Focus On Student Learning Series (FOSL)

The Focus On Student Learning Series (FOSL) offers monthly discussions on a variety of topics related to student learning and development. Each session is recorded to DVD and is available for 4-day checkout at the Scarborough Library Public Service Desk. Ask for the specific topic under “FOSL Reserves”. The following sessions were offered during the spring 2012 semester:

January: Teaching to Every Learning Style

Proponents of learning style theory believe that we all processes information differently, therefore faculty should strive to teach concepts in a different types of ways to reach the greatest number of students. In this workshop, we discussed active learning, personality preferences, and gauging differences in students’ styles to create an optimum learning environment. Resources which were recommended to evaluate learning style preferences in the classroom included the Strong Interest Inventory®, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, VARK learning styles survey, and the NC State Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire.  Dr. Belinda Mitchell from the Education Department provided us with some very valuable links to help us with this in our classrooms: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIv9rz2NTUk 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKkHiAA3xu0 
http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/udl/challenge.htm

February: Struggling with Student Engagement

This month the Focus on Student Learning series offered helpful hints for addressing student apathy. Suggestions were offered for improving classroom discussions and making sure assigned readings were being completed. Tips for improving student engagement included: providing individual encouragement outside of the classroom; using classroom assessment techniques to measure what level students are reading and comprehending new material; challenging students by not “letting them off the hook”; keeping classroom discussions and readings relevant and meaningful; and letting students choose readings and guide the discussion by presenting material to their peers.  Some helpful links are copied below to help with this in our classrooms:
http://pactlab-dev.spcomm.uiuc.edu/blog/csandvig-class/Getting_Students_to_do_Readings.pdf
http://tfsc.uark.edu/2007_09.pdf

March: The 5th Annual Celebration of Student Learning

Individual faculty members and entire departments shared the ways in which they creatively utilized funding from CTL mini-grants to enhance student learning and program development. As they shared their projects and the success of their endeavors, other department and academic support units learned how to apply for grant funding in the future.  This year, faculty members from  Art (Kristin Kaineg and Melissa Scotton), English (Christy Wenger) and Political Science (Stephanie Slocum-Schaffer) were awarded funding to attend assessment related conferences; the Institute for Environmental Studies and the Biology departments (Peter Vila and Carol Plautz) were awarded funding to host a graduate school information seminar for students; the Office of Financial Aid (Joyce Cabral and Johnnie Porter) was awarded partial funding to be used toward a student prize in their financial literacy assessment campaign; and the Psychology Department (Anne Murtagh) was awarded funding to host an off-campus departmental assessment retreat on the grounds of the National Conservation Training Center to revise the scope of their next assessment plan.

April: The Great Teachers Seminar

In June 2011, Dr. Francoise Nelles attended the 19th annual WV Great Teachers Seminar. At this final FOSL of the semester, she shared teaching tips gained during the conference and reflected on this very positive experience.  Designed to highlight teaching innovations and solutions to common challenges, the Great Teachers Movement has been active since the 1970s and continues to thrive today. The Center for Teaching & Learning is please to sponsor Dr. Christopher Lovelace, Dr. Ann Murtagh, and Mrs. TC Williams, three Shepherd representatives who plan to attend the 20th annual GTS this summer from June 18-21, 2012.  

Stay tuned for an announcement on topics planned for fall 2012! We always try to schedule programs that are suggested by you!  Visit the FOSL page on our CTL website for more information: http://www.shepherd.edu/ctl/fosl.html.