Economics: Efficient and Effective Feedback – A Lesson Study Investigating Students’ Responses and Follow up to Feedback on Their Writing

Title: Efficient and Effective Feedback: A Lesson Study Investigating Students’ Responses and Follow-up to Feedback on Their Writing
Authors: Taggert Brooks, Elizabeth Knowles, James Murray, Laurie Strangman, Department of Economics; Bryan Kopp, English Department; University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Discipline / Field: Business Communications, Research Methods
Submission Date: August 1, 2013

We developed and implemented a systematic and efficient approach to give feedback on student writing in a business research methods course. In this lesson study, we investigate how students respond to this feedback. The lesson takes place at mid-semester, after students have spent some time developing their research question and reviewing the literature. At the time of our classroom observation, the students receive the first feedback of their first draft of the introduction section of their final paper. We observed their conversations upon receiving the feedback and noted how it influenced their revision plans. We conducted our lesson study over two semesters, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013.

To make the process of giving feedback efficient, we developed a database of comments on student writing which were specific to the objectives of the assignment. There are seven goals of the introduction assignment, some of which are specific to an introduction section of a research project, such as “State the purpose of your research project”, and some of which are very general, such as “Communicate in a clear and meaningful way.” Using these goals as the traits for a rubric, we developed a set of feedback comments that align to each goal suggesting improvements or noting when the objective was met. While the comments are specific enough to address specific goals of the
assignment and common writing problems, they were general enough so that they could be used for any student’s writing for the given assignment. We use text expanding software (Breevy for Windows, TextExpander for Mac) that allows the instructor to quickly populate a letter to each student with a set of comments appropriate for their submission.

Our classroom investigation revealed some challenges in giving feedback that effectively guides students on how to revise their work. One significant example concerns how students communicate purpose. While students may have attempted to communicate a specific purpose in one part of their introduction, often the introduction as a whole lacked focus. Even after receiving feedback, students were largely unable to recognize this problem or understand what kind of revision was appropriate.

Efficient and Effective Feedback – A Lesson Study Investigating Students’ Responses and Follow-up to Feedback on their Writing (Full Report)

Physical Therapy: Assessing Communication Skills via Interactive Lab

Title: Assessment of communication skills and the change in knowledge and valuing of Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant students through completion of one interactive lab
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Physical Therapy
Authors: Erin Hussey, Paul Reuteman, Gwyn Straker, Michele Thorman (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse), Jeff Komay (Western Technical College – La Crosse), Carrie Rowan (student member from UW-La Crosse)
Date: May 22, 2008

Executive Summary

Purpose: The PT-PTA lesson study team designed a project to develop awareness and appreciation for professional and technically trained colleagues within the first year of each academic program. Both programs are housed in the Health Science Center. In the past, an interactive activity had occurred only within the final academic semester of each program so this project was designed to integrate these students earlier during their educational experience. As health care providers, PT assistants provide technically skilled assistance to the PT in providing services to consumers. Therefore, the learning activity was designed to improve student awareness of each others’ background training, clinical skills, and expected roles & responsibilities in work settings.

Learning Goals: The team developed five learning goals for the session that addressed how well students value the preferred PT-PTA relationship, recognize the educational rigor expected of each program, and experience an opportunity to and collaborate and learn from each other related to patient care activities.

Instructional Design: Within each program, students were introduced to the guiding principles for PT-PTA relationships on the basis of state statutes, the Wisconsin PT practice act, national professional policies, ethical guidelines, and consensus documents. Within the interactive lab, students managed one or more clinical cases (one case using role play in 2007 adjusted to 14 mini-cases using discussion in 2008) during which they had the opportunity to interact on educational background, clinical training, and to develop a mutual understanding of roles and responsibilities.

Major Findings: The Lesson Study team concluded that this activity was worthwhile. The data and feedback indicate that students benefit from and value an opportunity to focus on PT and PTA backgrounds, clinical training, roles and responsibilities in an interactive manner. In addition, there were indicators that the format of the lesson plan for 2008 was more effective in achieving the learning goals when compared to data and feedback from 2007. Primary course instructors were encouraged to continue the lesson study process with further integration of content across the program in addition to continuing to hold one interactive lab at the end of the first academic year. A second lab session held later in the academic programs is recommended as follow-up with a focus on promoting a more advanced awareness of clinical roles relative to more complex clinical considerations.

Information and Communication Technology: Futuring Techniques/Tools

Title: Futuring Techniques/Tools: Understand and Demonstrate the use of Futuring Techniques/Tools in Technology
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Information and Communication Technologies
Authors: Len Bogner, Sylvia Tiala, Evan Sveum, Jerry Addie, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Submission Date: November 2, 2007

Executive Summary: The lesson topic Futuring Techniques/Tools is important to this course because the role of technology has a dramatic impact on many aspects of our lives it is important to study the effects it creates within individuals and in the global society. In order to do this not only do we need to look at the past but also we need to understand what directions it may take in the future. If we are to use the power of technology to improve lives of people then we must know what technologies will be commonplace and how to best apply them. Therefore, we must learn how to study and prepare for the future.

