For most educators, writing a philosophy of teaching statement is a daunting task. Sure they can motivate the most lackadaisical of students, juggle a seemingly endless list of responsibilities, make theory and applications of gas chromatography come alive for students, all the while finding time to offer a few words of encouragement to a homesick
freshman. But articulating their teaching philosophy? Itâ€™s enough to give even English professors
a case of writer's block.
Traditionally part of the teaching portfolio in the tenure review process, an increasing number of higher education institutions are now requiring a philosophy of teaching statement from job applicants as well. For beginning instructors, putting their philosophy into words is particularly challenging. For one thing they arenâ€™t even sure they have a philosophy yet. Then there's the added pressure of writing one thatâ€™s good enough to help them land their first teaching job.
This Faculty Focus special report is designed to take the mystery out of writing teaching philosophy statements, and includes both examples and how-to articles written by educators from various disciplines and at various stages of their professional careers.
Some of the articles you will find in the report include:
â€¢ How to Write a Philosophy of Teaching and Learning Statement
â€¢ A Teaching Philosophy Built on Knowledge, Critical Thinking and Curiosity
â€¢ My Teaching Philosophy: A Dynamic Interaction Between Pedagogy and Personality
â€¢ Writing the â€œSyllabus Versionâ€ of Your Philosophy of Teaching
â€¢ My Philosophy of Teaching: Make Learning Fun
As contributor Adam Chapnick writes, â€œThere is no style that suits everyone, but there is almost certainly one that will make you more comfortable. And while there is no measurable
way to know when you have got it â€˜right,â€™ in my experience, you will know it when you see it!â€
Seamless Pathways: A Symposium on Improving
Transitions from High School to College gathered prominent Ontario educators, policy-makers and government leaders in Toronto on June 6, 2006. The purpose of the symposium was to bring together an expert group of education leaders to:
learn about other jurisdictions approaches to building meaningful pathways that contribute to higher success rates in secondary school and higher participation in post-secondary education discuss what has been learned from current research; the School/College/Work Initiative projects; and the unique role of colleges and apprenticeship pathways in student success
â€¢ identify systemic issues and develop policy advice for creating better school-college linkages in order to raise both participation and success rates for post-secondary students.
There was a clear need for a high-level strategic discussion on the future of transitions in order to: follow up on the recommendations in Ontario: A Leader in Learning (the Rae report on postsecondary education) respond to the Ontario government's Learning to 18 and Student Success strategies, such as dual credits and high-skills majors.
In 2011 Ontario joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) feasibility study. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) led the project on behalf of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) and in cooperation with the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).
Initiated in 2006, AHELO was a feasibility study to determine if standard generic and discipline-specific tests could be used in different countries to measure what university students know and are able to do. Intending to contribute to the international conversation on establishing better indications of learning quality, the study aimed to develop common learning outcomes and assess student performance at the end of a bachelor’s degree (first cycle) in a variety of educational cultures, languages and institutions through standard tests. The feasibility study developed three assessments: one for generic skills and two for discipline-specific skills in economics and civil engineering.
In March 2004, a sweeping agenda was unveiled by the Federal government to stimulate the development of “a Canada of success.” The underlying strategy has two fundamental components:
• Support learning by providing young Canadians with tools to success, while encouraging lifelong learning for all; and
• Support innovative Canadian industries and enhance productivity.
For Canada to succeed, all Canadians must have the opportunity to develop and use their skills and knowledge to the fullest. So said the government of Prime Minister Paul Martin in the Speech from the Throne that opened the 37th Parliament of Canada in February 2004: “Investing in people will be Canada’s most important economic investment.”
Such an investment is critical. The new economy demands an increasingly educated and skilled workforce. To remain globally competitive, Canada needs to invest in raising the overall level of education and skills across the country. As well, Canada faces a shortage of skilled workers over the next 10 years, due to both retirement and the country’s low population
growth rate. To replace our aging workforce, Canada needs to look beyond traditional sources for future employees. It needs to invest in increasing the education and skill levels of:
• Aboriginal Canadians;
• Canadians with disabilities;
• Immigrants to Canada;
• Youth and adults with low literacy or foundation skills; and
• Canadians living in rural or remote areas of the country.
Writing assignments, particularly for first- and second-year college students, are probably one of those items in the syllabus that some professors dread almost as much as their students do. Yet despite the fact that essays, research papers, and other types of writing assignments are time consuming and, at times, frustrating to grade, they also are vital to furthering student learning.
