QLAB update: piloting Q-bits with students (Fall ’17)

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Prof. Ming An (Vassar College), lead author of the 'Choosing a Graph Type' Q-bit
Prof. Ming An (Vassar College), lead author of the ‘Choosing a Graph Type‘ Q-bit

starQLAB Webinar 11/15: 
click here to jo
in the discussion

 

This summer and fall, teams of faculty and technologists collaborated intensively to launch QLAB, a shared framework for curating, implementing and assessing online instructional modules for quantitative skills (QS) and reasoning for just-in-time review and skill-building across disciplines.  The goal of the QLAB project is to assist faculty teaching quantitative subjects who find they need methods to support students with gaps in preparation. The strategy draws on a body of research in higher education and experience at our institutions showing that online modules can be a beneficial component of an overall QS support program.

The individual modules, known as Qbits, review quantitative topics and demonstrate the topic’s applications in different disciplinary contexts.  For example, a module might review logarithms and then consider the application to decibels and sound perception in psychology, the Richter scale in geology, the concept of pH in chemistry, etc. In Fall 2017, Qbits are being implemented through a combination of videos and quizzing, and consist of an initial knowledge check, short videos to review specific quantitative skills, structured application problems that give students practice applying the quantitative skill in disciplinary contexts, and a final knowledge check.

Q-bits tested in Fall 2017:

project.
QLAB session
June 2017

Developing online resources that can be used in multiple contexts to help students strengthen their quantitative skills serves two purposes. First, by demonstrating the relevance of specific QS in various disciplinary contexts, students learn to view quantitative skills as fundamental and transferable skills that they can draw on in many areas of their liberal arts experience. Second, the consortial effort allows us to collect meaningful data about the effectiveness of the various modules for a greater number of students in a wider variety of contexts.  Using what we learn in this pilot, we plan to expand the collection of useful modules.

Aims of the pilot include:

  • Developing a collaborative framework for design, implement and assessment of online modules for QS/QR instruction and review at residential liberal arts institutions.
  • Crafting an initial set of instructional modules on high-priority QS topics, drawing on high quality instructional content, developed in partnership with Yale ONEXYS and others.  
  • Assessing module effectiveness as refreshers for tutoring and as just-in-time instruction embedded in coursework.
  • Gathering data to evaluate the impact of modules on student learning and confidence in each phase of the project and beyond.

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Q-bit: Logarithms

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LACOL_MKAlgebra:
Logarithms
Module Purpose: This module guides students on key concepts for working with logarithms in different disciplinary contexts.

Module Authors: Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Carleton College, Jim Rolf and Yale ONEXYS, with additional problems contributed by LACOL faculty, instructors and QS/QR tutors.

Notes on Strategy: 

  1. Watch the instructional videos to review some basic characteristics of logs and different ways that they can be used.
  2. Gain practice in applying your knowledge through problem solving.

Application Problems:

  • Perception of Sound (Psychology)
  • Acidity of Chemical Solutions (Chemistry)
  • Radioactive Materials – Rate of Decomposition (Chemistry, Physics)
  • Earthquakes and the Richter scale (Geology)
  • Binary Representation of Data (Computer Science)
  • Binary Search (Computer Science)
  • Doubling the Value of an Investment (Economics)
STUDENTS: Access the ‘Logarithms‘ Q-bit in your LMS! 

Carleton College: contact the Academic Technology team in ITS for access in Moodle.

Haverford College: https://moodle.haverford.edu/course/view.php?id=678

Williams College: contact the OIT team for access in GLOW.

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Q-bit: Linear Functions

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LACOL_MKAlgebra:
Linear Functions
Module Purpose: This module guides students on key concepts for working with linear functions in different disciplinary contexts.

Module Authors: Adam Honig, Amherst College, Jim Rolf and Yale ONEXYS, with additional problems contributed by LACOL faculty, instructors and QS/QR tutors.

Notes on Strategy: 

  1. Watch the instructional videos to review some basic characteristics of linear functions and different ways that they can be used.
  2. Gain practice in applying your knowledge through problem solving.

Application Problems:

  • The Keeling Curve
  • Moving Objects
  • Linear Functions in the Supply and Demand Model: Numerical Examples
  • Linear Functions in the Supply and Demand Model: Slopes and Intercepts
  • The Consumption Function
STUDENTS: Access the ‘Linear Functions‘ Q-bit in your LMS! 

Carleton College: contact the Academic Technology team in ITS for access in Moodle.

Haverford College: https://moodle.haverford.edu/course/view.php?id=646

Williams College: contact the OIT team for access in GLOW.

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Q-bit: Choosing a Graph Type to Visualize Data

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LACOL_MKGraphing:
Choosing a Graph Type to Visualize Data
Module Purpose: This module guides students on steps to think about the variables they’re exploring and select the best graph type to visualize them.

Module Authors: Ming-Wen An, Vassar College; Albert Y. Kim, Amherst College, with additional problems contributed by LACOL faculty, instructors and QS/QR tutors.

Notes on Strategy: 

  1. Watch the instructional videos and be wowed by the power of data visualization.
  2. Understand the importance of identifying the types of variables in your research question.
  3. Gain practice in selecting the graph type that is best suited to visualize your data.

Application Problems:

  • Biology: Personal Genomics – Quantifying Genetic Variation among Individuals
  • Economics: Discovering the Law of Supply and Demand
STUDENTS: Access the ‘Choosing a Graph Type’ Q-bit in your LMS! 

Carleton College: contact the Academic Technology team in ITS for access in Moodle.

Haverford College: https://moodle.haverford.edu/course/index.php?categoryid=44

Vassar College: http://moodle.vassar.edu/course/view.php?id=11931

Williams College: contact the OIT team for access in GLOW.

We welcome your feedback!! Please leave a comment below to let us know how this q-bit was helpful to you.  What would make it more helpful?  Do you have suggestions for other q-bits? 

[COMMENTS CURRENTLY CLOSED]

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Professors will share their math/stats course exchange pilot at EDUCAUSE ELI

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Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Assistant Professor of Statistics at Vassar College
Above: Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Asst. Prof. of Statistics at Vassar College

Top: Steven J. Miller Assoc. Prof of Mathematics, Williams College

Faculty Talk: Where’s the Remote? Upper-Level Math/Stats Hybrid Course Sharing for the Liberal Arts
Date/Time: Tuesday, January 30, 11:45am – 12:30pm CT
Location: EDUCAUSE ELI 2018, New Orleans, LA

As one possible avenue to expanding curricular offerings for math and stats majors at small liberal arts institutions, partner schools in the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL) have been exploring ways to remotely share classes using hybrid/online delivery modes.  Professors Steven J. Miller (Williams College and Jingchen Monika Hu (Vassar College), two faculty members at the forefront of this collaboration, will describe their experiences in designing hybrid courses and teaching with a mix of digital pedagogies.  We will emphasize how connections were made between students and faculty, how well local and remote students were able to engage the material, and the various challenges in coordinating course delivery across several campuses.

For students of advanced mathematics and statistics, the liberal arts model offers a deep level of engagement in learning with faculty and peers; however, due to practical limitations, small colleges cannot always offer the breadth of course subjects available at larger institutions with graduate programs. To explore collaborative models that may help to enrich curricular offerings, faculty and technologists from several leading liberal arts colleges are experimenting with a consortial online/hybrid course sharing model.  In this talk, the professors will share results from three recent course pilots: Steven Miller’s Spring 2017 Problem Solving course from WIlliams College (involving students at Williams, Swarthmore and Amherst Colleges), Monika Hu’s Bayesian Statistics course from Vassar College, and Stephan Garcia’s Advanced Real Analysis course from Pomona College (Fall 2017).  
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Nov 15: QLAB Webinar – Update on Q-bits Testing in Fall ’17 Pilot (+ What’s Next?)

