Audience response systems (ARS) are electronic applications in which a receiver captures information entered by students via keypads or hand-held devices. Students’ responses can be displayed instantly, usually in the form of a histogram. Professors typically use ARS to increase student interaction and for formative assessment (to measure students’ understanding of material during a lecture; Micheletto, 2011). In some cases, audience response systems have also been used to pose real research questions and follow an interactive sampling approach (not to be confused with experiment data collection). For example, imagine that a research study concluded that females respond more quickly to red stimuli than do males. An interactive sampling session in the classroom would present students with coloured stimuli, and the instructor would ask students to respond, as quickly as possible and using the ARS, when they see the red stimuli. The instructor would then display the students’ responses and compare the students’ data to results from the published research study. Barnett & Kriesel (2003) propose three criteria that classroom interactive sampling should meet if it is to stimulate discussion among students:
1. Interactive sampling should be conducted to demonstrate class concepts.
2. Students should be providing responses in a controlled setting.
3. Students’ responses should be compared to behavioural hypotheses derived from theory.
While much literature has considered feedback and professional growth in formative peer reviews of teaching, there has been little empirical research conducted on these issues in the context of summative peer reviews. This article explores faculty members’ perceptions of feedback practices in the summative peer review of teaching and reports on their understandings of why constructive feedback is typically non-existent or unspecific in summative reviews. Drawing from interview data with 30 tenure-track professors in a research-intensive Canadian university, the findings indicated that reviewers rarely gave feedback to the candidates, and when they did, comments were typically vague and/or focused on the positive. Feedback, therefore, did not contribute to professional growth in teaching. Faculty members suggested that feedback was limited because of the following: the high-stakes nature of tenure, the demands for research productivity, lack of pedagogical expertise
among academics, non-existent criteria for evaluating teaching, and the artificiality of peer reviews. In this article I argue that when it comes to summative reviews, elements of academic culture, especially the value placed on collegiality, shape feedback practices in important ways.
The ability to solve problems and think critically are considered by many to be desired outcomes of the education system, both within K-12 and higher education. They are ever-present skills measured by many accreditation frameworks in the professional and higher education sectors, and consistently rank among the top skills and abilities desired in graduates, according to employer surveys (Hart Research Associates, 2008; 2013). Despite this prevalence, critical thinking and problem solving are often identified by employers as skills that require more emphasis in higher education (Hart Research Associates, 2008; Arum & Roksa, 2011). Recent evidence questions the degree to which current undergraduate education supports the development of critical thinking and complex problem solving skills (Arum & Roksa, 2011; Astin, 1993a; 1993b; Blaich & Wise, 2008; Klein et al., 2009; Pascarella, Blaich, Martin & Hanson, 2011). The development of critical thinking skills (CTS) is itself a complex issue, complicated by a lack of agreement on the definition of critical thinking and on an associated framework for its development (Ku, 2009). Popular frameworks of critical thinking include the Cornell-Illinois model (Ennis, Millman & Tomko, 1985), the Paul-Elder model (Paul & Elder, 2005; Paul & Elder, 1996), the CLA model (Shavelson, 2008), the APA Delphi model (Facione, 1990), and Halpern’s Model for Critical Thinking (Halpern, 1999; Halpern & Riggio, 2002). Each of these frameworks or models proposes a different definition for critical thinking and a different set of skills, traits and abilities that comprise it. Instruction and assessment of CTS is also an area of particular difficulty, with the efficacy of pedagogical strategies for critical thinking development and the authenticity of critical thinking assessment under much scrutiny (Bensley & Murtagh, 2011; Solon, 2003).
Two years ago, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and its 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges issued a bold call to action: If community colleges are to contribute powerfully to meeting the needs of 21st-century students and the 21st-century economy, education leaders must reimagine what these institutions are—and are capable of becoming.
At that time, the Commission’s report, Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future, set a goal of increasing rates for completion of community college credentials (certificates and associate degrees) by 50% by 2020, while preserving access,
enhancing quality, and eradicating attainment gaps across groups of students. The report set forth seven major recommendations, all of which are connected to attaining that goal.
