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.
Inadequate preparation, unrealistic expectations, and increased workload can create undue stress on faculty members making the transition to department chair or other levels of administration. This special report features 14 articles from Academic Leader newsletter that address many of the challenges faced by new leaders, from establishing a leadership
style to redefining relationships with former peers. Here are some of the articles you will find in Academic Leadership Development:
How to Make a Smooth Transition from Faculty to Administrator:
• Look Before You Leap: Transitions from Faculty to Administration
• Translating Teaching Skills to Leadership Roles
• The First 1,000 Steps: Walking the Road from Academic to Administrator
• Why New Department Chairs Need Coaching
• 10 Recommendations toward Effective Leadership
This report will help new administrators navigate the potential minefields and find their voice when it comes to leading effectively. It also may remind experienced leaders what it was like that first year in hopes that they might reach out to help make someone else's transition a little easier.
This research uses the Youth in Transition Survey, Reading Cohort (“YITS-A”) to compare participation in postsecondary education (PSE) in Ontario to other Canadian regions. We begin by presenting access rates by region, which reveals some substantial differences. University participation rates in Ontario are in about the middle of the pack, while college rates are relatively high. We then undertake an econometric analysis, which reveals that the effects of parental income are quite strong in the Atlantic provinces but much weaker elsewhere, including within Ontario. We also find that the relationship between high school grades and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test scores (measures of academic “performance” and ability”) differ by region and are generally strongest in Ontario. From this perspective, Ontario would appear to have a relatively “meritocratic” system, where those who are more qualified are more likely to go to university and where attendance rates are less affected by family income. Interestingly, the effects of parental education, which are generally much stronger than those of family income, are similar across regions. Understanding the reasons underlying these patterns might warrant further investigation.
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.
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 effective leader?
Featuring 13 articles from Academic Leader this special report seeks to answer that question and provide guidance for anyone in a campus leadership role. For example, in the article “Leadership and Management: Complementary Skill Sets,” Donna Goss and Don Robertson, explain the differences between management and leadership, and share their thoughts on how to develop leadership skills in yourself and others.
In “Zen and the Art of Higher Education Administration,” author Jeffrey L. Buller shows how the Buddhist practice features many principles for daily life that could benefit academic leaders. Such advice includes “Walk gently, leaving tracks only where they can make a difference.”
In “Techniques of Leadership,” authors Isa Kaftal Zimmerman and Joan Thormann outline specific leadership skills for effectively running meetings, building consensus, and communicating across
The article “A Formal Approach to Facilitating Change” explains how Northwestern University’s Office of Change Management is structured as well as its operating principles for effectively managing change at the university. The key is to articulate how a change can benefit those directly affected and others not directly affected, to be accountable, and to provide clear criteria for measuring success
Other articles in the report include:
• Factors That Affect Department Chairs’ Performance
• Changing Roles for Chairs
• Becoming a More Mindful Leader
• Creating a Culture of Leadership
• There’s More to Leadership than Motivation and Ability Academic leadership roles are constantly changing. We hope this report will help you be a more effective leader during these challenging times.
Demographic change, economic globalization, and the emergence of an increasingly knowledge-based economy have triggered rapid and unprecedented change in the Ontario labour market and in the skills required by employers. Since colleges and universities provide the largest inflow of workers into the labour market – generating four out of five new labour market entrants (Lapointe et al., 2006) – an effective, flexible, and responsive system of postsecondary education and training has been recognized as an essential investment in human capital. In an interconnected global economy, a diverse, well-educated, and highly skilled workforce is critical not only to innovation, productivity, and economic growth, but also to maximizing the human potential of all Ontario citizens.
This report summarizes the findings of an exploratory study commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) on the impact of work-integrated learning (WIL) on the social and human capital of postsecondary education (PSE) graduates, with particular reference to the quality of student learning and labour market outcomes associated with WIL programs. The project was undertaken by HEQCO in collaboration with a working group of nine Ontario postsecondary institutions: Algonquin College, George Brown College, Georgian College, Laurentian University, Niagara College, University of Ottawa, University of Waterloo, University of Windsor, and Wilfrid Laurier University. The study had three overarching goals:
1. Develop a typology for understanding work-integrated learning in Ontario’s postsecondary sector;
2. Identify the learning, labour market and other benefits associated with WIL, as well as challenges and opportunities;
3. Recommend key issues and questions that would provide the focus for a second and larger phase of the project, including research with postsecondary students.
