that I am already familiar with and increases my breath of knowledge in areas that I have not encountered in my recent practice. I have been interested in whether encouraging students to write exam questions covering the materials that I teach would be a meaningful learning activity for them. I was also interested in what type of encouragement would be required and what the student’s attitude toward writing test questions would be.

I offered students in a therapeutics module an opportunity to write exam questions as an optional assignment and a grading rubric. Their incentive was a grade of 85% or above on this optional assignment meant that they were exempt from a class quiz that covered the same material. In addition, if I used their question on a quiz, as part of a class discussion, or on an exam; they would be given a bonus point on my material on the final exam. In addition, the questions they were asked to write were due before I discussed the material in class, which meant they had to become familiar with the assigned reading material in order to write the questions.

The student response was positive in that approximately 80% of the students opted to write potential test questions. All but 2 of the students received an 85% or greater on the assignment. I was  impressed by the quality of the questions and gained a perspective on what the students considered important in terms of topics and in terms of whether their questions required simply memorization or required more sophisticated thought processes to answer. Based on this trial, I would like to develop a more formalized assessment of question formulation as a learning process.

Sharon Fleming-Walsh and Joyce Lammers

Student Pro Bono Clinic or 6 Week Lab Practical (Download Poster)

Students have limited experience with people that have neuromuscular disorders. The purpose of the pro bono clinic is for the DPT students to get experience applying theory to patients concurrent with academic preparation, and to fill a community need for pro bono services.
Description: Patients have ranged in age from 6 mos-86 yrs. with diagnoses such as SCI, TBI, CP, Down syndrome, and MS. The students in groups of 2 or 3 receive patient information 3-4 days before the first session. Each group is responsible for contacting the patient, treatment, and preparation. They examine and treat this patient in the hour during lab time for 6 wks. with supervision by a licensed PT. During the session, the supervising PT maintains patient safety, and facilitates hands on application. After the treatment session, learning continues with critical thinking discussions between PTs and students. The students are required to use a standardized assessment tool with their patient and develop a home program. Each week students submit patient documentation. They also do weekly self-reflections such as list and describe 2 things: you did well this session, which you wish you could have done better, and you are going to do this week to display growth. Weekly the students are assessed on body mechanics, safety, communication, critical thinking, documentation and self-assessment. The students follow up with the patient’s primary care provider regarding progress and recommendations. Students also observe their peers treating patients, analyze their movement, problem solve causes of the movement disorder, and provide alternative suggestions.

This process has been in place for over 10 yrs. and has been consistently rated highly by students. Clinical instructors report that our students are very well prepared in this area and easily make the leap to clinical practice.

Laura Leventhal

Toward Best Practices in Teaching of Usability Engineering 

Contemporary computer science juniors and seniors are expert programmers but their ability to build user interfaces that support a broad range of human constraints is typically quite low [cf. 1]. Good usability engineering is a key skill for 21st century computer scientists as upwards of 60% of commercial software is related to human-computer interaction and successful products depend on usability [2].

For many years, I have taught a usability engineering course. The course consists of lectures, in-class activities and a term project. The term project incorporates engineering of feasibility, task, design, implementation and assessment. The course covers many activities from Bloom’s taxonomy [3].

My current best teaching practice is to use the term project to engage students beyond classroom material. In past projects, when students engineered user interfaces for persons with limited motor skills, I found that students’ attitudes toward issues of access to technology, measured with pre-post surveys, broadened [cf. 4]. In Fall 2014, students are building a user interface for a smartphone app; the app supports information management and text manipulation; user interaction is through a small visual display and touchscreen. The 2014 project includes significant ergonomic and perceptual constraints. Mid-semester, I note that students in the 2014 class, measured informally by quizzes, are much more aware of issues of ergonomic and perceptual limitations than students in prior terms. In future, I plan to use a term project that combines accessibility challenges from prior projects with the ergonomic and perceptual challenges of the current project. I plan to formally assess outcomes, using the methodology of [4]. For the foreseeable future, computer scientists will be engineering user interfaces for small devices; offering students opportunities to practice these skills on a large-scale is a good way to prepare them for future professional situations that they are likely to encounter.

  1. Instone, K. and L. Leventhal (1989) Acquisition of Computer Science Expertise Project Pilot:  deGroot Recognition task. Bowling Green State University Computer Science Department Technical Report, #89 - Apr04.
  2. Leventhal, L.M. and J.A. Barnes (2008) Usability Engineering:  Process, Products and Examples Prentice-Hall.
  3. B. Manaris, M. Wainer, A.E. Kirkpatrick, R.H. Stalvey, C. Shannon, L. Leventhal, J. Barnes, J. Wright, J. B. Schafer and D. Sanders (2007) Implementations of the CC’01 Human-Computer Interaction Guidelines using Bloom’s Taxonomy. Computer Science Education Journal. 17(1), pp. 21-57, March 2007.
  4. Poor, G.M., L.M. Leventhal,  J. Barnes,  D.R. Hutchings, P. Albee and  L. Campbell (2012) No user left behind: Including accessibility in student projects and the impact on CS students’ attitudes Transactions of Computing Education. 12(2), April 2012.