15-Minute Find Archive

  • In each ITL newsletter there are fundamental tips on a variety of topics. These topics serve to support a dynamic and learning-centered environment at YSU. They also provide valuable resources for faculty and staff to encourage student success.

    To find out more, please review the material below.

    • Practical AI for Instructors and Students

      March 12th, 2024

      Interested in learning more about generative AI and how it could be utilized in the classroom? Check out this resource shared in our Generative AI Professional Learning Community! Wharton Interactive Crash Course: Practical AI for Instructors and Students, created by UPenn's Wharton School of Business, provides short videos on the basics of generative AI and how you and your students might use it purposefully to support teaching and learning. Each video is only ten minutes or so and can be viewed as a stand-alone resource.

      And, if you're interested in digging in deeper, check out the Generative AI Professional Learning Community, led by Rachel Faerber-Ovaska from Cyberlearning under our Upcoming Workshops webpage.

    • Five Ideas that Generative AI Will Make EXTINCT!

      Febraury 27th, 2024

      ITL hosted a great workshop with generative AI expert Dr. Cynthia Alby! One of her topics was centered on "Five ideas that generative AI will make EXTINCT," which outlines some provocative ideas that she believes generative AI will wipe out.  Dr. Alby explained how AI can challenge these dead ideas and help create more meaningful, engaging, and ethical learning experiences for students and teachers. Check out her interview on this topic, featured in Season 7, Episode 2 of the "Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning Podcast." What are your thoughts on these "dead ideas?"

      1. "Summative assessments hold more importance than naturalistic or formative assessments."
      2. "Courses can be designed with minimal consideration of student values, interests, and needs."
      3. "Student-teacher relationships are not necessary for significant learning."
      4. "Ethical behavior can be ensured by surveillance and detection tools, or by simply insisting on it."
      5. "Foundational skills must be systematically developed before advancing to more complex thinking and application."
      • LinkedIn Learning's AI-Powered Coaching Chatbot

        February 1st, 2024

        Are you looking for ways to improve your teaching and streamline tasks/processes of your job? Check out LinkedIn Learning’s AI-powered coaching chatbot. With your YSU credentials, you can access LinkedIn Learning through your Penguin Portal and ask the chatbot targeted questions to receive feedback and videos from the LinkedIn Learning library.

        For instance, when ITL Staff asked the AI-powered coaching, “How do I improve my PowerPoint templates for class?” we were directed to three different courses to help improve visual standards – PowerPoint Data Visualization: High-Impact Charts and GraphsPowerPoint: Creating an Infographic, and Designing a Compelling Presentation. While LinkedIn Learning doesn’t have videos for every situation, there is a ton of content that may help you learn new skills to improve your teaching.

        You may also consider encouraging your students to utilize the AI coaching tool to identify videos to support their learning. They can ask questions about study skills, time management, or career preparation.  Learn how to access LinkedIn Learning  or log on through Penguin Portal and start asking the AI-powered coaching chatbot your questions.

      • Alternative Grading

        September 13th, 2023

        Have you considered how your grading practices impact student learning and engagement with your course content? Alternative Grading methods promote both student learning and engagement. There are various alternative grading methods, such as standards-based grading, specifications grading, or ungrading (Clark & Talbert, 2023). Although different in practice, alternative grading methods follow the 4 Pillars of Alternative Grading Framework:

        1. Clearly Defined Standards: “Student work is evaluated using clearly defined and context-appropriate content standards for what constitutes acceptable evidence of learning” (p. 28).
        2. Helpful Feedback: “Students are given helpful, actionable, feedback that the students can and should use to improve their learning” (p. 29).
        3. Marks Indicate Progress: “Student work doesn’t have to receive a mark, but if it does, the mark is a progress indicator toward meeting a standard not an arbitrary number” (p. 29).
        4. Reassessment without Penalty: “Students can reassess work without penalty, using the feedback they receive, until the standards are met or exceeded” (p. 29).

        So, what can you do with this information?

        • If you only have a couple of minutes – identify one or two areas where you could improve your grading practices based on the four pillars of alternative grading. 
        • If you have a bit more time -- consider including a growth-focused in-class activity to introduce students to feedback loops and how they contribute to learning. Find out more on the Grading for Growth blog.


        • Supporting Multilingual Student Writing

          April 6th, 2023

          International and multilingual students bring many strengths to the classroom, but some may need additional support in second language writing. Check out these resources to support your students!

          1. English Language Writing Checklists: tips for students whose first languages are Arabic, Chinese, or Spanish. Courtesy of the YSU English and World Languages Department.
          2. YSU Writing Center: Did you know that the Writing Center has Linguistics tutors that can assist multilingual students with their writing? Contact the Center for instructions on appointments specifically to support multilingual writing.
          3. Multilingual Student Writing Resources: multiple guides to help students in second language writing, from the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
          4. ITL International/Multilingual Workshop Series: Visit our past workshops page to get more information about this series!
        • The Latest on ChatGPT

          March 30th, 2023

          In a new Chronicle article, "ChatGPT Just Got Better. What Does That Mean for Our Writing Assignments?" author Anna Mills outlines the increased capability of GPT-4, as well as advice for faculty on how to design writing assignments and explore issues with AI.

