A.1 Bonus Point Assignments in the Large Lecture Course
Laura Murray, Department of English
TAs (who lead tutorials and do most of the marking) have most of the direct contact with the students in Prof. Murray's first year English course with 240 students. Through Moodle, Prof. Murray constructed occasional, casual bonus-point assignments. Topics include reporting on a play or literary event, suggesting a song or poem for a particular day's reading, applications of concepts, and creative or playful activities. Each is worth 1% of a student's mark for the year. These assignments provide a sense of contact with the students, and vice versa. From a survey, all students indicated that they appreciated the assignments even if they didn't do them. The assignments seem to symbolize for the students an openness to creative and personal engagement, and a concern on the Professor's part for them to bring up their marks. Marking these assignments is manageable.
A.2 Flipped Courses and Peer Instruction: Can it Work for You and Your Students?
James M. Fraser, Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Eric Mazur of Harvard University wrote "In recent years, physicists and physics educators have realized that many students learn very little physics from traditional lectures." . But if lecture does not work, how can you bring about change with "Don't mess with my A!" students and too little prep time for teaching. This presenter will discuss the practical issues of flipping your classroom, so you can help students come to class ready to learn through "Just-in-time teaching" and "peer instruction". If there is time (and audience interest), we will also discuss test results from first and fourth year flipped courses conducted here at Queen's.
A.3 Exit Notes: A Quick and Easy Way to Learn What Students Took from Your Class
Tom Russell, Faculty of Education
Prof. Russell, using examples from his own classes, will illustrate a simple student-response technique that both contributes to student learning and teachers' ability to plan their next class. If this technique is begun in your first class of the term, students quickly become accustomed to writing brief responses to open-ended questions. In large lectures, a different group of students could be asked to respond at the end of each class. He will also share survey results indicating the positive effects of this technique on student learning.
A.4 Peer-to-Peer Teaching and Evaluation of Literature Searches
Suzanne Maranda, Sandra Halliday, Bracken Health Sciences Library (Co-authors: Sheila Pinchin and Heather Murray, School of Medicine)
Librarians at the Bracken Health Sciences Library teach and assess information literacy skills embedded in the medical school curriculum. For many years, the 2nd year medical students had to prepare for an intensive research project and the librarians assessed their literature searches. With recent curriculum changes, the librarians introduced peer-to-peer evaluation of the searches and at the students' request, also peer-to-peer teaching to review the literature search process. Students have been very positive about their role in this peer teaching and evaluation process. Preliminary evaluations suggest that students are able to accurately identify the majority of problems encountered during literature searches. Duplicate marking of a sample of proposals is currently underway, with the goal of identifying the frequency and type of student assessment errors, when compared to librarian assessors.
A.5 Group-Based Mind Mapping of Course Materials as a Tool for Improved Student Engagement
Mark Hostetler, Global Development Studies
In this presentation, Prof. Hostetler will share his experience using mind mapping as a small group activity to improve student engagement and understanding of course material and enhance student preparedness and informed participation in class. This strategy was implemented as a response to his previous experience with this course in which the level of student engagement with the course materials was a barrier to effective discussion in the classroom and application of materials in assignments. Prof. Hostetler's goal in course redesign, including the use of mind mapping, was to create layers of incentive for engaging with the course materials so that students were better prepared to discuss and apply materials. This strategy was employed in a third year DEVS course of 40 students divided evenly between Art Sci and App Sci run primarily as a seminar and it appears to have been, on the whole, successful.
A.6 Cognitive Load, Memory and Learning
Ron Easteal, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences
Cognitive load and working memory are both very limited, both in longevity and capacity. It is incumbent on faculty to design instruction so that these limitations are accounted for DURING instruction. To maximise LEARNING, working memory and long-term memory must interact with each other over time. To maximise learning outcomes we have used a series of strategies: teaching-for-learning; interleaving; delayed rehearsal; and spiral learning. This presentation will consider these strategies and their effectiveness.