February 12, 2019
Volume 3, Number 12
Lecturing, But in a Good Way
Last summer, before his first semester as a college fellow in history at Harvard University, Zachary Nowak did some extensive thinking and writing about how he wanted to organize his course.

He knew that the success of his introductory course on American environmental history required the right content, learning outcomes, and active-learning strategies. But he also wanted to think through how each class would play out, what he and his 30 students, mostly sophomores, would be doing, and when.

Why did structure matter so much? It is, he wrote to himself, "the visible, performative part of a larger network of pedagogical ideas, people, and learning locations."

Nowak consulted with the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning and its director, Adam Beaver, to make sure the course was informed by education research. He was also influenced by the advice pieces that James M. Lang has written for The Chronicle about how to structure the first and last five minutes of class.

One thing was clear: Nowak wouldn't lecture for an entire class. "It's a core part," he said, "but it's never the only part."

To make sure he didn't end up simply lecturing, he created a chart for himself, splitting each 75-minute class into four chunks.

The first 15 minutes are what he calls "study hall," a period when he makes announcements and presents a poll question, which can serve multiple functions. It might force students to retrieve information from the day's reading, which helps embed the content in their memory. Or it could give Nowak a sense of where they might be confused. It also serves as an attendance-taking tool.

The next 20 minutes are for lecture, though he usually takes a little time at the beginning to set up his presentation so that students are able to reset and focus their attention.
And then, for 30 minutes, he has his students engage in active-learning exercises, like "think-pair-share," in which students split into small groups, compare ideas, and report back to the whole class. These activities can reinforce the content while also developing a skill, like using the historical method. "Being able to look at fragments of the past and a narrative with an argument is something that will be valuable whether you become a professional historian or not," he wrote in his teaching statement, which he distributes on the first day of class.

The last 10 minutes are reserved for reflection.

A few weeks into the semester, Nowak asked researchers from the Bok Center to survey his students on how they felt about the structure and its emphasis on active learning. The responses fell into a classic U-shape: Those who loved and hated it were the most vocal.
After the semester ended, he shared a few snippets from his course evaluations. Several students said they appreciated how intentional the structure was.

"The planning around the structure of his classes and the appropriate time for lecture and discussion shows a deep level of reflection about how we would retain the knowledge after leaving his class," one student wrote.

"There was a lot of group work and group discussion," another wrote, "which I did not really appreciate at first, but I grew to actually really enjoy it as the course went on."
Others remained unconvinced: "Having both 'section' and 'lecture' split into material and discussion was a bit frustrating because it fragmented the subject matter in a way that was not always helpful, often leading to less actual content."

Responses to active learning can be complicated, of course, and the value of lecturing has become heavily contested. A paper by Norm Friesen that framed Nowak's thinking calls the lecture "a remarkably adaptable and robust form."

Nuances in the use of lectures are covered in a recent piece by David Gooblar in The Chronicle. Simply telling students information can be an excellent method, he wrote, when the task at hand is to communicate specific information. But it isn't very good, he wrote, for "teaching students complex ideas, conceptual knowledge, or difficult skills."


– by Dan Berrett, Teaching Newsletter: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Thanks for reading Teaching. If you have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to email us at   dan.berrett@chronicle.combeth.mcmurtrie@chronicle.com, or  beckie.supiano@chronicle.com. If you have been forwarded this newsletter and would like to sign up to receive your own copy, you can do so  here.
Announcing: Gather & Share Events
The FCTL will be offering "  Gather & Share  " events on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, from 3:45pm - 4:45pm in ADUC 301. The objective is to have a "topic" area and share a couple of ideas and then have folks gather and share about the topic.

The Next Gather & Share Event:
Topic: Student Engagement
When: Wednesday, February 20, 2019; 3:45pm – 4:45pm
Where: ADUC 301
Educator: FCTL
Synopsis: Join FCTL in exploring “Sociality” at the inaugural “Gather & Share” event. Come ready to “chat it up” with your colleagues on this important topic. Refreshments will be served.
Blackboard Buzz
How to Build a Pool of Test Questions
Have you ever thought of a good test idea in the classroom you want to record? Do you want to reserve some test questions in advance? Build a pool of test questions to be well prepared for you future test.

Pools of test questions are used to create a collection of questions. Pools group questions so that they can be imported and exported. Pools are also used to create Random Blocks and Question Sets for use in tests and surveys. This tutorial will show you how to build a pool, set details, and add questions to it.

This YouTube video demonstrates how this feature works. E mail msuonline@moreheadstate.edu for on-campus support. 
In-The-Know
What I Love About Teaching Campaign
Hello Educators!

We are looking for your response to the question "What do you love about teaching?"

Click the link below to share your response:
Call for Proposals - Pedagogicon 2019
Conference Date: May 17, 2019
NOTE - FCTL will cover conference registration and travel to the event for accepted proposals (proposals were due Feb 8)

 The conference theme, “Transparency in Teaching and Learning,” encourages us to examine and promote transparent strategies for teaching and learning that engage students in deep, transferable academic experiences. Do you have an exceptional strategy to share? Do you have a new theory or practice that might enhance teaching and learning, faculty development, educational practices, or student engagement at your institution and beyond?

Presenters are encouraged to engage their audience, so preference will be given to those submissions that specify how this engagement will be provided. The conference will host an opening session on transparency in learning and teaching.

Threads might include but are not limited to:
  • Use of technology to enhance transparency in teaching and learning
  • Creative instructional techniques that engage students in transparent learning,
  • especially deep learning
  • Faculty development initiatives, programs, and processes that promote transparency in teaching and learning
  • New ways to use Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to enhance transparency in teaching and learning
  • Strategies for incorporating diversity, culturally responsive pedagogy, and/or inclusive excellence into transparent teaching and learning
  • High-Impact Educational Practices that enhance transparent teaching and learning
  • Student perspectives on transparent teaching and learning

Submit proposals online at studio.eku.edu/2019-pedagogicon
Teach Abroad
Deadline: March 1, 2019
Faculty are invited to apply to teach a course in a KIIS Summer 2020 program. KIIS operates approximately 22 Summer programs each year. Faculty application materials include:
  • Biographical information
  • CV (PDF)
  • Your proposed course title & a brief course description (For more information please click here.)
  • Details of your teaching & experience
  • Email address for your supervisor (he or she will receive an email to complete this section within 10 days of the faculty deadline)
 The Faculty Summer application deadline is March 1, 2019. Click any “Apply Now” button at  kiis.org to begin your application. For information about your application, visit the “Faculty” dropdown at kiis.org. For information about the Winter programs, see the “Programs” dropdown.
2019 Gateway Course Experience Conference
Atlanta, GA / March 17-19, 2019

 Higher education faculty, professionals, students and educators are invited to:
  • Share innovative ideas and practices you are using to solve problems and enable transformative course redesign at your institution.
  • Connect and collaborate with colleagues from other institutions who are working to integrate active learning and other strategies into how they teach gateway courses.
  • Share evidence about how your course redesign efforts are improving student success and learning and/or advancing more equitable outcomes. 
  • We value your students' perspectives in all aspects of teaching and learning and encourage you to consider having a student(s) as co-presenter(s).
Ambassadors for Excellence in Teaching
Morehead State University