1 – Doing Learning Differently: International Student Experiences with Active Learning


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Authors

  • Ellen Ahlness, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Pratima Jadhav, Leadership and Policy Studies, College of Education, UW Seattle

Abstract

Active learning has been advocated as a method of instruction since the early 1980s, yet little attention has been paid to the way students respond to and perceive the quality of active learning instruction. Instructors are increasingly encouraged to use active learning, while having little understanding of how students vary in its reception. We focus on “breaking down” the classroom to understand how students experience and respond to various kinds of instruction. Notably, there is little understanding of how international students, whose prior educational experiences are with transmission-centered instruction (e.g. lecture and memorization), are frequently under-prepared for the diversity of active learning instructional strategies used in American colleges and universities. Therefore, we ask: how do international undergraduate students perceive the quality and benefit of active learning instruction in American higher education?

By shifting the evaluation paradigm to focus on student-centered classroom experiences and perceptions of value, we conduct an affective study on student reception of active learning, specifically, the experiences and reflections of Indian international students. Through phenomenological interviews and focus groups with over 15 Indian international students studying in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, we sought to find out how participants experienced the transition to interactive learning, and whether they found value in the new instructional methods. Initial findings suggest indicate that Indian international students found active (as compared to transmissive) learning to be more engaging and beneficial for retention; however, instructor expectations could be confusing and predicting one’s success could be far more challenging. This project adds to the bottom-up work on active learning while also focusing on the experiences of the growing Indian student population as an underserved demographic in American higher education. Finally, we develop considerations for instructors working with international students most familiar with transmission-based instruction.

2 – Developing Higher-Level Learning Using A Collaborative Interdisciplinary STEM Research Model

Author

Salwa Al-Noori, Division of Biological Sciences, School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, UW Bothell

Abstract

Topic: This project highlights an integrated interdisciplinary undergraduate research project promoting higher level learning in STEM fields. Specifically, outcomes-to-date of an ongoing faculty-mentored student-centered research project, a year-and-a-half into its progress, conducted in the School of STEM at the University of Washington Bothell are described.

Context: This collaborative undergraduate research project is conducted by a team of undergraduate research students including two Biology, one Physics, and one Mechanical Engineering major under mentorship of a faculty member in the Division of Biological Sciences. The project integrates and develops core concepts from the students’ various fields of study to address a biologically relevant question aimed at elucidating the structural basis of atrioventricular valve function in mammalian heart. The project involves integration of biological, computational, physical, and engineering concepts.

Scholarly basis: This integrated research approach supports development of higher levels of learning (revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, A Taxonomy for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, 2001) and several Core Competencies (AAAS Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education Report, 2011) including quantitative reasoning, modeling, and understanding the interdisciplinary nature of science.

Results: Students incorporate, apply, and extend concepts from a multitude of science courses including anatomy, physiology, fluid dynamics, among others. While they initially learned these concepts within the confines of their specific fields, greater-depth understanding is developed when they apply them within the context of their project and even further through analytical evaluation of the applicability and validation of their modeling. The students have presented progress of their work in capstone colloquium presentations (Spring and Summer 2019) and at the Washington State Life Sciences Summit (2019).

Application: This model of collaborative interdisciplinary science research supports higher-level learning objectives. Multiple beneficial outcomes include developing integrated understanding of scientifically relevant questions while providing a teaching tool for future generations of learners.

3 – Application of Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives in Early Non-Major Undergraduate Education

Authors

  • Salwa Al-Noori, Division of Biological Sciences, School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, UW Bothell
  • Gary Carpenter, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell

Abstract

Topic: We describe the design, implementation, and assessment methods of two quarter-long cross-disciplinary courses at the University of Washington Bothell (Autumn 2018, 2019) incorporating art and science as tools of inquiry exploring the natural world.

Context: This freshman foundational course in the first year Discovery Core (DC) series was designed and co-taught by one art and one science faculty to students of diverse ethnic/cultural background and overall college preparedness.

Scholarly basis: The instructor’s field-specific teaching experiences informed this science-art integrated course aimed at promoting holistic understanding greater than that achievable solely through single-discipline perspectives. These rigorous, creative interdisciplinary courses incorporated requisite components of DC1 courses including introduction to research, writing communication skills, and developing successful academic strategies from onset of collegiate experience.

