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September 2009

I   Emailing Your Class – Resources for Faculty
Email the whole class from within ISIS with a click of a button

II   Library Resources for Class Preparation
Set up reserves, reserve a viewing room, and contact your librarian

III   Recent Technology Upgrades to Homewood Classrooms
Find out which classrooms and lecture halls now have improved technology capabilities

IV   Faculty Spotlight: Linda Gorman, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
A continuing series on teaching success stories on the Homewood campus

V   New Course Management System Confirmed
Blackboard to replace WebCT for Homewood full-time programs

VI   CER Services Available To Faculty
Check out the CER’s cafeteria of services and resources to help with your teaching

VII   Training Institute Offers Orientation for First-Time Graduate Instructors
KSAS and WSE graduate students participate in training sessions

 

I   Email Your Class – Resources for Faculty

ISIS Logo Did you know that an email distribution list is automatically generated for every class? You can email all registered students with one click of a button from within ISIS. How does it work? Once you are logged into ISIS, select the correct term. A list of all your classes should appear below, with headings that include "Course," "Section," and "Enrolled." Just to the right of these is a heading that says "Email Class," with two icons. The icon on the left will allow you to send an email to your class from within a web-based ISIS interface. ISIS Email Icons The icon on the right will launch your mail program and automatically enter the address for the class distribution list. Another way to email the whole class is to click on "View" under the heading "Roster." A web-based class roster will appear. To email the entire class, click the "Entire Class" link in the upper right-hand corner - or to email a single student, click on his or her address. The ISIS interface makes the process easy, but you can always contact the class directly from your own email account. As long as you have already established your own email address in ISIS, you're good to go. ISIS Email Icons Just follow this pattern for the distribution list name: term.division.department.course.section@lists.isis.jhu.edu For example, a list might be named fall2009.as.030.459.01@lists.isis.jhu.edu. More information and answers to frequently asked questions are available here: http://help.sset.jhu.edu/display/FAC/Emailing+Students+in+Your+Course
 

II   Library Resources for Class Preparation

As you launch into your teaching for the year, please take advantage of library services for instructors. The Reserves unit makes print and electronic materials available to specific classes. Contact them with your lists of readings as soon as you can to ensure that your lists are processed in time for your assignments. Reserve lists can also be linked to from within your online course space. Link: http://reserves.library.jhu.edu/access/reserves/findit/policy/polhow.php Sheridan Libraries Logo You can also place movies or other audiovisual materials on reserve and reserve viewing rooms for group viewing of movies or other video resources. To request either an audiovisual reserve list or to schedule a viewing room, please contact the AV unit. Link: http://www.library.jhu.edu/collections/av/ Research Services Librarians are assigned to departments and programs to help with reference questions, offer research skills instruction, develop course-specific research guides, and purchase library materials. Contact your librarian: http://www.library.jhu.edu/departments/rsc/rslist.html
 

III   Recent Technology Upgrades to Homewood Classrooms

The following classrooms received updates and improvements to the audio/video systems this summer:
  • Remsen 1: A new Crestron touch panel AV control system, a new audio system better suited to speech reinforcement, a new Epson document camera, and integrated lighting and projection screen controls were installed in the existing teaching counter.
  • Mudd 26: A new Crestron touch panel AV control system, an upgraded wireless microphone, and an additional projector were installed to permit simultaneous projection and blackboard use.
  • Hodson 110: Two new projectors and fixed projection screens were installed on either side of the blackboard to provide additional board space when simultaneous projection and blackboard use is needed. This upgrade now provides three distinct projection modes for Hodson 110: large center screen, centered side-by-side, and (new) split side projection.
  • Hodson (all): New brighter and higher-resolution Epson projectors have been installed in all Hodson classrooms to replace the original projectors. Several Crestron touch screens have also been replaced as needed to correct issues with pixel loss and inconsistent touch panel response. New higher-contrast touch panel design and improved control layout for Crestron systems being deployed throughout all Crestron-based classrooms.
  • Dunning (all): New Extron AV control panel mounting boxes that provide increased elevation and better ergonomic access have been installed.
Crestron Console Other updates:
  • Krieger 309 Mac-based computer classroom has 16 new iMacs.
  • Krieger Computing Lab (HACLAB) has 50 new Dell Optiplex 960 PCs.
  • Preliminary work has begun on a planned Technology Store to be located near the Krieger Computing Lab.
  • Pilot program for remote application access for course-related software applications for students is continuing for the fall semester.
For additional information on any of the above projects and updates, please contact Graham Bouton at graham@jhu.edu or 410-516-5565.
 

