Businesses driven by data strategies are nothing new. The commercial sectors have been leveraging high volumes of information for decades. Amazon’s monumental growth is largely down to its personalised recommendations, directly complementing its novel business strategy.
Any university or college worth its salt is tracking and recording huge amounts of data per cycle. Applications, firm choices, insurance choices, acceptances, and open day figures are poised for interpretation, awaiting synthesis with other information – which schools drive the most students, how do different groups engage with communications, and why do first -year students choose that university?
A full teaching guide.
In an era of heated debates around the purpose, priorities, and payment of senior administrators in Canadian higher ed, relationship management has become a key part of dayto-day life for many institutional leaders. This often takes the form of carefully worded interactions with the media, social media channel monitoring, and face-to-face meetings with important stakeholders.
But there’s one major set of opinions that’s often missed in all this: that of the students. As the group that feels it has the most at stake when it comes to the public standing of their institution, students are among the fastest to speak out on social media or fill the window of the president’s office with poster board when a PR disaster strikes. In their roles as current students, peers, and family members, they also stand to be one of the biggest influencers of a next year’s postsecondary applicant pool. As the savviest enrolment and communications staff know, current students are more than a listserv - they’re the future of your school.
Given this critical positioning, we reached out to over 1,400 students, applicants, and alumni across Canada to see what they thought of postsecondary senior administration today.
While online learning environments are increasingly common, relatively little is known about issues of equity in these settings. We test for the presence of race and gender biases among postsecondary students and instructors in online classes by measuring student and instructor responses to discussion comments we posted in the discussion forums of 124 different online courses. Each comment was randomly assigned a student name connoting a specific race and gender. We find that instructors are 94% more likely to respond to forum posts by White male students. In contrast, we do not find general evidence of biases in student responses. However, we do find that comments placed by White females are more likely to receive a response from White female peers. We discuss the implications of our findings for our understanding of social identity dynamics in classrooms and the design of equitable online
Scan the vision and mission statements of schools and it is nearly impossible to find a school that doesn’t commit to educating “all” students or meet “each” or “every” student’s need. Yet we know that many schools fall far short of this mark. Too many students don’t experience the same high-quality learning experiences that even their peers across the aisle, hall, or county have access to. This is an equity challenge. Combine the uneven results within and across districts with the fact that the students more likely to be lagging are students of color and students from high-poverty contexts and the equity challenge is compounded.
Among the factors that schools have the power to address, the quality of teaching and the quality of the curriculum materials are two factors that, when integrated and improved with intention, have the potential to answer those equity challenges. When all students experience high-quality teaching, they are more likely to learn. When all classrooms are filled with high-quality instructional materials, students are more likely to learn. Establishing these conditions for all learners will help close achievement gaps.
This report explores the premise that there’s nothing more powerful than great teachers skillfully using great instructional materials to motivate and engage students in their learning. Three real-world examples illustrate how schools and school systems are working to support teachers to skillfully use high-quality, standards-aligned curricula, by providing teachers with the time and expertise to use those curricula well, with a focus on team-based, collaborative learning. The report also provides lessons learned across these sites and action steps to get schools and districts started on the journey.
It’s not surprising that the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are capturing the imagination of university students. The tech sector has enjoyed a long boom — its social media platforms and digital disruptors have made mouth-watering profits, overtaken century-old companies, and revolutionized our daily lives, whether it be ride-hailing apps or disease-diagnosing smartphones. The science and engineering fields, for their part, are
pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, developing neural implants, electric vehicles and super-materials like graphene, which could help everything from water purification to spinal regeneration.
Students see in the STEM educational track the chance to solve social challenges, make money, or both. Preferential visa access for STEM graduates in many countries, including the United States, along with fears of rising automation in a growing number of professional jobs, add further gloss to technical degrees.
In an earlier piece, our team described a dashboard that serves as an early-warning system of indicators that can show when an academic unit is on the brink of dysfunction -- or, even worse, already mired in it. We developed that resource, the Academic Unit Diagnostic Tool (AUDiT), primarily with administrators in mind, although entire departments have come to use it over time.
Our project has worked with department-level and more senior university leaders to explore how to use this diagnostic tool to shape strategies for intervention before they become debilitating. In talking with those leaders, we have found that while every department has distinct features, the broad outlines of what constitute healthy departments and dysfunctional ones fall into identifiable patterns.
You have chosen to teach in higher education because you are a subject-matter specialist with a tremendous knowledge of your discipline. As you enter or continue your career, there is another field of knowledge you need to know: teaching and learning. What we know about teaching and learning continues to grow dramatically. It includes developing effective instructional strategies, reaching today’s students, and teaching with technology. Where is this
knowledge base? Books, articles in pedagogical periodicals, newsletters, conferences, and online resources provide ample help. Take advantage of your institution’s center for teaching and learning or other professional development resources.
People are often told to find their passion as though passions and interests are pre-formed and must simply be discovered. This idea, however, has hidden motivational implications. Five studies examined implicit theories of interest—the idea that personal interests are relatively fixed
(fixed theory) or developed (growth theory). Whether assessed or experimentally induced, a fixed theory was more likely to dampen interest in areas outside people’s existing interests (Studies 1–3). Those endorsing a fixed theory were also more likely to anticipate boundless
motivation when passions were found, not anticipating possible difficulties (Study 4). Moreover, when engaging in a new interest became difficult, interest flagged significantly more for people induced to hold a fixed than a growth theory of interest (Study 5). Urging people to find their
passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket but then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry.
