Notes from the Field

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A blog focused on supporting student capacity and increasing completion and equity

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Research shows that active learning strategies and low stakes collaborative practice produce the greatest educational gains for women, minorities, low-income students, and first-generation college students. But what does that look like in an open access Precalculus with Support classroom? This blog will focus on 360 degree whiteboards as a tool to enhance equitable learning, the research behind this strategy and how to effectively use whiteboards in a lesson cycle.

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In the latest of CAP’s “Voices from the Field” blog, College of the Sequoias English professor Jamie Moore discusses how she uses oral history to transform the research assignments in her first-year composition classroom. A teacher in the statewide Puente program, Moore invited students to interview members of their communities about issues that matter to them, including questions of identity, health care access, and citizenship laws. The approach increased student engagement, enabled students to claim their own identities as academic researchers, and elevated the voices of their communities. And during the social isolation of the pandemic, the assignments created an avenue for “the research process to serve as a method of community care.”

Do you ever wonder why there is such a drop off in engagement after the initial excitement at of the semester? Is there anything we can do to reverse this trend? Guest author Jesus Limón Guzman explores these questions and offers strategies that tap into the expertise in the room and provide authentic models to help engage (and sometimes re-engage) our students.

Zoom provides many tools that enable faculty to go beyond lecturing and foster students' higher order thinking skills, something that is critical to equity-minded teaching. Instructors can use these tools to create a humanized, rigorous learning environment that engages students and leads to deeper learning.

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Students taking online courses that are intentionally designed with opportunities for asynchronous student-to-student communication and collaboration reap the rewards of not only the cognitive benefits of sharing ideas with peers, but also the socio-emotional benefits of being a member of a learning community. This blog shares ways to create student-to-student communication and connection in asynchronous online courses.

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An authentically caring instructor-student relationship is foundational to students' learning and success, particularly for minoritized students. A warm instructor presence that imparts empathy and awareness while building relationships and providing intrusive support is correlated with student persistence, success, and learning in online courses. In this blog, you'll learn how to build this instructor presence in online courses.

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Tone, facial expressions, voice, and other social cues are often lost in online classrooms where interactions are primarily text-based. Flipgrid helps reclaim these vital aspects of communication, enabling instructors and students to have asynchronous video conversations. The magic happens as connections and a strong class community are formed -- even from a distance.