Faculty can choose to utilize a couple of their office hours to run an Action Center. Instead of lines of students waiting at your door, why not serve several students at once in an interactive learning environment? (Note: you could even assign GTAs to utilize a couple of their office hours here as well!)
What UC Action faculty are saying:
Dr. Cindy Gordon's Human Anatomy Action Center
- “I am a believer in holding my office hours through action tutoring. I find that student participation has increased three fold compared to holding them in my office. And, with more room for the UC action centers than my office provides, it is possible to get some nice group conservations going between the students.” Glen S. Krutz, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and Professor of Political Science (fall, 2016)
- "I believe this service is making a difference for the students. It is giving the students an opportunity to understand the material from a different angle, and the faculty an opportunity to explore complementary teaching methods." Dr. Fares Najar, Biochemistry, December 2013 survey
- "Because I can interact with students so easily in AC, over the course material or just general conversation (they are more comfortable in AC than one on one in my office), it is by far the best way for me to gauge how things are going in the course. I learn how well they understand the lecture and lab material and even get feedback on how my TAs are doing in lab." Dr. Cindy Gordon (Fall, 2016)
- "The UC Action program has been a tremendous help for my students. Our Farsi Friday meetings have helped students and others to learn about the Persian culture while they practice their language skills. My students absolutely love this program and appreciate UC Action financial support which enables them to explore the Persian culture in first-person basis." Marjan Seirafi-Pour, Middle East Programs Coordinator
- "At the end of last semester, one student told me, 'You've taught me not just the subject, but how to study/learn.'" Dr. Peggy Ellis, Political Science, February 5, 2010 conference
You provide us with your time, follow an active and collaborative learning philosophy, and advertise Action Centers to your students. We provide you with a trained, undergraduate Peer Learning Assistant (where needed), advertising, tracking of student visits, the possibility of a grant of up to $400, room scheduling assistance, and other resources!
Contact us to learn more about setting up your Action Center!
Resources for UC Action Faculty
The Student Learning Center wants to help faculty make their UC Action Centers be a positive experience both for students and faculty. The following resources and suggestions will help this happen. Click on each topic below to expand it.
Grants are awarded to Action Center faculty each semester to fund supplies and apps for learning activities, salaries for students writing session activities, and food to attract students. See successful proposal examples (PDF), and available supplies from prevous purchases in the "Resources Available" section below. Grant applications are due the week before classes begin each semester and are awarded the first week of class. The maximum award is $500, if iPad activities are included in the proposal, or $400 otherwise.
Below is a list of resources that were either purchased from past faculty grant awards or are owned by the Student Learning Center. All are available for you to use, so contact us at (405) 325-7621 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested!
- iPads, 30 count (3rd generation, Wifi)
- iPad apps: Animal Histology, BaiBoard, Brain and Nervous System Pro III, Cell and Cell Structure, Diabetes Miniatlas, Explain Everything, iSpartan, MacroMole, Molecules, Notability, Note Taker HD, Plant Histology, and more. For ideas on how to use them in sessions, see iPad Workflow Videos by Keegan Long-Wheeler
- MacBook and Dell laptops
- Portable Dell LCD projector
- Mini Whiteboards
- Intuos Slate professional pen tablet for digtial handwritten notes
- Games and videos (Modern Languages Lab)
- Chemistry model kits
- 100 copies (can get a faculty grant for additional prints)
Here are some best practices to consider in setting up and running your Action Centers.
- Setting up your sessions(s): We suggest sessions after 3pm Mon-Thurs. If you have a consistent homework submission day or test day, set your Action Center for 2 days prior. Recommend a Peer Learning Assistant for your session that is both knowledgeable in your course and has strong communication skills. Plan activities in advance for each session. Provide these activities on Canvas to all students only after the session (and perhaps without answer keys). Have one or more questions from Action activities show up in another form on an exam.
- Advertising to your students: List the Action Center times and locations on your course syllabus (see sample statement in section below). Post information about your Action Center on your canvas page. Advertise the session in class at least once a week (or have a student/tutor announce it). Present data to students about the usefulness of UC Action attendance (see Research section below).
- Activities and suggestions for sessions: Concept Mapping on whiteboards or large sheets of paper; worksheets with practice problems handed out at sessions then posted on Canvas (with or without solutions) afterwards; work hard to NOT lecture, but instead group students, get them to the boards, rely on your PLA (tutor), and get students to teach each other; don't sit down, but keep moving group to group to check on their progress.
- Communicating with your Peer Learning Assistant (PLA): Add your PLA to your Canvas course, email them your syllabus, email them worksheets and answer keys prior to sessions, let them know your expectations of them in the session, and set them up as reliable by asking them to explain answers to students during the sessions. Students have already heard your explanation of the topic in class, so give the PLA a chance to explain it from a student perspective.
Feel free to copy/paste or modify this statement about your UC Action Center to add to your syllabus (with or near your "Office Hours" section):
Action Centers are collaborative, active learning study sessions where students can practice course content, ask me questions, and delve deeper into course material. The Action program, managed by the OU Student Learning Center, is a certified tutoring program offering over 90 courses (see more information at uc.ou.edu/action).
We encourage individual faculty to analyze the correlations between Action Center attendance and their course grades. Contact us to request your session visit data. Below are some other useful research papers and statistics for your own information and student recruiting:
- In 2017-18, the UC Action program served about 5,000 OU students during over 26,000 visits. On average each student visits 5.3 times/semester.
- Analyses for our BIOL 1114, BIOL 1124, CHEM 3653, and CHEM 3053/3153 Action Centers indicate that students who attend (or attend "regularly") have higher class grades than those that don't visit. In one internal study, students that didn't attend prior to their first exam, then started attending academic assistance regularly, showed an increase in their subsequent test scores compared to non-attendees.
- Recent studies of tutoring programs setup much like ours at other universities show an increase in GPA of first year students and increased retention to the second year for program participants versus non-particiants.1,2
1Coladarci, T., Willett, M. B., Allen, D. (2013). Tutor Program Participation: Effects on GPA and Retention to the Second Year, The Learning Assistance Review, 18(2):79–96.
2Cooper, E. (2010). Tutoring Center Effectiveness: The Effect of Drop-In Tutoring, Journal of College Reading and Learning, 40(2):21–34.