Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Articles

Understanding Adult Learners’ Needs

Understanding learner needs is essential for providing quality education. One approach to understand learner needs is through the use of student evaluation questionnaires which allow us to collate student feedback or suggestions. A common argument against the use of student evaluations is that students do not know their own needs. However, many studies have shown student feedback/suggestions to be reliable and valid. If we do not even attempt to understand their needs, we may fail to recognize the support they require to be successful.

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App Review: Splashtop Whiteboard

I have been looking for a reliable iPad app that would allow me to remotely connect and control my PC or Mac and I finally found one that works well! The app is Whiteboard by Splashtop and the wireless connection between iPad and PC/Mac is seamless and dependable. Connection is a HUGE issue when working with wireless technologies because the last thing that any presenter wants is to spend time figuring out technical glitches. Configuring Whiteboard requires that both iPad and Mac/PC are connected to the same WiFi, which admittedly can be a problem on most campuses for security or other reasons. My simple work around is to use an ad hoc network (an Airport Express will do just fine) if all I want to do is have wireless control of my PC or Mac from the iPad. Another option is to use a MiFi assuming you have one.

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Are We Preaching to the Choir about Student-Centered Learning Practices?

I’d like to report on a nonscientific study I have been conducting, without human-subjects approval or even a clear research plan. This won’t make it into the research journals, but the results are still compelling.

My “study” has been continuous for over two years. During that time, I have made numerous trips, at random times, from my administrative office to a building on the opposite corner of campus. For nearly three months, I made the round trip twice a day or more. Every time, I have walked through the ground floor of our main general classroom building, which has about 14 classrooms, mostly 30- to 50-person rooms, but also with one 120-person tiered lecture hall. The classrooms are assigned to courses covering a wide range of disciplines, mostly first- or second-year classes.

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Selecting Online Learning Technologies: An Interview with Tony Bates

With so many technologies available to enhance online learning, it’s important to choose wisely. In an interview with Online Classroom, Tony Bates, an e-learning and distance education planning and management consultant, offered some insights on what to consider when making technology choices. We offer an excerpt of that interview here.

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Three Steps to Better Course Evaluations

With each semester’s end comes the often-dreaded course evaluation process. Will the students be gentle and offer constructive criticism, or will their comments be harsh and punitive? What do students really want out of a course, anyway? A better time to think about course evaluations is at the beginning of the semester. At that point, an instructor can be proactive in three areas that I have found lead to better course evaluations.

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Four Ways to Motivate Your Students

Motivating students is one of the most difficult challenges for any faculty member, but lighting the fire is critical to ensuring active, dynamic classes. Alice Cassidy, PhD, principal of In View Educational and Professional Development and a faculty member at the University of British Columbia, has devised a four-step process to motivate students for a more stimulating class for students and faculty alike.

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Prof with students in lecture hall

10 Ways to Promote Student Engagement

Student engagement is another of those buzz phrases popular in higher education. As with many regularly used terms, everyone assumes we are talking about the same thing; but when asked for definitions, either we are hard pressed to come up one or what’s offered is a decidedly different collection of definitions. Here’s an article that includes clear definitions and, based on a creative synthesis of research, offers 10 ways to promote student engagement.

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Makeup Exams: Seeking Answers in a Sea of Student Excuses

They’re a hassle. Depending on whether it means constructing a different exam, arranging a time and location to administer the exam, or grading after the fact, a makeup exam can consume a lot of extra time and effort. Unfortunately, such exams are pretty much a necessity. Most of our institutions require faculty to excuse students for certain events and activities such as serious illnesses, court appearances, military duty, and university-sponsored athletics.

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Cultivating Stronger Relationships with Online Faculty through an On-Campus Visitation Program

Strategic relationships build strong commitment and a measurably higher expectation of compliance in all areas, including institutions of higher learning. Columbia Southern University (CSU), a fully online institution, developed an on-campus visitation program in the spring of 2011, inviting groups of faculty to attend a one-day or two-day event for the purpose of connecting faculty to their campus support structure.

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App Review: PickMeBuzzer

I enjoy working with students and believe that learning can be a fun activity. Today there are some interesting ways to introduce elements of fun in classroom activities using stand-along buzzer systems—wired and WiFi—but these can be very expensive and a bit bulky.

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