Inclusive STEM Teaching Project: Applications Now Open

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Dear STEM Colleague,

We are writing to share an exciting professional development resource available through our institution this summer. The Inclusive STEM Teaching Project, a NSF grant-funded program, is hosting two concurrent opportunities June 15th – July 27th: a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and a virtual learning community.

The six-week MOOC is designed to advance the awareness, self-efficacy, and ability of STEM faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and staff to cultivate inclusive learning environments for their students. Participants will engage in deep reflection and discussion around topics of equity and inclusion across a variety of institutional contexts. Register for the free course at: https://www.edx.org/course/the-inclusive-stem-teaching-project.

Additionally, the asynchronous MOOC will be extended through a synchronous virtual learning community facilitated by a team of COSAM faculty. Supported by the Biggio Center, the local learning community will meet weekly for discussion. If you are interested in participating in the learning community, please complete the form at https://aub.ie/ITLC. Questions about the learning community should be directed to Stephanie Shepherd at slshepherd@auburn.edu. We estimate you will spend 2-3 hours per week engaged in the course and discussions, which include review/completion of course materials, plus a 90-minute weekly learning community meeting. You can participate in the MOOC without signing up for our learning community, but we hope you will participate in both.

Please visit www.inclusivestemteaching.org for more details about the course content, expectations, and learning communities. We welcome you to share this information with your professional networks and colleagues who may be interested. If you have any questions about the MOOC, contact the MOOC organizers at inclusivestemteaching@gmail.com. Thank you!

Stephanie Shepherd, Dept. of Geosciences
Vanessa Falcao, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Min Zhong, Dept. of Biological Sciences

Plexiglass at Podiums in Requested Rooms

Biggio Center has worked closely with Facilities to have plexiglass installed at requested instructor podiums in classrooms. Please see below for the latest status of this project as of January 7, 2021.

BKENG 2117 – complete
Mell 2510 – complete
Mell 2550 – complete
Mell 4510 – complete
Spidle 144 – complete
Spidle 220 – complete
Spidle 386B – complete
Haley 1212 – complete
Haley 1221 – complete
Haley 2346 – complete
Haley 3166 – complete
Haley 3187 – complete
Haley 2423 – complete
Haley 2467 – complete
Haley 2468 – complete
Haley 1218 – complete
Haley 2011 – complete
Haley 3220 – complete
Haley 2206 – complete
Haley 015A – complete
Haley 015B – complete
Haley 2462 – complete
LBSC 4050 – in process
Tichenor 111 – complete
Tichenor 122 – complete

Tech Enhancements to Classrooms

As part of the continued response to the COVID pandemic, the Biggio Center has collaborated with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to upgrade the technology in about 180 classrooms. Below is a table of classrooms that are either being worked on currently or have already been updated.

A few notes about the table:

