The SoTL Advocate

Supporting efforts to make public the reflection and study of teaching and learning at Illinois State University and beyond…


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ISU’s FY18 SoTL University Research Grants Awarded

Written by Jennifer Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL and Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders

STATE_YourLearningIn mid-June, a total of $20,000 was awarded by the Office of the Cross Endowed Chair at ISU to fund SoTL research in the approaching fiscal year. A total of 21 project proposals were received, making this year’s competition very competitive! Grant awards were made to seven faculty and five students representing a diverse mix of six schools/departments and five colleges across ISU’s campus. Abstracts from each project are presented below. Congratulations to all who earned project funding in this cycle!

Information about this grant program can be found here.

Assessing Dietetics Students Self-Efficacy, Knowledge, and Competence of Small Bowl Feeding Tube Insertion Using Patient Simulation

Julie Raeder Schumacher (Associate Professor) & Jamey Baietto (Gradaute Student), Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Minimal research exists to validate feeding tube insertion simulation as an effective strategy to teach dietetic students. The purpose of this study will be to assess the change in self-efficacy and content knowledge of ISU dietetics graduate students to place bedside small bowel feeding tubes in simulated patients. Specifically, the following research questions guide this study: 1.) How will students’ knowledge of feeding tube insertion change from per-test to post-test after a simulation lab experience? 2.) How will students’ self-efficacy of feeding tube insertion change following a simulation lab experience? 3.) What will students’ level of competence be during the simulation lab as measured by the Memorial Medical Center Competency Checklist? and 4.) What will students’ perceptions be of their learning experience during the feeding tube insertion simulation lab (assessed via a focus group after lab is completed)?

Assessing Student Learning Outcomes of Participation in Study Abroad Programs at ISU

Lea Cline (Assistant Professor, School of Art), Kathryn Jasper (Assistant Professor, Department of History), & Erin Mikulec (Associate Professor, School of Teaching and Learning)

As a result of internationalization efforts at Illinois State University, more students are participating in study abroad programs offered through the Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP), which estimates there are currently over 90 programs operating in 47 countries. This study will evaluate the professional and personal learning outcomes of students participating in study abroad programs at ISU. The participants represent students participating in these study abroad programs of diverse class rank and major. The proposed project clearly fits SoTL as defined by ISU as the focus of the study is to gather data about and evaluate ISU students’ learning outcomes resulting from living and studying in a unique educational setting. The results of this study will be used to evaluate the impact of study abroad experiences on students’ personal and professional development, including intercultural competence, and to inform current practices for study abroad programs at ISU.

The Rewards of Civic Engagement & Out-of-Class Learning: One Stitch at a Time

Elisabeth Reed (Instructional Assistant Professor) & Sophia Araya (Undergraduate Student), Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Fix It Friday is a program at Illinois State University in which students majoring in the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) program set up sewing machines in various locations within the surrounding Bloomington-Normal community and offer free basic sewing, mending, and clothing repair services to anyone in need. The fashion students lend their time, talent, and skills on a completely volunteer basis. The purpose of this study to explore student perceptions before and after their volunteer experience, and collect testimonials of both students and customers during the Fix It Friday events. This information will be compiled into a short documentary film to provide a framework and rationale for other schools and Universities to which this program could be implemented. By collecting data on what types of items are fixed while simultaneously accumulating testimonials and feedback from both students and customers, we can attest to the overall holistic merits of the Fix It Friday program. While it is believed that the program has been meaningful and transformative for the students thus far, strategic and methodical research is required in order to assess the out-of-class learning outcomes and the value of civic engagement the Fix It Friday program has brought to both students and community members.

Agile Scrum in a BIS Undergraduate Capstone Course: Going from Being Students to Being Professionals

Roslin Hauck (Associate Professor), Gunjan Amin (Graduate Student), & Cole Mikesell, (Graduate Student), Department of Accounting and Business Information Systems

Agile Scrum is a developmental approach that is becoming increasingly popular as a framework to guide complex software and systems development projects. While the tools, artifacts, and events that are part of Agile Scrum are used to manage teamwork, it does so with the principles of transparency, adaptation, and inspection to encourage the values of commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect within the Scrum Team (Schwaber & Sutherland, 2016). While the purpose is to ultimately create a technical system, much of the focus of Agile Scrum is on aspects of teamwork, including reflection, communication, self-organization, iterative and empirical learning. In this proposed research study, we will share our experience from both an instructor and student perspectives of the use of Agile Scrum in a Business Information Systems capstone course. In addition to presenting data collected from students from four semesters of  this course (sample size of ~50-60), we will also discuss key artifacts, roles, and activities used in the classroom, such as demonstration exercises, Scrum Master and Product Owner leadership roles, and student and team derived learning objectives and self-assessments.

