Curriculum Development

My experience in developing curriculum may be summarized by the following categories:

University Curriculum Development

Educating for Americorps

Professional Development of Crew Members

Outdoor Education

 

University Curriculum Development

For the Spring quarter of 2015 I have had the pleasure being the lead instructor for Western Washington University’s Environmental Studies: 201 Understanding Environmental Data and Information

Having served as TA for the course the preceding two quarters I had several discussions with the incumbent professor about possible improvements to the curriculum. Through out the quarter I improved the PowerPoint presentations, added examples of real-world statistics, developed in-class activities to improve kinesthetic learning, and created R scripts that animated the calculations that we performed. In all I dedicated 20 hours per week to developing, lecturing, grading, and office hours.

My reviews were universally high. See Below.

Western Washington University Faculty Evaluation Results
Instructor: O’Leary, Donal (professor of record redacted) Term: Spring 2015
Class: ENVS 201 Environmental Data and Info (21712)
Mailstop: WWU MS9085
Form: B
Number Enrolled: 19
Number Responding: 16
ITEM DISTRIBUTION OF RESPONSES*
E VG G F P VP NS MEAN
1 Clarity of student responsibilities and requirements was: 13 2 0 1 0 0 0 4.69
2 Organization of the course was: 12 3 0 1 0 0 0 4.63
3 Challenge level of assigned work was: 6 7 3 0 0 0 0 4.19
4 Fairness of evaluation procedure was: 12 3 1 0 0 0 0 4.69
5 Intellectual challenge offered by course was: 7 4 4 1 0 0 0 4.06
6 Instructor’s classroom presentation was: 12 2 1 1 0 0 0 4.56
7 Instructor’s answers to student questions were: 10 5 1 0 0 0 0 4.56
8 Instructor’s ability to provide alternate explanations if needed was: 8 6 2 0 0 0 0 4.38
9 Instructor’s use of examples and illustrations was: 13 1 2 0 0 0 0 4.69
10 Instructor’s availability for extra help was: 14 2 0 0 0 0 0 4.88
11 Instructor’s enthusiasm for the subject was: 14 1 1 0 0 0 0 4.81
12 Instructor’s record for coming to class on time was: 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.00
13 Instructor’s record for meeting with the class as scheduled was: 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.00
14 Instructor’s use of class time was: 10 5 1 0 0 0 0 4.56
15 Instructor’s lecture pace was: 9 4 2 1 0 0 0 4.31
16 Instructor’s awareness of student comprehension was: 10 5 1 0 0 0 0 4.56
17 Instructor’s choice of exam questions relative to lectures was: 13 2 1 0 0 0 0 4.75
18 The course overall was: 10 4 2 0 0 0 0 4.50
19 Instructor’s effectiveness in teaching the subject matter was: 12 2 2 0 0 0 0 4.63
20 Instructor’s contribution overall to the course was: 12 4 0 0 0 0 0 4.75
25 Form B – Option 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 NA
26 Form B – Option 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 NA
27 Form B – Option 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 NA
28 Form B – Option 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 NA
29 Form B – Option 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 NA
When you registered, was this a class you wanted to take?

6 Yes
3 No
6 Neutral
This course is: (Choose only one)

10 in my MAJOR
3 in my MINOR or PROGRAM REQUIREMENT
2 a GUR (General University Requirement)
0 an ELECTIVE
1 other
My class standing is:

3 Freshman
5 Sophomore
7 Junior
1 Senior
0 Graduate
0 Other
Grade I expect to receive

13 A
1 B
0 C
1 D
0 F
0 Pass or Satisfactory
0 No Pass or Unsatisfactory
*Key: E= Excellent 5; VG = Very Good 4; G = Good 3; F = Fair 2; P = Poor 1; VP = Very Poor 0; NS = No Selection

 

