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Exploring Active Learning Strategies at UW Bothell

Research shows that active learning can enhance student learning. Active learning is generally defined as students actively engaging in course activities such as discussions, group work and problem solving, usually within the context of the classroom. At UW, there are a number of faculty who are participating in a tri-campus active learning faculty community that is exploring how to incorporate active learning into teaching and learning. The groups from each campus are meeting collectively via video three times during the quarter as well as meeting individually between the tri-campus meetings. The UWB faculty learning community is being led by Andreas Brockhaus, Director of Learning Technologies, David Goldstein, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center and Erin Hill, QSC Director.


AAEEBL Presentation: The Narcissus Quandary

What does the Greek myth of Narcissus and Echo have to do with building electronic portfolios at UW Bothell? More than you may think.

At least that was Dr. Kris Kellejian’s and my argument made during a presentation this past summer at the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidenced-Based Learning (AAEEBL) International Conference in Boston, MA.

Reflecting on Narcissus

Entitled “The Narcissus Quandary: The Possibilities and Limits of Teaching Reflection,” our presentation sought to problematize questions of self-reflection by playing with the theme of narcissism and the socially-minded and future-oriented dimensions of self-reflection. By reflecting on the story of Narcissus and Echo, we showed the pitfalls of assuming that self-reflection is necessarily a solipsistic act.


Digital Scholarship at UW Bothell

Digital media production is an important form of scholarly research and instruction here at the University of Washington Bothell. Below is a list of student made media projects links and information about the class, topics and professors that made this work possible.

Prof. Jill Freidberg’s “Working with Audio” class produced a great collection of audio storytelling projects last quarter. “Sound surrounds us. It’s the invisible element that only becomes obvious when it goes away. Sound is information, stories, location, and memories. It tells us where we are and where we’re going. It fills in the blanks. It forces our imaginations to create the pictures that go with the sounds we hear. It reminds us of places we’ve been, things we’ve done, and feelings we’ve had. Sound alerts us to danger, sets us at ease, wakes us up and puts us to sleep. Sound is everywhere.” – From the BIS 234 Course Description


Prof. Jane VanGalen’s education students put together an excellent RSA video called “The Muses Go to School: Inspiring Stories about the Importance of Arts in Education”.


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ePortfolio Resources at UW Bothell

As we approach the end of the academic year, students across programs are gathering and reflecting on their curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular work; they are thinking about their futures and possible paths to take to achieve their goals; and they are writing essays that provide coherent narratives of their personal, academic, and professional trajectories. In other words, students are working on electronic portfolios (eportfolios).

All first-year students in CUSP complete an eportfolio as a culminating project for their first year experiences. Tasked with reflecting on at least three artifacts of their own learning, like papers, projects, presentations, and artworks, CUSP students write an evidence-based narrative essay to show where they have been, where they are now, and where they are going, in terms of their academic and professional goals.

Students in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (SIAS) produce degree portfolios in which they demonstrate their achievement of the SIAS learning goals. Started in the first major-level course, BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry, and completed in BIS 499, the Capstone Portfolio course, the eportfolio works as a tool for student learning as well as an instrument for programmatic assessment.

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Conversations on Hybrid Teaching and Learning at UW Bothell

In three short presentations at the May 9 event Conversations about Hybrid Learning, Tony Smith, Ph.D. (Education), Martha Groom, Ph.D. (SIAS), and Jamie Shirley, Ph.D. (Nursing and Health Studies) described the opportunities and challenges they encountered while teaching hybrid courses in their respective disciplines. Their thoughtful and nuanced remarks on teaching hybrid classes framed a discussion among those faculty, teaching staff, and librarians in attendance.

Ranging from 30 to 40 percent hybrid — meaning 30 to 40 percent of the in-class time was replaced with online or out of class work — the courses taught by Drs. Smith, Groom, and Shirley leveraged technologies and hybrid course design to enhance student engagement, to provide flexibility in the course schedule, and to give students opportunities to learn in their own style and at their own pace.

Not surprisingly, they encountered challenges as well. Dr. Smith found that his students disliked the multiple platforms the course used simultaneously (wiki software, Ning.com, and Blackboard LMS), and Dr. Groom found that the reduced time in the classroom may have exacerbated the issues of already-struggling students.

For Dr. Shirley, the move to the hybrid modality was a response to an exigency: due to holidays and the potential for inclement weather during Winter quarter, she knew that she would lose at least two of ten class meetings and perhaps more with a snow storm. Therefore, she created online modules for her ethics class, which included videos and worksheets that her students completed and then submitted online.

Check out the recordings of their remarks to learn more about their work: