It’s only fun until someone learns something…

…and that someone is me!

It started off innocently enough.  I watched some of you use 405.

“No problem,” I said to myself. “I got this.”

Uh, huh..riiiiiiiight.

I was originally to have 22 students. Great. I can squeeze those guys into 4 groups. Well, then at the last-minute, I had to add 4 more students. Ok, more than I wanted, but I can be flexible.

Oh, did I mention the 4 new students would be off campus!

So, I fire up Adobe connect, and the off campus students log in. Someone at each table also logs in to the meeting and monitors the on-line students in case they chime in with a comment. Plus, they are part of the group and will need to contribute to the group assignments.  The on-campus student who is logged in also lets me know when the off-campus student can’t see what I’m presenting. Which is often!!  I use the “Share My Screen” function of Adobe connect, mostly. I have had a little trouble with the Eno board and pen, but I think Andrew came up with a solution.  I’ll know if it worked later this week.  I use a lot of photographs and I like scribble on the presentations with the pen so everyone can see what I’m referring to.

Yesterday, I wanted each group to make a 5 minute presentation. I wanted to share from their device with all the screens AND the off campus students.  It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to do it (Andrew was AWOL!), but I did it. It was certainly not an elegant solution, so I hope to streamline it, if I try that again.

I use a short quiz to start each week. Since I have off campus students I created the same quiz in Blackboard the let them take it that way. I think that went fine.

So, I am still figuring things out. Thanks to everyone, especially Andrew, who has made suggestions.  I can’t tell if the students going to like this format, yet. I set up a discussion forum in the Bb course so they  have a place to put their comments. I have not heard/seen any comments. I will assume that is a good thing!

Feel free to come in and see true chaos…

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The Missing Post

For whatever reason this morning at the gym I was reflecting back on my Fellows experience (mostly planning out some PDI expenses) and realized there was an important blog missing.

Through all of our posts, I have never truly expressed my gratitude towards the whole staff in the Faculty Center and Rob. I really appreciate all that you have done and your never ending positive attitude towards all the fellows. Through my gripping, complaining, and frustrations, you all have been there for support and encouragement.

Additionally, as the non-faculty fellow, I truly appreciate the warm reception I received. I was always worried that I wouldn’t be up to par with the other fellows, and although that may be true, I never felt it.

Again Thank You!



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Yeah! What he said…

I came across this article today and I want to share it with every one. It was written by a Professor in a different Clinical Lab Science program, but I think the message is applicable to everyone who teaches in a regular classroom or a Learn Lab.  I know, at one time or another during the semester, I emphasize all the points the author outlines. Actually, I bet I emphasize them MORE than once. I really had to laugh at #5.  I am known (feared and loathed???) for counting off for misspelling the names of microorganisms.  The horrors!

I had the opportunity to sit in a Victor’s class last week. He made using the space seem pretty easy. I’m getting pretty nervous about diving in next semester. I’m looking forward to opportunity to try my hand at it and I welcome any of you to stop by to observe. Just remember that spelling counts!

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Simple Technology Trick to Easily Resolve Eno Board Issues

Do you remember the old days when the answer to every Help Desk support call was to “reboot your computer?”  There is some validity to that trick!  My iPhone was not receiving phone calls or text messages from my sweet spouse for a few days and after I powered it off and back on, it started to work again.  I suspect the computer in the Learn Lab has gone a couple of weeks without being shut down.

Several pieces of technology (Eno stylist pens, mouse, and keyboard) in the Learn Lab use blue tooth technology.  Computers cache information in it’s memory and after a while, it starts to get confused.  From time to time throughout this semester, people have reported that the “Eno Board is not working.”  Each time, a computer reboot has resolved the issue.

I know you do not have time to reboot the computer before class.  What I would like to propose is that the Fellow who uses the room last shut down the computer and power off the keyboard and mouse.  This will help ensure that the computer is refreshed for the next day and I think there will be fewer issues.

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Parking at the Library

I think one of the biggest drawbacks with the current location of the learn lab is the parking. Several times I have had to park in the Williams Auditorium parking lot and then got stuck in student traffic getting out of classes in Starr and crossing the street. For students the lack of parking is a problem as well. For me, several of my students are in Bishop hall for class just before mine. Often we have to start class 5-10 minutes late so that all students can get to class. I have a couple of commuters who come in for this class as their first class of the day and finding parking is nearly impossible. It would be great if we had other Learn Labs in different buildings- perhaps where parking is more available.

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A Variation on a Theme…

Hi LL Fellows!

Remember the Google Doc exercise we did in Collaborative I having each group fill in a column in Google Doc? Different trends…?  Well, I tried a variation of the same technique last week for a debrief exercise in my Media Literacy class at GVSU.  The topic was about perceptual filters people have and answering the question:  “Why do different people interpret the same message/stimuli in different ways?” It was a flipped activity where the students did the assignment prior to class (observing the film: 12 Angry Men) to observe the behavioral cues that were expressed by each actor in their role in the film. The film is such an awesome classic!  I actually had a student comment that “It’s the first black & white movie I actually like!”  Really!  I could assess their individual reflections in the submitted assignment. When they came together in class, they fired up their iphones, ipads, laptops and in five groups, they compared and contrasted their points of view, and aggregated their thoughts in the displayed doc for the debrief and class discussion. It worked pretty well!  I liked the transition from their developing their individual points of view, to the comparative work and summaries they came up with for the class discussion.

Anyway… it may be an idea for different curricula??  Click on the link below…

Hope it’s useful! Rob:)

Posted in Teaching Techniques and Strategies | 1 Comment

Ah-ha Moment – At Last

Oh Eno board, how I hate to love you… fellow fellows, I encourage to keep trying.  I’ve struggled with the Eno board as well, but I am gradually mastering the controls and learning how to troubleshoot.  I intend to make a habit of calibrating it immediately before I even start class, and when in doubt, change the battery.  It still seems like there’s something not quite right with one of them, but nonetheless, using it every day means I’m gradually getting to the point where using it feels more organic and less obtrusive.  When it works.  Also, thank God the lights have stopped blinking.

My big Aha moment happened right before I taught my midlatitude cyclone class last month.  I spent some time covering the storm and its life cycle, diagramming each stage.  We looked at satellite images and weather maps.  Then I told them all to close their books and notes and grab a huddle board.  I gave each group a different stage of the life cycle and told them to work together to recreate what we’d just gone through as much as possible.  Everyone in the group gathered around and pitched in the pieces they remembered, and before long I had all the stages correctly diagrammed and summarized with very little correction from me.  We hung them all up on the board in a row to see the complete life cycle all at once, and I walked from one to the next talking about storm tracks and where the storm would be in the U.S. at each stage of its life.  I’ve since used a similar tactic with El Nino diagrams, and on Thursday I asked them all to draw and label the three types of faults we’d learned about during the prior class while I got everything logged in and set up. The huddle boards are a great way to review material and get them collectively engaged in practicing the all-important diagrams that accompany so much of what I teach.

The room IS very full with my 29 students, but I will say this: they are undoubtedly engaged.  They ask fantastic questions all the time, and it just gets better as they have gotten more comfortable with what to expect in that room and more comfortable with each other and with me.  I just keep my roll-with-it attitude going every day, and the days are getting more and more frequent when I feel like I’m finally picking up steam.

PS – I haven’t observed anyone else teaching yet.  That either means that someone observed more than one of you, or that one of you still needs an observation – please let me know if I can help anyone out in this way!

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