Love or hate it, group work can create powerful learning experiences for students. From understanding course content to developing problem solving, teamwork and communica-tion skills, group work is an effective teaching strategy whose lessons may endure well beyond the end of a course. So why is it that so many students (and some faculty) hate it?
When building an online program, there are certain big questions that need to be answered. Among them are: What kind of program you want it to be – high tech or low tech? Professor intensive or adjunct driven? Blended learning or fully online? What kind of technology will be used to deliver course content? What about opportunities for collaboration?
Designing an online course shares many of the same elements and processes that go into designing a traditional face-to-face course, however the online environment brings a unique set of challenges that require special attention and a different approach.
Strategies for recruiting employees and keeping them engaged have long been based around practical rewards like pay increases, bonuses or flexible working hours, attempting to cater to employees’ rational, business side. But this approach often leaves out a key consideration which informs every human action: our emotional connection to one another. Whether part of a traditional or virtual team, feelings-based personal relationships in the workplace have the greatest impact on employee engagement. When employees connect to their immediate supervisor in this way, they become more engaged with their role, working more effectively, staying with the company long-term, and acting as ambassadors for their organization.
So much of what determines the overall success or failure of a course takes place well in advance of the first day of class. It’s the thoughtful contemplation of your vision for the course— from what you want your students to learn, to selecting the instructional activities, assign-ments, and materials that will fuel that learning, to determining how you will measure learning outcomes.
While Scott Jeffrey, PhD, was getting his doctorate at the University of Chicago, he investigated which rewards would be the most effective in getting University staff members to improve speed and accuracyiii in the University’s incentive lab. In a controlled study he tested hard cold cash against a variety of non-monetary rewards, such as massages and tangible rewards. He used only a verbal “thank you” for the control group.
The reasons why students need to be involved and engaged when they attend college are well established. Engagement can be the difference between completing a degree and dropping out. Research has sought to identify what makes student involvement more likely. Factors like student-faculty interaction, active and collaborative learning experiences, involvement in ex-tracurricular activities, and living on campus have all been shown to make a difference.
Take a quick look at any non-fiction best-selling book list and you’re sure to find at least one title devoted to success…success in business, education, personal relationships or health and fitness. Almost without exception, the common thread running through all these “seeking success” books is the importance of setting personal goals. The value of goal setting has been measured, documented and espoused in self-help programs ranging from weight-control and addictions to achieving financial security. The topic has far-reaching interest in the academic community as well. Hundreds of academic studies have confirmed the efficacy of goal setting, demonstrating just how important goals are in improving performance.
Becoming a new faculty member is seldom easy. Whether the instructor is simply transitioning to a new university or stepping into the classroom for the very first time, there are questions large and small that arise every day about policies, procedures, techniques, and technologies. For online instructors, many of whom teach only part-time, this sense of disorientation
is made even more difficult by their off-site location and the growing list of tools and technologies they need to learn in order to create a rich learning environment.
As online education moves from the fringes to the mainstream, one question still persists: “How do I know what my online students have learned?” There are no simple answers, just as there aren’t in face-to-face courses, but with a little creativity and flexibility, you soon discover that the online learning environment opens up a host of new student assessment possibilities. And, just as with traditional courses, the trick is finding the right combination that works best for your particular course.
It’s been said that no one dreams of becoming an academic leader when they grow up. It’s a tough job that’s only gotten more challenging as budgets shrink, public scrutiny rises, and responsibilities continue to grow. It requires a unique skill set – part field general, part mediator, part visionary, and part circus barker – to name just a few. But what does it really take to be an
Remember how you felt during your first semester of teaching? Excited? Nervous? A little over-whelmed? At times you even might have wondered how the school could give you a job with so much responsibility and so little training.
Now you’re a seasoned educator making the move from faculty to administration. And guess what? You’re excited, nervous, and a little overwhelmed. And, once again, you wonder how the school could give you a job with so much responsibility and so little training.
Problem statement: Graffiti is about self-expression. When youth cannot find people to listen to them, they may express their strongly felt, internal experiences and emotions safely by writing on public property. Thus, graffiti can be handled as a counseling issue. When this self-expression of a thought, wish, or attitude comes from prospective teachers, the difficult
work of sorting these issues out may help us develop better teacher-education programs and produce better teachers. Thus, this work takes the issue of graffiti by prospective teachers as an interdisciplinary issue, bridging counseling and teacher training.
