Plan for FrLv! April 26, 2019

Ambiguity for Beginners

Lowering-Thresholds to “Get Thru” Killer Gateway Courses 

  FridayLive! Online April 26, 2pm ET

2pm ET Intro, Warm-Up – Steve  Gilbert Introduction – Begin recording

Small Steps<<——————————————->>Big Impact

LTAs (Low-Theshold Apps/Applications/Activities)        Big Enrollment Courses

Small(ish) Steps<<——————>>Big(gish) Impact

Beginners’ Obstacles<<……………………………………………….>>Gateway Courses   


   

Small(est) Steps<<—->>Big(gest) Impact

Fundamental, Persistent                                             Math, English, Chem
Ambiguities<<……………………………………………………………………….>>101

Safety, Caring, and Ambiguity:  Especially, orthographic ambiguity in vocabulary, notation, and syntax.

 

 

I.  Fundamental, Persistent Ambiguities 

Intro (Beginners vs. Non-Beginners)

Some essential elements of a subject (e.g.  notation idiosyncratic to the subject) may seem ambiguous to many beginners.  Most who succeed in the subject become adept at instantly resolving those ambiguities through contextual clues.   Consequently, non-beginners (especially subject experts) may no longer recognize those ambiguities as such.  Non-beginners may even be unable to recall how they eventually overcame these ambiguity obstacles.

Many learners’ preparation for Gateway Courses leave
fundamental ambiguities unaddressed and unresolved.

Criteria?  “Beneficially Viral?”

  • Minimum goal for each “quick help” we identify:  it would be a good thing if it “went viral”?     How decide if something has actually gone “beneficially viral”?  
  • e.g.,  “Muddiest Point” activity “CATs”;   Use of calculators in Math 101;  Wordprocessing;
  • See _Diffusion of Innovation_  Everett Rogers,  …  goal… beyond the early adopters,  well into the “mainstream”…  approx more than 15% of potentially beneficiaries…
  • Which improvements in teaching/learning that take advantage of technology have reached beyond 15% within ….  3 years?  10 years?  6 months?    Almost none!??? 

Examples of Fundamental Persistent Ambiguities from/for:

Math 101
English 101
Chemistry 101, ..

II.  Resources for Lowering Ambiguity Thresholds (See below)

“…understanding physics and the other mathematical sciences can sometimes be so difficult. The basic point is that our notation is often an absolute mess, caused by the fact that we use equations like we use natural language, in a highly ambiguous way:

“’It is necessary to present the science in the language of mathematics. Unfortunately, when we teach science we use the language of mathematics in the same way that we use our natural language. We depend upon a vast amount of shared knowledge and culture, and we only sketch an idea using mathematical idioms.’” – excerpt from “Using Unambiguous Notation” by Jonathan Yedidia(?), posted October 19, 2007 in blog “https://nerdwisdom.com/

https://www.facebook.com/500379841/posts/10156413817604842?sfns=mo


II.  Resources for Lowering Ambiguity Thresholds 

How can LTAs help with…?  How can LTAs NOT help with…?  Integrating  Safety, Caring, and Ambiguity?

NEED DOUBLE-IMPACT EXAMPLES:
Challenges of Notation, Vocabulary, Syntax that make some learners, especially beginners, insecure, frightened, … 

Vocabulary, Notation, Rules of Syntax, … [repetitive activity…] SYMBOLS ;    “Glossaries”  ]

  • Relearning Vocabulary that has widespread “Common Usage” vs. same word or phrase that has become a “Term of Art”
    “..term of art …a word or phrase that has a specific or precise meaning within a given discipline or field and might have a different meaning in common usage:  ‘Set’ is a term of art used by mathematicians, and ‘burden of proof’ is a term of art used by lawyers.. …” – from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/term-of-art;
    Familiarity with common usage of a term is NOT necessarily good prep for use of same term in a specific discipline:  e.g.,  in math, “absolute value”  “simplification”  “factors”   

    • Vocab for psych 101!!!!  (Ilene Frank ref.)…   basic terms then build up to more sophisticated vocab;  USE OF PREFIXES, SUFFIXES, COMBINING WORDS, ….;   “passive-aggressive”  “ego”  “rationalization”;  Pronunciation not same a spelling   “duragotory” vs.  “derogatory”
  • Note-Taking for unfamiliar terminology, concepts;  
  • Pronunciation not same a spelling   “duragotory”   “derogatory”
  • Coding Vocab?

