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Reflective Teaching In A Digital Age
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Reflective Teaching In A Digital Age

Author: Dr. Natasha Perova-Mello and Dr. Nicole Pitterson

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Welcome to the podcast series called: Reflective Teaching in a Digital Age. We are excited to share our conversations with professionals working in STEM education or related fields. They have graciously agreed to share their personal experiences of adapting to an online teaching mode as well as their professional wealth of practical and theoretical knowledge relevant to blended or online teaching. We discuss many topics including effective course design, teamwork facilitation, assessment, educational technology integration, social support, instructor’s trust development and many, many others. We hope these conversations will prove useful to our listeners as well as help to engage our community in a larger conversation about effective ways to navigate the “new normal” of blended and online learning in STEM to develop effective modes of teaching.
8 Episodes
Continuing our conversation about the Community of Inquiry Framework and its application to online learning, we focus this episode on the role of Teaching Presence in facilitating the meaningful design of educational experiences. Dr. Vaughan talks to us about the theoretical foundations of Teaching Presence, its implications for practice, and ways to empower learners to become successful problem solvers.For more information about the CoI Framework, please visit: Bio:An educator and researcher with interests in blended learning, faculty development and K to 12 schooling, Dr. Norm Vaughan is a Professor in the Department of Education, Faculty of Health, Community, Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.Norm's teaching background includes graduate and undergraduate courses in educational technology, K-12 education in northern Canada, technical training in the petroleum industry, and English as a Second Language in Japan. In addition, he has been involved in several consulting projects with book publishers and higher education institutions to develop online courses and resources. He has co-authored the books Teaching in Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry (2013) and Blended Learning in Higher Education (2008) and he has published a series of articles on blended learning and faculty development.  Norm is the Co-founder of the Blended Online Design Network (BOLD), a member of the Community of Inquiry Research Group, the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning and he is on the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Excellence in e-Learning, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, the International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education,  the Journal on Centers for Teaching & Learning, Journal of Interactive Online Learning, and the Learning Communities Journal. 
Technology in education has gained a tremendous role during the time of the pandemic. From kindergarten through college, technology is being used to connect us, provide access to a variety of resources, and most importantly to empower students by engaging them in active learning experiences. The latter requires rethinking more transactional ways of teaching and recognizing the potential of technology to put students into the center of learning. Reference(s) mentioned in this episode: Dorsey, C. (2020). Perspective: Is Remote Learning a Panacea for the Pandemic? The Concord Consortium. Dorsey is President and CEO of the Concord Consortium. Chad’s professional experience ranges across the fields of science, education, and technology. Prior to joining the Concord Consortium, Chad led teacher professional development workshops as a member of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance. There he developed technology-embedded assessments, analyzed Web-based phenomena and representations for an online library, and co-authored an NSTA Press book of science formative assessment probes. Chad has also taught science in classrooms from middle schools through college and has guided educational reform efforts at the district-wide and whole-school levels. While earning his B.A. in physics at St. Olaf College and his M.A. in physics at the University of Oregon, Chad conducted experimental fluid mechanics research, built software models of Antarctic ice streams, and dragged a radar sled by hand across South Cascade Glacier. He first met computers when his family hooked an Apple II to their fancy new color TV set, and he’s been a shameless geek ever since.
The interplay between learning goals, instructional support, and affordances of online technology can create a new learning environment for experimenting with what matters most and rethinking habits we have gotten into. Dr. Robin Adams talks to us about her personal experience of teaching engineering design online for the first time. She thoughtfully reflects on instructional decisions she had to make to help students navigate virtual teamwork workflows and successfully complete design challenges.Bio:Dr. Robin S. Adams  is a Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. The recipient of a 2008 NSF Career Award, a Design Studies best paper award (2003), and the Journal of Engineering Education's Wickenden Award for best paper (2007), Dr. Adams is a national leader in researching interdisciplinary thinking and design learning, in connecting research and practice, and in building research capacity in engineering education. She leads the Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education as part of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education and was an invited participant at the 2010 Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium.
For many educators online teaching is a relatively new experience that presents opportunities for rethinking traditional instruction and beliefs about student learning. Dr. Rogers talks to us about the importance of setting clear learning goals, using appropriate assessment metrics, and developing ways of thinking about the role of technology to support meaningful learning.Bio:Chris Rogers earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, where he worked with Professor John Eaton on his thesis on particle motion in a boundary layer flow. Rogers joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tufts School of Engineering in 1989. He is involved in a number of research areas, including particle-laden flows (a continuation of his thesis), telerobotics and controls, slurry flows in chemical-mechanical planarization, the engineering of musical instruments, measuring flame shapes of couch fires, measuring fruit-fly locomotion, and engineering education (kindergarten to college). At Tufts, Rogers has exercised his strong commitment to teaching by exploring a number of new directions, including teaching robotics with LEGO bricks and teaching manufacturing by building musical instruments. His teaching work extends to the elementary school level, where he talks with over 1,000 teachers around the world every year on methods of introducing young children to engineering.
