From DSC:
I have been trying to blog more about learning how to learn — and to provide some more resources on metacognition and the like.

Along these lines — and with permission from the author — the following excerpt is from Quentin Schultze’s solid book, Communicate like a True Leader (pages 35 & 36).  I asked Quin if I could share this excerpt because I think it’s a great strategy to share with students. Whether they know it or not, learning how to learn is THEE key skill these days.

Quin would also emphasize some other items such as listening, attending to reality, communicating effectively with others, and more…but my focus here is on learning strategies.  So I share it in the hope that it will help some of you students out there just as it helped Quin.

 

 

During the beginning of my sophomore year, I started reviewing each day’s class notes after classes were over. I soon realized how little I recalled even of that day’s lectures and discussions. It dawned on me that normal note-taking merely gave me the impression that I was learning. I implemented a strategy that revolutionized my learning, launched me successfully into graduate school, helped me become a solid teacher, equipped me to be a productive researcher-writer, and made it possible for me to be an engaging speaker.

I not only reviewed my notes daily. I rewrote them from scratch within a couple of hours of each class meeting. I used my actual course notes as prompts to recall more of the lecture and to help me organize my own reactions to the material. My notes expanded. My retention swelled.

My revised notes became a kind of journal of my dialogue with the instructor and the readings. I integrated into my revised course notes my daily reading notes, reworking them into language that was meaningful to me and preparing to ask the instructor at the next class anything that I was uncertain about. From then on I earned nearly straight A’s with far less cramming for exams.

Moreover, I had begun journaling about my learning — one of the most important communication skills. I became a real learner by discovering how to pay attention to others and myself.

In a broad sense, I learned how to listen.

 

 

 

From DSC:
I’m posting this in an effort to:

  • Help students learn how to learn
  • Help students achieve the greatest possible returns on their investments (both their $$ and their time) when they are trying to learn about new things

I’d like to thank Mr. William Knapp, Executive Director at GRCC for Distance Learning & Instructional Technology, for sharing this resource on Twitter.


A better way to study through self-testing and distributed practice — from kqed.org

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

As I prepared to write this column, I relied on some pretty typical study techniques. First, as I’ve done since my student days, I generously highlighted key information in my background reading. Along the way, I took notes, many of them verbatim, which is a snap with digital copying and pasting. (Gotta love that command-C, command-V.) Then I reread my notes and highlights. Sound familiar? Students everywhere embrace these techniques and yet, as it turns out, they are not particularly good ways to absorb new material. At least not if that’s all you do.

Researchers have devoted decades to studying how to study. The research literature is frankly overwhelming. Luckily for all of us, the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest published a review article a few years ago that remains the most comprehensive guide out there. Its 47 pages hold valuable lessons for learners of any age and any subject — especially now, with end-of-semester exams looming.

The authors examined ten different study techniques, including highlighting, rereading, taking practice tests, writing summaries, explaining the content to yourself or another person and using mnemonic devices. They drew on the results of nearly 400 prior studies. Then, in an act of boldness not often seen in academic research, they actually awarded ratings: high, low or moderate utility.

The study strategies that missed the top rating weren’t necessarily ineffective, explains the lead author John Dunlosky, a psychology professor at Kent State University, but they lacked sufficient evidence of efficacy, or were proven useful only in certain areas of study or with certain types of students. “We were trying to find strategies that have a broad impact across all domains for all students,” Dunlosky says, “so it was a pretty tough rating scale.”

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

Practice testing can take many forms: flashcards, answering questions at the end of a textbook chapter, tackling review quizzes online. Research shows it works well for students from preschool through graduate and professional education.

Testing yourself works because you have to make the effort to pull information from your memory — something we don’t do when we merely review our notes or reread the textbook.


As for distributed practice vs. cramming, Dunlosky and his fellow authors write that “cramming is better than not studying at all,” but if you are going to devote four or five hours to studying for your biology mid-term, you would you be far better off spacing them out over a several days or weeks. “You get much more bang for your buck if you space,” Dunlosky told me.

 

 

Also see:

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques — from journals.sagepub.com by John Dunlosky, Katherine A. Rawson, Elizabeth J. Marsh, Mitchell J. Nathan, and Daniel T. Willingham
Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology

Excerpt:

In this monograph, we discuss 10 learning techniques in detail and offer recommendations about their relative utility. We selected techniques that were expected to be relatively easy to use and hence could be adopted by many students. Also, some techniques (e.g., highlighting and rereading) were selected because students report relying heavily on them, which makes it especially important to examine how well they work. The techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, summarization, highlighting (or underlining), the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, rereading, practice testing, distributed practice, and interleaved practice.

 

 

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

 

 

From DSC:
This is yet another reason that I like the approach of using streams of content to help people learn something new. Because you can implement distributed practice, encourage recall, etc. when you put the content out there at regular intervals.

 

 

 

Why I won’t try to publish as I move towards tenure — by Brad King

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A growing number of faculty, including myself, have begun to reject that road to tenure.

The reason: the academic publishing system is built around a 1-2 year publishing process that requires the best and brightest minds to turn over all of their intellectual property without any compensation for that work.

