My Last Blog Post!!- To be Happy or Sad??

Although I have been teaching at the two colleges for around 6 years, I still have PLENTY to learn and I am honestly very thankful that these courses we have been taking have really provided a lot of information. The information has all been useful and I have already taken things I have learned and applied them to my career. Nothing is more frustrating than to take courses, spend thousands of dollars and then complete the course feeling emptied handed. Yeah its great to finish a class that was easy and did not have a lot of components to it and you walk out with an A.  My husband acts like I should want piece of cake classes so that I don’t have to spend alot of time on assignments or studying. He thinks I am crazy for wanting to have to work in a class. Its just different now and at this point in my life, my money is valuable and if I am going to invest a large portion of my income into a class, I really want to be able to use the information.

Every dental hygiene school is different. There is a HUGE difference in the two schools where I am employed. They have different beliefs and different priorities and I am assuming if I compared OSU to them it also would have major differences. Its amazing how different a college can be, whether if its how clinic is ran, requirements, procedures, how lecture classes are set up, administration and even the diversity in students because of the location of where they come from. I have enjoyed becoming a buckeye again because since everyone else received their undergraduate degree from OSU they often have a different perspective than that of what I am used to. It has helped me and opened my eyes more to different routes of education. It sometimes is hard for me to not bring up Owens or Rhodes in different assignments or discussions because that is what I am used to and what I see multiple times a week. I hope I do not annoy others when I bring up the other colleges, it doesn’t mean that I think one college does things better or more correct, its just a different perspective. Thank you for allowing me to discuss what the other colleges do for different things.

So, in this particular course I have to say there are several things that I have found more valuable to me. I would say that I enjoyed some of the new ideas for active learning. Many of the activities or ideas can be applied to clinic, laboratory courses and didactic courses. I think it gave me a new outlook and perspective on how student really feel about lectures .Even though I personally enjoy lectures and find it a great way for my learning, I need to reach out and find what works best for the students- not myself. Once anyone starts teaching, its easy to get set in routine, become afraid to change things, follow the “easy” route, and get an ego that everything is perfect. Although, I make small changes every year to my lecture, I have found that I am getting dull and that students are not enjoying my course. Yes the material is not necessarily “fun” but I think some of the dullness is my own personally fault. This summer I will be off for my maternity leave so I am hopeful that it gives me a lot of time to revamp my class and add a new active learning technique to each or atleast every other week so make the class more engaging. Rachel, you have provided us with the tools to search for new ideas and create an innovative classroom. Another thing that I am going to be able to carry with me is the construction of a good rubric.  I have made a rubric for my drawing and waxing assignments. However, I designed them and did not really have a lot of guidance. SO- getting the concept and the information that should be included on a rubric is going to be very helpful for me. I  think I will be able to update them and they will be more fair to everyone. I wont have to decide if the drawing deserves an deduction of points or not because the rubric will clearly state it. I think it will also really help the students get a better understanding on what is expected of them!

Lastly, the activity I loved the most was the Pecha Kucha. It was so fun for me to create and also I LOVED our synchronous discussion the evening when we all presented. It was so enjoyable to hear about the class mates trips and hobbies and for me to get a glimpse of the life of an undergraduate student at OSU (thanks Amy). I honestly, do not think I will be able to apply the PK presentations to my current lecture however, it was a fun assignment.  Maybe someday I will be able to utilize it somewhere else in my career

Thank you for a good and well organized course.


I have learned a lot this semester and have really enjoyed the variety of technology because I think some of it can actually utilize. Nothing is more frustrating than taking course, spending tons of money on it and then never using any of the information or being able to apply it after completing the course. For my internship/practicum I am hopeful to be transitioning a traditional didactic course into a hybrid course, with the majority of it being all online. This summer I will be completing the Quality Matters training and then start organizing the course which will not begin until Spring 2015.I know I will be able to utilize many of the different technologies that we have discussed this semester.  Until then , I am always trying to think of ways to improve my current didactic course which is Dental Anatomy and Histology. I had stated last fall that I have access to “clickers” but had never used them in my course. I really am empowered to try to incorporate them this fall into my course to add something new to the class.  I have participated in faculty in service meetings where we have used the clickers and have had fun using them.  But I have never had them be a part of my course.

