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Joshua Yeidel

Cross-Disciplinary Grading Techniques - ProfHacker - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

    "So far, the most useful tool to me, in physics, has been the rubric, which is used widely in grading open-ended assessments in the humanities. "
    A focus on improving the grading experience, rather than the learning experience, but still a big step forward for (some) hard scientists.
Joshua Yeidel

Using Clickers to Facilitate Peer Review in a Writing Seminar - ProfHacker - The Chroni... - 0 views

    "Teaching a writing seminar has also provided me with an opportunity to use clickers in ways that are new to me. "
Joshua Yeidel

Students Know Good Teaching When They Get It, Survey Finds - - 2 views

    ... as measured by student evals and "value-added modeling".  Note some of the student eval items, though... e.g., students agree or disagree with "In this class, we learn to correct our mistakes."
Joshua Yeidel

Teaching for America - - 1 views

    Tom Friedman reports (approvingly) on Arne Duncan's plans to upgrade the teaching profession.  Any gueses how this might apply to "higher" education?
Gary Brown

Learning Assessment: The Regional Accreditors' Role - Measuring Stick - The Chronicle o... - 0 views

  • The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment has just released a white paper about the regional accreditors’ role in prodding colleges to assess their students’ learning
  • All four presidents suggested that their campuses’ learning-assessment projects are fueled by Fear of Accreditors. One said that a regional accreditor “came down on us hard over assessment.” Another said, “Accreditation visit coming up. This drives what we need to do for assessment.”
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Ms. Provezis reports, “almost every action letter to institutions over the last five years has required additional attention to assessment, with reasons ranging from insufficient faculty involvement to too little evidence of a plan to sustain assessment.”
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  • regional accreditors are more likely now than they were a decade ago to insist that colleges hand them evidence about student-learning outcomes.
  • The white paper gently criticizes the accreditors for failing to make sure that faculty members are involved in learning assessment.
  • “it would be good to know more about what would make assessment worthwhile to the faculty—for a better understanding of the source of their resistance.”
  • Many of the most visible and ambitious learning-assessment projects out there seem to strangely ignore the scholarly disciplines’ own internal efforts to improve teaching and learning.
Gary Brown

Book review: Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Educat... - 2 views

  • Christensen Hughes, J. and Mighty, J. (eds.) (2010) Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Montreal QC and Kingston ON: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 350 pp, C$/US$39.95
  • ‘The impetus for this event was the recognition that researchers have discovered much about teaching and learning in higher education, but that dissemination and uptake of this information have been limited. As such, the impact of educational research on faculty-teaching practice and student-learning experience has been negligible.’
  • Julia Christensen Hughes
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  • Chapter 7: Faculty research and teaching approaches Michael Prosser
  • What faculty know about student learning Maryellen Weimer
  • ractices of Convenience: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  • Chapter 8: Student engagement and learning: Jillian Kinzie
  • (p. 4)
  • ‘much of our current approach to teaching in higher education might best be described as practices of convenience, to the extent that traditional pedagogical approaches continue to predominate. Such practices are convenient insofar as large numbers of students can be efficiently processed through the system. As far as learning effectiveness is concerned, however, such practices are decidedly inconvenient, as they fall far short of what is needed in terms of fostering self-directed learning, transformative learning, or learning that lasts.’
  • p. 10:
  • …research suggests that there is an association between how faculty teach and how students learn, and how students learn and the learning outcomes achieved. Further, research suggests that many faculty members teach in ways that are not particularly helpful to deep learning. Much of this research has been known for decades, yet we continue to teach in ways that are contrary to these findings.’
  • ‘There is increasing empirical evidence from a variety of international settings that prevailing teaching practices in higher education do not encourage the sort of learning that contemporary society demands….Teaching remains largely didactic, assessment of student work is often trivial, and curricula are more likely to emphasize content coverage than acquisition of lifelong and life-wide skills.’
  • What other profession would go about its business in such an amateurish and unprofessional way as university teaching? Despite the excellent suggestions in this book from those ‘within the tent’, I don’t see change coming from within. We have government and self-imposed industry regulation to prevent financial advisers, medical practitioners, real estate agents, engineers, construction workers and many other professions from operating without proper training. How long are we prepared to put up with this unregulated situation in university and college teaching?
Joshua Yeidel

