The course adopts principles from Quality Matters to encourage a positive learning experience in a general education online course. Students engage with the content by using interactive elements, such as video, animations, and quizzes. Online discussions are also implemented to promote student collaboration.
Although the course mode is fully online, students are given a "work space," allowing them to learn from real-world experiences. Activities include independent interactions with plants and insects at various botanical gardens and the Cal Poly Pomona Insect Fair.
The multi-modality of course activities is purposely designed to meet diverse learning needs.
The course is "flipped" and uses the Quality Matters framework. Technology enables students to review required materials before the class meeting. Various types of multimedia are used as learning materials, addressing students' diverse needs. Materials are selected and created with learning objectives alignment in mind. Hands-on activities are facilitated in class to amplify student understanding, resulting in a high rate of attendance.
Student groups solve real-world problems through case studies and the application of industry technologies, such as Qualtrics. Additionally, students reflect on group performance by conducting peer evaluations.
The course adopts a hybrid format, allowing face-to-face meetings to be more meaningful and provide engaging student learning experiences. Technology-enhanced Blackboard modules augment course concepts and assigned readings.
Adobe Spark Video is used to introduce the instructor, core components of the course, and the nature of the course's delivery. A variety of instructional materials are used to convey core concepts, including multimedia-rich, self-paced learning modules, podcasts, videos, and case studies.
Students collaborate using several Blackboard tools, including Wikis, Discussion Boards, and Blogs. Additionally, in true "learn by doing" fashion, students complete 10 hours of required fieldwork toward their California Education Specialist Credential. Rubrics are used to clearly provide grading guidelines.
Synchronous communication technology, such as Zoom, is harnessed to conveniently hold virtual office hours.
This computational methods course fully embraces the polytechnic philosophy as graduate and advanced undergraduate students conduct original research projects. Students follow the full scientific process from review of existing literature and project proposal through to writing for publication and peer-review.
Thanks to a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, students conduct their research using XSEDE supercomputing facilities.