M. Eblen-Zayas
M. Eblen-Zayas

Event: Webinar – Update on Q-bits Testing in the Fall 2017 Pilot / What’s Next?
Location: ZOOM (details below)
Date: Wednesday, November 15
Time:
12:00 noon – 1PM Eastern
Presenter: Prof. Melissa Eblen-Zayas & QLAB Core Team

 

You are invited to join a webinar update and discussion about QLAB, the multi-campus collaboration to develop a shared framework for curating, implementing and assessing online instructional modules to assist students with quantitative skills and reasoning across disciplines.

NB: A recording of the webinar will be shared for those who cannot join in person.

Read more about the pilot: http://lacol.net/qbits-pilot

Webinar Agenda: The goal of this session is to bring those who are interested up-to-speed with where the QLAB project stands, what we have learned so far, and what our next steps might be. We will be looking for input on approaches to revising the existing Q-bits, choosing topics for the next several Q-bits to be developed, and lowering barriers to contributing to the project.

    • Status of the Q-bit project — goals, what makes this project different, overview of what we have done
    • Lessons learned so far
    • Seeking input on some next steps

 

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Language Skills Dashboard – drill down on data visualization

what could a dashboard look like

UPDATE: Join Carly Born for her Dashboard Poster Presentation at ELI this January

As a sequel to last summer’s Hack-a-thon Toward a Collaborative Language Diagnostics and Refresher Framework at Swarthmore College, a dedicated group of language learning technologists and Carleton’s student “Data Squad” gathered this fall at Carleton College to work on platform requirements for a dashboard prototype.  Led by Michael Jones  and Carly Born, this two-day mini-hack-a-thon focused on solving technical pieces of the puzzle that will enable the flow of useful data from a language skills diagnostic test into a data-rich visual display. 

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The dashboard is just one piece our faculty’s vision for the shared framework drafted at the meeting last May. Elements include a language skill map, a self-assessment survey, diagnostic/placement tests (question banks) and the dashboard that can help faculty visualize the data for better placement and advising.

Language Learning Skills Map / Top Level Categories:

  • Grammar
  • Comprehension
  • Discourse
  • Vocabulary

Diagnostic visualizations also may point to trends in language skills development within and across our liberal arts programs and language curricula.  A user-friendly dashboard tool can ultimately help students gain feedback on their skill levels and close gaps as they traverse the liberal arts language sequence. (more…)

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Exploratory Committees: course sharing

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 8.40.55 PMBased on insights flowing from the Upper Level Math/Stats and SILP course sharing projects, two steering groups are working in concert to explore models and possibilities for course sharing across the digital network.

Math & Stats Steering Group:

This group is meeting in the fall of 2017 to develop a set of recommendations based on insights gained through the Spring ’16 and Fall ’17 course sharing pilots.  This recommendation will be shared with LACOL’s Advisories and the Multi-Disciplinary Group (more…)

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Webinar: Using Q-bits with Students (Fall 2017)

Curious about Q-bits? Watch the webinar (30 min):


M. Eblen-Zayas
M. Eblen-Zayas

This video presents a half-hour webinar training with Prof. Melissa Eblen-Zayas of Carleton College and members of the QLAB Project core team. Melissa provides an overview of Q-bits and answers questions about testing in the upcoming term.   

Related Resources:

Please feel free to forward this post to colleagues who may be interested in Q-bits! The webinar is an great way preview a Q-bit and learn more about our multi-campus collaboration to develop and test ways these modules may help to support students with their quantitative work in different disciplinary contexts.  

Q-bit Training Outline:

  • What are Q-bits?  (a brief tour)
  • Our pilot study – research goals
  • Options and steps for testing Q-bits with your students
  • Key dates 
  • Resources for Q-bit Testers
  • Q&A

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Where’s my remote? Shared upper level math courses across schools

Presentation Slides: PDF

LACOL 2017 Session 7
Speaker: Steven J. Miller, Assoc. Professor of Mathematics, Williams College
Date & Location: June 16, Vassar College
Related Links:

As small institutions cannot always offer the classes our students need at the time they need them, several people at various LACOL schools have been exploring how to remotely share classes. While there many not be enough demand at any one place for a certain topic, by combining students from several schools we can have a course. There are many challenges, especially keeping the small liberal arts feel and having all students engaged. We report on the beta test, Miller’s Problem Solving class at Williams. We’ll discuss the technology used, emphasizing how the content was delivered and connections were made between students and faculty, and the challenges in coordinating a course across several campuses.