Of course part of the frustration comes when professors believe that students should arrive on campus knowing how to write research papers. Many do not. With as much content as professors have to cover, many feel they simply can’t take time to teach the research skills required to write a quality, college-level term paper. But as teaching professors who support the writing across the curriculum movement would tell you, improving students’ writing skills is everyone’s business, and carries with
it many short- and long-term benefits for teachers and students alike. Further, many instructors are finding ways to add relevance to writing assignments by aligning them with the type of writing required in a specific profession as an alternative to the traditional, semester-long research paper.
This special report was created to provide instructors with fresh perspectives and proven strategies for designing more effective writing assignments. It features 11 articles from The Teaching Professor, including:
• Revising the Freshman Research Assignment
• Writing an Analytical Paper in Chunks
• Designing Assignments to Minimize Cyber-Cheating
• Chapter Essays as a Teaching Tool
• Writing (Even a Little Bit) Facilitates Learning
• How to Conduct a ‘Paper Slam’
While not every approach discussed in this special report will work for every course, every
time, I invite you to identify a few that look appropriate for your courses, and implement
them next semester. You just might be surprised by the results.
The Teaching Professor
Higher education leaders have many opportunities today to make changes that can profoundly alter the learning
environments they provide students. The digital revolution and rise in the use of both wireless networks and mobile
computing devices promise a new paradigm in education, one in which students and faculty need anywhere, anytime access to the network; where learning can be more personalized and customized; where students are more engaged; where remote learning opportunities are optimized; and where collaboration between all stakeholders becomes much easier to achieve.
Institutions of higher learning, including public and private universities, community colleges and technical schools, are increasingly turning to digital learning approaches. Higher education students expect a more socially engaging and collaborative learning experience and new technology is enabling these opportunities that were once difficult to imagine. The Center for Digital Education’s 2011 Digital Community Colleges Survey found that 92 percent of respondents have expanded distance learning offerings for online, hybrid and Web-assisted courses over the past year. A survey of adult students also found that 33 percent cited blended courses (courses that are part online and part in the classroom) as their preferred learning format. However, layered on top of these digital opportunities are significant budget pressures and rising enrollment rates. Traditional funding sources — like grants and donations — are under tremendous strain, forcing administrators to consider tuition hikes and reduced course offerings, along with other undesirable cost-cutting measures. Along with these budget pressures, colleges and universities are experiencing an increased demand on IT resources,
including registrations systems, financial aid delivery, help desk support, mobility management, and online/selfservice applications.
The challenge that the higher education community faces is how to reduce complexity and costs within their infrastructure and maximize existing resources at a time when funding is in short supply. Colleges and universities need to reduce costs while ensuring they are providing staff and students with technology that enhances learning and leads to improved student success.
Some campuses are solving this problem by streamlining and simplifying their existing IT infrastructure. Improving what’s already in place not only saves money, but also makes it easier to enhance student learning and achievement using today’s technological tools. Here’s a look at how this is possible.
Many higher education institutions use student satisfaction surveys given at the end of a course to measure course and instructor quality. But is that really a true measure of quality? All things being equal, an instructor who teaches a rigorous course will likely score much lower than an instructor whose course is a little less demanding. Then there’s the whole timing of the satisfaction surveys. For the most part, students are simply glad the course is over (even if they liked it) and put little thought or time into completing the survey. Unless of course they know they failed, in which case you will get a detailed assessment of how you are boring, inflexible, out of touch, or otherwise unfit to teach.
No wonder surveys get such a bad rap. If end-of-course evaluations are the only surveys you use, there’s a lot more you can, and should, be doing. Done correctly, surveys can deliver tremendous insight into what’s working, what’s not, and why. This special report features 10 articles from Online Classroom, including a three-part and a five-part series that provides stepby-
step guidance on how to use surveys and evaluations to improve online courses, programs, and instruction. You’ll learn when to use surveys, how to design effective survey questions, why it’s important to ensure anonymity, and the advantages and disadvantages of Web-based surveys.
Articles in Online Course Quality Assurance: Using Evaluations and Surveys to Improve Online Teaching and Learning include:
• Online Teaching Fundamentals: What to Evaluate, parts 1-3
• Course and Instructor Evaluation: If It’s So Good, Why Does It Feel So Bad?
