Futures Initiative Summer Mentorship Program

As we have discussed in class, the Futures Initiative will be hosting a two-day mentorship workshop this summer, August 18-19. This is a terrific opportunity, especially if you’d like to take on a leadership role and go deeper into the methods we’ve explored this semester. If chosen, you will be paid $200 for the two days and will be given round-trip metrocards! What a deal!The application takes about 15 minutes to cmplete and is due next Friday, May 8. (Next Week!!)  Go LehmAnatomy & Physiology! Be Bronx Proud! http://bit.ly/mentorship-undergrads

Free Assistance with Technology

Dear All,

Below are some free workshops that are offered by the Lehman College IT Office. Some of the dates have passed for this semester, but there are a few still yet to come, like Microsoft Excel Basic, Excel Advanced, and PowerPoint. These are all very valuable skills to have. If you’re not able to attend, then keep your eye out for the Fall IT schedule!

Technology Assistance for Lehman College Students: Spring 2015

Registration is required. To register, visit the ITR Workshop Calendar.  Click on the workshop title to register.

Unless otherwise noted, locations will be announced at a later date.  Check this page or the calendar for updates.  For further information on the workshop schedule, please send email to itr.workshops@lehman.cuny.edu.

Microsoft Word 2010

This workshop introduces the basic skills required to create and edit a Microsoft Word 2010 document. Participants will learn how to create a new document, manage text from font to color, create and modify tables, create bullets and lists, and toggling between open documents.  To register, go to the ITR Workshop Calendar.

  • Wednesday, March 18, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Carman Hall, CA-126

Introduction to Microsoft Excel 2010

Microsoft Excel allows you to enter, manipulate and display numbers and text in a spreadsheet- a grid composed of rows, columns and cells. Participants will be introduced to the Excel user interface including the ribbon, menus, toolbars and keyboard equivalents; cell, column and row references; data entry and formatting; creating and copying simple formulas; setting up a spreadsheet for printing; creating charts; and data protection. The workshop will include hands-on exercises. To register, go to the ITR Workshop Calendar.

  • Monday, March 9, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Carman Hall, CA-126
  • Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Carman Hall, CA-126

Advanced Microsoft Excel 2010

This workshop is designed for participants to build on their basic knowledge and to develop the skills necessary to create pivot tables and pivot charts, audit and analyze data, utilize data tools, and collaborate with others. The workshop will include hands-on exercises. To register, go to the ITR Workshop Calendar.

  • Sunday, March 1, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, Carman Hall, CA-126
  • Monday, March 16, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Carman Hall, CA-126
  • Tuesday, April 28, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Carman Hall, CA-126

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010

This workshop introduces the basic skills required to create and edit a Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 presentation. Participants will learn how to create a new presentation, change the font and color of presentation text, create and modify bulleted slides, insert clip art, and apply design templates.  To register, go to the ITR Workshop Calendar.

  • Tuesday, April 21, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Carman Hall, CA-126

Assistance With Life Issues And School

Dear All,

In keeping with last week’s theme of dealing with life issues while trying to succeed at school work, I thought that I would draw your attention to the great services of the Lehman College Counseling Department. They deal with all sorts of life issues, from depression and anxiety to life coaching for maximum success. There are even special services for Freshmen and Transfer Students. Check it out:

Lehman College Counseling Services

The mission of the Counseling Center is to assist students with emotional, developmental, and psychological concerns that may be affecting their personal and academic growth. Our goal is to assist students in coping with the challenges of college and life in a productive, healthy manner. Students have access to confidential individual and group therapy.

Students may seek our services for a variety of reasons, including:

  • stress/anxiety
  • depression
  • grief/loss
  • loneliness
  • family stress
  • difficulties in romantic relationships
  • academic concerns (e.g. poor time management/procrastination)
  • cultural issues
  • Life Coaching
Special Programming for Freshman and Transfer Students

The Counseling Center is offering special programming to help ease adjustment to Lehman College for Transfer and Freshman Students. We understand how difficult the transition to college can be for those students entering Lehman for the first time. Whether you enter Lehman sure about your major or questioning what career you are interested in, everyone wants to be a success. In the workshop Lehman G.P.S. (goals, priorities, success) you will learn how to create short and long term goals to get you to graduation on time. You will also learn about the resources Lehman has available to help you for free!

Free Science Tutoring at Lehman


Dear All,

I found this resource right here at Lehman College and thought that it might be of interest to you. It is not specifically for Speech and Hearing, but is for pre-med students, many of whom are probably taking Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body.

