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November 2013

I   Save the Dates for Jan 13-14, 2014 – Joint Symposia on Learning Coming in January
Third Annual GSI Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the Sciences Symposium and the Inaugural Science of Learning Symposium planned

II   Teaching Tips: The Innovative Instructor
State-of-the-art teaching information in print and online

III   Faculty Spotlight: Eileen Haase, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering
A continuing series on teaching excellence at Homewood

IV   Preparation for University Teaching
News of Note for Your Graduate Students

V   Classroom Technology Updates
What's new in classroom technology around the campus

VI   Blackboard Updates
Service Packs 12 and 13 to be installed December 26, 2013

VII   IT@JH News
New expanded "eduroam" Wi-Fi network services now available

VIII   Sheridan Libraries User Experience Group
Faculty - your input is requested!  

 

I   Save the Dates for Jan 13-14, 2014 – Joint Symposia on Learning Coming in January

Dr. Regina F. FreyDistinguished scientists and practitioners will present cutting edge research on human learning (including approaches from neuroscience,cognitive science, psychology, computer science, engineering, and education) and innovation in teaching and learning. One of the extraordinary speakers who will headline the Symposia is Regina (Gina) F. Frey, the Florence Moog Professor of STEM Education at Washington University of St. Louis, with a primary appointment in Chemistry. She is also the Executive Director of The Teaching Center and the Co-Director of the Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE). Dr. Frey is a national leader in STEM education and in research on STEM pedagogies, including active-learning approaches such as Peer-led Team Learning (which she helped to start at Johns Hopkins), and Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL). She is the major architect of the Washington University PLTL program and consults with universities across the country on implementing active-learning strategies in their STEM curricula and improving their introductory science curricula. She has been actively involved in evaluation of pedagogical methods since the late 1990s, and is a member of the Washington University Committee on Assessment of Student Learning. With Dr. Frey's help, Johns Hopkins University implemented Peer-Led Team Learning in six PLTL sections in mathematics in 2008. Students enthusiastically embraced this outside-of-class, small group learning technique, and this fall Johns Hopkins University has over 70 PLTL sections in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Her participation in the Symposium will allow the Hopkins community to learn more about how other universities are using and assessing their PLTL programs to help students learn more effectively. The full program of plenary speakers over two days includes: Sian Beilock, Psychology, University of Chicago Luca Bonatti, Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of Pompeu Fabra Lisa Feigenson, Psychological & Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University Regina Frey, Florence Moog Professor of STEM Education, Washington University of St. Louis Sharon Goldwater, Language, Cognition, & Computation, University of Edinburgh Greg Hager, Computer Science, Johns Hopkins University Takao Hensch, Molecular & Cellular Biology & Neurology, Harvard University Jim Knierim, Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University Sarah-Jane Leslie, Philosophy & Psychology, Princeton University Margaret Livingstone, Neurobiology, Harvard University Michael McCloskey, Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University Hal Pashler, Psychology, University of California, San Diego More information on speakers and topics will be forthcoming. This event is free and open to the public. Registration will open in November.
 

II   Teaching Tips: The Innovative Instructor

The Innovative Instructor blog screenshotLooking for scholarly discourse on the latest trends in higher education teaching? Interested in trying active learning strategies or clickers or flipping your classroom, but don't know where to start? Take a look at the Innovative Instructor series. Whether you prefer to get your information in traditional print format, online, through a subscription to a blog feed, The Innovative Instructor will answer your needs. The Innovative Instructor has two faces. The print series is a forum for articles on teaching excellence at Johns Hopkins University, focusing on Pedagogy, Best Practices, and Technology. Written by Hopkins faculty or campus instructional technology specialists, the goal is to increase communication about effective teaching solutions and how to achieve them. Through these articles, instructors share successful instructional strategies, learn what colleagues are doing, and discover new technologies and skills for the classroom or professional development. Print copies are available at the CER [Garrett Room, Q Level, MSE Library]. Articles can be viewed online as well. The Innovative Instructor is also a blog, which builds on the print series but publishes more frequently - about three times a month. Blog posts cover topics such as active learning, assessment, use of case studies in instruction, classroom management, instructional design, how to engage students, grading and feedback, collaborative learning, leading discussions, hybrid instruction, and teaching methods - often integrating expertise from scholars across the higher education landscape. If you have a teaching-related topic that you would like to share as part of the article series or as a blog post, please contact Macie Hall at macie.hall@jhu.edu.
 

