The Winter/Spring 2016 issue of Peer Review highlights the powerful impact ‘transparency’ can have on learning for all students. One aspect of transparency is making obvious the intellectual practices involved in completing and evaluating a learning task. But making these processes visible for students is more easily said than done; we are experts in our fields for
the very reasons that our thinking and evaluating are automatic and subconscious. It’s hard to describe exactly what we do intellectually when we synthesize or integrate, critique, or create. Similarly, it’s difficult to articulate the differences between an assignment we score as an A and one to which we give a B. Thus, a challenge in achieving transparency is developing a
deep awareness of our own processes. Only then can we explicitly teach those thinking processes.
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.
There’s a mental health crisis on today’s college campuses. According to research conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness: one in four college students have a diagnosable illness, 40 percent do not seek help, 80 percent feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, and 50 percent have become so anxious that they struggle in school.
How can faculty support students who are facing these issues? Showing students kindness goes a long way. Creating a classroom environment that exudes kindness and concern for students’ well-being sends a message to students that not only do we care about them, but we support them. Facilitating this type of classroom environment can enable students to take the
necessary steps to approach their instructor when they are having a difficult time. A safe and supportive classroom environment helps students begin a conversation about the challenges they are dealing with during the semester. This in turn can lead faculty to assist a student in exploring support services available to them on campus, so they do not have to suffer in
Have you ever wondered if your students are as concerned about their learning as you are? If you prioritize student learning, you may be the only person in your classroom with that goal. Learning-centered teachers seek to coauthor classroom experiences with their students, whereas students may seek only to be taught passively. How might you inspire your students to share accountability for their learning? These five considerations can help you teach your students to be learning-centered, too.
It’s no breaking news that technology is here to stay. Among other things, this means that all schoolkids today, including your child, grandchild, niece and nephew, rely on their tech skills to excel at school. By the time they finish school, they will be required to implement a variety of tech skills on a daily basis at work.
As a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle you now have to teach your child a new skill: tech intelligence. And the worst part is that by their teens, your kids are likely to surpass your tech-savviness, so you have to do it as early as you can
“Do you know how much this exam is worth?”
“I can’t find any office hours listed for one of my classes—are there any?.”
“What if I get sick and miss a few classes—will my grade be hurt?”
My answer was the same for all three questions—“I don’t know.” Even though these were my first-year seminar students asking these questions, they were looking at syllabi from their other courses, part of a syllabus review exercise I do each fall with first-time students.
When teachers think the best, most important way to improve their teaching is by developing their content knowledge, they end up with sophisticated levels of knowledge, but they have only simplistic instructional methods to convey that material. To imagine that content matters more than process is to imagine that the car is more important than the road. Both are essential. What we teach and how we teach it are inextricably linked and very much dependent on one another.
Being admitted to graduate school can feel like a prize — until you actually get there and have to do the work. I’m a full professor now, yet I still vividly recall those daunting first months. And I’m reminded of them each academic year, as I watch so many excellent students make the same missteps.
That got me thinking about how graduate students can better set themselves up for success.
The result is this list of 10 tips.
As a newly recruited department chair, you have barely moved into your office when several insiders arrive to inform you of urgent personnel problems:
A certain staff member has been failing at his job for years. He is habitually late, and his
work — when he manages to complete it — is full of errors.
An assistant professor is not going to get tenure. Her teaching is consistently rated as
poor, her research record is lackluster, and her service is mediocre.
The director of the department’s graduate program "retired on the job" years ago. All the
metrics of the grad program are getting worse, and morale among the students is low.
Your informants look at you expectantly. What are you going to do about this "problem" person?
If you’re a faculty member, you’ve spent the last few weeks preparing your syllabus for the spring semester. You’ve updated the document and added a little to it. This latest round of edits may have pushed your syllabus another page longer — most now run about five pages, though nearly every campus has lore of some that exceed 20.
The Teaching Assistant (TA) job is typically filled by an upper-level university student or graduate student. It’s a job that requires one to play several different roles. First and foremost, the TA is a student and must complete all responsibilities to maintain this status. Second, the TA has a responsibility to the hiring professor. To the professor, the TA is the assistant and must abide
by the requirements set out by the professor. Third, the TA has a responsibility to the students in the class. The role here is that of teacher, tutor, and occasionally advisor.
