Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reflections on Teaching Naked workshops with Jose Bowen

Day 1

Yesterday was Day 1 of Teaching Naked by Jose Bowen for the 2013 High Point University Faculty Orientation. Here are some approximate quotes from the session.

Everything (from academics to student life) must have faculty interaction -- that's the value of a residential education. [Titus note:  interaction is two-way communication, not one-way communication.]
Learning is about change, not content, not indoctrination. College is about learning the power of slow thinking and learning the power of changing a person's mind and changing your own mind.
Don't assign papers using "page" limits. The unit of "page" was used when papers were written on typewriters. Assign papers using units of "words," like 2000 words or 4000 words, etc. After all, what is a "page" in a mostly digital world.
Don't pick learning outcomes just because they can be assessed. It's better to fail at assessing than to fail at creating significant learning outcomes.
You beat MOOCs with MBCs (Massively Better Classrooms).
What is your unique value proposition to students?
We graduate students who all have the same amount of time in class (128 hours or whatever) but varying levels of learning (i.e. knowledge, skills, etc.).  We should graduate students based on what they learn rather than seat time.
More knowledge does not create a more enlightened society. My job as a teacher is not to fill heads with content but to change their minds.
In speaking to Dept. Chairs...
Course evaluations should be tied to learning outcomes.
Encourage risk and failure. When someone is creating a new course or reforming a course, don't use course evaluations for two years.
How do you overcome the barriers to change? Tackle reformation as a team. Take the hit together.
 The Teaching Naked Cycle
  1. Email to prepare for first exposure
  2. Content for first exposure (reading/video/assignment)
  3. Exam to focus
  4. Writing to reflect
  5. Class to challenge: http://reacting.barnard.edu/
  6. eCommunication to reinforce
Note that 1-4 happen before class. 5 happens in class. 6 happens after class.

Day 2

There were lots of "nuts and bolts" for writing learning outcomes, writing questions that require higher order thinking skills, etc. Here are a few quotes that stuck with me.

Finding assumptions is what critical thinkers do.
The #1 way to succeed in upcoming years, amidst a highly competitive and changing climate in higher education, is to improve student learning in the classroom.
After these workshops, I'm even more convinced that SCALE-UP classrooms are the way to go for the Department of Physics at High Point University.


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