Administrators at many colleges and universities have had online courses at their institutions for many years, now. One of the hidden challenges about online courses is that they tend to be observed and evaluated far less frequently than their face-to-face course counterparts. This is party due to the fact that many of us administrators today never taught online courses ourselves when we were teaching. This article provides six "secrets" to performing meaningful observations and evaluations of online teaching, including how to use data analytics, avoid biases, and produce useful results even if observers have never taught online themselves.
When Ontario began to expand its higher education system in the mid-1960s, it made an important choice: to provide public funding to universities on the basis of a formula. Many jurisdictions, in Canada and beyond, do not use such formulae in their higher education systems. But there are clear advantages to such an arrangement. A funding formula supports the distribution of funding in a predictable, equitable way, that can be easily understood by those who study and work within our universities.
Nevertheless, no formula can remain functional forever, especially as the world changes and our expectations of universities shift. For this reason, OCUFA welcomes the University Funding Formula Review, initiated by the Government of Ontario in early 2015. We particularly welcome the opportunity to provide feedback into this process on behalf of the province’s professors and academic librarians.
The university funding formula is deeply important to the success and vitality of Ontario’s universities. It cannot therefore be treated as a laboratory to play with the latest fads in university finance. A measured and responsible approach to reforming the university funding formula should retain its greatest strengths, while correcting its flaws. The Government of Ontario, as the steward of the university sector, has the important task of working with the sector to identify these weaknesses and strengths, and rejecting harmful policy proposals masquerading as innovations.
This submission makes the case that the basic mechanic of the existing formula is sound, but needs to be updated and streamlined. It is also important to consider how the existing formula does not serve some universities – such as those in Northern Ontario – and how changes can be made to address these challenges.
We also argue that performance funding – currently a cause célèbre south of the border, chiefly among those who do not actually work in universities – is not the right approach for Ontario. There is no evidence that performance funding improves student outcomes, but there is growing evidence that it actually has a variety of negative effects. It also violates numerous principles outlined by the University Funding Formula Review team, while cutting against beneficial and collaborative processes for improving quality.
Finally, we suggest that the goals of transparency, accountability, and quality are best served by a new higher education data system. Such a system would be created and run collaboratively by the sector, with the goal of fueling meaningful policy discussions through the provision of timely and useful data.
Once again, OCUFA appreciates the opportunity to provide input into the University Funding Formula Review. We look forward to working with the government to build a university system that promotes quality while protecting the important principles that have allowed our institutions to be so successful.
As recent state critiques of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) make clear, the states and federal government are far apart in their understanding of how the spirit of NCLB might continue to take tangible form. This brief article lays out some of the major divides and their implications and urges that the two sides work in good faith to bridge them.
It comes as little surprise that the consensus forged around the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) back in 2001 has begun to unravel. The surprise was that such a consensus was achieved at the time—and doing so required, besides hard work, an appeal to ambiguity during the legislative process that could not be sustained once implementation of the law began. Once the Department of Education, states, and districts had to tangle with the tangible requirements of (among other things) setting standards, creating tests, hiring highly qualified teachers, and providing supplemental tutoring, the widely supported ideal of “accountability” was bound to give way to a series of definitional disputes.
The structure of education on reserve
Unlike in our provincial education systems, there are no minimum legislated education standards for on-reserve First Nations students. Canadian taxpay-ers are funding an education system in First Nations communities that has no legislated mandate for a core curriculum meeting provincial standards, no requirement that educators in First Nations schools have provincial certifi-cation, and no requirement for First Nations schools to award a recognized provincial diploma. This has resulted in “situations where First Nation youth graduate from education institutions on reserve but cannot demonstrate a recognizable diploma to a workplace or post secondary institution” (Canada, AANDC, 2014c). This system is clearly failing First Nations children.
Legal uncertainty is a topic often raised in discussing unresolved Aboriginal land claims, such as those in British Columbia. Mining and Aboriginal Rights in Yukon examines legal uncertainty on Aboriginal rights in a different way, and in an under-examined Northern context. We examine what we identify as growing legal uncer-tainty in Yukon. This topic is not one that would have been expected a few years ago. In Yukon, modern land claims agreements with 11 out of the territory’s 14 First Nations once seemed to have established a high degree of certainty on Aboriginal claims. This certainty was even seen as a significant advantage for Yukon in the global competition for mining investment.