Results: We identify the impact of providing formal awareness of the role of interdisciplinary learning versus comparable dual-perspective learning approaches. Instructional approaches emphasized student-centered discussions, hands-on activities, individual reflections, and group research projects focused on integration of our respective disciplines. Further transformative aspects included student exposure to the role of interdisciplinarity in public communication and collaborative research, while encouraging comfort in thinking broadly across disciplines. Evaluation was based on pre/post-surveys and synthesis of final projects.

Application: This experience informs our individual instructional practices. Salwa Al-Noori finds incorporating multidisciplinary perspectives in her teaching has allowed her to achieve greater inclusivity, integration, and student recognition of the value of interdisciplinarity. Gary Carpenter is inspired to infuse a wider range of disciplines into his arts-based courses, highlighting the arts as a rigorous research methodology and the benefits of interdisciplinary inquiry. This course design underscores benefits of collaborative interdisciplinary teaching in developing higher-level learning while exposing students to both disciplines early in their college experience: “I see them both as a gateway to understanding as well as a way to discover…” (student quote).

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4 – Empowering creators: Student agency and digital safety in alternative assignments

Authors

  • Erika Bailey, University Libraries, UW Tacoma
  • Marisa Petrich, University Libraries, UW Tacoma

Abstract

This poster focuses on critical questions and examples of how student agency, privacy, and intellectual freedom can become a focus of open pedagogy and alternative assignments.

Increasingly, instructors are offering opportunities for students to publicly share their work online — be it a class website, blog, or paper alternatives such as podcast episodes or short videos. These assignments have great potential to impact students’ digital identities and awareness of their own intellectual property rights beyond the parameters of the academic environment. This takes on increased importance when we consider that students from already marginalized identities may be more vulnerable to online harassment or doxxing.

Through our work in instructional design and digital scholarship, we have collected models and resources to incorporate these themes as additional learning opportunities and to help instructors facilitate safe learning environments for their students. The model of awareness students develop will continue to be relevant beyond the classroom, as our social and professional lives become increasingly online.

This contextual frame can teach students to make informed choices about their own creative works and their online presence — for instance, by offering students the chance to select their own copyright license for publicly shared work. These instructional practices are drawn from our own experiences as library instructors, collaborative assignment development with faculty, and professional discourse and literature on open, critical, and digital pedagogy. While these examples have been drawn primarily from work with undergraduate courses, they can be applied broadly to any publicly shared assignment.

Our poster will present case studies, sample assignments, and theoretical frameworks for scaffolding alternative assignments, which can be adapted across disciplines and for a diverse range of digital projects. With these, instructors can champion their students’ intellectual freedom, digital safety, and roles as content creators.

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5 – Promoting Accessible Informal STEM Learning


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Authors

  • Scott Bellman, DO-IT, College of Engineering, UW Seattle
  • Sheryl Burgstahler, Academic Services, UW Information Technology, UW Seattle
  • Meena Selvakumar, Information School, UW Seattle
  • Victoria Bonebrake, Museology Master of Arts Program, Museology Graduate Program, UW Seattle

Abstract

Topic: Accessibility and universal design of informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning.

Context: The UW DO-IT Center’s pilot project facilitated student accessibility reviews of informal STEM learning (ISL) sites. In this effort, high school and college students with disabilities conducted accessibility reviews of ISL programs including the Seattle Aquarium, the Pacific Science Center, Museum of Flight, Burke Museum, and the Woodland Park Zoo.

Scholarly Basis: Applying concepts from the literature regarding Universal Design defined as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design,” social justice education, and DO-IT’s student-centered model of engagement.

Results: In pilot activities, 46 students with disabilities from 13 high schools and 16 postsecondary institutions contributed a total of 79 accessibility reviews. Participants—whose disabilities included autism, blindness and low vision, deafness and hard of hearing, learning disabilities, mobility and health impairments, traumatic brain injuries, and mental health disabilities— increased their awareness of disability types, access issues, access solutions, and advocacy strategies.

