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April 2017

News & Updates

Teaching and Learning Symposium

for members of our PBEA-PLC Team 

As part of the funding to develop a Professional Learning Community, Iowa State University will be hosting a Teaching and Learning Symposium.  
The goals of the Symposium are to:
  • improve use of the PBEA E-Learning Modules and the ALAs through in-depth use of the materials and
  • improve your classroom learning & teaching strategies. 
This symposium will directly immerse you in preparing for your next academic year.   Included in the symposium are field trips, demonstrations, and lots of hands-on, minds-on work.  Possible topics include integration of e-modules and PBEA material, creating lesson plans, delivering effective lectures, and learner-centered teaching methods. 

Where:  Iowa State University, Ames Iowa

When:  July 31 to August 4, 2017

How:  Funding is available for three faculty to attend from each of our partner institutions. This includes airfare, transportation, and meals & lodging while in Ames.  Other faculty may attend at their own expense.   

You Wanted to Know...

Helping Students Develop Problem Solving Skills

In plant breeding education, it is not only important to help students understand the content, but  develop problem-solving skills.  This will help students apply what they learned when they enter the workforce. Adding problem-based learning techniques to your toolkit will allow students to gain content knowledge while developing problem-solving skills.  These techniques help students work together to solve real, complex problems that pertain to the content knowledge.  The component of group work is especially important to help students feel comfortable in a learning community, asking questions, and sharing ideas.  In order for students to be successful with this type of instruction, they must be aware of the information they already know about the problem and what they must know in order to solve the problem.  This can be very difficult for students in the beginning, and it is important that the instructor facilitate the process to help students with this awareness.

For more information on developing problems and structuring your course for problem-based learning visit the PLC Website here:

Rethinking Your Exams

Have you been writing final exams for your courses?  It may even be possible that you have been writing many exams throughout the semester.  What purposes are your exams serving as a part of your course?  According to Kevin Gannon (2017), Director of the Center of Excellence in Teaching & Learning and Professor of History and Grandview University, exams should not be used to punish students.  We should instead use exams to challenge students to demonstrate their understanding for specific learning objectives which align to the course. Gannon further explains his thinking by describing how he designs exams that provide a roadmap for the set learning objectives.  Just as each assignment coincides with learning objectives, each exam should also coincide with specific learning objectives.  

For more information on how to rethink your exams visit the
PLC website here:

Contact the PBEA-PLC Team

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