5 Non-Western Teaching Strategies - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 1 views

    Methods and attitudes from other cultures can enliven the classroom.
Gary Brown

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Success ~ Stephen's Web - 0 views

shared by Gary Brown on 13 Aug 10 - Cached
  • ccording to the study, teachers value collaboration, but do most of it outside the classroom. They believe they set high standards for students and believe core skills (mathematics and language, for example) are important. They believe all staff, rather than individual teachers, are accountable for student progress. They believe it would help a lot if students took responsibility for their own learning, but less than a third (compared to a very high percentage of students) believe students actually do.
    A majority of teachers and principals also believe that the following school- and classroom-centered factors would have a major impact on improving student achievement: Connecting classroom instruction to the real world; A school culture where students feel responsible and accountable for their own education; Addressing the individual needs of diverse learners; and Greater collaboration among teachers and school leaders.
Joshua Yeidel

Six Things Your Hypothetical Kid's Coach Can Tell You about Teaching - ProfHacker - The... - 1 views

    Common sense about teaching from a kid's coach perspective
Gary Brown

Education ambivalence : Nature : Nature Publishing Group - 1 views

  • Academic scientists value teaching as much as research — but universities apparently don't
  • Nature Education, last year conducted a survey of 450 university-level science faculty members from more than 30 countries. The first report from that survey, freely available at, focuses on 'postsecondary' university- and college-level education. It finds that more than half of the respondents in Europe, Asia and North America feel that the quality of undergraduate science education in their country is mediocre, poor or very poor.
  • 77% of respondents indicated that they considered their teaching responsibilities to be just as important as their research — and 16% said teaching was more important.
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  • But the biggest barrier to improvement is the pervasive perception that academic institutions — and the prevailing rewards structure of science — value research far more than teaching
  • despite their beliefs that teaching was at least as important as research, many respondents said that they would choose to appoint a researcher rather than a teacher to an open tenured position.
  • To correct this misalignment of values, two things are required. The first is to establish a standardized system of teaching evaluation. This would give universities and professors alike the feedback they need to improve.
  • The second requirement is to improve the support and rewards for university-level teaching.
  • systematic training in how to teach well
  • But by showering so many rewards on research instead of on teaching, universities and funding agencies risk undermining the educational quality that is required for research to flourish in the long term.
    Attention to this issue from this resource--Nature--is a breakthrough in its own right. Note the focus on "flourish in the long term...".
Gary Brown

Professors Who Focus on Honing Their Teaching Are a Distinct Breed - Research - The Chr... - 1 views

  • Professors who are heavily focused on learning how to improve their teaching stand apart as a very distinct subset of college faculties, according to a new study examining how members of the professoriate spend their time.
  • those who are focused on tackling societal problems stand apart as their own breed. Other faculty members, it suggests, are pretty much mutts, according to its classification scheme.
  • 1,000 full-time faculty members at four-year colleges and universities gathered as part of the Faculty Professional Performance Survey administered by Mr. Braxton and two Vanderbilt doctoral students in 1999. That survey had asked the faculty members how often they engaged in each of nearly 70 distinct scholarly activities, such as experimenting with a new teaching method, publishing a critical book review in a journal, or being interviewed on a local television station. All of the faculty members examined in the new analysis were either tenured or tenure-track and fell into one of four academic disciplines: biology, chemistry, history, or sociology.
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  • cluster analysis,
  • nearly two-thirds of those surveyed were involved in the full range of scholarly activity they examined
  • Just over a third, however, stood out as focused almost solely on one of two types of scholarship: on teaching practices, or on using knowledge from their discipline to identify or solve societal problems.
  • pedagogy-focused scholars were found mainly at liberal-arts colleges and, compared with the general population surveyed, tended to be younger, heavily represented in history departments, and more likely to be female and untenured
  • Those focused on problem-solving were located mainly at research and doctoral institutions, and were evenly dispersed across disciplines and more likely than others surveyed to be male and tenured.
  • how faculty members rate those priorities are fairly consistent across academic disciplines,
  • The study was conducted by B. Jan Middendorf, acting director of Kansas State University's office of educational innovation and evaluation; Russell J. Webster, a doctoral student in psychology at Kansas State; and Steve Benton, a senior research officer at the IDEA Center
    Another study that documents the challenge and suggests confirmation of the 50% figure of faculty who are not focused on either research or teaching.
Joshua Yeidel

