This report serves as a final report in in my role as a senior faculty participating in exploring
and implementing high-impact practices to enhance higher-order learning through
membership in the Faculty Learning Community. As a senior faculty member and Chair
of the Department of Child Development, I am always looking for opportunities to
continue to learn about new ways to improve my teaching practices, both to benefit my
students and to understand and model continually evolving ways of engaging University
students in learning. The activities associated with the FLC exceeded my every
expectation in this area.
CHLD 495: Senior Seminar in Child Development is the course that was my focus within
the FLC work group. This is the Writing Intensive Capstone course for students in the Child
Development major. As a senior capstone course, this culminating experience has for
many years had a final project, a reflective portfolio, which is utilized in our department
assessment. These reflective portfolios play an important in our departmental assessment
My biggest concern with this course and the student work associated with this course has
been that although these projects are a valuable contribution to the department, their
value to the students has not been as clear. Many students have not clearly seen a role
for these reflective portfolios in their professional careers.
My journey to intentionally infuse a more effective student learning process into this
capstone began in Spring 2013 while meeting with the Faculty Learning Community. I
initially focused on moving the reflective portfolio to an electronic presentation, which
will allow students more flexibility in their use of the portfolio. With this task I benefitted
from the thoughts of others in the Faculty Learning Community as they shared their
experiences and thoughts on how to move this assignment to an electronic format.
While working on this task over the summer, several other ideas emerged which I was
able to share with members of the FLC beginning Fall 2013. One idea was to the role of
the University’s Career Center to incorporate real-life interviewing and presentation skills.
This will allow students to better prepare for the transition from higher education to their
career by utilizing a wider circle of “more competent others”. After meeting with Kate
Buckley from the Career Center, I incorporated assignments which were directly related
to Career Center projects. This will enhance the competence of students while
supporting existing on-campus resource.
While presenting this information to the FLC, I shared another current area of the course
that I was in the process of transforming, which is the role of peer feedback. While
listening to the feedback from other members of the FLC as well as their presentations of
their work, I decided (during Week 2), to make some significant changes to the later
section to the class. The changes include moving some assignments from a typical
written submission to an audio presentation via the Voice Board function of the Learning
Management System. Not only does this mode of communication better translate to the
interview process, it facilitates grading (a happy surprise). I also decided to completely
revise the group presentation process from the previous electronic submission to an inclass presentation to allow students to practice their communication skills.
I have evaluated the FLC experience on several levels, detailed below. Several forms of
evaluation were planned, others were spontaneous, and others were based on
reflection after the experience was complete.
Student Feedback
One planned element of the FLC evaluation experience involved student surveys. This
information was collected from the 25 students enrolled in CHLD 495 in Fall 2013.
 Student survey
o How functional do you feel your electronic portfolio will be?
 100% of students felt that created the electronic portfolio was a
valuable activity.
 100% of the students said they would most likely use the electronic
portfolio format at some point in the future.
 18 of the 25 students (72%) stated that they would use some
aspect of the electronic portfolio while seeking employment.
o How helpful was the group presentation assignment in the context of
future career work?
 100% of the students felt that the specific format of the group
presentations in this course would assist them in a future
employment setting.
o How valuable was the peer feedback on group presentations
 22 out of 25 students (88%) stated they appreciated the peer
feedback on their group presentations, while 100% of students
acknowledge they appreciated being able to provide feedback
to peers.
Faculty Reflection on Student Outcomes
 More functional student reflective portfolio
o Incorporating the audio component to the student reflective portfolios
created a much more functional product. The workshop presentation by
Wendy Bentley on Google Sites provided the needed skills for students to
add a short, succinct electronic bio to their electronic portfolio which was
a valuable addition.
Improve interviewing skills
o Several additions to the course contributed to improved interviewing skills
for the students. Requiring participation in a scheduled Career Center
seminar by Kendra Wright on Strategic Interviewing Techniques definitely
contributed to the improved skills demonstrated by the students during
the Mock Interview. For the first time, interviewers were asked to evaluate
students as they interviewed. This data will be used as baseline data for
future evaluations. An informal poll of interviewers who have participated
in previous mock interviewers indicated that student interviewees were
more prepared than in previous sessions.
Improve presentation skills
o One critical change to this course as a result of my participation in the
Faculty Learning Community was the way I approached the required
group work in this class. After a highly engaging and intense conversation
at FLC about how to scaffold student learning within group work, I brought
a much more detailed focus on the process of the group presentation to
the students. It is clear that students experienced some dis-equilibrium
with the process, which is a sign of learning. Instead of clearly articulating
my expectations from each group and each individual group member, I
provided a list of “non-negotiables” (my requirements) and
“negotiabiables” (areas of the presentation for which group members will
be responsible). Each group came up with their own grading criteria
which were based on each group’s objectives for their presentation.
These criteria were utilized in both the peer and faculty evaluation of the
group presentations
Improve peer feedback format
o One important objective for this project was to streamline the peer
feedback format for the required writing assignments which were
eventually incorporated into the electronic portfolio. Instead of using inclass time, the PeerMark system was incorporated. This new format did
meet the objective of freeing up class time to be used for other critical
activities, but it brought to us new problems. I spent several hours meeting
with TLP consultant Marjorie Shepard to adapt our peer review
requirements to the PeerMark system with some success. Difficulties
included not being able to easily access the peer feedback outside of
the Blackboard System. I will continue to meet with Marjorie to improve
this aspect of the course.
More functional faculty feedback format
o With all of the above changes, faculty feedback requirements were
definitely streamlined. I am pleased with the front-loaded faculty
feedback on earlier assignments, with back-loaded peer feedback with
faculty oversight. Details will continue to be refined.
Classroom visits by FLC colleagues
o One of the most significant experiences this semester was my visit to
colleague John Roussell’s classroom to observe the changes he
implemented as part of his participation in the FLC experience (see
separate report). Becoming familiar with his teaching model and viewing
him in action inspired a change to the internship design within my
department. In addition, his superior teaching methods were inspirational
for me.
o I very much appreciated the feedback I received from Jennifer Lillibridge
when she visited my CHLD 495 class to observe the changes implemented
as a result of our work together (separate report).
Professionally, I am extremely pleased with the Faculty Learning Community experience.
It has given me new energy for teaching. I was so energized by the experience that I
attended several non-related professional development sessions related to teaching. I
am very grateful for this opportunity to work with other seasoned faculty to enhance
student learning while improving my teaching skills.