• Getting Evaluation Data through Surveys: What to Consider before Getting Started
• Using Surveys to Improve Courses, Programs, and Instruction, parts 1-5
If you’re dedicated to continuous improvement, this special report is loaded with practical advice that will help you create more effective surveys before, during, and after your course ends.
Academic dishonesty is a persistent problem in institutions of higher education, with numerous short- and long-term implications. This study examines undergraduate students’ self-reported engagement in acts of academic dishonesty using data from a sample of 321 participants attending a public university in a western Canadian city during the fall of 2007. Various factors were assessed for their influence on students’ extent of academic dishonesty. More than one-half of respondents engaged in at least one of three types of dishonest behaviours surveyed during their tenure in university. Faculty of enrolment, strategies for learning, perceptions of peers’ cheating and their requests for help, and perceptions and evaluations of academic dishonesty made unique contributions to the prediction of academic dishonesty. High self-efficacy acted as a protective factor that interacted with instrumental motives to study to reduce students’ propensity to engage in dishonest academic behaviours. Implications of these findings for institutional interventions are briefly discussed.
Le comportement académique malhonnête persiste dans les institutions d’enseignement supérieur, et ses implications à court et à long terme sont nombreuses. La présente étude examine l’adoption d’un comportement académique malhonnête par des étudiants de premier cycle, grâce aux données d’un échantillon de 321 participants qui fréquentaient une université publique dans une ville de l’ouest canadien à l’automne 2007. Différents facteurs ont été évalués en fonction de leur influence sur l’étendue du comportement académique malhonnête des étudiants. Plus de la moitié des étudiants échantillonnés ont adopté au moins l’un des trois types de comportements malhonnêtes au cours de leur passage à l’université. La faculté à s’inscrire, les stratégies d’apprentissage, la perception quant au comportement tricheur des pairs et quant à leurs demandes d’aide, et les perceptions et évaluations de la malhonnêteté académique constituent des indices uniques pour ce qui est de prédire le comportement académique malhonnête. Un degré élevé d’auto-efficacité, de même que certains motifs essentiels, avaient un effet protecteur dans la réduction de la propension des étudiants à s’engager dans des comportements académiques malhonnêtes. L’article aborde brièvement les conséquences de ces résultats au cours d’interventions en institution d’enseignement.
The renowned American political sociologist, Seymour Lipset, has been interested in the study of cultural and institutional differences between Canada and the United States ever since he attempted to explain, in his doctoral thesis more than forty years ago, why the first socialist government in North America happened to come to power in Canada. Continental Divide, thus, represents more than forty years of study, reflection, and accumulation of data on differences between Canada and the United States with respect to political values, behaviour, and institutions.
Social Media Usage Trends Among Higher Education Faculty
The numbers surrounding social media are simply mind boggling.
750 million. The number of active Facebook users, which means if Facebook was a country it would be the third-largest in the world.
90. Pieces of content created each month by the average Facebook user.
175 million. The Twitter accounts opened during Twitter's history.
140 million. The average number of Tweets people sent per day in February 2011.
460,000. Average number of new Twitter accounts created each day during February 2011.
120 million. LinkedIn members as of August 4, 2011.
More than two per second. The average rate at which professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn as of June 30, 2011.
All of these stats, which come from the respective companies’ own websites, serve as proof points to what we already knew: social media is growing at breakneck speed. Yet the story of social media is still being written as organizations and individuals alike continue to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of social media in the workplace. When that workplace is a college or university, there’s a cacophony of opinions in terms of the most effective uses, if any.
For the past two years, Faculty Focus conducted a survey on Twitter usage in higher education, this year we expanded the survey to include Facebook and LinkedIn, while changing a number of the questions as well. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are considered "the big three" in social media, and we thank those who recommended we take a
broader look at the landscape.
All three platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, and are better used for some things than others. But how are the three being used in higher education today? It’s our hope that these survey results provide at least some of the answers while lending new data to the discussion.
institutional context, a variety of priorities and issues will be identified by participants and a variety of solutions will be proposed and attempted. It is appropriate then that support for distributed leadership allows for a variety of situations rather than providing a single prescription.
This Resource Portfolio for the P.A.C.E.D Distributed Leadership Model provides support for a range of elements of distributed leadership through the provision of resources that will assist in actioning initiatives. These resources include templates for role identification, reflection, provision of feedback, presentations, posters and websites. The Resource Portfolio provides integrated examples of distributed leadership in action, based on experience in the RMIT Student Feedback and Leadership Project.
