With a mandate to prepare students for the labour market, ‘communication’ figures prominently among the essential employability skills that Ontario’s colleges are expected to develop in students prior to graduation. As a result, many colleges have instituted measures to help shore up the skills of students who are admitted to college yet who do not possess the expected ‘college-level English’ proficiency. Several have addressed this challenge by admitting these students into developmental communication classes, which are designed to build their skills to the expected college level.
We live in a world filled with physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual violence. This violence has, unfortunately, toxic consequences for us. It is definitely not a question of what doesn’t kill you makes you strong; it is a question of what doesn’t kill you leaves you scarred. This short article, directed at parents and teachers, highlights the emotional and psychological violence children experience at school. As the article suggests, this violence is ubiquitous and damaging.
Black students continuously experience, fight against and bear emotional scars from
racism, which can lead to increased anxiety and poor mental health outcomes. Some
colleges are just starting to address these issues.
It may be the most easily predictable behavior in the undergraduate repertoire. Toward the end of every semester comes the clarion call: "Is there any extra credit I can do to help my final
Sometimes the request has a desperate tone. The student recognizes that failure is looming and hopes to avert a dire outcome. In contrast, a student in good standing may be looking for any extra work that could inch their GPA upward. Minimally, if other instructors in your department offer extra-credit options, your students will expect you to do the same and may judge you
harshly if you don’t.
The contemporary university has grown to be a fairly complex institution sustained by many competing interests, not all of which are directly concerned with promoting the work of study, broadly conceived. My concern in the fol- lowing is with the quality of the subjective experience of studying that universities are still meant to provide. By subjective experience I mean the
mindful engagement that is study, and my focus is on such study as it is found in undergraduate programs leading to undergraduate degrees. Given the threat of a growing indifference between professors and students concerning their shared engagement in courses offered at the undergraduate level (offered because of professors’ institutional obligations, taken because of students’ degree requirements), I reconsider the subjective investment of mindful engagement that these courses nevertheless represent.
There’s only one first day of class. Here are some ideas for taking advantage of opportunities that are not available in the same way on any other day of the course.
A New Model for Effective Teaching
How might education change if classrooms become places of active learning, not just passive listening? Higher education students are already active learners, using e-books, Web content, and social media to explore and discover in their daily lives. But what happens when these students go to the classroom, especially for high-enrollment courses? They sometimes experience the curiosity-stifling thud of having to listen to and take notes on a lecture, with its mostly one-way communication format. And with limited opportunities for Q&A during the class session and no ability to review the lecture content later to study a difficult concept, it’s no wonder students may become discouraged and disengaged.
This traditional learning model won’t cut it with students who are accustomed to active learning, either on their own or in small groups of classmates. Students increasingly expect a classroom experience that helps them develop knowledge for themselves, not just passively receive one-dimensional information. Students want to do something meaningful with content instead of just listening to a lecture. They also expect to meet with discussion groups and project teams and
do much of their assigned work during class time instead of meeting separately.
Another factor that is playing a role in student perceptions: the value gained from education in a tough economy. Instructors need to make education worth a student’s investment of time and money by ensuring the classroom experience is productive and meaningful. These expectations are leading higher education toward “flipped” classrooms and a learning model that blends online and in-class learning. Respondents to the Center for Digital Education’s 2011 Community Colleges Survey indicated the majority of their students enroll in online or blended courses and that more than two-thirds of online courses used some type of online collaboration tools to promote learning.
Throughout this summer article series, we’ve addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about the flipped classroom in higher education. We’ve shared ideas for student motivation, student engagement, time management, student resistance, and large classes. Since this is the final article in the series, I reviewed my notes and the findings from the Faculty Focus reader survey on flipped classroom trends (2015), and there’s one more topic we need to address: creativity.
omen and African Americans—groups targeted by negative stereotypes about their intellectual abilities—may be
nderrepresented in careers that prize brilliance and genius. A recent nationwide survey of academics provided nitial support for this possibility. Fields whose practitioners believed that natural talent is crucial for success had ewer female and African American PhDs. The present study seeks to replicate this initial finding with a different, and rguably more naturalistic, measure of the extent to which brilliance and genius are prized within a field. Specifically, e measured field-by-field variability in the
emphasis on these intellectual qualities by tallying—with the use of a ecently released online tool—the frequency of the words “brilliant” and “genius” in over 14 million reviews on ateMyProfessors.com, a popular website where students can write anonymous evaluations of their instructors. his simple word count predicted both women’s and African Americans’ representation across the academic pectrum. That is, we found that fields in which the words “brilliant” and “genius” were
used more frequently on ateMyProfessors.com also had fewer female and African American PhDs. Looking at an earlier stage in students’ ducational careers, we found that brilliance-focused fields also had fewer women and African Americans obtaining achelor’s degrees. These relationships held even when accounting for field-specific averages on standardized athematics assessments, as well as several competing hypotheses concerning group differences in epresentation. The fact that this naturalistic measure of a field’s focus on brilliance predicted the magnitude of its gender and race gaps speaks to the tight link between ability beliefs and diversity.
