Best practices help dispel the myths of online faculty hiring practices — from Faculty Focus by Mary Bart


Some of the myths include:

  • Faculty who only teach online courses are typically hired “differently” than faculty who teaching face-to-face.
  • Academic departments are reluctant to use geographically-dispersed faculty to teach online courses.
  • Little to no effort is made to integrate faculty who teach only online courses into a department’s faculty community.
  • Faculty who teach only online courses are not subject to the same kind of teaching evaluation as those who teach face-to-face courses.

[Concept] The new “textbook”: A multi-layered approach — from Daniel S. Christian
I’ve been thinking recently about new approaches to relaying — and engaging with — content in a “textbook”.

For a physical textbook

When opening up a physical textbook to a particular page, QR-like codes would be printed on the physical pages of the textbook.  With the advent of augmented reality, such a mechanism would open up some new possibilities to interact with content for that page. For example, some overall characteristics about this new, layered approach:

  • Augmented reality could reveal multiple layers of information:
    • From the author/subject matter expert as well as the publisher’s instructional design team
      • Main points highlighted
      • Pointers that may help with metacognition, such as potential mnemonics that might be helpful in moving something into long-term memory
      • Studying strategies
    • A layer that the professor or teacher could edit
      • Main points highlighted
      • Pointers that may help with metacognition, such as potential mnemonics that might be helpful in moving something into long-term memory
      • Studying strategies
    • A layer for the students to comment on/annotate that page
    • A layer for other students’ comments



For an electronic-based textbook

  • The interface would allow for such layers to be visible or not — much like Google’s Body Browser application
  • For example, in this graphic, comments from the SME and/or ID are highlighted on top of the normal text:





Advantages of this concept/model:

  • Ties physical into virtual world
  • We could economically update information (i.e. opens up streams of content)
  • Integrates social learning
  • Allows SMEs, IDs, faculty members to further comment/add to content as new information becomes available
  • Instructors could highlight the key points they want to stress
  • Many of the layers could offer items that might help with students’ meta-cognitive processes (i.e. to help them learn the content and move the content into long-term memory)
  • One could envision the textbook being converted into something more akin to an app in an online-based store — with notifications of updates that could be constantly pushed out


Addendum (5/26):


The Teaching Professor Conference -- May 20-22, 2011

.Some of the sessions being offered include:

  • Innovative Assessment Techniques
  • Teaching the Nontraditional Adult Learner
  • Designing Educational Experiences that Promote Deep Learning
  • Developing an Academic Honesty Program that Works
  • Modeling Writing for Developmental Learners
  • Computers in the Classroom: Evidence of Student Engagement (Not Distraction)
  • Fostering Student Engagement in Online Learning Environments
  • Integrating Emerging Technology in the Classroom and Beyond
  • Setting Up Your Hybrid Course for Success
  • Engaging Millennial Students in the Basic Course

How can we generate a love for learning when there’s so much emphasis on points/grades? — from DSC

I look back to my past…and I look to the present systems…and I look to the courses that I’m taking at the graduate level…and I can’t help but wonder what we can do to in order to instill more of a love for learning…?

When we constantly emphasis rubrics, grades, points, bell curves, SATs/ACTS/MEAPs/standardarized tests — man, it’s no wonder that students don’t connect with school! We enforce what we feel is important based up on what we think they will need to be productive…but it may or may not connect or be important to them at all. And it may not be the skills that are really needed when these folks enter the workplace. We taught them based upon what we needed in our work lives.

I can’t help but wonder how bummed out students become as the downward spiral begins…something happens in life to sidetrack them or they don’t have strong support for their educations in the home in the first place. They receive some low scores for a variety of reasons. Being that competition is so stressed in our worlds, they naturally look around to see how other students are doing. They notice the other students did better. They begin to feel discouraged. This happens a few more times and now they are getting really discouraged…school becomes a major source of stress and discouragement in their lives.

In addition to the stress, they aren’t always allowed to pursue their own passions…their own gifts and abilities;  instead, they are told what to learn, when to learn it, how exactly to learn it, etc.

I’m not out to blame anyone; and, in fact, I have an enormous amount of respect for the million agendas being thrown at teachers and professors these days. Can anyone deliver on all of these expectations and asked-for-deliverables?

However, I do hope that we can turn around this drop out situation in the U.S. — 25-30% is waaaaayyyy too high.

What can we do to better address students’ passions? Increase their motivation? How can we better instill a love for learning vs. “how to best compete and win” in the classroom? Funny how the older I get, the more the love of learning sets in…and the competition fades away.

Student-provided sites from The Teaching & Learning Digital Studio at Calvin College

Student-provided sites from The Teaching & Learning Digital Studio at Calvin College

Digital Studio Sites is a blog with a large collection links from the Teaching & Learning Digital Studio Staff at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI) that covers a wide range of academic topics and more. The staff scours the Web for the best, most interesting, and useful Web sites for the classroom (and maybe beyond) on the Internet and continually updates the list of links. Professors can quickly find sites related to their field of study by keyword, search, or by subscribing via RSS feed.

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