Science Learning Center

In addition, the Science Learning Center (SLC) has provided tutoring and additional academic support for students pursuing science and math coursework at Lehman. The SLC is committed to the following goals:

  • hiring and training highly qualified tutors,
  • providing workshops which target student academic needs,
  • fostering a positive, motivating atmosphere for student learning, and
  • promoting students’ acquisition of knowledge and critical thinking, independent learning and study skills.

Location & Hours

The Science Learning Center is located in Gillet Hall, room 133. Semester hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Center is not open for tutoring when classes are not in session and when the College is closed. It may, however, be open for scheduled workshops. Please call the Center at 718-960-7707 to confirm workshop hours.

A proposed A&P study group?

How might you guys feel about establishing an informal A&P study group that would meet on Fridays after class? Perhaps there could be a 20-minute break and then you guys could reconvene from 12 noon to 1:00 pm. If you feel that you need my assistance, I could stay (when my schedule allows). But it might be best if this was a peer-led, peer-driven enterprise.

The group could appoint a “reporter” who would be the person responsible for reporting back to me. Questions that arise could then be emailed to me or could be discussed in the following class.

Thoughts on this??

A Cognitive Surplus in the Bronx!

This week’s lesson in “Mapping The Futures” involved the complex topic known as “student-centered pedagogy”, an approach with which I have had no prior experience. Our colleagues Michelle, Hallie, and Danica did a rather incredible job of distilling this intense topic down to a few salient and understandable points. Of the three assigned readings, I decided to focus my momentary pedagogical energy on the revelatory ideas contained in “Project Classroom Makeover” from Professor Cathy Davidson’s terrific book, “Now You See It”. My Friday morning class at Lehman College, Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech Mechanism, is pretty chock-full of information, and with a weekly quiz to administer, questions to answer, directions to go over for our C-Box site and mapping assignment, an up-coming midterm (Oy!), and one more huge chapter to cover on the physiology of phonation (!), my time for implementing a student-centered pedagogy exercise was really limited.

(I have come to realize that a truly student-centered course must be designed that way from the get-go and one of my greatest challenges this semester has been making adjustments to a heavy science course that was pre-designed with little thought to the concepts and theories espoused by our “Mapping The Future” course. In other words, I feel like I’m trying to reroute a proverbial train that has already left the station!)

So here’s what we did…..

I stuck with the strategy I implemented for our ‘Assessment’ module and began with a very brief power point presentation (5 slides) to get the ball rolling. You can view the slides here:  Student-Centered Pedagogy

I decided to throw out the first challenge to myself. Was I willing to give up ‘control’ of what and how my students learned? This is a really tough one and a likely key to success with a student-centered approach. I had to be willing to ‘hold space’ for my students and allow them the room to grow in a way that would work for each of them individually. Was I willing to trust they each had an innate intellectual curiosity that would propel them to learn about the anatomy and physiology of the speech mechanism without explicit lecturing from me?

{Read Heather Plett’s wonderfully moving blog on ‘holding space’, shared by Cathy Davidson here:


The second slide introduced the concept of peer learning and allowed me to elaborate further on the concept of ‘crowdsourcing’, or the wisdom gained by outsourcing to the crowd. My third slide brought the concept of “cognitive surplus” into the discussion. This additional brain power was explained as a sort of exponential bonus that the group receives for pooling its intellectual resources. That is, we (the group) become MORE than the sum of our parts and we are able to accomplish things together that we most likely would never accomplish on our own.  This amazing ‘cognitive surplus’ occurs because of a process known as ‘collaboration by difference’, a concept that I absolutely love! This reinforces the idea that success is interwoven with and correlates directly with our ability to collaborate. That is, the complex challenges of our day will never be solved by individuals in isolation.

My fifth and final slide really says it all and becomes a rallying point for many students in the CUNY system. What an astonishingly powerful message: you have intellectual brilliance to share with the world regardless of your age, race, educational background, culture, or any other label that has been put on you and appears to have limited your choices in this lifetime. That is a really powerful concept.

So what possible student-centered activity could I possibly do in the remaining 10 minutes of class? Well, here’s what we did:

I called out the names of 5 random students, put an image of the larynx on the projector, and gave the students a task: Go in the hallway for 3 minutes and come up with a way to explain the anatomy and physiology of the larynx in any way that you want. Every one of the 5 of you must participate. The students left the room and got to work.

In the meantime, I asked the remaining 26 students how they thought that I could possibly re-imagine the second half of the semester in such a way as to include some student-centered techniques. Several ideas were brought up and the two that seemed to get the most attention were the following:

 1) During each class, allow students to break up into small groups of 4 or 5 to discuss a particular anatomy topic and then report back to the rest of the class.

