HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
When we maintain our focus on learning, the means used to help students learn dominates our thinking. Too often teachers can fall into the trap of testing students only on lower-level material (knowledge and comprehension questions). When exams become the only means to assess learning, a teacher becomes a carpenter with only a hammer: all problems start to seem like nails.
Blending learning involves using a combination of face-to-face interactions and online interactions in the same course. Students still regularly meet in the classroom in a blended course, but the frequency of those meetings is usually decreased. The goal of blended learning is to facilitate greater student learning and could thus fit within a learner-centered paradigm.
While it is easy to see how service-learning meshes with courses in the social sciences, public health and education, can it work equally well in other areas, such as the hard sciences and the humanities?
Yes. While service-learning is not appropriate for every course, it can and does work well in every discipline. No matter the discipline, research has shown that service-learning helps students identify and examine the “big questions” and the social context in which the disciplines are situated.
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.
“Hybrid education” has become a hot catchphrase recently as faculty blend face-to-face learning with online technology. But the growth of hybrid education has been steered by the unstated assumption that hybrid technology should be used to facilitate discussion outside of the classroom, while classroom time should be spent lecturing.
Although we strive to uphold academic integrity, we may unknowingly be committing plagiarism. As we know (and tell our students) plagiarism is copying from a source verbatim, but it is even more than that. According to Reference.com, “plagiarism is the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”
“So, what does that mean—’I need to provide more scaffolding’?” a teacher asked, with frustration in his voice. He was just back from a peer review debrief. “Maybe that’s more a suggestion than a criticism,” I offered. “Okay, but what do I do to provide more scaffolding?” he asked.
Earlier this summer the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) marked its 20th anniversary. The landmark civil rights legislation, which protects and strengthens the rights of individuals with disabilities, has helped ensure a more inclusive educational system and society as a whole.
On our campus, we have growing numbers of nontraditional students. The demands on their time out of class are numerous—work, family, and military obligations. It is my job to meet them where they can learn and benefit.