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  • Assignment Transparency Check

    Description

    • Transparency of purpose, task and criteria help students know what they are learning, why, and how they can demonstrate it.
    • Peers can provide feedback on the level of transparency of an assignment’s purpose, tasks, and evaluation criteria.
    • See Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) website for in depth transparency assignment guidelines and template. Winkelmes’ (2013).

    Questions Answered

    • Are connections between a significant assignment and intended career apparent in the assignment design/instructions?
    • Are connections between current course materials and work in subsequent courses clear?
    • Are the expectations of the type of work / level of rigor clear in an assignment?

    Why Important

    • Research on the effectiveness of transparency in assignments indicates a correlation to better performance for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented college students.

    Evidence/Records You Can Collect

    • Peer’s written version of what they think the assignment is asking for and why.
    • Peer’s attempt at the assignment
    • Brief discussion on the clarity of purpose, tasks, and evaluation criteria
    • Motivation or affect survey
    • Notes from the review process

    Data Sharing

    • Describe how your peer reviewed the assignment (attempted to do it themselves, peer reviewed the directions for clarity and purpose, etc.). Report what changes were made and the impact on student performance the following semester.
    • Before and after version of part of the modified assignment using the Transparency Template with explanation of improvements.
    • Summary and analysis*

    Resources

    Examples

  • Syllabus Exchange

    Description

    • Read your colleague’s syllabus carefully and note what you would conclude about the course and the instructor if this was the first introduction to both:
      • “If I was taking this course, here’s the questions I’d have.”
      • “After looking at this, here’s what I’d think about the instructor and how he/she will be conducting the course.”

    Questions Answered

    • How effectively does my course syllabus communicate the course learning goals and expectations?
      • What students will learn and why?
      • Personal relevance of course topics to my students’ lives?
      • The overall “tone” of my class?

    Why Important

    • An effective syllabus can enhance students’ learning experience in your course by communicating personal relevance to students’ lives, which has been shown to be particularly beneficial for enhancing self-efficacy in students from marginalized groups.

    Evidence/Records You Can Collect

    • Completed and/or annotated checklist
    • A table that delineates the alignment between goals, assessments, and activities with comments suggestions places with strong alignment and others where the alignment is not clear
    • Peer provided list matching best practices to parts of the syllabus with suggestions for refinement
    • Peer friendly critique of course description in syllabus focusing on one or two elements such as student-friendly language or relevance to future coursework
    • Notes from the review process

    Data Sharing

    • List of areas on the syllabus that were modified, how they were modified, and rationale for modification.
    • A brief description of rationale for getting peer feedback on syllabus (students do not read it, desire for it to be a learning tool, etc.), general statement of recommendation from peer, and changes made.
    • Summary and analysis*

    Resources

    Examples

  • Canvas Review

    Description

    • Add your colleague(es) as guests to your Canvas course to examine the course content, instructional design, student responses to discussion questions, etc.
    • Due to the lack of clear boundaries on a class period and so many possible components to review, it is crucial to discuss the instructor’s desired scope and aims.

    Questions Answered

    • How do my students perceive various aspects of my course’s online portal, including:
      • Ease of navigation
      • Clarity
      • Availability of resources
      • Tone
      • Transparency
    • Do the existing discussion questions elicit high quality responses that encourage my students to challenge their own ideas, as well as others’?

    Why Important

    • Many of the obstacles associated with teaching online courses, such as those related to student motivation and engagement, can be mitigated with a well-designed Canvas module.

    Evidence/Records You Can Collect

    • Annotated syllabus checklist
    • Peer evaluation of student responses to discussion board
    • Annotated QM rubric
    • Recorded think aloud with peer while they navigate Canvas site and/or describe their understanding of an assigned task (ala Assignment Transparency Check)

    Data Sharing

    • Before and after screenshot of Canvas homepage with description and brief rationale for changes.
    • Summary of how your discussion board questions evolved after peer feedback along with samples of improved discussion threads. This may include changes in how boards were managed.
    • Summary and analysis*

    Resources

    Examples

  • SPOTs Sharing

    Description

    • Review a set of your most recent student ratings and write down the three general conclusions you’ve drawn from them and a couple of questions raised by them.
    • Share the ratings with your colleague but do not reveal your conclusions or questions.
    • Review each other’s results and write down three general conclusions and some follow-up questions.
      • Do you think the conclusions you have drawn will be the same ones your colleague arrived at after looking at your results?

