By: Marco Molinaro, Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Effectiveness
Striving for inclusive excellence
Maintaining ongoing research, starting new research, mentoring students, teaching courses, publishing, writing grants, groups meetings, department meetings and more - it’s no wonder it seems like there is little time for thinking about course improvement! How can the process of teaching and improving your course, collecting data about the impact of any changes and reflecting upon the outcomes be integrated and made more efficient?
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) funded inclusive excellence research project at UC Davis entitled MIDAS (Multi-dimensional Instructional Development for Achievement and Success), a collaboration led by Marc Facciotti, Associate Professor in biomedical engineering and Marco Molinaro, Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Effectiveness, is addressing the challenge head on. Facciotti and Molinaro are part of an interdisciplinary core team that includes Tim Lewis (Math), Annaliese Franz (chemistry) and Michele Igo (CBS). As part of the large faculty and professional staff collaboration we are seeking to understand:
- Which tools and resources/people help faculty adopt the cycle of progress (Awareness - Understanding - Action - Reflection) with respect to their courses?
- Does adopting the cycle lessen student achievement gaps, change instructional culture and improve classroom inclusivity? and;
- How can we effectively incorporate valuable faculty experience and support faculty in being acknowledged for their contributions to inclusive excellence?
We have developed and are testing an integrated prototype tool called Know Your Students. A faculty dashboard helps faculty understand who is in their course and connects them with curated tips on how to effectively address the variety of student needs in their classroom. The tool helps faculty connect with the campus instructional and support community, collect data on the impact of instructional experimentation and weave their instructional work into a teaching portfolio.
How KYS works
Let me guide you through a practical example that has arisen from the experiences of some of our early adopters. An instructor realized that their English second language learners constituted over 1/4 of their class but less than half of those students were not international but California residents that did not have English as their primary home language. They also saw over a 1/2 GPA point gap between English language learners and native English speakers. The realization pointed to the need to investigate the clarity of language for online resources and exams. After implementing a variety of approaches including feedback on written materials and analysis of texts by linguistics students it became clear that some of the resources of this large introductory science course could be clarified in terms of language. The changes led to less reported student confusion and is now being investigated to look for outcome improvements.
In general, we are seeking to simplify and improve the effectiveness of information delivery, learning, data collection and analysis and reflection. Faculty gain greater awareness of their students and begin to understand what efficient actions they can take to improve student outcomes, collect and analyze data along the way and reflect on what they have learned as part of becoming effective and efficient reflective practitioners. Our early testing has been focused primarily in the College of Biological Sciences and we plan to expand into large courses all over campus.
Request a Reflective Teaching Journal
As you think about the cycle of progress, let CEE support your reflection with a free reflective journal so that you can capture your insights about your teaching.
If you would like a reflective journal, complete the following form and we will send you one via campus mail.