Jonathan recommended we reach out to you for feedback on our project. Do you have any suggestion on what we can do to improve our project and move it forward?
I thought the website the geology group made for their project was a good idea. Do you think this would be a good idea for our project?
Hi Paul, thanks for your question. I’ve been following the discussion threads for the project, and your most recent one (March 17 Zoom Meeting Summary) neatly summarizes your goals and approach. I like the modular approach you are taking with the book — while the main goal is for it to be used in a specific GEM course, parts of it could be used for other GEM or General Education courses, and the skills developed could be applied even more broadly. @aabbott also put it very nicely:
we are proposing a resource that moves from a traditional skill and drill approach to College Algebra (for example) to a recognize > think > understand > explain > model (maybe not in that order) approach, using mathematics as the modeling “tool” wherein they can develop abilities to take complex problems (of any kind, not just mathematics), break them down into first principles, and use those principles to develop potential solutions
Taking this into account and looking at the next steps you’ve identified (to outline lesson plans), it might be helpful for you and the team to coordinate on a sample chapter template and author guide (take a look at our author guide template as a starting point). This can ensure that any drafts you create will be consistent, and may also be a good exercise for you to identify how to present different pedagogical elements while preserving a modular structure.
Yes, the website was fantastic! A standalone website might not be necessary for all projects. I’d suggest start by filling out your project homepage, and revisit at your next internal team meeting whether an additional website will help further boost your project (and whether someone on your team has the capacity to keep this site up-to-date).
I hope this helps. Feel free to tag me in any future posts, and I’ll be sure to chime in.
Paul, I also remembered your question about phrasing word problems for ESL students during our session, and wanted to share a link to this College Success glossary. Hopefully this will tie in well with @andrewhorning’s suggestions.
I would also suggest identifying the reading level of your students, which can help determine the vocabulary, sentence structure, voice that you use when drafting word problems. Take a look at the Hemingway Editor tool. It might be useful for the scenario you were describing!
How do you fill out/edit the project homepage? I can’t seem to figure out how to do it (where do I click to edit?). Is this something Jonathan has to do for us?
I’ve made you an admin on the GEM project, so you should be able to refresh the page and see all the blocks as editable. Take a look at the instructions on how to edit each section of the page in our user guide. @Lashleyed, I hope you don’t mind! I saw Paul’s message and jumped in to respond while I was in the platform.
Apurva, I have a spin-off question to this. Are there resources that might provide guidance as to how we might work to have our resource more engaging/relevant to international students? I am sufficiently uneducated in what I’m trying to get at that my wording probably isn’t all that great. When I’ve examined texts for courses that have a large proportion of students that are not from the US, I’ve been disappointed and very saddened to discover a lack of such. I’m looking for guidance on even how to begin to approach something like this, whether it be to include culturally diverse examples, or projects, or whether my yearning for such might have a negative effect. I’m not thinking of changing our topic(s) in any way, rather am wondering how or whether we might be able to make it more culturally inclusive.
I don’t mind you changing the settings @apurva.
@paulbelue, my $0.2 that I shared with another group this morning is that while the geology website is dazzling, we can currently recreate a lot of that in the Rebus Community with our Homepages.
Ann, this a very good question to ask generally, but very important to be thinking about early on. I can point to a few webinars that discuss experiences of faculty creating culturally relevant and representative OER (though they are not in Math):
There are a lot more writing out there about why this is important, but since you’re looking for guidance and suggestions on implementation, I’ve highlighted the few above. I’ll also suggest these strategies, if possible:
- Expand the writing team, so that anyone with a different background and perspective can directly author and help create content for the book (maybe even work with students)
- Conduct a profile or persona exercise of the different audiences in your classrooms — the more you can learn about your students, the better you will be able to include elements that might better engage them
- Once the resource is drafted and edited, ask students to review the content alongside other subject-matter experts (we call this classroom review!). This lets you act on their feedback before you officially release or launch the book. With the flexibility of OER though, this can also be done at any point after release or adoption.
- When including names of people, places, events, or regions in the content, try to think beyond traditional stereotypes, and use examples from your local context (or their international ones), from current debates that might resonate as a touchstone for students.
I know @dave.dillon participated in an Education Partnership for Internationalizing Curriculum (EPIC) fellowship — Dave, can you can share any suggestions based on your experience at EPIC? @rajiv.jhangiani, you’ve worked on an international edition of Principles of Social Psychology where you deliberately used examples and statistics from a wide variety of cultural contexts — could you share a bit more about this process and any advice for others?
There is probably a lot more that others could share based on their own experiences, so I request anyone else to respond below!