Clickers are an interactive technology that enables instructors to pose questions to students and immediately collect and view the responses of the entire class (1.)No technology automatically enhances learning; rather it must be use thoughtfully and deliberately to advance the learning objectives of a particular course (1.) Clickers can be used to increase participation and prompt deeper thinking about a problem. It can help monitor the students understanding of course content in real time. They can provide students with instant feedback on their comprehension to help monitor their own understanding. And can also help spark discussion among students to compare, justify and if needed, modify their answers (1.)

A study was done with nursing students as the ability to actively engage all students in a large classroom became challenging and increasingly difficult. Clickers, or student response systems, were used and three themes emerged.: being able to respond anonymously, validating an answer while providing immediate feedback and providing an interactive and engaging environment. Although the clickers did not improve learning outcomes as measured by objective testing, perceptions shared by students indicated an increased degree of classroom engagement. (2) However in another study, a method of instruction that particularly benefits from clickers was peer learning. It was also concluded that clickers offer a powerful and flexible tool for teaching. They can be used with many styles of questions, and new variations on the technology allows formats other than multiple choice questions. Although much research remains to be done o elucidate the reasons why clickers are effective, they do seem to enhance students active learning, participation and enjoyment of the class (3.)

So there is evidence that clickers can enhance the classroom and that it is a great active learning activity. After reviewing some published documents there seems to be a mixture of outcomes. I think that even though the studies that I used were primarily based in large classrooms, that I could still effectively use clickers in the smaller classroom setting.  I think even if they just pose a positive and interactive environment but not improve objectives it would still be worth the time to use it. The classroom needs more interactive activities to keep the students engaged! It can be something that I try and will learn from my own trial and error! I will need to get trained on the technology and plan accordingly! That is what a innovative classroom does, right??


  1. “What are clickers and how can we effectively use them?”  Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. Carnegie Mellon. Accessed 4/8/2014
  2. Patterson, Barbara., Judith Kilpatrick, Eric Woebkenberg.“Evidence for teaching practice: The impact of clickers in a large classroom environment.” Nurse Education Today. Vol. 30, Issue 7, October 2010.
  3. Caldwell, Jane. “ Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Bes- Practice Tips” CBE Life Sci Educ Vol.6. no 1. 9-20


Too many assessments to chose from!

This blog post is rather difficult for me to answer only because there are so many different assessments out there and utilized in dental hygiene school. Some work well for some students, while others seem to be even more beneficial for others. Not to mention, some assessments are more easily measurable. Overall assessments help us analyze if the students have met the program/course/weekly objectives.  I personally like multiple choice questions, short answers and psycho motor hands on skills. I think multiple choice questions are a standard assessment used starting in elementary school all way into graduate school. They are utilized in the majority of dental hygiene courses, National Board Exams, ADEX written exam,and even the Local Anesthesia written exam. It is a consistent format that the student is able to eliminate the options that are not correct and then use some critical thinking to choose the best answer.  When there are “distractions” I believe that this actually helps the students utilize critical thinking which is a CODA standard. Although I personally find short answer and essay questions difficult,  I think they are a fantastic way to evaluate if the student truly understands material. To me, true/false, matching/ multiple choice can often give the student the ability to just “guess” and get the answer correct. However, short answer and essay questions only state the question without listing the answer. Students must provide an answer and construct it them self without having to just choose the correct answer. Grading these are more difficult and take longer but as long as the questions are written with concise directions and follow a format they can be measurable.  Lastly, in dental hygiene it is important to have hands on skill evaluation assessments. Some students are “book smart” however they struggle with hand eye coordination skills. With that, they often struggle with the clinical portion of dental hygiene. It is almost impossible to be a successful dental hygienist if there are no successful clinical skills.  Although alot of evaluation tools in the clinical setting leave room for interpretation and instructor judgement, it is an integral part of dental hygiene ( GALO 308) Clinical skills are evaluated by photos and descriptions for the National Board exam and also play an important part in the ADEX clinical exam.  Grading and evaluating clinical skills involves having faculty calibration is an ongoing process.No matter what assessment is used it needs be clearly measurable and have reliability. According to GALO, classroom tests are designed so that teachers can make decisions so that teachers can make decisions about a students achievement.  Reliability and validity form the basis for all assessments.

