Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Online Education

Student watches course online and laughs at the content

Encouragement for Online Learners

This article is featured in the resource guide, Effective Online Teaching Strategies. Prior to every course, faculty should consider how they can connect with their

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Online classrooms and their associated technological tools are constantly evolving

Desirable Difficulties in Convenient Coursework

The phrase “desirable difficulties” was first coined in the nineties by psychologist Robert Bjork to describe learning conditions that introduced inconveniences to yield greater learner retention of material. According to the literature, the more work that is required to learn a concept, the greater the mastery (Sparks, 2011). To illustrate, a classical example of a desirable difficulty is found in the use of flashcards as study tools. Flashcards typically display only partial information, as a cue for the user to recall a more complete set of facts. When compared to lecture notes, flashcards require a student to work harder in recalling materials and are therefore especially effective study tools. As such, flashcards have been popular among students for decades.

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IRS - Lessons for online classroom

Five Lessons Online Faculty Can Learn from the IRS

Another Tax Day is upon us. I’ll keep this post brief, just in case you haven’t yet filed.

The Internal Revenue Service is good for lots of things, but it’s not usually viewed as a source of sound teaching advice. In 2016, however, the government agency created an online publication called the Behavioral Insights Toolkit. At just 72 pages, the toolkit is a relatively short guide for IRS employees and researchers to help promote compliance and improve taxpayer engagement by leveraging strong communication practices.

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engaged online student

What is ‘Swift Trust,’ and Why Do I Want it in My Classes?

Due to the shift to performance-based funding in many states, colleges and universities have sharpened their focus on student retention. Because of this, I have sought out information about best practices in retaining students, in particular online students, to help do my fair share in this effort for the schools where I teach. While I found many articles about the importance of social presence, one of the more interesting discoveries was from a chapter in Trust in Organizations on the concept called “swift trust.” Although it is mostly put into practice and studied in workplace settings, it certainly applies to education, too.

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scaffolding online learning

Scaffolding Online Student Success

Where did it all go wrong? Professor Elavor* just wrapped up what she hoped would be a successful semester of her new online course—Introduction to Natural Sciences. Unfortunately, the course ended with a giant thud.

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learning assessment techniques

Using Bridge Questions to Teach Technical Content Online

Courses with a great deal of technical content for application in practice such as law, business, or STEM courses are oftentimes designed in what amounts to an information delivery method. The professor provides the necessary information for students to memorize and repeat back in the course assessments.

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student on a laptop

The Art & Science of Quality Course Announcements: How to Avoid the Trap of the Info Dump

It’s the night before a major assignment is due and you sit down to post an announcement in your online course. You want to remind your students of the impending due date, and oh yes, there’s a great webinar offered by the career center coming up on Tuesday. That reminds you, there’s also that article about the history of Wikipedia that you want to share with them too. Come to think of it, now’s as good a time as any to discuss the lack of analysis you noticed in their discussion board posts last week. As you write about their discussions, you also decide to include one last link to a citation website you hope will help them improve in this area.

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