August 31, 2009

Using Rubrics to Improve Online Teaching, Learning, and Retention


I have always enjoyed teaching in the classroom environment. There is something special about watching a student’s eyes light up as a new concept changes perceptions. When I first taught in the online environment, I wondered how I would communicate with students without seeing them in person. Would they get my assignments? Would they understand the requirements? Could they produce the level of work I expected? Could we overcome the potential miscommunications of the written word?

August 28, 2009

Twitter in Higher Education: More than 30 Percent of Faculty Say They Tweet


Results are in from the Faculty Focus survey on Twitter usage and trends among college faculty. The survey of approximately 2,000 higher education professionals found that nearly one-third (30.7 percent) of the 1,958 respondents say they use Twitter in some capacity. More than half, (56.4 percent) say they’ve never used Twitter.

August 27, 2009

College for the First Time


On the road again this week, I was listening to a talk show in which callers were invited to talk about taking their kids to college for the first time. Having never done this myself, it does sound like an emotional letting-go moment. But what impressed me even more were the high expectations these parents have for college experiences. Yes, most of them did mention hopes that their child would fit in, find friends, and have as one mom described it, “a wholesome social life.” Also true, most of them did mention career goals—the hope that college will prepare students for professions that pay well and for professions where there will be jobs. What I didn’t expect to hear were the more lofty goals.

August 25, 2009

Eight Ways to Support Faculty Needs with a Virtual Teaching & Learning Center


Teaching and learning support professionals, particularly those who must perform miracles as a “Department of One,” can have one of the most challenging jobs on campus. They not only support the course design, content delivery strategies, technology integration, and training/orientation for faculty and students in online learning programs (asynchronous and synchronous formats), but they also support all other teaching/learning needs for classroom, blended, and any other teaching environment. This professional may be an instructional designer, an educational technologist, or very often, a designated faculty member with some or all of these skills.

August 24, 2009

Using the Syllabus to Create an Engaging Classroom Climate


It’s important at the beginning of a course for students and their instructor to find out about each other. This exchange of information helps to create classroom climates of respect and fosters a spirit of exchange that can encourage students to ask questions, make comments, and otherwise participate in dialogue throughout the course.

August 20, 2009

A Student Who Needs a Teacher


I’m teaching a young woman to knit socks. We don’t have much time as she heads off for college very shortly. This will be her third college in as many years. Her transcript is a hodge podge of courses, many of them dropped and most the rest C’s. It makes me sad. She’s plenty smart enough to be doing well in college, but so far she has not connected with any part of the college experience.