Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Teaching with Technology

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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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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What Games Teach Us about Learning

Many teachers consider video games the antithesis of education. Boys especially are drawn in at the exclusion of all other interests (girls tend to be obsessed with social networking). But games can teach us a lot about learning. Why are games so captivating? Researchers have said that the appeal of games is that they provide two central elements: 1. achievable challenges, and 2. progressive rewards.

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Improve Feedback with Audio and Video Commentary

While online discussion is generally deeper and more active than face-to-face discussion, even online discussions can eventually become a drudgery. Nobody likes reading long blocks of text online, yet discussion in an online classroom is text based.

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Using Screen Capture Software to Improve Student Learning

By using Podcasts, vodcasts, and screen capture software to provide supplemental and remedial materials, instructors can focus on higher-order learning activities during class, says Dave Yearwood, associate professor and chair of the Technology Department at the University of North Dakota. In an email interview with The Teaching Professor, Dr. Yearwood shared some ideas for getting started.

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Pump up Your Online Discussions with VoiceThread

At its best, the discussion board can be the heart and soul of the online classroom. But it’s not always easy getting students to make the type of contributions you expect. The comments can be rather flat, not very insightful, and more often than not, it feels like some students just fill the minimum number of posts stipulated in your syllabus.

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FERPA and Social Media

FERPA is one of the most misunderstood regulations in education. It is commonly assumed that FERPA requires all student coursework to be kept private at all times, and thus prevents the use of social media in the classroom, but this is wrong. FERPA does not prevent instructors from assigning students to create public content as part of their course requirements. If it did, then video documentaries produced in a communications class and shown on TV or the Web, or public art shows of student work from an art class, would be illegal. As one higher education lawyer put it:

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‘Here We Are Now, Entertain Us’—Student Motivation and Technology

George Stanton, a professor emeritus of biology, recently expressed his disappointment with student response to social media elements in classes. He pointed out that students were less than active in using the tools, meanwhile a recent survey of first-year students at his institution found that the number one expectation for class was “to be entertained.”

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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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