Infusion Plan Session, July 29th

Today’s Infusion Plan Session began with a progress update on the MELO3D wordpress blog. In the past, posts required administrator approval before being published. That requirement has now been removed, ensuring a faster and more direct blogging experience. In addition, Christine has identified a hangup in obtaining blog access if users were already wordpress account holders. If this is the case for you, you must be invited through your existing wordpress account. Please let Christine know if you are having blog-related access issues and she will help to invite you to the MELO3D blogging sphere.

Lynne has reminded all MELO3D participants to submit working hours on time. Time period submissions are due no later than Monday at 10pm. If hours are submitted afterwards you risk not getting paid for your services and having a personal encounter with Lynne’s famed trident. Another reminder to all those who have GSI or similar appointments starting in the fall: cumulative work hours are not to exceed 40 hours a week. A 50% fraction appointment means you only have 20 hours remaining to commit to payable MELO3D work.

For the rest of the session, each department presented their progress so far on developing LOs and implementing them into their curricula. Muddy points in each course were identified and solutions using online LOs had been developed. A short summary of each presentation is included below. Presentations will be uploaded to C-Tools for future viewing.

Organic Chemistry:

The group has parsed through many LOs and have selected those that are most useful.  The University of Alberta as well as numerous other universities have more interactive LOs on both infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.  (If you were among the many who were interested in how NMR signals are generated read the first few slides of this LO.) Although many LOs are available, most are simply practice problems and lack any type of problem-solving suggestions or explanations of the answers. The CH216 group has used Jing wrappers to expose students to the analysis process of various spectra so students can observe how an expert solves a spectroscopy problem. More recently, the group has become interested in using Voice Thread to facilitate student discussion on difficult spectroscopy problems. Currently a SiteMaker site is being generated to organize the chosen LOs into a comprehensive layout. Google Analytics will be investigated as a means of tracking user visitations and metrics.
Statistics:
The group is extremely close to converting Name that Scenario! into a fully-functioning LO. As a custom-made flash applet, NTS! provides different hypothesis and various statistical procedures and requires students to interpret the data presented and identify the appropriate statistical scenario. Though it is difficult to develop high-quality and straight-forward questions, the team has produced 100 focused and challenging questions. No scoring mechanism has been implemented, though it is something the group will consider in the coming months. NTS! will be rolled out in the summer term to ensure the applet can withstand higher volumes of traffic and to identify any errors in the program. In the mean time, the group will brainstorm on how to integrate the LO into the course more directly rather than just having it as a resource. Potentially, a class Wiki may be developed to have students suggest their own scenarios for the LO, however concerns arose regarding the quality of student-generated problems. On the other hand, this would provide a great discussion ground for determining what makes a good scenario and allows course moderaters to explain answers and get students to operate on higher planes of cognitive functioning.
The group is also finishing up work on a P-Value Calculator, which introduces a script in software R. A video discussing software and usage will help students who are unfamiliar with the script language, which allows students to produce correct curves given a particular set of data. These curves will help students recognize what type of curves (data-wise and formatting-wise) is expected of them on exams. To avoid complete reliance on the program, the MELO3D team hopes to utilize it as a “check your work” type of program, requiring students to first generate the graphs by hand.
*If anyone is interested in using a flash script similar to that in NTS!, contact hamms@umich.edu. The shell of the program can be used and you can substitute in your own course-related text files to create a similar flash applet for free.
History:
The group has utilized pbworks to create a comprehensive syllabus for the 373 History of the American West course. The site functions as both a standard syllabus and a learning object repository. Links are made available for open access text for various assignments throughout the term. Different representations of topics such as the biography of Daniel Boone have been included to provide easy access to content. Though there is a shortage of great material on Merlot, the group has been able to find several excellent online resources, such as an interactive map of the United States, which displays not only English, French, Spanish and unclaimed lands, but also of Native American territory borders. Study questions have been prepared and posted for different weeks throughout the course. Information on how to use Miryln has also been provided in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, however the group is considering using a Jing wrapper instead to make the material more interactive. In addition to the various assignments posted, students will also contribute to a Wiki every week.  Continuous work throughout the semester on the class Wiki page will allow for a better understanding of student participation. The group continues to look for more ways to make online material more interactive. Currently they are looking into using Prezi to make the twelve tomes of material available on Native American histories more approachable for students.
* If anyone is interested in gaining access to pbworks, send Lauren or Lynne an email with the name and woner of the site and an estimate as to how many people will use it. The site can be embedded into c-tools or c-tools can be redirected to a pbworks webpage if desired.
Chemistry: 
The majority of students have never given a PowerPoint presentation. The chemistry group plans to record student discussions to support a team-based PowerPoint presentation. Though they wish to upload videos which give good examples of what is expected they need to acquire better examples first or revamp their current approach. The group also must categorize and provide descriptions of the 112+ LOs submitted during last year’s scavenger hunt. Meanwhile, they are working on their personalized online interactive material to replace or supplement the current lectures given by Nancy Kerner. The material, available on Softchalk will be able to cater to the different heterogeneous background of students. It will include explanations and background information as well as spliced lecture podcasts and supplemental materials.
Psychology: 
The group has created a paper-based assignment for their Brain Anatomy LO, though they hope to convert this assignment to a video-based form using Jing. During the fall term they will evaluate how the LO stacks up against more traditional methods of learning. They are currently planning a study, writing the proposal and putting together the materials needed. The participants in the study will be the Introduction to Psychology students taught by Brian Malley. They are specifically targeting Professor Malley’s course in order to keep the in-class learning process constant in terms of material and timing. One-third of the students will study concepts using the LO assignments. Another third will use the traditional text book and the final third will complete a filler task. Participants will take a brief exam on the concepts after they are learned and then another brief exam a week later to determine long-term retention of information.
English:
Liz is focusing on wrapping LOs for SWC 100 courses. Despite the different courses under the SWC umbrella she hopes to use LOs that will work in many classroom settings to help students become more prepared and confident academic writers. They will develop an e-portfolio that fosters self-reflection and will demonstrate progress in writing. The SWC’s goal is to have a core set of LOs ready to present in September. These LOs should help students develop a sense of audience and purpose to their writing as well as reflect on the corrections between academic writing and co-curricular experiences. Currently she is creating a Jing video tour of one of the prize-winning portfolios that points out aspects of the portfolio that attend to purpose and audience and also to visual and textual composition. She is also planning on creating a form that walks students through the process of reflection for an individual piece of writing as well as for the portfolio as a whole. Students will also work on developing arguments in writing using Letters from Birmingham Jail as a basis for an LO.
The presentations given at the meeting will be uploaded to C-Tools. For a more in-depth look at what was presented at the meeting please refer to the uploaded presentations.
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