Teaching TALKS at EOU:
Today’s Academics Linking Knowledge and Skills
Volume 1 – Issue III – December 2012
Library Develops “Introduction to Pierce Library” Video
EOU on-campus students have many opportunities to be introduced to library services and resources through orientation, library credit courses and class visits to the library, or instruction from a librarian. While distance students have the same access to library resources as on-campus students, they may not realize this unless it is brought to their attention by an online instructor. During the 2012 Summer Institute of Instructional Technology, Sarah Ralston, EOU Instructional Librarian, had several conversations with online instructors that made it clear that distance students have a lot of questions about how they can use the library at a distance. Sarah reported that “SIIT helped me to focus on best practices for online instruction as they pertain to library instruction.” Many students aren’t aware that they can check out books without having to physically be in the library, or that they can access subscription databases remotely.
With this in mind, librarians at Pierce have been working to develop digital learning objects that will provide the same experience to distance students that our on-campus students are getting through traditional Information Literacy Instruction sessions (AKA Bibliographic Instruction). Our first product is a short (2:41 min) video introducing the library’s services, resources and website. The video is available on YouTube and can be streamed through Blackboard. Faculty are welcome to use the video in their courses however they like, or to contact the library for tips and suggestions of how to use this kind of resource with assignments. In the future we plan to offer a suite of Information Literacy videos and tutorials to better serve distance students, or to add value in courses when you just don’t have time to bring your class to the library.
EOU Faculty attend AAC&U conference on STEM learning
Educators from all over the country attended the AAC&U conference Next Generation STEM Learning: Investigate, Innovate, Inspire held in Kansas City, November 8-10. The conference focused on challenges faced by higher education to prepare students, regardless of their major, with adequate STEM competencies. What best practices can be in place to ensure that students from all backgrounds succeed in STEM courses and develop skills that may lead to the solution of multifaceted challenges faced by our society? Presentations, workshops and hands-on sessions focused on five fundamental themes, including STEM course and curriculum development and assessment; integrating technology into learning environments; faculty development for next generation STEM learning; alignment, preparation, and access, and institutional change for next generation STEM learning.
Anna Cavinato and Jeremy Riggle, both from EOU Chemistry and Biochemistry department, were among presenters that highlighted high impact practices to engage and retain students in chemistry courses. Specifically, Cavinato and Riggle described their efforts to incorporate and implement Service Learning experiences in the chemistry laboratory and ways to assess learning outcomes related to inquiry. They also encouraged participants to think of local issues and a research question to guide and assess inquiry in their own context. Cavinato and Riggle spoke of the changes they have been consistently implementing in laboratory courses to shift away from the traditional laboratory experiments which are focused on techniques and use of instruments. Their approach is to seek overarching research questions related to a real-world context or local issue that guide student inquiry and experimentation. Students in Cavinato’s and Riggle’s courses work with non-profit organizations such as the Grande Ronde Model Watershed and other community groups to conduct environmental analyses that provide valuable information to the organizations. In this approach, students not only become more engaged in the experimentation since they are involved in all aspects of analysis, from sampling to delivery of data, but also feel more invested in the project and ultimately value the experience of using their knowledge to seek answers about their local environment. The session was very well attended with over sixty participants and spurred much conversation on the role that high impact practices play in engaging and retaining students in STEM courses.