May 31, 2011

Handling Complaints: Advice for Academic Leaders

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Handling complaints is one of the defining roles of academic administration. It demands perseverance, good listening skills, tact, and adherence to institutional policies and legal requirements. In an interview with Academic Leader, C.K. Gunsalus, author of The Academic Administrator’s Survival Guide (which includes an entire chapter on complaints), offered advice on how to manage this important role.


May 27, 2011

Lessons Learned When Classes Don’t Go As Planned

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When things don’t go well in a class, it never generates good feelings. It takes courage to address the reasons why. What if the teacher discovers it’s her fault? It takes even more courage to explore with a colleague what happened and the most courage of all to share in print the tale of a class gone awry. I have a small but growing resource list of just such public disclosures—they attest to how much an instructor can learn by facing what happened and how much others can learn by reading these accounts. I have a new article to add to that collection.


May 25, 2011

Magna Publications and The Teaching Professor announce winners of the Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award

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At the 2011 Teaching Professor Conference, Magna Publications and The Teaching Professor announced the winners of the Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award. Now in its third year, the award recognizes outstanding scholarly contributions with the potential to advance college-level teaching and learning practices.


May 25, 2011

Using YouTube to Enhance Student Engagement

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Technology is everywhere. Some people are addicted to it and refuse to live without it. College students will say that their laptop, phone, and iPod are necessities comparable to food. So how can professors remove these technological items from the hands of the student and still keep them engaged in class discussions? Through another form of widely used technology: YouTube. Students view videos and upload them to experience visual content and to share the same. Visual tools create a connection between the content and viewer (McKenzie, 2008). Many videos on YouTube are academic and professional in nature and when used properly will reinforce classroom discussions and engage college students due to the images and audio used (Cardine, 2008).


May 24, 2011

“Why Are We Doing This?” Establishing Relevance to Enhance Student Learning

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Students frequently wonder and sometimes ask, “Why are we doing this? Why do I need to know this? Why are we spending so much time on this? Why do we have to do this busywork?”

When students don’t see the connection between the content and activities of the course and their future lives, they question what’s happening and what we ask them to do. Research confirms that perceived relevance is a critical factor in maintaining student interest and motivation. It also contributes to higher student ratings on course evaluations.




May 18, 2011

Guidelines for Online Teaching Success

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Years ago at a faculty meeting Larry Ragan, PhD, director of Faculty Development for Penn State’s World Campus, was trying to soft-sell the idea of performance expectations for online faculty. He didn’t want the discussion to be misinterpreted as an indictment against their teaching style, but he also saw an opportunity to share proven practices for improving the online teaching and learning experience. Finally a senior faculty member grew tired of the tip-toeing around the subject and said, “If you don’t tell us what is expected, how will we know what to do to succeed?”


May 17, 2011

Turnitin Study Examines ‘Copy and Paste’ Plagiarism

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When students need to write a paper, where do they go? A study released last month on plagiarism found that social and user-generated websites are the most popular resources, followed by academic and homework-related sites. Cheat sites and paper mills comprised less than 15 percent of the total resources used and showed the most significant decline over the period examined.


May 16, 2011

Failure is an Option: Helping Students Learn from Mistakes

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Failure is one of the best teachers. Most of what I learned about home maintenance I learned from my mistakes. The military understands the benefits of failure and actually gives soldiers tasks that they know will lead to failure at some point as a part of their training. Similarly, pilots are trained on simulators and given a variety of emergency situations until they fail.