HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Forward thinking might be exactly what teachers strive for in the classroom, but it may require some backwards design. Beth Harrison, PhD, director of the
I’ve sat on the Curriculum Committee at two different higher education institutions. I’ve also participated in college assessment committees and accreditation committees at both the
Students often arrive at university level instruction with some idea of their future employment direction. It is important for university instructors to seize their student’s career enthusiasm and foster a connection between the curriculum and potential future career applications. Providing students with an opportunity to connect their classroom learning, (online or face-to-face) with workplace relevance will result in many positive learning outcomes such as motivation, grit, and career goal setting. As stated by Schwartz, Gregg, and McKee (2018) “Guidance and information focused on careers should be included throughout one’s undergraduate experience” (p. 51). To integrate career content into the classroom the following tips are suggested: integrating career focused topics in discussions and activities; using and integrating services offered by career resource centers; including guest speakers; and incorporating additional online career resources. These strategies help foster a connection between course material and professions and careers students may be considering.
Curriculum changes or differences of opinion about what should be taught and how it should be taught can create tension in any department. And the budget situation in many departments can add fuel to the fire. Jon Bloch, chair of sociology at Southern Connecticut State University, offers the following points to keep in mind to help manage these conflicts:
A new edition of a classic book on the curriculum suggests eight lessons from the learning literature with implications for course and curriculum planning. Any list like this tends to simplify a lot of complicated research and offer generalizations that apply most, but certainly not all, of the time. Despite these caveats, lists like this are valuable. They give busy faculty a sense of the landscape and offer principles that can guide decision making, in this case about courses and curricula.
Most faculty work hard to make each individual course they teach the best learning experience it can be. They learn with each semester, and make revisions based on what worked and where the course stumbled. If done correctly, it’s a continuous improvement process that runs like a well-oiled machine. But no matter how good their individual courses are, it’s easy for faculty to end up in a silo–unsure of what’s happening in other courses throughout their discipline or department.
The findings of a recent study documenting differences between the priorities that faculty and students give to various learning goals will not come as a surprise to many. Those differences are an undercurrent that flow through most classes.
What are your institution’s signature programs—those programs that epitomize your institution’s mission and define its distinctiveness in the marketplace? It’s a question that every institution should address, particularly when faced with increasing competition and decreasing resources, says Jonnie Guerra, vice president for academic affairs at Cabrini College in Pennsylvania…