Background/Context:Policy discussions in the U.S. and abroad have become increasingly studded with reference to the results of international tests like PISA. Unlike most assessments, PISA is not designed to measure whether students have mastered a particular school curriculum but rather provide a measure of students ability to meet future challenges irrespective of where in the world they live. Though growing in influence, the concept of a contextless form of accountability has an important antecedent in the history of American education: the Tests of General Educational Development (GED), which were developed in the 1940s to assist the transition of American World War II servicemen and women.
With what confidence can we guarantee that graduates are ready for the challenges of 21st-century life, work, and citizenship? For years I have worked with district leaders to help principals, teacher coaches, and so many other educators build credibility, coherence, and community around their education transformation efforts. District leaders must manage a myriad of priorities, and I often tell them that the best first step they can take to ensure our students’ success in life, work, and citizenship is to develop and adopt a graduate profile.
Canada’s “skills gap” has come to dominate both headlines and policy debates. Employers and business
representatives report a growing mismatch between the skills they need in employees and those possessed by job seekers. These concerns have fostered suggestions that the postsecondary system is not graduating students with the skills required by the labour market.
But not everyone is convinced. A growing chorus of voices questions whether or not such a gap actually exists in the Canadian economy. Nor is it clear when the skills gap is discussed that commentators have the same phenomenon in mind. Some consider the skills gap problem to result from a lack of postsecondary graduates to meet the impending demand for high-skilled workers, while others see it as a problem of students graduating with the wrong credentials for the labour market. Some suggest that Canadian students have the right credentials but not the basic essential skills needed by employers. Still others suggest that
students have the right skills but lack the work experience employers demand.
Some students are more challenging to teach than others. They require pedagogical skills of a different and higher order. Sometimes it’s easier to sigh and just turn away. And that’s legitimate in the sense that students (indeed, people of all sorts) have to figure things out for themselves. But many of us were such “works in progress” when we were in college, and a teacher (or several of them) ended up being instrumental in moving us in more productive directions. It’s for that reason I’d like us to consider some of these challenging students, each one a unique individual, but many displaying the same counterproductive attitudes and actions. Descriptions of these students come much more easily than solutions to what’s holding them back. Said more directly, my goal here is to start this conversation and ask for your wisdom, insights, and experiences with students who are tough to teach.
Providing a high-quality education where students have the opportunity to take part in active learning is one of the most important things we can do for our students. Doing so, however, is much more involved than we may think. All of our instructional work functions within a broader teaching and learning ecosystem where intentions interact, for better or worse, with the expectations and assumptions we have for ourselves and our students. Falling into the trap of attempting to engage students in a large class discussion, where random students reluctantly respond or provide additional information, is one of the most
common teaching practices applied in the higher education classroom. The problem is, large class discussions can feel like a waste of time as students are unmotivated, unprepared, and therefore unwilling to speak.
Under the broad research question, “Can multiple electronic learning resources improve students’ academic performance in a large first-year General Chemistry course?”, this study examines how students used a wide range of online resources during the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 academic terms and correlates this information with their academic success, measured by their grades on two midterms, a final exam and their final course grade.
Since 1996, Professor Robert Burk has taught Carleton University’s large first-year chemistry course, CHEM 1000. The course was a full credit course and spanned the fall and winter terms. In 2010, the Department of Chemistry adjusted the curriculum and the course has since then been offered as two half-credit courses – CHEM 1001, which runs in the fall term, and CHEM 1002, which runs in the winter term. Only students who achieve a passing mark in the fall term are eligible to enroll in the winter section of the course. Course enrollment has increased from 350 in 1996 to 700 in 2011.
Many peer mentorship programs in academia train senior students to guide groups of incoming students through the rigors
of postsecondary education. The mentorship program’s structure can influence how mentors develop from this experience.