Undergraduate Lecture Complete!

I was the last one of the class to present my lecture to the undergraduate class. Overall, I thought it went pretty well minus a few bumps along the way. Throughout the day I was vomiting and struggling with the flu. I threw up literally at 7:20pm and had to log in at 7:30! But thankfully I did because by the time the lecture actually began I felt much better. The first issue that I ran into was that once again my webcam would not cooperate. I had messed with it before to make sure it was enabled and working and it was fine but once it was time for class, it would not work. So one downside was that the students were unable to put a face to my voice. I made a short powerpoint to help keep me on track with my topic, which was “Faculty Calibration.” When actually discussing the topic I used an infographic that I had made. I noticed while presenting it that I had two spelling errors on it, so that was slightly embarrassing.  I referred to two of the students blogs and had them discuss them and then I split the class into 3 groups where they were given a scenario and some questions to answer. I loved how easy it was to move from one break out room to another. After discussing the breakout sessions my carmenconnect shut down and said there was an “error.” I panicked and had to re log in three times before it finally worked. I missed a little bit but was thankful that Rachel was available to cover.  I had found a humorous Youtube video about rubrics to play and I thought it would be entertaining and a little better than just listening to me talk. However, while Rachel and I were getting ready in the beginning we discovered that if I played the video on my computer or if she would, everyone could view it but could not hear it. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t show the video to the class. Towards the end when I was reviewing and asking questions, Rachel’s Carmen shut down and she missed a few minutes. I worried a little because she was not there but she made it back right when I finished up. Besides all of the technology bumps, I was happy how it went. I would say my biggest weakness was minimal class interaction.  I wish I would have asked more questions or gave the students more time to participate. It was hard when I would ask questions and there was silence, it just made me want to talk and move on. One thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that two of the degree completion students were two of my previous students. One had graduated from Owens while the other was a graduate from Rhodes. Seeing their faces made me much more comfortable because I had lectured their class before and had them in clinic a bunch so I was thrilled to see them! I would say my strength was my organization with the presentation. I had made an outline of what I wanted to cover and what points I really wanted to make.  After reading the students blogs I had to make some changes  because their reactions to the articles they had to read were quite interesting. Everyone was in support of faculty calibration and stressed how important it was but their opinions were different than that of myself. But I guess that is what makes a class interesting when everyone has different views and thoughts about a topic.  Overall I thought it went good and was a great learning experience for myself and hopefully for the students!

The convenience of online learning

I am a huge fan of online learning mostly because it is very accommodating to my busy lifestyle. After graduating with my associates degree I knew immediately I wanted to continue on towards a bachelors. I met with an advisor at Bowling Green State University and found that I would have to attend classes several days a week for the next 2 years. I was working at a dental clinic 4 days a week and was planning a wedding, buying a house and adjusting to finally not attending school every day. As much as I wanted another degree I knew I would have to give up so much to be able to attend classes. I was thrilled to get more information about the OSU degree completion program. With the majority being available online I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

