DOLCE - May 6, 2022 - Faculty presentations on teaching approaches for diverse students & using a video game to teach river science
From Andy Jones
We had a lively discussion on Friday, May 6th during DOLCE: Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education.
Aldrin Gomes, Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, College of Biological Sciences talked to us about “Teaching approaches that resonate with diverse students.” As we all know from having taught during the Covid era, and as studies have confirmed, anxiety in the classroom is increasing. As Dr. Gomes pointed out, “Several studies have shown a strong relationship between test anxiety and exam grades, and between self-efficacy and exam grades.”
Dr. Gomes talked to us about why students with higher anxiety and lower self-efficacy do poorly on exams, and what approaches that help reduce student anxiety and improve their self-efficacy can lead to happier and more productive students. Did UC Davis Canvas Modules and class Discords help his NPB students reach their learning goals? Watch to find out. After Dr. Gomes’ prepared remarks, audience members asked questions that led to a discussion about different instructional technologies or media strategies that can help us all reach and inspire our anxious students.
Secondly, we heard from Professor Greg Pasternack, Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources. According to the course description of his Virtual River Methods class, Pasternack offers “Training on and critical thinking about river science and management ‘field’ practices, which shall all be undertaken in a video game virtual setting with high-fidelity river corridors.” This may be the only course in the nation that trains students how to use the PC outlaw action-adventure game Red Dead Redemption 2 in order to understand how to “interpret landforms, hydrology, plants, and soils to perform wetland delineation and classification.”