Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Teaching with Technology

Simple Ways to Create Videos to Engage Your Students

Increasingly, educators are searching for video resources online by sifting through YouTube, searching on Google, and visiting various topical sites. However, what’s often required is quite specific and it can be hard to find exactly what you need.

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App Review: Voice Record Pro

The average person probably remembers more of what they see than what they hear. For example, you’re likely to readily remember a person’s face more easily than you would his name. However, according to molecular biologist John Medina, the key to more remembering what we see and hear is enhanced when repetition is involved. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating mass memorization of anything by anyone. Memorization is necessary in some cases, but given the easy access to all kinds of information, I see little reason for my students to commit large amounts of information to organic memory as opposed to knowing how and where to find it. What I am merely suggesting is that frequent re-exposure to snippets of content will likely aid understanding of what was presented or discussed. I have found that the podcast is one way to provide short bits of information for clarification purposes or as a way to provide expanded discussion of something that I covered in class. Here are two key guidelines to follow when developing a podcast:

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The Benefits of Flipping Your Classroom

A small but growing number of faculty at major universities are experimenting with the inverted or flipped classroom. It’s an instructional model popularized by, among other influences, a Ted Talk by Khan Academy founder Salman Khan, which has received more than 2.5 million views. Institutions as varied as Duke University’s School of Medicine, Boston University’s College of Engineering, and the University of Washington School of Business have joined Clemson, Michigan State, the University of Texas, and many others in experimenting with changing from in-class lectures to video lectures and using class time to explore the challenging and more difficult aspects of course content.

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Using a Blog to Enhance Student Participation

A sociology professor in an undergraduate introductory social problems course used a blog to “enhance student participation, engagement and skill building.” (p. 207) In the article referenced below, this professor shares her experiences of using this assignment with 263 students across four semesters.

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“I Don’t Like This One Little Bit.” Tales from a Flipped Classroom

The Internet flipped learning before instructors did. Want to find out something? Google it. Wikipedia it. Use your laptop or smartphone or iPad. That’s where the “answers” are. Some of us initially reacted to this cyber-democratization of information asserting, “This isn’t right! The Internet is full of incomplete and simply wrong information.” But the challenge to the classroom was more profound. It has raised questions among students and even administrators about the need for face-to-face classrooms at all, as if correct information and unchallenged “opinions” were all that was needed.

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Private Journal Replaces Discussion Forum in Blended Course

The discussion board in Kathleen Lowney’s large blended (or hybrid) section of introduction to sociology at Valdosta State University wasn’t serving its intended purpose of engaging learners with the content and preparing them for face-to-face class sessions. She tried dividing the students into smaller discussion groups of 50 and then 20, and the results were the same: the weaker students waited until the last minute and essentially repeated what the better students had posted previously. When she replaced the public discussions with private journals, the quality of students’ posts improved, as did their grades.

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Experimenting with Facebook in the College Classroom

While discussing the nuances of regression analysis, I saw some of my students smiling. It wasn’t a smile of understanding; it was a response to seeing a Facebook comment on their smart phone. I later learned that 99% of the students in the research method class were Facebook users, routinely checking for updates 10-20 times a day. I asked them to refrain checking their phones during class.

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Creating the Perfect PowerPoint for Online Teaching

While other forms of visual presentations have cropped up—such as Prezi and Empressr—PowerPoint remains the presentation software of choice. Yet many folks develop PowerPoint presentations without fully understanding all components of the software and/or presenter tricks that could make for much more effective PowerPoint presentations.

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