Fifty faculty and staff members from various Penn State campuses attended the Penn State Northeast Regional Faculty Development Day hosted at Penn State Worthington Scranton, where faculty and staff members presented on teaching and learning with technology practices. The event was held on Tuesday, Jan. 6, from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
The event was put together by Griff Lewis, instructional designer at Penn State Worthington Scranton; the Penn State Worthington Scranton IT Services department; Heather Hughes, a campus learning design consultant for Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT); and Susan Hales, an instructional designer from Penn State Wilkes-Barre. According to Lewis, Penn State Worthington Scranton’s IT Services will be presenting similar programs in the future, but the focus is yet to be determined.
“What we tried to do with this one was combine the two [technology and instructional design],” Griff said. “There wasn’t a specific emphasis on technology. It was technology in the service of teaching. So, the presenters talked more about teaching than the technology tools, which I thought was awesome.”
Flipping the Classroom: Experiences and Results
Flipping the nursing classroom
This presentation by Lewis focused on the experiences Donna Volpe, instructor in nursing at Penn State Worthington Scranton, had with flipping the classroom in NURS 113 Nursing Care During Childbearing Years and NURS 214W Nursing Care of Clients with Psychiatric/Mental Health Disorders.
In the presentation, Lewis talked about how Volpe emphasized active learning exercises in flipping her two classes. Volpe’s students would view video lessons outside of class, then come into class for guest speakers and hands-on exercises. Students also did role-playing to practice what they learned outside of the class through the videos.
According to Volpe’s presentation, some students said the flipped classroom pushed them to study the course material more and helped increase their exam scores. Other students said the podcasts gave them a better understanding of the course content.
Flipping the biology classroom
Another professor at Penn State Worthington Scranton who explored flipping the classroom was Renee Bishop, associate professor of biology. In BIOL 110L (GN) Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity, Bishop said she used lecture podcasts, which gave students who were struggling at the beginning of the course the opportunity to seek assistance with their study skills. Bishop observed that students were watching the podcasts with other students and preparing notes together versus being isolated.
“A key point to remember when flipping [is that] students will also feel that they are teaching themselves the material and some may resent this strategy,” Bishop said. “I think it is very important to continually demonstrate to the students why the course is designed this way and consistently have them show the connections between the podcasts and the activities in class.”
According to Bishop, not only did course retention improve significantly, but students also reported that they felt less pressured and stressed in the course. Bishop’s students scored significantly higher on the first two of four essay exams after the classroom had been flipped.
Hybrid Learning Pedagogy: Active Learning Exercises with Multimedia
QR codes for strength training
Presenting on the use of QR codes for strength training videos was Gina Gray, instructor in kinesiology at Penn State Worthington Scranton. A problem that presented itself was that students, faculty, and staff interested in using the weight room did not know how to properly use the equipment. Gray said she wanted to educate all interested students, faculty, and staff on the proper use without the need for all of the students to take a strength training class and without the need for all of the faculty and staff to have a one-on-one consultation with her.
The solution came in the form of a Media Commons mobile media pilot project, which was proposed and approved during the summer of 2013. With the use of two iPad minis, students demonstrated the correct use of the weight room equipment, according to Gray’s presentation. Students filmed and edited video on the iMovie application, uploaded the final videos to YouTube, and then generated QR codes that linked to those videos.
Initially, six strength training instructional videos were produced with six QR codes that were posted in the weight room. Gray said that faculty and staff were asked to come into the weight room and try out the QR codes. The project continued in the spring and fall semesters in 2014, where 16 QR codes were created. Gray presented on the project at the 2014 TLT Symposium.
Effective speech: Mock interviews
Penn State Worthington Scranton students got to enhance their effective speech skills by doing mock interviews, which were videotaped. James Hart, instructor in communication arts and sciences at Penn State Worthington Scranton, conducted this active learning exercise in his CAS 100A (GWS) Effective Speech course in the fall 2014 semester.
According to Hart’s presentation, students formed groups, which included an interviewer, person being interviewed, and a cameraperson. Completed videos, which were created using Media Commons equipment, were uploaded to Box at Penn State and peer-reviewed based on an evaluation rubric. Mock interviews were evaluated based on students’ professional appearance, personality, communication skills, body language, articulation, vocal pitch, and the rate of their speech.