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Welcome to Q-bits!

This blog channel is your gateway to Q-bits, online modules designed by our faculty to support students with quantitative skills and reasoning across the disciplines.  In the posts below, you can find information and links to each Q-bit that is hosted in your campuses learning management system (LMS) for easy access.

⇒ Students, please leave us a comment about your experience using any of the Q-bits in the posts below.  We invite your suggestions on how to improve current modules, or what other topics might be useful to you!

⇒ Faculty, for more information about using Q-bits with your students, we invite you to watch this short video: Q-bits Tutorial.

Q-bits available in Fall 2017:

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Hack-a-thon Toward a Collaborative Language Diagnostics and Refresher Framework

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In May 2017, LACOL’s Language Instruction working group held a 3-day intensive workshop (also known as a hack­-a­-thon) to prototype a shared online diagnostic and refresher framework. The face-to-face event was organized by Mike Jones, Director of the Language Resource Center and Media Lab at Swarthmore College, guided by a core team of faculty and language technologists at the participating institutions.

Workshop Program: click here

Workshop Report: click here

Special Guest:
Christopher M. Jones
Teaching Professor of French and Computer-Assisted Language Learning
Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Chris Jones, CMU
Dr. C. Jones, CMU

Christopher M. Jones is Interim Head and Teaching Professor of French and Computer-Assisted Language Learning in the Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University. He was Director of the Modern Language Resource Center from 1993 to 2016 and founder and Director of the Masters in Applied Second Language Acquisition from 2010 to 2016. He has spoken, published and consulted widely in the area of technology-enhanced language learning. His materials development experience includes textbook authoring, CD-ROM design and programming, and on-line courseware creation in French, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. He was a participant in the interdisciplinary Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center and continues to be an active member of the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon.

Goals for the LACOL Language Instruction hack-a-thon:

1. Explore development of shared diagnostic and bridge/refresher framework for language instruction that could support students in identifying and closing gaps in knowledge and skills.
2. Engage faculty as content creators, working with professional staff and students for technical support and data input.
3. Build prototypes of a diagnostic test and refresher module; these could serve as models for further development of online testing and teaching materials for sharing across the Consortium.
4. Document results and recommendations for continued collaboration.

Background and Rationale:
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A new LACOL collaboration will develop Qbits to support students with quantitative skills and reasoning

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M. Eblen-Zayas
Above: Physicist M. Eblen-Zayas, Carleton College

Top: Mathematician M. Stoicu, Williams College at the 2017 QS Hackathon

To assist our students with readiness for their quantitative work across the curriculum, LACOL’s Quantitative Skills working group is launching a multi-campus initiative, nicknamed QLAB. Through this collaboration, faculty and technologists are teaming up to build a shared framework for curating, implementing and assessing instructional modules for quantitative skills (QS) and quantitative reasoning (QR). The strategy draws on a body of research in higher education and experience at our institutions showing that online modules can be a beneficial component of an overall QS/QR support program.

According to project co-lead Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Associate Professor of Physics and Director of the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching, Carleton College:

The QLAB project addresses a challenge that many of us are facing — we want all students to be successful regardless of their high school math preparation. Currently, each faculty member teaching a course that makes use of basic quantitative skills (QS) must find ways to support students with weak QS preparation. Rather than having faculty members develop all of their own support resources, this project will develop shared online modules – Qbits – that can be deployed for just-in-time review and skill-building in a number of disciplines.

Developing online resources that can be used in multiple contexts to help students strengthen their quantitative skills serves two purposes. First, by showing how these skills are relevant in various disciplinary contexts, students learn to view quantitative skills as fundamental and transferable skills that they can draw on in many areas of their liberal arts experience. Second, as a consortial effort, we will have more students using these modules in a variety of contexts so that we can collect meaningful data about the effectiveness of the various modules, and improve them accordingly.