Teaching engineering online is a uniquely challenging task. Conceptually difficult knowledge, hands-on experience, problem-solving and teamwork are at the core of many engineering courses and when taught remotely, require careful planning. Dr. Wertz talks to us about her practical and theoretical experience in online engineering education. She discusses topics of social bonding, team’s cohesion, assessment approaches, and generally, what is important to remember when designing (or redesigning) an engineering course for online instruction.Bio:Dr. Wertz is an Assistant Professor of General Engineering at Valparaiso University, located in Valparaiso Indiana. She has earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Trine University, a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education also from Purdue University. Dr. Wertz teaches courses in First-Year Engineering and Statics. Her research interests include K-8 engineering outreach, spatial skill development, theories of teaching and learning, and online engineering education.  
Online teaching is a complex process that requires rethinking the role of the instructor, student interactions, and meaningful ways of learning. The CoI framework gets at the heart of establishing and sustaining online educational experiences through the development of interdependent elements: social, cognitive, and teaching presence. Dr. Randy Garrison will talk to us about the history of the CoI framework, its role in the thoughtful design of online education, and practical ways of helping students learn through active participation and shared meaning making.For more information about the CoI Framework, please visit: mentioned in this episode:Garrison, D. R. (2016). E-learning in the 21st century: A community of inquiry framework for research and practice. Taylor & Francis.Garrison, D. R. (2015). Thinking collaboratively: Learning in a community of inquiry. Routledge.Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca University Press.Garrison, D. R., & Akyol, Z. (2013). The community of inquiry theoretical framework. Handbook of distance education, 3, 104-120.Garrison, D. R. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(1), 61-72.Bio:D. Randy Garrison is professor emeritus at the University of Calgary.  Dr. Garrison has been Dean of Extension at the University of Alberta, Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre at the University of Calgary. He has published extensively on teaching and learning in adult, higher and distance education contexts. From a research perspective Dr. Garrison has authored, co-authored or edited thirteen books and well over 100 refereed articles/chapters. His most recent book is E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Community of Inquiry Framework for Research and Practice (3rd Edition) (2017).
The CAP Framework is widely known in the engineering education community. It is focused on alignment of content, assessment, and pedagogy to progress towards learning objectives and is frequently used as an approach to curriculum development in engineering courses. Dr. Streveler talks to us about her personal experience with online teaching, ways the CAP framework can be used to rethink course design in an online environment, and the importance of social-emotional support in online instruction.References mentioned in this episode:Streveler, R. A., Smith, K. A., & Pilotte, M. (2012). Aligning course content, assessment, and delivery: Creating a context for outcome-based education. In Outcome-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education: Innovative practices (pp. 1-26). IGI Global.Bio:Dr. Ruth A. Streveler is a Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Dr. Streveler has been the Principle Investigator or co-Principle Investigator of ten grants funded by the US National Science Foundation. She is an Associated Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE), has published articles in the JEE and the International Journal of Engineering Education, and contributed two chapters to the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. She has presented workshops to over 500 engineering faculty on four continents. Dr. Streveler’s primary research interests are investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering science and helping engineering faculty conduct rigorous research in engineering education.
Whether we have experienced teaching face-to-face, blended, or online classes, educational technology tools for learning have been part of the teaching resources repertoire for quite some time now. Integration of simulations, virtual labs, collaborative platforms, and assessment tools as part of the teaching process is familiar to many, yet a more deliberate approach to thinking of how a particular educational tool will help to achieve learning outcomes is frequently not part of the decision-making process. Dr. Kandakatla talks to us about a thoughtful and holistic approach to thinking about educational technology tools integration in STEM classes using a variation of the Content, Assessment, and Pedagogy (CAP) framework he calls TCAP (Technology, Content, Assessment, and Pedagogy). Bio:Dr. Rohit Kandakatla has completed his Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University and is currently serving as the Director for Strategy, Operations, and Human Resource Development at KG Reddy College of Engineering and Technology. He also has an adjunct faculty appointment with the Center for Engineering Education Research at KLE Technological University. Prior to his PhD in Purdue, Rohit completed his bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering from India. His research interests include faculty use of educational technology, service learning, understanding organizational development in higher education and education policy.
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