Larry Ragan, director of faculty development for Penn State World Campus, may have given a new spin to the old expression “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Except, unlike the philosophical musing that’s become immortalized as one of those motivational posters, Ragan’s focus is on improving online learning.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
The intermediate statistics class I took quite a number of years ago had two types of learners at the outset—those who were worried about passing the course and those who were sure they couldn’t pass it. The professor clearly understood the “fear-of-stats” phenomenon and used a number of instructional techniques to help learners gain confidence and skills.
Institutions of higher education nearly always feel a budgetary crunch, and this holds true for online programs. However, the costs of running a successful online program run far beyond the expected line items of salaries, technology, and marketing. Faculty turnover and attrition can bring a number of serious but unanticipated costs to a program, costs that are may be poorly understood due to a lack of research identifying these costs.
In CHEATING IN SCHOOL: What We Know and What We Can Do, (Wiley-Blackwell) authors Stephen F. Davis, Patrick F. Drinan, and Tricia Bertram Gallant provide a comprehensive look at the cheating phenomenon from primary through graduate school. In an email interview with Faculty Focus, the authors discuss academic integrity issues in higher education specifically, including steps that can be taken at the institutional level as well as in individual classrooms.
Given student motivation to get grades and the prevalence of cheating, most faculty would never seriously consider letting students grade their own work. However, self-grading, especially of homework, does accrue some significant benefits. It can move students away from doing homework for points to making them more aware of why and how doing problems helps them learn. If students grade their own work, they see exactly where they are making mistakes. And they obtain that feedback far sooner than if the instructor collects the homework, grades it, and then returns it some days later.
t was August 26, 2009. That evening I receive a phone call from someone in Japan looking to create free online math and science courses on mobile devices for youth in India using existing shared online video. The following day, I get an email from a colleague at a university in Canada who had just read my new book, The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. Many points made in the book seemed to resonate with him except for my advocacy of YouTube videos in teaching. Like most faculty members, he was very reluctant to show the YouTube homepage to his class because an offensive video might be featured.
While conducting a class, even though teachers may be doing all or most of the talking, students communicate important nonverbal messages. They communicate these messages through facial expressions, body postures, and how they say what they say, as well as what actions they do or the skills they attempt to perform. Both novice and expert teachers see the same student responses, but expert teachers see in those responses something very different than novices see.
Students and excuses seem to go hand in hand. Sometimes the excuses result from real events and personal problems that legitimately prevent a student from being in class, completing an assignment on time, or doing what some other policy or procedure may stipulate. Not having the wisdom of Solomon, most faculty struggle to fairly adjudicate between the real and unreal reasons offered for noncompliance.
Students with disabilities are drawn to online courses for many of the same reasons as everyone else, but it’s often the anonymity that makes learning
To say that my first year as division chair was a “learning experience” filled with “teaching moments” is an understatement. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! In addition to the normal duties of chair, my division was moving to a new building, the college was working on its accreditation self-study, we began collective bargaining, we added two new members to the division, we conducted a search for an additional new member, and I taught a fully online course for the first time.