Teaching Innovations

As mentioned in my teaching philosophy, it is important to me to continually develop and employ new strategies and materials, when appropriate, to engage my students. Some of my favorite innovations to date include:

  • “Mythbusters” video project
    • Challenge: It was difficult to facilitate collaborative active learning experiences in my large enrollment (150 student plus) Psychology 101 courses as they were previously designed. Additionally, students did not enjoy the existing group papers/presentations
    • Innovation: A short video, completed in learning teams, via a structured semester-long process, “busting” a common myth about psychology 
  • Meet the Magic City
    • Challenge: Students found it difficult to make “real world” applications for class content. Also, although Birmingham has many wonderful cultural resources, many students stayed within a campus “bubble”. 
    • Innovation: Create assignments which make use of Birmingham’s resources, both in person and virtual, to encourage students to engage with course content outside the classroom
  • @DearDoctorH
    • Challenge: Students struggle both to complete course readings and make practical applications of course content.
    • Innovation: Use twitter to require students to complete a short reflection on each chapter before we discuss it in class. The short character length presents as a low barrier for students, but requires knowledge be reflected concisely, ensuring some thought goes into responses. Additionally, details of the assignment ask students to apply the readings, not simply summarize.
  • Make it Work!
    • Challenge: Students did not use the error messages provided by SAS, the statistical program, to troubleshoot statistical analyses. Instead, they immediately asked for help. 
    • Innovation: Create and assign a series of activities which require students to fix “broken” code. This familiarizes them with the troubleshooting process and builds confidence in their overall statistical abilities.

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