UDL SLAM 2016 Stories | SLAM Story #4: Dan Reeve (Political Science)

(Our final Slam Story in this series!)

In October 2016, the eLearning unit in CETL hosted Camosun’s first “UDL Slam.” Faculty and staff were invited to share stories about practical applications of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Principles they have implemented in their courses or programs. The “Slam” format required that these stories include the following details and be told in 5 minutes or less:

  1. The specific barrier to learning;
  2. The solution applied to address this barrier;
  3. Some assessment of the solution to date.

Dan ReeveIn this fourth and final in a special series of posts, we give you this effective and adaptable example of UDL in practice, which was shared at UDL Slam 2016 by Dan Reeve from Political Science.

At the bottom of this post, we have included our own mini-analysis of which UDL Principles & Guidelines underpin Dan’s solution to a learning barrier.

Barrier: Getting quiet people to contribute ideas in class

In his 1st and 2nd-year Political Science classes, Dan actively encourages discussion and feedback from students. However, he’s well aware that not all of his students are comfortable putting up their hands and speaking out in front of their peers or telling him if they are struggling with course concepts. Knowing that this discomfort can equate to missed learning opportunities for everyone and wanting to hear from more voices in his classes, Dan was looking for a way to coax ideas and feedback from the quieter or more introverted students in a way that would not also generate stress or anxiety.

Solution

After a conference workshop introduced him to the web-based tool, Poll Everywhere, Dan looked into whether he could incorporate it as a low-risk method of supporting communication in his classes.

Poll Everywhere allows an instructor to pose questions to students during a class and while the collective responses are shared for the full class to see, students’ responses are anonymous. The collected responses can then serve as a springboard for deeper class discussions on the topic, or give the instructor a quick read on the students’ grasp of concepts at that point in the course. Students can use their mobile phones or web browsers to respond to a range of question types (open-ended, multiple-choice, short text, etc.), and an instructor has options about how and when to reveal a class’s responses to the full group.

One of the reasons the Poll Everywhere tool appealed to Dan was because he could incorporate contextual questions for students into his in-class PowerPoint presentations and then display their collected responses within the same PowerPoint slides and context. Additionally, since most students in his classes already had cellphones, no additional technologies were required. If there were any students without a cellphone or laptop in the class, Dan simply paired them up with a classmate who did have the hardware. That said, students were not required to participate and were not assessed on their responses; if students still were not comfortable or willing to respond to questions, they could opt out.

And finally, as far as privacy concerns go, students did not need to provide any personally-identifying information to participate in the Poll Everywhere activities: they did not need to create an account on Poll Everywhere to respond to Dan’s questions, and they could also access the Internet through the college’s EDUROAM service and not their own data plans.

[For more information about Poll Everywhere and useful applications of the tool, see http://www.polleverywhere.com/blog/great-ways-to-use-poll-everywhere-in-the-classroom/]

Benefits

In his pilot use of Poll Everywhere, Dan found that he could pose open-ended questions to his class and generate more responses than he would typically get through the traditional “hands-up, vocal responses in front of the class” approach. In other words and as per his original goal, he did end up hearing more from the quieter introverts in his classes.

A tertiary benefit to the Poll Everywhere-based questions was that Dan was able to save some in-class time. Rather than posing a question and going around the room one student at a time to collect responses, all of the responses to a question would appear on the screen at the same time and could be reviewed and discussed further from there. This not only made “pair-and-share” activities more efficient, but also permitted more opportunities to pursue a wider array of questions.

Lessons Learned

In addition to being mindful about students having access to a cellphone or laptop in his classroom, Dan found that students’ enthusiasm for responding to Poll Everywhere questions waned if he posed too many questions per class; he could easily end up losing the participation he had just gained. His recommendation is to avoid overloading a class with questions; use Poll Everywhere thoughtfully and not too much.

