November 30, 2010

Online Education Continues its Rapid Growth, Study Finds

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The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reveals that online enrollment rose by almost one million students – the largest ever year-to-year increase since the study began eight years ago. The survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide finds approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in Fall 2009, the most recent term for which figures are available.


November 29, 2010

Curriculum Development, Alignment and Coordination: A Data-Driven Approach

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Most faculty work hard to make each individual course they teach the best learning experience it can be. They learn with each semester, and make revisions based on what worked and where the course stumbled. If done correctly, it’s a continuous improvement process that runs like a well-oiled machine. But no matter how good their individual courses are, it’s easy for faculty to end up in a silo–unsure of what’s happening in other courses throughout their discipline or department.


November 23, 2010

Teacher Anger: What to do When You’re Reaching the Breaking Point

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Do you ever reach a point where you’ve just had it with your students—they still aren’t following directions you’ve repeatedly delivered, they’re still talking not so quietly in the back of the room, and too many of them are still turning in work that has been dashed off at the last minute? So what do you do? March into class and more or less let them have it?



November 19, 2010

Teaching Undergraduate Research: A Unique Model

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Teaching undergraduate research when laboratories are involved is a time-consuming and costly endeavor, especially at those institutions without graduate assistants. One faculty member working alongside two or three students for four hours a week for one credit isn’t a particularly viable approach. For faculty who use undergrads to support their research programs, this approach slows down productivity as proficient students graduate and new ones must be trained in an unending cycle.


November 18, 2010

Solutions to Social Loafing

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Social loafing (I do find this bit of jargon amusing), defined as “group members who shirk their obligations in the hopes of benefiting from the work of others. …” (p. 256, a definition cited from previous work). It is one of the aspects of group work that students and faculty find equally distressing. This study tested six hypotheses regarding social loafing. The hypotheses and findings are listed below.


November 18, 2010

Preparing Your Online Students for the Tough Weeks Ahead

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Our courses are rolled out to online students with assignments scheduled for each week. Some of these assignments are relatively easy, meaning there will be weeks that are “light” in terms of scheduled assignments, while others will be “killer” weeks because of especially difficult assignments and/or a large number of assignments. While you need to prepare students to do all the assignments, it is especially important that you pre-assist them for those killer weeks. If you don’t do this, their anxiety can markedly increase, their involvement in and enthusiasm for the course can decrease, and you can lose them altogether.



November 16, 2010

Doing Learner-Centered Teaching or Being Learner-Centered

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“In most of the writing on learner-centered education … the focus remains on the teacher—what he or she can or should do to achieve learner-centered instruction. Although a learner-centered model is based in a different set of assumption than a teacher-centered model, the starting point is still pedagogical techniques initiated by the teacher. … In our view, such a focus objectifies students, distances teachers, and underemphasizes the most critical element in the classroom: learning.”