For years, academics had no other option. If they wanted to distribute their research, they had to go through the academic journal system. Thanks to the Internet, the Web, and the mobile Web, there are now have alternate ways to distribute their work.

The California Universities are encouraging faculty members to only publish in open-access journals, which make the dissemination of information the priority over the construction of lucrative business models.

Getting published in a prestigious scholarly journal is a big deal in academia because it’s one of the ways that universities decide who will be promoted and receive tenure.

But in this traditional publishing process, authors usually sign away exclusive first publishing rights to the journal. The journal makes its money by charging subscription fees to university libraries and others, and doesn’t allow the research to spread outside of its publication for a year or two.

The reason for this switch: faculty are tired of being held hostage by these journals that use the system of tenure as a way to hold academic hostage. Harvard University faculty have said that “major publishers had created an ‘untenable situation’ at the university by making scholarly interaction ‘fiscally unsustainable’ and ‘academically restrictive’, while drawing profits of 35% or more.”

 

 

 

Scientific articles accepted (personal checks, too) — from the nytimes.com by Gina Kolata

Excerpt:

The scientists who were recruited to appear at a conference called Entomology-2013 thought they had been selected to make a presentation to the leading professional association of scientists who study insects.

But they found out the hard way that they were wrong. The prestigious, academically sanctioned conference they had in mind has a slightly different name: Entomology 2013 (without the hyphen). The one they had signed up for featured speakers who were recruited by e-mail, not vetted by leading academics. Those who agreed to appear were later charged a hefty fee for the privilege, and pretty much anyone who paid got a spot on the podium that could be used to pad a résumé.

 

Excerpt of some recommendations/suggestions from Mr. Steve McMullen, Assistant Professor of Economics, Calvin College:

  1. Only publish in journals that you know are legitimate and long standing.
  2. Only go to conferences hosted by an institution or association that you respect.

These two rules immediately rule out all the suspect journals and conferences, but they do so by granting power to the traditional gatekeepers. I recognize that if everyone behaves this way, it might be difficult for the open-access movement, which is sometimes laudable, to take off in our field.

Another observation:  It is probably important for departments to have some statement written into their scholarship statements/guidelines that indicate the sort of journals that count and those that don’t, and a process for evaluating publication outlets.

 

.

Also see:

 

From DSC:
I’m also reminded of what I’d like to see in a digital textbook — a series of “layers” that people — with various roles and perspectives on the content — could use to comment on and annotate an article:

.

NEW -- Journal of Learning Spaces - Volume 1 from December 2011

Tagged with:  

The Scholarly Kitchen - What's hot and cooking in scholarly publishing

 

Also see:

When the dam breaks… — from learning with ‘e’s by Steve Wheeler

Excerpt:

Publication of research is one of the most important facets of academic life. I can’t stress enough how important it is for good research to be as widely and swiftly disseminated as possible. Without it, our practice is less likely to be informed, and more prone to repeated errors. As a researcher myself, I take this challenge very seriously. Along with other educational researchers, I attempt to identify key issues for investigation and then spend considerable time and energy examining as much of the terrain that surrounds my research question as I can. Once I have analysed the data, I am usually able to arrive at some conclusions and write some form of report, which is likely to include a set of recommendations that I hope will benefit my community of practice. Such findings should be published widely to inform the entire community. This is the way it should be. And yet often, sadly, it just doesn’t happen.

From DSC:
Steve, I was unsuccessful in leaving a comment on your posting here…but I celebrate your walking the talk on this and for pushing the envelop on the proliferation of open access journals. And thanks for making some recommendations in your reports — for taking some stances. I was greatly disappointed in my ID Master’s Program to find how few scholarly articles took any sort of stand and asserted much of anything to move their communities of practice forward.

 

 

This Visible College — from Educause (Vol. 34, No. 2, 2011) by Bryan Alexander

Excerpt:

In this column we’ll explore another part of higher education using only one scenario — but it’s a doozy.

“Class begins when the classroom door closes.” This image is enshrined in many practices, much popular memory, and even campus policies. But the concept may well be turned inside out in the near future as several trends coincide, altering the ways we teach and learn. That shut door is about to be wrenched open and our closed classes drawn into a global, visible college (compared to the invisible college described by David Staley and Dennis Trinkle1).

None of these supporting trends is mysterious or surprising:

  • Social media
  • Mobile computing
  • Open content

When these three trends combine, though, the synthesis surpasses each individual trend. What they do is turn the classroom inside out.

Everything I’ve described is happening now. What happens when these trends continue to grow and cross-pollinate?

 

Future of Higher Education — from Educause (Vol. 34, No. 1, 2011) by Bryan Alexander

Excerpt:

What does the future hold for higher education? How is American academia changing under the impact of continuous technological transformation?

The Future of Scholarly Publication
Scholarly publication is one of the most vital parts of higher education.4 Publications are in many ways the acme of faculty assessment: publish or perish. Our articles and books are the visible, enduring record of academic work, outlasting the lifespans of researchers, staff, and students. An entire industry both depends on and supports this output. Research output is deeply interwoven into many aspects of campus life, from hiring policies to library budgets and admissions materials. It is also a field in crisis, hammered by the Great Recession and torqued by ongoing technological revolutions.

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