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THE NOVA CHAUTAUQUA EXPERIENCE

At the conclusion of each NOVA Chautauqua session, participants were asked to complete an anonymous evaluation of the program, responding in a free-form style to the series of questions below. All participants were encouraged to provide detailed, honest appraisals of their personal experience during each of the Chautauqua sessions offered during summer 2003. In addition, participants were given an opportunity to recommend changes in the program that might make the experience more rewarding in the future.

Verbatim responses from evaluations of NOVA Chautauqua participants are provided below as evidence of the overall positive impact the NOVA Chautauqua experience had in generating enthusiasm for implementation of advanced digital methods in various science curricula across the United States.

NOVA Chautauqua Summary Evaluations 2003

These evaluations were submitted anonymously by NOVA Chautauqua participants at the conclusion of each session. The full, unedited responses from each participant to questions listed on the evaluation form are compiled below.

1.

Comment on the overall structure of the workshop. (Relative mix of the discussion sessions vs. the hands-on working sessions on the computers.)

 

 

Already a good mix of discussion and hands on activities. Maybe add a second discussion period before the presentations to go over pitfalls/discoveries other participants run into while completing their projects.

Very well organized, but no so structured as to disallow flexibility in the schedule. Good mix of discussion versus hands-on and often hands-on would lead to good discussion. Good to introduce program on first day and then let us learn for ourselves with hands-on.

The mix was good. Since most of the group was a relative novice to new teaching methods, a little more on integrating the movies into an inquiry based lesson might be helpful. I got the feeling that several of the products were going to be used in a traditional lecture.

The mix was fine. I felt a bit more time could have been spent in discussion at the front end, if possible.

The overall structure was excellent. The introduction on the first day with the opportunity to explore Steve's website was a necessary and good beginning for me to first hear about and then "play" with the technology so I could get a handle on how to use it. Another "structure" that worked very well was Steve's teaching approach of just casually asking "how is it going?" and being available for helping us.

I thought the mix of both discussion and hands on was good, and necessary. It might be good to try to include a bit more time at the end for discussion. I learned the most from these discussions.

The discussions were good and relaxed. I truly enjoyed the time on the computers as I developed new tools for my online astronomy course.

The mix was appropriate and helpful to the objective of learning the software, sharing information and collegiality.

Excellent use of time. A true inquiry workshop, giving us the time to work and also process the learning through the discussion sessions.

Excellent structure! The informality of the sessions led to idea sharing while working and I enjoyed the huge amount of time reserved for hands on learning.

Clearly the most useful workshop and the very best use of my time that I have experienced since I became a college educator. I left the Chautauqua with a first draft of the NOVA course prepared: syllabus, labs, and teaching animations. The time was mostly hands-on, but we conversed and shared while working informally-- so it was an equal mix of both personal work and sharing ideas.

2.

Should the Chautauqua be shortened, lengthened, or remain the same? Please elaborate and provide suggestions and ideas.

 

 

Remain the same.

Length should remain the same. Even though the program can be introduced in one day, it is necessary to have adequate time to develop and implement our own individual projects and to learn and network with others in the group.

I would say that the time was just about right. It seemed that some of the people were having to work hard at the end to finish their products even though they had worked hard all week. Others were finished and did not need any more time. Shortening or lengthening it would have been tough on one group or the other.

Actually the duration was nearly perfect. I suppose one day less would not hurt.

If the Chautauqua were shortened, I feel almost certain that I would not have benefited even half as much. It took time for me to first find out what was available and then decide on a focus that would be useful for my particular teaching assignment. Also, with a whole week, there is plenty of time to find out what everyone else is doing and build on the synergy! A fellow participant volunteered the comment that "if this had only been a 2-day workshop, I know I would not have derived nearly the benefit that I did."

Just the right length.

I believe it could be done in 5/6 days instead of 7. Most were ready to present by Friday.

I believe it was "just right."

