UW Bothell Learning Technologies Blog Rotating Header Image

UWB News & Resources

Designing College More Like a Video Game

In Chapter 4 “Designing College More Like a Video Game” of the book Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning, José Antonio Bowen talks about how to motivate students to think in new ways.

When students make the transition from high school to college, they are asked to alter the way of thinking that had previous led to success. This is a substantial change being asked of them, under conditions that punish failure, and it comes at the start of college, when anxiety about change and failure are at their peak.

It has been shown, through empirical evidence, that the combination of high expectations and low stakes matter for learning; these are the same conditions that make a good video game. However, being approachable and supportive also improves learning.

In order to lower the risk of failure while still maintaining high standards, the means of assessment will need to be reviewed and rethought. By increasing the amount of exams, each individual exam will have less of an impact on the final grade, reducing the risk.

Video games are similar to a series of tests that are innately motivating, unlike most exams encountered in college. Instructors can act like game developers, creating exams that follow a narrative or tackle a problem, as a result tests would become more fun and interesting. By giving consideration to the format of exams, instructors can increase motivation and reduce the stress of their students.

Most Parents Still Value College

A very informative post was written recently by Sara Lipka for The Chronicle of Higher Education detailing statistical information about parents’ perceptions on the importance and value of a college education for their children, despite the rising and obvious financial costs.

Originally written by the Wall Street Journal, the survey shows some positive and negative viewpoints parents have about the value of their children’s college education when faced with sometimes daunting financial concerns. For example, almost 9/10 parents said that college was an important investment for their children’s future. On the other hand, while parents wanted their kids to go to college, 79% of parents expressed some worry and concern about having enough money to make that happen.

Percentages about how parents fund their children’s college education, the various types of loans available for students and parents to use, and even the common confusion and lack of knowledge parents have about loans were also discussed.

 

For more information about this article, please click here.

Research on Flipping Study Habits for Better Understanding

In a recent post written in the Computing Education Blog, two studies were presented discussing the benefits of changing, reversing, and/or flipping the classroom model in order to increase student comprehension. In these studies, data was collected on how well students understood concepts when they were tested on the materials before studying and how beneficial hands-on learning and experimentation was before individual studying took place.

The first article, written by Daniel Willingham (Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia), talks about how students gain a better understanding in what they are learning when they try to generate the answer on their own first before reading and learning about it in books and other resources. As a result, there is a higher chance that students will retain and better understand concepts when they invest some initial effort in solving the problem. In essence, students benefit more from experimenting and doing rather than just studying.

When students are interacting with materials and concepts in the classroom, there is a direct connection present between the student and the subject being taught. When reading from a book or studying individually, students have a more distant relationship with the concepts because the students are invested in reading about the subject and not actually doing the experimentation.

Read more!

Five Key Tips to being a Successful Online Student

Introducing IMD at UWB 061413-2Students enrolled in online courses often find it difficult to balance their academic, social, and occupational lives. As such, we at UWB LT have created this list of five key tips on how to be a successful digital learner.

You may find that these steps are also useful for being a successful traditional student, but they are especially critical for online students to succeed. (more…)

UW Tacoma’s iTech Fellows Program

Taking place just last week, the University of Washington Tacoma’s 2013 iTech Fellows program was an exciting venture in redesigning courses and classrooms for the digital age through the exploration of innovation in teaching and learning with technology.

As we have blogged previously, the use of technology in the classroom is a practice that has produced many benefits and opportunities for students and teachers. In general, digital technology, working in conjunction with the traditional classroom context, works towards the betterment of higher education. Colleen Carmean, UW Tacoma’s Assistant Chancellor for Instructional Technologies, is helping lead the way in developing innovative faculty development that guides faculty to a more innovative approach with education. As she talks about on her blog post on the iTech Fellows program, faculty were working tirelessly and passionately to reinvent themselves as instructors and educators, in order to effectively redesign their coursework to incorporate digital technology and other related tools. In doing so, they hope to further enhance the teaching and learning experience for students and instructors and illustrate a dedication towards the improvement of education for their students.

Read More!