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation: An Experiment on the Role of Competitions in Teaching and Learning

Elahe Javadi (Assistant Professor) & Shaivam Verma (Graduate Student), School of Information Technology

Understanding, analyzing, and interpreting data for making reasoned decisions is a crucial dimension of being a responsible citizen in the digital era. To advance students’ learning experience in an applied data-mining course (IT344), this project aims to design, implement, and evaluate competition-based learning in the course. The study will employ a within-group field experiment design. During the course, students will complete interleaved competition-based and regular predictive modeling assignments. Students’ motivation for learning, satisfaction with learning process, and learning outcomes will be compared for competition and regular assignments.

 

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Fall SoTL Offerings @ ISU

Redbirds, there are a bevy of SoTL opportunities for you this fall supported by the Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL at Illinois State University. Please direct questions about these offerings to Jennifer Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL (jfribe@ilstu.edu).

SoTL Workshops & Trainings

Interested in learning about SoTL? The 2-workshop Introduction to SoTL series (9/29 and 11/10 from 12:30-2pm) is just the thing for you. Designed to introduce attendees to SoTL, describe ways to engage in SoTL inquiry, and examine the benefits of SoTL as part of a productive research agenda, these sessions are intended for faculty/staff/students with little to no prior experience with SoTL. These workshops will be facilitated by Jen Friberg and are open to attendees from all disciplines represented at ISU.

For those with SoTL experience, a workshop called “Measuring Out-of-Class Learning” (11/8 from 1-3pm) was designed to help faculty evaluate student learning via opportunities such as study abroad, service learning and other civic engagement experiences. This workshop will be facilitated by Erin Mikulec (TCH) and Jen Friberg. Faculty from all disciplines are welcome to attend.

Certificate for Specialized Training in SoTL for Graduate Students

The Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL has partnered with ISU’s Graduate School in developing the Certificate for Specialized Training in SoTL (CSI-SoTL) for graduate students to engage in study and reflection of research on teaching and learning to facilitate successful work as students and as future faculty. All students who complete the certificate program will be provided a certificate and letter of completion for the program that can be appended to professional vitas/resumes in the future to indicate their focused study and reflection in the area of SoTL. The CSI-SoTL program will feature a series of workshops, opportunities to plan a SoTL project with a faculty mentor, and systematic reflection on learning across the experience.

Travel Grants (FY 17)

Applications are currently being accepted for ISU’s SoTL Travel Grant Program – FY17. The program is designed to encourage public sharing of SoTL work related to the teaching and/or learning of ISU students. The program provides partial funding for travel to present SoTL work. Funds up to $700 per application/conference will be awarded. Funds may be used toward conference registration and/or travel costs. This applies to a trip already taken (and not fully reimbursed) or to be taken, to present SoTL work this fiscal year. We expect to award 8-10 grants for FY17. Please note that faculty/staff are eligible for one travel grant (of any kind) per year. Applications are due by October 3, 2016 OR February 6, 2017.

Gauisus

Submissions for Gauisus, ISU’s internal, multimedia SoTL publication are invited at this time (Submission deadline: January 16, 2017). Faculty, staff, and/or students at ISU are invited to submit SoTL work to Gauisus. All scholarly submissions will be peer reviewed in a manner appropriate to the format of the work submitted. Those interested in submitting SoTL work can use a variety of formats for publication in GAUISUS, any of which could demonstrate a scholarly study of the teaching or learning of our students:

  • Research paper/note (15-30 double-spaced page manuscript, 12 point font, APA format)
  • Electronic poster
  • Any of the following, accompanied by a 1-2 page written summary to contextualize content, situation, and impact of your work: photo essay, video essay/documentary, website, blog, wiki. Other representations will be considered, as well.