I think it was about the right length of time. Any longer would place a hardship on attending, any shorter would not allow us the luxury of spending so much uninterrupted time working, and more importantly, thinking! Also, a week allowed us to get to know one another very well, and to form a community of learners.

I believe the Chautauqua was exactly the right length. I have never had a whole week to work on any project since I became an educator. We know what best practice is for K-12 teachers--protracted workshop experience with follow up-- yet as college instructors we usually get short demos and never the opportunity to add new things to our repertoire of teaching and analytical tools. The length was perfect.

I think the Chautauqua could be shortened a bit, even if by only a day. The free time to work on your projects was a bit long. This could be shortened by providing a more structured introduction to what was expected from the projects. Granted, not having this structure can prove to produce a more diverse array of projects, but in the limited time, it might be good to steer the members a bit more on their projects, or simply have a morning discussion session (group or in small groups) and have them decide what they will do their projects on before they even sit at the computer. Non-directed computer time can be (and was) a huge time sink.

3.

How has your view of inquiry-based teaching changed and to what extent do you plan to implement inquiry-based teaching in your class? Please elaborate and provide examples.

 

 

My view has definitely changed. I have always taught in the lecture format in the classroom with occasional open discussions. My labs have been the cookbook approach. I plan on using some of what I did this week immediately upon returning, as the project I worked on fits into the material I will be covering. I plan on completely redoing our introductory oceanography lab. I plan on introducing inquiry based labs from the beginning of the semester (lower level, perhaps with an open answer type exercise with multiple groups). I will attempt to make most of the labs at least level 2 in the Herron (1971) levels of inquiry, ending the semester with a level 3 completely open exercise. I believe I will start the semester with the egg drop exercise to introduce the concept of inquiry based learning (essentially unknown on our campus). The next labs will introduce the students on the techniques needed to evaluate information using the computer (Introduction to some data rich web sites, Moviemaker basics, and Excel basics in how to manipulate data and plot it.

Based on my limited teaching experience, I have found that inquiry-based teaching does work best and this program only reinforced this belief. In my future classes, I plan to use a mixture of classroom lecturing with inquiry-based assignments and labs.

I was using inquiry-based teaching in my class already. This week has just strengthened my desire to add more inquiry based activities with this new movie tool.

I am starting to become a "believer". I hope to experiment with this in the lab setting, or as a preamble to the initial discussion of new topics in lecture.

I am a "social constructivist" so inquiry-based teaching has already been a part of my teaching philosophy. This is the first time, however, that I was exposed to how the Internet could be used for inquiry teaching and how to really tap into the rich data resources of NASA for the classroom. I am sharing what I learned at the Chautauqua with my colleagues right now so the dissemination is continuing! And, I DEFINITELY plan to use what I learned in my classroom.

Well, not much of a change. I realized that I had been doing inquiry techniques in the astronomy class for sometime but didn't know the term for the techniques. I used the g-o-o approach in most of my labs.

I was very familiar with Inquiry when I arrived. I find it a very successful strategy and believe that students gain more learning through this approach, as they have "buy in" to the content. I use this quite regularly in my classroom.

Since I use and teach inquiry-based teaching, this just served as a reinforcement for me.

Tremendously! I have been intimidated by the use of this type of methodology because I was never given the chance to think and plan for its use with guidance from people already using it. I also learned that there are several things I'm already doing which are inquiry based, which was nice to find out. Here are some examples of what I'd like to do: have students make movies on "My Favorite Element", Public Service Announcements for infectious disease, age appropriate content movies for pre-service el ed teachers, 2-3 mini labs in each science class that can be done in the classroom.

I have become an advocate for inquiry approaches, so affirmation rather than behavioral change is the impact on my approach to inquiry in the classroom. However, the week gave me time to develop and build inquiry exercises into each class planned for the new NOVA course.