IV   Faculty Spotlight: Linda Gorman, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

CER: What are you teaching here at Hopkins? LG: I teach two large lecture courses: Introduction to Physiological Psychology in the Fall and Psychopharmacology in the Spring. I also teach neuroscience seminar courses (e.g., Brain Injury and Recovery of Function, Neuroplasticity) for advanced undergraduates along with a Neuroscience Introductory Lab course each semester. CER: What teaching strategies do you employ in your large lecture courses? LG: We know people learn through multiple modalities, so I try to present the information to students in different ways: textbook, podcasting, and my presentation slides. I like to have a good textbook that is slightly more comprehensive than the content I plan to teach. I encourage students to skim, but not read in detail, the relevant content before they come to class so they have an idea what the lecture will be about. There are a lot of scientific concepts and jargon discussed in class, so this activity gets them familiar with the language. I update my lectures every year. The neat thing about neuroscience is that new discoveries are constantly being made, so I incorporate the latest research and findings from the field into my lectures. It also gives me the opportunity to make improvements from previous years. I put all my PowerPoint slides online before class so students can download them and bring them to class and take notes on them. I use a lot of animations in PowerPoint. I’m a fast talker, and as I get excited about the content, I talk even faster. The PowerPoint animations force me to slow down. I also invite students and my teaching assistants (TAs) to raise their hands to slow me down. I use the auto-podcasting system in the classroom. All of my lectures are recorded automatically and posted online (http://podcasting.jhu.edu). Once I started podcasting my lectures, I noticed students were not scribbling as furiously because they knew they could go back and listen to the lecture again. They can focus more on the big picture. Other faculty asked if I was concerned that students would stop attending class when I started podcasting. I told them I wasn’t, because it’s the responsibility of students to learn the way that best fits them. If that doesn’t require them to come to class, that’s fine with me. I tell students, however, that those who come to class tend to perform better on exams. I have not seen a dramatic drop off in attendance since I began podcasting my lectures. Overall, I try to write each lecture as a story. No one can know everything about the nervous system. So I try to give them an overview - I’m the Vanna White of neuroscience – while also giving them enough detail to challenge them. In fact, I start every class by showing my presentation outline so they know where we are going. I then include what I call cocktail trivia – real world applications of the content we are discussing - so they can connect it to the real world. Ultimately, my goal at this level is to expose students to lots of different ideas so they can identify topics that excite them. I originally became interested in neuroscience through an Introduction to Physiological Psychology course. Linda Gorman Photo CER: So how do you encourage students who develop an interest in a particular topic to follow their new found passion? LG: I point students to the other learning opportunities on campus. I encourage them to pursue undergraduate research experiences and attend neuroscience-related lectures at the Homewood and Med School campuses. I also let them know about opportunities to be subjects in faculty research experiments. In fact, I give a small amount of credit for students who attend research lectures or participate in Experimetrix, a program run by the Psychological and Brain Sciences department. I also recruit students to participate in our Making Neuroscience Fun (http://www.jhu.edu/mnf/) program. This program sends undergraduate volunteers to teach age-appropriate neuroscience material in K-12 classrooms. K-12 students love it and our students love it. Plus, it provides a great learning opportunity. If you can teach a topic, you understand it. CER: What challenges do you face in your classes? LG: The biggest challenge I face in my classes is the rapidly increasing enrollment. I used to have less than 100 students in my Introduction to Physiological Psychology course. Last year it was 167 students, and with this year’s growth in the freshman class, it’s capped at 250. I like to walk around the class as I lecture and focus on students’ faces to see if they are “getting it.” With over 100 students in the class, it is hard to get a sense of whether the class is with me or not. CER: How do you plan to change your approach to accommodate the increased number of students? LG: I’m planning to use the clicker system (in-class voting). I don’t plan to embed questions in my slides beforehand, but I will use it spontaneously to engage students and to help me gauge their understanding of the content so I can adjust my pace as needed. With all my classes, I also find that it is best to be upfront about my policies – the rules and regulations. I am here to help students learn, but there are limits on what I can do for students, however, because of the large enrollments. In general, my rule is that I will only do something for one student if I can do it for everyone, except for disability accommodations. CER: How else do you support students outside of class? LG: I encourage students to visit me during office hours or make an appointment as soon as they begin struggling with the content. I don’t want them to wait until the end of the semester. When I’m here on campus I make myself fully available to my kids. I also hire 4-5 undergraduate TAs - students who received an A or A+ in the previous year’s class. They attend the class and then camp out on the M-Level couches in the MSE Library. Students can then go the library for “office hours” at night and ask questions of the undergrad TAs. These TAs can also talk to the students about good study habits. CER: How do you know when you’re successful? How do you assess student learning? LG: I use student evaluations. I read through all their comments. Right now, I’m looking at the comments from fall 2008 courses in preparation for this year’s courses. I pull from the energy of the class. I can read their faces and see when they are “getting it.” Now that my classes are getting bigger, I’m going to use clickers to stay connected. I also grade my own exams. This helps me get a feel of whether the class mastered the content and identify what changes I need to make. This will have to change as the class gets bigger. I will have to use the TAs to help grade, so I have been talking to the CER about developing a rubric for grading and possibly grading in groups like the introductory biology faculty do. CER: What is your philosophy of teaching? LG: When I was a post-doc at Johns Hopkins, I worked with David Olton. He told me all you need to do to be a good teacher is to go into the classroom and tell students fairy tales. At first, I thought he meant you make things up. But I soon realized he meant a teacher should structure a lecture like a story. People have been learning from “stories” passed down through generations for years. To be a good lecturer, you need to be a good storyteller – because then students stay interested. I also tell my students, "I’m here to teach, you are here to learn." I’ll work with them anyway I can, but ultimately, they have to take responsibility for their learning. I tell them to advocate for themselves. For example, I tell them to come see me right away if they didn’t receive the grade they expected on a test. Don’t wait until the end of the semester. I then ask them to bring their class notes and their exam, and we talk about how they study. I want to make sure they get the big picture, then we focus on the details. CER: So in a sense, you teach them study skills in addition to neuroscience. LG: Absolutely - I’m here to teach, and I find it very rewarding when I see a student improve over the semester. Former students offered these comments on Linda Gorman’s approach to teaching: "Dr. Gorman teaches with such high energy and enthusiasm, inspiring interest in her lectures with her own fascination with the subject matter. She is also very understanding and acknowledges that not every student studies in the same way and tries to accommodate everyone." "Dr. Linda Gorman is a charismatic and personable professor. Her enthusiasm for the subject matter she teaches, as well as her dedication to reaching every student, made me look forward to even an early morning class!" "Dr. Gorman is such an amazing teacher because her passion is very infectious. She gets you so excited about the subject you don't even realize you're learning! Taking her class was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made." "What makes Dr. Gorman a great professor is the fact that she really cares that you learn the material. Rather than just focusing on what you can memorize, her emphasis on giving students something they can take away with them, along with her unique and fun style of teaching, has made her courses among the best at Hopkins."
 

