In the early 2000s, anyone learning about pedagogy might have encountered “learning styles,” a collection of theories that assert people learn differently, coupled with the advice to teach in ways that include visual, auditory, and/or kinesthetic learning.
One of the most consequential lessons I learned last semester actually happened after it was over. Five days after
the semester ended — to be precise, about 15 minutes after I updated the final grades for my courses — the emails
started coming in, like clockwork. I’m sure you get them too: the earnest and pleading requests (sometimes polite,
sometimes not) for better grades. I responded with my general policy (I only change grades if I’ve made a mistake; I
round to the nearest whole number), and that seemed to satisfy most students. But one student was a tougher nut to
Email after email arrived with detailed (and specious) arguments as to why he was shortchanged on the grades he
earned for specific assignments. He requested documentation that explained why he received 12.15 points for an
assignment instead of 12.16. He earnestly explained what it would mean if I could find an extra 1.05 points
somewhere to bump him from a B to a B+. Each of my responses provoked an even longer email in reply. It went on
for some time.
This paper argues that competency-based training in vocational education and training in Australia is one mechanism through which the working class is denied access to powerful knowledge represented by the academic disciplines. The paper presents a modified Bernsteinian analysis to argue that VET students need access to disciplinary knowledge using Bernstein’s argument that abstract, conceptual knowledge is the means societies use to think ‘the unthinkable’ and ‘the not-yet-thought’. I supplement Bernstein’s social argument for democratic access to the disciplines, with an epistemic argument that draws on the philosophy of critical realism.
Keywords: competency-based training; academic disciplines; sacred and profane knowledge; vertical and horizontal discourse.
Higher education is glutted with courses, many of which are marginal or associated with arcane, duplicative or
outdated subjects. That is at the heart of tuition increases, student debt, budget shortfalls, legislative distrust, poor
adjunct pay and too few tenured or tenure-eligible professors at typical colleges and universities.
Who are you when you teach? When asked this question, most of us immediately respond by describing our teaching approaches. We might say “I’m more of a facilitator now.” Or we might respond with something like “I am a learner-centered teacher” or “I’m more of a lab teacher than lecturer.” But consider this question in another way: What “teaching presence” or persona underlies what you do as a teacher?
Abstract Although the literature on institutional diversity suggests that quality assurance practices could affect institutional diversity, there has been little empirical research on this relationship. This article seeks to shed some light on the possible connection between quality assurance practices and institutional diversity by examining the arrangements for
quality assurance in higher education systems that include two distinct sectors, one of which having a more academic orientation and the other a more applied orientation. The article explores the ways in which quality assurance structures and standards in selected jurisdictions provide for recognition of the differences in orientation and mission between academic and applied sectors of higher education systems. The research identified some features of quality assurance systems that recognize the characteristics of applied higher education, such as having different statements of expected learning outcomes for applied
and academic programs or requiring different qualifications for faculty who teach in applied programs. It is hoped that the results might be of interest to policy makers and quality assurance practitioners who are concerned about the possible impact of quality
assurance on institutional diversity.
Happy Thursday, and welcome to Teaching. This week the newsletter is curated by Beckie. First up, Beth shares a scene that stayed with her from a recent reporting trip — and what it means for colleges’ efforts to innovate. Then I’ll fill you in on an effort to improve introductory math, share a list of new books compiled by two of our colleagues at The Chronicle of Higher Education, and run through the highlights of a report on assessing student learning.
It’s easier than ever for students to buy assignments. Until universities have better measures for rooting out this kind of cheating, professors are focusing on prevention.
How do you deal with cheating if you can’t be sure it’s happening? For universities across the country, it’s an important question as online services and message boards have made it increasingly easy for students to buy whole, made-to-order essays and pass them off as their own. It’s very difficult for professors to catch, and no one is sure just how big an issue it is.
Through the writings and research of pre-eminent online learning expert, Dr. Tony Bates
For almost 50 years, Tony Bates has been a consistent, persistent and influential voice for the reform of teaching and learning in post-secondary education, notably through the effective use of emerging technologies. Author of 11 books and 350 research papers in the field of online learning and distance education, Tony Bates is also an advisor to over 40 organizations in 25 countries, and publisher of what is arguably the most influential blog on online learning (link is external) with over 20,000 visits a month. A Contact North | Contact Nord Research Associate, Dr. Bates has helped educators, academic administrators and policy makers grasp key concepts, trends and challenges in online learning. This posting is one of a series that looks at Tony’s perspectives and advice on key issues in online learning.