We are also looking for faculty, staff, and/or students who are interested in serving as reviewers for this issue of GAUISUS. Reviewers will be asked to review 1-2 submissions between December 2016 (early submissions) and late February 2017 and will have their names listed within the publication as members of the review board. Reviewers may be asked to review resubmissions, if necessary. To volunteer, interested individuals should submit, electronically, a current curriculum vita/resume, highlighting editorial reviewer experience and/or SoTL work or relevant sections from a CV to  Jennifer Friberg, (jfribe@ilstu.edu) by 4:00 pm on Monday, November 7, 2015.

 


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Making Global Learning Connections: Sydney, Australia and Illinois State University

Written by Judith Briggs, Associate Professor in the School of Art at Illinois State University

briggs blogI received SoTL travel funds from the Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL to present a best practice lecture at the National Art Education Association Convention that was held in Chicago, Illinois in March 2016 in conjunction Karen Profilio, Head Visual Arts Teacher, North Sydney Girls High School (NSGHS), Sydney, Australia, and Sarah Schmidt an Illinois State University (ISU) art teacher alumnus who participated in in the 2015 ISU Art Education in Australia summer course that I taught. This presentation is summarized below.

Students’ Out-of-Class Learning Opportunities

Within this course ISU art teacher candidates (TCs) visited the visual arts departments of nine New South Wales (NSW) secondary schools, attended a Visual Arts and Design Educators Association workshop that focused on educating students about Aboriginal art, attended a graduate visual arts education class at the University of NSW, visited galleries and places of interest, and reflected on the effective manner in which NSW visual arts educators incorporated art historical and critical study and contemporary artists’ practice into their art classrooms. NSW visual arts educators demonstrated techniques for analyzing and asking in-depth questions about artwork, writing informed reflections, and developing guided student inquiry within art production. They shared curriculum and teaching practices. Profilio tutored the ISU TCs in recognizing big ideas within contemporary artwork and in seeing art as a transformative medium that can address social issues. ISU TCs watched North Sydney girls in action within lectures, digital media performances, and artwork critiques. TCs viewed student work and student visual arts process diaries. Profilio suggested ways that U.S. art educators could work collaboratively to explore new art forms, such as installation and relational aesthetics.

Within the conference lecture Profilio detailed a Year 7 unit “The Artic Pops!” that asked the overarching question, “Is art transformative?” to highlight the qualities of resilience, connection, and innovation, which shape aware, effective global citizens. The ISU TCs saw all elements of this unit in progress when they visited North Sydney Girls School in 2015, and came to understand that a unit of lesson plans should have depth, discuss the meaning behind artists’ work, connect this meaning to the world, include writing and reflection, and enable a class to work collaboratively to develop ideas. Profilio shared unit materials with the ISU TCs, and TCs recorded their observations in visual process diaries and through photographs.

Students’ Reflections

When TCS returned to ISU, they reflected on their experiences and collaboratively developed the following observations concerning the NSGHS approach to visual arts education:

  • The NSGHS visual arts teachers collaborate to create rich, multi-layered units, especially for older students.
  • At NSGHS there is an emphasis on the transformative nature of art and on its ability to speak to wider social and cultural concerns outside of the art classroom.
  • At NSGHS there is an emphasis on student research and on an understanding of the concerns that drive the artists whom the students are studying.
  • At NSGHS there is a push to move outside of the classroom and into the wider world through the study of diverse artistic practices, such as installation art and relational aesthetics.
  • At NSGHS there is a focus on student empowerment, especially concerning girls.
  • The NSGHS visual arts educators use innovative artistic practices, such as time-based work, that are inspired by contemporary artists’ practices.

My students and I concluded that the NSGHS visual arts educators and students practiced arts-based research (Marshall & D’Adamo, 2011; Rolling, 2011) that stressed the creative process, rigor, concept, research, and technical skills. This research has student autonomy as its goal and encourages interdisciplinary thinking and making connections across disciplines. Arts-based research encourages critical thinking while engendering a range of experiences, and it depends upon visual arts teachers, who act as guides, to channel students’ interests.

