September 30, 2013

Three Teaching Styles

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The most effective teachers vary their styles depending on the nature of the subject matter, the phase of the course, and other factors. By so doing, they encourage and inspire students to do their best at all times throughout the semester.

It is helpful to think of teaching styles according to the three Ds: Directing, Discussing, and Delegating.


September 27, 2013

App Review: Voice Record Pro

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The average person probably remembers more of what they see than what they hear. For example, you’re likely to readily remember a person’s face more easily than you would his name. However, according to molecular biologist John Medina, the key to more remembering what we see and hear is enhanced when repetition is involved. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating mass memorization of anything by anyone. Memorization is necessary in some cases, but given the easy access to all kinds of information, I see little reason for my students to commit large amounts of information to organic memory as opposed to knowing how and where to find it. What I am merely suggesting is that frequent re-exposure to snippets of content will likely aid understanding of what was presented or discussed. I have found that the podcast is one way to provide short bits of information for clarification purposes or as a way to provide expanded discussion of something that I covered in class. Here are two key guidelines to follow when developing a podcast:


September 26, 2013

Using Sports to Teach Teamwork

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Teamwork is an important skill for students in every major. But despite its importance, most students do not know how to work together as a team. Their individual objectives take precedence over group goals. They can tell you what they are expected to produce. They may be able to tell you what type of group they were intended to be, whether task, educational, or support. They may even be able to tell you the components needed for groups to be successful—such as communication, a strong leader, and a common purpose. But they cannot tell you how the group will operate as a unit or the roles and responsibilities of individual members necessary to deliver quality products.


September 25, 2013

Structuring Discussions: Online and Face-to-Face

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I found a nice set of online discussion activities that strike me as good in-class discussion activities as well. One of the reasons discussion so often fails or doesn’t realize much of its potential is the absence of structure. The discussion is too open-ended. It wanders around and is easily sidetracked. I’m not discounting the value of an occasional unstructured exchange, but when students are still learning what academic discourse entails, a structure can keep the discussion focused and on track.


September 24, 2013

AssessmentTA from ExamSoft Helps Faculty Members Give Students More than Just a Grade

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ExamSoft, the leading provider of intelligent embedded assessment solutions, today announced, AssessmentTA, a combination of easy-to-use software and dedicated services that will help faculty focus on teaching, provide direct-evidence of student learning, and spend less time grading. Assessment TA streamlines the creation and delivery of exams and enables faculty to track and measure performance across learning objectives. Provided at no cost to faculty or the institution, AssessmentTA includes personalized help from ExamSoft’s assessment experts to ensure faculty members are fully supported as they use the system. A software fee for students is less than most college-level textbooks and covers unlimited exams per semester.


Ken Alford September 24, 2013

15 Recommendations for Designing and Delivering Effective Conference Presentations

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As a college faculty member, you speak to audiences both large and small on a daily basis. You know how to deliver information, create learning opportunities, and build engagement. And yet, presenting at a professional conference brings a whole new set of challenges. How do you establish credibility and authority among your peers? How do you make your session relevant for those who, unlike your students, have at least some familiarity with the topic?


September 23, 2013

Using Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Proactive Approach for Online Learning

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There are two main forms of assessment often used within the online classroom. Both formative and summative assessments evaluate student learning and assist instructors in guiding instructional planning and delivery. While the purpose of a summative assessment is to check for mastery following the instruction, formative assessment focuses on informing teachers in ways to improve student learning during lesson delivery (Gualden, 2010). Each type of assessment has a specific place and role within education, both traditional and online.



September 20, 2013

What Online Teachers Need to Know

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The majority of us teach the way we were taught growing up (Southern Regional Education Board, 2009). This presents a challenge for online faculty, who most likely received their education in a traditional, brick and mortar school. Online instruction is much different from face-to-face instruction. Over the past nine years, I have discovered four basic elements that contribute to being an effective online teacher.


September 19, 2013

Giving Students a Choice in Assignments Can Boost Creativity and Motivation

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Teaching to students’ strengths and interests can promote creative and critical thinking. But requesting creative responses often engenders the exact opposite of creativity. “Just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” “How many words does it need to be?” “What should I write about to get a good grade?” “I’m not creative.” Often these comments are accompanied with sighs, groans, or no responses at all (in the case of online students), indicating just how much students resist when asked to be creative. And these responses are even more prevalent in required and prerequisite courses. So how do we overcome the resistance and encourage creative ideas and thinking from our students?