February 26, 2010

Revisiting the Purpose of Higher Education and Courses

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Noel Entwistle writes in the conclusion of an impressive chapter that provides an overview of key research findings about learning that the evidence leads to “seeing the purpose of higher education as going beyond the acquisition of knowledge and skills; to recognize that for the demands of current society and employment, graduates need to have acquired a personal conceptual understanding of the main ideas and ways of thinking in their area of study so as to experience ‘learning that lasts.’ Only this will provide flexibility in applying knowledge, skills, and understanding that will suffice at a time of rapid change and ‘super-complexity’ in dealing with emerging issues and new problems.” (p. 43)


February 26, 2010

Three Ways to Increase the Quality of Students' Discussion Board Comments

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As more and more courses go online, interaction and knowledge building among students rely primarily on asynchronous threaded discussions. For something that is so central to online learning, current research and literature have provided instructors with little support as to how they can facilitate and maintain high-quality conversations among students in these learning environments. This article responds to this need by offering three strategies instructors can use to ensure educationally valuable talk in their online classes.


February 25, 2010

Teaching with Technology: A More Meaningful Learning Experience Starts with Two Simple Questions

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We are bombarded with information about online course supplements and the newest interactive multimedia components, all touted as the best approach to engage today’s learners in the online environment. Dedicated practitioners puzzle over how, when, and where to incorporate multimedia within their online courses and further agonize over the potential effects of choosing not to do so.



February 23, 2010

Course Planning

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The course planning activities of faculty have not been studied extensively. The most impressive studies done on the topic were completed 20 years ago. But then, I can’t think of any compelling reason why our planning processes might be different. Can you?


February 23, 2010

A Classroom Icebreaker with a Lesson that Lasts

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I bring a box to the first day of class — especially if it’s a course with beginning students. At precisely the time class starts, I walk into the room with my box filled with random, quirky objects. I like to include a small Alf doll, a pad of Post-its, some scissors, perhaps a can of Slim-Fast, a candle, a rock, a comb, and maybe six or seven other objects indiscriminately gathered as I leave for class. As soon as I enter the room, I put the box on the table; take each article out; place it on the table; and finally, when all of them are out, return them to the box. Then I ask the students to take out a piece of paper and write down as many of the items as they can remember.




February 19, 2010

Academic Integrity in Distance Learning

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The problem of academic dishonesty has become one of staggering proportions. In a recent paper on the subject, Robert Kitahara, assistant professor in the business programs at Troy University, and co-author Frederick Westfall, associate professor and regional chair of business programs for Troy University, detail a growing problem in distance learning in which students cheat on tests and assignments, then seek redress for wrongs against them when they are caught.