I’m delighted to be presenting on Friday morning at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’s Annual Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba (stlhe2019sapes.ca). The title of my talk is “Time for a Test! Two-Stage Tests enhance learning and bring laughter in classes of any size… and at STLHE?” Here’s a copy of my slides: Rawn Two-Stage Exams STLHE June 2019 to post v1. Here is the handout: Rawn Two-Stage Exams STLHE June 2019 demo handout
And here is the blog post I wrote 5 years ago (including resources and rationale) when I took the plunge into this testing technique.
Are you here at STLHE? The talk is 10:05-11:20am, Friday June 14, Room MR3. Are you *not* here at STLHE? Check out the action on Twitter! #STLHE2019SAPES
Jenny Wong and Jason Myers at Arts ISIT interviewed me about my TLEF-funded project and general use of peer assessment in my classes. Here’s what I had to say: http://isit.arts.ubc.ca/catherine-rawn-uses-peer-assessments-to-encourage-peer-based-learning/. IMHO the most interesting idea was this:
The more we move towards peer anything, the university is going to have to collectively rethink the message that we send to students regarding who holds knowledge, who’s allowed to hold knowledge and who holds the most valuable knowledge and that’s not always the professor.
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/.
I was asked this week to reflect on why I use clickers for use on the Faculty of Arts ISIT website. Here are my responses…
- Background information about your course
- I use clickers in four of my courses: Introductory psychology (Psyc 101 and 102; 260-370 students), Research methods (Psyc 217; 90 students but as few as 30 years ago), Statistics (Psyc 218; 90 students).
- How did you use iClickers in your course and what made you decide to do this?
- I use clickers every class period for numerous purposes. I ask multiple choice questions to test whether students understand a previous concept before moving on to something new, to spark discussion (especially when there is no one definitive right answer), to survey attitudes about the topic or course (like where to put the laptop-free zone), and as a timer for groupwork or peer-to-peer discussions so we all know how long they have been working. Plus the instructor clicker advances my slides and is easy to use.
- What has been the result?
- When I’m using clickers most effectively, it means the students and I are in dialogue throughout the lesson. Students are constantly developing greater insight into whether they understand the concepts—and so am I (see also research on the testing effect, for evidence that testing rather than just reviewing contributes to longer lasting learning). It’s also engaging and motivating: Students want to know what the answer is, and will sometimes even cheer for correct responses. Questions give us a point of discussion that regularly takes us all deeper than just a surface understanding, as students may argue for one or another answer and we have to unpack why. Also, I have data showing that talking in class is related to feeling a sense of community. Clickers help me trigger and steer those conversations to build community.
- Other benefits: I have become better at asking multiple choice questions, because I get immediate (and vocal!) feedback if an item is worded unclearly. Every student participates (not just the brave) – and if someone chooses E for a question that gives options A-D only, I get to smile and lightly invite that person (whoever it is) to make the choice to learn today.
- What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and is there anything about your approach you would improve or change?
- When I started using clickers, the biggest challenge I faced was responding in the moment to whatever response pattern comes up. Over the years I’ve developed a toolkit of options to use, depending on the response pattern, but sometimes I’m still surprised by what comes up! For example, if it’s 50/50 between two options, I often invite a “turn to your neighbour, discuss, and revote” which usually clears up the problem. Other times I don’t reveal the answers immediately to the class (though I can see them on the receiver), but instead ask the whole class why someone might choose a particular response over another, and then reveal.
- I’ve toyed with the idea of using a service with text-based responses (e.g., TopHat), rather than the i>clicker with just multiple choice options, but haven’t yet. For now, multiple choice questions meet my needs.
- Do you have any advice for instructors hoping to implement this in their courses?