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DCAL Headlines

Here are just a few notes about upcoming events and projects at DCAL and other items of interest to teachers. Navigate the site's resources at the left and above. For more news, see DCAL News.

Upcoming events at DCAL

140 Characters in Search of a Reader: Twitter as way of learning and mode of expression, 12:00pm - 1:30pm, Thursday, April 9, 2015

In our age of positive thinking, Eric Jarosinski’s fictitious "Compendium of Utopian Negation" on Twitter has garnered over 100,000 followers in 125 countries. As @NeinQuarterly, Jarosinski is now one of the most influential cultural voices on social media. Once an Ivy League professor, he tweets about philosophy, language, literature, European politics, and everything in between. He is followed by several heads of state, as well as a host of journalists, academics, students, and other people who like to think. At this workshop, Jarosinski will talk about the art of the Twitter aphorism, discuss the formation and complex dynamics of an online community, and share his ideas about using Twitter to engage students with each other and the "world's global consciousness" (as Twitter has been described). Sponsored by the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric.

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Teaching Science Seminar, 12:30pm - 2:00pm, Friday, April 10, 2015

The Gateway Project is a Dartmouth Initiative to redesign large introductory courses to incorporate more active learning into class sessions.  Biology 13 (“Gene Expression and Inheritance”) is a high enrollment course taken by Biology majors and students who are pursuing the pre-health track.  Tom Jack, Patrick Dolph, Erik Griffin from the Biology Department will discuss the redesign of Biology 13 to incorporate group problem solving into the class sessions.

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DartmouthX news

DartmouthX was recently the subject of a story for Dartmouth Now regarding the way students’ hands-on experience in the archives will help shape a DartmouthX course.  You can read the article at Dartmouth Now.

The Gateway Initiative

The Provost's Office, in collaboration with the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) and Academic Computing, is excited to offer a new opportunity to support the redesign of certain courses.

Called the Gateway Initiative, this effort is aimed at enhancing learning and classroom pedagogy in 'gateway' courses, i. e. courses that are required for entry into the discipline and have large enrollments by necessity, but not by design.  In such classes, course content is very often delivered in a traditional lecture format.  Yet a growing body of research over the past decade (see link below), in particular from the fields of cognitive psychology and education, has shown that other pedagogical approaches, sometimes in combination with technological innovations, can be significantly more effective than the traditional lecture format, evidenced by improved learning outcomes, retention, and student satisfaction.

For information please go to the Gateway Initiative page.

Open Classrooms: Visit a colleague's course and have a lunch on DCAL

We have a diversely talented teaching faculty at Dartmouth and we can learn a great deal from each other. DCAL will get this informal network started by setting up a system for visiting colleagues' classes, not for evaluation purposes, but for sharing and learning from each other.  We'd like to open windows into our courses and classrooms by making visiting simple and inspiring.

DCAL will support class visits by

  • offering recommendations for the process of planning visits
  • funding a luncheon for pairs of instructors who have completed a visit
  • scheduling an end-of-term luncheon discussion for participants in class visits

We want this process to be simple, unencumbered by elaborate evaluation schemes and rubrics, but we have supplied some recommendations and documents on our website that might help you make the most of your visit.

Please note that you need not schedule two visits, one for each participant's course, to qualify for the luncheon reimbursement. Each class visit qualifies both participants for a lunch on DCAL. Librarians, educational technologists and other staff who support learning at Dartmouth are also eligible as visitors, but you must arrange the visit with the course instructor.

For detailed information and procedures, please see http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dcal/workshops/classroom.html

Dartmouth Centers Forum Theme for 2014-15: Pop Culture: What puts the 'pop' in popular culture?

Each academic year the DCF chooses a theme upon which to base its programming. The 2014-2015 Dartmouth Centers Forum theme is Pop Culture: What puts the 'pop' in popular culture?

Popular culture: the phenomenon when an idea, an image, an attitude goes mainstream. Communal recognition gives pop culture power, but what does pop culture say about the society in which it circulates? Critics deride pop culture as a 'dumbing-down' of concepts, reducing them to their lowest common denominators, while others claim pop culture sublimely reflects collective social consciousness that underpins human civilization. Mass media was essential to the development of pop culture, and has been skillfully deployed by social movements ever since—from newspapers and magazines to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Our digital age offers potentially vast opportunities to spread ideas, yet personal experiences are frequently fragmented. Can one find meaning in the mainstream? Is the power of popular culture over?

Flipping the Classroom

How 'Flipping' the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture.  It may not have the gee-whiz factor of high-tech innovation, but changing expectations for what happens in class may prove to be a bigger advance in teaching.  Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education website.

Worth Listening to or Reading

From American RadioWorks: "Don't Lecture Me" featuring Eric Mazur (Physics, Harvard) and Joe Redish (Physics, U Maryland) by Emily Hanford. We have known for years how ineffective even the best and most entertaining lectures are for student learning. Now you can hear that again right from the mouths of some of the best lecturers ever. Follow this link for detailed information, an mp3 link and a transcript.

From Faculty Focus (10-19-2011): "Grading Practices: Liabilities of the Points System," By Maryellen Weimer, PhD. Does grading really motivate learning or something else? Try this link.

Grants to Attend Conferences on Teaching and Learning

DCAL makes grants of up to $1000 to support attendance at conferences and programs devoted to the applicant’s professional development as a teacher. Please review the DCAL Mission statement before applying; these principles will guide the application approval process. Successful applicants will be asked to contribute to a DCAL professional development event in the year following the grant. First-time applicants are especially encouraged to apply for this opportunity to attend programs and conferences.

These funds are for travel, lodging, registration and other costs of participation. A faculty member in good standing may apply for one grant per fiscal year. To apply for a DCAL mini grant, please contact dcal@dartmouth.edu to request an application. The application must be completed and returned to DCAL for approval before the event. If you are approved for the grant, you will be required to submit original itemized receipts for reimbursement after the event has taken place.

Applications for events held during Dartmouth’s fall and winter terms should be received no later than November 1st; those for events held during spring and summer terms no later than March 16th.

Syllabus Template

A syllabus template is now available on the DCAL website. We hope that this template will give you some ideas and make developing a syllabus for your course a bit easier. Please modify the template as needed to make your own personal syllabus and let us know if you have comments/additions.

ReducingStereotypeThreat.org

Reducingstereotypethreat.org was created by two social psychologists and professors who sought to offer a resource for faculty, staff, and students regarding stereotype threat. This website offers summaries of research on this topic and discusses unresolved issues and controversies in the research literature on the phenomenon. Included are some research-based suggestions for ameliorating negative consequences of stereotyping, particularly in academic settings.

Physics Professor Eric Mazur Switched from Lecturing to Active Learning

An excerpt from "Using the 'Beauties of Physics' to Conquer Science Illiteracy": A Conversation with Professor Eric Mazur of Harvard University (New York Times July 17).

Q. When you teach Physics 1b, do you give "fantastic performances?"

A. You know I've come to think of professional charisma as dangerous. I used to get fantastic evaluations because of charisma, not understanding. I'd have students give me high marks, but then say, "physics sucks." Today, by having the students work out the physics problems with each other, the learning gets done. I've moved from being "the sage on the stage" to "the guide on the side."

More News

Last Updated: 4/3/15