The research involved 39 key informants from Ontario colleges and universities, and 25 representatives of businesses and community organizations that provide WIL opportunities for students. Institutional key informants interviewed for the study expressed strong support for the overall project, including the goal of developing a shared framework and common language for WIL programs in order to minimize the potential for confusion between institutions, students, and employers. A typology of work-integrated learning was viewed as important to facilitating communication about WIL within and between institutions, and among institutions, students, employers, and community partners. Employers and community partners, meanwhile, valued
their participation in work-integrated learning programs, and appreciated the opportunity to share their perspectives on how WIL programs could be enhanced.
It is generally acknowledged that immigrants to Canada face three main barriers in their search for work commensurate with their background and qualifications:
· difficulties in having their foreign credentials recognized;
· weak English or French-language skills, particularly profession-specific language skills; and
· the discounting, lack of valorization or non-recognition of foreign work
Most programs and initiatives designed to address these barriers, however, only address the first two systematically.
One of the biggest obstacles for newcomers to the Canadian labour market is the focus on Canadian experience and credentials within the hiring process. Understandably, employers look for a familiar point of reference when assessing a candidate's skills and background. They look for experiences and companies they recognize on a resume or in an interview.
However, this mistrust of international experience places new immigrants in a Catch 22 situation where they can't get a job without Canadian experience and can't get Canadian experience without a job. It also meansemployers are missing out on a valuable talent pool and the opportunity to tap into a growing customer base.
Ensuring access to postsecondary education (PSE) for all qualified individuals is key to Ontario’s future competitiveness and equally critical from an equity perspective. This paper provides an empirical analysis of access to PSE among a number of under-represented (and minority) groups in Ontario, including comparisons to other regions. Having parents that did
not attend PSE is the most important factor across the country, and the effects are even greater in Ontario than in some other regions. Being from a low-income household is considerably less important than parental education, and the income effects are even smaller in Ontario than in certain other regions. Aboriginal and disabled youth are also strongly under-represented groups in PSE in Ontario, driven entirely by their lower university participation rates, offset to different degrees by higher college participation rates . Rural students are also significantly under-represented (though to a lesser degree) in university, but again go to college at somewhat higher rates. Furthermore, for these latter groups, Ontario does not compare favourably to other regions. The children of immigrants are much more likely to go to university but somewhat less likely to attend college almost everywhere.
Being from a single parent family has little independent effect on access to PSE, as is also the case for being a Francophone outside of Quebec, the latter effect in some cases actually being positive. Intriguingly, although females generally have significantly higher PSE (especially university) attendance rates than males, females in under-represented groups are generally more disadvantaged than males. This research was funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), which also provided useful feedback throughout the project. This work is based on earlier research carried out for the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation through the MESA project, including a series of papers involving Richard Mueller. The authors gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support provided for the MESA project by the University of Ottawa.
Ontario is in the process of designing a plan for postsecondary education (PSE) to follow Reaching Higher. The new plan will contain an array of policy goals and strategies, and some consideration must be given to a tuition fee policy. The current tuition fee policy was slated to end in 2009-10, but was extended by two years. A new framework must be in place for the 2012-13 academic year. This paper presents options for a new tuition framework. We do not rank the options or make a recommendation, believing that this decision is appropriately a political one be made by government.
Much has been written about tuition fees and tuition fee policy. Our contribution is to provide some context for the choices ahead. One perspective comes from recent research on higher education. There is an emerging consensus in the Canadian higher education literature that can help evaluate current policies and point to possible new directions. This body of knowledge is frequently missing from tuition policy discussions, either because it is not widely understood or, occasionally, because the implications run counter to long-held positions.
The other perspective is historical. Ontario’s choices will be shaped in good measure by the policies already in place and the priorities underlying them. Specifically, postsecondary education will continue to be viewed as a key contributor to the province’s economic and social goals, and expectations for the sector are likely to continue to focus on accessibility, quality, and accountability.
We begin by describing briefly the current tuition framework and pressures for change. This discussion makes clear that tuition fee policy is not just about tuition fees; it is equally about student financial assistance polices and about the revenue needs of
colleges and universities. Setting a new fee policy requires full appreciation of the complex interplay among these three factors.