Western Washington University Faculty Evaluation Results
Instructor: O’Leary, Donal (professor of record redacted) Term: Spring 2015
Class: ENVS 201 Environmental Data and Info (22098)
Mailstop: WWU MS9085
Form: B
Number Enrolled: 64
Number Responding: 22
ITEM DISTRIBUTION OF RESPONSES*
E VG G F P VP NS MEAN
1 Clarity of student responsibilities and requirements was: 15 7 0 0 0 0 0 4.68
2 Organization of the course was: 17 5 0 0 0 0 0 4.77
3 Challenge level of assigned work was: 10 9 2 1 0 0 0 4.27
4 Fairness of evaluation procedure was: 21 1 0 0 0 0 0 4.95
5 Intellectual challenge offered by course was: 12 9 0 1 0 0 0 4.45
6 Instructor’s classroom presentation was: 20 2 0 0 0 0 0 4.91
7 Instructor’s answers to student questions were: 18 4 0 0 0 0 0 4.82
8 Instructor’s ability to provide alternate explanations if needed was: 18 3 1 0 0 0 0 4.77
9 Instructor’s use of examples and illustrations was: 21 1 0 0 0 0 0 4.95
10 Instructor’s availability for extra help was: 18 3 0 0 0 0 1 4.86
11 Instructor’s enthusiasm for the subject was: 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.00
12 Instructor’s record for coming to class on time was: 20 2 0 0 0 0 0 4.91
13 Instructor’s record for meeting with the class as scheduled was: 20 2 0 0 0 0 0 4.91
14 Instructor’s use of class time was: 19 3 0 0 0 0 0 4.86
15 Instructor’s lecture pace was: 14 8 0 0 0 0 0 4.64
16 Instructor’s awareness of student comprehension was: 17 5 0 0 0 0 0 4.77
17 Instructor’s choice of exam questions relative to lectures was: 14 6 1 1 0 0 0 4.50
18 The course overall was: 20 1 1 0 0 0 0 4.86
19 Instructor’s effectiveness in teaching the subject matter was: 19 3 0 0 0 0 0 4.86
20 Instructor’s contribution overall to the course was: 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.00
25 Form B – Option 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 NA
26 Form B – Option 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 NA
27 Form B – Option 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 NA
28 Form B – Option 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 NA
29 Form B – Option 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 NA
When you registered, was this a class you wanted to take?

15 Yes
1 No
6 Neutral
This course is: (Choose only one)

12 in my MAJOR
3 in my MINOR or PROGRAM REQUIREMENT
6 a GUR (General University Requirement)
1 an ELECTIVE
0 other
My class standing is:

6 Freshman
11 Sophomore
4 Junior
1 Senior
0 Graduate
0 Other
Grade I expect to receive

20 A
2 B
0 C
0 D
0 F
0 Pass or Satisfactory
0 No Pass or Unsatisfactory
*Key: E= Excellent 5; VG = Very Good 4; G = Good 3; F = Fair 2; P = Poor 1; VP = Very Poor 0; NS = No Selection

 

Educating for AmeriCorps

Misery_Whip

Working with the Southwest Conservation Corps as the Backcountry Crew Leader one of my responsibilities was to develop educational curriculum to satisfy the AmeriCorps Education Requirement. This was necessary for my crew members to receive the education award from their service, and I took on the task with zeal. Lessons ranging from wildfire succession to lunar timing, basin-and-range geology to field mycology. Having the open-ended mandate to make lessons was a gift to a budding teacher.

I still hear from old crew members from time to time:

“Happy thanksgiving Donal! I remember this time nearly a decade ago we were rained in to the Catalina’s! What a time man. I reflect on those three months more than any other period in my life. So grateful to have had that experience with you and the others. I hope things are great for you and get better. Peace brother.”

-Aaron (Backcounty Trail Crew 2007)

Professional Development of Crew Members

NPS_Group_PhotoLeading trail crews and volunteers for the National Park Service was one of the great honors of my life. To serve as a leader of community engagement for my country’s agency with the highest approval rating meant that I was one display every moment of every day, even living as a civilian within bark boundaries. To lead by example on that high stage was a responsibility that I took seriously, and the professional development that resulted from that was profound. Not only my own development, but that of my crew members and volunteers as well. By empowering people with the knowledge and support to complete the job, I have seen countless success stories of people pushing their limits to overcome mental and physical hurdles, all in the name of serving our country.

I have had 1,000+ community members pass through my supervision, and I completed my career with a perfect safety record with zero volunteer or NPS injuries. Some I knew for only 6 hours, and many I worked with for over 6 months.

Outdoor Education

Rainbow_ArchAs a non-traditional student at Colorado State University I joined the staff of the Outdoor Program as a Senior Guide. Through this position I facilitated trips ranging from rock and ice climbing to week-long expeditions deep in the Navajo Nation, backcountry skiing, and sea kayaking. I also instructed seminars such as “Hike Your First 14’er” and “Intro to Winter Backpacking.” The friends and skills that I gained here will be a part of my life forever. I am grateful to have had this experience, and to be able to share my skills with so many budding outdoor enthusiasts!