Tag Archives: syllabus

Reflecting on the first Seminar in Applied Psychology of Teaching and Learning

In May-June 2019 (Summer Term 1) I taught a pilot course: Seminar in Applied Psychology of Teaching and Learning. Please see the first syllabus for details on this pilot offering: Syllabus.PSYC417.S2019.Rawn.SeminarApplPsychTeachLearn.V2

Course Overview

This course is designed as an intensive, active seminar to help you apply your understanding of psychological science to help other people learn, while developing professional skills relevant to teaching. You may begin to shift your identity from a student to a member of a teaching team.

If you enjoy this course, you might consider applying to become an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in the Psychology Department or elsewhere. This course will help you strengthen that application. Yet this course is designed as a springboard for many future work or study endeavours (e.g., course/curriculum design, instructional design, management, teaching at any level, human resources/training, graduate school, group facilitation, academic

What did Students say?

All 10 students from the Pilot course in Summer 2019 provided rich feedback throughout the course as well as in the Student Evaluations of Teaching at the end of the term. Thank you!

Quantitative results are reported here. The qualitative comments, as usual, help to contextualize the numbers. Students reported feeling challenged, in a positive way. The highlights:

Dr. Rawn’s high expectations of us and bid to push us out of our comfort zones made certain parts challenging but it was welcome, given the standing of the course and the objectives it sets out towards. Really well designed for students who might be considering become TAs or instructors themselves in the future.”

I really loved the sand–box elements of the course in which we were given the opportunity to help build elements of the class and muddle through behind–the–scenes challenges.”

The discussions, peer reviews, hands-on activities and presentations (even though I dislike those) are the most effective parts of the course at promoting learning.”

Great course! One of my takeaways that was not an explicit part of the curriculum was actually the structure and planning of a graduate–type seminar (which i will need for my later teaching).”

Overall, this course was interesting and there isn’t anything like it at UBC right now so I think many students would like it and benefit from taking it.

In planning the next offering (coming Summer 2020 Term 2), I made two key changes in response to problems fairly identified by students (plus one more key change). First, I will not be counting marks for the first Reading Reflection (#0). A couple of students reasonably pointed out that it was difficult to know how to write that first Reading Reflection, especially without a rubric (which I hadn’t created yet). So although I’ll still expect a best effort and will “grade it” accordingly, I won’t count those points. This year, I’ll also be able to give more concrete tips in advance because the rubric exists already. These concrete tips will help address a request by a couple of other students for more clarity on assignments.

Second, I have moved the course material on peer review and using rubrics earlier in the term. A couple of students noted that their peer reviews were not as reliable or helpful as they’d hoped, especially early on in the term. Hopefully this earlier discussion will help improve the usefulness and reliability peer reviews. (Note that peer review scores ultimately contribute very little % to each grade, and they are all checked and adjusted if needed by our TA or by me.)

A third change came from my own reflections on the assignments and grading them, along with feedback from my TA Kyle Gooderham (thanks Kyle!). In hindsight, the major project was over-complicated. Asking students to invent a study strategy or learning resource, pilot it, and anchor it in the literature was just too much (especially in a 6 week course). Thus, I have revised the major project to clarify its purpose. In a nutshell, the task is to take an existing strategy or resource, ground it in research evidence, and use that evidence to convince others to use it (or not to use it, if the evidence is weak/contradictory).

In an unprecedented move for me, I actually have next summer’s syllabus prepared. Of course, it’s subject to change at this point. But I wanted to do it now while the course was reasonably fresh, and so I can bring it to the Psychology Department to propose its own course code. If you’re interested, here is next year’s draft: Syllabus.SeminarApplPsychTeachLearn.2020.V1.TOPOST.August.2019. Feedback is welcome!

New Course!

What an exciting term! I haven’t developed a new course in a while, so early last academic year I thought, hey, why not take on a new challenge? Ha! I’m very glad I did! What started as a teeny tiny grain of an idea (“something about social media”) developed into an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and future students, which then has blossomed into a course that’s captivated my imagination… (and my to-do list, but hey, what’s worthwhile isn’t necessarily easy)! I think my students might be getting hooked too… in the 11 days since the course began we have over 900 contributions on Piazza* and our Twitter hashtag #ubcpsyc325 is on fire!

