November 30, 2010

Online Education Continues its Rapid Growth, Study Finds

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The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reveals that online enrollment rose by almost one million students – the largest ever year-to-year increase since the study began eight years ago. The survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide finds approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in Fall 2009, the most recent term for which figures are available.


November 29, 2010

Curriculum Development, Alignment and Coordination: A Data-Driven Approach

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Most faculty work hard to make each individual course they teach the best learning experience it can be. They learn with each semester, and make revisions based on what worked and where the course stumbled. If done correctly, it’s a continuous improvement process that runs like a well-oiled machine. But no matter how good their individual courses are, it’s easy for faculty to end up in a silo–unsure of what’s happening in other courses throughout their discipline or department.


November 23, 2010

Teacher Anger: What to do When You’re Reaching the Breaking Point

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Do you ever reach a point where you’ve just had it with your students—they still aren’t following directions you’ve repeatedly delivered, they’re still talking not so quietly in the back of the room, and too many of them are still turning in work that has been dashed off at the last minute? So what do you do? March into class and more or less let them have it?



November 19, 2010

Teaching Undergraduate Research: A Unique Model

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Teaching undergraduate research when laboratories are involved is a time-consuming and costly endeavor, especially at those institutions without graduate assistants. One faculty member working alongside two or three students for four hours a week for one credit isn’t a particularly viable approach. For faculty who use undergrads to support their research programs, this approach slows down productivity as proficient students graduate and new ones must be trained in an unending cycle.


November 18, 2010

Preparing Your Online Students for the Tough Weeks Ahead

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Our courses are rolled out to online students with assignments scheduled for each week. Some of these assignments are relatively easy, meaning there will be weeks that are “light” in terms of scheduled assignments, while others will be “killer” weeks because of especially difficult assignments and/or a large number of assignments. While you need to prepare students to do all the assignments, it is especially important that you pre-assist them for those killer weeks. If you don’t do this, their anxiety can markedly increase, their involvement in and enthusiasm for the course can decrease, and you can lose them altogether.





November 12, 2010

Could We Hear from Someone Else, Please?

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Generating participation in a large class discussion is fraught with teaching land mines. We can call on people who raise their hands, but too often it is always the same people. We can ask to hear from someone else and risk offending those who have been volunteering, so that there are even fewer hands. We can call on people randomly and risk embarrassing those who aren’t prepared or don’t understand. Maybe that will motivate them to prepare, or it may just be reflected in our teaching evaluations. I’d like to share an exercise that broadens class participation and offers a way around these potential risks.