We note that, contrary to often-expressed views, Canadian researchers find no consistent correlation between tuition fees and PSE participation and persistence rates. Part of the explanation for this result is that average private rates of return to
postsecondary education compare very favourably to those available from purely financial investments. Increases in tuition rates of the magnitude witnessed in Canada in recent decades apparently have not been large enough to alter this situation.
Another part of the explanation is that non-financial barriers loom large for some individuals.
Private rates of return are relatively high in part because governments have chosen to subsidize PSE in various ways. The public debate frequently focuses on average tuition fees as reported by Statistics Canada. Yet this focus is misleading. For many
students, particularly those with demonstrated financial need, the actual costs of PSE @ Issue Paper No. 6 • Tuition Fee Policy Options for Ontario
2 – Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario are substantially lower once grants, subsidized loans, tax credits and debt relief are taken into account. These government policies notwithstanding, there are still groups that are underrepresented in PSE in Ontario and it is apparent that financial barriers remain part of the explanation. Other factors include lack of understanding of the relative benefits and costs of postsecondary education and decisions made early in the schooling process that preclude a successful transition to PSE.
There is an emerging consensus in the literature on how to design support policies to offset financial barriers. Ontario has many of these features in place, but there are options for improvement. These changes should be considered no matter what new
tuition policy emerges, but it is especially important to do so if the new policy contains ongoing fee increases.
The process for deciding on a tuition policy requires simultaneous and interdependent decisions on three key PSE policy variables: the revenue needs of the colleges and universities in each year of the planning period, a tuition fee framework that balances contributions to these revenue needs with effects on accessibility, and the public funds available each year for operating grants plus contributions to student financial assistance.
Four types of tuition frameworks are presented and evaluated for strengths and weaknesses within the Ontario context: capped tuition fees, a shares approach, constrained deregulation, and full deregulation. We look briefly at several variant of fee caps: a rollback, a freeze, tying increases to the CPI, and retaining the status quo policy of a maximum allowable increase of 5%. We argue that there is no obvious cap figure. Any choice involves a balancing of revenue needs, accessibility, and fiscal capacity.
The same point applies to proposals to adopt a shares approach wherein tuition revenue is set at some portion of institutional operating revenue. There is no obvious share to aim at. Governments over many years, for a variety of reasons, chose to
increase the relative share of PSE operating costs borne by students. These decisions were made in conjunction with a host of other economic and social policy adjustments;
for example, tuition credits. Any decision to alter this trend must take this broader historical perspective into account.
The choice of a new fee policy must also involve consideration of the pros and cons of relaxing or even removing the current distinctions of allowable fee increases among programs. A constrained deregulation approach would remove these distinctions among programs but retain an overall fee cap. Complete deregulation would remove the distinction and the arbitrary cap, although it is perfectly compatible with a scheme to tax back a portion of fee increases for need-based financial assistance.
Lead-Deadwood Elementary School in the Black Hills of Western South Dakota has a problem. Students need science.
Real science for real kids — the kind that sparks students’ imagination. Second grade teacher Carol Greco contacts the world’s largest underground laboratory, the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab (DUSEL). One mile under South Dakota, the lab is not accessible to students. But this doesn’t stop Dr. Warren Matthews, DUSEL’s cyber-infrastructure chief engineer. As a scientist, Warren knows engaging elementary students with science means finding a “hook.” That hook comes in the form of puppets — and not the brown paper bag variety.
Patty Petrey Dees, distance learning director for the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Ga., starts to work her digital magic and begins researching what scientific content the lab can use for Carol’s classroom. Patty envisions nanotechnology
dancing in virtual micro cities and students playing the role of engineers in a virtual mission control room as their astronaut puppets explore deep space. This is a far cry from the current most popular elementary school distance learning topics — the lifecycle of a butterfly and paleontology lessons from puppetized dinosaurs — at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
Watching first graders wiggle and giggle at the crystallization movements of crafted butterfly puppets is good, but watching them explore the world of dark matter through puppets is better.