Operationalizing Students’ Reflections

I incorporated the following ideas from student reflections of their NSGHS experience into the curriculum of the ISU art education methods courses that I taught the subsequent semester:

  • I changed the curriculum from being theme-based to one that stressed the big idea.
  • I stressed that TCs could convey the message that art can be empowering and transformative.
  • My curriculum stressed that investigating artists and artwork was a way to interpret and to understand contemporary society.
  • I emphasized that artistic practice was an intellectual practice that taught students to think.
  • The curriculum drew attention to the fact that TCs and their students could be both artists and researchers, and emphasized researching artists and their practice to ask critical questions for higher-level understanding.

These changes to my approach to this class led to a curriculum development project for students emphasizing research-based approaches to pedagogy. ISU TCs, consequently, created art education curriculum units that:

  • encouraged transformative thought by questioning racial stereotypes, using the artwork of Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley as examples
  • used a NSGHS unit of study to explore the painting of artist Marlene Dumas, who questioned societal notions of race and appearance
  • engaged students with the community via message boards, post-it notes, sidewalk chalking, and house painting and led her students out of the art classroom in the process, following the work of Candy Chang
  • focused on girls’ and women’s empowerment and taught a unit based on the work of artist Verimus who altered public magazine advertisements of models to question the media ideal of perfection
  • featured the work of artist Nina Katchadourian and helped students decode artifacts for their cultural resonance.

All ISU TCs created curriculum, using constructs from the NSW Visual Arts Syllabi, the Frames and the Conceptual Framework, along with the U.S. National Visual Arts Standards that promote creating, presenting, responding and connecting, to guide question creation and investigation of artists’ practice.

Overall, the conference lecture emphasized that global teaching and learning connections could be forged over continents to broaden teaching and learning possibilities. NSW visual arts educators’ practices informed those of ISU and helped to broaden teaching practices through reflection, integration of in- and out-of-classroom learning, and collaboration.

Blog References:

Board of Studies NSW. (2013). Visual arts stage 6 syllabus. Retrieved from             http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_hsc/visual-arts.html

Marshall, J., & D’Adamo. (2011). Art practice as research in the classroom: A new paradigm in art education. Art Education, 64(5), 12-18.

National Art Education Association. 2016. Convention resources. Retrieved from https://www.arteducators.org/learn-tools/convention-resources

North Sydney Girls High School. (2015). Year 7: The artic pops!

Rolling, J. (2011). Art education as a network for curriculum innovation and adaptable          learning. (National Art Education Association Advocacy White Paper for Art Eduation). Retrieved from National Art Education Association website:         http://www.arteducators.org/advocacy/whitepapers

 


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A Sample of Funded SoTL Research Projects: Inspiration for Ideas, Connections, and Applications

Written by: Kathleen McKinney, Outgoing Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, Illinois State University

Sometimes it is useful to acquire and share a sense of SoTL projects in progress or planned on your (or other) campuses.  This may contribute to new ideas and questions, to potential new connections and networks, and to possible cross-disciplinary and/or cross-institutional applications.

In this blog post, I share the names and disciplines as well as the project titles of just a sample of the SoTL research being conducted at Illinois State University. If you want to connect, email addresses for these researchers are available via the search box on the university home page (http://www.illinoisstate.edu). As projects are completed, and as required when accepting funds, recipients submit a representation or summary of the project (paper, power point, poster, blog post…). Once submitted, these summaries can be viewed by clicking on the grant competition title and then the particular project at http://sotl.illinoisstate.edu/grants/.

These projects have received some type of funding from our Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL via highly competitive grant programs. Sometimes the area of SoTL research was ‘open’; other times, the area was specified in order to gain greater understanding of the impact on our students of a University priority or initiative. Thus, I also share a bit about the goal/purpose and process of each grant program.

I encourage blog readers to comment with related information or links about SoTL research and grant programs on their campuses or in their organizations!

2015–2016 Going Global with SoTL Mini-grants ($1,000 each)

This program provided mini-grants to study the developmental and learning outcomes of Illinois State University students as a result of global, international, or cross-cultural curricular or co-curricular experiences. These experiences could have been part of, for example, an ISU class or program on campus, a study abroad experience, a co-curricular travel and/or volunteer experience, etc. as long as a global/international/cross-cultural component was clearly a major aspect of the assignment, opportunity, or experience. We received and reviewed twelve applications and were able to support five.