Context:  Low-Threshold Improvements for “Killer” Gateway Courses 

Quick help for people trying to “get thru” these courses or course requirements:  Students, Faculty, and Those who support them.

“Killer” Gateway Courses 

Terms & Definitions.  Who cares? Why bother? 
[“High Challenge Courses,”.”Weed-Out Courses,”…  Lots of variations in terms , parameters, etc. 
Suggest a title/label that will quickly indicate the focus of our discussions AND better communicate our emphasis on constructive, positive, supportive, secure, confidence-building approaches than “Weed-Out Courses”?]

First Focus: 4 “Killer” Gateway Courses:

  • Math “101” – pre-algebra, algebra, statistics,…?
  • English “101” – writing, editing, reading, literature…?
  • Chemistry “101” – notation, …?
  • [Computer Literacy, … Other commonly used title for this course?]

Low-Threshold Improvements & LTAs – Characteristics

LTAs = Low-Threshold Applications, Activities

  • Non-intimidating; relatively low-cost; relies on widely-used technology; includes online elements
  • Very brief intro (potential users can learn enough in 2-10 minutes online to reject, explore, or commit to use)
  • Benefits to most students are apparent. And well-documented?

LTPCIs = Low-Threshold Programmatic Course Improvement (LTPCI)

  • Non-intimidating; relatively low-cost; relies on widely-used technology
  • Includes an improved use of online resources integrated throughout the course
  • Brief intro (potential users can learn enough in 10-20 minutes online to reject, explore, or commit to launch and use in the next academic term or year.)
  • Benefits to most students are apparent. And well-documented?

II.  Implementation and Feedback

  • What could be done to enable most of the likely beneficiaries to find and use these improvements within one year? 
  • To publish feedback to influence further use?

Review c

Conclusions re TLTG series: Low-Threshold Improvements for”Killer” Gateway Courses

Definition/Scope  

  • First focus on these “Killer” Gateway Courses:  Math 101, English 101, Chemistry 101,  [of course, there are many others worthy of our attention, but this is where we’ll begin]

[May not be treated as a “Gateway Course” – more like pre-college courses;  electives;  students do NOT need to demonstrate competence or certification of pre-reqs … more like “study skills” than Gateway Courses”….”Computer…101″]

“Beneficially Viral?”

  • Minimum goal for each “quick help” we identify:  it would be a good thing if it “went viral”?     How decide if something has actually gone “beneficially viral”?  
  • e.g.,  “Muddiest Point” activity “CATs”;   Use of calculators in Math 101;  Wordprocessing;
  • See _Diffusion of Innovation_  Everett Rogers,  …  goal… beyond the early adopters,  well into the “mainstream”…  approx more than 15% of potentially beneficiaries…
  • Which improvements in teaching/learning that take advantage of technology have reached beyond 15% within ….  3 years?  10 years?  6 months?    Almost none!??? 

ESPECIALLY, ROLES OF FUNDAMENTALS & LTAs:

WHICH LTA Categories First?

  • Google Search
  • Zoom Meetings
  • Digital Annotation
  • Memory Practice Tools (e.g., flash cards, Quizlet, )
  • Visualization Practice
  • Self-Learning 
  • Assessment/Readiness (Pre-Requisite skills, etc.)  
  • Study/Learning Skills;  e.g.,…

WHICH LTPCIs Programmatic Course Improvements First?

  • Sources? Examples?
  • E.g., everyone does something with reading (at same time? )….  very basic stuff;

 


Quick Help to Get Thru Killer Gateway Courses?

For students, faculty, and those who support them who are currently trying to “get thru” these courses or course requirements….