This research was undertaken as a way to explore the effectiveness of a newly implemented required faculty development program at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. The Certificate in College Teaching program was launched in 2010, in the context of a period of unprecedented growth in student (and thus faculty) numbers at this college. The growth was perceived as an opportunity to implement a required program of study for new teachers that would support not only the development of their teaching skills and knowledge, but also the development of a commitment to a student-centred approach to teaching as espoused by the college leadership. The research study utilized a multiple-methods approach that combined qualitative techniques (semi-structured interviews and focus groups) with quantitative measures (surveys of teaching skills, self-efficacy and teaching philosophy) to examine two aspects of the program's effectiveness: its impact on measures of teacher self-efficacy, and its impact on the teaching philosophy of the novice teachers.
Teaching and assessment in higher education institutions are increasingly supported by digital tools and services. Students, however, perceive and value the importance of such e-learning offerings in very diverse ways. The goal of this article
is to examine which predictors significantly influence students’ perceptions of the value of digital learning formats. Based onKu¨pper’s acceptance model, we generate hypotheses that are subsequently tested using data from a German student survey.
The results show that individual-related characteristics, especially motivation and orientation patterns of students, have a high impact on the perceived importance of digital learning formats. Our analyses indicate that besides individual performance
and motivation, the practical orientation of a student is also a key predictor for a high rating of the importance of digital learning formats. An analysis of characteristics regarding the field of study shows that students who major in economic sciences, especially those who frequently work with digital learning formats in their classes, find them significantly more important than students who major in social science. Regarding innovation-based characteristics, students who express a need for flexible course offerings rate the use of digital learning formats as particularly important. The discussion provides an evaluation of the results of the student study based on the hypotheses and presents further implications.
Keywords: digital learning formats; online learning; online learner characteristics;
motivation; perceived benefit
How do changing economic conditions and uncertain market opportunities affect young adults’ transition from their undergraduate
college years to adult roles and responsibilities? The Arizona Pathways to Life Success (APLUS) project is uniquely positioned to answer this question. Launched in 2007, APLUS examines what factors shape and guide individual life trajectories — the pathways that young adults tread on their way to independence and self-sufficiency.
This paper explores the potential of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), to provide new insights into community service-learning (CSL) in higher education.While CSL literature acknowledges the influences of John Dewey and Paolo Freire, discussion of the potential contribution of cultural-historical activity theory, rooted in the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, is noticeably absent. This paper addresses this gap by examining four assumptions associated with activity theory: the rejection of a theory/practice divide, the development of knowledge as a social collaborative activity, the focus on contradictions
in and across activity systems, and the interventionist approach aimed at transformation.
In this paper, four qualitative case studies capture the complex interplay between the social and structural relations that shape community - academic partnerships. Collaborations begin as relationships among people. They are sustained by institutional structures that recognize and support these relationships.
Productive collaborations centralize reciprocity, flexibility, and relationship building between individuals and institutions. Our findings also indicate a synergistic interaction between collaborative processes and outcomes:
an equitable process supports the development of mutually beneficial outcomes, and the ability to sustain a collaborative process requires substantive progress towards shared change goals.
In 2011, as part of a comprehensive research agenda on learning outcomes development and measurement, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) began supporting eight Ontario institutions to assess the generic skills acquisition of their students. This report summarizes the activities and results of the eight institutions that piloted the Council for Aid to Education’s Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), a written examination designed to assess the critical thinking and problem solving skills of entering and graduating students. It reviews the rationale for the project, the challenges and issues encountered with CLA test administration and implementation, and the institutions’ impressions of the value of the resulting data. While there is significant interest from institutions and programs in measuring the generic skills of students and understanding the amount of learning that can be attributed to the institution, the experiences of the institutions that participated in this project highlight certain administrative and methodological challenges that arise in the move from theory to practice in large scale assessments.
The nature of the American academic workforce has fundamentally shifted over the past several decades. Whereas fulltime
tenured and tenure-track faculty were once the norm, the professoriate is now comprised of mostly non-tenure-track
faculty. In 1969, tenured and tenure-track positions made up approximately 78.3 percent of the faculty and non-tenuretrack
positions comprised about 21.7 percent (Schuster & Finkelstein, 2006). Forty years later, in 2009, these proportions
had nearly flipped: tenured and tenure-track faculty had declined to 33.5 percent and 66.5 percent of faculty were ineligible
for tenure (AFT Higher Education Data Center, 2009). Of the non-tenure-track positions, 18.8 percent were full-time and
47.7percent were part-time.
Between 1991 and 2011, the proportion of employed people aged 25 to 34 with a university degree rose from 19% to 40% among women, and from 17% to 27% among men. Given the increase in the proportion of university graduates, did the occupational profile of young workers change over the period? This article examines long-term changes in the occupation profiles of young men and women, for both those who did and did not have a university degree. Changes in the share of women employed in these occupations are also examined.