  • Study Abroad Experience in Peru and Students’ Development, Aysen Bakir, Marketing
  • Interpreting the Frames: A Study of Six Art Education Students’ Integration of Their Study Abroad in Australia Experience Into Their Classroom Teaching Practices, Judith Briggs, Art
  • History Teacher Candidates and Discipline-Specific Pedagogy: Theory, Policy, andPractice in England and the United States, Richard L. Hughes and Sarah Drake Brown, History
  • Preparing Future Early Childhood Teachers: Furthering InterculturalDialogues among Early Childhood Pre-service Teachers across the Globe, Miranda Lin, School of Teaching and Learning
  • Exploring and Understanding Global Diets from a Sociocultural Perspective: ACase of Pre-service Teachers in Thailand, Taiwan, and the U.S., Do-Yong Park, School of Teaching and Learning

June 2016 SoTL Research Mini-Awards ($700 each)

The purpose of these awards is to provide a small amount of funding to support work on SoTL projects that are currently in progress (e.g., design stage, IRB stage, gathering or analyzing SoTL data, working on a creative or scholarly representation of the SoTL study/results, travel to present SoTL). Selected applicants had to make a convincing case that a SoTL project about ISU students is on-going and that the award will be used for work/activities in the month of June to further the project’s progress, completion, application, or visibility. They also agreed to submit a blog post to The SoTL Advocate about the project by October. Applications about all SoTL topics or research questions were welcome. We received and reviewed twenty-three applications and had the funds to support eight.

  • Investigating Methods for Improving Graduate Student Writing, Becky Achen, Kinesiology and Recreation 
  • Using Interrupted Case Studies to Teach Developmental Theory, Bill Anderson, Family and Consumer Sciences
  • When Privilege and Oppression Becomes ‘Real’ in the Life of Emerging Social Workers, Deneca Avant, Social Work
  • Exploring the Learning Process, Perceptions, and Confidence in Experiential Research Project Scaffolding in Two Allied Health Undergraduate Courses, Jackie Lanier, Health Sciences, Julie Schumacher, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Rachel Vollmer, Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Student Stories of Free Speech Acts on Campus: A Digital Documentary Film, Maria Moore, Communication 
  • Factors Associated with Students’ Integration of Course Content in Online Discussions, Nancy Novotny, Mennonite College of Nursing and Elahe Javadi, Information Technology
  • A Holistic Approach to Learning about Laryngeal Cancer through an Innovative Independent Study Experience, Lisa Vinney, Communication Sciences Disorders
  • Group Contingency Interventions in Special Education Courses, Virginia Walker, Special Education and Kristin Lyon, Special Education

2016–2017 SoTL University Research Grants (about $5,000 each)

The program provides scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) small grants to study the developmental and learning outcomes of ISU students. For 2016-2017, projects must focus on a teaching-learning issue(s) explicitly related to out-of-class learning opportunities experienced by ISU students. This would include, but is not limited to, study abroad, civic engagement experiences, service learning, involvement in co- or extra-curricular activities, and so on. Each proposal, must be from a team of at least one faculty/staff member and at least one student (graduate or undergraduate). Team members may be from the same discipline or include members from more than one discipline. We received and reviewed nineteen proposals and were able to fund or partially fund five.

  • Evaluating Graduate Student Out-of-Class Learning: The Professional Field Trip, Rebecca Achen and Clint Warren, Kinesiology and Recreation
  • Intentional and Integrated Field Experiences’ Contribution to Health Education Teacher Candidate Achievement of Learning Outcomes Relevant to Youth Disproportionately Affected by Health Disparities, Adrian Lyde, Health Sciences
  • Development of Leadership Competence through a Service Learning Project in a Dietetic Internship, Julie Raeder Schumacher, Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Learning through Teaching and Dialogue: A Student-Directed Vocal Health Education Program, Lisa Vinney, Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Exploring the Potential of a Diverse Set of Service Learning Projects to Increase Dietetics Students’ Self-Efficacy in Nutrition Education, Rachel Vollmer, Family and Consumer Sciences


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Bridging the Divide between Content and Pedagogy: Reflective History Teaching

Written by: Richard Hughes, Associate Professor of History at Illinois State University and Sarah Drake Brown, Associate Professor of History at Ball State University

