WKU education professor completes Fulbright project in Colombia

Rebecca Stobaugh

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Dr. Beckie Stobaugh, professor in Western Kentucky University’s School of Teacher Education, recently spent 15 days in Colombia as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program.

Dr. Stobaugh’s project at the University of Colombia in Cartagena centered on two goals: developing asynchronous learning modules to help their university faculty fully implement formative assessment and conducting a training series for university faculty in Colombia.

According to Andres Escobar, the coordinator of this program at the University of Cartagena, deans of the various colleges tried to enroll more of their faculty to attend because the faculty were reporting they were getting so many practical tools to support their students. Dr. Stobaugh stated, “The university has already asked if I will return next summer and work with the faculty on increasing student engagement. I thoroughly enjoyed the work.”

Dr. Stobaugh said Colombia is requiring all university faculty to have training on formative assessment, which is the process whereby teachers identify learning objectives, plan checks on learning or formative assessments to ascertain if students are meeting those objectives, utilize the formative assessments in their teaching and adjust teaching methods based on formative assessment results.

“The asynchronous learning program developed includes four modules training faculty on the formative assessment process utilizing introductory videos I created along with other resources,” she said. “In the modules faculty utilize a variety of formative assessments to check their learning with digital tools including Flipgrid, Kahoot, Google Forms, and EdPuzzle.”

Between 50 and 100 people attended each virtual professional development training. The first session explained the formative assessment process with faculty engaging in small group discussions. The rest of the trainings modeled formative assessment techniques that check students’ learning, engage students, and challenge them to critically think.

“Each formative assessment method was modeled and then faculty discussed in small groups ways to implement the idea in their respective courses,” Dr. Stobaugh said. “Faculty commented that the training helped them learn ways to increase student engagement, design class experiences that are more student-centered, challenge their students to think, and adjust instruction to better address learning outcomes.”

Dr. Stobaugh said the project is rewarding and she’s looking forward to returning next year. “I love international work,” she said. “I am fascinated by various cultures and how the education processes differ and are similar. Unfortunately, I was not able to observe classes at the university and provide faculty coaching, but hopefully next summer I will be able to observe faculty and provide feedback on ways they can improve their teaching. Helping faculty increase their teaching capacities is so rewarding. I feel like I am making a positive impact on faculty which hopefully increases student learning.”

Dr. Stobaugh, a Faculty Fellow for WKU’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, has shared the asynchronous modules she developed for the University of Colombia with CITL. “Perhaps parts of these modules can be used to support WKU faculty,” she said.