Choose Your Muse
Ken Bain writes that deep learning occurs when students feel like they are in control of their learning. We can facilitate this by introducing flexibility in how students engage and demonstrate what they know. Deb McMakin asked us to re-think how we ask students to report out. We can ask students to choose between options like presenting, composing a song, putting on a skit, and so on.
Students who prefer to reflect silently might benefit from activities like journaling, which can be equitable (everyone can participate simultaneously) and can facilitate assessment of participation if we collect the journals.
Lina Rincón uses the dreaded Blue Books (typically used for exams) to run journaling activities.
Gordon Hall introduced us to UMU, an engagement tool that lets you poll students, display results on screen, and a variety of other interactive activities. You could use a tool like UMU to give shy students the flexibility to quietly participate, or you can collect and display the outputs of student collaboration.
Do scientists have an obligation to make science understood by the public? Another way to achieve deep learning is to tackle important real-world issues in authentic tasks. Amy Knapp and Becky Shearman led discussions around current ethical issues and problems without clear solutions, such as the ethics of a gene editing tool called CRISPR, and the (mis)use of genetic data in conversations about race. We had a fascinating discussion about how we can tackle difficult conversations. It can be helpful to reach out to colleagues in other disciplines or offices to get help. Though it can be hard to achieve logistically, we mused that interdisciplinary initiatives could help make these sorts of conversations even richer.