Check out my syllabus/website: blogs.ubc.ca/psychsocialmedia/. The schedule is in ongoing development. Together, we identified 8 themes we wanted to prioritize over the term, and over the weekend our class is reviewing/vetting articles that the rest of the class should read to help us all learn about the 8 themes. Impact Projects start Tuesday!

 

*Piazza is our discussion board, which records participation for all of us. See https://piazza.com, or if you’re at UBC, here’s the Connect integration instructions http://lthub.ubc.ca/guides/collaboration-tools/piazza/.

Are you wondering about my 2014/2015 courses?

Update: yes, I meant 2015/2016 courses here! Apparently I was really not ready to let go of last year yet when I wrote this!

 

Thanks for your interest in my courses! Here is some information that might be helpful for you.

My past syllabi are available here http://blogs.ubc.ca/catherinerawn/teaching/courses/. I have not yet prepared the fresh ones for fall, but the most recent ones should give you a good sense.

If a course is full, please keep an eye out for a spot to open up later this summer or at the start of the term. Note that Psychology does not have waitlists. For Psyc 217 and 218, note that we *cannot* go above the course enrollment limits because of the way these courses are organized. Please find another section that still has space.

Psyc 101 and 102: If you’re taking one of these with me, I highly recommend you take both with me! J Not only do I want to get to know you better (which is easier over the full year), but you’ll also use the same textbook and other resources both semesters.

Psyc 325: (soon to be called “Social media psychology”). It’s a brand new course for me, and I’m working on a big development! I do not have any past syllabi, but I have posted my ideas so far in a Googledoc, which you are free to check out via the link posted here: http://blogs.ubc.ca/catherinerawn/2015/02/16/using-social-media-to-build-a-class-on-social-media/ Note: nothing is considered final on that website, but you can get an idea of what I’m thinking.

Instead of using ratemyprofessors, check out this website for official student evaluation of teaching datahttp://teacheval.ubc.ca/results/ (see also here for graphs of mine.).

Hope to see you in the fall!

Syllabi for January 2013

My syllabi are finally ready!

Psyc 508 Teaching of Psychology (Graduate Seminar)

Psyc 208 Section 002  Psychology in your life: How social psychology can help you succeed (aka: special topics)

See you next week!

Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo)

I just found out about Academic Writing Month via this link posted on Twitter by CTLT.  It’s a cousin to National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo), during which people commit to completing a 50000 word draft of a novel. For #AcWriMo, the scope is broader: anyone engaged in academic writing can commit to a giant goal and go for it! What struck me most when reading about it was the acknowledgement that December is supposed to be a time of celebration, and yet it ends up being packed with work put off while classes are in session. Since May I’ve been trying to prioritize my mental and physical well-being, and #AcWriMo actually fits with that spirit. I happened to tweet I was interested, and the organizers (@PhD2Published) were so encouraging I decided to dive in and set some goals! Because we all know there’s good research evidence on the power of publicly declaring your goals, I offer them here. It may not meet a 50000 word mark, but these are the projects I aim to complete by November 30:

  • History of Psychology paper comparing my life journey in psychology to a famous psychologist. I’m choosing Mary Calkins, our first female APA President. (12 Pages) Finished November 6. 4494 words.
  • Teaching of Psychology grad seminar course syllabus in preparation for next term (~8 pages, draft already complete) Progress November 13.
  • Ethics application to study the learning outcomes of the Teaching of Psychology course (~5 pages) Progress November 15.
  • Finish grant application for Peer Review software/services Review (with collaborators) (~5 pages, draft already complete). Finished November 14.
  • Complete draft of Team Testing manuscript (with N. Mirriahi from Arts ISIT) (~30 pages; currently have draft of 5 pages) Progress November 19. 
  • Magna proposal for e-seminar on Active Learning in Large Classes (~3 pages)
  • Active Learning manuscript for publication (~20-30 pages; already 2 pages of notes collected)

Wow, that list includes everything I had planned to complete by the end of December. Some are already in progress but just need that extra push. #AcWriMo just may do the trick! Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have them done before December (at least in draft form)? So there they are, my goals for November. I’ll update as I go… now… time to begin!