        • Student Self-Assessment Tools

          March 7th, 2023

          As you catch up on grading this week, you may be wondering how to help students reflect on their preparation, effort, and learning. Check out a few of these tools to support students' metacognition:

          • Cognitive wrappers--short survey reflection completed before an assignment grade is returned

          • Exam autopsy--evaluate specific exam item errors (thanks to Annie Tapp in Physical Therapy for this example from UC Denver)

          • Self-Assessment Rubric--it can be very insightful for students to rate themselves on their performance and participation, either in general or on a specific assignment.

          For more ideas, visit ITL's student self-assessment resources. Got a little more time? Check out this Vanderbilt article on encouraging metacognition

          • Chat CPT Teaching Strategies

            February 10th, 2023

            Check out this short ITL guide on teaching strategies to address academic integrity concerns with AI-generated content.

          • Revive Student Attention

            November 2nd, 2022

            This is the point of the semester where, unfortunately, we start to see attendance dwindle, students' attention drifting, and class discussions becoming more subdued. How do you get your students more engaged and keep their attention on continuing to build their skills? Try one (or all) of these three ideas to renew student attention:

            1. Shake things up--do you usually save your activity to the end of the class? Try doing the activity first. Usually lecture? Try 10 minute lectures interspersed with short activities. Or, get your students physically up and move around the classroom--anything that will be unexpected to your students will renew their attention. 
            2. Grow discussion participation--there are a number of reasons that students don't talk in class. Consider how to get those quiet students talking, or use more provocative discussion questions.


            3. Pull back the curtain--students are more engaged when they understand your motivations, as well as how the content is relevant to them. So, when you discuss the assignment, tell them why you designed it that way.  And when lecturing, be sure to answer the "so what" about the topic.

            Book an ITL consult if you'd like to discuss student engagement strategies!

          • Mid-Semester Student Check-In

            October 12th, 2022

            As we approach the eighth week. a "Mid-Semester Student Check-In" can be a great tool to find what is working and where your course could benefit from adjustment. The literature says that asking students for mid-term feedback promotes positive student behaviors, improves learning, and increases instructor confidence and motivation.

            While there are many variations on this feedback tool, the most simple is the Stop-Start-Continue method. The questions to ask students are:

            1. What, if anything, is interfering with your learning? (STOP)
            2. What suggestions do you have to improve your learning? (START)
            3. What is your instructor doing that helps you learn? (CONTINUE)

            You can put the questions on the board/screen and use an index card that ou collect in person, or duplicate this free MS Form Template (MS Forms guide)

            Finally, report back to students a few key findings. It is okay if you choose not to implement all feedback (e.g., cancel all exam!), but let them know what you will or won't do moving forward.

            Book a consult with ITL if you'd like to learn more or use an alternate method!

          • Writing Letters of Recommendation

            September 28, 2022

            It's that time of year--the weather is cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, and your students come knocking asking for letters of recommendation (LOR). Check out these tips on writing LORs adapted from this Society for the Teaching of Psychology article:

            1. Find exemplars (like these or Google search)
            2. Provide guidelines to your students on the process Consider FERPA issues and information release permission
            3. Collect additional info from the student for a strong letter
            4. Be thoughtful and selective with language use (avoid racial or gender bias)
            5. It's okay to say "No"
          • Add Name Pronunciation in Blackboard!

            May 13th, 2022

            As you're heading into the summer semester and want to make sure you know how to say your students' names (and they know how to say yours), check out this new Blackboard feature ITL learned from the Department of Cyberlearning! Click on the link to see a two-minute how-to video, and feel free to share with your students too. Good luck with your summer classes!

          • Power-Up Your Lectures

            April 13th, 2022

            We're coming down the home stretch of the semester! Keep your students engaged by adding a small tweak to your lectures! Check out this infographic from the Scholarly Teacher for a few new ideas--we especially like the ideas of posting short videos of difficult concepts on Blackboard or using quiz games (at YSU we have Slido on Webex!) for end of term review.

          • Faster Grading with Rubric Codes

            February 11th, 2022

            Drowning in a mountain of papers? Try using rubric codes. 

            We are almost 1/3 of the way through the semester, which likely means that your grading pile has been growing quickly. If you use rubrics on assignments, consider using this tip from Jennifer Gonzalez from the Cult of Pedagogy to speed up your grading--use rubric codes. The basic idea is that you assign codes to each line in your rubric, which allows you to write more codes, and less longhand, in your feedback. Click here for a short rundown.

            Don't use rubrics? ITL can help with that--check out this rubric introduction or schedule a consult with us.

            • Making Group Projects Work

              January 26th, 2022

              Now is the time in the semester when many classes begin group projects. Group projects can be a wonderful addition to your course, allowing students to cooperatively learn, dive deeper into course concepts, and develop transferrable skills--but they can also be a headache when instructions are unclear, conflicts arise, or group roles are poorly defined. Check out this resource from Carnegie Mellon's Eberly Center, "Using Group Projects Effectively," which provides info such as group work benefits, how to assess both process and product, and team contract tools.

              • Rubrics Made Easy? 

                November 3rd, 2021

                Creating a Single-Point Rubric

                Have you ever tried to build a rubric, but found yourself lost in trying to make incremental changes between each of the levels? Try out the single-point rubric! Instead of multiple levels of description for each criterion, a single-point rubric only describes the criteria for proficiency, and space to write comments for assignments that exceed or don't meet expectations. Check out this blog post from Cult of Pedagogy for more info on the benefits or watch this short video from the University of Alberta on how to build one yourself!