Like many deans, Monte Finkelstein did not plan to be a leader. He began as a history instructor, gradually took on more leadership responsibilities, and came to his division deanship at Tallahassee Community College through his desire for challenges beyond the classroom and the retirement of the previous dean.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
What is the best way to train and support a beginning online faculty member? At some colleges, the only option is on site training held on the campus over a day, a weekend, or a period of days during the summer. These on-site workshops, while potentially very effective, commit the faculty members to time, travel, and often inflexible scheduling. However, Berkeley College, with campuses in New York and New Jersey, has designed an online faculty workshop and set of training and support tools to complement its other professional development offerings.
1. Create a classroom environment that from the first day sets ground rules for discussion and makes it clear that all students are included in the work of the class. Make sure you make all students feel connected to each other, the class, and the topic, and establish strong expectations about the content and manner of communication.
What obligations do faculty members have to their institutions beyond their disciplines and departments? It’s a question that is sure to get a lot of play as higher education institutions deal with the pressures brought about by increased scrutiny from outside constituents and other factors such as changing student demographics and a shift from a faculty-focused to a learner-focused orientation.
In 2000, the college of education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) introduced an electronic portfolio system for its students. The goal was to get students to understand their own learning by requiring them to create these portfolios that highlight their work. Building on that success, the university is in the process of implementing myMAPP, (Mapping Academic Performance through ePorfolios), an electronic portfolio system that integrates student, faculty, staff, department, college, and campus performance measures.
The first time a student’s cell phone rang in my class, I was angry and frustrated. With their musical ringers, cell phones that go off in class are rude and distracting. But how to respond? I’ve never been very good at playing the heavy. Was there any way I could take this annoying occurrence and twist so that it would contribute to a more positive classroom environment?
As a history major I usually found most of my history courses pretty interesting. Certainly some were more interesting than others but I think a lot of that had more to do with the instructor than the content. Of course not every student who takes a history class course plans to major in it, which is why I love it when I hear about a history professor (or any educator for that matter) doing innovative things to engage students in one of those “core courses” many students often dread.
In case you ever had any doubts, research verifies that both students and teachers find cell phones ringing in class distracting. The results also document strong support from students and faculty for policies against ringing cell phones. Although there was strong support against cell phones going off in class, the strength of that support was mediated by age. The younger cohort in the study was more tolerant of cell phones than the older cohort.
Why are you interested in improving your courses and instruction?
That was the question posed to attendees to kick off the online seminar Five Steps to Improve Your Online Courses and Instruction by presenter Dr. Patti Shank. Most of the respondents selected as their answers “to better support students” or “I hope this will reduce some of the hassles of teaching online.” A few of the more honest ones chose “I’m expected to do this” and a couple more came because they “need to address specific problems.”