Heather works in the History Department and serves as one of two observers, reviewing the classroom practicum teaching of students taking HST 418, Teaching of Secondary School Social Studies. She provides detailed, concrete feedback and mentors BSED students so they can improve their teaching as the semester progresses. She also teaches larger enrollment seated sections of History 122 where she instructs students how to write using carefully designed assignments and formative assessment. Students have shared that these assignments have positively impacted their writing and learning in other classes. The History BSED program is nationally recognized for its excellent in social studies teacher preparation. People like Heather are one of the reasons the program has earned the reputation and recognition.
Dr. Mellors teaches HST 380, where she engages students in early Asian civilization using a role-playing game called Reacting to the Past. Students view historical events through the eyes of historical characters and then have opportunities to contribute in ways they may not have done so in a traditional classroom. In the game, students determine courses of action in addressing policy issues that were real policy issues facing the Ming dynasty. In doing so, students feel making history more real by allowing them to playout historical events without risk of any real crisis or embarrassment. Student feedback suggests that they “truly deeply learned” — fostering historical accuracy, but also demonstrating that our present society is a result of choices rather than inevitable outcomes.
Sarah used this exercise to help students connect with Confucianism in a way that makes distant historical ideas and also to think about different ways of being right. Confucianism can be adapted to different circumstances and the game helps them see that one can be Confucian and be a good ruler, which is applicable to students understanding their roles and responsibilities as citizens. In this game, students play historical figures such as the Emperor and his advisors who determine courses of action in addressing policy issues that were real policy issues facing the Ming dynasty. Historians across the country use these games to teach historical empathy and to build the skills students bring to their roles in contemporary society. An activity requires students to make oral presentations and write letters using Confucius’ writings to make their arguments. This fosters historical accuracy but also demonstrates that our present society in a result is result of choices rather than inevitable outcomes. Student feedback suggests that they learned more in the game and felt that they would remember the process and ideas of the game–one student commenting that he/she/they “truly deeply learned.” Faculty who use these games also note the intense preparation they require but the hands-on learning makes it worthwhile and offers different students’ opportunities to shine whose contributions are not always apparent in traditional classrooms.
Raymond McCord teaches MED 290 Fundamentals of Multimedia Design for the Department of Media, Journalism and Film. He brings his professional experience into the classroom teaching students coding skills that are necessary for the design and creation of interactive web media. His teaching style is very experiential and the course is structured around a workflow that mimics a real-world experience. By the end of the semester, students have a completed project for their portfolio. Professor McCord is always available to his students, often creating multiple examples to ensure students know how to accomplish or overcome an issue. One student shared that they didn’t think they could “learn to code being a media student, but I now feel I am on the right path with a great skill that makes me more hire-able.”
Dr. Rohit Dua has developed a number of high-impact learning experiences in his Comp Eng 3150 Microprocessor class. Realizing his students wanted to gain a deeper understanding, he began challenging his students with experiential learning projects outside of the classroom, engaging them in real-world problems. He started an Embedded Systems Club to extend students’ learning and increase career preparation beyond the classroom learning environment. His own involvement within the club and his interactions with his students, not only challenges their critical thinking skills but provides them a greater sense of confidence in their knowledge and skills. His innovations in developing High-Impact learning projects for his students are impressive and sustainable.
Dr. Carrisa Hoelscher’s approach in teaching COM 332 Small Group Communication student teams about growth mindset, challenges them with one overarching goal: Do Good. Students work in teams to develop a community project with a real-world application that engages them in the group communication learning process. Student’s work in these “Do Good” projects with community partners, perform volunteer work, and provide support through the donation of goods and raising contribution dollars. Dr. Hoelscher shared that “seeing their growth mindsets come to life . . . is inspiring as they connect their personal growth to making their corner of the world a better place.” While students work toward these broad goals, Carrisa works to assess their ever-growing group communication competence and provides them with detailed feedback in the process. Students are then asked to reflect on their experiences toward the end of the semester. This project is a great example of real-world application and immersion in the processes within the course learning objectives. Student feedback indicates that they appreciate these aspects of the course and it also provides an excellent example of the Public Affairs Mission in action.