  • Who cares? Why bother? 
  • Gateway vs. Gatekeeper? [Stumbling blocks, *barriers*, deterrent ….
  • Killer vs. Stumbling vs. Difficult

“Gateway Courses” Series Definition/Scope  [What will we include/exclude?]

Confirm/Clarify working definition, title:  “Killer” Gateway Courses = “Courses with high rates of unsuccessful outcomes (DFWI rates – Drop Fail Withdraw Incomplete) … Courses with DFWI rates of 30% or higher– These courses ‘kill’ a student’s GPA, motivation, academic progress, etc.– Serve as ‘gatekeeper’ to further study and degree completion” 

Slide 3 from  “Analytics and Gateway Courses: Understanding and Overcoming Roadblocks to College Completion,” Andrew K. Koch, Matthew W. Pistilli, IHE Webinar 09/27/12 Slideset, Slide 3: https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/Anal
  • Include:  “101”; First-Year College Undergrad;  Credit-bearing; …;  assessment resources for determining if a student has most of the basic skills needed to succeed in the course – use the results to guide the student to withdraw before end of drop/add period OR suggest some resources that such students could use simultaneously with beginning weeks of course;
    Include:  Online courses in which faculty seek to encourage students’ engagement & participation, especially via use of “essential” features of the online resources used in the course.;  [AVOID REINVENTING THE WHEEL… REFER TO COLLECTIONS, ETC. THAT ARE GOOD SOURCES FOR THESE PURPOSES]
  • Exclude:  Non-Credit; General Education (Gen Ed);  Adult Basic; Remedial/Developmental; Pre-College; Significant curricular changes (outside of the course);  Prerequisites usually included in high school courses;   ….
    • Include/Exclude Current Issue?  Integrated vs. Pre-Reqs [E.g., Kuckkahn Welding sequence]
      Integrated First Year Course:  include “prereq” content within “101” course vs.
      Pre-Req Requirements:  Students to must complete pre-req developmental course (e.g., high school algebra) or demonstrate equivalent competencies BEFORE taking “101” Gateway Courses Accounting, Math, etc.
      Are faculty who teach the gateway course REQUIRED/ENCOURAGED to address “remedial/pre-requisite”  skills?   e.g., For Math 101  assessment of basic pre-req skills required to be successful in that course;  for Chem 101 – include algebra I WITHIN the course?

WHICH “Killer” Gateway Courses First?
Select from the Usual Suspects (alphabetic order):
Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, History, Math, Psychology, Writing.

  • “Math 101” (NOT Gen Ed)- _pre-algebra_, algebra, not statistics,…?
  • “English 101” “Writing 101”  (NOT Gen Ed; NOT literature; NOT “reading”) – composition, writing, editing, “effective reading skills”, literature…?
  • “Chemistry 101″(NOT Gen Ed) notation, …? Tom Lehrer

Tom Lehrer original version (with him on piano) Sadly, elements not listed in order; Music from Gilbert & Sullivan,  Pirates of Penzance https://youtu.be/DYW50F42ss8

  Elements in order;  Offenbach music;  … https://youtu.be/VgVQKCcfwnU

  • “*Computer Literacy*” “Information Literacy”  … Other commonly used title for this course?]
  • Other?

Low-Threshold Improvements [Clarify, examples]

“Brief intro enables participants to reject or commit to use;  includes online component; non-intimidating; relatively low-cost”

LTA (Low-Threshold Application or Activity)

  • 2-10 minute introduction is adequate to enable students and faculty to reject or commit/use.
  • Includes application of information technology
  • Technology used is reliable, accessible, easy to learn, non-intimidating and incrementally low-cost in time, money, and stress.  
  • Benefits are easily observable right away (students do better in a Gateway Course within 2 days to 2 weeks).

Low-Threshold Programmatic Course Improvement (LTPCI)

  • 10-20 minute introduction is adequate to enable faculty and academic support professionals to reject or commit…
  • Commit to prepare to launch for the next academic term or year.
  • Includes an improved use of online resources integrated throughout a course;
  • Benefits to most students are apparent and well-documented.
  • Structural changes that are incrementally low-cost in time, money, and stress .
  • [“Tweaking a course” …  e.g., getting info about the students who are usually in the course and using it to adjust… reduce fear;  increase trust….]