I already try to incorporate inquiry based teaching into my class when I can. The Chautauqua provided an opportunity for me to actually work through a project and understand the dual purpose of the activity (were we working on projects to provide to our class, or were we actually participating and doing the project.....?). Both it would seem. This activity is very appropriate for labs, homework assignments, and longer questions on tests. I will be incorporating this into my classes, it seems to me to be a corollary of the socratic method...not really a new idea after all.

4.

Has your view of technology applications for the classroom changed? Do you plan to include technology applications in your classroom? Please elaborate and provide examples.

 

 

I have long been a whiteboard user, only occasionally pulling information from the web to be presented in class. I have already been considering going to PowerPoint, now I am sure I will make the change. I will also make use of the free data available and make more of my on illustrations instead of relying on canned examples.

Yes, my view of technology applications has changed. I was not aware of all the web-accessible data bases from which to download archived data sets. Also, I was surprised to learn how easy it is to make running movies of data sets with software readily available on most computers. I will definitely implement my knowledge gained here in the classroom. Thanks.

I had never thought of using movie making technology as a student activity. I was beginning to tinker with movies in my presentations. After this week movies will be included in most of my presentations. The biggest change is that I will be having my students prepare and present two technology products during the semester. I had thought of using Excel graphs and Power Point presentations but needed another technology to give the students a choice. The movie making has given me a third choice for the students and so starting in a few days I will be trying this technology exercise on my first class.

Yes, these will be included in lab.

Please see above (i.e. answer to previous question)

I've already made extensive use of technology in astronomy and am now extending it to math. Learning to make movies will greatly enhance the materials that I currently offer online.

WOW, great growth in technology applications for me this week. I have already designed a generic, interdisciplinary, integrative lesson using the technology we learned. Really Awesome!!

Using technology in the classroom has always been a challenge. I have one more tool to use now. I plan on having my students use this technology to teach their students.

Yes, I feel much more comfortable and confident in the use of technology. Learning how to do one thing successfully will make me more likely to try and learn other new things. I will use more animation/movie clips in my classes, both in my presentations and in student assignments. I am also considering the use of Blackboard and other educational technologies.

YES! The application of technology use by students in the course, as a learning tool is a wonderful approach to inquiry at the college level. I have never done this with my students and will now include it in the courses I teach.

Yes. I had never made a movie clip before this Chautauqua. It is important to incorporate technology into the class. However I found myself wondering when learning a new technology starts to over shadow learning material relevant to the class. Did I learn more about how to make a movie, or did I learn more about my project topic? This would have been a good discussion for the group, especially after we finished our projects. When is too much technology detrimental to the class content?

5.

How did you find the mix between the Chautauqua sessions and the “cultural” events (i.e. too much, too little, etc.) Please elaborate.

 

 

I enjoyed the mix. You should be voted some type of civic award for local advertising. Other than the fact that now I would consider moving here should the opportunity arise, so maybe you could in part be blamed for the explosion in population!

Great mix between working sessions and cultural events. In such a beautiful setting, it would get very discouraging and tiresome were it not for the breaks to experience the cultural scene of Fayetteville. The breaks were intermixed very appropriately and the activities chosen were varied and great.

I was well pleased with the mix of events. There were enough to give you a flavor of the area but still left plenty of time to get your work done. I would not change the mix.

Perfect.

The "cultural" events were a very nice addition. Also, Steve was very flexible in making sure we had enough time for our work or we could even feel welcome to continue to work rather than attend the cultural events. This flexibility ensured that everyone could find the right balance for himself personally.

The evening activities were very nice and enjoyable. I would most definitely continue them as is.

Loved it! The cultural events provided a great break from the time in the lab and also showed us what a great city Fayetteville is!!

I was tired and thinking I might not go on the trip to the park, but I'm glad I went. Having the option is great. If I really wanted to stay home, I could have but there was always the option to "experience the area" culture.

When I looked at the schedule, I thought it was a bit much, but it wasn't. I enjoyed the different activities, and they were a great break from working at the computer. Great choices of activities, they were varied and lots of fun.