    Questions Answered

    • How would a peer or colleague interpret my students’ perceptions of my teaching?

    Why Important

    • Among other things, SPOTs questions measure student perceptions of the quality and effectiveness of the student-instructor relationship, and how well the instructor helped them learn, which are all vital for cultivating a supportive classroom environment for all students.

    Evidence/Records You Can Collect

    • The three take-away conclusions, follow-up questions, and suggestions from peer
    • Reflection from both peer and self on how the take-away conclusions were different with an exploration of why that may be.

    Data Sharing

    • Plan for adjusting in class practices based with reference to outcomes of SPOTs Sharing activity (rather than to SPOTs scores themselves).
    • Statement of how you will reinforce and/or change practice(s) based on reflection on different conclusions during SPOTs Sharing activity.
    • Summary and analysis*

    Resources

    Examples

    • An instructor who taught Introductory Biology for the first time last semester received her SPOTs results and wants the perspective of an instructor who has successfully taught the class several times.
      • She wants her peer to focus on interpreting the open-ended comments she received.
      • Her peer notes that several students mention they feel she often confuses due dates and deadlines, which confuses them—something she had missed in her review of the comments.
      • The instructor uses this feedback to make changes in how she discusses deadlines and due dates in class.
  • Jointly Implement Something New

    Description

    • Strategy does not have to be a highly innovative approach or something that requires lots of extra preparation (e.g., the two of you may decide you would like to try a different approach to quizzing)
    • Pay attention to what happened and then get together to talk about the results and their implications.

    Questions Answered

    • How can I gather additional evidence to support the effectiveness of a new instructional strategy?

    Why Important

    • Trying a new instructional strategy with a peer can provide additional evidence of its effectiveness or some clarity if you yield different outcomes and can be helpful for discussing obstacles.

    Evidence/Records You Can Collect

    • Work together with a peer to produce any/all of the following:
      • A rationale for testing a practice along with annotated citations
      • Reviewer notes from education research or content area expert
      • Observations of each other’s classrooms while implementing new practice.
      • Assessment of learning instrument validity
      • Evidence of learning gains: data, analysis and conclusions

    Data Sharing

    • A report of the innovation project with outcomes and implications for future iterations
    • Presentation of the innovation, outcomes, and implications. Can be at FISSS, DBER, department meeting, or local conference
    • A paired reflection on the innovation process with focus on the collaboration
    • Summary and analysis*

    Resources

    Examples

    • Two Biology instructors want to implement clicker quizzes as Classroom Assessment Technique in their Introductory to Biology courses, which has been tried in the past in their department with little success
      • The instructors read up on best practices in using clickers and implement the strategy together so they can jointly troubleshoot obstacles and gather evidence regarding effectiveness.
      • Throughout the semester, they exchange several email updates and meet at the end to discuss the process and their findings.
      • Students report that the quizzes are good practice for exams and final grades show an overall class average increase over the previous semester’s cohort.
      • Both instructors reflect on troubleshooting through challenges together and agree it was very helpful.
  • Classroom Visit

    Description

    • Observe and experience what it is like to be in one another’s classroom and then have follow-up conversations after each visit.

    Questions Answered

    • What are my students are doing in class while I am focused on teaching?
    • Which students seem engaged, and which ones do not?
    • What it is like to sit through one of my classes?
    • How is my presentation of course material with regards to level of rigor, accuracy, flow, accessibility, speed, and representation?

    Why Important

    • Focused classroom visits can help you gather targeted feedback on your instruction. Further, if you ask a peer to come in more than once during the semester, you can also gather feedback on how you’re improving in areas you targeted based on the original observation.

    Evidence/Records

    Collect
    • Field observation protocols for student engagement (i.e. seating charts with codes for what students are doing, nationally published protocols with rubrics, etc.). Note if you want to recommend observations with rubrics, this would require careful selection of an instrument and training for the observer.
    • Observation notes on a specific element of the class such as how much wait time is allotted for a question or at what point in the class do students appear most engaged.
    • Class notes annotated for content delivery.

    Data Sharing

    • If you engage peer observations more than once you can report improvements in areas you targeted based on the original observation
    • General description of findings/ observations from peer with explanation of new practices you want to try
    • Summary and analysis*

    Resources

    Examples