One of the biggest differences between the experience I had as a student and the experience students have in my classroom has to do with assignments. When I was a student, assignments often had no discernible relationship to what we were doing in class. Oh, we would have to write about a text we read for class. But once the assignment was given out, we were generally on our own — there were no opportunities to work on it in class, to reflect on the skills the assignment asked us to practice, to share and workshop our ideas with our classmates.
The courses I teach are different. A sequence of major assignments form the backbone of the semester. Almost everything we do in class is explicitly linked to one or more of those assignments. We break them down into stages, work on them collaboratively, and discuss the challenges students might face along the way. Like many teachers, I design assignments not just to assess performance, but also to give students opportunities to practice and develop important skills.
The Georgia Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and Arizona State University last year provided students with Echo Dots, puck-shaped, voice-activated devices programmed to answer campus-specific questions about meal plans and business hours for campus buildings.
Some of these Echo Dots, programmed by n-Powered, a Boston-based start-up, can relay individual students’ data, including financial aid and grades. The company’s founders installed 60 of the virtual-assistant devices at Northeastern this past spring.
If we believe in the active-learning classroom — that the only way to bring about real learning is to engage students in ways that help them revise and broaden their thinking — then student participation is a non-negotiable part of the equation. Learning does not happen without the student actively taking part.
Oddly, however, given its importance, our own definition of “student participation” is often quite limited. In the scholarship on teaching and learning, that term is almost always defined narrowly as the degree to which students take part in class discussions. And while discussion is obviously an important component of an active-learning classroom, it’s not the only component. There are many other ways in which students participate in class: writing, researching, and contributing to small group activities are just a few. If we want to accurately assess and reward participation in our courses, we need to expand our definition to include more than just the amount of times that students raise their hands.
As longtime practitioners in our disciplines, we develop implicit skills that can be the source of some of the deepest learning for our students. In his book Experience and Education, John Dewey describes habit as “the formation of attitudes, attitudes that are emotional and intellectual…our basic sensitivities and ways of responding to all the conditions we meet in living” (35). Experiencing implies the sensing body, embodied learning, and Dewey does not shy away from the emotional dimensions of learning—both of which are often where the deepest learning happens, where students’ passion for a discipline ignites, and where experts’ best ideas originate. These often-overlooked dimensions of learning are also where empathy lives, and so it is there that knowledge might blossom not only into expertise but into wisdom
No matter where you are in the academic hierarchy (or “lowerarchy,” as one of my students once wrote on an exam), you need to learn how to manage up.
Whether student issues, structural problems with a program, unintended consequences of administrative mandates or a full-blown bureaucratic meltdown, you never want to be asked certain questions by your higher-ups.
National Trends in Grade Inflation, American Colleges and Universities
Ontario is taking a historic step in recognizing the unique role Indigenous Institutes have in the province's postsecondary education system with the introduction of new legislation that, if passed, would transfer key functions and oversight to Indigenous people.
Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, were joined by the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium, chiefs, leaders of Indigenous Institutes and students from across the province in Toronto today to mark this important step on the path to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
In Prime Minister Trudeau’s mandate letter to the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, copyright policy received not a single mention. The mandate letter, which sets out the ministry’s main agenda, contains extensive directives to establish programs and artists’ subsidies, but none to the fundamental rights on which the arts rely.
Yet, as demonstrated by the ministerial briefing book (prepared to inform incoming ministers of active issues in their
portfolios), many important copyright issues are outstanding, including implementation of treaties, Internet piracy, the
2017 review of the Copyright Act, extending the term of protection for copyright-protected works, and the efficiency of
copyright collectives. Perhaps most urgent, and instructive, is another issue mentioned in the briefing book:
copyright clearance by educational institutions. In this case, bad law is destroying an entire industry.
MINNEAPOLIS -- As the former president of two small liberal arts colleges and Pennsylvania’s independent college group, Brian C. Mitchell believes “with all my heart” in the traditional case for American higher education: that it helps produce full and productive members of an engaged citizenry.
“It’s a noble argument, the right argument,” he told an audience at the annual meeting of the National Association of College and University Business Officers. But “it just doesn’t matter given the environment,” he said. “It just doesn’t resonate.”
It’s not that Mitchell thinks there isn’t a good case to be made for higher education. And the former president of Washington & Jefferson College and Bucknell University doesn’t accept the idea that colleges and universities collectively face a “doomsday scenario,” as some prognosticators tend to predict.
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.
At one of Ontario’s largest universities, the University of Ottawa, course evaluations involve about 6,000 course sections and over 43,000 students every year. This paper-based format requires over 1,000,000 sheets of paper, 20,000 envelopes, and the support of dozens of administrative staff members. To examine the impact of a shift to an online system for the evaluation of courses, the following study sought to compare participation rates and evaluation scores of an online and paper-based course evaluation system. Results from a pilot group of 10,417 students registered in 318 courses suggest an average decrease in participation rate of 12–15% when using an online system. No significant differences in evaluation scores were observed. Instructors and students alike shared positive reviews about the online system; however, they suggested that an inclass period be maintained for the electronic completion of course evaluations.
