July 10, 2008

Blogs: An Asynchronous Learning Trend

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Alex Halavais, assistant professor of communication and graduate director of informatics at the University at Buffalo, has incorporated blogs in his courses to encourage students to think beyond a single course, to integrate their learning across the curriculum, and to provide opportunities for feedback as students’ work evolves. Halavais has written a chapter on this topic for the forthcoming book International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments (Kluwer Academic Publishers). Online Classroom recently spoke with Halavais the evolving pedagogical uses of blogs.


July 9, 2008

Improving Lectures

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“Is The Teaching Professor anti-lecture?” the sharply worded e-mail queried. “No, we aren’t,” I replied, “We’re anti poor lectures … just like we’re against group work that doesn’t work and any other instructional approach poorly executed.”

But the note did remind me that we haven’t provided much on lectures recently, and in all the classrooms I visited this semester, lectures were certainly alive and well (although some were not very healthy). My search for current resources uncovered the article referenced below, which identifies 10 “worthwhile considerations” that should be addressed by those who lecture. The author teaches in a science area and pulls examples from that content.



July 7, 2008

Faculty Learning Community Brings Together Diverse Group to Discuss Asynchronous Learning and Trends

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No matter how long you’ve taught, there is always something you can learn from colleagues. This is the concept behind Kent State University’s faculty learning communities (FLCs). Currently, KSU offers 13 FLCs, one of which focuses solely on asynchronous communication.


July 6, 2008

Educational Assessment Options and Opportunities

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As interest in scholarly work on teaching and learning continues to grow and more faculty are trying their hands at work in this arena, materials are needed that summarize the available methods and approaches used in systematic analyses of classroom practices and learning outcomes. Just such a resource appeared last year in the Journal of Engineering Education…



July 4, 2008

What’s the Future of Online Education?

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To many students and would-be students who have yet to experience them, online colleges are sometimes viewed with a combination of suspicion and distrust—and occasional newspaper headlines talking about some CEO who, it was learned, received his or her advanced degree at an online “paper mill” do not help these impressions. And many in traditional academic institutions—including those who offer online courses—continue to quickly turn their noses up at online colleges, believing that any for-profit online college could not possibly offer the same quality education that they can.


July 3, 2008

Tell Students When They’re Wrong

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Instructors need to be thoughtful and reflective about those strategies they use when they respond to students’ answers, and this is especially true when the answer given is wrong. Most of us understand that the stakes are high in this case. Students are easily intimidated. Even those not participating can be negatively affected by how an instructor handles incorrect answers. Some current philosophies of education argue against telling students that they are wrong. The thinking here is that students need to figure out for themselves if their answers are right or wrong. Instead of telling them, instructors should guide them to the right answers, possibly through some sort of Socratic dialogue…


July 2, 2008

What’s Bad about Good Practices?

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The Socratic questioning strategy described in the article appealed to me. I could see how it would cut down on quizzes, grading, and the whole sad enterprise of writing multiple- guess questions that dulled students’ thinking. I made some adaptations and expectantly implemented it in my introduction to political theory course.

Those expectations quickly dissolved. At her desk, one of my best students…


The Scholarship of Teaching July 1, 2008

The Scholarship of Teaching in the Community College

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In his influential Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, Ernest L. Boyer proposed that the definition of “scholarship” be broadened beyond the predominant emphasis on the scholarship of discovery to encompass the scholarship of application, the scholarship of integration, and the scholarship of teaching. What are the objectives of these four different domains of scholarship?