I Hopkins Faculty Explore Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the Sciences
3rd Annual GSI Symposium Held January 13-14th 2014
II Teaching Tips: Padlet
A Web and Mobile App with Pedagogical Possibilities
III Faculty Spotlight: Loreto Sanchez, Associated Teaching Professor, Department of German and Romance Languages, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
A continuing series on teaching excellence at Homewood
IV 2014-2015 Technology Fellowship Applications Now Open
Faculty/student mini-grant funding is available - apply now
V Panopto Moves from Pilot to Production Service
Classroom Technology News and Notes
VI Blackboard Updates
Known issues and some time savers worth mentioning
VII Homewood Outdoor Wireless Project
News from IT@JH
VIII Research Clinics
New this spring at the Eisenhower Library!
I Hopkins Faculty Explore Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the SciencesOn January 13th and 14th the University held its third annual Symposium on Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the Sciences. This year, the event was part of a two-day symposium co-sponsored by the Science of Learning Institute and the Gateway Sciences Initiative. The first day highlighted cognitive learning research; the second day explored some of the practical application of techniques, programs, tools, and strategies that promote gateway science learning. The objective was to explore recent findings about how humans learn and pair those findings with the latest thinking on teaching strategies that work. Nearly 450 people attended all or part of the two day meeting; approximately 80% from Johns Hopkins University with representation from all divisions and 20% from other universities, K-12 school systems, organizations and companies. GSI's program took part primarily on the second half of day two and was kicked off by guest speaker, Gina Frey, Florence Moog Professor of STEM Education, Washington University of St. Louis, who presented insightful and practical techniques on "Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL): Philosophy, Implementation, and Evaluation." Dr. Frey posed the question, "What elements make the peer-led, team learning methodology a successful group-oriented, collaborative-learning strategy for students?" She explained that peer-led team learning (PLTL) introduces students to effective group study by supplementing a lecture course with formalized study groups. Students meet weekly in groups of approximately 8, led by an advanced undergraduate (peer leader), to work on problems that are designed by the course instructor. The goals of the PLTL model are to (i) teach students how to solve problems using collaborative-learning strategies; (ii) improve students' problem-solving skills; (iii) provide facilitated help for students in introductory-level STEM courses; and (iv) create an active-learning, confidence building environment for students. A digital poster session followed during lunch which highlighted 9 of the initial round of GSI awards and featured innovative projects such as, Active Learning in General Physics, Julian Krolik; Peer-Led Team Learning for Introductory Chemistry, Paul J. Dagdigian, and Louise Pasternack; and Curricular Enhancements for Biology and Biological Sciences: Revamping the Freshman Experience, Joel F. Schildbach. Attendees then convened for a panel discussion which highlighted a selection of 8 GSI Johns Hopkins projects. Panel leaders led breakout sessions to explore in-depth discussions on four major topic areas; "Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL)," "Re-designing Classroom Space to Foster Active Learning," "Active Laboratory/Project Learning," and "Online Learning." For a complete list of the GSI digital poster and breakout sessions and the full two-day program, please click here.
II Teaching Tips: Padlet
Finding applications that have potential for classroom use is always rewarding, especially if the app is free and easy to use. Enter Padlet, a web-based application that gives you a "wall" (think of it as a multimedia bulletin board) that you can drag and drop content onto in service of any number of pedagogical objectives. A Padlet wall can be adapted for many uses. Here is an example (created by a CER staff member) of a Padlet wall that displays text and photographs taken at a cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina, that had been originally used for slave burials. It was easy to drag images and a text document onto the wall (which can be customized using a number of different backgrounds), and to use the built-in text boxes for annotation. Audio and video clips can also be inserted, as well links to web materials. In less than 15 minutes, the wall was completed. CER staff have recommended other applications for faculty who want students to create online exhibits including Google Sites, WordPress, and Omeka. These offer more features and flexibility, but for being easy to use, Padlet takes the prize. Other uses include creating timelines, assembling evidence to support an argument, building a visual data set (the world map background might be particularly useful for such an exercise), or to create an online poster presentation. See the Padlet gallery for more ideas. Padlet's website lists the application's features. It can be used as a collaborative tool with team members' additions appearing instantaneously, making it great for groups that aren't co-located. The privacy settings are flexible. The CER example is set to public so that you could see it, but it's also possible to keep it completely private or to give others access and set permissions as to their use. Moreover, it works on your laptop, desktop, phone, or tablet. If you need a tutorial on Padlet for Higher Ed use to give you a quick start, try this YouTube video.
III Faculty Spotlight: Loreto Sanchez, Associated Teaching Professor, Department of German and Romance Languages, Krieger School of Arts and SciencesCER: What are you teaching here at Hopkins and what are the levels of the courses?
