Author Archives: Vito

Chapter 5 – Metacognitive Learning Strategies at Work

1. I have used similar techniques to Strategy 6 “Go to class and take notes” and Strategy 10 “Homework and Quizes as clues”.

By using homework and quizes, the students get to focus on the main concepts of the subject through the written word and sketches, since CMCE 2457 – Construction Techniques in Civil Engineering focuses on the materials and methods used in the construction process. The students could use homework, tests and the text to refer to, so if it was not fully understood during the lecture they could find it in the text to clarify it. I also use Defined Key Terms of the subject matter to use as a reference. (e.g. Explain Deep Foundations – Shallow Foundations – Grade Beams etc.)

With respect to strategy 6, I have always encouraged students to take hand written notes and to keep them for future reference; however, a check once or twice during the semester doesn’t seem to be enough. I will try to make part of their grade. McGuire’s study (strategy #3) shows that students will have to paraphrase when they take notes. This may also lead the students to learn to paraphrase them that their computers are a tool not a crutch.

2. One example of the learning strategies that I may use in CMCE 2457 is to re-struture my lecture notes to provide basic information in my lecture notes, where students will have to go to the text or homework assignments more often to complete or supplement the information when studying for a test.

3. I intend to introduce them to the Metacognitive learning strategy in the first class by explaining that all class materials can be found in the lecture notes, text (which I always have as required reading), homework etc.  I will stress, as always, that copying from a friend is not going to help them learn; however, I have found that students don’t try to help friends or teach them, they tend to copy from them (right or wrong) to get their work submitted on time.

4. In order to increase retention of materials in the fall, we can try to implement the minimum number of strategies, monitor the initial outcomes to see what works, and introduce other strategies in future semesters. We can present it to all students and focus on the few that are struggling, since the tracking of information may be a little too much to accomplish and complete the course syllabus.

 

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy

  1. While looking at Bloom’s taxonomy, I too was looking at what we want to accomplish for student learning in our courses. I generally outline the class objectives in the first slide of power point (PP) lecture notes, and then go in to details in later slides. The students are given the PP prior to class for their review. It is anticipated that they will come to class and ask questions if they don’t understand or if there is something different in the book. The one down fall is that most of the students;  a) don’t open Blackboard and review the slides and b) don’t do the reading, to come to class prepared. They try to get it from their friends.
  2. I agree that Bloom’s work can promote independent learning, but if they don’t read the book or notes to get acquainted for the day’s subject matter, and don’t take notes in class, they will not have anything to create, evaluate, analyze etc. and remember, and learn something.
  3. The study cycle proposed by McGuire can be useful, but we will have to reinforce the value of it for them to understand that their learning experience is not as laborious as they think.
  4. I think that the students need to be shown these techniques early in class through our introduction in future semesters. We must be sure that they take notes to supplement the other information and check that they are doing it. We have to break the cycle of “I want it now and fast” like they do in social media. They think they will learn when they get a real job, but they are in for a rude awakening. They need to commit to true learning and not to get through a class.

Chapter 3 – Responsibility in learning

  1. Are your students at the associates or baccalaureate level?

I have students at both levels.

2. Do you use different strategies for each level?

I generally use the same strategy for both levels, but I give the bachelor students more additional readings to spark their interest in the subject at a higher level. I do give them key terms in both classes so that they can have a ready reference to the subject matter if they can’t find it quickly in the text or notes. I do use case studies of actual situations to let them see that they must resarch an answer before they say something.

3. What is Metacognition  and what concept from the chapter resonates with you and why?

I believe that metacognition is making the students aware that  they can think for themselves and not rely on their telephones and the internet. They have to learn that the text or power points contain the basic principals of a lecture, but they must learn to take notes to supplement that information. In this manner, if they don’t understand the concept, they can come to class prepared to ask questions. I always state that they should not be afraid to ask questions they may think are “stupid” , since there may be others in the class that have the same question but are afraid to ask. They  have to think of what they are doing not rely on their friends.

4. What other factors might influence student learning?

Students must learn to communicate through the spoken word (face to face) and not rely on the internet, computer or social media. Since they don’t talk to each other it is hard for them to pose a similar or different view of a subject. I just had a situation where half the class got a homework wrong because they copied from one another and did not proof read what they copied. They even copied the misspelled words and dates, and that’s how I caught them. They tried to change the font and that didn’t work. The exercise was to recall the dates and subjects of all the information I issued during the semester (notes, tests, homework, case studies etc.) in chronological order. It was meant to teach them that they have to keep all information at the ready, in case they were called upon to prepare a report, a common occurrence in the business world.

Teaching Experiences

I have found that the students rely on being spoon fed their materials. At the beginning of the semester I tell them to use my Power Point presentations as a study guide, and to put notes in the margins, since all class materials are not exclusive to the Power Points. I have asked to see their notebooks and only a few had copied notes. Those were the better students. I also give them additional reading from current events in the industry and put them as bonus questions on the Mid Term & Final Exams. 95% of the students get them wrong or don’t answer them at all. When I give it as regular question I get the same results. They need to get motivated for the career in which they have chosen.

I expect the students to become independent thinkers when they can think outside the box. For example, students in my real estate class are asked to prepare a budget of Income and Expenses for a small hotel they will present at the end of the semester. My homework questions are meant to be used for their final presentations. One of my questions was that if it costs $5 to prepare the free breakfast,  could it be used as a source of income. Some answered yes, and recorded the results as income and expense of $5. No thought was given as to how revenue could be derived.