I’m not a frequent podcast listener, but now that the squash courts are closed and the weather remains cold I have discovered that riding my indoor bike for 30 minutes (usually very boring) has become time for podcasts.

If you teach Computer Science consider listening to one or more of the new CS Ed podcasts. The host is Dr. Kristin Stephens-Martinez from Duke University and there are now 6 episodes in the series.

Each podcast has a different theme and guest, but I’ve picked up ideas from each of them. The most recent podcast was with Colleen Lewis from Harvey Mudd College. I remember participating in an Inclusive Teaching Workshop at the CAN-WIC conference back in November where Colleen was one of the session speakers.

I really enjoyed her talk at CAN-WIC and her recent podcast was also informative. In her podcast she made a claim (paraphrasing) that if you are not a much better teacher every 3 years you are probably not doing it right. That is an interesting reflective statement and I bet that if you are reading this post and you think back to your teaching methods of 3+ years ago you would probably agree with this statement.

At the end of her podcast she provides 2 specific (and related) suggestions.

  1. Survey your students and respond to the feedback to identify problems with the context of your lessons, assignments, evaluations, etc..
  2. Your teaching practices should allow you to the opportunity to see your students’ thinking. Active learning strategies can help you obtain this goal.
    • this one makes me think of Assessment As Learning and Assessment for Learning.

Some related resources:

Active learning strategies can be challenging to incorporate into your daily practice and especially difficult during this remote distance learning phase.

Share your ideas about Coleen’s podcast or perhaps your strategies to survey students or integrate some active learning strategies.

  • Personally, I always do a beginning of course survey to better understand student course selection criteria and motivations, but I should be using student surveys much more often.
  • I have started using the Quizzes feature of Brightspace much more this year with a variety of types of questions. This has drastically helped me gauge student engagement with the course material and understanding. The quizzes during remote learning have been unlimited attempts and 10 questions of less each week. These questions also match the weekly learning goals (hopefully).

Grant Hutchison