Groundwork for the project was laid during the QS Framework Hack-a-thon held at Carleton College in January 2017.  At that workshop, faculty and technologists created module prototypes and explored research questions based on the common needs and challenges the partner schools experience as small, residential liberal arts institutions.
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Sharing Courses in Self-Instructional Language Programs through Online Conversation

SILP

In an increasingly globalized world, students are seeking ways to learn languages that are not commonly taught at schools in the United States. While self-instructional language programs (SILP) afford many opportunities to explore lesser-taught languages like Hindi, Korean, or Swahili, the scope of each program is limited. A new online collaboration will allow each program to tap into resources that other colleges in the consortium have, e.g. native speakers in the community that can serve as tutors, or advanced level instruction in certain languages. Students will have additional opportunities to explore new paths within their liberal arts education.

Many of the colleges within the consortium offer some form of guided self-instruction of lesser-taught languages already. The new LACOL project will launch a collaboration between the Self-Instructional Language Programs at Pomona, Vassar, and Williams College, using online synchronous classroom-to-classroom interaction. As Lioba Gerhardi, Vassar’s Coordinator of the Self-Instructional Language Program and Adjunct Assistant Professor of German Studies says:

By sharing resources, the partners will be able to increase the number of self-instructional languages available to students in an innovative and cost-effective manner.

The self-instructional component of each language course will remain unchanged. Each student will enroll for the course at their home institution. For speaking and listening practice, students will join conversational tutorial sessions at a partnering college via video conferencing software, such as Zoom.

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Project Update: Upper Level Stats shared course pilot added for Fall 2017

Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Assistant Professor of Statistics at Vassar College
Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Assist. Prof. of Statistics, Vassar College

In connection with LACOL’s Upper Level Math collaboration, Assistant Professor Jingchen (Monika) Hu at Vassar College is opening her Fall 2017 Bayesian Statistics course to students from across the consortium.  As the course unfolds, Prof. Hu plans to share bi-weekly lectures and screencasts with the class and engage with remote students via video conferencing and online office hours.  On each participating campus, a local faculty liaison will be on hand to guide students as needed.  Technical support will be provided in partnership with instructional technology/academic computing groups on each campus. In exploring the opportunity for the pilot experiment, Hu said:

To me, this shared/hybrid model can be a great way to get students on our campuses the access to upper level statistics courses. After collecting some data, I am very amazed at how rich the upper level statistics offering [across LACOL] could be if we can share the resources in some way. 

Stephan Garcia, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Pomona College
S. Garcia, Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics, Pomona College

The Bayesian Statistics pilot will complement another hybrid/shared offering in Real Analysis from Associate Professor Stephan Garcia at Pomona College. Because sharing Garcia’s course lectures will require capture of his mathematical notations on several blackboards, he is testing a robotic camera rig that can be positioned to record high definition video all around the classroom.

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Active and Engaged Reading – Survey on practices for teaching reading across the disciplines

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UPDATE: Findings from the reading survey will be shared by Profs. Ron Patkus and Susan Zlotnick at the 2017 consortium-wide workshop at Vassar College.

Project Background: Throughout the liberal arts curriculum, there are numerous ways, old and new, that reading skills and related habits of mind are taught.  A rapidly evolving technology landscape is also shaping the student experience. To help document emerging pedagogies for reading, LACOL’s Active and Engaged Reading working group is embarking on an survey of faculty and academic staff across the disciplines at our member institutions. The survey tool was developed jointly by the AER project team with guidance from the Institutional and Educational Research offices of participating colleges.

The purpose of the survey is to gather insights into how our faculty cultivate various reading skills and practices for students at all levels of the curriculum, with a particular focus on the digital dimension.  Results of this survey will be used to inform Active and Engaged Reading working group projects, including a collaborative thought piece on reading for the liberal arts in a digital age.

Instructions: The survey consists of several short answer questions and may take 15-30 minutes to complete, depending on the level of detail you can share.  Your input is invaluable to the project.  Thank you for your time!

 

 

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