Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Articles

Bring Your Computer to Class Day

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.

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Creating Effective Responses to Student Discussion Postings

An integral part of nearly all online classes is the threaded discussion—it is where students interact on a nearly daily basis, posting their thoughts and information on main discussion topics, your postings, and the postings of other students. While you have measured control over the content, length, and tone of student postings, you have full control over your own.

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Handling Complaints: Advice for Academic Leaders

Handling complaints is one of the defining roles of academic administration. It demands perseverance, good listening skills, tact, and adherence to institutional policies and legal requirements. In an interview with Academic Leader, C.K. Gunsalus, author of The Academic Administrator’s Survival Guide (which includes an entire chapter on complaints), offered advice on how to manage this important role.

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Lessons Learned When Classes Don’t Go As Planned

When things don’t go well in a class, it never generates good feelings. It takes courage to address the reasons why. What if the teacher discovers it’s her fault? It takes even more courage to explore with a colleague what happened and the most courage of all to share in print the tale of a class gone awry. I have a small but growing resource list of just such public disclosures—they attest to how much an instructor can learn by facing what happened and how much others can learn by reading these accounts. I have a new article to add to that collection.

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Magna Publications and The Teaching Professor announce winners of the Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award

At the 2011 Teaching Professor Conference, Magna Publications and The Teaching Professor announced the winners of the Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award. Now in its third year, the award recognizes outstanding scholarly contributions with the potential to advance college-level teaching and learning practices.

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Using YouTube to Enhance Student Engagement

Technology is everywhere. Some people are addicted to it and refuse to live without it. College students will say that their laptop, phone, and iPod are necessities comparable to food. So how can professors remove these technological items from the hands of the student and still keep them engaged in class discussions? Through another form of widely used technology: YouTube. Students view videos and upload them to experience visual content and to share the same. Visual tools create a connection between the content and viewer (McKenzie, 2008). Many videos on YouTube are academic and professional in nature and when used properly will reinforce classroom discussions and engage college students due to the images and audio used (Cardine, 2008).

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“Why Are We Doing This?” Establishing Relevance to Enhance Student Learning

Students frequently wonder and sometimes ask, “Why are we doing this? Why do I need to know this? Why are we spending so much time on this? Why do we have to do this busywork?”

When students don’t see the connection between the content and activities of the course and their future lives, they question what’s happening and what we ask them to do. Research confirms that perceived relevance is a critical factor in maintaining student interest and motivation. It also contributes to higher student ratings on course evaluations.

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Tips for Creating a Participatory Classroom Environment

All too often students shuffle into class, take notes while the professor lectures for 50 minutes or so, and then pack up and leave. Rinse and repeat throughout the semester. Some might never raise their hand, offer their opinion, or even learn the name of the person sitting in front of them.

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Recommendations for an Electronic Portfolio Migration

Our institution has recently completed its third year of personnel reviews that rely completely on electronic portfolios. All retention, promotion, and instructional academic staff rehiring decisions now depend on electronic portfolios drawn from a common source, as do all internal annual reports and some external reports.

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Guidelines for Online Teaching Success

Years ago at a faculty meeting Larry Ragan, PhD, director of Faculty Development for Penn State’s World Campus, was trying to soft-sell the idea of performance expectations for online faculty. He didn’t want the discussion to be misinterpreted as an indictment against their teaching style, but he also saw an opportunity to share proven practices for improving the online teaching and learning experience. Finally a senior faculty member grew tired of the tip-toeing around the subject and said, “If you don’t tell us what is expected, how will we know what to do to succeed?”

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