Student podcasting with PowerPoint
David Byman, assistant professor of biology at Worthington Scranton, presented on students during the spring 2012 and spring 2014 semesters creating PowerPoint podcasts for BIOL 240W (GN) Biology: Function and Development of Organisms. According to Byman, having students create podcasts provides a different learning process that benefits the student.
“Assignments of research papers and in-class PowerPoint presentations are certainly valuable and are commonly required in various classes,” Byman said. “The assignment of a PowerPoint/podcast adds to the student’s ‘tool box,’ promoting the concise, effective organization of the student’s ideas into the technological presentation.“
Video and Web Conferencing in the Classroom
Distance synchronous course delivery
Fred Aebli, instructor in information sciences and technology at Penn State Worthington Scranton, presented on distance synchronous course delivery via video and web conferencing as a way to connect online students to a resident course. Aebli said he used this delivery method during the fall 2012, spring 2014, and fall 2014 semesters in IST 331 Organization and Design of Information Systems: User and System Principles, a course which is regionally shared among Penn State campuses.
The course was delivered to online students via Adobe Connect using a microphone headset and two microphones. According to Aebli, preparation for such course delivery is very important, and faculty need to make sure that all materials, such as YouTube videos, TED Talks, PowerPoint presentations, and websites, are queued up beforehand.
“Just as you would for an online course, you want to establish a persona for your hybrid offering,” Aebli said. “True, your live resident students see you in the flesh; they see your facial expressions and body language. The online students don’t with our configuration with no webcam. So I used YouTube to post a few videos to establish my persona.”
Nursing presentations by Adobe Connect
Michael Evans, instructor in nursing at Penn State Worthington Scranton, presented on giving presentations in nursing courses via Adobe Connect. Evans said that through Adobe Connect, even if a faculty member cannot be present on campus, he or she could still work with students.
According to Evans, he used Adobe Connect because he had back surgery and had to work from home when he still wanted his students to give their group presentations. He chose Adobe Connect as the platform for the student presentations because it is free to all Penn State students and easily accessible.
“The technology allowed students to still collaborate and provide their presentations in a manner that would still let them practice their public speaking skills and have to prepare some type of presentation to share with the group,” Evans said. “It worked fabulously.”
Online course live office hours
This presentation focused on using Adobe Connect for virtual office hours during the fall 2014 semester of BIOL 429 Animal Behavior, a web-only course taken by students from Penn State Worthington Scranton and students from other Penn State campuses. Margret Hatch, associate professor of biology at Penn State Worthington Scranton, said she used Adobe Connect as a way to give students from other Penn State campuses an opportunity to interact with her just like her campus students could during in-person office hours.
To encourage participation, Hatch emailed her students the link to the Adobe Connect session each time, which encouraged participation. Hatch said that she was surprised that her on-campus students took advantage of her virtual office hours as well, which included 10 choices of meeting times.
Instructional design, ETS, and COIL updates
Also giving presentations were Hughes; Hales; Lawrence Ragan, codirector of Penn State Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL); and Kyle Bowen, director of Penn State’s Education Technology Services (ETS), along with ETS instructional designers Jackie Ritzko and Julie Lang.
Hughes presented on the new e-portfolio resource, Portfolios at Penn State. Hales talked about accessibility in the classroom. Hales said she talked about how faculty need to take accessibility into account when they create their course materials and put them online and why issues of accessibility are becoming more important for everyone, not just persons with disabilities.
Bowen gave updates on ETS, which focused on the future of technology, from 3-D printing to virtual reality. “It helps folks understand this stuff isn’t the Jetsons; this is here, and in some cases, already being applied in the classroom,” Lewis said.
“I believe the faculty heard some great ideas and will be following up. It’s very easy–and I’m certainly guilty of it myself–you go to a conference, and go ‘oh boy, this is cool,’“ Lewis said. “Perfect example is the TLT symposium, where we see mind-blowing stuff and go, ‘wow, this is great.’ Then when we get back to our campuses, we get busy and the things we said we’d like to do, we don’t get the opportunity to do. I hope those in attendance take the ideas presented at the program back to their classrooms and campuses for the benefit of their students.”