Cheaters Never Win, at Least in Physics, a Professor Finds - Wired Campus - The Chronic... - 1 views

    "The professor said he did find a way to greatly reduce cheating on homework in his class. He switched to a "studio" model of teaching, in which students sit in small groups working through tutorials on computers while professors and teaching assistants roam the room answering questions, rather than a traditional lecture. With lectures, he detected cheating on about 11 percent of homework problems, but now he detects copying on only about 3 percent of them. It might help that he shares findings from his study to his students, showing them that cheaters are much more likely to get C's and D's on exams than those who work out homework problems on their own. "
    A physics professor figures out how to detect cheating on homework, (an assessment), triangulates with another assessment (OK, it's an exam) to determine the impact on student learning, and modifies his teaching practice, reducing cheating from 11% to 3%.
    This is a happy ending and an interesting useful outcome from assessment. There is also a kind of "duh" quality to it, but that is not a problem. What I'm pondering, though, is the time and energy expended for a 7% gain. What I hope follows is further assessment of the gains for the other 93% relative to learning and attitude toward learning, school, and the subject matter.....
Gary Brown

Improving Teaching Will Require Strategic Thinking - Letters to the Editor - The Chroni... - 1 views

  • a rather large gap between knowledge about effective teaching practices in higher education and the use of these practices in higher education.
  • the greatest gains in STEM education are likely to come from the development of strategies to encourage faculty and administrators to implement proven instructional strategies."
  • The issue is not just one of finding better ways to motivate professors. Most professors already take their teaching responsibilities seriously and are motivated to do a good job. Improving instruction will require strategic and systematic work at all levels of the educational system.
    note the focus on systems
    This piece raises a related issue we have been discussing at OAI -- "First, and perhaps most important, there is very little research conducted on how to promote change in instructional practices used in higher education. " How does leadership promote change? How do leaders -- such as dept chairs -- promote and manage change? How do they get, or invest in, those skills?
Ashley Ater Kranov

Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students - Teaching - The Chroni... - 1 views

    This is an interesting article about a new study that shows what the title says it does. What concerns me is that some instructors who predominately use an approach to teaching that promotes passive learning will use this as a rationale for not changing how they teach. There is plenty of brain-based research that shows that active learning for a purpose acheives greater attainment of student learning outcomes, no matter one's learning style. And while I've certainly not read tons on learning styles, that that I have read never asserted the need to match teaching to individual learning styles. The point, rather, seemed to be in greater self-awareness so that an individual could actively grow their weak areas. To some extent, the approach to the argument presented in this article is so American - so polarized - so not a useful approach.
Gary Brown

Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

  • colleges and universities can learn from for-profit colleges' approach to teaching.
  • "If disruptive technology allows them to serve new markets, or serve markets more efficiently and effectively in order to profit, then they are more likely to utilize them."
  • Some for-profit institutions emphasize instructor training in a way that more traditional institutions should emulate, according to the report. The University of Phoenix, for example, "has required faculty to participate in a four-week training program that includes adult learning theory," the report said.
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  • The committee's largest sponsors include GE, Merrill Lynch and Company, IBM, McKinsey and Company, General Motors, and Pfizer.
    Minimally the advocates list suggests that higher ed might qualify for a bail out.
Ashley Ater Kranov

