Despite the fact that numerous articles have been written on the importance of the first day, too many of us still use it to do little more than go over the syllabus and review basic guidelines for the course. This year I decided to try a different approach, and the results were much more dramatic than I expected. I taught real material on the first day. Despite that, there have been fewer questions about course policies, with some students actually referencing them without even a mention from me. Let me explain how I achieved these results.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Once upon a time people told stories to share experiences and to teach. With the growing popularity of distance learning modalities educator have been searching for ways to enhance social presence and reflective thinking in the online learning experience. The use of digital storytelling might be a strategy to bring human thought and emotion into online education.
Since Barr and Tagg introduced the concept of the instructional versus the learner-centered paradigms in 1995, higher education institutions across the country have adopted the concept in one form or another in an attempt to create learning environments that respond both to the changing profile of our students and recent research on learning with the ultimate goal of improving student success.
Students come to an online course with different interests, prior knowledge, and preferred learning styles. This is something that Stephen Holland, chair of the English department at Muscatine Community College and online learning and training associate at the Eastern Iowa Community College District, takes into account whenever he creates or seeks to improve an online course.
As the fall semester approaches, it’s time to restock my classroom teaching supplies. It occurred to me that other faculty might find useful these inexpensive tools that I regularly use in the classroom, so I’m sharing my shopping list with you here. The items on my list serve the purposes of creating a sense of community and promoting student engagement.
“Self-regulation is not a mental ability or an academic performance skill; rather it is the self-directive process by which learners transform their mental abilities into academic skills.” (p. 65) That definition is offered by Barry Zimmerman, one of the foremost researchers on self-regulated learning. It appears in a succinct five-page article that offers a very readable overview of research in this area.
This is a true story. Professor “Jones” decides to experiment with a blog in his class. It takes him about 10 minutes to set up a free site using Blogger. He then watches students engage in lively discussions of case studies outside of class, and tweaks the blog as experience teaches him how best to use the system.
In popular fiction, zombies are often described as “the undead,” once lifeless bodies that have been reanimated through supernatural forces. Since they are essentially walking corpses, fictional zombies are almost impossible to “kill,” and just when you think that all the danger has passed, they suddenly rear up again in their never-ending search to consume your brain. Unfortunately, higher education has its share of zombies, too. These are the rumors, doubts, or signs of mistrust that arise periodically and prove impervious to logic or argument.