[Caveat:  Each of these improvements should support other important long-term improvements in teaching and/or learning;  at least, they should not interfere!]

WHICH LTA Categories First?

  • Google Search
  • Zoom Meetings
  • Digital Annotation
  • Memory Practice Tools (e.g., flash cards, Quizlet, )
  • Visualization Practice
  • Self-Learning (Pre-Requisite skills, e.g., subject-verb agreement in complex sentences, pre-algebra; …)
  • Study/Learning Skills;  e.g.,
    • Google search use of quotation marks
    • Lucy McDonald’s website, e.g., reading skills
    • Saundra McGuire’s Chemistry learning advice & Metacognition suggestions
    • MERLOT
    • Roberta Sullivan’s  EmTechWIKI from SUNY
  • Assessment of Readiness/Prep for the Course

WHICH LTPCIs Programmatic Course Improvements First?

  • Sources?
  • Examples?

How focus, structure every(?) FridayLive! session in series? 

Essentials for every FridayLive! Sessions

  • Helpful to some students in a specific “Killer” Gateway Course
  • Something a teacher of a specific “Killer” Gateway Course could recommend to or require of students
  • Something participants in the FrLv session could recommend to colleagues
  • Participants  feel their time was well-spent

Include one (or two or …) of each of the following?

  1. “Killer” Gateway Courses?
  2. Instructional Bottlenecks?
  3. One (or two, or, …) bottleneck-widening online LTA?
  4. Requests from participants for additional specific bottleneck-widening LTAs?
  5. SMALL selection of useful resources?  People? Organizations? Events? Publications?
  6. Cameos (5 minutes; volunteers)

“Straw man” Proposal for First of Series: April 5, 2019 ?

  • Gateway Course:  Math – Algebra
  • LTA Math-Focused
  • LTA Killer Course Focused (Memory Practice?)
  • Cameo?

 Resources

  • John Gardner Institute…
  • CATs Classroom Assessment Techniques
  • Dana Foundation  https://www.ascendiumphilanthropy.org/community/strategy/scaling/new-mathways   
    “Most first-year college students are funneled into algebra or pre-algebra course sequences, whether or not algebra is relevant to their major or future career. Even worse, only half will pass.1 The New Mathways Project replaces existing models of math education with three rigorous pathways to increase student success and degree completion rates at both two-year and four-year colleges. Our funding supports the model’s expansion across Arkansas.”
  • NSF
  • MERLOT

—————————————————————————

Low-Threshold Applications and Activities (LTAs)

Incrementally Low-Cost in Time, Money, Stress

An LTA is an activity or application of information technology that is “low-threshold” i.e., reliable, accessible, easy to learn, non-intimidating and incrementally low-cost in time, money, and stress.  Each LTA has easily observable benefits right away, and is likely to support important long-term improvements in teaching and/or learning.

It is often useful to extend the definition of LTA to include Apps, Applications, Activities, Resources, Web Sites, …  LTA’s need not depend on any specific information technology.

Additional LTA Resources (Collections of low threshold and higher threshold teaching resources, Examples, Slideshows, etc.)


BELOW HERE IS OLD GENERIC ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS




2:45pm ET  Closing

REFLECT SILENTLY (MAKE NOTES IF YOU LIKE) SHARE VIA CHAT

  1. What was most useful today?
  2. What was not clear enough?
  3. What would be a useful follow-up?
  4. How might you contribute to the follow-up?

Next Week:  THEME:  ….



Clarify a Topic, Issue:  Articulate a

Useful Question

Request for Resource

Identify, Share Resource

At least one strategy, online tool, etc.

Shareable, Shareworthy (almost immediately useable/useful)

Follow-Up

Decide Unnecessary

Identify Specific Activity, Date, People

Describe your "Free Online Shareworthy Interactivity"

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