Step into any college lecture hall and you are likely to find a sea of students typing away at open, glowing laptops as the professor speaks. But you won’t see that when I’m teaching.
Though I make a few exceptions, I generally ban electronics, including laptops, in my classes and research seminars.
That may seem extreme. After all, with laptops, students can, in some ways, absorb more from lectures than they can with just paper and pen. They can download course readings, look up unfamiliar concepts on the fly and create an accurate, well-organized record of the lecture material. All of that is good.
As a new semester approaches, the academic's to-do list can fill up pretty fast. All of that course planning you’ve been putting off all summer now seems pretty urgent. Your chair wants a copy of your syllabi by the end of the week. And there’s still the matter of those writing deadlines. I’m here to add one more item to your list. Now is the time — not later — to think about accessibility in your classroom.
For many of us, accessibility is a topic handled by a brief section toward the end of our syllabus — a paragraph detailing the steps a disabled student can take to receive accommodations. Such policies are very much figured as an exception to the norm, an appendix pinned onto the end of the syllabus, as if to say: “Oh yeah, and if you’ve got a disability, we can probably work to find some kind of solution.” For Anne-Marie Womack, assistant director of writing at Tulane University, that way of conceptualizing accessibility is all wrong.
Across the country, many students still lack access to a college option that fits their needs.
It’s a problem that two very different states are looking to solve.
Despite having 114 campuses in California, Governor Jerry Brown wants the state’s community college system to explore expanding its programs through a new online-only college. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s education department has given its approval for the creation of a new alternative type of community college to serve the northwestern part of the state.
“Community colleges across the country are suffering from decreasing enrollments, so they’re out there trying to figure out what are the options to reach students who they haven’t reached in the past and retain the ones they have,” said Elisabeth Barnett, senior research scientist at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University.
I spend most of my days in meetings with graduate students and postdocs, talking about where their careers might go. I jokingly say, “Nobody leaves my office without a networking tutorial.” And it’s true: for Ph.D.s engaged in a nonacademic job search, the concept of networking is omnipresent and unavoidable. Countless resources and articles are available to help novice networkers learn the basics of networking, and everyone knows the best way to become a better networker is to just get out there and network.
Students don’t always like working in groups. Ann Taylor, an associate professor of chemistry at Wabash College, had a class that was particularly vocal in their opposition. She asked for their top 10 reasons why students don’t want to work in groups and they offered this list (which I’ve edited slightly).
Mindfulness has received significant attention in the empirical literature during the past decade, but few studies have focused on mindfulness in university students and how it may influence problematic behaviours. This study examined the relationships among mindfulness, coping, and physiological reactivity in a sample of university students. Participants completed questionnaires, and skin conductance measurements were collected during an interview where they recalled a personally stressful event. Correlation analyses tested relationships among these variables. There was a negative correlation between substance use and mindfulness. Specifically, those using substances as a coping mechanism were less likely to be mindful and displayed higher physiological reactivity. More mindful individuals were less likely to report misusing substances and were able to calm themselves more quickly than their counterparts following a stressful event. Thus, poor outcomes for distressed students may be reduced with mindfulness-based interventions
Au cours des dernières décennies, la pleine conscience a été l’objet d’une attention importante dans la documentation empirique, mais peu d’études ont ciblé la pleine conscience chez les étudiants et sa façon d’influencer les comportements problématiques. Cette étude a étudié l’association entre la pleine conscience, les mécanismes d’adaptation et la réactivité physiologique chez un échantillon d’étudiants. En plus de répondre à des questionnaires, les participants ont dû passer une entrevue où il leur fallait raconter un souvenir personnel particulièrement stressant pendant qu’on mesurait leur conductance cutanée. Des analyses de corrélation ont évalué les liens entre ces variables. Ainsi, on a dénoté une corrélation négative entre l’utilisation de substances nocives et la pleine conscience. Plus précisément, les participants qui avaient consommé des substances nocives comme mécanisme d’adaptation avaient moins tendance à posséder des traits conscients, et ont démontré une réactivité physiologique plus élevée que les autres étudiants. Les gens plus pleinement conscients avaient moins tendance à utiliser des substances nocives, et étaient capables de se calmer plus rapidement que leurs pairs après un événement stressant. Par conséquent, des interventions basées sur la pleine conscience pourraient aider les étudiants stressés à ne pas adopter de comportements problématiques.
Students in residence at the University of Guelph shouldn't be surprised if the president of the school knocks on their door starting Monday.
That's because president Franco Vaccarino along with other administrators, faculty members and counsellors will be making house calls to check on the mental well-being of students.
I love math, but I know that I’m unusual. Math anxiety is a rampant problem across the country. Researchers now know that when people with math anxiety encounter numbers, a fear center in the brain lights up — the same fear center that lights up when people see snakes or spiders. Anxiety is not limited to low-achieving students. Many of the undergraduates I teach at Stanford University, some of the most successful students in the nation, are math traumatized. In recent interviews, students have told me that learning math in school was like being on a "hamster wheel” — they felt like they were running and running, without reaching any meaningful destination. A seventh grader told me that math learning was like prison, because his mind felt “locked up.”