The examples reinforce the diversity possible when a single project is actioned through distributed leadership.
Motivating students to participate in classroom discussions is a subject unto itself. The words “excruciating,” “agonizing,” and “mentally draining” may come to mind. There are some students who seem to assume that as long as the assigned work is completed on time, test scores are good, and attendance is satisfactory, they shouldn’t be forced to participate. It’s not that they don’t think participation improves the classroom experience, they just prefer that other students do the participating.
Of course we all have a few over-participators who are eager to volunteer every answer (sometimes to the point of dominating the discussion, which creates its own problems for educators and fellow students alike) but a good number of students prefer to listen,observe, or daydream rather than engage in the class discussion. Whether they’re shy, unprepared, or simply reluctant to share their ideas, getting students to participate is a constant struggle.
This special report features 11 articles from The Teaching Professor that highlight effective strategies for establishing the expectation of participation, facilitating meaningful discussion, using questions appropriately, and creating a supportive learning environment.
Articles you will find in this report include:
• Putting the Participation Puzzle Together
• Student Recommendations for Encouraging Participation
• To Call on or Not to Call on: That Continues to Be the Question
• Creating a Class Participation Rubric
• Those Students Who Participate Too Much There is some debate in the literature as to whether students have the right to remain silent in a class, but if you’re looking for ways to facilitate more effective discussions,
Tips for Encouraging Student Participation in Classroom Discussions will help.
Over the next several years, more than 500 Aboriginal communities across Canada will find themselves living right in the heart of some of the biggest oil, gas, forestry and mining projects Canada has seen in decades. Debates over pipelines, accelerated foreign investment, and the push for a national energy strategy have turned a spotlight on the central role that Aboriginal communities can play in resource development.
Summary of findings
Questions have been raised about the social impact of widespread use of social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. Do these technologies isolate people and truncate their relationships? Or are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way? The Pew Research Centerâ€™s Internet & American Life Project decided to examine SNS in a survey that explored peopleâ€™s overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community and political engagement. The findings presented here paint a rich and complex picture of the role that digital technology plays in peopleâ€™s social worlds. Wherever possible, we seek to disentangle whether peopleâ€™s varying social behaviors and attitudes are related to the different ways they use social networking sites, or to other relevant demographic characteristics, such as age, gender and social class.
The number of those using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008 and the population of SNS users has gotten older. In this Pew Internet sample, 79% of American adults said they used the internet and nearly half of adults (47%), or 59% of internet users, say they use at least one of SNS. This is close to double the 26% of adults (34% of internet users) who used a SNS in 2008. Among other things, this means the average age of adult-SNS users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. Over half of all adult SNS users are now over the age of 35. Some 56% of SNS users now are female.
Facebook dominates the SNS space in this survey: 92% of SNS users are on Facebook; 29% use MySpace, 18% used LinkedIn and 13% use Twitter. There is considerable variance in the way people use various social networking sites: 52% of Facebook users and 33% of Twitter users engage with the platform daily, while only 7% of MySpace and 6% of LinkedIn users do the same.
On Facebook on an average day:
- 15% of Facebook users update their own status.
- 22% comment on anotherâ€™s post or status.
- 20% comment on another userâ€™s photos.
- 26% â€œLikeâ€ another userâ€™s content.
- 10% send another user a private message
In the traditional college classroom today, faculty and students arrive with a certain set of expectations, shaped largely by past experiences. And although students may need the occasional (or perhaps frequent) reminder of what’s required of them, there’s usually something very familiar about the experience for both faculty and students alike. In the online classroom, an entirely new set of variables enters the equation. It’s a little like trying to drive in a foreign country. You know how to drive, just like you know how to teach,but it sure is hard to get the hang of driving on the left side of the road, you’re not quite sure how far a kilometer is, and darn it if those road signs aren’t all in Japanese. This special report explains the “rules of the road” for online teaching and learning and features a series of columns that first appeared in the Distance Education Report’s “Between
the Clicks,” a popular column by Dr. Lawrence C. Ragan, Director of Instructional Design and Development for Penn State’s World Campus.
