October 31, 2013

Avoiding Information Overload: Remembering Course Goals

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In more than 20 years of teaching, I have learned that too much information frustrates rather than inspires students. Today, however, with a few clicks of the computer mouse, any teacher can retrieve an overabundance of information. What is more, courseware makes distributing this information to students amazingly easy. As a result, teachers risk (unintentionally) giving students much more information than they can reasonably digest, including electronic texts, supplementary texts, and background information. The key to avoiding information overload is remembering course goals.


October 30, 2013

You Got Students Talking about Their Experiences, Now What?

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“Get students talking about their experiences!” I heard this recommendation in a couple of sessions at the recent Teaching Professor Technology Conference, and the admonition does rest on sound premises. Students learn new material by connecting it to what they already know. If a teacher gets a sense of that knowledge base (which often grows out of and rests on experience) it’s a lot easier to make good connections between what students know and what they need to learn.




October 24, 2013

The Process Approach to Online and Blended Learning

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Nate Cottle, professor of human environmental sciences at the University of Central Oklahoma, uses the process approach to learning as delineated by William Horton (2006) in his online and blended courses. Cottle spoke to Online Classroom about using this model. “Learning isn’t something that has to be confined to the classroom, and so as I teach blended classes, I think the more I can involve the students in learning and the more contexts I can involve them in, the more they’re going to learn,” he said. “The idea is to get them to slowly digest the information in different ways and to engage in different activities so that by the time the course comes to an end, they can apply the knowledge they have learned. That’s the ultimate goal: to get them to be in a state where they can apply the knowledge.”



October 22, 2013

New Evidence on Cooperative Learning

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The body of evidence documenting the effectiveness of cooperative learning is already impressive. The large and regularly cited meta-analysis of Johnson and Johnson published in 1987 reviews 378 studies that explore the use of cooperative learning groups in a wide range of settings. More than half of the studies reviewed favored cooperation in groups compared with only 10 percent favoring individual effort.


October 21, 2013

Rubrics Assessment Capability Saves Faculty Time and Enables Institutions to Aggregate Direct Evidence of Student Learning

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ExamSoft, the leading provider of intelligent embedded assessment solutions, today announced a new rubrics assessment platform available for the 2014 Spring Semester. The new solution, which is currently in limited release to clients, is an easy-to-use tool for capturing assessment data on subjective student work such as essays, OSCEs, papers, presentations, and class participation. The addition of rubrics to ExamSoft’s entire suite of software, will provide clients a consolidated and comprehensive picture of each student’s performance, regardless of the assessment type or delivery method.


October 21, 2013

Motivating Students with Teaching Techniques that Establish Relevance, Promote Autonomy

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Underachievement in college students is linked to lack of motivation (Balduf, 2009 and references therein). Two major factors that contribute to poor motivation are inability of students to see the relevance of classroom activities to their chosen careers (Glynn et al., 2009) and lack of a sense of autonomy (Reeve and Jang, 2006; Reeve, 2009).


October 18, 2013

New Survey: College Faculty Increasingly Use Social Media for Teaching and in Professional, Personal lives

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A new report from the Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson finds that college faculty members have become sophisticated consumers of social media, matching different sites to their varying personal, professional, and teaching needs — yet obstacles to wider adoption still remain. The survey results will be presented during Pearson’s “Social Media for Teaching and Learning” event today in Boston at The Museum of Science from 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.