2) Use posterboards to allow students to draw or color in anatomical parts to reinforce the understanding of what is where and what it does.

I agreed to re-think the second half of the semester in a way that would incorporate these activities into our class time and it was now time for our 5 intrepid laryngeal explorers to come back into the classroom and to teach us all about the workings of the larynx. And the most extraordinary thing happened….

The 5 students decided to contort their physical bodies into a living replica of the larynx. I was positively stunned. The first student got down on the floor and held her arms in a circle and said, “I’m the cricoid cartilage”. The second student then became the thyroid cartilage, the third the arytenoid cartilages, the fourth the epiglottis, and the fifth the hyoid bone.


I could not believe what I was seeing and experiencing and I think every student in the class felt the same way. There was just this enormous sense of amazement, awe, and laughter throughout the room. It was almost too good to be true. Had I really just experienced what it would be like to let go of control and let the students come up with their own model for learning? How could they possibly have come up with something so creative and stunning without my guidance? Was I witnessing a ‘cognitive surplus’ in action?

I believe that I was. This living model of the larynx was suddenly more brilliant than the 5 individuals who had assembled it and more brilliant than anyone else in the room had expected. And this cognitive surplus was the result of 3 minutes in the hallway?  Absolutely stunning. Now I’ve got to get to work on strategies for unleashing this jaw-dropping cognitive surplus in the Bronx.

Tamara was the first to join our map!

Hey All,

Tamara was the first to add herself to our A&P@Lehman map! When are you guys going to join in?

Click on “Map Marker Pro” at the top of the page and then click on “List All Layers”. When you see our map, go back to the “Maps Marker Pro” and click on “Add new marker”.

Name your marker and put the nearest Post Office to your home as the address or another address that is near to where you live. To protect your privacy, there is no need to put your home address on the map.

Below the map you are permitted to “add media” to your marker. Have as much fun with that as you like.

Hopefully, we’ll all be on the map very soon!

See you Friday morning. ~RL

Anatomy’s Assessment of Assessment

Last Tuesday’s in-class discussion of assessment strategies really got my juices flowing. How was I going to get my 35 Anatomy students to participate in this first topic of “Mapping The Future…”? How to present it? What to present? Where to start?

Well, I thought that perhaps my students might be just as uninformed as I was about the different forms that assessment can take. So I decided to start with a mini powerpoint presentation (only 6 slides) on summative v. formative assessment, what they are, how they differ, and what would be examples of each. Then I used a paraphrased version of Maria’s garden metaphor: summative assessment could be compared to measuring a plant’s growth every six months whereas formative assessment would be more like checking on a plant’s growth while being watered each week. The ensuing conversation zeroed in on key characteristics of formative assessment such as feedback, dialogue, and ongoing evaluation. We were off to a great start. Everyone seemed to immediately grasp the concepts and their interest was piqued.

Next I offered a twist on Think, Pair, Share in that I handed out index cards and students were asked to not write their names on the cards to protect anonymity.  I then posed 6 questions:

1) Do you think that this course is mostly summative, mostly formative, or a reasonable balance of both?

2) What do you think could be done differently to improve the assessment process of this course?

3) How does the assessment process of this course compare to the assessment process in other classes in this department?

4) Do you think that weekly worksheets and quizzes that count toward your grade are basically summative or formative?

5) What do you think about a process in which you are given the questions and answers before taking the quiz?

6) Do you think that you’re learning? Why or why not?

After all answers were written, the students were alotted 15 seconds to pass the index cards around the room. When I called “time”, everyone held a card that did not belong to them with almost no possibility of knowing whose card they had. This added a further anonymous element to the exercise and allowed for a free sharing of ideas in that anyone sharing what was on the card before them was expressing the opinion of an unknown classmate.

Before telling you how this all played out, I should let you know that grades in this particular are assessed using a combination of weekly quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam. The two lowest of ten quizzes are dropped. (In the interest of full disclosure, for their participation in the “Mapping The Futures” class, students will have their lowest quiz grade (after the two dropped quizzes) changed to a 100%). The weekly quizzes and exams are drawn verbatim from a weekly worksheet (with answers) that the students are given. So yes, for every quiz and every exam the students have the questions and the answers. But the amount of material is substantial if not massive. Worksheet questions consist of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and picture identification tasks. In addition, the midterm and final exams include essay/short answer questions that are supplied two weeks before the exam is given. Answers to those essay questions are not supplied.

