February 27, 2012

Should Professors Use Facebook to Communicate with Students?

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Nearly 85% of faculty have a Facebook account, two-thirds are on LinkedIn, and 50% are on Twitter according to research from Faculty Focus. But, professors’ use of social media shows we are behind the relationship curve when it comes to connecting with students. Only 32% have friended undergrad students and about half (55%) connect with some students after graduation.


February 23, 2012

Using Reading Prompts to Encourage Critical Thinking

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“Students can critically read in a variety of ways:
• When they raise vital questions and problems from the text,
• When they gather and assess relevant information and then offer plausible interpretations of that information,
• When they test their interpretations against previous knowledge or experience …,
• When they examine their assumptions and the implications of those assumptions, and
• When they use what they have read to communicate effectively with others or to develop potential solutions to complex problems.” (p. 127)

And don’t we all wish our students read this way!



February 21, 2012

The Challenge of Teaching Content When Test Stakes Are High

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As educators, we share the challenge of how to teach an overwhelming amount of content in a short period of time to a sometimes motivated but often bored and listless student population. I do believe that most students enter higher education with a true desire to master their subject area. Some are even interested in learning for the sake of learning. But lectures overloaded with PowerPoint slides quickly change the motivation to extrinsic. This is especially true in fields where high-stakes testing determines future career options.


February 20, 2012

Navigating the ‘Patchwork Quilt’ of State Authorization Requirements Remains a Huge Challenge for Online Programs

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State authorization of online programs is one of the biggest issues confronting higher ed institutions seeking to expand their reach to more distance learners. Since the introduction of federal regulations in October 2010 (section 600.9), institutions have been scrambling to respond to a myriad of state requirements.



February 16, 2012

Promoting Research While Advancing Instruction, Part 2

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In Part 1, we examined several reasons why it’s important for universities to look at faculty work not in terms of the actions that are taken but rather in terms of the benefits that result. Of course, it’s one thing to say that changing how we view faculty roles can help promote research while advancing teaching; it’s another thing entirely to bring about such a massive change.


February 15, 2012

Distributing Points and Percentages Across Assignments and Activities

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I started thinking about this when I wondered in a previous blog whether the 5 or 10% that many of us give for participation was enough to motivate students, or whether being such a small part of the grade, it actually devalued what students contribute in class. Since then I’ve been thinking more about how we decide on the allocation of points or percentages for the various assignments students complete in a course. For many of us (that includes me), it isn’t as thoughtful of a process as it should be. Rather, we do what we’ve done before, or we ask around, get a general sense of what everybody else is doing and follow suit.