December 14, 2012

Sam Houston State University Partners with Pearson to Increase Access to Personalized Learning and Improve Achievement

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Partnership Gives 15,000 Undergraduate Students Access to Entire Collection of MyLab and Mastering Products Sam Houston State University (SHSU) and Pearson have partnered to provide personalized learning products to 15,000 undergraduate students. Under the agreement, SHSU students will have full


December 14, 2012

Assignments That Promote Critical Thinking

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Teaching students to think critically has long been a goal of education. Some, like the authors of the article highlighted here, think it’s a goal whose importance has increased. When today’s students graduate, they “must fend for themselves in an information environment characterized by a fragmented media establishment, blurb-driven news coverage, and an increasingly polarized political system. Given the normative bias, questionable logic, and contorted facts that people face these days, it is essential that students learn to discern and evaluate different types of information.” (p. 619)


December 13, 2012

Asynchronous Art History: Teaching Online with Picasso

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When people find out I am an online art history instructor, the most common reaction I get is “How does that work?” Most of the time, people assume that because art is such a visual outlet that somehow the online classroom is not the most appropriate place to teach art. I have to admit, when I was first approached about teaching art history online, I was skeptical as well. But as time and terms wear on, so too does my belief that teaching art asynchronously can be an effective, and dare I say it, better way to teach art history. Here’s why.


December 12, 2012

Top 12 Teaching and Learning Articles for 2012, part 2

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It wouldn’t be the end of the year without a few top 10 lists. As we say goodbye to 2012, we’re doing our list with a little twist: the top 12 articles of 2012. Each article’s popularity ranking is based on a combination of the number of reader comments and social shares, e-newsletter open and click-through rates, web traffic and other reader engagement metrics.



December 11, 2012

Top 12 Teaching and Learning Articles for 2012, part 1

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As another year draws to a close, the editorial team at Faculty Focus looks back on some of the top articles of the past year. Throughout 2012, we published approximately 250 articles. The articles covered a wide range of topics – from group work to online learning. In a two-part series, which will run today and Wednesday, we’re revealing the top 12 articles for 2012. Each article’s popularity ranking is based on a combination of the number of reader comments and social shares, e-newsletter open and click-thru rates, web traffic and other reader engagement metrics.


December 7, 2012

Online Student Retention Strategies: A Baker’s Dozen of Recommendations

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Despite the tremendous growth of online education programs, student retention for online courses remains problematic. The attrition rate from online universities is often cited as 20% to 50% (Diaz, 2002). Studies also reveal that attrition from online programs can be as high as 70% to 80% (Dagger, Wade & Conlan, 2004).


December 6, 2012

Getting Over Learning Styles

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There is a landfill of studies—more than 3,000 articles and 600 books. If you Google “learning styles” you will get 9.7 million hits in 0.16 seconds. “Learning styles workshops” produces 7.8 million hits and even “critiques of learning styles” garners 460,000 items. By the numbers of instruments, handbooks, and workshops advertised online, learning styles must be a sizable industry. But after diving into the pile, my mind was full of grit and cynicism. A zealous quest has created claims and theories so bad they aren’t even wrong. There had to be something useful in all this effort or despair would settle over me like so much dust.


December 4, 2012

Strategies for Writing Better Teaching Philosophy Statements

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Teaching philosophy statements are now prepared for a variety of reasons: as part of a job application process; to be included in a promotion and tenure dossier; for a teaching award; or to foster reflection about how and why you teach. Regardless of purpose, the goal ought to be preparation of statements that reveal those beliefs and practices characteristic of an individual teacher. Writing teaching philosophy statements that accurately describe the instructional self isn’t easy, given that so many of us begin teaching careers with little training and continue them with episodic professional development. A set of resources can do much to assist the process and an impressive collection appears in the article referenced below.


December 3, 2012

Academic Customer Service Shouldn’t be a Dirty Word

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Earlier this year, we kicked off the semester with a faculty development workshop on academic customer service. Academic customer service is a hot and contentious topic on many college campuses, with faculty often reeling at the suggestion that students are customers (and therefore “always right”) or that education is a product intended for consumption. The feedback from our session in August was prickly and some of the comments demonstrated that we were in worse shape than I imagined.