This is extreme puppetry through technology with digital content that has supersized itself. For Carol, the ability to incorporate a sense of discovery and real-world problem solving into her classroom is critical. She wants to bring difficult science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) topics closer to home. Using every available technology in her classroom, from the electronic whiteboard to individual laptops, she sets the virtual puppet stage to bring STEM out of the physical text and into the virtual world. The infrastructure that seamlessly allows this to happen stays in the background, empowering Carol to teach, Warren to share his scientific expertise, and Patty to provide the instructional tools that link learning to laughing as the puppets play. This type of education really rocks. Teaching difficult STEM topics to elementary students does not immediately conjure up puppets and interactive video conferencing as critical tools, yet these technologies link the arts and science in a way that fully engages students’ imaginations.
Second graders cannot tour the remote South Dakota lab, but they can do the next best thing by inviting the lab to
come to them. Best of all, the lab is accessible through technology and content that they understand.
The ability of students to move between colleges and universities is an activity, often expected by students, intended to combine the strengths of both sectors and support the pursuit of continuous lifelong learning. Students in Ontario have been ahead of educators and planners in “discovering the value of combining the strengths of the colleges in hands-on learning with the
strengths of the universities in academic education” (Jones & Skolnik, 2009, p.22). The College University Consortium Council (CUCC), established in 1996, was created, in part, to facilitate such activity. The Advisory Panel on Future Directions for Postsecondary Education produced a report, Excellence, Accessibility, Responsibility, which endorsed the CUCC as the objective body that would facilitate “province-wide information collection and comparative analysis” to assist all stakeholders in decision-making affecting postsecondary education (Smith et al,1996, p.48). The Investing in Students Task Force cited the CUCC in its 2001 report, advocating, among other things, for the body to “assess and evaluate the existing mechanism” of transfer
between the college and university systems (Investing in Students Task Force, 2001, p.20). Traditionally, Ontario has not held a coherent postsecondary education system with collaborative sectors, but rather two systems, college and university. The colleges were established to be comprehensive institutions that were occupation oriented and designed to meet the needs of the local community. These institutions were an alternative for those who were not inclined to purely academic pursuits and who did not have the qualifications to gain entry to university.
In 2004, in the discussion paper launching the Ontario Postsecondary Review, a student expressed his desire for “the freedom to move between programs or institutions with recognition of my previous work so that I can obtain an education as unique as I hope my career will be” (Rae, 2004, p.19). However, the paper continued by describing the existing situation as a
patchwork of institutional agreements that “cover only a fraction of existing programs”; therefore,in order to “ensure that its public institutions can meet the growing expectations of students and employers, and operate as a coherent system”, Ontario would need to establish a system to set “standards for credit recognition and student transferability between institutions” (p.21).
Attempts to formalize seamless pathways, however, have been confounded by a lack of data to support claims of student demand and actual movement, particularly from college to university.
Ontario colleges were not established to facilitate transfer, but the pursuit of articulation agreements by the institutions themselves and the historic movement of students into universities have legitimized this function as one of its main activities.
The Ontario government’s mandated collection of key performance indicators (KPIs) provides one opportunity to analyze provincial data that is systematically collected in a consistent manner. The Graduate Satisfaction Survey is used to calculate the results of two of the KPIs1, employment rate and graduate satisfaction. Additionally, the survey asks graduates if they have enrolled in an educational institution; students identify which institution and program. In 2005,the colleges and the MTCU decided to expand the survey for those who indicated that they had continued their education after graduation. Therefore, in 2006-07 a modified Graduate Satisfaction Survey with new transfer related questions was introduced. These additions and changes have enabled a deeper analysis of student movement between and within institutions or sectors.
The new questions were included to capture data that could better inform colleges about the students who graduate from their respective institutions. The questions on transfer were also intended to assist the government on matters that could affect policy with respect to student movement, particularly between postsecondary sectors. In addition to documenting the program and institutional destination of graduates seeking further education, the graduate survey now gathers information on the motivation for continuing, the source of transfer information, the amount of transfer credit received, the timing of notification for credit, the relationship to the previous program, the satisfaction with the transfer experience and the satisfaction with college preparation for further studies. This report is the first comprehensive analysis of the new questions from the first year of administration (2006-07).
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.
Quality learning takes place when students connect with information and can internalize it in a way that alters or enriches their thinking. In a world of rich media, instantaneous connectivity and high expectations, educators must deploy techniques that focus student attention while providing meaningful presentations that encourage and engage. This Special Report focuses on those classroom technologies that enable teachers to more effectively capture student interest, develop lifelong learning skills, deliver content relevant for each student and efficiently assess student understanding.