For those with busy lifestyles, long work hours and a family, online learning has become very popular. The fact that it requires way less or no travel time at all and no set classroom time each day or week are just some of the benefits. Students can proactively work at their own pace and utilize the time they have available to complete assignments, readings and research.Online courses can be very similar to face-face courses, the material can be exactly the same just the delivery is different. In most face-to-face courses, the instructor presents the materials, orally explains it and offers time for students to ask questions in front of the rest of the class. In online courses, the majority of the time the student has to read the information for them self, utilize resources to find explanations and then if they have questions have to either post in a discussion board or email the instructor. One thing I miss when I take online courses compared to face-to-face courses is the ability to orally ask a question in front of the rest of the class and have the teacher explain it or they tell where you can find the answer. Sometimes other students ask questions that really spark my thought process or word questions differently that I would have and that really helps me understand some material. This also allows for interactive learning where the learner builds knowledge through inquiry-based collaborative interaction with other learners; teachers become co-learners and act as facilitators. I personally feel that although it is possible to have interactive learning in an online course, that many online courses fail to meet the needs of interacting learning.  Discussion boards can facilitate asynchronous learning exercises, but they often only require the learner to post 1 or 2 times and not fully interact with everyone. I even feel that often times discussion boards allow students to just “cut and paste”, or even just reword what other students have previously posted.

Also online learning, can be difficult to communicate only via email. The majority of the instructors that I have had, do not give access to their phone or offer any time to meet with them. When this is the case, I feel that you lose the ability to create a trustworthy relationship. When there is an interaction with the instructor via web chat, face-to-face or by phone there can be that gap between the student and instructor. I personally like making relationships with others and it provides a feeling of security for myself.  So the lack of relationships is often a challenge for myself.  I feel that if I was to teach an online course, I would provide contact information for myself and make myself available to the students if needed. Maybe even provide video clips of myself talking to them so that they can put a face with my name and not just see me as part of their computer.  This course that we are currently taking, is the first (besides last semester) where I have had an online instructor utilize synchronous discussions. Although, the first few times made me nervous because it was a new idea, I feel like it has allowed us to see each other, hear each other and interact together very similar to if we were in a face-to-face course.

Another challenge is staying organized and determined to complete a task. It is easy to tell yourself you have over a week to complete the readings and assignments, no rush! But then life happens and things arise that often times online learners have to rush right before the deadline to complete a task or even forget about things completely. I have to remind myself to check my email, Carmen account and check list daily to make sure that I am staying on top of it all. Completing all of the assignments on a lap top/computer can open the door for distraction. Facebook, Pinterest, email and online shopping is just one click away!! Sometimes it is hard for me to not open another browser and start looking at something else in the middle of an assignment.

Although there are differences between face-to-face and online learning, both can obviously be quite successful. I enjoy online learning because it works with my super crazy home life. If this program was not offered online I honestly would not be  pursing this degree. I would not have the time to attend classes at a University nor would I have the energy. I love how in online courses I can begin an assignment, or begin reading and then take a break and resume at my convenience. I like that if I have an entire day off that I can work ahead and get as many tasks done so that I can life my normal life during the week! Its also nice that I can work on assignments or read while my son is playing right beside of me. I don’t lose time with him and I don’t have to force someone else to watch him while I go to class. To me the convenience of online learning often outweighs the challenges.

The Lecture

I feel as if I have sat through many lectures through years of undergraduate courses, many CEU’s, diabetes symposiums and guest speakers at events. I can remember a few instructors that I thoroughly enjoyed in hygiene school but at this point in life I can not recall one that I would consider to be the best lecture I’ve ever attended.  And when I try to recall a CE course that I have taken, I can remember ones that I enjoyed but none that I would say was the most fantastic lecture. However, I can recall a diabetes educational course that I attended a few months after I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which would have been about 10 years ago. It was held at the University of Findlay in a large room and was attended by many physicians, endocrinologists, nurses, patients and family members with diabetes.  CE credit was offered to those who needed it. The speaker was past Miss America, Nicole Johnson. She discussed her life being a type 1 diabetic, her role as Miss America, her relationship with people after her diagnosis, her diabetic friendly cookbook and then lots of information about her diet, including nutrition recommendations and lifestyle changes. She had a power point presentation with little information on it, and gave a handout for everyone to follow. I remember that she did not stand behind a podium but walked throughout the meeting room and was extremely personable. What stands out the most to me was all of her personal experiences that she included, her exciting personality, her eye contact and her ability to share many different emotions. She cried with us and laughed and there was never a dull moment because everyone in the room was so interested in what she was going to share next

She had been traveling around sharing all of her information to thousands and I’m sure even if I went to every single of one of her lecture, I would continued to enjoy it. She was never boring and I don’t believe her presentation would ever become stagnant to the crowd. She made the crowd feel as if she was talking to each individual.  I would love to hear her lecture again because she was a quality speaker.