Application: Pilot activities have resulted in a newly funded project, Access Informal STEM Learning (AccessISL). AccessISL , a collaboration between the UW Museology Program and the UW DO-IT Center, focuses on the following two objectives:

  • For ISL personnel and museology faculty: to increase knowledge, skills, and actions to make ISL programs, facilities, courses, and resources more welcoming and accessible to participants with disabilities and embed relevant practices within their work.
  • For postsecondary STEM students with disabilities and museology students: to increase knowledge and skills in advocating for ISL offerings that are welcoming and accessible to everyone, including those with a wide variety of disabilities, and to encourage individuals with disabilities to pursue careers in ISL.

6 – Podcasting and Public Scholarship Pedagogy

Author

Julian Barr, Department of Geography, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle

Abstract

Podcasting has become a popular medium with shows covering politics, film and television, science, and various other wide ranging topics. In Autumn 2019, I taught for an Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) course (ENGL 298), linked with Geographies of Environmental Justice, where students were asked to produce a podcast episode as their primary scaffolded writing project.

The project was connected to several learning outcomes of the course including:

  1. Write clearly and concisely about complex issues while considering a public audience,
  2. Productively work in groups and be able to co-write and edit in a collaborative format, and
  3. Understand and put into practice the basic skills of writing, recording, editing, and producing a podcast episode. The students were given an extensive amount of freedom around the podcast but were given specific parameters and goals.

The project was a group project, so students were required to work collaboratively, the topic had to be within the geographies of environmental justice, and the students were required to consider a public audience when writing the podcast script. Within the literature we find work both arguing for and against podcasting as pedagogy, but this project particularly used the work of Christian Smith (2019) which was featured in Next steps : new directions for/in writing about writing.

This presentation will discuss the pedagogical process of this project, my own reflections of the success of this course and its connection to critical pedagogy and discuss the reactions and reflections from the students themselves. It will also include data from student evaluations on the project and discuss how the learning outcomes were achieved. This presentation will hopefully inspire others to consider podcasting as method of assessment and also consider public scholarship as a genre of writing in courses.

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7 – Women of Color in Global Health: Community, Leadership, and Resiliency

Authors

  • Mame Mareme Diakhate, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, UW Seattle
  • Hannah Atlas, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, UW Seattle
  • Polly Woodbury, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, UW Seattle
  • Diem Nguyen, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, UW Seattle

Abstract

Due to the negative impacts the burden of coping with race-related stress has on students of color in higher education settings, such as being singled out and experiencing stereotyping and microaggressions, it is essential to have supportive spaces within the institution where students of color are empowered and encouraged.

Women of Color in Global Health is an intentional critical learning community, started in Spring 2019 by a group of women of color in the 2018 MPH Global Health cohort. Our work is grounded in a community of practice and social justice framework. We integrate a critical lens to examine the impacts of structural bias, racism, and the legacies of colonialism on our work, studies, and personal lives. We use this lens to reflect on how our own positionality, specifically our positions of power and privilege shape how we learn, teach, and do research. Moreover, we support one another to gain crucial skills for professional development as we continue our academic journey. Currently, we are planning a writing retreat with a grant from the UW’s Diversity and Inclusion Seed Grant that supports institutional transformation and resiliency. Our writing retreat will support our work on our theses and other writing projects, as well as provide social and emotional support to sustain us through this work.

Many of our members expressed that being part of this group has given them a sense of community within an academic environment that can feel isolating. Our goal is to share our approaches to building critical learning practices in other settings across the university. We plan to share the processes and applications used to start and sustain this group, as well as our success stories that motivate us to continue this important work.

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8 – Leveraging Open Source Platforms to Foster Computational Thinking


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Authors

  • Andrew Bennett,Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, UW Seattle
  • Jessica Lundquist,Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, UW Seattle
  • Joseph Hamman, National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Bart Nijssen, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, UW Seattle

Abstract

For the last two years we have taught an online graduate course on computational modeling for simulating snow hydrology. We used open platforms to reduce the barrier to entry for students learning advanced concepts and tools for computational hydrology. Previously, students encountered considerable hurdles that both confused them and slowed the overall pace of the course.

We designed the course using multiple open platforms that enable computational research in the sciences. We used the Jupyter platform (a set of open-source tools enabling interactive computing) as the interface to our computational tools. The computing resources were provided by Pangeo (a community platform for open and reproducible data analysis in the geosciences). Students were able to publish and share their finished analyses on HydroShare (an online collaboration environment focused on hydrology). By leveraging Jupyter, Pangeo, and HydroShare, we were able to get students up and running without wasting precious course-hours on technical support. The design of our course was inspired by the UC Berkeley “Foundations of Data Science” course and other recently popular online computing courses.