The purpose of this non-experimental, cross-sectional, descriptive research was to survey faculty and staff perceptions of mentorship in a postsecondary institution in order to determine gaps and strengths in the current mentorship
environment. The anecdotal activities we present reflect our educational practice environment through the work of our Mentorship Team. Data were collected utilizing Zachary’s Mentor Culture Audit tool. The culture building block measured 4.65 on a 7-point Likert scale, suggesting the presence of a weak mentorship culture. However, the infrastructure building block measured only 3.41, showing that organizational resources and supports are below average. We also present eight hallmark category results to further identify strengths and gaps. This is the first assessment of our mentoring culture at an organizational level. Other postsecondary institutions may benefit from formally assessing the gaps in and strengths of their mentorship culture toassist them with acquiring adequate resources to further develop and sustain their mentoring activities.
The Ontario Ministry of Education and Training’s Task Force on University Accountability first proposed key performance indicators (KPIs) for colleges and universities in Ontario in the early 1990s. The three main KPIs for Ontario universities are the rates of (1) graduation, (2) employment, and (3) Ontario Student Assistance Program loan default. This exploratory and descriptive study examined the perceptions of 12 key informants from 11 participating universities about the efficacy and effectiveness of these KPIs. The results of this study demonstrate that a clear majority of participants believe these KPIs
are not having the intended impact. This paper analyzes the evidence and makes recommendations designed to foster efficient collaboration between stakeholders; it also asks all parties to clarify their goals, agreed expectations, and requirements, in order to develop effective measures of institutional performance and accountability and address the political needs of the government, the universities, and the public.
Over the past few years, Canadian universities have been at the forefront of institutional changes that identify Aboriginal people, internationalization, and pedagogical change as key areas for revision. Most universities’ strategic planning documents cite, at least to varying degrees, these three goals. Institutions have facilitated these changes by supporting new programs, teaching centres, and course redevelopment. While much attention has been given to those goals individually, it is rarely considered how these commitments converge in particular course offerings. This article considers the connections among Indigenous, global, and pedagogical goals by examining undergraduate comparative Indigenous studies courses, some pedagogical challenges that arise in those courses, and some strategies I have developed in meeting those challenges. Based in auto-pedagogy and a critical analysis of existing and emerging pedagogical frameworks, this article uses key concepts from
Indigenous epistemologies, knowledge translation, and Sue Crowley’s (1997) levels of analysis to propose “knowledge liaisons” as a teaching model that addresses these challenges.
It is necessary and desirable to enhance student learning in higher education by integrating multiple perspectives during institutional policy reviews, yet few examples of such a process exist. This article describes an institutional assessment policy review process that used a questionnaire to elicit 269 students’ perspectives on a draft policy document. Among the key findings were a lack of focus on using assessment to inform instruction, and a lack of clarity around the purposes for assessment. Within the final policy, there seemed to be an absence of focus on assessment as supporting learning and informing instruction, although there was a significant focus on the role of assessment in measuring achievement, despite students’ emphasis on the former two characteristics. The study’s implications point to the important theoretical contributions
students offer to institutional policy reviews, and the practical challenges institutions face in providing mechanisms that facilitate engagement and reflect shifts in culture.
This study examines 143 graduate assignments across 12 faculties or schools in a Canadian university in order to identify types of writing tasks. Based on the descriptions provided by the instructors, we identified nine types of assignments,
with scholarly essay being the most common, followed by summary and response, literature review, project, review, case analysis, proposal, exam, and creative writing. Many assignments are instructor-controlled and have specific content requirements. Some are also process-oriented, providing students with teacher or peer feedback on outlines or initial drafts, suggestions for topic choices, and examples of good writing. With an overview of the types of writing tasks across campus, the study has implications for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) or graduate writing program designers,
material developers, educators working within and across disciplines, and researchers interested in the types of university writing assignments in Canada.
This article proposes a methodology for measuring institutional diversity and applies it to Ontario’s university sector. This study first used hierarchical cluster analysis, which suggested there has been very little change in diver- sity between 1994 and 2010 as universities were clustered in three groups for both years. However, by adapting Birnbaum’s (1983) diversity matrix
meth- odology to Ontario’s university sector, the author appears to have found a decrease in systemic diversity (differences in the type of institution and size of institution; Birnbaum, 1983) and climate diversity (differences in campus environment and culture; Birnbaum, 1983) between 1994 and 2010. Policy implications resulting from this study are also considered.
This article explores the internationalization of Canadian universities, with a focus on the rise of foreign postsecondary students in Canada, the economic impacts, and the various benefits, challenges, and adjustments that have been
influenced by the continuing demographic shifts on Canadian campuses since 2000. Rooted in recent global and Canadian higher education internationalization trends, this paper suggests that accommodations for such shifts have
not kept pace with the influx of culturally and linguistically diverse foreign students, whose population growth rate outpaces domestic university students’ by several times. I conclude with unresolved dilemmas that continue to pose challenges for Canadian universities, and with suggestions for manageable supports to ensure the needs of students are responsibly balanced with the economic constraints of universities.