  • Items in bold have been completed.
  • The abbreviation “PTZ” is a type of camera that stands for Pan-tilt-zoom. These types of PTZ cameras can be controlled remotely using a computer or on a smartphone using an app.
  • Shure is a brand of microphones.
  • The abbreviation “DSP” stands for Digital Signal Processing.
Building/RoomTechnology
Mell Classroomsmodifications to audio DSP for all classrooms, add quick camera preset buttons for instructor camera.
Mel EASLPanasonic PTZ, ceiling microphones, Biamp and dante audio 8 rooms
Langdon8 suspended Shure MX 910 and DSP audio only
Haley 23707 Shure MX 910 and DSP audio only
Haley 3195add 8 ceiling microphones and DSP
Haley 1403add 8 ceiling microphones and DSP
Haley 3203add 8 ceiling microphones and DSP
Haley 2352PTZ with 6 microphones
Haley 2218PTZ with 6 microphones
Haley 3166PTZ with 6 microphones
Haley 3220PTZ with 6 microphones
Haley 3034PTZ with 6 microphones
Haley 3174PTZ with 6 microphones
Biggen 005add 8 ceiling microphones and DSP
Broun 238add 8 ceiling microphones and DSP
Broun 239add 8 ceiling microphones and DSP
Cary 1393 Shure MX 910 microphones and PTZ
Chem 1345 Shure MX 910 and DSP audio only
Chem 1515 Shure MX 910 and DSP audio only
Corley 307PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 155PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 255PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 254PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 354PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 355PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 358PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 157PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 156PTZ with 6 microphones
Davis 256PTZ with 6 microphones
Dudley B65 Shure MX 910 and DSP audio only
Foy 2588 Shure MX 910 with DSP audio only
FORWI 2217PTZ with 8 microphones
FORWI 1221PTZ with 6 microphones
FORWI 1223PTZ with 6 microphones
FUNCH 246upgrade audio DSP room had capture capability
FUNCH 362PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
FUNCH 243PTZ with 4 hanging mics
GOODW 229PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
GOODW 227PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Lowder 113A9 Shure MX 910 and DSP audio only
Lowder 125A7 Shure MX 910 and DSP
Lowder 0055 Shure MX 910 and DSP
Lowder 0195 Shure MX 910 and DSP
Lowder 1105 Shure MX 910 and DSP
Lowder 1295 Shure MX 910 and DSP
Miller 230PTZ with 8 ceiling mics
Miller 207PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Miller 223PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Miller 201PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Miller 226PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Overton Aud6 Shure MX 910 with DSP audio only
Overton 101Audio, camera and switching upgrade
Overton 140Audio, camera and switching upgrade
Overton 255Audio, camera and switching upgrade
Rouse 112add 8 ceiling microphones and DSP
SCA 1018 Shure MX 910 with DSP audio only
SCC 115add 8 ceiling microphones and DSP
SCC 118PTZ with 8 ceiling mics
SPIDL 220PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
STACT 231PTZ with 8 ceiling mics
STACT 241PTZ with 8 ceiing mics
Upchurch 203PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Tiger 111PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Talon 119PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Aubie 137PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Broun 306PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Broun 125PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Broun 102PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Broun 107PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Broun 113PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Broun 235PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Comer 303PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Comer 311PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Comer 307PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Dudley 401PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Dudley 402PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Forwi 1224PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Forwi 1207PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Forwi 1219PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Forwi 1216PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Foy 246audio and switching upgrades
Foy 213PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Funch 243PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 0015aPTZ with 8 hanging mics
Haley 1212PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 1218PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 1414PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 1435PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 1454PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2011PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2116PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2123PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2124PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2196PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2204PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2206PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2212PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2213PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2222PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2224PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2226PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2228PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2306PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2312PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2324PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2326PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2328PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2332PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2334PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2346PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2406PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2414PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2435PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2438PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2442PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2454PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2456PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2461PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2462PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2467PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 2468PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3104PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3124PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3150PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3182PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3187PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3196PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3204PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3212PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3218PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3224PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3226PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3228PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3238PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3242PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3304PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3307PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3309PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3318PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3324PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3326PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3328PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3330PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3332PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3334PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Haley 3353PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Kinesi 126PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Kinesi 136PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Kinesi 145PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Lowder 009PTZ and switching upgrades
Lowder 124PTZ and switching upgrades
Nichols 2PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Nichols 101Classroom upgrade with PTZ and ceiling microphones
Ramsay 314PTZ with 4 hanging mics
SADC 317PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
SADC 319PTZ with 6 ceiling mics
Shelby 4 ClassPTZ with 8 ceiling mics
Spidle 226PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Spidle 318PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Spidle 386BPTZ with 4 hanging mics
STACT 247PTZ with 4 hanging mics
STACT 249PTZ with 4 hanging mics
STACT 253PTZ with 4 hanging mics
STACT 257PTZ with 8 ceiling mics
THACH 202PTZ with 4 hanging mics
Wallace 114PTZ with 4 hanging mics
ParkerPTZ with 4 hanging mics
Comer 207Complete room upgrade with PTZ and Shure Ceiling microphones
Brown Kopelcontrol room added for enhance Classroom capture
Shelby 3210Classroom upgrade with Capture (Facilities remodel)
Shelby 3129Classroom upgrade with Capture
Spidle KitchenCart for capture with Mon, comp. and PTZ camera
AirportBoardroom upgrades with Zoom
Concrete TestingConference Room with PTZ and room audio
Lowder 2nd Floor3 Conference Rooms with PTZ and Shure Array Microphone
WalkerCAPP Lab with Capture
Feed MillClassroom upgrade, PTZ and ceiling microphones

Testing Best Practices for Fall 2020

Here are some best practices from the Testing center to get you started off on the right foot this semester.

  • Onsite Proctoring- students must call the testing center to schedule an appointment after getting approval from faculty to test onsite. Schedule exams at least 48 hours (work days) before exam date.
  • Face-to-face proctoring onsite can’t be done in combination with other online proctoring options.
  • Seating is limited for face-to-face onsite proctoring. Faculty, please ascertain the need for services for a student before referring.

    If a student has:

    • had difficulty with using the online proctoring options,
    • limited or no access to internet service,
    • tester doesn’t have appropriate tech equipment on hand,

    then specific proctoring needs have to be considered. These must be discussed with testing staff prior to scheduling. A student needing a quiet place to test is not an exception.