Examples

The following screenshots illustrate examples of some of Dan’s Poll Everywhere-based, in-class activities and how the collected responses are displayed to everyone in a class:

  1. Sample of student feedback to the open-ended, short-answer question: “What’s one thing that could be improved with this class?What’s one thing that could be improved with this class?
  2. Sample of responses to this question associated with critical course concepts: “What is a conservative?What is a conservative?
  3. Sample of a word-cloud display of one-word responses to the question: “If a nation is an imagined community, what – in a single word – binds a nation together?What binds a nation together?

UDL Breakdown & Analysis

We think this story is a great example of a practical application of these UDL Principles:

UDL Principle #2: Provide Multiple Means of Action & Expression

By embedding in-class opportunities to check-in with his students regularly and providing an option to participate anonymously, Dan’s solution to a learning barrier supports both of Principle #2’s guidelines for “Physical Action” and “Executive Functions” by:

  1. Optimizing access for assistive technologies by allowing/supporting use of interactive web tools [that have been designed to meet accessibility standards] and supporting problem-solving using variety of strategies;
  2. Using multiple tools for problem-solving by using web-based applications [that meet accessibility standards];
  3. Supporting planning and strategy development by embedding prompts to “stop & think before doing”;
  4. Enhancing capacity for monitoring progress by prompting learners to identify the type of feedback they are seeking and asking questions to guide self-monitoring and reflection.

Learners differ in the ways that they navigate a learning environment and express what they know. There isn’t one means of action and expression that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing options is essential.

UDL Principle #3: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

Dan’s approach and use of the Poll Everywhere tool also supports Principle #3’s guideline for “Recruiting Interest” by:

  1. Increasing individual choice and autonomy by providing choices in tools used for info gathering and production;
  2. Optimizing relevance and authenticity by providing tasks that allow for active participation;
  3. Minimizing threats and distractions by varying the “social demands” required of the learner (e.g. requirements for public display & evaluation).

Learners differ in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. Some learners are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while other are disengaged, even frightened, by those aspects, preferring strict routine. Some learners might like to work alone, while others prefer to work with their peers. There isn’t one means of engagement that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing is essential.

UDL SLAM 2016 Stories | SLAM Story #3: School of Nursing

In October 2016, the eLearning unit in CETL hosted Camosun’s first “UDL Slam.” Faculty and staff were invited to share stories about practical applications of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Principles they have implemented in their courses or programs. The “Slam” format required that these stories include the following details and be told in 5 minutes or less:

  1. The specific barrier to learning;
  2. The solution applied to address this barrier;
  3. Some assessment of the solution to date.

Darlaine Jantzen

Joan Humphries Karen FoxallIn this third in a special series of posts, we give you a resourceful example of UDL in practice at a program level. This initiative out of the School of Nursing was spear-headed by Darlaine Jantzen (Program Chair), implemented with the assistance of Karen Foxall (Program Assistant), and was presented at UDL Slam 2016 by Joan Humphries (Associate Program Chair).

At the bottom of this post, we have included our own mini-analysis of which UDL Principles & Guidelines underpin the School of Nursing’s solution to a barrier that presented risks to accessing applied learning opportunities throughout the program.

Barrier: Intuitive, Consistent & Sustainable Orientation for New Students

Each fall, the BSN Program welcomes around 160 new students, all of whom need to become immediately oriented to not only the program itself but also to some fundamental expectations of professional Nursing practice. Those expectations include 13 different documents (certifications, credentials, etc.) that each student is required to complete and submit in order to be eligible for the practicum placements that are the cornerstone of the program; students who do not provide the required documentation cannot work in practicum locations.

In the past, the faculty teaching first-term courses were made the point-people for collecting the hundreds of pieces of required documentation from their students and tracking outstanding pieces – while also managing responsibilities inherent to delivering first-term curriculum. The communication about these requirements also largely fell to the 1st-term teaching-faculty to manage, so attendant issues included inconsistencies between each faculty member’s approach to messaging and managing the process. Finally, the previous process did not allow students to access and submit all documentation electronically, creating additional challenges for the tracking of these required documents and presenting constant concerns about lost forms and repercussions for student learning opportunities.

