February 27, 2012

Should Professors Use Facebook to Communicate with Students?

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Nearly 85% of faculty have a Facebook account, two-thirds are on LinkedIn, and 50% are on Twitter according to research from Faculty Focus. But, professors’ use of social media shows we are behind the relationship curve when it comes to connecting with students. Only 32% have friended undergrad students and about half (55%) connect with some students after graduation.


February 21, 2012

The Challenge of Teaching Content When Test Stakes Are High

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As educators, we share the challenge of how to teach an overwhelming amount of content in a short period of time to a sometimes motivated but often bored and listless student population. I do believe that most students enter higher education with a true desire to master their subject area. Some are even interested in learning for the sake of learning. But lectures overloaded with PowerPoint slides quickly change the motivation to extrinsic. This is especially true in fields where high-stakes testing determines future career options.


February 20, 2012

Navigating the ‘Patchwork Quilt’ of State Authorization Requirements Remains a Huge Challenge for Online Programs

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State authorization of online programs is one of the biggest issues confronting higher ed institutions seeking to expand their reach to more distance learners. Since the introduction of federal regulations in October 2010 (section 600.9), institutions have been scrambling to respond to a myriad of state requirements.



February 16, 2012

Promoting Research While Advancing Instruction, Part 2

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In Part 1, we examined several reasons why it’s important for universities to look at faculty work not in terms of the actions that are taken but rather in terms of the benefits that result. Of course, it’s one thing to say that changing how we view faculty roles can help promote research while advancing teaching; it’s another thing entirely to bring about such a massive change.


February 15, 2012

Distributing Points and Percentages Across Assignments and Activities

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I started thinking about this when I wondered in a previous blog whether the 5 or 10% that many of us give for participation was enough to motivate students, or whether being such a small part of the grade, it actually devalued what students contribute in class. Since then I’ve been thinking more about how we decide on the allocation of points or percentages for the various assignments students complete in a course. For many of us (that includes me), it isn’t as thoughtful of a process as it should be. Rather, we do what we’ve done before, or we ask around, get a general sense of what everybody else is doing and follow suit.


February 14, 2012

Promoting Research while Advancing Instruction, Part 1

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It’s an issue many colleges and universities are facing today: How do you expand research capacity while still preserving an institution’s traditional emphasis on effective teaching? How is it possible to improve your reputation in one of these areas without abandoning your reputation in the other? How can you expand your mission in an environment of increasingly strained budgets, greater competition among institutions (including public, private, for-profit, and virtual universities), and rigorous accountability? And how do you balance the expectation of so many legislatures and governing boards that you demonstrate student success with their simultaneous expectation that you obtain more and more external funding from sponsored research and the frequent pursuit of grants?


February 13, 2012

To Improve Students’ Public Speaking Skills, Use The Moth

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Since about 2000 I have been associated with the global organization Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) that promotes student engagement in the communities for the betterment of our lives. SIFE is appealing because it invites teams to come, first, to their regional competitions, where each team in about 25 minutes has to impress judges (usually sponsoring firms’ upper-level management) with the team’s projects, but also with the quality of vocal and visual presentations.