The expansion of public, postsecondary education and the attendant additional costs associated with that expansion are significant concerns to governments everywhere. Ontario is no exception. Innovation in the delivery of academic programs holds the potential to contain costs, improve quality, and enhance accountability. This project is intended to assist the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HECQO) to better understand how a shift to competency-based education might affect the cost and quality of higher education programs, institutions and systems and to investigate how competency-based education might enhance the productivity and accountability of public higher education systems and institutions.
Hosting international students has long been admired as one of the hallmarks of internationalization. The two major formative strands of internationalization in Canadian universities are development cooperation and international
students. With reduced public funding for higher education, institutions are aggressively recruiting international students to generate additional revenue.
Canada is equally interested in offering incentives for international students to stay in the country as immigrants after completing their studies. In its 2011 budget, the Canadian federal government earmarked funding for an international
education strategy and, in 2010, funded Edu-Canada—the marketing unit within the Department of Education and Foreign Affairs (DFAIT)—to develop an official Canadian brand to boost educational marketing, IMAGINE:
Education in/au Canada. This model emulates the Australian one, which rapidly capitalized on the recruitment of international students and became an international success story. Given current Canadian higher education policy trends, this paper will address the cautionary lessons that can be drawn from the Australian case
The provision of blended learning strategies designed to assist academics in the higher education sector with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for effective teaching with technology has been, and continues to be, a challenge
for teaching centres in Canada. It is unclear, first, whether this is an ongoing issue unique to Canada; and, second, if it is not unique to Canada, whether we might be able to implement different and/or more effective strategies based on what others outside Canada are doing. Teaching centre leaders in Australia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Scotland, and the United
States (n=31) were interviewed to explore how their units used blended learning strategies. Findings suggest that, as in Canada, there is a “value gap” between academics and leaders of teaching centres regarding teaching development
initiatives using blended learning strategies.
In 2012 HEFCE published a review of philanthropy in UK higher education that showed what tremendous success there has been in growing philanthropic support to universities in the last 10 years. The report concluded that if the current rate of acceleration in philanthropic income continues, UK universities will attract gifts worth £2 billion a year from some 640,000 donors by 2022.
The report showed that investment in fundraising brings results whatever the size or type of university. If this success is to continue we must have a strong and growing group of educational fundraisers who are skilled in leading development teams and working with academics and institutional leaders.
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.
Seventeen countries1 were represented in this global project and Canada was one of nine jurisdictions participating in the engineering strand. Nine out of ten Ontario universities with civil engineering programs participated in the study, representing approximately 61% of all Canadian civil engineering graduating students.
The following report reviews the experience of Ontario’s participation in the feasibility study, focusing primarily on the implementation and administration activities and the value to institutions. While the institutions did not gain specific insight into their programming, AHELO generated considerable interest in international assessments and comparative understanding and provided significant experience in the administration of large-scale assessments.
The ACHA-NCHA II supports the health of the campus community by fulfilling the academic mission, supporting short- and long term healthy behaviours, and gaining a current profile of health trends within the campus community. Canadian Reference Group Data
This article presents a case study of a technology-enhanced face-to-face health sciences course in which the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) were applied. Students were offered a variety of means of representation, engagement, and expression throughout the course, and were surveyed and interviewed at the end of the term to identify how the UDL inspired course attributes influenced their perceptions of course accessibility.
Students responded very positively to the course design, and felt that the weaving of UDL throughout the course resulted in increased flexibility, social presence, reduced stress, and enhanced success. Overall, students felt more in control of their own learning process and empowered to make personal choices to best support their own learning. This course design also led to increased satisfaction from the perspective of the instructor and reduced the need for intervention by the campus disability services department.
In the area of developing and maintaining their talent supply chain—how employees are hired, developed and deployed to optimally support business strategy—too many companies are neglecting the all-important entry-level positions from which many of their top-performing employees will emerge.
That’s one of the important implications of the Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey, which compares the expectations and attitudes of this year’s university graduates with the realities of the working world according to 2012 and 2013 grads. When it comes to talent development, to jobs that match an employee’s education, and even the quest for full-time work, the slightly older peers of today’s graduates tell a cautionary tale about what the job world is really like.
It’s a story that is cautionary for companies, too. If organizations are to attract and retain top talent, as well as ensure their talent supply chain is developing and deploying the people with the right skills, their management of entry-level positions needs to improve.