The articles contained in the report will help you establish online instructor best practices and expectations, and include the following principles of effective online teaching:
• Show Up and Teach
• Practice Proactive Course Management Strategies
• Establish Patterns of Course Activities
• Plan for the Unplanned
• Response Requested and Expected
• Think Before You Write
• Help Maintain Forward Progress
• Safe and Secure
• Quality Counts
• (Double) Click a Mile on My Connection
These principles, developed at Penn State’s World Campus, outline the core behaviours of the successful online instructor, and help to define parameters around the investment of time on part of the instructor. In his articles, Ragan identifies potential barriers and limitations to online learning, and specific strategies to assist instructors in achieving the performance expectations.
Understanding Community Colleges brings together a variety of subjects and issues that face community colleges as they evolve in the higher education landscape. The edition is organized into four sections that cover three arenas: students, administration
and leadership issues, and workforce development. Each chapter, regardless of author, does a quality job of explaining the historical context of the given issue and the development or change that is occurring for community colleges nationwide. The text is accessible for those unfamiliar with community colleges and does not fall into the writing traps of consistently comparing community colleges to four-year institutions. Instead, each chapter treats community colleges as stand-alone entities,
examining them in each particular setting with no preconceived notions.
The time for meaningful transformation in Ontario’s postsecondary system is now. To meet the needs of the emerging economy, reform must focus on innovation and applied learning that vaults our province ahead of its competition in creating the best-educated, best-prepared workforce in the world. Composed of distinct but equally valued and complementary partners, Ontario’s transformed postsecondary system will ensure that all students can reach their full potential through a broad array of theoretical and applied learning opportunities. Colleges will continue to be student focused, specializing in applied learning that leads to good jobs for graduates, addresses labour market needs and affords access to the broadest possible population. Colleges and universities will offer a range of credentials within their systems and collaborate on a multitude of programs that offer students the best of both. Expanded pathways will give students the opportunity to customize their post-secondary experience to match their interests. Online and blended learning, married to leading-edge technology, will enable students to learn anywhere, anytime, and in ways best suited to their learning styles. Students will be better prepared than ever before to meet the demands of the economy, and they will achieve their goals faster and at less cost.
This paper examines relationships between the resources available to immigrant families and the amount parents are willing and able to save for their children's post-secondary education (PSE). We use data from Statistics Canada's 2002 Survey of Approaches to Educational Planning to compare immigrant and native-born PSE saving. The results indicate that income and asset wealth constrain PSE savings in some immigrant families. However, immigrants share with non-immigrants a set of parenting beliefs and practices that encourage both groups to invest in their childrenâ€™s educational futures.
Cet article examine les relations entre les ressources disponibles aux familles immigrantes et le montant que les parents veulent et peuvent Ã©pargner pour les Ã©tudes postsecondaires (EPS) de leurs enfants. Afi n de comparer les Ã©pargnes pour les EPS des immigrants et des non-immigrants, nous avons eu recours aux donnÃ©es de lâ€™EnquÃªte sur les approches en matiÃ¨re de planifi cation des Ã©tudes, effectuÃ©e en 2002 par Statistique Canada. Les rÃ©sultats rÃ©vÃ¨lent que lâ€™Ã©tat de lâ€™actif et des revenus freine lâ€™Ã©pargne pour les EPS chez certaines familles immigrantes. Toutefois, les immigrants et non-immigrants partagent un ensemble de croyances et de pratiques parentales communes qui encouragent les deux diffÃ©rents groupes Ã investir dans lâ€™avenir Ã©ducationnel de leurs enfants.
While Canada leads other OECD member countries in postsecondary education (PSE) participation rates, there still remain underrepresented segments of the population which are less likely to pursue PSE. Ontarians who come from low-income households, have parents with no PSE, live in a rural area, identify as an Aboriginal person, and/or have a disability are less likely to enrol in PSE (Norrie & Zhao, 2011).
Youth from some ethnic and racial groups are also less likely to pursue PSE, particularly university (Abada, Hou, & Ram, 2008).
This paper focuses on early intervention programs as one approach to support underrepresented youth to complete secondary school and make the transition to PSE. These programs are intended to provide youth with the resources, support and information necessary to avoid dropping out of school and to increase their chances of participating in PSE (Chambers & Deller, 2011). Early intervention programs can originate within the elementary and secondary school systems, colleges, universities, community centres or other community-based organizations.
The first section of this report is a literature review summarizing the key thinking on the role of early
intervention programs in supporting access. Much of what we know in Canada about these programs is
drawn from the American context, where research on the topic has been extensive. As a result, the
literature review draws heavily from American sources, making links to the Canadian context where