The most famous dictum of the science fiction writer and futurist Arthur C. Clarke may be his Third Law: “Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.” And for most of us, the efficiency of 21st-century search engines — Google, Bing, Yahoo and others — can be uncannily accurate. But when it comes to learning, instant gratification can be as much a bug as a feature.
Take high school students today. They have grown up using search engines and other web resources; they don’t need to understand how these tools work in order to use them. In fact, thanks to what’s called machine learning, search engines and other software can become more accurate — and even those who write the code for them may not be able to explain why.
As I write about my experiences in higher education, I want to make one thing clear: I don’t believe the issues we are facing have a one-size-fits-all solution. I see too many articles that pronounce the end of higher education as we know it and that the solution is [insert latest buzzword here]. But the reality is that there are many different kinds of institutions with many different kinds of issues that are complex and not easy or quick to solve.
What I hope to address in sharing my experiences is that we all need to honestly assess where we are with various issues and look for good solutions that are evidence-based and make sense for our specific type of college or university. What makes sense for a large public institution won’t necessarily make sense for a small liberal arts college.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but…” was the opening line of every email I received in the first week of this semester. This line was usually followed by nothing that would actually bother me: a question about the week’s materials, a link to an interesting resource, a discussion about a potential research topic, and the like. This was all despite my many attempts to ensure that students did not feel like they were imposing whenever they contacted me: a pre-semester introductory email, a video welcoming them to the course, my biography and teaching philosophy, virtual office hours, and multiple reminders about my contact information. Yet, with all of my entreaties to reach out, I was still dealing with the real issues of isolation, fear, and
frustration that results in students leaving their online courses. To combat these feelings, professors—myself included—have to deliberately, consistently, and relentlessly work to build student-faculty and student-student relationships in online courses.
Last year I wrote about the role of confidentiality in presidential searches. There is an understandable need to protect the privacy of candidates, especially in the early stages of a search. However, once the search committee decides on the list of finalists, the need for transparency should outweigh concerns for secrecy to protect the candidates. Yet, recent events suggest that some governing boards actually are moving in the opposite direction and taking extreme steps to prevent the campus community from learning the names of those being considered as their future president.
How much instructional advice have you heard over the years? How often when you talk about an instructional issue are you given advice, whether you ask for it or not? Let’s say you’re a new teacher or you’re teaching a class you haven’t taught before or something unexpected happens in your class; if you’d like some advice, all you need to do is ask. Anybody who’s spent any time in the classroom seemingly has the right to offer advice. And if you’d rather read advice, there’s still plenty offered in the pedagogical literature, to say nothing of blogs and other social media sources.
Often in workshops when I’m speaking about the process of implementing change—deciding what to change and how to change it or considering whether to add a new instructional strategy—the question of risk lurks in the choices being considered. When attending a workshop or program that offers a range of instructional possibilities, teachers typically respond to some favorably. I see it—they write down the idea, nod, or maybe ask a follow-up question to be sure they understand the details. Not all the ideas presented get this favorable response. Occasionally, the response is overtly negative. But more often there is no response. The idea doesn’t resonate.
Most political discussion of higher education these days focuses on the return on investment to individuals, rather than on the contributions that colleges and universities make to society broadly. So it wouldn't be surprising to find that many Americans don't put much stock in the "public good" arguments on which much government funding of higher education was premised.
But a new survey finds that most Americans continue to support government funding of higher education and to recognize that colleges and universities play many roles beyond helping them (or their children) get a good job or other personal return on investment.
Ontario is working with college students, faculty, support staff, administrators and other experts to develop a forward-looking plan for Ontario's publicly assisted college system.
The province has appointed Sue Herbert to chair the College Task Force, which includes faculty, college representatives and students, along with industry and postsecondary education experts. It will make recommendations to support the delivery of high-quality, career-oriented postsecondary education and training that is accessible to students and responsive to changing labour market needs.
The College Task Force will explore a range of topics, including:
Student success and labour market readiness
Program pathways and support for students, including student mental health
Staffing models that would enhance program quality and improve student experience
Academic governance structures and intellectual property policies in the college system.
The old expression that you never have a second chance to make a first impression is certainly true in the classroom. Early in my career, I tried several first-day-of-class strategies, ranging from briefly introducing the course and dismissing students early to spending the entire time reviewing policies and procedures, but I began to feel that I was missing an important opportunity. Students are never more attentive than they are on the first day of class, when they’re eager to determine what kind of professor they’re dealing with, and although it is tempting to delay the real work of teaching and learning until the class list has stabilized, it can be difficult to change even the subtle norms that are established during this initial class. Several years ago, I tried a new approach, and I’ve been using it with great success ever
Truth. Kindness. Dignity. Courage. Hope. They are not fields in which you can earn a degree. They are not things you would normally list under “other experience” on your résumé. And they do not necessarily represent subjects covered in college courses.
Why then did so many commencement speakers at universities across the nation focus on them this year? Most likely it is because today these values seem to be in short supply.
Only two-thirds of college students in the United States have ever written a paper that's 10 pages or longer.
This statistic is part of a new report by Primary Research Group, based on a survey of 1,140 college students at four-year institutions in the United States about the writing and grammar instruction that they’ve received and how much additional instruction they believe they need.