Good resources about teaching methods

This page provides some good resources about teaching methods.

See some good excerpts from the nice summary post:

(The emphasis in italic and in blue is mine, and I highly agree with the methods in blue and I have been applying those in my own teaching and mentoring, even way before I saw this good summary post. These methods applicable for teaching and learning anything, not just for GIS. For example, I have used them for highly programing-oriented course I taught.)

‘The notion that people learn best when they actively construct knowledge in relation to what they already know is not a new idea, of course. Neither am I alone in believing that students – particularly adult students – should be challenged to take more responsibility for their own learning. For example,

Karen Kemp, Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California and co-editor of the original NCGIA Core Curriculum in GIS, says “my goal in teaching now in our field is simply to teach students how to learn.

Don Boyes of the University of Toronto reports that “Where it makes sense, I am encouraging students to learn how to find their own data … I provide some guidance about where to look for data and how to evaluate it, but I want them to be in charge of their own work as much as possible.

At Minnesota State University Moorhead, David Kramar “generally begin[s] the semester with some cookbook/step-by-step exercises that are intended to get the students familiar with the software interface and basic functionality. However, my ‘true’ labs require them to think critically, use the help and search functionality, and (frankly) figure it out for themselves (with my guidance and assistance as needed).”’

‘There are many ways to get students more actively involved in learning. The right strategy depends on your educational objectives, your students’ ages and experience, and your instructional context. For instance, …, Boris Mericskay at Université Rennes2 developed an “inverted approach” in which he “poses a problem to students and leaves it to them to find the right tools and how to combine them.” “At the beginning the students are a little lost,” Boris admits, “but eventually they figure out how to apply GIS to solve the problem I posed.” Like Don Boyes and others, Bob Kolvoord of James Madison University has taken a “flipped classroom” approach, in which “students have various work they need to do to prepare for class and then class time is spent working on largely open-ended exercises to bolster their spatial thinking and GIS skills.” ‘

Requiring students to take greater responsibility for their learning isn’t easy, and it’s not for everyone. … Aaron Addison of Washington University in St. Louis reports that “I’ve tried the ‘guide on the side’ rather than ‘sage on the stage’ approach at the graduate student level, and to a lesser extent at the undergraduate level. My experience (unfortunately) is that it may work on a 1:1 basis, but does not appear to result in successful outcomes in a classroom setting with 15-20 students.” Bob Kolvoord relates that “on the whole, the flipped classroom approach works well, but it can be a challenge for students who aren’t motivated or that have poor task/time management skills.”’

 ‘What about the students in my new course? A formal evaluation of student outcomes and preferences is underway, but anecdotal data is the best I have to share at this point. I found feedback from one student – an accomplished young woman who is new to GIS but previously earned a PhD in Marine Geochemistry – particularly enlightening. Early in the first offering of the course, she wrote me privately to express frustration. She wrote, “I (and probably most students) signed up to learn from an expert (and you are, according to your credentials, an expert!). But in the discussion forums, we’re learning from our peers, and most of us are hardly experts.” She felt cheated. Rather than waiting to submit an anonymous evaluation at the end of the course, she asked permission to create a forum in which students could share critiques and suggestions about the course. Later in the course I took her advice, and invited all 53 students to post in a Course Commentary discussion. By this time, students had about six weeks of experience with the new course format. On reflection, the same student wrote this:

… after my first exchange with David a few weeks back about my frustrations with this class … I dug up an interesting article in Harvard Magazine1 about how interactive learning is much more successful than traditional (lecture) teaching and learning methods, although it meets with a lot of resistance. I was skeptical then, but the more time passes, the more I find this active learning class engaging, the more I enjoy what I’m learning, and the more I agree that, overall, this pedagogical method has been a success with me.’

‘Other students complained that researching unfamiliar topics independently, and reading their peers’ many posts, was too time-consuming. Fellow instructor Adrienne Goldsberry and I streamlined that aspect of the course for the second offering, and fewer complaints about excessive workloads followed. However, it remains true that students who are unfamiliar with the subject matter, or who prefer their accustomed roles as consumers of instructor-produced content, are uncomfortable with the level of responsibility that the course demands.’

‘At this point it should be clear that the call to action in the title of this short article is purposefully provocative. Naturally, every college and university educator wants to help students learn to discover, evaluate, apply, and share knowledge independently and in groups. Even so, I believe it’s healthy for GIS educators to ask ourselves frankly whether we give our students enough responsibility for their own learning. The question and answer has been transformative for me.’

I agree on the seven characteristics of good learners summarized in the post by Dr. , according to my own learning experience and my teaching and mentoring experience, especially the following six.

— Good learners are curious,

— Good learners pursue understanding diligently,

Failure frightens good learners, but they know it’s beneficial,

— Good learners make knowledge their own,

— Good learners never run out of questions,

— Good learners share what they’ve learned. (I agree on this point a lot, and thus cannot help reposting it here with double quotes  — the emphasis in bold is mine.)

“Knowledge is inert. Unless it’s passed on, knowledge is lost. Good learners are teachers committed to sharing with others what they’ve learned. They write about it, and talk about it. Good learners can explain what they know in ways that make sense to others. They aren’t trapped by specialized language. They can translate, paraphrase, and find examples that make what they know meaningful to other learners. They are connected to the knowledge passed on to them and committed to leaving what they’ve learned with others.”

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