Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Articles

Short Answer Questions: A Great Middle Ground

Stronger than multiple choice, yet not quite as revealing (or time consuming to grade) as the essay question, the short answer question offers a great middle ground – the chance to measure a student’s brief composition of facts, concepts, and attitudes in a paragraph or less.

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Student Writing: Avoiding the Blank Screen Blues

Staring at a blank screen the night before the research paper was due—this was the dilemma faced by my upper-level science students. The paper, the product of their independent research projects, is an important part of our curriculum and one component of our assessment of their scientific writing skills.

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How to Create Effective Activities for Online Teaching

We’ve all used them, first as students and now as online instructors: activities in a class meant to highlight, spotlight, underline, enhance, or explain some aspect of the subject we are teaching. Too often, not much thought or effort is given to these activities, resulting in outdated and unsuccessful activities. With the right approaches and a bit of knowledge, online instructors can create activities that are dynamic, effective, and interesting.

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The Benefits of Blended Learning Explained

Blended learning — a strategy that combines online and classroom learning activities and resources to reduce in-class seat time for students in a face-to-face environment — can be a tremendous boon for a university. It can help the institution enhance under-enrolled programs, complete faculty teaching loads, and improve cost effectiveness. However, convincing the institution’s constituents that a blended course or program is a good idea may take some work.

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Copyright and Fair Use Issues in Online Education

There are three main legal issues that can cause trouble in online educational programs: ownership issues, copyright issues, and issues of harassment and defamation. Each of these issues also pertains to the face-to-face classroom setting but requires a fresh perspective when applied to distance education.

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Helping Students See Correlation Between Effort and Performance

One of the student engagement techniques described in Elizabeth F. Barkley’s Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty has students predicting and reflecting on their exam preparation and performance. It’s a technique that helps students see the correlation between their efforts and their exam scores, as well as one that helps them assess the effectiveness of the study strategies they use.

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A Vision of Students Today, as Told by Students

A Vision of Students Today is a short video created by Michael Wesch, associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, and 200 KSU students. Since being uploaded to YouTube in Oct 2007 it’s been viewed more than 4 million times. Even if you’ve already viewed it, it’s worth a second look. It describes some of the most important characteristics of students today, as told from the student perspective.

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Effective Uses of Video in the Classroom

Social media has allowed anyone to become a video producer. The result is an explosion of high-quality teaching videos. Thirty years ago a teacher might show a PBS video in class every once in a while, mostly just as a break from the usual routine. But today there are thousands of videos from which to choose.

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Beware of Faculty Promotion and Tenure Pitfalls

Controversies surrounding promotion and tenure can lead to legal trouble for departments and institutions. It’s up to academic leaders to guard against possible pitfalls by adopting, disseminating, and implementing equitable policies.

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