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.

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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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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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.

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.”

14 – Git Version Control Tools Enhance Instructor Feedback and Team Interactions

https://youtu.be/dSeSrS08eQw

 

Authors

  • Chad Curtis, Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, UW Seattle
  • Griffin Ruehl, Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, UW Seattle
  • Jack Rumptz, Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, UW Seattle

Abstract

Git as a form of version control has traditionally been limited to use by software developers, but provides a unique opportunity for educations to provide course content, give dynamic feedback to students, and foster a collaborative environment. Git and GitHub are tools to manage changes to files and documents, especially among teams and groups. When used as a method of feedback delivery, instructor feedback can be directly integrated into student assignments as they are being completed.

We are implementing git as a key course component in a project-based chemical engineering design course that has no strong software component to demonstrate that the benefits of using git aren’t limited to software courses. We seek to demonstrate that the git as a form of version control can be used to improve instructor feedback and enhance interactions among team members when compared to traditional tools available to students such as the default tools available in the learning management platform Canvas. Each section of the two-section course will be taught using either GitHub or Canvas for homework submission and project management. Students will be able to address instructor feedback prior to resubmitting homework assignments. A post-instruction survey will be administered to students to gauge their perception of either GitHub or Canvas in the learning process. Student homework grades before and after receiving instructor feedback will also be compared.

Students reported that GitHub had a positive effect on their learning experience in previous studies implemented in an engineering data science class (on a scale of 1 to 10, median score of 9.0 ± 1.0 for homework submission via GitHub and 9.0 ± 2.3 for feedback via GitHub, n=44). This can potentially provide instructors, regardless of discipline, with an additional set of tools that can enhance feedback mechanisms and team productivity.

16 – Science Teaching Experience Program for Upcoming PhDs (STEP-UP)

Authors

  • Richard Gardner, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, UW Seattle
  • Becca Price, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  • Elaine Klein, Learning Sciences, College of Education, UW Seattle
  • Ben Wiggins, Department of Biology, Colleges of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle

Abstract

Graduate students in STEM fields are just a few short years from being classroom leaders for a diverse population of talented students worldwide. While well-educated in research fields, these future instructors have fewer options to find high-level training and practice to hone their teaching identities. The Science Teaching Experience Program for Upcoming PhDs (STEP-UP) is a program for graduate students that provides rigorous, multi-disciplinary practice in pedagogies for higher education.

Specifically, STEP-UP was funded by the NSF Innovations in Graduate Education program to train new instructors on a toolkit of equitable teaching strategies for use in classes with diverse populations of students. Participants practice and get feedback on the micro-skills needed for effective active teaching as well as interpersonal methods for supporting and including students from a wide range of backgrounds and outlooks.

Advanced graduate students in a wide range of STEM fields are potentially eligible.
Advanced graduate students can apply to the program with the approval of their research advisor. Each cohort will go through a 2-credit Autumn course (MCB508 Teaching College Science) in which they will work with an experienced teacher-educator. Trainees develop course materials during Winter quarter, and then teach or team-teach their course (BIOL 410) in Spring to senior STEM undergraduates. Trainees will be equipped for larger teaching opportunities and have a number of tangible items that will demonstrate to future employers; these include syllabi, collegial reviews of teaching, student evaluations, and course materials built out for teaching demonstrations.

This poster will share early findings from the research team, overviews and details of the program itself, will be a strong first point of contact for graduate students who might be interested in joining a future cohort. We also hope there is interest in the methods used for equitable teaching by other teacher-educators in our community.

18 – Speaking Up Isn’t Enough: Supporting d/Deaf Students

Authors

  • Vern Harner, Social Welfare, School of Social Work, UW Seattle
  • Astryd Q. Lyrix-Astyriel, School of Social Work, UW Seattle

Abstract

This poster discusses strategies for creating affirming classrooms for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing (HOH) students. Despite legal protections afforded by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), these students are systematically left out of higher education opportunities and, when they are present, their access needs routinely not met (De Clerck & Paul, 2016). The co-presenters are HOH and Deaf graduate students. We draw on our experiences within social science classrooms, in designing curriculum, and while engaging in practicum experiences. While classroom set-up and course objectives impact the relevance of strategies presented in this poster, these strategies can be easily adapted.