  • Faculty must be aware of vendor online testing policies to create testing instructions that do not conflict with the policies. (Example: Do not instruct student to use cell phone to take a screen shot of written work while being proctored online). Please visit our keep teaching page for more information.
  • Use the sample test offered by the vendor to ensure the student knows how to use the service before credit based tests are taken.
  • Allow reasonable turn around times for Honorlock video reviews. Please consider weekends and holidays are not regular work hours when requesting viewing end dates.

Testing Across Time Zones

What happens to remote instruction when many of your students are international and go home to various time zones? You get creative! Dr. Stover teaches a Financial Modeling class in the Harbert College of Business. The class explores using financial tools in Excel. With well over 100 students across 3 sections, delivering lectures and administering exams in real time became challenging.

“As an alternative to using Honorlock and having everyone take the exam at the same time, I created an Excel file, using the VBA scripting language, that generates a randomized set of questions and grades the exam,” explained Dr. Stover. Students start by accessing the Excel file on their desktop and entering their name. Once the name is entered and the questions are generated, the cell locks so the name can’t be changed, and students can’t share the same exam. “Because the questions are randomized, students can’t just share answers. They are supposed to work alone, but I won’t be able to monitor that. Still, I figure if they are talking with each other, at least they have to talk about how to do the problems and then actually apply that to their own version of the exam instead of just copying an answer.”

Once the exam is graded, all answers are locked. If students are unhappy with their grade, they can generate a new set of questions, but everything gets erased and they have to start from scratch. Students can get a good grade either by knowing the material and doing well initially, or by working harder over multiple attempts. “The students get to decide when the marginal benefit of potentially raising their grade is equal to the marginal cost of starting over. It takes their testing experience from being an assessment to a learning opportunity.”

When it comes to lecture delivery, Dr. Stover chose to use Panopto to record his lectures asynchronously. This allows students to go back and re-watch Dr. Stover explain a problem as many times as they need, which is especially helpful for students in a different time zone that can’t make real time Zoom sessions or students whose first language is not English.

When reflecting on how he will modify his classes once we return to campus, Dr. Stover noted that he will shift his Excel exams to homework assignments instead, so students have to learn to do their work in a timed environment. “Also, I’ve signed up for the Biggio Center’s Course (Re)Design program this summer. I’m looking forward to learning how to flip my classroom and use my Panopto recordings as lecture delivery out of class in Canvas and using in-class time for students to work problems with my help.”

Active Learning on Zoom

The Biggio Center has long supported faculty implementing active learning into their courses. But how does one continue active learning with the switch to remote instruction? Every semester Dr. Grinberg implements an active learning game called Reacting to the Past in her World Literature course. “It’s a role-playing game where students have assigned character roles, often historical figures, and must communicate and collaborate to push their character’s agenda forward. It has been repeatedly shown that these games promote engagement with big ideas and improve intellectual and academic skills,” explained Dr. Grinberg.

Once Auburn University transitioned to remote instruction, Dr. Grinberg began wondering how to adapt the highly interactive activity to the Zoom platform. Instead of a full-blown game, which can take several weeks to organize, her class adopted a mini game which only required a week’s worth of work – one session about the background and another session for the actual game.

Using Miguel de Cervantes’s “The Two Damsels”, the students had to put together a mock trial for their Reacting to the Past assignment. Students had to prosecute and/or defend Marco Antonio, an “almost polygamous” young knight who leaves his “wife and betrothed” behind. “Students love this activity in the face-to-face environment. They say it’s the most interactive thing we do all semester and is a different way to study the text while still allowing them to fully grasp the concept.”

Dr. Grinberg asked students to choose their character and grouped them in Canvas so they could receive specific instructions for their preparation. Students were then tasked with a writing assignment in accordance with their character (the main characters prepared their opening statements, the witnesses wrote depositions, the lawyers and their assistants wrote a series of questions, etc.) and uploaded the document to Canvas a day before the trial.

“Up to this point, the activities would be somewhat similar to what I requested past students to do. This time though, we met in our virtual classroom and I asked the students to change their name to their character’s name.” As the Game Master, Dr. Grinberg used the chatroom to send private messages to the players, reminding them of specific passages or the importance of calling certain witnesses to the stand.

After the attorneys and main characters presented their claims and defenses, the class used the breakout rooms to prepare their closing arguments. The closing statements were followed by a vote, using the chat reactions “yes” or “no” feature.

Dr. Grinberg reflected on the feedback her students provided after the activity saying, “The students said they welcomed the break from the ‘reading and reviewing’ format we had been following since we started working through Zoom.” Many students remarked that it must be a lively activity in the classroom environment, but they did “okay for our conditions”. “Indeed “our conditions” were not optimal, but it was a good way of making all participants think a little deeper. We all learned a lot and the students provided me with some wonderful ideas I can apply next semester.”