First Class & Beyond + Motivation
Q & A :
Book Review: Significant Learning
* Maryellen Weimer coming to PSY!
* Fall Workshop Schedule posted
* New and improved
One-Stop-Shop of Teaching Resources
* ANGEL Gradebook Reminder
Suzanne C. Shaffer, M.Ed.
Penn State York
IM: PSU York ID
Volume 1 Issue 4 September/October 2006
Teaching and Learning at Penn State
Teaching Tips, Ideas, Resources, What's
It's back to school, so this issue is
dedicated to getting off on the right foot with topics that include:
- Setting the tone for a positive
- Creating a learning environment that
encourages student motivation
- Important elements when designing
- Book Review:
Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An
Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses by L. Dee Fink
- What's New?
Maryellen Weimer coming to York, Fall workshop schedule ready, One-stop-shop website for teaching and learning resources at PSY, ANGEL
Class and Beyond: Setting the Tone for a Positive Semester
article will briefly summarize tips on:
Meeting your Class
for the First Time
Things to do During
the First Three Weeks of Class
Sustaining a Positive Classroom Environment
Read the article….
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Q & A
What is the best
way to design activities online to supplement the work done in class?
Fortunately, there is
a lot of high-quality research going on now to inform the design of online
activities. The Quality Matters group (working under a FIPSE grant) at
http://www.qualitymatters.org has completed an extensive literature
review of current research about online learning and has developed a rubric to evaluate online courses
and activities. Relevant to the design of online activities are the
following elements which can be used as a checklist when designing online
activities for students:
Does your activity…….
Align with course objectives
Incorporate interactivity (with other students, with you, with the content?)
Engage students in meaningful learning?
Assess how well students have attained the objective?
Have clearly written instructions for students (your expectations, where to
access resources, where to begin, what they are to do, how they will be
Match the skills you are trying to develop.
organizational structure simple and repeatable to help students understand
what they are supposed to accomplish
Thanks for the question, Diane!
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Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses
by L. Dee Fink
L. Dee Fink defines learning as a change
that takes place within the learner. For significant learning to occur, some
sort of lasting change must take place within the learner. From this
definition, Fink developed a taxonomy of significant learning comprised of
six categories which can be used to guide the course development process.
The categories and a short description of what constitutes significant
- Foundational Knowledge: understanding
and remembering ideas and information
- Application: skills, thinking
(critical, creative, practical) managing projects
- Integration: connecting ideas, people,
realms of life
- Human Dimension: learning about
oneself and others
- Caring: developing new feelings,
- Learning how to learn: becoming a
better student, inquiring about a subject, becoming a self-directed
Fink relates individual categories to
corresponding values that each holds for learners. For instance, the
application category has the special value of usefulness for the
learner. When students perceive the learning to have a usefulness for them,
learning is more likely to occur. Linking the design process to values that
students hold increases motivation and interest. The categories are not
hierarchical as Bloom's categories can be, but are interconnected with each
other, forming an intertwined structure with significant learning at the
center of overlap. Fink suggests formulating course goals around significant
learning categories and provides many useful examples to illustrate his
This is a highly interesting approach to
course design which links course objectives to learner values and in so
doing makes a powerful connection to motivation and a holistic and
integrated educational experience for students.
Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating significant
learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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Maryellen Weimer is Coming to PSY!!
For those involved in the summer reading
group, you'll be happy to hear that Dr. Maryellen Weimer (PSU Berks) will be
coming to campus this semester (date TBD) to talk about her book,
Learner-Centered Teaching: 5 Key Changes to Practice (See
review in April Newsletter). I'll keep you posted!
Fall 2006 Workshop Schedule is here
To see the list of the upcoming fall
workshops, visit this
LINK. I made an effort to offer them at multiple times/days to
accommodate as many schedules as possible. Please
e-mail me if you plan to attend. Hope to
see you there!
One-Stop-Shop Location for Teaching Resources
It was time to try to organize the resources
on teaching and learning into a one-stop-shop location where you could find
information topically, locate upcoming workshop information, participate in
on-going discussions, and provide feedback and suggestions as needed. You'll
find the site (which is still being constructed) at:
ANGEL Gradebook Reminder
Get the "How to" manual
Beginning in fall 2006, faculty members will have the
opportunity to use the new ANGEL Gradebook instead of the grade report. The new features of the gradebook allow
Calculate grades as points or percentages
Report individual, ongoing, and final grades to
students throughout the semester
Report grades for all assignments, even those that
aren't graded using ANGEL lesson tools
Award extra credit points
Assign different weights to assignment categories
Publish grades in an eLion compatible format
In the fall, you can still choose to use the old grade
report or the new gradebook, but beginning in spring 2007, only the new
gradebook will be available for use within ANGEL.
***NOTE: When you
log into your fall courses and access the Gradebook tool, you will be given
a one-time opportunity to choose either the current grade report tool or the
new gradebook for your course. Once you choose, you cannot change options
without contacting ANGEL Help.***
Workshops and supporting documentation on the new
gradebook tool will be available
in early fall 2006.
Thanks to those who shared their grading schemes with
me this summer so that I could become familiar with the tool in advance.
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