Learning Goals. The immediate academic learning goal of the lesson is to develop students’ ability to predict the future of technological advances by using futuring techniques/tools. A broader goal of the lesson was to develop students’ ability to understand technologies ripple effect on their lives, education, professions, and society.

Lesson Design. The Lesson Study is designed to use several different methods to try and comprehend if the students understand the concepts of futuring techniques/tools. The methods used include a quiz, a pre and post study question, an individual hands-on activity, and two hands-on team activities.

Major findings about student learning. The findings were mixed. The quiz and the team activity of creating a future wheel shows that students have an understanding of the importance of futuring techniques/tools. However, the individual activity shows a big disconnect between the goals of the Lesson Study and what the individual student retains about the futuring techniques/tools. The pre and post study question was indifferent in providing clear evidence of student understanding.

Education: Information & Communication Technologies and their Social Impact

Title: Information and Communication Technologies’ impact on society
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Technology and Education
Authors: Len Bogner, Evan Sveum, Kevin Olson and Pete Schlosser, University of Wisconsin – Stout
Submission Date: Fall 2005

Summary: The group came up with two learning goals for the course that fits into the larger objective of describing technology and its impact on individuals and the global society. First, expose the students to current topics in technology and how they relate to Information and Communication Technologies and second make the student aware of how Information and Communication Technologies affect us as individuals and as a global society. The team decided to use the laptop technology provided by the university in the lesson study.

Learning Goals:

  • Expose the students to current topics in technology and how they relate to Information and Communication Technologies
  • Make the student aware of how Information and Communication Technologies affect us as individuals and as a global society

The goals relate back to the course objective of “describing technology and its impact on individuals and the global society.”

Conclusions: Members of the Lesson Study team all agreed that they felt that the student learning goals were met. There was discussion about the verbs used in the goals. Exposure and awareness are not very measurable words. However, this was a 100 level introduction course and the learning goals were part of a larger course objective. The team, after revisiting the subject, believed that the verbs were appropriate. So the evidence of student learning, in the very limited scope of expose and awareness to the subject, was supported.

Some of the teams’ members were going to develop similar activities for other courses that they taught. They felt that using this activity repeatedly in a course could be an effective instrument in showing the students how to use the laptops for research in answering questions and a way to introduce new subjects.

Communication: Instructor Modeling of Small Group Speaking

Title: Instructor Modeling of the Small Group Speech Assignment: Can it improve learning and presentation skills for our students?
Discipline(s) or Fields(s): Communication, Humanities, Education, Training & Development
Authors: Jeanine Fassl, Kathy Brady, Sue Wildermuth, University of WisconsinWhitewater
Submission Date: March 2009

Learning goals: The lesson focused on the goal of producing a group informative speech. This included addressing small group communication issues such as leadership and leadership styles, interpersonal conflict resolution, decision-making, problem solving and critical thinking. Skills to be measured revolved around researching, organizing, outlining and presenting an informative speech as a group.

Instructional design: To assist the students in understanding the complexities of working together to achieve a final presentation, and working on the belief that presenting a model of the speech the students were assigned in the course and then using that model as the basis for a discussion of the components developed to create the presentation, students would have a better idea of what was needed to create their own presentations. The overriding goal of the design of this lesson was to ultimately result in better student presentations.

In order to meet the requirements of this assignment, we decided to explore a fairly recent addition to our downtown, the Wall Crawlers Climbing Gym. Conveniently, the youngest of the three instructors, had some experience in Rock Climbing and was able to convince the two older members of our team that it was a safe and fun activity that our students would never think we could actually accomplish. We set up an evening on a Friday, which is half price night for women, and proceeded to get the instruction necessary to complete the activity. While we were there, we used a digital camera to document our successes as well as the discovery that one of the members of the team found out she was better suited to be a “belayer” and stay on the ground to make the climb safe for her colleagues. We actually enjoyed the experience, so we already had one small success. Of course, the researching, writing, outlining and development of our power point slides to enhance our actual presentation was not nearly as fun as the wall climbing. We documented each of our meetings to work on the finished presentation keeping track of the hours, how we divided the duties and responsibilities between us as well as the amount of time spent practicing the speech to get it to meet the requirements of the assignment.

Major findings about student learning: Actual student comments on the Modeling Day Worksheet indicated that the students were happy to have had the chance to see what the instructors were expecting of them and then to question us as to the details of what we had to do to develop our presentation. They were also fairly candid about what we needed to improve. The expectation of improving the grades for our students did not hold for this lesson study. In the three semesters we have used this lesson, we have seen a significant grade improvement in only the first semester of using the new format for the course and therefore cannot make any solid claims as to our effect on the student learning process other than what the students themselves wrote in their reaction sheets after the presentation.