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March 24, 2018. Download all abstracts from Innovations in Teaching Symposium
Boxes, Bumps and Breakfasts: Object Lessons for Teaching Human-Centered Research and Analysis
Presented by Tamara Peyton, Harrisburg University
The interdisciplinary fields of Computer Engineering and Human Computer Interaction are increasingly faced with developing human-centered solutions faster, with fewer project members. As a result, while learning the process of design, students feel pressured to just go ahead and start building as quickly as possible. This is not the right approach, as students will then ignore the crucial problem identification phase of any project. In order to foster the right human-centered mindset in students, it is often necessary to get them to think outside the box, break down the bumps, and collaborate over breakfast. In this talk, I’ll share with you three different object lessons I’ve used in the classroom that wake students up to the need to think before they make. No tech skill needed!
Getting to Know Your Students Through Reflective Writing Assignments
Presented by Dana Olanoff, Widener University
An important aspect of teaching is being able to build on your students’ understandings and present material in a way that helps them learn. In order to do this, it is essential to know what their understandings are and how they learn best. In this session, I will share some reflective writing assignments that I have used in my classes in order to get to know my students and get feedback from them about the aspects of the class that they enjoy as well as those that they want changed. I will discuss how I use the students’ writing to help myself more clearly articulate my teaching goals and communicate them with the class. We will end the session by brainstorming some different ways that professors in classes of various sizes could incorporate some reflective writing into their own classrooms.
Teaching with the SimGlobal System
Presented by John McKnight, Harrisburg University
SimGlobal is a game system for teaching undergrad social science courses via simulation and roleplay, developed at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania, US. It offers a dynamic, engaging means of teaching critical thinking and interdisciplinarity while being adaptable to curriculum goals and instructor expertise. This workshop will cover the development and mechanics of this non-digital game system, and provide hands-on experience with gameplay for up to 15 participants.
The workshop is intended as an introduction to the system for anyone seeking to reorganize a course around a full-semester immersive experience. It will provide participants with the ability to apply simple and robust game mechanics to a course; to develop embedded assessment tools for a range of core skills and advanced subject matter knowledge; to develop scenario tools at minimum expense; to apply mechanics from live-action roleplay to ensure student engagement, immersion, and participation safety; and to gain an appreciation for the student experience within the SimGlobal system.
In this workshop, the designer and a facilitator will discuss the origins of the SimGlobal system for live action roleplay of a response to a complex humanitarian/natural disaster scenario in the undergraduate classroom. We will address scenario creation, learning objectives, assessment tools, and lessons learned from the assessment of data collected during the initial runs of the system in senior-level courses at a STEM university.
We address issues identified in the literature addressing entertainment and artistic live-action roleplay and serious gaming, and their impact on a student learning environment, along with the challenges of teaching within a semester-long immersive roleplay environment. We will explain game mechanics, technological augmentations to a core tabletop system, and the role of a facilitator in the SimGlobal system.
Attendees will be asked to roleplay as humanitarian response specialists called on to address a natural disaster, using the SimGlobal game system and scenarios to challenge leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking in a crisis. We will debrief to brainstorm refinements and opportunities for attendees to adapt our techniques in their classrooms. SimGlobal is a non-commercial product in prototype, and all our materials are publicly available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Making a Case for Real World Application
Presented by Stacy Goodman, Lebanon Valley College
Case studies can be a useful tool to encourage students to apply what they learn over the rote memorization of facts. Whether through the use of interrupted studies or simulations, students develop critical thinking skills while working in a collaborative environment. I will discuss some pedagogical resources that I have found useful for my upper-level Animal Behavior and Human Physiology courses and the benefits of incorporating even short case work activities into the classroom and laboratory.
Peer Review of Writing to Improve Scientific Communication
Presented by Susannah Gal, Penn State Harrisburg
In teaching a laboratory class, I found the laboratory reports were filled with English language mistakes and didn’t use the type of scientific writing I wanted. I was taking a lot of time to grade these reports and seeing the same mistakes over and over again. Then, I was fortunate to attend a workshop about peer review with a creative writing faculty on our campus. We worked on what specific expectations I had for the writing and created a peer review guide that provided those expectations with examples of what to do and not. I then implemented peer review in class with the students providing each other comments 1 week before the reports were due. This had many positive outcomes for me and for the students. I have since applied this approach to other writing classes in both science and non-science contexts. Specific examples of the peer review guide will be provided at the workshop.