What is “mindful teaching”? It entails, as Elizabeth MacDonald and Dennis Shirley explain, an “openness to new information, a willingness to explore topics that are marginalized in the dominant reform fads of the moment, and a readiness to review one’s previous assumptions as a part of a life-long career marked by critical inquiry, reflection and compassion” (p. 27). That definition seems reminiscent of reflective teaching. It certainly appears related.1 But there seem to be qualitative differences between reflective teaching and mindful teaching. Within the last decade a body of literature has blossomed; it is a literature that borrows from western and eastern contemplative traditions, underscores the role of the self and emotions in teaching, and attempts to consider the conflicts, conundrums, and paradoxes of teaching. Parker Palmer (1998), Irene McHenry and Richard Brady (2009), Rachael Kessler (2000), Linda Lantieri (2001), and Maria Lichtman (2005) are a few of the authors who have ventured into these dimensions of vocational exploration. It is a growing literature and one worth examining. Within this space MacDonald and Shirley, a public school teacher and an academic respectively, offer valuable insights and a description of an unusual program.
This is a proposal to teach classroom-based mindfulness techniques to teacher education candidates as part of their teacher education programs. While mindfulness, including yoga and meditation, is growing more popular in a range of educational settings, the majority of K-12 programs are delivered to schools through external personnel from yoga or mindfulness service organizations. In many cases, these programs are provided at low or no cost to schools, or individual teachers might take trainings ranging from about $600-$2500. A more sustainable, affordable and ethical scenario would be to develop the capacities of teachers to employ mindfulness techniques for their own wellbeing, and that of their students, during their teacher education programs.
In an effort to measure the effectiveness of faculty development courses promoting student engagement, the faculty development unit of Penn State’s Online Campus conducted a pilot study within a large online Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB) program. In all, 2,296 students were surveyed in the spring and summer semesters of 2014 in order to seek their perspectives on (1) the extent of their engagement in the courses and (2) the degree to which their instructors promoted their engagement. The survey comprised three sub-scales: the first and third sub-scales addressed instructional design aspects of the course, and the second sub-scale addressed attitudes and behaviors whereby the instructors promoted student engagement. The results showed a significant difference on the second sub-scale (sig = 0.003) at the .05 level, indicating that students rated instructors with professional development higher on instructor behaviors that engaged them in their courses than those instructors who received no professional development. There were no significant differences found for the first and third sub-scales indicating that the instructional design aspects of the courses under investigation were not influenced by instructors’ professional development. Qualitative data showed that three quarters of the students who had instructors whose background included professional development geared to encouraging student engagement felt that their courses had engaged them. Future research will focus on increasing the response rate and exploring in more depth both the instructional design and qualitative aspects of student engagement.
The practice of shared governance is contested terrain in American higher education. Despite consensus that shared governance is a collaborative approach to decision-making characterized by the distribution of authority across various institutional actors (e.g., faculty, senior administrators, trustees), models and norms of effective shared governance remain elusive. Indeed higher education critics within and beyond the academy often identify the practice of shared decision-making as a major barrier to innovation and fiscal efficiency, two organizational qualities deemed essential for survival in today’s rapidly changing global knowledge economy.
With the rise in online and hybrid courses at the post-secondary level, many institutions are offering various online learning readiness assessments to students who are considering these instructional formats. Following a discussion of the characteristics often attributed to successful online learners, as well as a review of a sample of the publicly available online readiness surveys, an application of one representative tool is described. Specifically, the Distance Education Aptitude and Readiness Scale was administered in both hybrid and face-to-face sections of beginning post-secondary French across a two-year span. Differences in scores between groups, as well as the relationship between scores and grades are examined.
This commentari is contextualized in America's gilded age of corporate education caharacterized by millionaire CEO university presidents and a growing chasm of wealth inequality in our educational system. America's deepening educational stratification mirrors and magnifies wider social, economic, racial, and political inequality and injustice.
Student Debt and the Class of 2013 is our ninth annual report on the cumulative student loan debt of recent graduates from four-year colleges. Our analysis of available data ﬁnds debt levels continue to rise, with considerable variation among states as well as colleges.
About seven in 10 (69%) college seniors who graduated from public and private nonproﬁt colleges in 2013 had student loan debt. These borrowers owed an average of $28,400, up two percent compared to $27,850 for public and nonproﬁt graduates in 2012. About one-ﬁfth (19%) of the Class of 2013’s debt was comprised of private loans, which are typically more costly and provide fewer consumer protections and repayment options than safer federal loans.
The Supreme Court of Canada has revolutionized the jurisprudence of aborig-inal rights and title. Various decisions have overturned the doctrine of adverse occupancy, which at one time had been thought to have extinguished aborig-inal title in British Columbia (Delgamukkw); created a governmental duty to consult First Nations regarding use of land to which they have a claim of aboriginal rights or title (Haida Nation); approved a speciﬁc claim to aborig-inal title (Tsilhqot’in); and extended the duty of consultation to First Nations whose aboriginal title was previously thought to have been extinguished by treaty (Mikisew). These decisions have created a new range of property rights for First Nations, which they should be able to use to advance their prosper-ity. However, the new jurisprudence has also set up many barriers to volun-tary market transactions by multiplying the number of owners and claimants, and laying down opaque und unpredictable rules for making decisions about lands that are subject to claims of aboriginal title or to treaty rights such as hunting and ﬁshing.