This assignment has made me wonder what I can do to become a better educator and provide memorable lectures to future students. I think its important to get confidence, share clinical or real life experiences, walk around more and really interact with the students more. The current didactic course that I teach in the fall semester is a 2 hour lecture based class.  The chapter reading has opened my eyes more that if I am lecturing all 2 hours, that the students are no way retaining everything that I have said. I cant expect them to not get bored or drift off after the first 30 minutes of class. I really hope that I can find ways to change the pace of the lecture material and interact with the students more. We do have the clickers at Owens and I have been encouraged to utilize them, however have not. There also are a few classrooms on campus that have smart-boards, and once again I have never tried to get one of those classrooms due to their location. However, I feel like I need to encourage myself to step out of my comfort zone and try things that are different than how I was taught to really engage the students and provide valuable lectures. Lectures can be so much more than just standing up front referring to the power point and I am hopeful to try to change that in my teaching.

An Innovative Classroom

We live in a fast paced world where things are ever changing.  As humans, we are forced to adapt to change, learn new techniques, and keep up on the newest trends. Where changes occur, we as dental professionals have to learn the changes yet maintain the original knowledge that we learned. Its like a pyramid as we are constantly building on our knowledge with the changes in practice as well as technology.  As educators, it is part of our role to be innovative, be creative and help students think differently so that they can remember the information you are presenting to them. I can think back and remember certain courses that I’ve taken and try to remember things that I learned and my mind comes up empty.  Thinking back to the the course “Community” in my first year of hygiene school. The instructor spoke very mono-toned, sat in her chair, and read the power point word for word.  She expressed no emotions, did not add anything creative, nor did she tell any personal stories or come up with any strategies to help improve our learning. There is an overwhelming amount of information in the Community course and the instructor continued to teach the course the same way that its been taught for years.  I know personally, I do not want to be remembered for being boring, showing lack of emotion or support and lacking in innovation. To be innovative, does not mean you must have the state of the art equipment or technology. Art, literature, storytelling, humor and technology- assisted learning can all be used in innovative ways (pg 40.) To me, being innovative in the classroom,is to be creative, and adding new ways of presenting material to enhance the course to help meet the students needs. An innovative classroom is not just an instructor reading material off of a power point screen.  We must provide options for the students, give them a variety of activities and assignments, keep up to date on the newest trends and explore possibilities. Educators should share their ideas with each other, even when things don’t “work” or go as planned. Sharing teaching strategies present the opportunity to improve the educational process (pg 45.) Sharing strategies with others will benefit students and faculty alike (pg 47.) Educators may have their own idea of what “works” and what is helping students to learn the course objectives however, I believe it is important to take note of what the students perspectives are. Evaluating the outcome is the final step in the process of implementing an innovative strategy (pg 45.) We always do course evaluations at the end of the semester, in hopes to improve things for the next time we teach the course. However, I think a creative idea would be to add an evaluation in the middle of the semester. Ask students for their opinions, what helped them learn best, and what improvements can be made. Why wait until the end of the course when one could have made improvements earlier to better prepare and help the students. Another thing that could help the instructor evaluate the outcomes would be to have another faculty member or the chair of the department sit in on the course and have another set of eyes evaluate the innovations.  I encourage all educators to take small steps and add new ideas and creativity to the classroom. There is no reason to try ten different innovative strategies all at once and overwhelm the instructor and the students. Once one new idea or presentation works, then add another.  Enhance your classroom one innovation at a time!


All citations come from Bradshaw, Martha “Innovative Teaching Strategies in Nursing and Related Health Professions” Chapter 3 Strategies for Innovation.