Innovation in Course Format
My teaching and style is never stagnant. Throughout the years technology has changed drastically and new pedagogies have been developed to utilize these changes. My teaching has evolved from lecturing with a piece of chalk to flipped classrooms and several things in between. This page summarizes those course format changes chronologically. As you can see, I am always looking to improve student learning and love teaching courses using innovative formats that enable better understanding and involvement from students.
My first experience integrating technology into a course was to take the existing telecourses and provide updates via the web. This was quite an undertaking as I watched each telecourse video and made notes as to places where our objectives were not covered and then built web supplements to bring these courses on par with our live Math 1010 and 1050 courses.
I built our department's first online course. It was an Intermediate Algebra course that utilized Interact Math for online homework. This was in the days of dial-up so resources were quite limited. Student feedback was very positive. I found that for the right student, this course was a very viable option for learning, BUT online math was not a good fit for all types of students and learning styles. I worked to build more resources and
give the students learning options so they could choose which learning resources best met their needs.
Math 1010 Online
I then handed over the Math 1010 online to another instructor and proceeded to build first Math 1050 online and then Math 1060 online. These utilized MyMathLab for online homework and I built tutorial PowerPoints to aid students in learning materials. This was still in the days of dial-up so adding sound or video made file sizes too large. These PowerPoints are relatively small files and easily downloadable. I shared these with others at conferences and many high schools, colleges and universities still link to them as resources to teach or help their students.
After the initial builds, I worked to improve the courses. After attending conferences and discussing ideas with colleagues around the country, I added great discussion items to get the students interacting with each other. This worked well and I presented at conferences sharing these ideas with others. Many of these ideas are still used in these online courses as well as the Math 1010 online course. I was concerned with student readiness and learning style compatibility with online courses and developed an orientation with a piece called "Is an online math course right for you?" This has been used and adapted by several others.
Math 1050 and 1060 Online
In response to a charge for open entry courses from a student success committee I served on, I designed, built and taught what I named FLEX Internet courses for Math 1010 and Math 1050. These courses were open entry (could register and start at any time) but had a maximum completion time of 16 weeks from start. These courses involved much manual recording and entering from registration to coursework to grading. It worked well for some highly motivated and organized students and the flexibility offered was just what some needed. These included a professional figure skater, several soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, a pro tennis player and an ER doctor.
However I soon found that most students could not handle the flexibility and though given a calendar and pacing suggestions, they allowed themselves to behind to the point they could not catch up. I then implemented minimum benchmarks for them to stay in the course (i.e. after 4 weeks they must have completed at least 1/4 of the course etc.). This did improve success but many still waited until those absolute due dates and then attempted to cram everything in.
I handed this course off to an adjunct to free me up for other projects and innovations. After three years, it was determined that until the college could automate the registration, enrollment, notifications and grading processes, the amount of time required by the instructor and others was not justified and these courses were put on hold.
Math 1010 Tech Enhanced
As part of a statewide initiative to utilize technology to improve Math 1010, I headed up a committee and later a team to pilot a program Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 we called Math 1010 TNG (The New Generation). After evaluating and making some modifications, these courses are now regularly run by participating instructors, though I now call the course Math 1010 Tech Enhanced.
This program involves classroom instruction as well as individualized instruction in a computer lab. Students alternate classroom days and computer lab days. Students receive conceptual material, theorems, definitions etc. and see applied examples in the classroom. Then, the next class period, they meet in a computer lab where they work on their homework and have the opportunity to get individualized help from the instructor, fellow classmates and computer tutorials.
Activities were developed by the Math TNG team so students work together in the lab on projects that help them get involved with and understand the math they are learning. As students problem-solve together they develop reasoning skills and strategies for tackling hard problems.
Students complete module reviews and take tests on the computer which then builds for them personalized assignments so they can practice and improve in areas where they are weak.
Manifesto Here you will find features of the course and how it differs from "traditional"
Syllabus Here is a syllabus that explains in more detail how things are done
This course is essentially one of the first "flipped" classrooms at SLCC though at the time it was developed, I had not heard of that word.
PROBLEM-mOTIVATED ONLINE CALCULUS
Spring 2013 I started the process of developing an online calculus class. E-Learning had just adopted a new initiative to make all future e-learning courses problem-based and I was the first faculty to participate in their new online course development process. Through the summer of 2013 and the next school year I met regularly with a design and development team and designed and built a problem motivated online Calculus I class. I created problems after extensive research and often with Utah ties to catch student interest. During the 2013-2014 school year I took a sabbatical to do extensive research and build a problem-motivated online Calculus II course utilizing OER materials. I am currently teaching both of these courses. This huge undertaking resulted in more than 600 videos and extensive Canvas sites with many resources.
I designed and built the Calculus II class utilizing all OER materials and my own OER videos. I use MyOpenMath for online homework and integrate it into the extensive Canvas course. Overall student feedback and success was good, but listening to needs of students, I then added some worked solutions which I wrote up for each topic for student reference to help them see steps to solving problems.
I then worked with Suzanne Mozdy to convert the Calculus I course to OER and it is currently running that way. This course incorporates practice sets that students write up and submit, which then releases the worked solutions to compare with what they did and figure out any areas of mis-understanding or trouble. They can ask questions about problem areas. Then students complete online HW in Canvas utilizing MyOpenMath. Finally, the students write up and submit written homework showing problem solving steps to be graded.
I attended a presentation at a conference on Active Calculus, an OER publication that includes many learning activities for calculus students that are of the type I always dreamed of doing in a calculus course to have students discover ideas and make connections to the material. Using the videos made for the online calculus courses, I taught first Calculus I Fall 2014 and then Calculus II Spring 2015 as a flipped class and utilizing many of these activities in my classroom. I also developed several myself.
I built an extensive Canvas site that utilizes MyOpenMath for a just-in-time algebra and trig review as students learn calculus concepts that require those pre-req skills. This course also has students writing weekly reflections in Canvas on their learning.
For Calculus I, I utilized many ideas from Suzanne Mozdy who had done something similar the previous spring utilizing Active Calculus materials, and then I expanded upon them.
I have been very excited to have an "Active Calculus Team" fall semester with two other faculty copying my extensive Canvas course and utilizing these materials to teach calculus in a very active learning style. It has been great to discuss successes and not so successful things and get suggestions and ideas for improvement of the activities or other elements of the course.
I continue to teach both Calculus I and Calculus II in this format. Seeing students discuss calculus with each other, talking to each other about their ideas and problems is so rewarding. Instead of passive listeners they ARE actively involved in learning.