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2017 OUTSTANDING GRADUATE INSTRUCTOR AWARD
Every Rice graduate student who served as an instructor of record in either the fall of 2015, spring of 2016, or summer of 2016 is eligible to apply for the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award. All application materials must reference a single course, so if you taught more than one course during the period of eligibility, you should apply with the course you think you taught best.
The initial application below is due no later than
11:59PM on October 1st, 2016
. Finalists will be notified by December 1st, at which point they will be asked to prepare and submit further materials by February 1st. The award winners will be selected by March 15th and announced at Rice's annual teaching award ceremony on April 25th.
NetID E-mail Address
Title of Course
Please attach a 1-page cover letter that describes your course, your teaching strategies, and why you think you should be considered for this award.
In their 2010 book
How Learning Works
, Susan Ambrose and her colleagues distilled decades of education research into seven basic insights about how students learn.
Please select three (3)
of these insights and describe how,
in the semester noted above
, either your course design or pedagogical methods were responsive to each. We ask that all three responses, taken together, total
no more than 500 words
1. Students' prior knowledge can help or hinder learning
"Students come into our courses with the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes gained in other courses and through daily life. As students bring this knowledge to bear in our classrooms, it influences how they filter and interpret what they are learning. If students' prior knowledge is robust and accurate and activated at the appropriate time, it provides a strong foundation for building new knowledge. However, when knowledge is inert, insufficient for the task, activated inappropriately, or inaccurate, it can interfere with or impede new learning" (Ambrose et al., 4).
2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know
"Students naturally make connections between pieces of knowledge. When those connections form knowledge structures that are accurately and meaningfully organized, students are better able to retrieve and apply their knowledge effectively and efficiently. In contrast, when knowledge is connected in inaccurate or random ways, students can fail to retrieve or apply it appropriately" (Ambrose et al., 4-5).
3. Students' motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn
"As students enter college and gain greater autonomy over what, when, and how they study and learn, motivation plays a critical role in guiding the direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of the learning behaviors in which they engage. when students find positive value in a learning goal or activity, expect to successfully achieve a desired learning outcome, and perceive support from their environment, they are likely to be strongly motivated to learn" (Ambrose et al., 5).
4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned
"Students must develop not only the component skills and knowledge necessary to perform complex tasks, they must also practice combining and integrating them to develop greater fluency and automaticity. Finally, students must learn when and how to apply the skills and knowledge they learn. As instructors, it is important that we develop conscious awareness of these elements of mastery so as to help our students learn more effectively" (Ambrose et al., 5).
5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students' learning
"Learning and performance are best fostered when students engage in practice that focuses on a specific goal or criterion., targets an appropriate level of challenge, and is of sufficient quantity and frequency to meet the performance criteria. Practice must be coupled with feedback that explicitly communicates about some aspect(s) of students' performance relative to specific target criteria, provides information to help students progress in meeting those criteria, and is given at a time and frequency that allows it to be useful" (Ambrose et al., 6).
6. Students' current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning
"Students are not only intellectual but also social and emotional beings, and they are still developing the full range of intellectual, social, and emotional skills. While we cannot control the developmental process, we can shape the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical aspects of the classroom climate in developmentally appropriate ways. In fact, many studies have shown that the climate we create has implications for our students. A negative climate may impede learning and performance, but a positive climate can energize students' learning" (Ambrose et al., 6).
7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning
"Learners may engage in a variety of metacognitive processes to monitor and control their learning-assessing the task at hand, evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses, planning their approach, applying and monitoring various strategies, and reflecting on the degree to which their current approach is working. Unfortunately, students tend not to engage in these processes naturally. When students develop the skills to engage these processes, they gain intellectual habits that not only improve their performance but also their effectiveness as learners" (Ambrose et al., 6-7).
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