So, a recap of the class’s answers to the 6 questions (31 of 35 students were in class):

1) Do you think that this course is mostly summative, mostly formative, or a reasonable balance of both?

22 of 31 thought the class was a reasonable balance of both summative and formative assessment. 5 of 31 thought the class was mostly formative, while 4 of 31 thought it was mostly summative.

2) What do you think could be done differently to improve the assessment process of this course?

20 of 31 thought that hands-on projects, group activities, and videos would improve the class. 7 of 31 said they liked it the way it was. 4 of 31 thought that the large amount of questions was onerous.

3) How does the assessment process of this course compare to the assessment process in other classes in this department?

Though students varied on whether this course appeared to be more formative or more summative in assessment strategies than other classes, all 31 thought that process was clearer, more fair, and more straight forward than the other classes they were taking. Many students commented that the weekly worksheets and quizzes were powerful self-evaluation tools.

4) Do you think that weekly worksheets and quizzes that count toward your grade are basically summative or formative?

17 of 31 thought that the weekly worksheets and quizzes were mostly formative. 12 of 31 though that they were a combination of both formative and summative. 2 of 31 thought that the weekly worksheets and quizzes were mostly summative.

5) What do you think about a process in which you are given the questions and answers before taking the quiz?

31 of 31 responded with some version of “like it”, “love it”, “great”, “brilliant”, “genius”, and “awesome”. Many of the comments referred to reduced stress, no panic, lots of learning, less mystery, and a general sense of relief that they were able to learn so much material with so little drama. In other words, fear, a formidable presence in many science courses, had been removed from the equation.

6) Do you think that you’re learning? Why or why not?

28 of 31 replied that they were confident they were learning a lot and that they understood the material well. Most commented that they were learning so much because they weren’t worried or scared. 2 of 31 wrote that though they thought they were learning a lot, they expressed concern as to whether the methodology would allow them to retain the information over the long term. One of those students felt that the weekly quizzes added too much pressure. That student also commented that topics were not connected, explained well, or built upon one another. 1 of 31 students did not respond to the question.

My general summary:

Wow! I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this exercise, but I am awed by the responses and the honesty of the students. Though a vast majority of the students feel that there are significant formative aspects to the assessment strategy, a strong majority would prefer group projects and hands-on activities. That really gives me something to think about as we move through the semester.

The exercise turned out to be a great opportunity for the students to express how they felt about assessment in general as well as how it specifically related to this course. I’m particularly gratified that so many students are actively involved in an ongoing self-evaluation and assessment of where they stand in terms of mastery of the material. On a personal note, this exercise turned into a terrific evaluative tool for myself as I really wasn’t sure about how the structure of the class was being received by the students. Overall, it looks like we’ve established a pretty winning combination of summative and formative assessment, though there is always room for improvement. Perhaps I can reconsider the organization of the second half of the semester and incorporate some sort of group project with a peer-teaching element. Exciting stuff!

Think, Pair, Share on Friday the 13th!

I have to admit that I was a bit reticent about trying a Think, Pair, Share exercise on a Friday morning Speech Anatomy class, but I think that it turned out to be quite a success. Index cards were handed out to 35 students and three questions were posed: (90 seconds to answer!)

  • Was there something in particular from last week’s lesson that stood out as particularly interesting to you?
  • What do you think was your most successful strategy for studying this past week?
  • What strategy have you been employing that might not be working very well for you or might require some tweaking?

Students jotted a couple of notes as answers to the three questions and were then encouraged to pair with another student, preferably one they did not know well. Then they had 90 seconds to learn each other’s names and to exchange thoughts about their three answers.

You cannot believe how loud and animated this class of anatomy students got! It was really fascinating and fun to watch.

We then went around the room and each student said their own name and the name of their partner or partners ( a couple of groups had 3) and shared their individual answers. The entire process took about 45 minutes, but it was totally worthwhile and an important stepping stone in the process of reinventing the way in which science might be taught.

There were a variety of different things that individual students took away from the week’s lesson, but what was most amazing were the ideas about successful v. unsuccessful study strategies. The exchange got everyone interested in and excited about what their fellow students were doing, like the use of handmade color-coded flash cards. Suddenly, we had the makings of a team…..a class of co-learners and collaborators who were going to learn from one another.

Following the exercise was a lecture with dialogue and discussion on the physiology of respiration. The energy in the room was vibrant and energized all the way to the end, when I introduced the Futures Initiative website and invited all to join in and start blogging.

Looking forward to next Friday!