In sum: the previous process made it difficult for students to get consistent information about fundamental program requirements, lacked a central point of contact for them to get clarification and support, was entirely paper-based, and added an enormous administrative workload on top of the teaching responsibilities of 1st-term faculty.

Solution

In an effort to minimize student confusion about expectations and goals, avoid losing essential documents, and relieve 1st-term faculty of administrative responsibilities on top of their existing teaching load, the BSN Program decided to centralize the program orientation (now known as the “BSN Primer”) into a dedicated module in all first-term course D2L sites. Program Assistant, Karen Foxall, was made the primary point-person for the BSN Primer; she became the consistent point of contact for questions students had about the orientation and also took over tracking their successful completion of the BSN Primer requirements.

By integrating the BSN Primer into D2L course sites, new students have the additional benefit of becoming familiar on Day 1 with common D2L functions that they will encounter throughout the program (e.g. Dropboxes, Quizzes, Content, etc.)

And finally: the old paper-based process that was both clunky and risky, was replaced by a fully digital process. All forms were converted into electronic format and students now submit their materials online via task-specific Dropboxes in D2L. This allows the Program Assistant to easily retrieve all completed documents and confirm student completion at a glance.

Example Sections from the New BSN Primer

The BSN Primer is organized around 4 primary themes that orient students to both the expectations of the program and their professional practice:

  1. Presenting & Preparing Yourself for Classes
  2. Preparing Yourself for Registered Nursing Practices
  3. Consent Forms
  4. Confidentiality: Yours and Others.

Below are screen-shots of two of these sections. These sections include: instructions for students, electronic copies of required forms, Dropboxes for form submissions, and short “quizzes” or checklists used to confirm that students have completed all of the requirements for that section.

BSN Primer Example 1: Preparing Yourself for Registered Nursing Practice

BSN Primer Example 2: Confidentiality: Yours and Others

Benefits

Primary benefits:

  1. Consistent messaging and support; accountability. With Program Assistant, Karen, as the central manager of this process and with all of the forms being submitted online and in a centralized location, the process of tracking outstanding documentation is much easier and follow-up is timelier. Students who have not completed all of the required documentation or whose documentation includes errors are less likely to fall into an administrative gap and find themselves ineligible for practicum placements.
  2. Intuitive and user-friendly. The BSN Primer introduces students to program goals, expectations and schedules on Day 1 of their program. By Karen’s estimation, in the Fall 2016 trial run of the BSN Primer, approximately 75% of the new student intake had no difficulty completing the requirements and/or read all of the instructions and completed all of their requirements by the deadlines.
  3. Orientation to LMS (D2L) prior to formal course work. By integrating the BSN Primer orientation into the same LMS used to deliver course curriculum, students are given immediate familiarity to D2L functions and navigation.
  4. Timeliness. Based on the program’s experience in previous years, the digitization and centralization of the orientation moved the typical schedule for collecting students’ documentation up by about 10 weeks.

Additional benefits:

  1. More sustainable practice for Faculty. Instructors who teach the first-term courses expressed appreciation for having the administrative responsibility for collecting and tracking all of the required forms taken out of their hands.
  2. More environmentally sustainable too! By moving this orientation online into D2L, the sheer volume of paper used collected by the program has gone down tremendously.

UDL Breakdown & Analysis

We think this story positively illustrates the practical application of two UDL Principles:

First:

UDL Principle #1: Provide Multiple Methods of Representation

By digitizing the documentation component of the Nursing Orientation and incorporating the same LMS (D2L) students will use throughout their program, the BSN Primer supports at least two of Principle #1’s guidelines (“Perception” and “Comprehension”). Through the BSN Primer, the program is:

  1. Offering learners ways to customize their display of information: the BSN Primer provides digital formats of all the required documentation that give students options for accessing and viewing materials.
  2. Providing background knowledge. The BSN Primer centralizes essential program and professional expectations of the students that they need to know and practice throughout the program; students access the BSN Primer on Day 1 of their program.
  3. Supporting transfer of learning across the program; the BSN Primer incorporates explicit opportunities for students to review program expectations and requirements & practice navigating through D2L functions

There isn’t one means of representation that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing options for representation is essential

And second:

UDL Principle #2: Provide Multiple Methods of Action & Expressions

By providing new students with an essential orientation to program and professional expectations with consistent and centralized support, the School of Nursing’s BSN Primer illustrates Principle #2’s Guideline 6: Executive Functions*.

