Here comes my informal summary of today’s seminar on “Serious Games in Teaching Sustainability”. A more formal summary will go through the official channels shortly (or that’s the plan… :-))
As a very privileged continuing-generation student, I did occasionally notice how it helped when, during my studies, people in key positions at the university recognized my last name, or when I got very detailed instruction and support in writing letters to committes (actually, maybe I did not even write those letters myself, now that I am thinking about it…) that bent the rules for me, for example got me special permissions to take a minor subject at a different university where they had to set up a study plan just for me (which they did).
But what it actually means to not get support, in the same way that I did or at all, has sadly only recently really come on my radar, as one aspect of student diversity that we should embrace and support. For example, in data from Norway we saw last year that first-generation students have much higher levels of test anxiety than continuing generation students, and one idea for why that might be the case is that they just don’t know what to expect, and and hence how to prepare, because they had nobody who could tell them. Also I recently noticed how much more “phew, it’s more like guidlines anyway” I am towards academic rules than my first-generation colleague. Now I read the Peña et al. (2022) article on “Ten simple rules for successfully supporting first-generation/low-income (FLI) students in STEM”, and I am sharing my take-aways below.
I am currently doing this super interesting research project on trust with my colleagues Peter Persson and Rachel Forsyth. Rachel and colleagues developed a model for “trust moves” that teachers employ, but are those moves actually effective in building trust? What makes students trust their teachers? That’s what we investigate in a pilot study that we’ll present at LTH’s teaching and learning conference in December. Read more about it below or here.
(Featured image: Me trusting my freediving instructor)
I have been part of running a course called “the inclusive classroom” this fall. I learned a lot of new things both from other instructors (for example Louise’s excellent “office” metaphor for brain functions) and from participants (for example Damien & Rhiannon’s “design for the edges” below, a very inspiring read!). And now at the end of the course, we asked participants to share one paragraph each about their best tips, which I compiled into an article we will present as a roundtable discussion at LTH’s conference on teaching and learning in December. Read it below or here.
(Featured image: diversity of seasons observed when I left the office yesterday)
iEarth’s current journal club paper deals with collaborative exams as learning opportunities, and this fits perfectly with Anja Møgelvang’s recent article on cooperative learning, where we can find inspiration for how to make this work in practice. So here are my thoughts!
I am a huge fan of Kjersti‘s excellent teaching, it is always so inspiring! She, together with Hans-Christian, developed a jigsaw method to structure preparation for a student cruise, the cruise itself, and then writing of cruise reports. We wrote it up and submitted it for a forthcoming book on field teaching (which I will share links to as soon as they become available), but here comes an extended version for you already!
Last week, I thought a very intensive “Introduction to Teaching and Learning” course where we — like all other teachers everywhere — had to address that GAI has made many of the traditional formats of assessment hard to justify. We had to come up both with guidelines for the participants in our course on how to deal with GAI in the assessment for our course, and with some kind of guidance for them as teachers.
A project near and dear to my heart is using the DIYnamics rotating tank experiments in across-course collaborations. “Older” students, who did experiments the previous year, are trained to then act as guides to “younger” students when they do experiments for the first time, thus lowering the threshold of engaging with equipment, acting as role models when it comes to experimentation, the way to talk about the experiments, and much more. The “younger” students appreciate the interaction, support, and guiding questions, the “older” students realize how much they learned in only a year and what an important role questions play in the learning process.
We started planning this project already before the pandemic, then ran the very first test with 3 paid “older” students in 2020, and then with both full courses, “older” and “younger” students, in 2021 (which is when I took the pictures in this blog post). Then in 2022, we made sure to evaluate the whole thing properly, and that is what, after we presented this project at several conferences already (for example this spring: poster here), is now finally published as
Daae, K., Årvik, A. D., Darelius, E., Glessmer, M. S. (2023). “Student guides: supporting learning from laboratory experiments through across-course collaboration”. Nordic Journal of STEM Education, Vol. 7 No. 1: full papers 2023, p 98-105, DOI: 10.5324/njsteme.v7i1.5093
You can download the pdf here (and you should, it’s a pretty cool project!).
I’m not a big fan of student evaluations of teaching, since they’ve often been shown to be biased (see for example Heffernan (2021)), so when I saw the title of this article on “What Students Value in Their Teachers – An Analysis of Male and Female Student Nominations to a Teaching Award” by Wennerberg et al. (2023), I dropped everything and read it, because suspected that they would find the same bias, as they did. Here is my summary.
An argument that I encounter a lot is that student assignments need to be graded in order for students to put in any effort at all. But is that true? In the literature, grades have been connected to stress and anxiety for students, more cheating, less cooperation, less thinking, less trust — so ultimately less learning. So what does grading student work do for student motivation? My summary of Chamberlin et al. (2023) below.