UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
All participants completed a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project to investigate student learning under the facilitation of the ETL Program Coordinator (Dr. Cyndi Kernahan, Psychology). They met monthly over the course of the 2014-2015 academic year to develop their projects and to discuss the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning more generally.
During the spring 2015 semester I wanted to implement an experiment in my Drawing 2 course to help foster comprehension of color theory within students work. When previously teaching this course, I found students would not continue to work with color after the color unit was finished. Students also had little confidence work with color and didn't understand how it could improve the flatness of a form to make something feel three-dimensional.
I created two Warm-Up worksheets for the students to complete before each color assignment. After the color component of the class was complete, there were four remaining projects where students could utilize color if they wanted. In these projects 61% - 81% of the students used color. In the previous semester, less than 50% of the students used color for these projects. According to the exit surveys, the majority of students also stated that the Warm-Up worksheets helped with their confidence and understanding. Quote from a student exit survey, "the worksheets gave me a better idea of color works and how color affects the volume of two-dimensional drawn objects."
During the spring semester 2015 it was my goal for students in my Symphony Band, MUS 113, to have an improved experience and understanding with the music being studied. Typical of most performance ensembles, I found students would not often listen to multiple selections by the composers being studied in class or read about the selections/composers/time periods/related materials to glean deeper understanding. Students had little understanding of the details surrounding a work of music they would be performing in concerts and often not even remember titles or composers within a short period of time afterward.
I created worksheets, links, and study materials for the students to review on D2L . After the initial introduction of the composition, there were numerous references to the online support materials. An international composer, Johan de Meij, was brought in to work with the student on his composition and lead master classes related to his works. These materials were recorded and put on D2L for reference.
According to the survey responses, the majority of students stated that the supporting materials led to greater understanding and knowledge gleaned about the compositions being studied and played in class. The asset of bringing a composer to campus enhanced this research project as it piqued interest and brought closer the opportunity to learn when related materials are studied with performance ensemble musical selections.
I will continue to use this method for my performance ensemble classes in the future so all students glean knowledge and insights. It will also be future goals to bring composers to campus to enhance the learning experience for students.