Intentional Teaching with Derek Bruff

Peer-reviewed teaching resources (and the Intentional Tech slow read rolls on)

Published 3 months ago • 5 min read

Peer-Reviewed Active Learning Lesson Plans

CourseSource is an open-access journal now entering its tenth year that has a variety of peer-reviewed teaching resources for biology, primarily detailed lesson plans tagged by course and topic for easy searching. I found out about CourseSource years ago, and I was amazed at the catalog of high-quality lesson plans and other teaching resources there. I keep running into biology faculty who don’t know about this great resource, which is also kind of amazing. I reached out to the editorial team at CourseSource to find out more about the project and try to figure out why biology has a resource like this but other disciplines generally do not.

On the podcast this week I talk with Jenny Knight, associate professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at the University of Colorado Boulder and editor-in-chief of CourseSource, and with Sharleen Flowers, postdoctoral fellow at CU Boulder and managing editor at CourseSource. We talk about the kinds of teaching resources that educators can find at CourseSource, the origins of the project, what it takes to make a project like this work, and how a peer-reviewed publication like CourseSource can help higher ed value teaching in more concrete ways.

Since the episode posted on Tuesday, I heard from attentive listener William Turkett, who teaches computer science at Wake Forest University. He shared that biology isn't the only discipline to have a peer-reviewed publication focusing on teaching resources. There's also EngageCSEdu, a repository of open educational resources for computer science education, especially introductory college level courses. I really should have known the computer scientists would have something like this! They're even more collaborative than the biologists.

To listen to my interview with Jenny Knight and Sharleen Flowers about CourseSource, just search for "Intentional Teaching" in your favorite podcast app, or listen here on the web. And if you know of other peer-reviewed collections of lesson plans or other teaching resources in other disciplines, please let me know!

Times for Telling in Workplace Training

I'm leading a slow read of my book Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching this winter, one chapter a week. We're about to start chapter three (see below), but I wanted to share a reader contribution to the discussion on chapter one, which is about using technology to create "times for telling."

Danielle Picard is a learning manager at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she leads a team that provides professional learning to medical center staff. I know Dani from her graduate school work at Vanderbilt University, where she studied science communication and research institutes in early 20th century Britain. Actually, I know less about Dani's doctoral research than I do her teaching, since she was a graduate teaching fellow at the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching for two years. Among other projects, we led a learning community on the use of digital timelines as teaching tools, which resulted in a digital timelines teaching guide that holds up very well.

As Dani participates in the slow read, she's considering how the ideas and strategies in Intentional Tech translate to her current professional context: workplace training. Working professionals pursuing professional learning are a very different kind of student than the undergraduate students that Dani and I taught at Vanderbilt University. Dani has written two great blog posts on LinkedIn exploring those differences:

They're both great reads, but the second one is particularly good for the practical advice Dani shares for creating learning experiences for professionals that are motivating for them and responsive to their needs.

Practice, Feedback, and Generative AI

As part of the slow read, I'm preparing new resources each week to go along with the week's reading, available only for the Intentional Teaching Patreon supporters. This week, I do a little reflecting on how the teaching principles in Intentional Tech can guide us when we encounter some shiny new technology that we would like to use in the service of teaching and learning. The shiny new tech of the moment is clearly generative AI, and I talk about how chapter two's teaching principle, practice and feedback, can help us find ways to use generative AI productively. Read "Practice, Feedback, and Generative AI" on my Patreon.

Intentional Tech Slow Read Week 3

The slow read of my book Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching continues next week (the week of February 5th) as we read chapter three together. Here's the teaching principle for chapter three:

Principle: The more we understand what and how our students are learning, the more responsive we can be to their learning needs.

And here are the discussion questions for chapter three on using technology to make visible "thin slices" of student learning:

  1. Have you ever found yourself assessing your students' final assignments and only then realizing there was some concept or skill they didn't learn along the way that they should have? If so, what was your realization and how did you respond?
  2. There are several examples in the chapter of using Twitter to make student learning visible in the moment. Given the current state of Twitter, now named X, what technologies do you see as useful for this kind of formative assessment?
  3. The move to remote and online instruction in 2020 meant that a lot of instructors were looking for ways to foster social presence in their courses. What ways for using student video and/or audio have you found useful for building relationships?
  4. The chapter features a story about biology instructor Tracy Ruscetti using small whiteboards to make student learning visible. What "thin slices" strategies have you seen used in onsite classrooms?
  5. "Create safe spaces for students to take risks and to share their perspectives honestly." Easier said than done! What's challenging about doing this, especially in digital environments?

You are invited to discuss these questions wherever you'd like, but especially on the Intentional Teaching Patreon. Becoming a Patreon supporter is just $3 US per month, and it helps defray costs for the Intentional Teaching podcast and newsletter.

Faculty Development for All the Modalities

I am very excited to have a guest post on the UPCEA blog this week. UPCEA is the online and professional education association, and they are a sponsor of the Intentional Teaching podcast. As I've been learning more about the UPCEA community and all the folks there who work in online, continuing, and professional education, I've been looking for connections to the world I know well, that of centers for teaching and learning. In the blog post, "Blurring the Lines of Faculty Development," I argue that these two worlds should collaborate more, given that the faculty we support are increasingly teaching in various online and onsite modalities.As I write in the piece, "What if we provided instructors of all kinds with the professional learning they need to teach well, regardless of modality?"

Thanks for reading!

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Intentional Teaching with Derek Bruff

Welcome to the Intentional Teaching newsletter! I'm Derek Bruff, educator and author. The name of this newsletter is a reminder that we should be intentional in how we teach, but also in how we develop as teachers over time. I hope this newsletter will be a valuable part of your professional development as an educator.

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