V   New Course Management System Confirmed

Linda Gorman Photo As you may already know, Blackboard Version 9 will replace WebCT as the campus course management system, with a pilot scheduled for spring term 2010 and complete migration scheduled for fall term 2010. The deans of the Krieger and Whiting Schools have authorized a plan to begin building a Blackboard environment for the full-time programs to be hosted by IT@JH. Click here to see a preview of the Blackboard Version 9 environment on our website. In the coming months, CER staff will be working closely with IT@JH to develop a migration plan that we hope will be as streamlined as possible. We will keep you informed of this process as it unfolds. If you have any questions or suggestions you’d like to contribute regarding this transition, please contact Amy Brusini (abrusini@jhu.edu). WebCT will remain in place for one more year – academic year 2009-10. If you need a WebCT site for this year, please send an email to webct@jhu.edu. Note: The migration from WebCT to Blackboard will affect the full-time programs of the Krieger and Whiting Schools. The part-time programs, AAP and EP, will use Sakai, which they have been piloting for the past year.
 

VI   CER Services Available to Faculty

CER Logo Whether you are a faculty member new to Johns Hopkins or an established professor who has not yet explored our services, the Center for Educational Resources welcomes you to the fall 2009 semester. The CER provides pedagogical support and resources for both traditional and digitally supported teaching. Our location in the Garrett Room of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library allows us to work closely with Sheridan Libraries research services librarians and University IT staff. The CER staff have advanced academic degrees and experience in instructional settings, and, most importantly, they are flexible and willing to provide both individual consultations for faculty or small group presentations for departmental groups. Training opportunities:
  • course management system (WebCT) information, support and training
  • Bits and Bytes, an informal weekly brown bag lunch workshop series on emerging digital technologies
  • TA training and workshops
  • dedicated instruction to meet individual faculty or departmental needs
Instructional technology resource assistance:
  • Interactive Map Tool and Timeline Tool (CER developed course resources)
  • Turnitin plagiarism detection software
  • in-class voting student response (clicker) system
  • web conferencing and collaboration with Adobe Connect
Resources especially for faculty:
  • faculty multimedia lab with up-to-date tools to record and distribute lecture materials, enhance presentations visually and aurally, and prepare materials for conferences and grant proposals
  • two mobile computer carts that can transform any classroom into an interactive learning space
  • Tablet PC Loaner Program that allows faculty to borrow a Tablet PC for an entire semester and explore its features at their own pace
Other services:
  • partner with faculty to develop instructional assessment and educational outreach sections in grant proposals
  • review instructional applications of Web-based resources to enhance instruction
Technology Fellowship Program:
  • bi-annual mini-grant program to help faculty address course-specific student learning objectives. Over 75 projects from 28 departments have been completed to date. Faculty are invited to e-mail or call any of our staff to discuss instructional needs at a convenient meeting time. Staff bios and contact information are available online.
 

VII   Training Institute Offers Orientation for First-time Graduate Instructors

orientation.cartoon The CER offered a half-day TA orientation program on September 1, 2009, in Hodson Hall. The event was open to all graduate students in KSAS or WSE with teaching assignments for fall 2009 and/or spring 2010. Faculty members, University deans and administrators, and experienced TAs discussed resources and services available to TAs and covered common classroom challenges such as leading discussions and labs, assisting struggling students, and addressing academic dishonesty. For more information, or to request a copy of the updated Johns Hopkins TA Training Manual, contact Richard Shingles at shingles@jhu.edu.