E-Fellows in Focus - Dr. Barbara Oswald

E-Fellows in Focus: Dr. Barbara Oswald Miami Regionals E-Campus E-Fellows in Focus: Dr. Barbara Oswald Miami Regionals E-Campus
By:  Kelly Lovell     E-Campus Logo

Dr. Barbara Oswald

Barbara Oswald, PhD is an associate professor of psychological science in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Miami Hamilton. She teaches online and face-to-face courses in Psychology, Biopsychology, Drugs and Behavior, and more.

E-Fellowship Research

In the fall of 2017, Oswald took part in a Faculty Learning Community (FLC), co-facilitated by Robyn Brown and Leah Hansen, focused on authentic assessments. Oswald's work within this FLC, inspired her to continue her authentic assessment efforts by participating in the E-Campus E-Fellows program. Throughout the fellowship, Oswald further developed 15 authentic assessments to use in an online Introduction to Biopsychology/Neuroscience course and evaluated student reception to authentic assessments using end-of-semester course evaluations.

These authentic assessment resources were then published on the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website, and have been used successfully in online and face-to-face courses at Miami.

oswald-barb.pngWe’re always looking for best practices in online learning. And for this particular project, I was kind of facing a crisis with my online class. I had a lot of plagiarism infractions. I had a lot of assessments that weren't really engaging metacognition or using best practices in teaching and learning. So, as part of my work with the E-Fellows program, I was able to learn about authentic assessments that addressed all of my problems in one fell swoop.

E-Fellowship Project Details

Oswald's project focused on developing new assessments appropriate for an online introductory course in biopsychology. Using principles of constructivist learning and with the help of Robyn Brown and others from the Authentic Assessment Faculty Learning Community (FLC) in the Fall of 2017, Oswald revised all assignments and discussions in the class to rely on principles of authentic assessments learned in the FLC. Oswald began using initial versions of the assessments in the Winter 2018 term, and continued to revise the assessments based on peer review of others in the field of psychology and with knowledge of authentic assessments (Robyn Brown, Tom Mays). The final products were released to students in Summer semester of 2019.

Preliminary descriptive data from earlier versions of Oswald's authentic assessments, in the form of student end-of-semester course evaluations, suggested, overwhelmingly, that students prefer the authentic assessments--they like the real-world application and variety of assignments. Even though the students felt like the assessments were a lot of work, they appreciated the ability to apply the complex information they learned in class in personally meaningful ways.


As a result of the mentorship and collaboration offered by the E-Fellows program, Dr. Oswald completed and published a set of 15 authentic assessments and preliminary outcomes analyses disseminated as a peer-reviewed teaching resource on the Society for Teaching of Psychology website.


Dr. Oswald, along with Robyn Brown and Dr. Al Cady, co-presented “Using Authentic Assessments To Engage Students And To Promote Learning” a Faculty Development Workshop at Kettering College, Kettering, OH (Oswald, B. B., Brown, R., & Cady, A. (2020, January 14).

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