Chalk and filmstrips don’t cut it anymore. Along those same lines, the classroom must be redefined. Today’s classroom is not only that which is contained within four walls of bricks and mortar. A classroom in the 21st century is any location where a convergence of instruction and learning can take place. These new classrooms can include online sessions, collaborative sessions and other virtual sessions in addition to more traditional settings. Regardless of the setting, students and teachers
expect to have access to pertinent resources that support the learning process.
In this report the term classroom refers to all of these locations. To be an effective learning locale, the site must possess appropriate technology along with other vital resources including subject content, instructional modality and assessment tools.
Overview of the Special Report This Special Report’s prime objective is to help policy decision-makers and educational leaders understand what today’s classroom technologies are evolving toward, and, more importantly, why. It is hoped that examining current classroom technologies will spur conversation as to how the practice of teaching is evolving and why that evolution makes sense.
The most difficult challenge in putting this report together was to adequately address all of the key technologies
deployed in classrooms today. Technologies range from tactile objects in Pre-K to hyper-dense 3D modeling programs in graduate-level science classes at research universities. They involve devices, interactive software and assessment tools.
Ultimately we chose to group technologies by function as they would be used in the classroom, regardless of curriculum subject or grade level.
The first day of class is critical. What happens on the first day, even in the first moments, sets the tone for the entire course. The impression you make will last the entire semester, and today’s students are not shy about sharing their opinions. In fact, they are savvy consumers who want classes that meet their needs and that are taught by organized, competent instructors who engage them from the minute they walk into their room. Most students will make up their minds about the course and the instructor in that first class period.
There is a lot at stake that first day. Your first impression helps students determine whether they will stay in your class or whether they will switch to a different section—with a different instructor—or drop it. That is why you must use the first day, the first moments of class, to inspire confidence in your abilities.
Students also want to feel welcome and prepared for success. They do not want to stay in a class where they feel out of place or ill-equipped for the subject matter. The challenge is to create a classroom atmosphere where the rules are clear; expectations are high; and yet students feel welcome, comfortable, and engaged.
This premise might sound daunting, but it is not impossible. Instructors have the power and the tools to make that first day matter and to set the tone for the entire term.
It is important to be deliberate about classroom management. An instructor’s job is to teach, and creating an effective learning environment is necessary for students to learn. While it might seem heavy-handed to focus so much energy on procedures and expectations, the first-day strategies in this report will actually lead to less time spent on classroom management throughout the term. Remember that your classroom will develop its own distinct environment and culture. If you don’t make a concerted effort to set the tone, the students will. Most everyone has been in or in front of a class with an adversarial dynamic, yet no one wants to feel at odds with students. A tense, disorganized, or, worse, hostile atmosphere interferes with your pedagogy
and impedes student learning. It wastes time and disengages students. It leads to poor evaluations. Moreover, it is unnecessary and easily avoidable.
College professors, instructors, and teaching assistants are subject matter specialists, but many have never had training in classroom instructional management. By learning instructional management strategies for the college classroom, instructors can improve and control classroom climate as well as student participation. The preparation strategies and easy-to-implement procedures contained in this report will enable you to remain in calm command of the class on the very first day and for the duration of the course.
Think back to your first few years of teaching. If you’re like most educators, you probably made your share of mistakes. To be sure, we all do things differently now than we did when we were first starting out. Thank goodness for that!
When Faculty Focus put out a call for articles for this special report on teaching mistakes, we really didn’t know what to expect. Would faculty be willing to share their earlier missteps for all to see? Would the articles all talk about the same common mistakes, or would the range of mistakes discussed truly reflect the complexities of teaching today? We were delighted at the response, not only in terms of the number of instructors willing to share their stories with our readers, but by the variety of mistakes in the reflective essays. For example, in “You Like Me, You Really Like Me. When Kindness Becomes a Weakness,” Jolene Cunningham writes of her discovery that doing everything you can for your students is not always the best policy.
In “If I Tell Them, They Will Learn,” Nancy Doiron-Maillet writes about her realization that it’s not enough to provide information to students if they don’t have opportunities to then apply what you are trying to teach them.
Other articles in Teaching Mistakes from the College Classroom include:
• When Expectations Collide
• Things My First Unhappy Student Taught Me
• Understanding My Role as Facilitator
• Don’t Assume a Student’s Previous Knowledge
• What Works in One Culture May Not Work in Another
We thank all the authors who shared their stories and know that the lessons learned will help prevent others from making these same mistakes.