Here, we compare how two different peer mentorship programs have shaped mentors’ experiences and development. The
curricular peer mentorship program was offered to mentors and mentees as credited academic courses. The non-curricular
program was offered as a voluntary student union service to students and peer mentors. Both groups of peer mentors shared
similar benefits, with curricular peer mentors (CMs) greatly valuing student interaction, and non-curricular peer mentors
(NCMs) greatly valuing leadership development. Lack of autonomy and lack of mentee commitment were cited as the biggest
concerns for CMs and NCMs, respectively. Both groups valued goal setting in shaping their mentorship development, but CMs
raised concerns about its overemphasis. Implications for optimal structuring of academic mentorship programs are discussed.
Keywords: peer mentorship, goal setting, postsecondary education, training program, program structure, student development
Two trends in the evolution of quality assurance in Canadian postsecondary education have been the emergence of outcomes-
based quality standards and the demand for balancing accountability and improvement. Using a realist, process-based
approach to impact analysis, this study examined four quality assurance events at two universities and two colleges in Ontario
to identify how system-wide quality assurance policies have impacted the curriculum development process of academic programs
within postsecondary institutions. The study revealed different approaches that postsecondary institutions chose to use in response to quality assurance policies and the mechanisms that may account for different experiences. These mechanisms
include endeavours to balance accountability and continuous improvement, leadership support, and the emerging quality assurance function of teaching and learning centres. These findings will help address the challenges in quality assurance policy
implementation within Canadian postsecondary education and enrich international discussions on the accountability-improvement dichotomy in the context of quality assurance.
Keywords: internal quality assurance, external quality assurance, accountability, continuous improvement, learning outcomes
Many adolescents are experiencing a reduction in sleep as a consequence of variety of behavioral factors, even though scientific evidence suggests taht the biological need for sleep increases during maturation. Consequenlly, the ability to effectively interact with peers while learning and processing novel information may be diminished in may sleep-deprived adolescents.
Names … why do we have such trouble learning them? For those of us who struggle with names, it never gets easier, no matter how many tricks we try. It can be embarrassing—to ourselves and to others. I remember once visiting a mall while out of town and hearing someone calling my name.
Soon, a vaguely familiar person was greeting me with enthusiasm. “I am so happy to see you! It’s
been so long? How are you?”
Who is this?, I’m thinking to myself. Course rosters roll through my mind. Nothing. No associations. No connections. Finally, in embarrassment I admit. “I’m terribly sorry but I can’t remember your name.
Canadian students have academic and non-academic obligations, and their ability to balance them may impact university experience. Involvement in academic and non-academic activities, and the perception of balancing them was compared between students with and without disabilities. Results revealed that both groups of students participated in employment, social activities, and family obligations. Furthermore, perceived ability to balance academic and non-academic activities was associated with higher academic self-efficacy and resourcefulness in all students. Relative to non-disabled peers, students with disabilities spent fewer hours participating in non-academic activities, had fewer course hours, but studied as many hours. Students with disabilities who had difficulties balancing their multiple roles were less adapted to university. The time to access accommodations for learning may act as a barrier to adaptation. Creating university policies around accommodations for learning would benefit students with disabilities, and the incorporation of resourcefulness and time-management into university curriculum would benefit all students.
Résumé Les étudiants canadiens ont tous des obligations scolaires et parascolaires, et leur capacité à les équilibrer entre elles peut avoir des répercussions sur leur expérience universitaire. La participation à des activités scolaires et parascolaires, et la perception d’arriver à les équilibrer entre elles a été comparée entre étudiants avec handicap et étudiants sans handicap. Les résultats ont démontré que les étudiants avaient tous des obligations professionnelles, sociales et familiales, peu importe s’ils étaient affligés d’un handicap ou non. En outre, la perception de pouvoir équilibrer entre elles les activités scolaires et parascolaires a été associée à une meilleure efficacité scolaire autodidacte et à un meilleur esprit d’initiative chez tous les étudiants. Comparativement à leurs camarades sans handicap, les étudiants avec handicap consacraient moins d’heures à des activités parascolaires, disposaient de moins d’heures de cours, mais étudiaient autant d’heures. Les étudiants avec handicap qui avaient de la difficulté à équilibrer leurs multiples rôles étaient moins adaptés à la vie universitaire. Comme le temps nécessaire pour accéder aux installations d’apprentissage peut constituer une barrière à l’adaptation, l’élaboration de politiques universitaires autour des installations d’apprentissage serait bénéfique pour les étudiants avec handicap. De même, l’intégration de l’esprit d’initiative et de la gestion du temps dans le programme d’études universitaires profiterait à tous les étudiants.