Walking for enhanced creativity

Another reason to take a break from your office — or offer your students an opportunity to do some productive thinking outside of the classroom!

At last fall’s Faculty Forum on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Professor Hannah Israel shared her own experiences with using walking as a tool for students’ learning (“The Art of Walking”). Here’s a new study that offers scientific evidence for walking as a tool to enhance anyone’s ability to think creatively:

For almost every student, creativity increased substantially when they walked. Most were able to generate about 60 percent more uses for an object, and the ideas were both “novel and appropriate,” Dr. Oppezzo writes in her study, which waspublished this month in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

But the practical import of that finding would seem to be negligible, if creativity were to increase only while someone was walking. Most of us cannot conduct brainstorming sessions on treadmills. So Dr. Oppezzo next tested whether the effects lingered after a walk had ended. She had another group of students sit for two consecutive sessions of test-taking and subsequently walk for about eight minutes while tossing out ideas for object re-use, then sit and repeat the test.

Again, walking markedly improved people’s ability to generate creative ideas, even when they sat down after the walk. In that case, the volunteers who had walked produced significantly more and subjectively better ideas than in their pre-exercise testing period.


The Peak Performing Professor

It’s spring conference season, usually a brief if welcome release from our daily grind and change of scene that offers a wonderful opportunity to see our work from a broader perspective.

Every time I return from presenting my work at a conference, I renew my resolve to devote even more time to scholarly activity — where does the time go? I found this constructive piece from last week’s Tomorrow’s Professor blog very timely (yuk yuk, pun intended):

Anchor Your Projects with a Time-Focused Theme

Once you have picked some projects from your vision categories, you might create a sense of urgency by fitting the projects into a specific time frame such as a year, semester, or month.  Here are several suggestions about how to establish a theme for the year (semester, month).

* Look backward in time to see if you can see a theme for a previous time period (week, month, or year) that lays the foundation of a related theme for the next period. Does any theme summarize your accomplishments of this period?  If last year was the “year of the tenure application,” this year might be the “year to reconnect with my long term research project.”

* Establish a central theme for the current time period, e.g. “the year of course revision.” You might create one theme around work and another for home.  Your teaching theme might be to “get graded papers back within two classes,” while your home theme might be to “monitor children’s homework while dinner is cooking.”* Ask yourself what you would like to be able to say about the present time period at this time next year.

Once you have established a theme for the time period, ask yourself, “If this is the year or semester of this theme, what should I be working on?”  The answer will help you break the theme down into projects, goals, sub-goals, and tasks.

The full excerpt,  Align Projects with Priorities comes from The Peak Performing Professor: A Guide to Productivity and Happiness by Susan Robison. Published by Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Brand. One Montgomery Street, Suite 1200 San Francisco, CA 94104-4594 [www.josseybass.com]. Copyright © 2013

Happy Belated International Women’s Day

Some of us were lucky enough to spend March 8  with CSU’s study abroad program in Florence, Italy, where cool things were taking place like an open work session to extend unfinished entries on women artists in Wikipedia.

But there are other ways to mark the occasion, even a couple of weeks late. Check out this nifty list of publications on gender-related topics from Wiley Press journals: Free Access to New Research on Gender in Social Sciences and Humanities.

Teaching and Emotions

Here’s a post from Faculty Focus that just touches the tip of the iceberg, The Emotions That Fuel Our Teaching. Maryellen Weimer asks a great question, “How do our feelings about the content, students, and our department affect our instructional decision-making?”

One study she cites concludes that instructors who are more focused on “transmitting knowledge” experience more anxiety and nervousness, while those who are more focused on “what the student is doing and experiencing” report feelings of pride and motivation. That makes sense.

But there’s so much more complexity to be explored. What patterns can we identify in our own emotional experiences and teaching (dis)satisfactions from year to year? What might be productive about uncomfortable feelings in the classroom — for us or for our students? What can we learn from apparent disconnects, like the class that seemed disgruntled but gave good evaluations, or the class that seemed satisfied but complained on evaluations?