The Cities Project at the Martin Prosperity Institute focuses on the role of cities as the key economic and social organizing unit of global capitalism. It explores both the opportunities and challenges facing cities as they take on this heightened new role.
The Martin Prosperity Institute, housed at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, explores the requisite underpinnings of a democratic capitalist economy that generate prosperity that is both robustly growing and broadly experienced.
Over the past two decades, many analysts have explored the various influences on high-school graduates’ college enrollment behaviors.
Theoretical and methodological approaches to studying the topic have become almost standardized. Most new studies of the topic are either replications of earlier analyses or minor variations on earlier themes. Levine and Nidiffer’s Beating the Odds brings us something a little different, however. Instead of another multivariate, quantitative exploration of educational attainment patterns in nationally representative survey data for thousands of students, Levine and Nidiffer present us with an interpretive analysis based on interviews with a very small group of respondents. Instead of beginning with a framework based in the familiar status attainment, cultural capital, or human capital theories, these authors construct their interpretations inductively, as they learn from the voices of their respondents. Instead of investigating what separates college attenders from those who choose other options, Levine and Nidiffer focus only on those who actually enter postsecondary institutions. Finally, instead of examining an economically diverse pool of respondents, these authors consider only those they term "the poor": students from backgrounds so impoverished that opportunities for college attendance are severely limited. These are bold choices. Individually and as a whole, they carry significant analytic risks. For those accustomed to other approaches to the topic, however, the book provides some special pleasures.
Increased demands in professional expectations have required online faculty to learn how to balance multiple roles in an open-ended, changing, and relatively unstructured job. In this paper, we argue that being strategic about one’s balance of the various facets of online teaching will improve one’s teaching efficiency and effectiveness. We discuss the balancing issues associated with four key online teaching facets: course design/development, delivery of the course content, assessments/feedback, and professional development. We conclude with a template for a strategic professional development plan that addresses these key facets.
This quantitative study examined the relationship between the Big 5 personality traits and how they relate to online teacher effectiveness. The primary method of data collection for this study was through the use of surveys primarily building upon the Personality Style Inventory (PSI)(Lounsbury & Gibson, 2010), a work-based personality measure, was the instrument used to assess personality measures. In addition an evaluation instrument was developed by the researchers to evaluate classroom performance across a 10-point scale. In total 115 instructors from a large predominantly online university were surveyed through Qualtrics for personality traits and then had their courses evaluated for effectiveness and quality utilizing measures based on the Quality Matters program. Using a Pearson product moment correlation coefficient, it was found that 9 personality traits were significantly correlated with online teaching performance. While the results of this study can only be seen at this point as preliminary, it does open the door to further studies to determine if online teacher training or professional development interventions should take a different approach. Ultimately, the findings of this study demonstrated that personality does play a significant role in the effectiveness of online teaching performance.
• Aboriginal women living off-reserve have bucked national trends, with employment rates rising since 2007 alongside labour force participation.
• Employment growth has been particularly high in service sectors such as finance and professional services – areas typically associated with well-paying, stable jobs.
• Linked to improving labour market outcomes, Aboriginal women have seen sizeable improvements in education attainment over the past 20 years.
• Significant gaps in outcomes relative to the Non-Aboriginal population persist. Fortunately, the rela-tively young population implies that these gaps will continue to close as the Aboriginal population is likely to see further gains in educational outcomes.
This study provides a fact-based look at the oft-heard claim that public spend-ing on Canada’s Aboriginal population is forever inadequate. It does so by examining actual spending on Aboriginal Canadians, using four sources: the federal department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Health Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and provincial governments. The three federal departments were chosen because reference to First Nations spending is clearly identified in the Public Accounts. Dozens of other federal departments, as well as federal and provincial agencies and municipalities, were excluded. Thus, the estimates herein are extremely conservative. They do not capture all government spending in Canada on Aboriginal Canadians—be they First Nations, Inuit or Métis.
The potential impacts and implications of technology on the professional lives of instructors in higher education, and the role of leadership in integrating educational technology, present a variety of complexities and challenges. The purpose of this paper is to identify the reasons why faculty members are not fully embracing technology and what leadership exists in those institutions to help instructors adapt to technology in the teaching and learning process. The authors examine instructor’s perceptions and attitudes related to educational technology as it applies to the learning process and investigated the organization-wide view of leadership in the education institutions. The authors also developed a theoretical model for how leadership can be applied in the use of educational technology in higher education. The model contains five major blocks. In addition to the concerns of higher education faculty, this paper also considers the impact educational technologies have on instruction itself and why many faculty members view the technology as being too difficult to apply to existing technology infrastructure.