What is OAR? OAR is the Open Access Resources library of the Associated Colleges of the South. This collection is funded in part by a 2015 Hybrid Learning Grant from the Teagle Foundation and in part by the 2011 Mellon Foundation ACS Faculty Advancement Grant. Always growing and changing, the collection offers open access to all teaching, learning, and administrative resources funded and developed by the Associated Colleges of the South.
Nearpod is marketed at K-12 teachers, but there’s nothing to stop instructors in higher education from employing this easy to use, surprisingly powerful software to improve your classroom presentations and experiment with real-time, student interaction and response. Centre College’s Jennifer Muzyka, a professor of chemistry, gives you the basics. Note that while the full Nearpod package, including K-12 teaching materials, etc. is a commercial product, it’s “silver edition” is free.
Brian Little, Director of the makerspace at Furman, provides a quick introduction to setting up and using a laser cutter. If your institution has one of these, you can use it to create a whole range of teaching aids or use it in student research projects. Architecture, art, and design programs routinely use laser cutters for making scale models of structures and objects. But the potential applications are far wider. Several people have reproduced historical astrolabes, clocks, and other geared machines using laser cut pieces, for example. A particularly interesting new trend is the adoption of laser cutters (and 3D printers) by students for creating objects (models, reproductions, etc.) to support their research assignments in the liberal arts.
What your IT Department Wants to Know! Pat Schoknecht, CIO at Rollins, provides an overview of how you should work with your college IT department to plan for a course that will be shared across campuses. This video was commissioned to support the 2016-2021 ACS Grant Program.
Joel Kilty and Alex McAllister of Centre College discuss an app called Playback Screencast Creator.
Update: Playback Screencast Creator was pulled from the App Store shortly after they made this video. At this time, there aren’t many comparable apps out there that allow you to share a virtual whiteboard. We’re evaluating Explain Everything as an alternative.
A brief overview of the professional, ethical, legal, and practical aspects of web accessibility in higher education followed by a demonstration of the experience of a screen reader user encountering accessible and inaccessible web content.
Jason Mickel and Brandon Walsh of Washington and Lee discuss the popular web application GitHub for teaching collaborative project management.
In recent years, development of critical thinking skills has emerged as a critical issue in higher education. These skills are highly desired by employers and are frequently included as important learning outcomes for a liberal education. However, identification of pedagogical methods and tools that specifically target critical thinking in STEM courses has been challenging due to the difficulty of assessing the many dimensions of critical thinking. These videos highlight our efforts at assessing the impact of targeted interventions designed to impact critical thinking in introductory and advanced biology and chemistry courses. Critical thinking was assessed in a pre/post-test method using the NSF-supported Critical Thinking Assessment Test (CAT) and a self-reported learning gains survey. Because the CAT is a faculty-scored assessment, the scoring sessions provided a unique faculty development opportunity for an interdisciplinary mix of faculty members. Together, results from this project suggest that increasing the proportion of time spent in active learning activities increases student gains in critical thinking.