If you’re interested in using technology tools to enhance your teaching, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the mountain of information out there. To make matters worse, much of it is either highly technical or simply not very practical for the college classroom. Teaching with Technology: Tools and Strategies to Improve Student Learning approaches teaching technologies from your perspective — discussing what works, what doesn’t, and how to implement the best ideas in the best ways.
These articles were written by John Orlando, PhD, program director at Norwich University, as part of the Teaching with Technology column on Faculty Focus. You’ll find the articles are loaded with practical information as well as links to valuable resources. Articles in the report include:
• Using VoiceThread to Build Student Engagement
• Wikipedia in the Classroom: Tips for Effective Use
• Blogging to Improve Student Learning: Tips and Tools for Getting Started
• Prezi: A Better Way of Doing Presentations
• Using Polling and Smartphones to Keep Students Engaged
Whether the courses you teach are face-to-face, online, blended, or all of the above, this report explains effective ways to incorporate technology into your courses to create a rich learning experience for students, and a rewarding teaching experience for you.
In Ottawa on March 30, 2010, the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) presented a stock taking to
parliamentarians from all political parties.
Why a stock taking? As in any field of human endeavour, serious intent to improve in learning demands rigorous, regular and honest assessment of advances made and not made over a defined period of time. That is why schools employ report cards.
During its first iteration, corresponding to the federal funding that supported CCL from its inception in 2004 until March, 2010, CCL performed a unique function. As Canada’s only national organization reporting to residents in every corner of the land on progress in all phases of learning across the lifecycle (from early childhood through K-12 education, post-secondary education, workplace training and adult literacy and learning) CCL served as a catalyst towards a national discussion on the social and economic importance of learning. Taking Stock of Canada’s Progress in Lifelong Learning: Progress or Complaceny? builds on our report to parliamentarians. It brings to Canadians in richer detail and context the information and analysis that we shared with the parliamentary bodies which allocated the funding to CCL that the Government of Canada terminated in March. It is universally acknowledged that learning, as defined broadly to encompass much more than school based education, is a main driver of many attributes that societies value: individual opportunity and development, productivity, innovation, prosperity, and social cohesion. That was the reasoning behind the articulation in 2006 by the Government of Canada of a “Knowledge Advantage” that would provide a “leg up” in a fiercely competitive global environment.
But have we made the progress anticipated by government in building a “knowledge advantage?” Are there domains in which we are surpassing other member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)? Where are we falling behind?
CCL emphasizes that past results do not guarantee future success. The fundamental issue is whether Canada is establishing conditions for future international competitiveness in knowledge and learning. Is Canada making the progress in lifelong learning that will differentiate societies that flourish from those that flounder; or have we—at our peril—become complacent?
It appears common in Canadian discourse on issues of education and learning to begin with an assertion to the effect that Canada is doing well; followed by the usual admission that improvement is, of course, desirable and necessary. This report does not dabble in polite niceties because such misleading pleasantries merely mask the current reality that is CCL’s task to set before Canadians. When we stood before parliamentarians in March, 2010, to elucidate our findings, conclusions, and
recommendations, our goal was to provide decision-makers with the information and analysis they need to develop effective approaches to learning. These approaches are the only means of keeping Canada competitive in the global, knowledge-based economy. We gave them some good news, but we were also frank about the bad news. This included the fact that Canada, unlike many OECD countries, possesses no coherent, cohesive or coordinated national approach to education and lifelong learning. Yet, our international competitors either already have one, or they are working diligently to create one.
That means that as we stand still, we are losing ground. We insisted bluntly that Canada put its house in order. We described the consequences of failing to recognize the urgency to act, as well as some attractive alternatives leading to improvement in learning outcomes, that are open to this country.
This Taking Stock report is intended to provide more than a summation of CCL’s research and analysis. It offers an opportunity to translate the rhetoric of lifelong learning into action that can make a difference.
There still remains time for Canada to establish the conditions required for success in the future. Will we
seize that opportunity?
