October 29, 2008

Nine Tips for Creating a Hybrid Course

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Most instructors supplement their face-to-face courses with some online learning materials such as online syllabi, handouts, PowerPoint slides, and course-related Web links. All of these can add to the learning experience, but they are merely a start to making full use of the learning potential of the online learning environment in either a hybrid or totally online course. Although there is no standard definition of a hybrid course, one characteristic that makes a course a hybrid is the use of the Web for interaction rather than merely as a means of posting materials, says LaTonya Motley, instructional technology specialist at El Camino Community College in California.


October 27, 2008

Creating Faculty Collegiality: Strategies for Department Chairs

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Incivility in higher education has flourished in recent years, fueled by a convergence of factors ranging from the infiltration of a more corporate culture and a system that rewards individual accomplishments above collaboration to decreased state funding coupled with increased workloads and expectations. For department chairs, leading teams of educators during such a difficult time can be wrought with unexpected challenges and frustrations.


October 23, 2008

Time Management Strategies for Academic Leaders

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About three years ago, having served four years as department chair and having gone through the typical headaches that people in my position go through, I began studying and practicing time management techniques. After adopting some simple strategies, I find that the job I do today is much more effective and enjoyable than when I began my current leadership position. In this article I will share some key time management principles that you can implement on your own.


October 20, 2008

Teaching Strategies for Transformative Learning

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Questions are one of those mainstay teaching strategies used to accomplish all kinds of learning goals: questions help an instructor gauge levels of understanding; questions can pique flagging interest; questions lead the way deeper into content and questions challenge thinking. Adult educator Patricia Cranton identifies three kinds of questions especially effective at promoting critical self-reflection and self-knowledge.



October 7, 2008

Should Instructors Provide Students with Complete Notes?

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Course management software programs make it especially easy for instructors to provide students with a set of complete lecture notes. It seems that more instructors are doing this, as witnessed in the regularity with which students ask that the instructor’s notes be posted. But is giving students a complete set of notes a good idea?


October 6, 2008

Effective Teaching: Six Keys to Success

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This particular list of characteristics appears in an excellent book that is all but unknown in the states, Learning to Teach in Higher Education, by noted scholar Paul Ramsden. In the case of what makes teaching effective, he writes, “…a great deal is known about the characteristics of effective university teaching. It is undoubtedly a complicated matter; there is no indication of one ‘best way,’ but our understanding of its essential nature is both broad and deep.” (p. 88–89). He organizes that essential knowledge into these six principles, unique for the way he relates them to students’ experiences.


October 5, 2008

The Wizard of Oz: A Metaphor for Teaching Excellence

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When reflecting on my experiences as a college professor, several themes from The Wizard of Oz often surface. This well-known story provides a metaphorical view of behaviors that I strive to achieve in my ongoing work with students. In the familiar foursome’s journey to the Emerald City, I see characteristics necessary for teaching excellence—the need to improve, fine-tune and revamp as we travel with students through courses and curricula.


October 3, 2008

Telling, Doing, Making Mistakes, and Learning

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This learning by doing is an excellent example and extension of Dewey’s Experiential Learning Theory, which suggests that everything occurs in a social environment. Learning is a process that includes knowledge, as facilitated and organized by the instructor, as well as, students’ previous experiences and readiness. As educators, we have a responsibility to provide students…


October 1, 2008

Chapter Essays as a Teaching Tool

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A few years ago I added a simple assignment to my introductory sociology classes, and it has paid off in more ways than I expected. Each student writes an essay for each chapter we cover. In the essay, prepared outside of class, the student identifies what they consider the single most important concept from the chapter unit (anything in the textbook or class lecture and discussion) and then explains why they think it is important. Each student must give an example from their own life experiences that illustrates the idea and establishes its importance, and then relate it to the topic.