In this issue:
Brock University Learning Technology Development Learning Object Showcase
Submitted by: Linda B. Nilson, Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University, USA
A learning object is a digital resource that offers reusable instructional lessons, the best of which feature animation and interactivity. Instructors can use them for in-class demonstrations, make them in-class activities if students have access to computers, or assign them as homework. Merlot.org contains thousands of them, but only a subset is animated and interactive. All of those in Brock University's select collection, however, have these superior traits, and they are among the best available on the Web. Designed by instructional technologists under faculty guidance, the twenty learning objects on the site offer animated tutorials, tools, exercises, games, and simulations in basic concepts and principles in communication studies, English, earth science, environmental science, finance, German language, mathematics, psychology, time management, and writing.
Educational developers will find that faculty who are not already familiar with learning objects--and most are not--will be excited to get acquainted with such student-friendly and free resources. Visual and kinesthetic learners, often those that faculty have trouble reaching, should especially value these digital lessons for their affective appeal and instructional effectiveness.
Keywords: learning object, animation, interactivity, instructional technology
CUES: Connecting Undergraduates to the Enterprise of Science, University of Missouri
Submitted by Linda B. Nilson, Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University, USA
The science departments at the University of Missouri have integrated inquiry-based learning into their curricula. The laboratory exercises they assign to students are mini-journal articles that follow the format of a scientific journal article. The faculty have replaced the traditional "cookbook" laboratories with an inquiry-based format that encourages scientific practice. These laboratories build in the activities that scientists actually engage in while conducting research: reviewing the relevant literature, generating new hypotheses, designing and conducting appropriate experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and writing up the results in a journal article format. This Web site supplies instructors with detailed guidelines for constructing their own inquiry-based labs for undergraduate science courses and offers field-tested labs and assessments for biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. This project is an extension of the UM's proof-of-concept project (NSF 0230779, Converting Cookbook Laboratories into Inquiry). It encourages transforming more cookbook laboratories into the CUES mini-journal format, provides educational development to current and future science faculty, and fosters research on the effectiveness the CUES approach. Its objective is to enhance students' learning of science by improving the introductory science experience.
Educational developers can use this site to encourage and help their science faculty to revamp their cookbook laboratories into dynamic, inquiry-based activities. Faculty who are reluctant to transform their labs due to lack of time will find this site most help, as it will save them the effort of reinventing the wheel.
Keywords: science education, inquiry-based, inquiry-guided, laboratories