Teaching Experiment Decodes a Discipline - Teaching - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

  • Several years ago, a small group of faculty members at Indiana University at Bloomington decided to do something about the problem. The key, they concluded, was to construct every history course around two core skills of their discipline: assembling evidence and interpreting it.
  • The historians at Indiana have tried to help students through several specific bottlenecks by dividing large concepts into smaller, evidence-related steps. (See the box below.)
  • "Students come into our classrooms believing that history is about stories full of names and dates," says Arlene J. Díaz, an associate professor of history at Indiana who is one of four directors of the department's History Learning Project, as the redesign effort is known. But in courses, "they discover that history is actually about interpretation, evidence, and argument."
Ashley Ater Kranov

Course Reminds Budding Ph.D.'s of the Damage They Can Do - Teaching - The Chronicle of ... - 1 views

    I think most of us are aware of and agree with what this author is positing - the purpose in sharing this is related to our work with departments in re-thinking how they think about teaching and evaluate it. ""People often think that education works either to improve you or to leave you as you were," Mr. Cahn says. "But that's not right. An unsuccessful education can ruin you. It can kill your interest in a topic. It can make you a less-good thinker. It can leave you less open to rational argument. So we do good and bad as teachers-it's not just good or nothing.""
Gary Brown

Scholars Assess Their Progress on Improving Student Learning - Research - The Chronicle... - 0 views

  • International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, which drew 650 people. The scholars who gathered here were cautiously hopeful about colleges' commitment to the study of student learning, even as the Carnegie Foundation winds down its own project. (Mr. Shulman stepped down as president last year, and the foundation's scholarship-of-teaching-and-learning program formally came to an end last week.) "It's still a fragile thing," said Pat Hutchings, the Carnegie Foundation's vice president, in an interview here. "But I think there's a huge amount of momentum." She cited recent growth in faculty teaching centers,
  • Mary Taylor Huber, director of the foundation's Integrative Learning Project, said that pressure from accrediting organizations, policy makers, and the public has encouraged colleges to pour new resources into this work.
  • The scholars here believe that it is much more useful to try to measure and improve student learning at the level of individual courses. Institutionwide tests like the Collegiate Learning Assessment have limited utility at best, they said.
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  • Mr. Bass and Toru Iiyoshi, a senior strategist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's office of educational innovation and technology, pointed to an emerging crop of online multimedia projects where college instructors can share findings about their teaching. Those sites include Merlot and the Digital Storytelling Multimedia Archive.
  • "We need to create 'middle spaces' for the scholarship of teaching and learning," said Randall Bass, assistant provost for teaching and learning initiatives at Georgetown University, during a conference session on Friday.
  • "If you use a more generic instrument, you can give the accreditors all the data in the world, but that's not really helpful to faculty at the department level," said the society's president, Jennifer Meta Robinson, in an interview. (Ms. Robinson is also a senior lecturer in communication and culture at Indiana University at Bloomington.)
  • It is vital, Ms. Peseta said, for scholars' articles about teaching and learning to be engaging and human. But at the same time, she urged scholars not to dumb down their statistical analyses or the theoretical foundations of their studies. She even put in a rare good word for jargon.
  • No one had a ready answer. Ms. Huber, of the Carnegie Foundation, noted that a vast number of intervening variables make it difficult to assess the effectiveness of any educational project.
  • "Well, I guess we have a couple of thousand years' worth of evidence that people don't listen to each other, and that we don't build knowledge," Mr. Bass quipped. "So we're building on that momentum."
    Note our friends Randy Bass (AAEEBL) and Mary Huber are prominent.
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