Prior to the first day of class, instructors are poised to signal to students that their needs will be met, their experiences valued, and their feedback promptly addressed. Three broad arenas exist as potential sites to improve access needs of d/Deaf and HOH students: prior to the academic year beginning, during the class session, and after the end of each quarter. By designing curriculum to be universally accessible to d/Deaf and HOH individuals and considering alternatives to class activities prior to the arrival of a d/Deaf or HOH student, instructors can nimbly make needed adjustments. Many of these adjustments include positive impacts for hearing students, as well. Proactively learning about aspects of Deaf culture ensures interactions with Deaf students build, rather than disrupt, rapport and learning.

Without meeting the needs of d/Deaf and HOH students, their ability to engage with course content, as well as their rapport with their instructor, is severely impacted. By ensuring our classrooms are designed with d/Deaf or HOH students in mind, instructors can provide seamless learning experiences for these students that prioritizes their engagement with course content (Blizzard & Foster, 2007; Moloi & Motaung, 2014).

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20 – Encouraging Interactive Teaching Using Structured Feedback

Authors

  • Alissa Hemke, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, UW Seattle
  • Thomas Soeprono, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, UW Seattle
  • Douglas Russell,Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, UW Seattle

Abstract

Topic: We sought to improve interactivity and other evidence-based teaching principles in lectures through implementation of a structured feedback form. The form prompts learners to evaluate learning objectives, relevancy, checks on understanding, variation, and multisensory learning. Before implementing the form, we conducted interactive presentations with faculty and learners (summarized in a Youtube video) covering the underlying educational theory. Our goals were to improve instructors’ teaching effectiveness, and to strengthen learners’ skills as future educators.

Context: A weekly lecture series in a medical residency program, typically to groups of 12 residents (physicians in training). Instructors are effectively guest lecturers, teaching a few times per year. Most have minimal training in educational techniques, and teach primarily via passive, PowerPoint-focused lectures. Developing skills as an educator is important for residents as well, as most physicians teach in some capacity.

Scholarly basis: This project was informed initially by residents’ concerns about difficulty retaining information, trouble identifying key points, and feeling disengaged during passive lectures. We created our materials based on user feedback, published literature, and consultation with the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Results: Learners and particularly instructors voiced appreciation of the interactive presentation on learning theory. Since the feedback form has been in use, presenters have noted a qualitative difference in the feedback given, with more specific, actionable responses. We are now beginning to formally survey faculty and learners, and will report results in our poster.

Application: Feedback and reflection is often an overlooked part of the educational process from both educators’ and learners’ perspectives. Our approach can be applied in any context where instructors have limited background in how to teach effectively. Copies of the feedback form and youtube video will be made available, and the interactive presentation can be based on the Youtube video and expanded to include learner interaction.

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22 – Developing a Collaborative, Student-Centered Space for In-Progress Public Health Research

Authors

  • Alicia Hendrix, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, UW Seattle
  • Erika Keim, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, UW Seattle
  • Rebekah Petroff, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, UW Seattle

Abstract

The University of Washington School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) spans multiple disciplines, employs faculty in over 75 research programs, and offers eleven graduate degrees. This diverse academic environment is rich for integrative conversation when leveraged, but without intention, there is risk of isolating students. Aiming to better integrate our diverse department environment, we designed and implemented a novel, student-run, intradepartmental Works in Progress Seminar (WIPS) series for the Fall 2019 quarter, in which students presented their developing research. This series not only targeted multidisciplinary collaboration, but also allowed for peer instruction, emulated professional conversations, and refined pedagogical skill, all of which support STEM-C field retention and career success. The WIPS series uniquely provides students with a professional platform consciously centering support and collaboration. This is done by featuring student leadership, honoring imperfection, and clearly stating agreed-upon guidelines for conduct at the start of each session (‘Community Agreements’).

The inaugural series hosted eleven student speakers representing eight different disciplines. Results from post-seminar surveys and anecdotal sharing suggest that the experience was positive and instructional. Seminars were attended by students, staff, postdocs, and faculty, with students composing ³57% of the audience at each session. Male-identified speakers were overrepresented relative to DEOHS student body demographics, suggesting a need to adapt recruitment strategies. WIPS is continuing in upcoming 2020 quarters, with this and other adaptations incorporating feedback on advertisement, timing, and partnership with other departmental events. Other STEM-C department faculty are encouraged to support the creation or expansion of similar programs by allowing students time and space to prepare and deliver such presentations. Teachers should also consider the incorporation of elements like Community Agreements established at course outset in order to center an inclusive, hypothesis-generating culture in a way otherwise unique to WIPS in our scholastic experience.

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