III   Faculty Spotlight: Eileen Haase, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering

CER: What are you teaching here at Hopkins? Dr. Eileen HaaseEH: BME Modeling and Design is an introduction to biomedical engineering for freshman. Molecules and Cells is mainly a sophomore level class. It's a biochemistry and cell biology course taught from a quantitative perspective (e.g., thermodynamics is included). System Bioengineering Lab I and II is a junior-level course. This lab course provides the opportunity to develop models and experimentally test the material being covered simultaneously in lecture. I also chair JHU's Engineering for Professionals (EP) masters program in Applied Biomedical Engineering, and I teach Physiology for Biomedical Engineers in that program. CER: Can you tell us some of the challenges you have encountered in teaching these courses? EH: For the freshman Modeling and Design course, we want freshmen to realize that failure is not a bad thing. Failure is critical to learning and progressing. That idea is an adjustment for many of them who have done so well in school up to this point. We also want them to learn how to work in teams, ask questions, and talk to each other. Molecules and Cells course has an almost overwhelming amount of information to cover. You can't combine two courses (biochemistry and cell biology) without creating challenges in getting through the content. CER: What are your strategies or approaches for addressing the challenges and engaging students in your courses? EH: The Modeling and Design course is really an active-learning class. We immediately break them upStudents at Six Flags into teams of five and have them work in small groups. We don't lecture to them about biomedical engineering; we have them working as engineers. We ask students to develop models of a system and then test their models in lab. Most students are used to filling out a sheet in lab. There is no lab manual in this course. They have to come up with their own protocol, as they would in any research lab on campus. Each of the 25 teams is assigned a department faculty who mentors them. In working through their designs, they learn that failure is an important part of the design process. It's cool for them to come with assumptions, test them, and then make changes. We give them lots of challenges, but want them to have fun as well. One day each semester we take them to Six Flags so they can test their designs on the rides. Our freshmen are also given a short MATLAB assignment to help them become familiar with some of the tools we have available to help them. We developed a series of short MATLAB video tutorials through the Technology Fellowship program, and we post them Blackboard. Not all of our students have learned how to use MATLAB, and it's not an objective of the course to teach it. Students can watch the tutorials and then consult with an instructor if they have additional questions. Students at Six FlagsBased on the success of these online videos, we decided to use this approach to address the large amount of content we cover in Molecules and Cells. We created short, five-minute, Kahn Academy-like videos to summarize key topics covered in class. We encourage students to watch them before class so they come in having some familiarity with the topic and vocabulary. This year we added online weekly self-assessment quizzes. Students have a variety of learning styles as well as a wide range of experiences from high school. I want to have different resources available so students can choose what works best for them. Finally, Blackboard is loaded with course-related information. I spend a lot of time to make sure that Blackboard is easy to navigate (e.g., homework, papers, reference materials, links to relevant videos). Students are able to access everything they need from one site. CER: With so much content to cover in the M&C course, are you able to engage students during class time? EH: Every Friday, I use team-based learning. They take a quiz based on readings and lectures. Then they do the quiz again as a group. We use scratch off cards with the answers hidden so students get the answer right away in their group. They then discuss any wrong answers with the group. I worked with Harry Goldberg at the Medical School to add team-based learning exercises into my lectures. We also discuss case studies based on recent papers in journals like Science. For example, I shared a paper about a promising new malaria vaccine that came out. The challenge now is a biomedical engineering issue. How could it be mass produced? How could it be administered? It's exciting for them to see real world applications of the topics we discuss in class (e.g., molecular binding). We also use clickers in the course to encourage them to follow along during lecture. It's important for them to stop and think by applying concepts to a problem. CER: How do you know when you're successful? How do you assess student learning? EH: I compare test scores from year to year; however, you can't just tell success from test scores. Past students email me after graduation about their successes – that's more qualitative, but it's very informative. They tell me that they were prepared for the challenges of graduate or medical school. CER: What is your philosophy of teaching? EH: I want the students to know that I care that they get it. I want them to succeed and learn what they need for the next stage of their career. I tell them that I want them all to finish here. This is not a "weed out" class. There is a seat for you next year in the next course. The students coming in are smarter and smarter every year so I continuously try to improve the course and implement new approaches. I never settle in a class. It's a big job to prepare every year. Things don't always work out, but that's part of the design process. We have to keep pushing the boundaries. I tell my students if you never fail, you've never reached your potential. Student quotes Dr. Haase is one of those rare professors who really cares about the quality of undergraduate learning, and she devotes a lot of effort to creating educational resources. – Leslie Myint Dr. Haase was one of the most memorable teachers I had during my time as an undergraduate in the BME department. I enjoyed her approaches to teaching, not just because they helped me master material more quickly, but also because they were creative and interactive. - Alex Liu Photograhs of students at Six Flags by Will Kirk, courtesy of Homewood Photography
 

IV   Preparation for University Teaching

Logo for Preparing Future Faculty Teaching AcademyIn spring semester, the credit course, "Preparation for University Teaching" will be offered. Open to all graduate students, this course incorporates peer-to-peer teaching experiences and video recording of practice teaching for critique. Course and lesson preparation, presentation skills, effective facilitation of discussion, and development of self-assessment techniques are emphasized. Course enrollment is open to graduate students of KSAS (360.781) and WSE (500.781) in any year of their graduate program. This course also fulfills the requirements for a Phase II activity in the new Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Academy. Spots are limited so let your graduate students know about this opportunity now! http://web.jhu.edu/registrar
 
 

