Several prior COLA fellows offered to share their reflections, evaluations, and fellowship deliverables publicly. Browse them all or jump to a category:
Engaging in meaningful reflection on teaching, learning, and professional development is a key component of the COLA fellowship. Quotes from reflections are shared to demonstrate the breadth of COLA topics and ways that students benefitted.
Reflections on Learning
When I started the 2021 COLA experience, I had no digital learning teaching experiences. Although I knew about setting up a course based learning objectives and having both low/high stake assessments… I did not know anything about additional digital sources to make digital assessments. Also, I learned “how” to operate D2L to design my course module.
During the workshop, I was also reflecting on assessment and how to not only create accessible and inclusive class materials but also tests and exams for students. You can have the most inclusive and accessible materials, but if the exams fail to do the same it can be really frustrating for students.
We learned how to use ‘backward designing’ to do our lesson plan. That’s really an effective way to decide which modes of learning can be effective. In backward designing, we need to select learning goals first, then how we can assess that particular lesson. When we are done with those, we can easily select the modes of learning is best suit for.
Reflections on Other Benefits
It was helpful to learn that many other graduate students feel at least slightly nervous about teaching. Having this community was a wonderful reminder that I am not alone. Additionally, working with graduate students from a wide variety of disciplines made that feeling of isolation far easier to understand and work with.
I very much enjoyed and learned a lot from the interactions with other fellows and writing reflections on my teaching–which I want to continue doing this semester. I also appreciated how the program was flexible with time and modality.
Speaking for myself, it often feels very isolating to request things like accessible media from my department or from a specific professor. Knowing that there are other scholars within MSU that are also working towards a different kind of educational environment is very encouraging.
The EDLI team also uses COLA reflections to understand what opportunities there are for improvement of the fellowship. Based on student reflections and requests, we continually update our workshop offerings, improve the structure of the interactions with cohorts and mentors, and evaluate which technologies we are using in guiding students through the fellowship.
Each year, fellows take surveys to evaluate our success. In 2022, we used a measure of teaching self-efficacy adapted from Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy (2001) on pre- and post-surveys. Questions are rated on a nine-point scale from “nothing” to “a great deal”. Some example questions are:
- How much can you do to get students to believe they can do well in the coursework?
- To what extent can you craft good questions for your students?
- How much can you use a variety of assessment strategies?
A paired samples t-test from 14 respondents indicated a significant increase in participants’ teaching self-efficacy in online courses by the end of the summer (M = 6.93, Variance = 0.82) compared to the beginning of the COLA program (M = 6.21, Variance = 1.36), t(13) = 2.25, p < .05.
Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001). Teacher efficacy: Capturing and elusive construct. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 783-805.
Common deliverables that students have created for the COLA fellowship include course modules, syllabi, assessments, literature reviews, professional websites, and teaching philosophy statements. Examples of some of these deliverables are below.
Some COLA fellows created websites to share their teaching and learning portfolios. These could feature students’ other deliverables or their reflections on the fellowship experience.
- Md Iqbal Hossain’s COLA portfolio appears on his main website here.
- Another website example is the screenshot below:
Course modules created through the COLA Fellowship often used components of backward design, where students would first create learning objectives and then create aligned learning materials and assignments for students to meet those objectives. Course modules might include a full course map with one detailed example of a lesson plan, or only one lesson plan or learning objective for the course. Here are two examples:
- This course module is from Physiology. View the full module at the link below.
- This course module is from Fluid Mechanics. View the full module at the link below.
- This example comes from an instructor of writing and rhetoric. There is an image preview and the full philosophy can be downloaded at the link below.
- This teaching philosophy is from an instructor of engineering courses.
- Our final example is from an instructor of languages.