Target your feedback

The other day, I was talking about assessment that support learning in my teaching and learning class. Like I do often, I started the class with a “What do you notice? What do you wonder?” picture:

Archery targets give instantaneous, formative feedback. (Image "on target" shared by hans s on flickr CC-BY-ND)

What do you notice?

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If all you have is a stick, every student looks like an ass*

If you read something Wednesday morning and it’s still bugging you on Friday afternoon, don’t keep having a conversation in your head, write about it.

A few days ago, yet another hand-wringing, oh-dear-what-shall-we-do-about-it post about students and their phones came through my Twitter feed.…

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Learn your students’ names. No, really.

I have a thing about learning my students’ names. And it’s not a good thing.

I think I have a fixed mindset when it comes to learning people’s names: I believe I can’t do it. So whenever someone introduces him- or herself, a piece of my brain shuts off for a couple of seconds and the name go in one ear and out the other.…

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Learning Outcomes, Instruction, Assessment: Check, check, check

I’ve spent time in that circle of Hell called “marking” (or “grading” as they call it here in the U.S.) My past is filled with stacks of math exams full of multi-step problems and  astronomy exams with essays about the nature of science.…

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Meta-blog-nition

“Cognition” is another word for “thinking”. Metacognition, then, is thinking about your own thinking. Cynthia Brame at Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching has this terrific quote by John Flavell in her post, Thinking About Metacognition:

I am engaging in metacognition if I notice that I am having more trouble learning A than B.   John Flavell (1976)

Metacognition is thinking about your own thinking.

Metacognition is thinking about your own thinking.

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Preparing for 2 sections of the same class

More grad students and postdocs want to take the course we teach at UCSD about teaching and learning in higher education, The College Classroom, than we can accommodate. This Quarter, we accepted 40 participants. The class meets for one 90-minute class each week.…

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Regrets? Yes. And no.

My trek from geeky highschool student to Associate Director at the Center for Teaching Development at the University of California, San Diego has definitely followed the alternative academic career path.

What path will you take? (Image: You choose your path by James Wheeler on flickr CC via Compfight)

What path will you take? (Image: You choose your path by James Wheeler on flickr CC via Compfight)

When I finished my Ph.D.…

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Welcome, Science Borealis!

ScienceBorealis_avatarFirst, a big thanks to Science Borealis for highlighting my blog as today’s #cdnsciblog. I’m flattered to be in their company and happy to contribute.

I write mostly about teaching and learning science at the university level. This blog started as a way for me to archive interesting things I’d seen or done while working in the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at UBC.…

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If you want them to think like experts…

[Cross-posted from the UCSD Center for Teaching Development]

I spend a lot of time thinking about how and why peer instruction works and helping instructors improve their technique. The other day, I had an experience that crystallized for me the difference between peer instruction and students merely clicking their clickers.…

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The Power of Misconception

“Misconception” is one of those words that makes you slump your shoulders and sigh. It’s not inspiring like “creativity” or “glee.” In fact, in education circles we often resort to “alternate conception” so we’re not starting the conversation at a bad place.…

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