A common feature of universities is the dual role of addressing disciplinary content and, either directly or indirectly, preparing future generations of students to teach the discipline. A product of a research project entitled, “Historians and History Teachers: Collaborative Conversations,” this post summarizes our presentation at the Illinois State University Teaching and Learning Symposium in January2016 and explores our effort to address the persistent divide between content and pedagogy among undergraduate history education students. History educators often debate the number of required history courses in relation to education courses for undergraduates seeking to be teachers. To address this issue, we created a course, “United States in the Twentieth Century,” that purposefully blended historical content, the burgeoning scholarship in history education, and reflective practice. We drew upon SoTL work in history and scholarship in history education as the basis for a course designed to build teaching candidates’ pedagogical content knowledge and prepare them for content methods courses. Our work explored the following question: “How do students’ disciplinary understandings affect their emerging conceptualization of discipline-specific teaching?”

The research project included a number of assignments aimed to assess teaching candidates’ understanding of disciplinary concepts and how these understandings contribute to the development of pedagogical content knowledge in history. Some of the specific areas included how future teachers understand historical knowledge and the work of historians and how they craft historical narratives for their students. The 17 students who participated in the study were all junior and senior history education majors with, on average, eight or nine previous college courses in history including our department’s required course in historical methods and a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. In other words, these history majors were relatively accomplished, experienced, and motivated. They will also make innumerable decisions in history classrooms in the future.

Two of the assessments in the course involved questions about the role of individuals involved in history education and “think aloud” interviews in which participants were also researchers in history education. The first assessment involved asking ISU history education students three simple questions: “What do historians do?” “What do history teachers do?” and “What do history students do?” The following word clouds represent the answers to each question:

“What do historians do?”

hughes 1

“What do history teachers do?”

 hughes 2

“What do history students do?”

hughes 3

The differences in the students’ answers for each question were substantial. For the first question, students’ answers were full of action verbs that conveyed how historians engage the past and create knowledge as part of a process. Their answers suggested that students were very clear that history does not simply equal the past but rather represents how historians construct the past with evidence. In contrast, students’ answers about teaching were surprisingly vague about what teachers do other than “teach.” Their written answers suggested a limited role in which teachers are simply passive vehicles for distributing facts as if history was an object that teachers transferred to their students. A few examples were more revealing than the word cloud:

  1. “History teachers are responsible for passing along the information found by historians and guiding them to think historically.”
  2. “History teachers use the information gathered by historians (or themselves) and use it to describe events and characters to students.”

The students’ answers to the final question about what history students do were even less specific and often limited to the verb “learn.” When students were more specific, they most often mentioned assignments or skills such as researching, writing, or taking notes. No students made any explicit reference to historical thinking, and many of the answers about the role of history students were so general that they could easily be applied to students in any academic subject. Scholarship in history education has exploded in recent decades with claims about the discipline-specific nature of historical cognition and the importance of teaching historical thinking in secondary and higher education. However, the teaching candidate’s assumptions about the role of historians, teachers, and students provide some significant obstacles to this goal. How likely is it that teachers promote and teach historical thinking among their students if they do not even conceptualize the role of a teacher as involving active and critical engagement with the past?

Another assessment involved asking ISU students to create and conduct a research study as part of our unit on the United States during the Great Depression. After reading and discussing a number of historical issues related to the topic, students selected, analyzed through a “think-aloud,” and recorded their analysis of two important primary sources (one text, one image) from the period. They were then paired up with a freshman from University High School and recorded the high school students as they analyzed (out loud) the sources. Each participant also conducted the short experiment with an ISU student who was not a history major, including a recorded analysis of the same documents. Students then wrote a paper comparing and contrasting the three analyses in light of the research they had read in both U.S. history and history education such as a chapter in Sam Wineburg’s Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past (2001). Here are a few representative examples from the participants’ reflections on the project:

“This experience has truly deepened my understanding of historical thinking, not only by reminding me what it means to think historically myself, but also to consider how others may think when reading sources and documents, which is extremely pertinent to all who value the importance of understanding the past and future.”

“It is important to note that many of the students that are being interviewed for the project have never been formally introduced to the characteristics of historical thinking, but I believe that this is what makes the project so relevant. By analyzing the students’ thought process[es] you can see the difference between what methods students innately possess as opposed to the methods that we are taught as history majors.”

“This gave me a much better view of how students learn and how students evolve. While it can be hard to remember what it was like to be thirteen or fourteen, doing activities like this can give an important insight into how that age group thinks so we can better teach them.”

