21 Oct UND Innovative Learning Symposium focuses on implementing High-Impact Practices online
High-Impact Practices are proven to improve student learning and retention in the classroom.
But what about online?
That conversation is just starting, said Katie Linder, the guest speaker for the Fall Innovative Learning Symposium held Tuesday, Oct. 15. She spoke to more than 100 faculty members in the classroom and online from across the NDUS system.
Linder, director of the ecampus research unit at Oregon State University, host of multiple podcasts and book author, spoke about the challenges of moving High-Impact Practices online and into other modalities.
“It’s important to start thinking about this,” said the author of The Blended Course Design Workbook: A Practical Guide after her talk. “We’re just starting to have conversations about moving High-Impact Practices online.”
High-Impact Practices (HIPs), such as first-year seminars, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, diversity/global learning, internships and service learning, have been around for about a decade, Linder said. Now faculty and researchers are beginning to look at using them in online courses.
The strengths of HIPs are that they support connections and communication between students and faculty, reach more underserved and under-represented groups, and can add unique elements, she added.
Linder advocated “Ninja” level learning objectives and backward design.
Begin with the end in mind. “What do we want students to know and understand at the end of the course?” she asked. “What do we want students to do? Take the HIPs and use them to develop your goals and objectives. Start with the outcome first, then think about assessment and what type of learning will reach that goal.”
There are challenges with implementing HIPs online, Linder said, and faculty agreed.
“How do you replicate group activity?” Linder asked. “How do you do face-to-face?”
Linder advocated starting from scratch.
“The old way of teaching may not be possible,” she said. “A blank slate offers new possibilities and you may see new opportunities. You can ask students to do things at the same time. That may mean that if they are in a different time zone, they may have to get up at 3 a.m. for a live chat or small group activity. They will have to do that in their work life. They will have to be collaborative.”
Faculty in the audience were highly engaged, as Linder described each High-Impact Practice and gave examples and challenges for moving them online.
She also discussed the importance of libraries.
“I love libraries. They are so impactful to students,” Linder said. “They are not a HIP, but I think they should be.”
In response, Kristen Borysewicz, a research skills instruction coordinator at the Chester Fritz Library, noted that a recent hire is focused on digital scholarship and helping students use open source tools to develop e-portfolios, one of the HIPs.
“I was thrilled that Katie mentioned libraries,” Borysewicz said after the talk. “We can serve as a lab, as a High-Impact Practice. There are so many opportunities.”
Linder was invited to campus by Lynette Krenelka, executive director of the Teaching Transformation and Development Academy (TTaDA), which co-sponsored the seminar with the provost’s office.
“Implementing High-Impact Practices is part of UND’s Strategic Plan,” Krenelka said. “I came across the book and contacted Katie, and was so glad when she agreed to come to UND. Her topic fits perfectly with the Strategic Plan and our goal to grow online programs. High-Impact Practices improve student retention, and we want to include them in on-campus and online courses. This is important work.”
“This is good, useful information,” said Casey Ozaki, associate professor for education, health & behavior at the College of Education & Human Development. “Katie spent a good amount of time building a foundation, and we can take her ideas and work on developing our own courses or projects. She was knowledgeable and engaging.”
“I really enjoyed the presentation, and I can use this knowledge to advantage when I get home,” said Aliona Podolean, a visiting Fulbright researcher who teaches English at Pridnestrovian State University in Moldova. “I want to learn best practices.”
“When it comes to online High-Impact Practices, I don’t know enough,” said John Shabb, professor of biomedical sciences. “The extent that we use online techniques in current courses is huge. Maybe the transition isn’t as big a challenge if we think of the online tools we can use.”
“Katie had great ideas and brainstorming for the future of teaching,” said Becky Simmons, professor of biology. “Teaching is changing at the undergraduate level, and this is a good way to start.”