Wouldn’t this make an interesting Faculty Center Fellowship or SoTL project for an upcoming year? (hint, hint)



CFP: Visualizing Learning: Essentials of Teaching and Integrating Visual and Media Literacy

Proposal Submission Deadline: February 15, 2014
Visualizing Learning: Essentials of Teaching and Integrating Visual and Media Literacy
An edited book by Dr. Danilo M. Baylen and Dr. Adriana D’Alba, University of West Georgia
The book provides an opportunity to showcase theory, practice and evidence that supports curricular integration efforts in K-12 and higher education contexts. It will describe and discuss various models of integrating visual and media-based tools and resources, as well as provide ideas and advice from a wide-range of experts and practitioners. That balance—of theory, step-by-step guidelines, expert advice, and practitioner experience — will provide those interested with a wide range of perspectives and possibilities on how to use and integrate visual and media-based tools and resources to promote literacy at all levels with various levels of guidance.
Target Audience
The target audience of this book is composed of different stakeholders involved in media and visual literacy. Educators, such as, media specialists and librarians benefit from the discussion of successful strategies and procedures; administrators acquire ideas for creating building blocks and processes in developing educational policies; researchers find inspirations kindled and supported by current practices; and students gain awareness of how visual and media literacy practices could improve outcomes across learning contexts, disciplines, and performance standards.
Recommended topics, appropriate for K-12 and higher education contexts, include but are not limited to:
·Developing creativity with visual-based applications·Using visuals in enhancing student learning
·Visual and media literacy and performance standards
·Visual-based tools to support communication, organization, production or distance learning
·Developing creativity, critical thinking or quantitative reasoning with visual-based applications
·Promoting collaboration with visual-based applications
·Cases of Teaching visual and media literacy across K-12 curriculum (Language Arts, Social Studies, Sciences, Mathematics, or Arts/Music Education)
·Cases of Teaching visual and media literacy across higher education disciplines (Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences,Mathematics, Teacher Education, or Professional Education)
·Cases of Teaching visual or media literacy to young learners, adolescents, young adults and adults, or diverse populations
·The role of assessment in visual learning
·Evaluation of visual and media literacy initiatives or programs
·Rethinking the theory and/or practice of visual- or media-supported learning and teaching
Proposed Schedule
The key dates are
February 15, 2014 – Proposal Submission Deadline
February 28, 2014 – Notification of Acceptance
May 15, 2014 – Full Chapter Submission Deadline
June 30, 2014 – Feedback from Peer Reviewers
August 1, 2014 – Revised Chapter Deadline
October 15, 2014 – Publication
Submission Procedure
Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit on or before February 15, 2014 a 2-3 page chapter proposal clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her proposed chapter. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified byFebruary 28, 2014 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by May 15, 2014 or earlier. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors will also participate as reviewers for this project.
This book is scheduled to be published by Springer in 2014. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visithttp://www.springer.com.
Inquiries and submissions can be emailed to: Danilo M. Baylen (dbaylen@westga.edu)

Department of Educational Technology and Foundations, College of Education, University of West Georgia

Broadening Our Horizons

Exciting opportunity for CSU faculty coming up on March 10, 2014: Fulbright Representative Dr. Andy Riess will be delivering a workshop for anyone interested in learning more about opportunities to teach and research abroad. This year, two CSU faculty (Zewdu Gebeyehu in Chemistry and Vladimir Zanev in Computer Science) are Fulbright Scholars.

If you think you may be interested in a Fulbright program at any time in the next 5-7 years, please plan to attend the workshop. Lunch is included! More information at the Fulbright Scholar Program website.

Fulbright Faculty Workshop

Monday, March 10, 2014

Noon – 2:30pm

The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) will offer a workshop on the Fulbright Program for Faculty and Professionals:

  • Learn about teaching and research opportunities in more than 125 countries
  • Get Advice on selecting countries for application & making contacts abroad
  • Explore how your campus can host visiting foreign Fulbright scholars
  • Get Tips on how to prepare the Fulbright application

To reserve a seat please contact Administrative Coordinator Kristine Kunta: 706-507-8640 / kunta_kristine@columbusstate.edu.

Space is limited; please RSVP by February 14, 2014.