“The research experience will inform my future teaching methods and implementation of primary sources in the classroom. I hope to make the distinction between history as an account and history as an event with my students in conjunction with thinking historically. Both methods will be improved through the research as it helped me observe the thinking processes of two different students at two different levels of education.”

The students’ reflections on the project suggested that the experience was powerful and effective in making “visible” (or at least audible) the important cognitive processes that remain hidden but necessary in most college and secondary history classrooms. While all the students reflected on the performance of the secondary and college students, the participants’ essays suggested that many remained largely unaware of their own thinking when engaging the primary sources associated with the 1930s or their crucial role, as emerging teachers, in selecting sources that were or were not conducive to illustrating historical thinking.

Our findings suggest the value of revising curricula across campus to provide future teachers, regardless of subject, with a better understanding of what occurs when individuals engage their discipline. Colleges and universities approach teacher education very differently across the nation. At Illinois State University, we have long taken pride that history teachers are trained by historians within the department of history. The same pattern holds true for secondary teachers in areas such as biology, English, and math. In our department, we are also proud that history education majors take the same required courses in history and complete the same senior capstone assignments as students whose future plans involve a Ph.D. in history, law school, or employment in a history museum.

However, these two experiences with History 309, while only a portion of the research integrated into the class, illustrate that, despite the fact that the university does a great deal right in terms of academic structure, future history teachers perceive teaching history as strangely separate from their experiences as students within the discipline. Despite the fact that history education students at Illinois State already experience two of the recommendations that proponents of history education promote—an academic major in history and a substantial number of history courses—many of them struggle to become the type of teacher consistent with the research in history education. If this is accurate, future history teachers need different kind of history courses rather than simply more traditional content courses or additional coursework in teaching methods. This study, albeit limited in size and scope, suggests the need for courses that explicitly integrate the methodology of historians and the research in history education into content courses to “make the invisible visible.” For those of us who work directly or indirectly in teacher education, it may be beneficial to engage in a continued examination of our discipline’s unique disciplinary concepts and methodology. We must explore ways in which our teacher education program can bridge the gap between traditional content courses and traditional content methods courses, thereby promoting the development of pedagogical content knowledge.


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SoTL Funding Opportunities @ ISU

The Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL at ISU is offering opportunities to secure funding via two different grant programs over the next weeks and months. Each of the funding mechanisms is described below:

SoTL Small Grants: This program provides scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) small grants to study the developmental and learning outcomes of ISU students. Research proposed may be quantitative or qualitative in nature and focus on class, course, program, department, cross-department, and co-curricular levels. All SoTL work must be made public and peer reviewed in some way via presentation, performance, juried show, web site, video, and/or publication. For 2016-2017, projects must focus on a teaching-learning issue(s) explicitly related to out-of-class learning opportunities experienced by ISU students. This would include, but is not limited to study abroad, civic engagement experiences, service learning, involvement in co- or extra-curricular activities, and so on. Grants of up to $5,000 are available. Funds may be used for any appropriate budget category (e.g., printing, commodities, contractual, travel, student help, and salary in FY17). We expect to award 4-5 grants. All awards, however, are subject to the availability of funds and to the actual offering of any course, study abroad program or other event needed to conduct the SoTL research. Additional information related to this opportunity can be found here.

SoTL Research Mini-AwardsThe Office of the Cross Endowed Chair is calling for applications for SoTL Research Mini-Awards for June of 2016. The purpose of these awards is to provide a small amount of funding to support work on SoTL projects (fitting the definition above) that are currently in progress (e.g., design stage, IRB stage, gathering or analyzing SoTL data, working on a creative or scholarly representation of the SoTL study/results, travel to present SoTL). Funding is limited but we expect to fund about 4-5 awards in the amount of $700 per project. Applicants must make a convincing case that a SoTL project about ISU students is on-going and that the award will be used for work/activities (at least some of which will take place in June, 2016) to further the project’s progress, completion, application, or visibility. Funding is in the form of an additional pay (salary) in June which recipients can then use for work on the project and as described in the application. More information on these awards can be found here.

As always, check the Cross Chair’s website for upcoming SoTL opportunities.