Just right-- we were a little bit driven, so it was great to have Steve and Caroline tell us to knock it off after 10 or 11 hours and go to an open air concert, a picnic, etc.

That seemed to be a perfect mix. A Chatauqua is supposed to be a relaxing experience, not necessarily a substitute for a vacation, but an enhanced vacation. The down time was very much appreciated. I felt it was a good mix and worked well.

6.

Did this workshop match your expectations of what a Chautauqua should be? Please elaborate and provide any other comments you may have.

 

 

Having no real expectations it has far exceeded anything education related that I have attended. In addition, I now have gained respect for people in the college of education, having met for the first time education faculty interested in content and outcomes. All of my previous exposures to the College of Education have been very discouraging, leading me to question the validity of the entire field. Everything I have previously seen made me think that advanced degrees in education merely enabled the educator to say a lot without ever providing any content (especially using words such as pedagogy:). If all of the other educators I previously met had half the knowledge and commitment of Caroline and Lynn I would never have thought that way.

Workshop exceeded my expectations. I did not expect to learn so much about technology applications and different teaching techniques. A lot of knowledge was gained by interaction with fellow participants in this small group setting. I feel refreshed, renewed, and more confident than ever to enter the field of teaching. Great job to all who put this program together.

This workshop far exceeded my expectations of this workshop. I felt like I had some freedom and was not too confined within a rigid schedule. There was time to work, play, and think. I did come back refreshed and ready to implement new things. You might think about leaving out the "Meditation and Reflection" sections or renaming them to reflect the free time although we did not adhere to them. A name that gives the impression of free time would be more attractive to people coming. Maybe saying that the cultural events were optional would attract those that want more free time. I did not see in any of the descriptions that I read what we would be doing during the week except a small blip about making movies. I felt that I was coming to something that I did not know what we would be doing. In the schedule was Project and Technology planning but I did not know what this might be. It was a great week. Thanks.

It really was an excellent week, and the organizers deserve much praise. Well done, Steve.

It was even BETTER! Imagine having the transportation all arranged and not even having to figure out how to get from the airport to the site, or car rental or airplane tickets or ANYTHING! The site chosen was ideal - fantastic food, sincerely friendly staff, adequate computer facility where we could all interact, Southern hospitality and a refreshing absence of cable and phones! Thank you, Steve and Caroline, for a FANTASTIC week!

Yes, I had pretty much determined the program would be about computer-based animation in the science classroom. I came here to learn how to do this, and did so. I'll be working on a number of movies during the coming weeks prior to the start of the fall semester when I'll need them for lecture and lab. Thanks, Steve :o)

I thought it was great. The exchange of ideas, the cohesiveness of our group, the multitude and variety of products created, the bringing together of the different areas of the country were all things that made this a positive experience. Thanks for bringing us all together!

I did not know what to expect. It has met and exceeded my desires to learn something new to use in my teaching. This was so great. Steve and Caroline, you rock!

This workshop exceeded my expectations. I have almost stopped attending conferences, meetings, etc because I did not seem to benefit from them. This is the first time in years that I've felt that I can go home and implement what I've learned in a meaningful way. The whole week was fantastic, and I'm very glad I came. Thanks!

It was WONDERFUL, beyond all expectations. The leaders of the Chautauqua put themselves at our disposal. This model should be cloned and replicated throughout the NASA NOVA (and indeed the college education) community. Thanks thanks thanks to our hosts and to NOVA.

Yes. This was a classic Chautauqua. I still think you could provide a bit more direction and specific instructions on the projects before letting people loose to experiment. Perhaps a handout or two or a group discussion on the general types and breadth of projects that are possible. It would also be good to get the group together again to see how the projects were implemented. If this were a part of the original plan, it would give people more incentive to produce a product that they actually would use in their class...not only one that they could use in their class. Great effort by all involved. A very constructive and unique experience.

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