This series was researched and developed by Contact North | Contact Nord Research Associates, Dr. Jane Brindley and Dr. Ross Paul.
Ten years ago, Lisa Lalonde, now a professor in the faculty of early childhood education at Algonquin College in Ottawa, was cautioned by a friend about her choice to pursue an education almost exclusively online.
"When I first started this journey, someone asked me about what my career objectives were in the long-term … and they warned me that some of the upper crust of academia don't look highly upon this [online education]," she recalls. "Whereas, I'm finding that is definitely not the case any more."
What exactly was the extent of Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign? How widespread was its infiltration of social media? And how much influence did its propaganda have on public opinion and voter behavior?
Take a recent example: Jonathan Albright, a researcher at Columbia University, looked into a number of Russia-bought pages that Facebook had taken down. He concluded that they had amassed potentially hundreds of millions of views. David Karpf, an associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, wasn’t convinced, arguing that most of the "people" who had liked these pages were very likely Russian bots. (Full disclosure: I commissioned and edited Karpf’s post on The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog.)
Successfully leading and guiding student discussions requires a range of fairly sophisticated communication skills.
At the same time teachers are monitoring what’s being said about the content, they must keep track of the
discussion itself. Is it on topic? How many students want to speak? Who’s already spoken and wants to speak
again? How many aren’t listening? Is it time to move to a different topic? What’s the thinking behind that student
question? How might the discussion be wrapped up?
As an instructional technologist at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, Tom Baer is no stranger to
working with faculty who struggle to understand the role of instructional designers. It’s not unusual for him to encounter instructors reluctant to give up their go-to lecture or PowerPoint Presentation, unsure of online learning’s effectiveness or resistant to a change in teaching style.
Enrollment in online courses at colleges and universities continues to grow, along with the need for IDs who help design curriculum and implement digital tools. IDs work closely with faculty members and subject experts to create measurable learning objectives, produce course content and craft engaging activities. But during the process, faculty may give IDs the cold shoulder for fear of having to give up control or appearing less knowledgeable in front of their students.
How many hours should professors work each week? Everyone has a different answer, especially professors.
Case in point: When Nicholas A. Christakis, a professor at Yale University, asserted on Twitter that graduate students should work more than 60 hours each week, a debate ensued. Professors pointed to studies that suggested not everyone can devote more than 40 hours each week to their jobs — for example, if they have kids — or that the institutions and departments they work for may have different standards of work, research, and competitiveness.
Most of the time, instructors use activities as a way for students to demonstrate their mastery. But activities can be used differently — to spark curiosity and get students thinking, before they know much of anything about a particular topic. That was the premise of “The Power of the ‘Naïve Task,’” one of the most interesting sessions I attended at the Designing Effective
Teaching conference in Bethesda, Md., last week.
Ontario ranks among Canada’s top-performing provinces on equity of outcomes in kindergarten to Grade 12 education and high school attainment.1 The province also earns an “A+” for college attainment in the Conference Board of Canada’s How Canada Performs rankings.2 What makes Ontario such a strong performer in these areas?
In part, these good results are due to special programs targeting individuals who are at high risk of dropping out of school. One such initiative is the School Within a College (SWAC) program. SWAC helps struggling students complete high school and get a head start on a college or apprenticeship credential. Other jurisdictions can take a page from the SWAC program’s model of transitioning struggling students into college-ready learners.
Faculty members juggle teaching, grading assignments, and conducting research. They write grants, run labs, and serve on the committees that keep their academic departments and institutions going.
One aspect of their jobs that stands out in both its rewards and its challenges is working with students. Here are key findings from a Chronicle survey of nearly 1,000 faculty members: Most faculty members find teaching students to be satisfying work.
Future teachers are likely to teach as they were taught—which can be problematic, researchers wrote in a recent study, "because most teachers experienced school mathematics as a set of disconnected facts and skills, not a system of interrelated concepts."
Future teachers are likely to teach as they were taught—which can be problematic, researchers wrote in a recent
study, "because most teachers experienced school mathematics as a set of disconnected facts and skills, not a
system of interrelated concepts."
But even when prospective teachers are taught to teach math conceptually, a good content knowledge base is still
important, the study found.
You’ve probably heard "ivory tower" jokes or other ways of lampooning academic researchers and scholars. Here’s
one: How many college professors does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Eight. One to secure funding for the
light bulb, one to observe and record the changing of the bulb, one to consider the theoretical implications of the
change, one to write the research paper, two to edit the journal to which the research paper is submitted, and two
more to serve as blind peer-reviewers for the manuscript. (The actual changing of the bulb will be done by a