CURRENT ARTICLE • November 16th student working on laptop

Wikipedia Projects for Learning


Most teachers consider Wikipedia the devil’s realm, a place where rumor and misinformation are spread. But in reality, studies have found that Wikipedia has an accuracy of a regular encyclopedia. Inaccurate information is quickly corrected by volunteer editors, and there are strict standards for entering content, including the rule that “everything must be cited.” Most important, Wikipedia is the place where many, if not most, people go to get initial information on a topic. This makes it probably the most important information source on the Internet, and because editing is public, it presents a wonderful opportunity for students to create articles as class assignments.


student studying in library November 14

Enhancing Learning through Zest, Grit, and Sweat


Early in my career, I focused most of my efforts on teaching content. That is, after all, what most of us are hired to do, right? With experience and greater understanding of how learning works, my attention shifted toward metacognition. I began investing lots of time and energy reading and identifying ways to help students grow as learners while they learned the content.

students working on project November 12

The Power of Transparency in Your Teaching


The Winter/Spring 2016 issue of Peer Review highlights the powerful impact ‘transparency’ can have on learning for all students. One aspect of transparency is making obvious the intellectual practices involved in completing and evaluating a learning task. But making these processes visible for students is more easily said than done; we are experts in our fields for the very reasons that our thinking and evaluating are automatic and subconscious. It’s hard to describe exactly what we do intellectually when we synthesize or integrate, critique, or create. Similarly, it’s difficult to articulate the differences between an assignment we score as an A and one to which we give a B. Thus, a challenge in achieving transparency is developing a deep awareness of our own processes. Only then can we explicitly teach those thinking processes.

reflections on teaching November 8

Reflections on Teaching: From Surviving to Thriving


Editor’s Note: In part one of this article, the author shared openly some of the mistakes he made early in his teaching career. In this entry, he outlines some of the changes he’s made to his teaching over the years and the principles he uses to guide his teaching.

I had known it all along at some level, but now it suddenly became glaringly obvious to me. Deep down, sometimes out of conscious reach, students want to be transformed and their lives made more useful, productive, and powerful. I added the following new goal to my personal mission statement:

teaching mistakes November 7

Reflections on Teaching: Mistakes I’ve Made


I started teaching at American University at the age of 56 after a rewarding career as an environmental and wildlife film producer. That was almost ten years ago, and I’ll be the first to admit that I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had never taught before and I wasn’t even sure where to begin. I had no teaching philosophy beyond some vague, unarticulated feeling that I wanted my students to do well. And so, I started asking lots of questions.

mission to teach November 6

Remembering Our Mission to Teach


Have you ever become so frustrated with students and overwhelmed by your workload that you start questioning what you are doing? At times it can feel suffocating. Baruti Kafele, an educator and motivational speaker offers a perspective of being mission oriented to educators and others working with young people in our nation’s classrooms. He suggests affirming your goals and motivations to facilitate successes among students. However, in the college classroom, it is also essential that we, as faculty members, remember and affirm our purpose, acknowledge the contributions we make in students’ lives and professional pursuits, and respect the call or passion that brought each of us to the teaching profession.

online mentoring November 5

An Online Mentoring Model That Works


Recent findings indicate that higher education enrollment is being outpaced by online enrollments while overall enrollment in higher education has declined over the last three years (Betts, 2017). Data analyzed from the U.S. Department of Education confirm that enrollment in online courses in higher education has more than tripled in the years from 2002 to 2014: 2002, 1.6 million; 2014, 5.8 million (Poulin & Straut, 2016).

November 1

Teaching Through Community-Based Projects


In my teaching experience I have come to the conclusion that many college students are unaware of the cultural differences and social issues in their communities. I have also realized that some teachers are often limited in delivering academic content inside the classroom, which might prevent learners from contextualizing the knowledge in real-life situations. Therefore, helping students understand that there is a relevant relationship between their professional skills and their role as citizens within their communities is important. The purpose of including community-based projects in your syllabi is to instill in students a sense of social responsibility and cultural awareness at an early stage in their professional life.

personality types October 30

8 Student Personality Types in Distance Learning Part 2


The first part of this article spent time discussing some of the less motivated student personality types I have encountered through the years, as well as providing some context to the learning environment. Distance learning (DL) presents a unique set of challenges for instructors ranging from the basics like methodologies to interact with students, to motivating students to keep pace with the curriculum and help them balance the external challenges like family and work issues; student types being part of the equation. We already discussed “After the Fact Jack,” “Intermittent Irene,” “The Winger,” and “Coat Tail Tom,” so it’s time to explore some of the other types.

personality October 29

8 Student Personality Types in Distance Learning Part 1


I was taking advantage of some down time, cleaning out some of my old files on my computer, when I ran across a great article I saved that covered student personality types. When I originally read this article, I only had several years of experience working in the distance-learning realm. Now, years later, I have seen all these student types at one time or another, and throughout the years, noticed several others worthy of mention.