PreLecture Resources: Literature Examples

This post provides some short annotations to literature involving prelecture resources/activities – the annotations are a brief summary rather than a commentary: Online Discussion Assignments Improve Students’ Class Preparation, Teaching of Psychology, 2010, 37(2), 204-209: Lecturer used pre-lecture discussion activities to encourage students to read text before attending class. It had no direct influence on examination results but students reported that they felt they understood the material better and that they felt more prepared for exams. Using multimedia modules to better prepare students for introductory physics lecture, Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research, 2010, 6(1), 010108: Authors introduce…

Teaching Fellowship

I’ve been lucky enough to be awarded a DIT Teaching Fellowship for 2010 to 2011. The purpose of this scheme is to support members of staff to develop or evaluate a project that will support the enhancement of learning and/or curriculum development, to paraphrase DIT’s Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre (LTTC) website. In practice, that means they give you some money, funded by SIF2 (down a bit from last year though), and support from the centre. While the money is useful (although I always find it ironic when teaching awards give money to buy out teaching hours) it will be…

Cognitive considerations… in practice

I posted a summary last time of what best practice from cognitive science research preached about designing online resources. Putting it into practice threw up some interesting considerations. I’ve summarised these below in light of developing my first pre-lecture resource, as well as reflections stimulated by conversations about it with my colleague Claire. The first pre-resource is for my first lecture in introductory chemistry which is based around the structure of the atom, the main components (protons, electrons and neutrons) as derived from the Rutherford model, the notion of elements and then progresses onto a discussion of isotopes, introducing the…

Cognitive Considerations in Designing E-Resources

This post aims to consider cognitive load theory and what considerations should be drawn from it in the design of electronic instructional materials. Sweller (2008) discusses several strategies for harnessing the principles of CLT in e-learning design. Several of these strategies are described by Clark and Mayer (2008), so overlap between both are discussed in tandem below. Mayer’s multimedia learning model (Mayer 2005) is used here as the underlying framework for the principles discussed. Before these are discussed, there is a brief explanation of what CLT is, along with the processes involved in learning new information. What is Cognitive Load…

University Rankings – Ireland Changes 2010

Say what you will about university rankings, they are used in media and political circles and along with the recent OECD report will provide an interesting context to the Hunt Report “debate”. I think it is naive to suggest that such large falls/gains mean a university is significantly better or worse than it was a year before – the large changes are more likely due to the change in methodology in the case of THE (who departed from QS and established a new rankings this year with Thompson Reuters) – their weighting for staff-student ratio is down, the weighting for…

Variety in Chemistry 2010

I attended the UK Variety in Chemistry Education 2010 meeting in September at Loughborough University. Variety is always a great meeting, with lots of talks from practitioners about ideas they have had and how they got on after implementing them. This is my fifth Variety, and every year I come away with useful ideas. I’ve sketched out some notes below. I think the talks presented will be available on the Physical Sciences Centre website at some stage. Keynotes Two keynote speakers gave talks at Variety. The first was my own colleague, Dr Claire Mc Donnell, who won the RSC Higher…

Book Review: Study Skills for Science Technology and Engineering Students

This review was written for the HEA Physical Sciences Centre Reviews publication, Vol 20, No. 1. The entire issue can be downloaded from their website, and my review is posted below. This book presents the topic of study skills to both students and tutors in science and engineering topics. Students are encouraged to interact with the material by considering their own personal development, which is a nice approach. There are lots of start and end of chapter activities encouraging students to think about their current approach, but future editions might benefit from a format encouraging periodic review of these questions…

Interview with John Biggs

Found these on iTunesU from La Trobe University (Australia) – interviews with John Biggs (constructive alignment and problem based learning); Vaughan Prain (teaching science);  Chris Scanlan (New media for journalism students); Lorraine Ling (future of education). Nice, listenable, relatively short podcast interviews. Link to Biggs interview is here – this will open iTunes and the others are there [would like a nice iTunes embedder…?] Image Credit

BCCE Day 1

Some thoughts from BCCE Day 1 – including environmental pbl study, lab assessment methods, part 2; research awareness following innovations in lab teaching; cognition studies, using videos of students and developing models if students’ conceptions of acid strength; part 3 – students problems with molarity in chemistry. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3:

Three useful things to know about E-portfolios

At the DRHEA E-learning summer school this week, we had a useful session on E-portfolios. The conversation very quickly diverted to discussion about lots of complicated things that I had never considered or worried about. E-portfolios are simple! I decided to repay the DRHEA sponsored headset costs by making this short video explaining why: