Top Hat for Lectures, Assignments, Tests, Textbooks, AND MORE!

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Submitted by Katrina Markowicz

For my online teaching skill, I decided to create a Top Hat account and learn how to incorporate the teaching tool into future courses that I may teach. I became aware of Top Hat while I was completing a teaching observation. Overall, Top Hat is a really neat tool which essentially would allow a professor to completely place their entire course on the Top Hat site. For example, you can take attendance, upload your lecture slides, choose an associated online textbook, upload and create exams, and create assignments. If a professor only uses Top Hat for free textbooks and course materials (i.e., Top Hat Textbook), as well as the “Top Hat Assignment” feature, students pay nothing. However, there is a fee for students if a professor were to adopt more features. For example, if the professor were to also use Top Hat Classroom, Top Hat Test, and premium textbooks/materials, the fee for students would be no more than $26 for one semester. Professors always sign up for free.

Top Hat Classroom (not free to students): When students interact with Top Hat Classroom, they can use their computers or mobile devices (i.e., mobile app or text) depending on the feature being implemented. For example, one feature that stood out to me was using Top Hat as a lecturing tool. You can easily drag and drop pre-made PowerPoint slides and use the Top Hat website to give the lecture. A benefit to this is that, if you allow it, you can allow students to follow along to the lecture on their computers. You can also annotate slides to circle key words or draw arrows pointing to specific figures. The downside is that when I uploaded some demo slides, my slides came out a little blurry. The classroom feature also allows you to take attendance for your class.

Top Hat Classroom – questions (not free to students): Another feature I enjoyed was being able to create “test-of-knowledge” questions that you can score for participation, correctness, or neither. Examples of question formats include word choice, fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, matching, sorting, and click on the target (i.e., “click which part of the picture defines this word”). These questions can be implemented in the middle of your lecture (i.e., “real-time feedback”) or assigned to the student to complete as homework. When you complete these questions during lecture, it allows you to show the students the correct answer after answering, provide feedback after answering, and set a time limit. One feature I thought was neat was while in presentation mode, is that you can set a count-down for “last minute submissions” to close submission. After students answer the question, you can show the frequency or percent of responses across answers (e.g., for multiple-choice type questions), and then show the correct answer. Some types of questions (i.e., multiple-choice) allows the student to answer on their computer, mobile app, or text, but others require the use of their computer or mobile app. The mobile app should be supported by most phones and across iPhone and Android, but if a student has an older phone, no phone, or a different type of phone, these features could be problematic.

Top Hat Assignment (free to students): You can also assign these questions for homework. Similar to presenting these in lecture, you can set it so they can see the correct answer, provide feedback, and a time limit. As homework, you set a start and due date. These questions can be assigned to the whole class or some of the class. When you assign the question for homework, it send the students a notification to complete it.

Top Hat Textbook (Sometimes free to students): The textbook feature allows professors to choose a text book and other course materials that their students can access. These can be found in the marketplace. There were 12 “premium textbooks” and 12 “free textbooks” under “Psychology,” which is pretty limiting. There are also course notes, slide decks, and question packs available. I could not explore this content further because my account needed to be verified as “professor.”

Top Hat Test (Not free to students): The type of test questions you can implement are similar to the questions you can assign for homework or administer in lecture. A professor types in correct answers to score, and these are scored automatically. There is not a feature to test the student’s knowledge on classroom material through short (1-paragrah) and long essay questions. Though, if a professor is able to change points for specific questions, using the “word answer” question, the student could type in a longer paragraph. That is, the professor could set the correct answer to “SCORE ME” and then change the score based on correctness. Though, as a student, it is possible that they may not be able to see their answer as a whole written out as the words disappear as one types. Overall, I feel like unless this feature allows you to change certain points, it is also difficult to assign partial credit. A benefit of this is that the test feature tracks a student’s use of their computer so if they were to “look up answers” the professor would see that they left the test screen to view online content. Though, the interpretation of what the report presents is limited and could potentially make a professor have to report more students for cheating than during a pen-and-paper test.

For more information, I highly encourage anyone to visit: https://tophat.com. You can also request a demo or create your own account!

Feeding forward from summative assessment: The Essay Feedback Checklist as a learning tool

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Submitted by Samantha Mladen

Article Reference

Wakefield, C., Adie, J., Pitt, E., & Owens, T. (2014). Feeding forward from summative assessment: The Essay Feedback Checklist as a learning tool. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(2), 253-262.

Article DOI

Summary of Article

Aim: Investigate the use of the Essay Feedback Checklist (EFC) as a strategy to provide feedback to students that improves future performance on other forms of assessment

Method: 104 second year undergraduate sport studies students were recruited and randomized to a feedback-as-usual condition or an experimental condition with receipt of feedback via the Essay Feedback Checklist on a 2,500 word essay. The EFC requires students to rate their performance prior to submission of their assignment. The same checklist is then used by assessors and any significant discrepancies in scores are explained in additional feedback comments to the student. Students can also request additional feedback on specific domains. Randomization condition was assessed as a predictor of performance on a future assignment in the same subject area, but of a different format (knowledge test). Four students volunteered to take part in a subsequent focus group about the EFC process.

Results:
Repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated a significant group x assessment effect: students who received standard feedback had a decrease in score from 49.29 +/- 12.06 to 44.00 +/- 15.08. Students receiving EFC feedback increased in score from 50.11 +/- 11.51 to 56.85 +/- 17.74 on the subsequent assignment. Qualitative feedback revealed themes of advantages and disadvantages of the EFC, method of self-assessment, and perceived usefulness for future assessments. Students enjoyed the individualized nature of feedback, especially that assessors responded to the types of feedback specifically requested by students. Some students felt that the EFC hurt their morale, especially when they disagreed with scores given by assessors or when they felt that they did not understand the terminology used by assessors or the rubric. A primary benefit was improvement in students’ learning, including taking time to correct their assignment before turning it in and also adjusting for future assessments.

Discussion: The EFC demonstrated success “feeding forward” learning. Students appreciated many aspects of the procedure, but also raised some concerns, including morale and trust between students and assessors. These challenges offer opportunities for future improvements to the EFC.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is your goal in providing feedback to students? How does this influence what form of feedback you offer?
  2. How could the EFC be implemented in courses that don't use essays? How could the principles of the EFC be adapted for other types of assignments?
  3. Focus group participants in this study indicated that the form negatively impacted their morale. How could this be avoided, while still engaging students in the feedback process?

Diigo

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Submitted by Samantha Mladen

I created a Diigo account with a number of useful links, including therapy videos, descriptions of disorders developed by the NIMH, and resources for students interested in a career in psychology. Creating this resource will be helpful for any future classes that I teach, but was also a useful exercise in thinking about the tone that I'd like to set in class. For instance, do I want to show tape of therapy sessions (a more applied approach) or do I want to have a more theoretical approach? Future students may also benefit from considering how the resources that they choose to prepare for lecture will set the tone for their course.

Youtube

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Submitted by Mattie Hedgebeth

In undergrad, I found YouTube to be a very useful tool in studying and learning class material. For my technology assignment, I compiled useful videos from the YouTube channel "CrashCourse" which give a short and fun explanation of educational subjects, in this case, subjects pertaining to social psychology. I have also added a few videos that are in a similar format and would be useful to students that may just need something explained in a different way or just want to quickly review material for a test or quiz. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCLUk397vKEZflM11NApNrA?view_as=subscriber

Online Academic Integrity

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Submitted by Samantha Mladen

Article Reference

Mastin, D., Peszka, J., & Lilly, D. (2009). Online academic integrity. Teaching of Psychology, 36(3), 174-178.

Article DOI

10.1080/00986280902739768

Summary of Article

Aim: Investigate whether academic pledges reduce the level of cheating in online assignments, and assess the overall rate of cheating in online assignments

Method: 439 introductory psychology students were recruited over three semesters. Participants were told that they would be completing an online motor task and that their earned extra credit would increase based on their score on the motor task. Participants were told that the computer program would not track their correct responses, and thus they were asked to self-report their correct response total.
Students were randomized to three experimental conditions: no pledge, check mark pledge, and written honor pledge

Results: 361 participants (82.2%) accurately reported their performance, 16 (3.6%) underreported their performance, and 62 (14.1%) overreported their performance.
Mean magnitude of cheating in the entire sample was 0.39/10 points (SD = 1.52), but the mean in the cheating sample was 3.08/10 points over-reporting (SD = 2.75).
Honor pledge condition had no effect on the rate of cheating in the overall sample, or in the cheating subset . Participants were 2.06 times more likely to cheat at the end of the semester than at the beginning, but time of semester did not affect the magnitude of cheating. When the required magnitude of overreporting to be considered cheating was increased (2 points out of 10 instead of 1 point out of 10) the percentage of students cheating dropped to 8.0%. This change was made to account for the presence of 13 students underreporting by 1 point – the authors allowed a larger margin of error in reporting before labelling over-reporting as cheating.

Discussion: Research is still needed to determine the actual rates of cheating on online assignments, and effective strategies to reduce rates of cheating. These efforts are becoming more important as more institutions and professors institute online courses and assessment methods. Though the external validity is not perfect, since most online exams are not self-report, the lack of significance of the honor pledge condition is troubling.

Discussion Questions

  1. Would you include a version of an honor pledge in your courses? Has your opinion changed as a result of reading this study?
  2. Forsyth cites a study that claims that more students say that they would be more likely to cheat online than the rates at which they actually cheat. What does this tell us about the way in which students approach online learning? How can we use this information to try to prevent cheating?
  3. Online learning brings with it tremendous opportunities to increase collaboration and team-based learning among students. How would you balance this opportunity with the reality that it may make cheating easier for students?

TED Ed – Lessons and Series

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Submitted by Margaret Kneuer

Article Reference

https://ed.ted.com/

Article DOI

Summary of Article

For the technology activity, I decided to explore the TED-Ed Lessons and Series for video content related to psychology topics, specifically in social or relationship psychology courses. I found the TED-Ed website to have more organized features for video lesson planning than YouTube because of the added features of creating or using lessons. After creating an account, I had the ability to design lessons that supplement the curriculum in different psychology courses or use the premade lessons provided. I selected 11 videos between 5-20 minutes in length, and the TED-Ed website allows me to save and edit lessons for students. I also had the chance to crop the video for students, if needed, and provide an overview with additional multiple choice or short answer questions to check for understanding. The website has an option for instructors to require, if needed, student log in to make sure students watch and answer the questions. There is also a section for students to open up to discussion prompts, which could help facilitate any classroom discussion about the different topics. I have the option to add or subtract any videos throughout to better enhance student learning, or adjust the videos depending on the course in the future. This technological tool is designed to aid instructors in completing lesson plans swiftly and in an organized fashion. As a final collaborative project for students, I could also assign a partner video project, modeled after the videos used in the course, to create their own version of a TED Talk, educational video, or a response to a video and upload it. Overall, I found the TED-Ed lesson planning feature to be beneficial in organizing videos and related questions for students to use, which would supplement their readings assigned for a specific course in the future.

Discussion Questions

  1. 1. Dan Gilbert (2004) “The Surprising Science of Happiness”
    https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy
    Decade Follow Up Article on 2004 TED Talk
    https://blog.ted.com/ten-years-later-dan-gilbert-on-life-after-the-surprising-science-of-happiness/
    2. Robb Willer (2017) “How to Have Better Political Conversations”
    https://www.ted.com/talks/robb_willer_how_to_have_better_political_conversations
    3. Amy Cuddy (2012) “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are”
    https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are
    Decade Follow Up Article on 2012 TED Talk
    https://ideas.ted.com/inside-the-debate-about-power-posing-a-q-a-with-amy-cuddy/
    4. Philip Zimbardo (2008) “The Psychology of Evil”
    https://www.ted.com/talks/philip_zimbardo_on_the_psychology_of_evil
    5. Freeman Hrabowski (2013) “Four Pillars of College Success in Science”
    https://www.ted.com/talks/freeman_hrabowski_4_pillars_of_college_success_in_science
    6. Martin Seligman (2008) “The New Era of Positive Psychology”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FBxfd7DL3E
    7. Robert Sternberg (2014) “Successful Intelligence”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow05B4bjGWQ
    8. Walter Mischel (2015) “The Marshmallow Test”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcmrCLL7Rtw
    9. Elizabeth Loftus (2013) “How Reliable is Your Memory?”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB2OegI6wvI
    10. Barbara Fredrickson (2011) “Positive Emotions Open our Mind”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dFDHzV36g
    11. Robert Cialdini (2012) “Science of Persuasion”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFdCzN7RYbw
  2. (Options to also change the videos selected)
  3. (refer to TED Ed website to create your own lesson plan)

Should Students Have the Power to Change Course Structure? 

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Submitted by Katrina Markowicz

Article Reference

McDonnell, G. P., & Dodd, M. D. (2017). Should students have the power to change course structure? Teaching of Psychology, 44(2), 91-99.

Article DOI

10.1177/0098628317692604

Summary of Article

Purpose: Compared to the previous semester’s class where this wasn’t implemented, does changing small details to a course through four course evaluations improve course performance and course satisfaction?

Method:
– Perception class with 73 undergraduates
– Students completed four course feedback forms (CFFs)
CFFs 1 had two sections: 1) impressions of the course and the instructor, and 2) how much the student wanted to change certain aspects of the course (that were brainstormed together).
CFFs 2-3 sections: 1) impressions of the course and the instructor, 2) extra changes they wanted to see in the course, and 3) whether the changes improved their course satisfaction (yes/no)
CFF 4 also asked about the effectiveness and satisfaction of the course changes in addition to the impressions of the course and semester.
– Other measures: performance data across three tests an end-of-semester evaluation
– The instructor shared the results of the CFFs with the students

Main Results:
– Changes made were perceived as effective and improved quality of class
– Students rated instructors higher in CFF semester than non-CFF semester
– Students in CFF semester performed better on averaged than students in non-CFF semester

Author’s conclusions: Midsemester feedback should provide students an opportunity to change the course as it improves the student learning environment.

Discussion Questions

  1. Given the results of the study and your own attitudes towards mid-semester feedback (MSF), would you incorporate MSF into your teaching practice? What are the benefits of MSF? Do you see any potential downsides (e.g., teaching self-efficacy)? If so, how would you protect yourself from these?
  2. The article’s context was spent on how to use feedback to make changes to the course: How comfortable are you with making course changes mid-semester? What types of activities or lecturing approaches would you change? What would you be unwilling to change (i.e., what is too much of an ask)? How will you go about collecting this data and ensuring you made the appropriate changes?
  3. The Forsyth (2016) reading for this week purports that student feedback is reliable and valid, and student ratings do not change based on whether the feedback is end-of-semester or mid-semester (given that there are no course changes). Since there are course changes occurring in this study, do you think that the subsequent three evaluations are reliable and valid without rater bias (i.e., halo effects; monitoring effects)? What could have been done to the study methods to confirm or disaffirm rater bias, if there was any?

Team-Based Learning Improves Course Outcomes in Introductory Psychology

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Submitted by Katrina Markowicz

Article Reference

Travis, L. L., Hudson, N. W., Henricks-Lepp, G. M., Street, W. S., & Weidenbenner, J. (2016). Team-based learning improves course outcomes in introductory psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 43(2), 99-107.

Article DOI

10.1177/0098628316636274

Summary of Article

Purpose:
-To compare two styles of teaching, team-based learning and lecturing, and examine the influence of these teaching styles on student satisfaction and exam performance.

Method:
-Introductory psychology classes (1,130 undergraduate students, 29 sections, 15 graduate instructors)
-14 out of 15 instructors randomly assigned to condition (team-based learning or lecture)
-Team-based learning (TBL) condition: 12 class sessions dedicated to completing a TBL module. Modules included: Out of class preparation: read 10 pages of textbook, In-class quiz (individual), Group quiz (same as above) taken as a team with feedback provided, Team application activities
-Lecture condition: not allowed to implement team-based learning quizzes or activities and taught via primarily lecture
-Each condition completed the same midterm and final (both multiple choice), and a course evaluation survey at two time points (mid-semester and end-semester)
-Other measures included: perceptions of TBL, preference for TBL over lecture, positivity towards TBL, and involvement in TBL.

Main Results:
-Students in TBL condition performed moderately better on both exams than students in lecture condition.
-Results seemed to show that these gains were related to content covered in TBL modules.
-There were no differences in course satisfaction between groups.
-TBL students expressed positive attitudes towards activities, and preferred lecture style learning over TBL.

Author’s conclusions: TBL is an effective method of learning which does not negatively impact course satisfaction.

Discussion Questions

  1. The two outcome variables for this study were student satisfaction and exam performance. Using Bloom’s taxonomy, specifically the cognitive domain (i.e., knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation), what other outcomes would be important to assess if this study were to be replicated? What types of assignments could be integrated into the team-based learning approach to foster learning in these other domains?
  2. Would you use the team-based learning approach in your own teaching and how (e.g., to supplement lectures)? Did you like it? What are the pros and cons?
  3. How do you feel about the findings about the increase in exam scores for the team-based learning students, but the preference for lectures? How does this change or not change your view on what types of activities to incorporate in with your future lectures? How does the information presented in other readings from this week supplement your viewpoint?

Jing for making screencasts

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Submitted by Sultan Hubbard

For my technology activity I chose to use the Jing application for screencasts. This is an excellent resource for capturing lectures on one's computer as a supplemental educational resource for students, have lectures posted for instructor absences, and an effective way to practice public speaking on challenging topics. In my activity I used Jing to discuss a particular methodology unique to dyadic data analysis that are typically employed in social psychological and personality research. By practicing the Jing application while lecturing the content, I could identify ways for more concise descriptions of the content area (Jing is free and limits casts to 5 minutes). After completing one's video, you can save it on one's desk top or on the online www.screencast.com website. This application does require adobe flash, so it is essential to have this updated on one's computer. I have posted a couple youtube instruction videos below that are helpful, however the application is quite user friendly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeb7nLLQfnU

Blackboard Training

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Submitted by Bianca Owens

To better prepare for a career as an instructor, I have chosen to go through online Blackboard trainings (Lynda courses) as my technology skill. There are close to 200 Blackboard video tutorials available ranging from introductory to advanced levels. I concentrated my training on courses that focused on the basics of Blackboard from an instructor’s perspective. I was able to gain knowledge on how to navigate Blackboard, effectively manage courses, and send information to students directly from the site, among other things. In addition, the training videos opened my eyes to more ways that students can use Blackboard as a centralized location for information regarding the course throughout the semester. As an instructor, use of Blackboard can act as a multipurpose medium. Of all the information received from the training courses, the most helpful was the customization features of Blackboard.  I was not aware that Blackboard was so customizable. This can be a great benefit when teaching multiple courses with varying goals. Overall, I would definitely recommend this site and training program. More specifically, to anyone who has never experienced Blackboard from the perspective of an instructor. It does a great job outlining and walking you through system. While I only focused on the basics, I see myself referring to these trainings as I enter into my role as an instructor. The training can be found at <a href="https://www.lynda.com/Blackboard-training-tutorials/487-0.html">Lynda.com</a>. Just enter your VCU EID and password to begin.