The use of these platforms streamlined the packaging of datasets, tutorials, and homework assignments in a way that made the key concepts of the course clearer and emphasized the actual usage of advanced computational techniques over logistical challenges in managing multiple computing environments. We believe that this framework for computationally-intensive courses drives their adoption for student-driven research projects. In our presentation, we will share our perspectives and provide recommendations for how instructors in other fields can leverage existing technologies and build collaborations to foster best practices in computational courses. We motivate our recommendations based on student testimonials provided as part of course evaluations.

9 – A Hands-On, Student-Centered Approach to the Exploration of Coriolis

Authors

  • Rosalind Echols, School of Oceanography, UW Seattle
  • Sasha Seroy, School of Oceanography, UW Seattle

Abstract

Hands-on activities and demonstrations are abundant in geoscience education. While these activities are useful tools to promote student learning, their classroom implementation often lacks key evidence-based pedagogical elements and/or real-world context, making it difficult for students to transfer and apply knowledge. However, such hands-on demonstrations can be easily adapted to improve student learning.

In this work, we modified existing laboratory activities and demonstrations using elements of Ambitious Science Teaching and Model-Based Inquiry and assessed how these targeted modifications enhanced student learning. This was implemented in an undergraduate UW Oceanography laboratory course (OCN 201) with students, most of whom were STEM majors, at all stages of their undergraduate career. We transformed a traditional lab that relied on direct instruction and confirmation of pre-supplied hypotheses to a concept-first-math-second exploratory approach that scaffolds generation and testing of student hypotheses. The written lab materials cultivated discourse within the classroom where students’ ideas and experiences were regarded as resources, as they developed and revised hypotheses around real-life phenomena. Lab activities include a host of inexpensive do-it-yourself apparatuses that provide opportunities for students to conduct their own experiments, commissioning students to employ scientific practices to do authentic work.

Pre- and post- assessments demonstrated that students were better able to meet key content goals, as evidenced by their ability to contextualize and accurately convey information in environmentally relevant models. By eliciting student ideas throughout instruction, we were able to identify misconceptions and track subsequent learning, enabling us to critique and enhance critical parts of instruction for future years. This study shows that minimal adaptation to existing undergraduate laboratory curriculum can lead to greater learning outcomes.This approach is widely applicable to other disciplines and can be easily implemented by reframing already existing activities and demonstrations using the framework we provide.

10 – Teaching Climate Through Fiction, Data and Lived Experiences


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Authors

  • Miriam Bertram, Physical Sciences Division, First Year & Pre-Major Program, UW Bothell
  • Dana Campbell, Division of Biological Sciences, First Year & Pre-Major Program, UW Bothell

Abstract

The urgent need for action on the world’s climate crisis motivated our design of a new course for first year students at UW Bothell, “Our future as told in ‘CliFi’ (Climate Fiction) and ‘CliSci’ (Climate Science).” Recognizing that effective human response to climate change requires all-hands on deck interdisciplinary collaboration, we bring together different ways of approaching our climate “emergency,” engaging students across a broad spectrum of academic interests and inspiring their participation in a problem that can otherwise be dismissed as unreal or hopeless.

Stories give students a perspective of the “enormity, urgency and indeterminacy” of climate change in a way that for some can be more compelling than learning through a purely scientific lens (Goodbody and Johns-Putra 2019). In the first half of our course, students learn about climate models and projections while contextualizing climate change with data relevant to their own lived experience (e.g. drought indices, weather station data). Then, we introduce students to the newly burgeoning literary mode of Climate Fiction (CliFi), where they explore the science and data behind the experiences of protagonists in futuristic short stories and longer novels. Throughout the course, students explore specific ways they can engage in solutions through educational or career pathways tailored to their interests, skills and personal choices. We measure progression of student learning and emotional response through assignments and a series of surveys. These data will inform our evaluation of the effectiveness of the curriculum for teaching climate and inspiring participation.

Some curricula used in this course were adapted from modules in the NSF InTeGrate project, and we plan to share our adaptations with the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Locally, the curriculum and teaching experiences will be discussed with participants of the 2019-2020 Learning Community at UW Bothell “Promoting the Curricular Integration of Climate Change Topics.”