Last month , I opened up about one of the side effects of doctoral study that I hadn’t anticipated: the Ph.D. identity crisis.
With the date of my dissertation defense looming in four months, I’d begun to realize that I couldn’t answer two rather important questions:
Who am I outside of "Ph.D. Candidate"?
What do I want out of life and this degree?
Drawing from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH; N 611,880), a nationally representative survey of U.S. adolescents and adults, we assess age, period, and cohort trends in mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes since the mid-2000s. Rates of major depressive episode in the last year increased 52% 2005–2017 (from 8.7% to 13.2%) among adolescents aged 12 to 17 and 63% 2009–2017 (from 8.1% to 13.2%) among young adults 18–25. Serious psychological distress in the last month and suicide-related outcomes (suicidal ideation, plans, attempts, and deaths by suicide) in the last year also increased among young adults 18–25 from 2008–2017 (with a 71% increase in serious psychological distress), with less consistent and weaker increases among adults ages 26 and over. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses separating the effects of age, period, and birth cohort suggest the trends among adults are primarily due to cohort, with a steady rise in mood disorder and suicide-related outcomes between cohorts born from the early 1980s (Millennials) to the late 1990s (iGen). Cultural
trends contributing to an increase in mood disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors since the mid-2000s, including the rise of electronic communication and digital media and declines in sleep duration, may have had a larger impact on younger people, creating a cohort effect.
When students are unable to comply with some aspect of an academic task (e.g. due date, assignment length, quality of work), there is potential for them to communicate reasons as to why they were unable to complete the task to their instructor. At this point the students have a choice, in which case they can either provide legitimate reasons for not being able to complete or to submit their coursework, or they can communicate something which is a deliberate attempt to deceive the instructor. A student may communicate information designed to deceive or construct a fraudulent claim to an instructor in order to avoid the undesirable consequences (e.g. a bad grade that may hurt the student’s overall standing in a class) of not complying with the academic task.
Roig and Caso (2005) found that the frequency of which providing fraudulent claims occurs in an academic environment is approximately equal to, if not greater than, more commonly identified forms of academic dishonesty such as cheating and plagiarism.
Ferrari et al. (1998) indicated that fraudulent claim making was utilized by as many as 70% of American college students. However, this phenomenon has received limited empirical attention in recent time in comparison to other forms of academically
Where I teach — a small, primarily residential liberal-arts college — there was a time when professors would have avoided online teaching like the plague. Five years ago I wasn’t teaching any online courses. This semester, my entire course load is online. And so is next semester’s.
What’s interesting is how many of us who work at "traditional" colleges — where dorms and dining halls occupy equal pride of place with classrooms and laboratories — are now trying to figure out how to create an online version of a face-to-face course we’ve been teaching for years.
Do you really believe that watching a lecturer read hundreds of PowerPoint slides is making you smarter?
I asked this of a class of 105 computer science and software engineering students last semester.
The robots are coming. Future-gazers have been making that prediction at least since Alan Turing speculated in 1950 about the possibility of a machine that could fool an interlocutor into believing that they were talking to another person.
But the imminent arrival on our roads of self-driving cars (see the article “How do we decide what is right? The ethicist’s view”, below) has brought home to many people that the kinds of artificially intelligent machines long imagined by science fiction writers and visionary scientists
are finally being realised.
It may be the most easily predictable behavior in the undergraduate repertoire. Toward the end of every semester comes the clarion call: "Is there any extra credit I can do to help my final
Sometimes the request has a desperate tone. The student recognizes that failure is looming and hopes to avert a dire outcome. In contrast, a student in good standing may be looking for any extra work that could inch their GPA upward. Minimally, if other instructors in your department offer extra-credit options, your students will expect you to do the same and may judge you
harshly if you don’t.
“Increased domestic and global access to higher education,” writes Amy Lee in her 2017 book Teaching Interculturally: A Framework for Integrating Disciplinary Knowledge and Intercultural Development, has resulted in having “multiple diversities in any given classroom or academic program.”
At this year’s freshman orientation at Morehouse College, David Thomas, president of the historically black men’s
institution, was one of the new arrivals in Graves Hall. “I had a pretty rough night the first night,” he says. Students later
told him: “None of us sleep on the mattress. Didn’t your mother come and make your bed?”