|Asia 222 and Asia 223 – video dialogues and interviews
Asia 222 and 223 were two new team-taught courses offered through Asian Studies starting in Sep 2013. Asia 222 aimed to deepen students’ knowledge of at least two Asian cultures (e.g. India and Japan). The course design project’s goal was to integrate learning experiences that involved intercultural exchange and inquiry into the way students engaged with the course materials and one another through group work (collaborative testing), group projects, and self-/peer-evaluation assessments. Support for developing specific aspects of Asia 222, in particular, was required.
|Year 1: Project Year
|Year 1: Funding Year
|Year 1: Project Type
|Year 1: Principal Investigator
|Year 1: Funded Amount
|Year 1: Team Members
Stefania Burk, Instructor, Asian Studies
Products & achievements: A course shell in Connect that includes blog, discussion board, and group functionality for submission and display of student work.
Course learning assessments in the form of six sets of individual and group quizzes that provide learners with the opportunity to assess their learning and to teach and learn from each other.
Self-reflective assignments and collaborative group projects & on-line “gallery”.
Evaluation approach: Evaluation to date was informal and anecdotal.
Findings: Collaborative testing (bi-weekly) increased class discussion significantly as well as improved student – student discussion/debate.
Sense of camaraderie increased after initial hesitation at new testing format; greater sense of “belonging” to the class (attendance, support, etc.); stronger students helped others while simultaneously improving their own understanding (as shown in quantitative data).
Post-test discussions enlivened by group dynamic established in groups and earlier in-group discussion (with no faculty intervention). Groups became invested in supporting their choices.
Provided better review of material and applications by having multiple ways (during collaborative test within group; after test between groups) to approach materials and recall important elements and common errors, etc.
Teacher-selected groups (via an entry survey that determined linguistic, cultural, academic, and other background/experience) worked well to form groups that included male and female students; domestic and international students; Arts and students from other faculties; and various kinds of expertise in South vs. East Asian studies. Groups allowed students to teach other students and to bring their own knowledge to the classroom work. Group members were more eager to help one another and recognize the various / diverse skills of each member. Some didn’t enjoy the experience (group project especially) but were given a chance to articulate this and reflect on why they don’t think it worked for them, etc.
Students had to compose self- and peer-evaluations for group members vis-à-vis both the 6 collaborative tests and group project. The vast majority did this with incredible candidness and articulated the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and their peers. Students also “graded” the projects of other groups. Students came up with the evaluation criteria of this portion of the grade (whereas, students also were marked by the instructors with other criteria).
Students took the process of coming up with grading criteria seriously and learned that this kind of evaluation is inevitably somewhat subjective and determined by one’s own interests/knowledge. Instructors were able to show students the “spread” of their evaluations and instructor’s own assessment conclusions, and have an interesting discussion about “value” and evaluation. There was also opportunity to discuss the difference in the criteria/expectations of instructors vs. peers/students.
Dissemination: Much of this experience has already been informally shared with PI’s colleagues. The following talks/presentations all incorporated observations derived from this flexible learning project:
2013W T2 - “What Inspires Excellent Teaching?” Presentation and Roundtable Discussion, sponsored by CTLT “Celebrating Teaching for New Faculty”, April 30, 2014.
2013W T2 - “Using Creative Projects to teach Critical Skills” Poster presentation for the inaugural Teaching Showcase (UBC Instructor Network Learning Enhancement), April 10, 2014.
2013W T2 - “Shaking up the Syllabus: Observations on Experiential Learning and other Student-led Pedagogies” Presentation for the Center for Japanese Research (CJR/UBC) Lunchtime Lecture Series, Feb. 5, 2014.
Sustainability: Several of the aspects of this project (blogs, collaborative testing, group projects, self-/peer-evaluation) are easily transferable to other courses. The PI intends to use many in most of her other courses and colleagues are experimenting with similar activities.
In addition, the experience gained will be shared with colleagues; and as Associate Graduate Advisor the PI also has begun incorporating this material (the activities, underlying pedagogy, Connect utility, etc.) with advanced graduate students, as part of their professional development and preparation for the job market.