February 13, 2018 Newsletter

Smart Phone Teaching

I have always wanted my Introduction to Kinesiology students to experience firsthand how someone in my field would perform a particular skill in the real world. This presents an interesting and fun challenge. Last semester I was looking for ways to shift the emphasis from lecturing to engaging students in hands-on activities. For example, I wanted to see if I could provide an opportunity to have students use the concepts of biomechanics as a professional would. This desire sparked my idea of trying to incorporate a Moodle assignment that could be completed during class time!

I’m used to providing kinesthetic learning experiences. They are inherent to the athletic training and anatomy classes I’ve taught for many years. It’s a different story with Introduction to Kinesiology, for several reasons. First of all, the course introduces students to the various professions that are the “spokes” to the “wheel” of kinesiology. This makes it very broad in content and somewhat shallow in depth. The larger class size (between 25-30 students) presents a few logistical challenges for engaging students in hands-on learning activities. Finally, although it is required for first- or second-year kinesiology majors, it also attracts students from outside of our discipline who are seeking to learn more about our amazing world “on the other side of the tracks.” Given the diversity of the interests, ages, and motivations of the students taking this class, my previous experiments were not always met with immediate success.

But nearly every student loves their cell phone, so allowing them to actually use their phones productively during a biomechanics lesson was a win/win break through. In pairs, students took videos of each other performing a “squat” technique that is utilized during injury rehabilitation or strength training. They immediately uploaded those videos to the “assignment folder” that I had created on Course Webs. After all of the videos were uploaded we were able to view them during the same class period and discuss how to analyze the biomechanics of their “squats” by critiquing the videos as we were watching them. The students quickly figured out the technology and learned the biomechanical concepts.

Since attempting this activity with Moodle, I am already looking forward to trying it again this semester. I am also trying to think “outside the box” for more opportunities to use video uploads. The only glitch that I encountered in setting up the assignment folder is that I did not realize that Moodle defaults each student’s submission(s) to only one. This number can easily be edited in “submission types” after the assignment folder has been created, changing the number to anything from 1 to 20 submissions.

Carol Moss, Department of Kinesiology



Albion College Information Technology. If you can dream it, they can help you make it happen.

Albion College Course Webs. Questions about Moodle? Log in and look for “Moodle Guides for Instructors.”

Basic Active Learning Strategies. Twenty-three active learning strategies: why and how to use them. From the University of Minnesota Center for Educational Innovation.

Role-play. Ideas and strategies for classroom role-play. From the Kendall College Center for Teaching and Learning.


News from The Newell CTL

Spring Coteries. Get a free book; then join a group of teachers to read and discuss it! Our aim is to make these groups as productive as possible in two or three sessions. Books and coterie facilitators listed below. Dates, times, and locations TBA. Look for an invitation coming soon.

Ian MacInnes, Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning
Dan Mittag, Creating Significant Learning Experiences
Jocelyn McWhirter, The Discussion Book: 50 Great Ways to Get People Talking

You should also have a message in your inbox (sent by Lori Duff on February 5) inviting you to join an Ethnic Studies/Faculty Committee on Diversity coterie. The book: When Grit Isn’t Enough: A High School Principal Examines How Poverty and Inequality Thwart the College-for-All Promise. Coterie facilitators: Ashley Feagin and Molly Thompson-VanderHayden. Co-sponsored by The Newell CTL.

Talking about Teaching. You can always talk about teaching. Find a partner, trade classroom observations, and talk about teaching while having a Baldwin Cafe lunch on The Newell CTL! To register, just reply to this newsletter.

Teaching Reflections. Thanks to Carol Moss for today’s teaching reflection. We’re still taking submissions for this semester! If you’d like to contribute a brief essay about teaching and learning, reply to this newsletter.

About Jocelyn McWhirter

Jocelyn McWhirter is the Stanley S. Kresge Professor of Religious Studies at Albion College in Albion, Michigan.
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