Teaching CSUN's First Year Students: What's New
A Sensible Approach to Flipping Your Classroom
Here's a practical and quite short article from Faculty Focus with five sensible opportunities for you to flip a portion of your classroom practice: "Looking for ‘Flippable’ Moments in Your Class" by Barbi Honeycutt (25 Mar 2013). Excerpt:
"[S]ome topics lend themselves more easily to flipped strategies than others, but every lesson plan has the opportunity for at least one 'flippable moment.' This is the moment during class when you stop talking at your students and “flip” the work to them instead. This is the moment when you allow your students to struggle, ask questions, solve problems, and do the 'heavy lifting' required to learn the material." (Read more....)
Get Your Free Copy of Garbology!
AFYE has purchased some copies of next year's Freshman Common Reading, Garbology by Edward Humes, for CSUN faculty and staff. You may request your free copy, on the condition that you agree to speak to at least one new 2013-2014 CSUN freshman about the book this coming fall.
For more information, or to participate in a faculty-staff book discussion group, see: http://www.csun.edu/afye/Garbology-for-Faculty-and-Staff.html. Among the many possibilities for working with Garbology, consider these: a campus-wide White Elephant Exchange; ramped-up campus recycling; and curricular connections to CSUN departments and programs including Sustainability (the new minor), Business and Business Law, Environmental & Occupational Health, Political Science, Family & Consumer Sciences, Biology, Math, Economics, Music, Art, and (of course) freshman writing/Stretch Composition as well as University 100.
On a possibly related note, there will soon be a documentary about the "Landfill Harmonic": musicians who make musical instruments out of trash in Paraguay: see http://www.treehugger.com/culture/orchestra-paraguay-makes-beautiful-music-trash.html and also http://wosu.org/2012/classical101/paraguays-recycled-orchestra-turns-trash-into-musical-treasure/.
Of particular interest to us at CSUN: the book has a substantial local (SoCal) focus and is considered highly teachable by selection committee members, who also talked about how it changed their perspective on trash and how its engaging style and subject surprised them:
- "It makes you think."
- "It’s a call to action!"
- "It makes us take personal responsibility for our trash in our 'disposable society' and requires us to consider what we too often don’t: our garbage."
Faculty are confident that it will lead to wonderful projects and assignments. Find out more about teaching Garbology at http://www.csun.edu/afye/Garbology-for-Faculty-and-Staff.html. And don't miss this NPR story: "Following Garbage's Long Journey around the Earth" (http://www.npr.org/2012/04/26/150735732/following-garbages-long-journey-around-the-earth). And don't forget that the author will be the keynote speaker at Freshman Convocation (Thursday 12 September 2013 at 6 p.m. on the Oviatt Lawn).
Deadline for Applying to Teach University 100
If you missed the on-time application deadline (March 15, 2013), you can still send in a late application. However, late applications will only be reviewed if the pool of on-time applicants is not adequate for our needs. More information: http://www.csun.edu/afye/Teaching_University_100.html
Moodle Discussion Forums: Food for Thought?
"The discussion forum, currently the holy grail of 'engagement' inside most online courses, is particularly problematic. Exchanges within forums are usually too strictly controlled and reduce honest interaction to busy-work scored by a rubric. These interactions rarely resemble the many and varied kinds of discussions possible in a classroom. And many teachers require things of online discussions that they would never demand in an on-ground classroom: one post of at least 250 words, properly cited, and exactly 2 responses to fellow students. Imagine trying to create a lively classroom discussion with these kinds of constraints."
Read more of Jesse Stomel's wonderfully disruptive blog post, "Online Learning: A User’s Guide to Forking Education," at http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/files/Forking_Education.html#unique-entry-id-89 (Hybrid Pedagogy: A Digital Journal of Teaching & Technology, 8 Jan 2013). Thanks to CSUN faculty colleague Jennifer Thompson (Jewish Studies) for sending me this link.
Moodle 2: What's New? (Learn It Now; You'll Be Using It from June 2013 Onward)
Academic Technology will be introducing the campus to Moodle 2 beginning with preliminary training in spring 2013. Read all about it at this AT website: http://www.csun.edu/it/whats-new. Among the highlights: drag-and-drop file uploading (at last!); the opportunity to require students to master one activity or block before they move on to a subsequent activity or block; and a workshop activity allowing us to grade students on their own assignment as well as their peer comments on a classmate's assignment. For the complete calendar of Faculty Technology Center training events, see http://www.csun.edu/it/events.
Short-short Article on Enhancing Classroom Discussion
A recent issue of The Toolbox (10:3, Nov./Dec. 2011) features eight practical tips for making classroom discussion more successful. Ignore the title ("Value-Added Discussion Enhancers") and learn something new (for instance, why you might want to include background music during class discussion).
Hybrid and Online Class Designations
A new CSUN policy helps students registering for CSUN classes understand whether listed classes are hybrid, online, or traditional before they enroll; the course notes in SOLAR will designate a class as
- OF if the class is "Fully Online" with no campus meetings;
- OC if it is a "Campus Online" class with most class sessions online and any face-to-face sessions usually for orientation, special presentations, or exams; or
- OH if it is a "Hybrid Class" mixing online and face-to-face meetings approximately half and half through the semester.
In addition, CSUN students can now take a short "Student Online Readiness Survey" to help them decide whether an online class is a good fit for them. The survey is anonymous and returns results directly to the student on the website at the time the survey is completed. Want to know more? Take the survey yourself. You'll find it on the Moodle login page.
"Strategies to Improve Student Writing"
This recent short article by David Smit describes how (and why) faculty in all disciplines should teach writing in their classes. He offers specific strategies faculty can use, arguing that "we must recognize that students cannot get sufficient practice in writing if they only write in English classes." (See "Strategies to Improve Student Writing.")
The Toolbox: A Teaching and Learning Resource for Faculty
"The Toolbox is an online professional development newsletter offering innovative learner-centered strategies for empowering college students to achieve greater success. The newsletter is published six times a year, and the online subscription is free."
Recent issues have included topics such as "Organizing Teaching to Promote Learning," "Web-Based Assignment Venues," "If You Are Here, Raise Your Hand: The Attendance Dilemma," and "Going Retro--Teaching Techless" (among others).
Tomorrow's Professor: "Why Students Lose Confidence"
This very brief article (as Tomorrow's Professor explains) "is a report on a study that looks at reasons why many freshman engineering students switch majors or drop out of college entirely. It has implications for many other disciplines as well. The article is by Mica A. Hutchison-Green." Tomorrow's Professor is a mailing list that offers "Desk-Top Faculty Development, One Hundred Times A Year." It is sponsored by the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning.