Author: wcuadmin

How to Lead a Discussion

Be Prepared • Carefully consider your objectives for a discussion. Do you want students to apply newly learned skills, mull over new subject matter, learn to analyze arguments critically, practice synthesizing conflicting views, or relate material to their own lives? These goals are not mutually exclusive, but they require different types of direction. • Use discussion to help students link concepts to their own lives; to encourage students to evaluate material critically; and to address topics that are open-ended, have no clear resolution, and/or can be effectively addressed through multiple approaches. Setting the Agenda • Share your planning decisions with your students. Let them know what your focus is, and why it is important; also invite students to contribute suggestions for discussion topics and formats. • Make sure the assigned material is discussed in class; if the students don’t come prepared with questions and responses, do not let the discussion wander. Bringing in specific quotes, problems, or other samples of the assigned material can ensure that even under-prepared students will have something to talk about. • Consider asking students to email or post to a discussion board their thoughts. This will also give you insight into the students’ thoughts while you plan the discussion. Facilitate, Don’t Dominate • Use open-ended questions and ask students for clarification, examples, and definitions. • Summarize student responses without taking a stand one way...

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Designing Effective Discussion Questions

Asking Good Questions Overview A good question is both answerable and challenging. It will inspire analysis, synthesis, interpretation, and critical thinking. Below are several types of questions and suggestions about when to use which kind. Where to Begin? Begin with material students are familiar with or feel comfortable with. This might be a question that can be answered with information from general experience or from basic data in the subject area. Learn to prepare a mix of questions—those that are easily answered, slightly challenging, or highly complex—that they can draw on as the discussion develops. Types of Effective Questions Analysis – Questions beginning with “Why…” “How would you…” “What is …” • Example: What is the meaning of Madame X’s comment about Jacque’s activities…? Compare and Contrast – “Compare…” “Contrast…” “What is the difference between…” “What is the similarity between…” • Example: What is the difference between the mother and the father’s attitudes toward…? Cause and Effect – “What are the causes/results of…” “What connection is there between…” • Example: What is the cause of Lea’s distress when she looks at herself in the mirror? Clarification – “What is meant by…” “Explain how…” Types of Ineffective Questions Simple Yes-No – Produces little discussion and encourages guessing. • Example: “Is the Aunt expressing a desire for Gigi to marry?” Elliptical – Too vague; it is not clear what is being...

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Student Learning Outcomes

Guidelines for Student Learning Outcomes Rules of Thumb • Avoid use of verbs such as, “demonstrate”, “know”, “recognize”, “value”, “appreciate”, etc. • Use only a single action verb per Student Learning Outcome (SLO). Use Bloom’s taxonomy for verb selection. • Three to five (3 – 5) outcomes for a normal 3-credit hour course. • Freshman and sophomore classes should have some (not likely mostly) higher order level outcomes. • Junior and Senior level should have mostly higher order level outcomes. Components of Student Learning Outcomes • C = Conditions – context, setting and/or conditions under which the behavior will occur. • B = Behavior – the performance/what the student will be able to do, use an action verb from Bloom’s Taxonomy. • C = Criterion/criteria – defines the minimum acceptable level of performance. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives Use of action verbs from Bloom’s Taxonomy helps to ensure that a student learning outcome is measurable. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical way of thinking (action or performance verbs) that classifies learning or cognition into six levels; categorized from less to more complex. The hierarchical structure indicates that action verbs found at lower levels of the taxonomy are inferred at the higher levels. The hierarchical structure indicates that action verbs found at lower levels of the taxonomy are inferred at the higher levels. EXAMPLES: For more information on Student Learning Outcomes...

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Alternative Assignments for Snow Days

Alternative Assignments for Snow Days “Don’t let a snow day catch you off guard!” “I’ve had to revise my syllabus twice, changing the schedule, and as a result, changing the weight of the first two exams…it’s an unfortunate start…not something that cannot be overcome.” – Professor Brian Pilecki Technology-based assignment alternatives: Lecture / Discussion Record a lecture (easy solution – you can use Microsoft PPT with voiceover or Panopto) Use a discussion board for students to discuss the topic and respond to each other Hold class synchronously – Blackboard Collaborate (Google Hangouts/Skype/Zoom) E-learning days on Blackboard Use Ted talks or other similar resources to prompt learning and discussion. Taping video or audio lectures ahead of time on subjects that can be placed anywhere in the semester, but need to be addressed Remind101 – text messaging from teacher to student where numbers are anonymous What if students lose electricity? Have students form groups at the beginning of the semester, share contact information that way if phones or computers die there is likely a possibility that someone still has a charge. Even if campus is closed, students on campus can get together to work on groups using technology or physical assignments. Offline assignment alternatives: The dreaded paper Pre-written prompts broad enough to relate to anything taught up to the current period of the semester Creative use of snow Health: get out...

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