LS: I teach the Spanish Language Practicum, a community-based learning course; Curso de Perfeccionamiento, a course to help students become bilingual; Advanced Composition, and other courses. As the Spanish language coordinator, I'm also responsible for supervising all the other Spanish language courses.
CER: What are your strategies or approaches for engaging or connecting with the students in your course?
LS: I normally teach small groups (12 students max). I use Blackboard to manage the course website. I use VoiceThread (http://www.cer.jhu.edu/ii/InnovInstruct-Tech_voiceThread.pdf) to facilitate oral discussion threads online.
CER: How does that work?
LS: Students record a response to a prompt that I post. The students are then expected to listen to and respond to their peers' postings. It is a great interactive tool. I also use Wordle (http://www.wordle.net/), especially in the composition class. I enter the students' compositions into the website to create a word cloud in which the more frequently a word is used, the bigger it appears in the resulting graphic. It makes students aware of words they are overusing. Students also create their own newspapers using Paper.li (http://paper.li/Paperle).
CER: What pedagogical strategies do you use?
LS: My classes are very interactive, even without technology. I rely heavily on visual contact, which I think we sometimes take for granted as teachers. In small groups, I can tell which students are struggling by looking at them. I can personalize the learning based on individual student needs. This is what I enjoy most about teaching because I can see when students' needs and problems are addressed. I also use a lot of formative assessment to personalize the learning experience. These assessments aren't part of their grades, but they help me adapt the lessons as needed. I can also give them valuable feedback on their assignments before and after they submit them for a grade.
CER: Can you give an example?
LS: We workshop papers as a class. Everybody has their work reviewed sometime during the semester and all class members are expected to provide feedback to their peers. This allows me to use students' work as teachable lessons and have all class members improve their writing. Students learn more when we analyze their errors as a group and discuss how to correct them compared to my just giving them a grade with feedback.
CER: What else is happening with the Spanish Language program?
LS: We developed a placement exam to improve student assignments in the most appropriately challenging language course. We previously used another test, but it used a very small number of questions to recommend a level. We developed a placement exam that has more levels and more questions per level. Our test is more nuanced and accurate. We also added authentic reading and listening comprehension components. We have a writing section and voice recording function that an individual can review for scores that are on the border between two levels. We piloted the placement exam in the fall, made changes based on the results, and are now fully implementing this semester. We also recently completed a Technology Fellowship project to create online videos to answer the most common questions asked by students in the elements and intermediate courses [Sample Video]. This project also provided a great opportunity for our graduate student developer to learn how to develop instructional materials.
CER: How do you know when you're successful? How do you assess student learning?
LS: The good thing with languages is you can see the impact immediately. You can hear them speak it. You can see it in their faces. I never get tired of it. My classes are based on the agreement principle. I tell my students at the beginning of every class what the learning objectives are for that day. At the end of class, we review them and I use formative assessment to test their mastery. Students can see and hear their progress. Grades are great, but they are just a number. What is most valuable to me is seeing my students fulfill the learning objectives I define for a class. Student Quotes: -The challenge of mastering the Spanish Language was great. Loreto is energetic and great to have as an instructor. -Señora Sanchez is an excellent professor. One of the best I've had at Hopkins. The grammar correction was one of the strongest parts of this course.
IV 2014-2015 Technology Fellowship Applications Now OpenThe Technology Fellows Program is a mini-grant initiative that enables faculty to partner with technology savvy students to develop resources to enhance pedagogy, increase or facilitate access to course content, encourage active learning, promote critical thinking, or support student collaboration. Full-time faculty and students are eligible to apply. Each faculty member receives $1,000 for project leadership and oversight; student fellows receive $4,000 for resource development and implementation. While faculty need not have specific technology expertise, they must understand how digital technologies could be employed to support their teaching objectives. Student applicants are encouraged to have programming or multimedia skills, or they must have a concrete (and feasible) plan for acquiring the skills required for their projects. Approximately 285 hours of work should be devoted to each project. The CER can help interested applicants to formulate project ideas and can help match faculty with student partners. Once fellowships are awarded, CER staff serve as liaisons to project teams, conducting update sessions, providing some technical consultation, and helping teams prepare for a year-end showcase where project results are shared with the community. A committee of faculty and technical professionals from the Johns Hopkins community reviews all applications using the criteria listed in the application form found on our website at http://www.cer.jhu.edu/techfellows.html. Applications will be accepted from February 17 - March 30 @ midnight with awards announced mid-April. Funding will be available from May 2014 through April 2015; projects must be completed by April 15, 2015. For questions or to obtain more information, please contact Cheryl Wagner at email@example.com or 410-516-7181.