*“Executive functions” allow us to set long-term goals and plan effective strategies for reaching those goals. CAST

The BSN Primer underpins this guideline as it:

  1. Guides appropriate goal-setting by posting goals, objectives & schedules in an obvious place, and providing cues to help learners identify resources required – including time.
  2. Supports planning and strategy development by providing checklists and setting up prioritization and sequences of tasks for students;
  3. Facilitates managing information and resources by providing templates for data collection & organizing information;

Learners differ in the ways that they navigate a learning environment and express what they know. There isn’t one means of action and expression that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing options is essential.

 

 

UDL SLAM 2016 Stories | SLAM Story #2: Rid Lidstone (Plumbing & Pipe Trades)

Contributed by Sue Doner (eLearning) and Rod Lidstone (Plumbing & Pipe Trades)

On October 14, the eLearning unit in CETL hosted Camosun’s first “UDL Slam.” Faculty and staff were invited to share stories about practical applications of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Principles they have implemented in their courses or programs. The “Slam” format required that these stories include the following details and be told in 5 minutes or less:

  1. The specific barrier to learning;
  2. The solution applied to address this barrier;
  3. Some assessment of the solution to date.

Rod LidstoneIn this second in a special series of posts, we give you this thoughtful and transferable example of UDL in practice, which was shared at UDL Slam 2016 by Rod Lidstone from Plumbing & Pipe Trades.

At the bottom of this post, we have included our own mini-analysis of which UDL Principles & Guidelines underpin Rod’s solution to a learning barrier.

Barrier: In-Class Demonstrations to Students of “How To Use” Equipment & Tools

Before students in the Plumbing & Pipes Trades program can begin to get their hands-on experience with shop tools and equipment, they are required to gather around the tool in question while their instructor gives them a demonstration of how to use it. These demonstrations involve detailed, step-by-step directions on both using the equipment correctly and using it safely.

However, as Rod explained, these demos are given on the shop floor and the locations tend to provide limited space for students to gather around and be able to view all the details. In addition to the physical limitations, the in-class delivery of the demos doesn’t always give students enough time to digest the particulars of all the required steps.

So: how to give students as much access as they need to content they have to understand before they can begin to gain hands-on experience in their trade? As Rod observed, among other issues at stake are the safety risks to students if they don’t recall all of the requisite steps or missed some of the details.

Solution

Create videos of ALL the equipment and tool demonstrations and post them online for students to access any time. (To date: instructors in the Plumbing & Pipe Trades program have created almost 100 videos of 5 minutes or less.)

Once students have watched a demo video, they take a follow-up quiz to track and assess their comprehension; students can watch videos as often as they need to and can retake the quizzes. If they score well on the quiz, they schedule time with their instructor for a 15-minute pre-project meeting; pre-projects meetings are student-led presentations in which the student demonstrates to the instructor how to use a piece of equipment.

Benefits

Whereas the in-class equipment demonstrations limited students to a one-time-only run-through by the instructor, students can watch these demonstration videos over and over until they really “get it”. In fact, they can watch and review videos via a tablet or mobile device while they are actually in the shop, with the equipment. All of the videos are closed-captioned, so the instructions are still accessible within the environmental noise of the shop.

Lessons Learned

In the process of developing close to 100 video-based demonstrations, Rod and his team have learned several valuable lessons about creating effective instructional videos, especially when jockeying for access to the College’s limited and in-demand Audio-Video Services (AVS):

  1. Pay attention to lighting; for detailed demonstrations in particular, good lighting of the subject matter is critical.
  2. YouTube’s auto-generated closed-captioning service is convenient, but the accuracy is often poor. Be prepared to manually edit these. (Rod and his team are currently working through all of their videos to make corrections to YouTube’s auto-generated captions).
  3. Develop your script in advance. Not only will this help to make the best use of limited AVS time to shoot but it will also help to save time in editing.