Baylor University’s newly named president, Linda A. Livingstone, has had a long career in higher education. But there’s one position that’s not on her résumé: provost.
Increasingly, that’s not an unusual step to skip, according to a report, released on Wednesday, that analyzed 840 college presidents’ CVs. While serving as provost was once a clear steppingstone on the way to the president’s office, many deans are now moving straight into the top job, according to the report, which was issued by Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for 21st Century Universities.
I have been wanting to write about tired teaching for some time now. Concerns about burnout are what’s motivating me. Teachers can reach a place where teaching does nothing for them or their students. They don’t just wake up one morning and find themselves burned out; they’ve moved there gradually, and it’s a journey that often starts with tired teaching.
There’s nothing on the subject in my big file of articles and resources. I can’t remember having read about it, and I’m not sure how much we even talk about it. We do talk about being tired. Teaching is relentless. It happens every day, several times a week—or potentially 24/7 if it’s online. And it’s demanding. There’s so much more than the actual teaching. There’s considerable planning involved before each class. Plus, we need to spend time with students—those who want to talk, those needing
help, and those with questions or, sometimes, complaints. There are assignments to grade and feedback to provide—
all carrying the expectation of a quick turnaround. With multiple courses to teach, we do get tired, but I think we regularly confuse physical fatigue with the more serious emotional tiredness that comes from a heavy workload of always being there, always giving, and always juggling multiple balls in the air.
Bill C-51, the federal government’s Anti-Terrorism Act, has sparked serious concerns about the potential impact on the basic civil liberties of all Canadians. The proposed legislation would establish criminal offences that infringe upon the right to free expression. Security agencies would be granted unprecedented and intrusive powers to monitor and share information about Canadians, with no commensurate increase in oversight or accountability
Throughout the nearly three years of career advice from “Carpe Careers,” we’ve advised you on myriad topics --
including pursuing professional development opportunities and networking, writing application documents,
interviewing and the existential crisis of leaving academia, to name just a few. You name it, we’ve discussed it.
Put simply, the culmination of our advice should be to tell you that you need a plan. You need a map of the steps to
take toward your career goals -- from soft- and technical-skill development, to the people you should meet and
speak to in order to help you land that next job. But with all the focus on your next steps, there has been little
discussion of what you leave behind. In other words, as you embark on your next career steps, how do you manage
a graceful and less stressful departure from your current job? A new job offer may tempt you to go out in a blaze of
glory (advice: don’t), but the manner in which you leave your current job has professional implications. In addition,
you must consider personal matters, especially regarding finances and your health care.
OTTAWA — Federal officials, as part of the government’s latest efforts to crack down on bad debts, are trying to figure out why graduates from private career colleges are more likely to have problems repaying their student loans.
Roughly nine per cent of the almost half-million students who receive federal assistance each year through the Canada Student Loans program go to private schools, including career colleges
PANEL MANDATE, SCOPE
OF REVIEW, AND PRINCIPLES
Canadian accomplishments in science and scholarly inquiry have long been a source of national pride. However, by various measures, Canada’s research competitiveness has eroded in recent years when compared with international peers. The change coincided with a period of flat-lining of federal spending through the four core funding agencies that support researchers in universities, colleges, institutes, and research hospitals. In those years funds were also directed preferentially to priority-driven and partnership oriented research, reducing available support for independent, investigator-led research by frontline scientists and scholars.
The proportion of federally derived funding for research has also declined. Canada ranks well globally n higher education expenditures on research and development as a percentage of GDP, but is an outlier in that funding from federal government sources accounts for less than 25 per cent of that total, while institutions now underwrite 50 per cent of these costs with adverse effects on both research and education.
The changing nature of work is a hot topic these days and policy makers across the globe must grapple with the challenges it presents. In our search for solutions, we need to remember that the future of work is inextricably linked to the future of education.
It is this linkage that makes Joseph Aoun’s new book, Robot-Proof, a must-read for anyone who is thinking about workforce development or education policy – though, of course, if you’re thinking about one, you should be thinking about the other.
“Parents felt very isolated. They didn’t fit in with the other students or feel welcomed.”
Five years ago, Kayla Madder unexpectedly became pregnant while finishing up a second undergraduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan. After taking eight months off following the birth of her son Amari, she started a master’s degree in animal and poultry science. Still nursing, she and another graduate student friend, also a parent, asked around campus for suggestions on where to breastfeed. “We called around to all of the places that we thought might be able to help us with finding a space and no one really knew. Some suggested using a bathroom, which isn’t safe to breastfeed in, and some suggested using our cars,” she says.
This summer’s college president departure season is off to a swift start that has largely been marked by little
forewarning from colleges before exits are announced.
Many boards of trustees would consider it best practice to have a quick parting of ways with little surrounding
drama. But it doesn’t always go so smoothly in higher education -- it didn’t last summer -- making the pace and tone
of presidential partings so far this year stand out. Also noteworthy is that many recently announced transitions have
involved leaders who are relatively young or who are early in their tenures.
The president of Washington College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore resigned just a week after word leaked that all
was not well between her and the institution’s board. That president, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
chair Sheila Bair, was two years into a five-year contract. She cited her family when she departed, but the college
did not go into depth on reasons for her resignation.