V Panopto Moves from Pilot to Production ServiceIn the last two issues we talked about the pilot of the Panopto lecture capture system. After reviewing the pilot, the classroom technology team felt it exceeded expectations. Panopto generated close to 7,000 hours of use, including complete sets of lectures for some courses. Panopto also successfully supported live streaming of events. Based on these results, the classroom technology team is pleased to announce that the Homewood campus is moving forward with Panopto as a production service; this semester the team will build the technological and human environment to support it. The most important development for faculty use of Panopto is Blackboard integration. Faculty can connect to Blackboard via the Panopto Recorder and record lectures directly into their course sites. Only students with access to faculty course sites can see these recordings. All lectures are protected. For questions about using Panopto with Blackboard, please contact Brian Cole (firstname.lastname@example.org). A great thing about Panopto is that faculty can record anywhere, not just in a classroom. After logging in to Panopto (jhupilot.hosted.panopto.com - sign in using JHU Blackboard), faculty can download the recorder to a computer in their offices or homes. This is perfect for recording any extra materials for classes. Students can also download the recorder and create presentation assignments. There are also free iOS and Android apps, so users can record and upload on smartphones or tablets. Finally, the technology team is aware that many faculty liked the old audio podcasting service. Panopto can replicate and enhance that functionality, and the team is working to introduce this capability. For questions about using Panopto or requests for classroom assistance, please contact Sean Stanley (email@example.com) . As a last note, the classroom technology team is planning a series of spring classroom technology town hall meetings for late March. Keep an eye on Today's Announcements for details.
VI Blackboard UpdatesKnown issues and some time savers worth mentioning: Java Update: If you have recently updated your computer with the latest version of Java, some functionality in Blackboard may be compromised. The Chat tool, Virtual Classroom tool, and Upload Multiple Files option in the Content Collection will not work with Java update 7u51. Blackboard is aware of this issue, and we are currently awaiting a resolution. Email Error: When sending an email to all students using the email tool, you may receive 'Server Error 404 - File or Directory Not Found.' Blackboard is aware of this issue, and we are currently awaiting a resolution. In the meantime, our tests have shown that the email will successfully send; therefore, users can continue to use the tool and ignore the error. Web Links and PDFs: Due to increased browser security settings, users may experience difficulty when trying to open web links and PDFs inside of a Blackboard course. A simple solution to this problem is to set all web links and PDFs to open in a new window. Internet Explorer 11 Issues: Microsoft Security Update MS14-010 (which updates Internet Explorer 11) is causing multiple issues when accessing Blackboard. Internet Explorer 11 is not an officially supported browser, so the best solution is to choose another browser from the officially supported list. For a list of all current known issues, click here: http://help.sset.jhu.edu/display/Bb/Blackboard+Known+Issues Time Savers in Test Creation Process As you may recall, Blackboard was updated with service packs 12 and 13 last December, which included several enhancements. In addition to those mentioned in our last eNewsletter, there are some new time-saving updates to the test creation process:
- Add Question: When adding questions to a test, it is now possible to add them exactly where you want them on the screen. A new 'plus sign' graphic has been added to each question, which makes it very easy to add a new question either above or below a previously created question.
- Test Availability Exception: Once a test has been created and added to a content area, instructors can select one or more students and apply one or more exceptions to the already established test availability settings. For example, if it's a timed test, the time limit for that particular student or group of students can be extended, the number of attempts can be modified, and/or the availability dates and times can be moved. Instead of having to set up adaptive release rules on a separate screen, and sometimes creating a separate test altogether, instructors can now use this option to accommodate students with special needs or address other special circumstances involving test availability.
- Show Test Results and Feedback: Instructors can now set up rules to determine when and what aspects of test results are shown to students upon test completion. For example, a rule could be set so that all students receive their test scores immediately after submitting their tests, but don't have access to correct answers and feedback until the test availability date has passed. This progressive release of results and feedback helps to prevent cheating and eliminates the need for instructors to remember to change feedback settings after a test availability period has ended.
VII Homewood Outdoor Wireless Project
The Homewood Outdoor Wireless project is underway following conversations with a committee of students who live on the Homewood Campus. Areas such as the "Beach" in front of MSEL and the Freshman Quad in front of the Freshman Dorms often host large events. The project will expand the network's capacity. These areas can hold upwards of 200 people at a time, and most students use wireless devices to do social networking or text. The IT@JH Wireless team is using approved light posts to hang wireless access points in strategic areas, since most buildings have architectural and aesthetic considerations. In addition to the Freshman Quad and "Beach" Area, access points have been placed in the President's Garden outside the Nichols House, in the Decker Quad, in Levering outdoor areas, and around Homewood Field. Future expansion includes the new Baseball Field and Charles Street corridor as construction is completed later this year into mid-2015.