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Supporting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Written by Kathleen McKinney, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, Illinois State University

Are you a faculty developer or faculty member charged with encouraging and supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning on your campus? Are you a staff member or faculty member of a disciplinary association trying to encourage and support quality SoTL work in your field? Are you an officer or committee member of a SoTL professional organization?

If any of these apply, the list below, of ways to encourage and support SoTL will be of interest to you. The list offers 23 initiatives or activities that can be used to support SoTL as well as a brief description or elaboration of the idea. Neither the list nor the elaborations are exhaustive! The list is organized into some general but probably overlapping categories: grants, honors, educational opportunities, outlets for sharing and communication, events for special groups, and organizational level structures and collaborations.

Concrete examples or actual implementations of many of these initiatives can be found on the webpages of SoTL offices or teaching centers at many colleges/universities and on the webpages of disciplinary and SoTL societies. We hope blog readers will comment with additional ideas of SoTL support programs they know about or offer.

Grants

  • Research grants to conduct SoTL research projects as an individual or in teams, on set SoTL topics or using an open topic call, involving students as co-researchers.
  • Travel grants to conferences or workshops to learn about SoTL, work on SoTL projects, or share SoTL research.
  • Application/use grants to encourage the innovative use of the results from a SoTL study or the SoTL literature to make changes/improvements in teaching/learning at various levels.
  • Making SoTL Public grants to help support efforts to present or publish SoTL projects and the results.

Recognitions/honors possibly with funding

  • SoTL scholars funded to work on SoTL research, mentor others with SoTL projects, assist with other SoTL faculty development work, share and apply SoTL results on campus or in the discipline.
  • SoTL contests to encourage and reward some aspect of SoTL such as application, innovation, and/or connection to an organizational priority, etc.
  • SoTL awards to honor a SoTL project, SoTL publication, SoTL career, etc.

Educational opportunities/events

  • Workshops, institutes, or online tutorials on designing SoTL studies, SoTL and IRB/ethics, conducting SoTL, applying SoTL results, making SoTL public, etc.
  • SoTL Learning Communities, Reading Circles, Research Groups, or Writing Groups: small groups of faculty, staff, graduate students working as peers to educate self and each other on SoTL and to make progress on various aspects of SoTL projects.

Outlets to make SoTL public and to find SoTL literature

  • SoTL publication/journal on campus, regionally, for a discipline; online or hardcopy; open access or not, discipline-based or multi-discipline.
  • SoTL conference for the sharing of SoTL projects/research at the local, regional, national or international levels; discipline or topic specific, or SoTL more generally.
  • SoTL sessions at disciplinary conferences or disciplinary SoTL conferences.

Outlets for sharing information, resources, examples, achievements

  • SoTL weblog to provide posts with tips, resources, examples, applications, connections to other support, and to encourage comments and conversations about SoTL. Also an outlet for SoTL researchers to share their projects/results in posts.
  • Web page with short and long term resources and assistance of all types related to helping people do SoTL, sharing SoTL results, posting opportunities, highlighting local initiatives, offering examples, linking to other useful pages, etc.
  • SoTL newsletter online and/or hard copy serving a variety of functions overlapping somewhat with a web page or blog.
  • Using social media for SoTL (FB and twitter to share ideas, achievements, or links to resources).

Special events for special audiences

  • SoTL sessions for graduate students including workshops, reading circles, ‘brownbag’ overviews, team meeting with faculty collaborators, etc. to help them learn about SoTL for the future or serve as a collaborator on a SoTL project.
  • SoTL sessions for Chairs, Directors, Deans, and other central administrators to help educate them about SoTL: purposes/functions, support for their faculty, fit in the institution reward system and strategic plan, and so on.
  • SoTL sessions for undergraduate and graduate students focusing on the results of SoTL in their discipline and the implications for their studying and learning.

Organizational level collaborations and structures

  • Collaborations between SoTL and other institutional units and/or institutional initiatives (e.g., teaching center, research office, assessment office, student affairs, strategic plan, accreditation, program reviews…).
  • Special offices or positions for SoTL in the institution or organization such as faculty positions, a SoTL support unit, taskforce, endowed chair, etc.
  • Value and reward for SoTL is explicit and fair in all organizational and institutional documents.
  • SoTL section or interest group in a disciplinary society.
  • Formal statements on SoTL in the mission, strategic plan, by-laws or similar documents of an organization or institution.