March 27, 2009

Distance Learning Administration and Policy: Strategies for Achieving Excellence

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Although distance learning is no longer in its infancy, there are still a lot of unknowns. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the questions and the possibilities of what you want your online program to look like today … not to mention five years from now. Here’s your chance to take advantage some of the best practices learned by those who blazed the trail before you.


March 27, 2009

Creating a Class Participation Rubric

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After years of stating my expectations for tutorial participation orally, I have developed a rubric that I think both improves my accountability as an assessor and provides my students with a clear sense of my expectations for class discussions. It also makes clear my focus in the small group setting: creating a “learners-centered,” as opposed to a “learner-centered,” environment.


March 26, 2009

Unsettling Discoveries from Analysis of Engineering Education

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I’ve been reading a book on engineering education. Actually it’s a call to redesign engineering education, and it’s based on an impressive study that involved visits to 11 mechanical and electrical engineering program at six very diverse institutions, a review of about 100 self-study reports from 40 different school (prepared for the accreditation process), as well as interviews with student and faculty and classroom observations. The call for reform is based on a mountain of data.




March 24, 2009

Designing Group Work

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On one of my recent road trips, I had a stimulating conversation with two colleagues during which we discussed group work and the challenge of designing good activities for groups. Although the problems that emerge when students work in groups cannot be completely prevented by well-designed activities, they can certainly be made to occur less frequently or to lesser degrees. Let me offer some examples.


March 24, 2009

Five Things that Will Ease the Transition from Faculty to Department Chair

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Inadequate preparation, unrealistic expectations, and increased workload can be overwhelming for faculty members making the transition to department chair. Brenda Coppard, chair of occupational therapy at Creighton University, found this transition “just a little mind boggling” and decided to focus