October 31, 2011

Using the Reader’s Guide to Increase Reading Compliance and Metacognitive Awareness


For many college instructors, getting students to read their textbooks is a continuous struggle. Not only are students unmotivated to read, but even when students do read they often lack the necessary skills to fully comprehend the material. As a result, instructors may subtly or unwittingly communicate that reading the textbook is not necessary in order to pass a course. This communication can take the form of providing students with elaborate study guides or notes that summarize the reading or include all the answers to upcoming tests or quizzes.

October 28, 2011

Teaching Strategy Mirrors Workforce Expectations


As an instructor of Cisco Networking Academy training for 12 years, I’ve tried many types of teaching strategies. The students in this area of the CIS Department bring various technical and soft skills to the classroom, from less-than-fundamental to exceptional. In relation to these skills,
The National Business Education Association (Glenn, 2011) reported that workforce requirements suggest that educational institutions should do more to help their students develop the “four Cs”: critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.

October 26, 2011

Determining the Best Technology for Your Students, Your Course, and You


The number of technologies available to both higher education institutions and individual instructors seems to grow each day. With tools that promise to increase engagement, communication, interaction, efficiencies, and learning, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s also easy to make bad choices — choices that could result in wasted money, time, or learning opportunities, all the while causing undue frustration for students and faculty alike.

October 24, 2011

Listen to the Message as You Talk about Your Students


I must confess I still enjoy catalog shopping. I know how that dates me but at the end of the day, the last thing I want to curl up in bed with is my laptop. I particularly enjoy catalogs that include recipes. The King Arthur Flour catalog and Penzeys Spices are favorites. The fall 2011 Penzeys’ catalog pays special tribute to teachers because, company founder and owner Bill Penzey says, teachers aren’t feeling a lot of respect these days and they are being inappropriately blamed for our economic woes when, in fact, they do more to build the economy than anyone else. “Teachers are strong people, but their jobs are hard and have a way of using up that strength,” he writes.

October 21, 2011

Teach Like It’s 1990: Online Teaching Fundamentals Are Always in Style


The list of technological add-ons to enhance our teaching efforts seems to be endless and growing. Yet as these add-ons continue to grow in use, a problem has also begun to surface: the online instructor who relies on these “cool” apps and software so heavily that he or she begins to neglect the basics of teaching.

October 14, 2011

The Role of Feedback on Skill Development


I’m working on a lecture I’ll be giving at the University of the West Indies and have been thinking about the feedback we give students on their skill development. If you teach something like art or physical therapy or some sport, then skill feedback can’t be avoided, but if you teach something like calculus, history, management or biology where the emphasis is on the content, students don’t always get much feedback on the skills associated with content acquisition in those areas. Our feedback tends to focus on whether they have mastered the material. How they do that is a secondary concern or not an issue we deal with directly.