Years of helping faculty pass to the dark side of online education have taught me a few simple rules that I brow beat (in a collegial way) into all new online teachers.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Social media has revolutionized communication by allowing anyone to easily broadcast ideas and creations to a broad audience. Whereas creative expression through media was once owned by a select few movie studios, television networks, and radio stations, now thousands of people have YouTube channels that they use to broadcast homemade shows on anything from news to entertainment to peer advice, etc. Dozens of these people are making a full-time living from the advertising revenue from their homemade shows.
We’ve all heard the expressions “Death by PowerPoint” and “PowerPoint-induced coma.” I think we’d all agree that most of PowerPoints stink. Yet after sitting through presentation after presentation that bore us to tears, we turn around and subject our students and colleagues to the same torture that we find so excruciating. Why?
It’s an almost unquestioned assumption that written assignments need to be used to assess student learning. While traditional writing assignments are appropriate for many types of assessments, there is no law requiring it for all assessments. I’ve had students construct Wikipedia entries, make Voicethreads, and build online games as assessments.
As teachers we know that our written work is not ready for publication until it has been reviewed by a variety of colleagues for commentary and edits. External review is needed even for good writers because we have a hard time seeing our own writing errors. Plus, we need that extra feedback to sharpen our ideas, discover new directions to take, and generally elevate our work to publication quality.
I’ve long said that professors who want to explore teaching with technology should begin with a social media tool rather than a Learning Management System. Web 2.0 tools are simple to use, invite student collaboration, and are usually less administratively clunky and complex than an LMS.
Steven Johnson attributes much of the progress humanity made in science during the Enlightenment to the widespread practice at the time of “commonplacing.” People would carry around a notebook in which they would record interesting passages that they read, comments from others, or thoughts that they had (Johnson, 86).
We want our students to develop original insights, and are often disappointed when discussion provides little in the way of original thought. But this is
Storytelling is the oldest form of education. The cave dwellers first taught their children lessons through stories. The Greeks picked up on the tradition by
Our student newspaper recently ran a story about students bringing their cell phones and computers to class. Not surprisingly, all of the teachers interviewed were against the practice on the grounds that these devices distracted students from class material. Some went so far as to forbid students from using them in class, although you have to wonder if they can really enforce such a rule.