The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO)’s Third Annual Review and Research Plan provides a comprehensive evaluation of the postsecondary education (PSE) system in Ontario. In doing so, it contributes to a discussion on a new PSE strategy for the province following the completion of Reaching Higher: The McGuinty Government Plan for Postsecondary Education (Reaching Higher) initiated in 2005. This is a critical juncture in PSE; Reaching Higher ends this fiscal year, as do the current tuition framework and the Multi-Year Accountability Agreements (MYAAs) with postsecondary institutions. Successor strategies must address a new set of priorities and a new economic reality. Reaching Higher was generally well received by the PSE sector and by the public, and much progress has been made in realizing the stated objectives in the plan.
The Third Annual Review and Research Plan recommends that a new PSE strategy should build directly on Reaching Higher. To this end, it proposes a reformulation of PSE objectives to give emphasis to meeting human capital needs, improving accessibility
and educational quality, and stimulating research and innovation.
In a traditional face-to-face class, students have many opportunities to interact with their instructor and fellow students. Whether it’s an informal chat before or after class, or participating in the classroom discussion, interaction can be an important factor in student success. Creating similar opportunities for participation and collaboration in an online course is one of the biggest challenges of teaching online. Yet, opportunities for meaningful interaction online are plentiful, provided you design and facilitate your course in the correct manner and with the proper tools.
Asynchronous and synchronous learning tools, such as threaded discussions, instant messaging, and blogs play an important role in humanizing online courses by replicating the classroom experience of information exchange and community building, not just between students and teacher but among the students as well. This Faculty Focus special report features 15 articles from Online Classroom newsletter, and will provide you with specific strategies on how to use synchronous and asynchronous
learning tools to engage your online students.
Here are just some of the articles you will find in this report:
• A Plan for Effective Discussion Boards
• Using Video Clips to Stimulate Discussion
• Using Individual and Group Instant Messaging to Engage Students
• Nine Strategies for Using IM in Your Online Course
• Four Ways to Improve Discussion Forums
Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Tools: 15 Strategies for Engaging Online Students Using Real-time Chat, Threaded Discussions and Blogs is loaded with practical advice from educators who’ve found effective ways to promote learning and build community in their online courses.
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 extracurricular activities, and living on campus have all been shown to make a difference. Not surprisingly, faculty play a critical role in student engagement … from the obvious: facilitating discussions in the classroom; to the often overlooked: maximizing those brief encounters we have with students outside of class. This special report features 15 articles that provide perspectives and advice for keeping students actively engaged in learning activities while fostering more meaningful interactions between students and faculty members, and among the students themselves.
For example, in “Student Engagement: Trade-offs and Payoffs” author E Shelley Reid, associate professor at George Mason University, talks about how to craft engagement-focused questions rather than knowledge questions, and explains her willingness to take chances in ceding some control over students’ learning.
In “The Truly Participatory Seminar” authors Sarah M. Leupen and Edward H. Burtt, Jr., of Ohio Wesleyan University, outline their solution for ensuring all students in their upper division seminar course participate in discussion at some level.
In “Reminders for Improving Classroom Discussion” Roben Torosyan, associate director of the Center for Academic Excellence at Fairfield University, offers very specific advice on balancing student voices, reframing discussions, and probing below the surface of group discussions.
And finally, in “Living for the Light Bulb” authors Aaron J. Nurick and David H. Carhart of Bentley College provide tips on setting the stage for that delightful time in class “when the student’s entire body says ‘Aha! Now I see it!’” Who wouldn’t like to see more light bulbs going on more often? One of the most challenging tasks instructors face is keeping students engaged. Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom will help you meet that challenge while ensuring your classroom is a positive and productive learning environment.
The 2009–2010 State of Learning in Canada provides the most current information on the Canadian learning
landscape, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of how Canadians are faring as lifelong learners.
As in previous State of Learning reports, this update reflects CCL’s vision of learning as a lifelong process. Our research affirms time and again that the skills and knowledge that citizens bring to their families, their workplaces and their communities help determine a country’s economic success and overall quality of life.
It is this core value that continues to guide our research and our commitment to fostering a learning society, in which all members can develop their full potential as active, engaged learners and contributing members of their community.
This update takes a life course approach, beginning with learning in the early childhood learning and school-based education through to the formal and informal learning of adults. Highlights from the recently released report on the State of Aboriginal Learning in Canada: A Holistic Approach to Measuring Success (2009), which introduced the first application of a comprehensive approach to measuring Aboriginal Learning in Canada, are also included.