V   Classroom Technology Updates

Classroom upgrades. Classroom technology staff have met with faculty who teach in Mudd 26 auditorium and several improvements are planned over Intersession. Projection will be improved to enhance visibility for all students; blackboard access will be improved; and the persistently problematic audio system of Mudd 26 will be replaced. Also, Gilman 119 will be reconfigured to improveDigital projector functionality. Projection will be upgraded and reoriented, and the lighting will be replaced to improve display of high-resolution images. Lecture capture. The Panopto lecture capture pilot is in full swing. Thanks to the diligent efforts of Sean Stanley, Brian Cole, Nicole Pagano and Jonathan Soffar, faculty members have recorded their lectures and made them available to their students. Brian Cole has worked closely with the company to resolve issues involving the integration of Panopto with our Blackboard implementation. A look at the usage statistics reveals more than 350 hours of recordings, and more than 10,000 views. Screen shot PanoptoLecture capture is still in the pilot phase. Classroom technology support staff are continuing to address functionality and ease of use issues to make Panopto as capable of seamless recording as the former audio-only podcasting system that it is replacing. Staff are also testing hardware configurations to provide easy-to-use lecture capture kits for faculty who want to capture their lectures in any room, regardless of whether the teaching podium is set up for lecture capture. As we plan for the future of lecture capture on campus, feedback - both positive and negative - is most welcome to enhance deployment of the technology. Analog sunset for video playback. Starting in 2014, the Advanced Access Content System agreement between studios and hardware manufacturers will prohibit delivery of HD Blu-Ray content over analog outputs; Blu-Ray content must be digital only after December 31, 2013. This "analog sunset" for video playback affects only HD Blu-Ray content. Though there is no legal requirement for other devices, including PCs, fewer and fewer devices have analog outputs at all. Apple has not had analog outputs on its desktops or laptops for years, and Dell laptops no longer have VGA ports. Faculty who use analog devices, including older laptops, can still use them in Homewood classrooms without loss of video resolution. There may be some degradation in quality if commercial video content is streamed (e.g. ,via iTunes, Netflix or Amazon) and displayed through an analog connection. For more information see: http://media.extron.com/download/files/whitepaper/analog_sunset.pdf Faculty who have questions or comments about these or other classroom technology issues are invited to contact Fred Thomsen (thomsen@jhu.edu.
 

VI   Blackboard Updates

Scrollbars Unavailable in Grade Center – a Fix for Mac Users. If you are a Mac user, you may be have had trouble scrolling through your grade center columns because of the lack of scrollbars. A new default setting for Mac OS X is to keep scrollbars hidden until activated by use, which is causing frustration for some users. Fortunately the setting can be changed to 'always show scrollbars', which fixes the problem. Here is a link with more information and steps to change the setting: http://osxdaily.com/2011/08/03/show-scroll-bars-mac-os-x-lion/ Upgrade to Blackboard coming this December. On December 26, 2013, Blackboard will be unavailable to all users from 8am-8pm as Service Packs 12 and 13 are installed on the servers. New features and enhancements will be included:
  • New Math Editor! Long awaited by math and engineering instructors, LaTeX formula editing and display will now be supported in the upgraded math editor.
  • Inline Grading for Discussion Board, Blog, Journal, and Wiki tools. The grading interface of these tools has been upgraded to provide a more efficient and streamlined experience for instructors.
  • SW
  • Groups Management update. Modify group membership using avatars, perform bulk actions for deleting groups, and manage tool availability for all groups from one page.
  • Test Access Log. View detailed interactions of students taking tests, including test start and end times as well as time spent on each question.
Screen shot Blackboard Test Access Log
 

VII   IT@JH News

Logo for eduroamEduroam (Education Roaming) is a secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community. It allows students, researchers, and staff from participating institutions to obtain Internet connectivity across campuses and when visiting other participating institutions by simply opening their laptop. Visitors and JohnsEduroam network diagram Hopkins students, staff, and faculty will be able to use this wireless network as long as they have an Enterprise Directory UserID and Password from a participating institution. The network has been implemented on the undergraduate Homewood campus and the remote campus satellite campuses in Washington DC, Dorsey Center, Montgomery County, and Columbia Center. Expansion of the service to other Johns Hopkins campuses is planned. For configuration instructions, please click here.


 
 

VIII   Sheridan Libraries User Experience Group

User Experience Group process diagramThe Sheridan Libraries' User Experience (UX) Group builds relationships with our user community of faculty, students and staff to understand how they work with our physical and virtual space and develop tools and programs to enhance their experience with library content and services. We accomplish this by facilitating design processes that put the stakeholder front and center, focusing on using user feedback through surveys and interviews. So far we've worked primarily with students, and used their feedback to add a location map to book records in Catalyst, and change hours and staffing at service points to provide better service. Critical projects are getting underway which would greatly benefit from your input, including improved access to electronic resources from off-campus and updating the MSEL space. If you would be interested in contributing, please contact Steven Heslip, UX Director, at heslip@jhu.edu.