No matter where you are in the academic hierarchy (or “lowerarchy,” as one of my students once wrote on an exam), you need to learn how to manage up.
Whether student issues, structural problems with a program, unintended consequences of administrative mandates or a full-blown bureaucratic meltdown, you never want to be asked certain questions by your higher-ups.
With a mandate to prepare students for the labour market, ‘communication’ figures prominently among the essential employability skills that Ontario’s colleges are expected to develop in students prior to graduation. As a result, many colleges have instituted measures to help shore up the skills of students who are admitted to college yet who do not possess the expected ‘college-level English’ proficiency. Several have addressed this challenge by admitting these students into developmental communication classes, which are designed to build their skills to the expected college level.
Mentoring is one of the many aspects of faculty positions that are not generally taught, even though it is crucial in higher education. Faculty members are expected to advise undergraduates, graduate students and colleagues, although rarely with any support or recognition for this work. As a result, faculty members often mentor as a response to how they were mentored: a cold and distant adviser may serve as a cautionary tale or a role model.
Is college worth it? This fundamental question is shaking the core of higher education. In the US, the cry for greater accountability from higher education institutions has never been louder or more omnipresent.
As longtime practitioners in our disciplines, we develop implicit skills that can be the source of some of the deepest learning for our students. In his book Experience and Education, John Dewey describes habit as “the formation of attitudes, attitudes that are emotional and intellectual…our basic sensitivities and ways of responding to all the conditions we meet in living” (35). Experiencing implies the sensing body, embodied learning, and Dewey does not shy away from the emotional dimensions of learning—both of which are often where the deepest learning happens, where students’ passion for a discipline ignites, and where experts’ best ideas originate. These often-overlooked dimensions of learning are also where empathy lives, and so it is there that knowledge might blossom not only into expertise but into wisdom
10 questions for universities developing a coordinated response to suicide in their campus community.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death, behind accidents, for young adults, so it is a sad reality that all universities will confront at one time or another on their campuses. During the annual conference of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services in June, Andrea Carter, assistant dean of student wellness, support and success at University of Toronto Mississauga, and Melinda Scott, dean of students at U of T’s University College, addressed a standing-room-only crowd about their experience with student suicides at U of T and how it led them to develop a co-ordinated response. The following is a list of some of the questions that they say postsecondary managers, administrators and crisis-response teams should consider when developing policies or procedures related to suicide on campus:
I write this from my office in a department of philosophy somewhere in the northern hemisphere. Beside my computer, the unshorn mug of Harvey Weinstein stares out from the cover of the 23 October edition of Time magazine. Beside his unpleasant mien are three words: Producer, Predator, Pariah.
Academia is no Hollywood, but it is also infected by a hidden epidemic of sexual misconduct. There is at least one sexual predator in every department I’ve studied in, or taught in, over 30 years. This is increasingly being acknowledged, but responses typically focus on teaching students about consent. This is hopelessly naive and dangerous.
The purpose of the lecture was to pose the question whether education is possible today. The author begins by contrasting two prevalent responses to the question: (1) that it is obviously possible since we can see all around us teachers and students working in classrooms, and (2) that it is obviously not possible because the educational system has been subverted to serve the ends of a global economic order. The author argues that while there is evidence to support both responses, they dismiss, in effect, the question of education’s possibility and thus undermine its authentic enactment. The article describes an approach to keeping the question open and in public view.
For a generation now, our PhD graduates have struggled with a shrinking academic job market in Canada, many of them in under-compensated teaching jobs with little support for research, or in non-academic positions. The decline in academic jobs has been addressed primarily as a graduate student issue: PhDs should be better informed about and trained for “alt-ac” careers, while departments should shrink their PhD programs to better match job availability. We frame the problem as one of supply rather than demand.
Watching the crackdown on protestors in Turkey four years ago, Ayca Koseoglu, then a recent MA graduate from a university in Ankara, had two thoughts.
“I thought there was no life in Turkey for people like me any more, for academics,” said Ms. Koseoglu, who decided she had to go abroad to continue her education.
Her second thought was that she wanted to research how political movements used public space to stand up to repressive regimes, whether in Turkey, the Middle East or the United States.
Ten years ago, Lisa Lalonde, now a professor in the faculty of early childhood education at Algonquin College in Ottawa, was cautioned by a friend about her choice to pursue an education almost exclusively online.
"When I first started this journey, someone asked me about what my career objectives were in the long-term … and they warned me that some of the upper crust of academia don't look highly upon this [online education]," she recalls. "Whereas, I'm finding that is definitely not the case any more."
Future teachers are likely to teach as they were taught—which can be problematic, researchers wrote in a recent study, "because most teachers experienced school mathematics as a set of disconnected facts and skills, not a system of interrelated concepts."