Examples of Demonstration Videos

YouTube

  1. Tying a Trucker’s Hitch
  2. Two-Person Ladder Set-up
  3. Sharpening Chisels 

UDL Breakdown & Analysis

We think this story is a great example of a practical application of this UDL Principle:

UDL Principle #1: Provide Multiple Methods of Representation

By providing close-captioned, video-based versions of equipment demonstrations to prepare their Plumbing & Pipe Trades students for hands-on experience, Rod Lidstone and his fellow instructors in the program are supporting at least two of Principle #1’s guidelines (“Comprehension” and “Perception”). They are:

  1. Guiding information processing by “scaffolding” students’ learning (i.e. supporting learning that builds from one step to another);
  2. Supporting transfer of learning by incorporating explicit opportunities for review and practice and providing opportunities to revisit key ideas;
  3. Providing alternatives for visual information by including text (closed-captions) for all videos.

Learners differ in the ways that they perceive and comprehend the information you present. There isn’t one means of representation that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing options for representation is essential.

 

UDL SLAM 2016 Stories | SLAM Story #1: John Lee (Chemistry)

Contributed by Sue Doner (eLearning) and John Lee (Chemistry)

On October 14, the eLearning unit in CETL hosted Camosun’s first “UDL Slam.” Faculty and staff were invited to share stories about practical applications of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Principles they have implemented in their courses or programs. The “Slam” format required that these stories include the following details and be told in 5 minutes or less:

  1. The specific barrier to learning;
  2. The solution applied to address this barrier;
  3. Some assessment of the solution to date.

John Lee, ChemistryIn this first in a special series of posts, we give you this engaging and creative example of UDL in practice, which was shared at UDL Slam 2016 by John Lee from Chemistry.

At the bottom of this post, we have included our own mini-analysis (see below) of which UDL Principles & Guidelines underpin John’s solution to a learning barrier.

Barrier: Template-based Lab Reports.

The majority of John’s students hate “tedious lab reports”, i.e. the formal lab reports that follow a dry, written, template format. From John’s observations, the format doesn’t meaningfully engage all learners (such as those with difficulties writing) or even reflect professional practice.  (These lab reports wouldn’t be part of real-world forms of reporting out results.) John feels that the only reason for these templates is to familiarize those students who will be going into 3rd-year Chemistry at UVic with the process used there.

Solution

Give students a rubric to guide what information they need to include in their reports, but beyond that let students choose different methods to present their lab results.

Students have chosen a wide variety of methods and end up learning other skills that they wouldn’t have picked up by completing a dry, template lab report. Students also like to showcase talents that otherwise wouldn’t get noticed in a science class.  Some of the reports styles have included:

  • Comic strips/Graphic novels
  • TV show/video; YouTube and animations
  • Music (song writing)
  • Radio interviews and peer teaching.

Benefits

Primary benefit: Students get into the labs in more depth and really enjoy creating their reports.

Additional benefit: Students often pick up additional skills via the method they choose to create their report (e.g. technological skills; presentation skills).

Examples of Students’ Submissions

TV Show (via YouTube)

  1. The Life & Death of Sproinky: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy” by Gabe and Aaron.
  2. Titration TV: featuring Xylenesuphonic Acid” by Gabe and Aaron.

Comic Strip/Graphic Novel

  1. Bad Chemistry (PDF)” (PDF) by Ivy and Dayna.

UDL Breakdown & Analysis

We think this story is a great example of a practical application of this UDL Principle:

UDL Principle #2: Provide Multiple Methods of Action & Expressions

The flexible format of lab report submissions that John Lee encourages in his Chemistry course reflects what one of Principle #2’s guidelines (“Expression & Communication) recommends:

There is no medium of expression that is equally suited for all learners or for all kinds of communication.  It is important to provide alternative modalities for expression, both to the level the playing field among learners and to allow the learner to appropriately (or easily) express knowledge, ideas and concepts in the learning environment.