Faculty Focus

PA027: What Has Changed and What to Expect for Online Teaching

An interview with Dr. Kristen Wall In this insightful interview, Dr. Kristen Wall, director of faculty development at Colorado Christian University, shares her perspective on the transitions and driving forces for online education. Benefit from her nine years of experience

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Use It but Don’t Depend on Technology to Teach

unplugging cord

This article is not a Luddite’s rejection of digital technology. Even though I feel some intellectual kinship with Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in regard to how some tools affect people constitutionally, I readily admit that digital technology has made my job as a teacher much easier in a number of ways. Courseware makes it possible for me to share handouts with students without having to make copies. I can post web links for easy in-class access. Using email, I can make important announcements when my students are not in class, and they can contact me with questions about their essays. After my students visit a local science museum, I can have them post their thoughts about the visit to a discussion board, responding both to me and to each other as they ruminate on connections between the museum displays and related content in the course text. In short, for teachers and students—including sometime skeptics like me—digital technology, despite occasional overuse, facilitates interpersonal communication and accessibility to information.

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A Memo to Students about Studying for Finals

students studying in the library

To: My Students
From: Your Professor
Re: Studying for Finals

The end of the semester is rarely pretty. You’re tired; I’m tired. You’ve got a zillion things to get done—ditto for me. You’ve also got grades hanging in the balance to be decided by how you perform on the final exam. The pressure is on, and it’s not just this course. It’s all of them.

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Top Online Course Design Mistakes

information overload computer key

Although online education has been around for nearly 20 years, I still see a number of common mistakes among online course developers. Here are the top course design mistakes in online education and how to avoid them in your courses.

Too much content
When I hire someone to design an online course, I invariably get too much content. Developers will assign over 150 pages of dense, academic reading per week, along with websites and other resources. Covering all of this content would take far more time than can be expected of students, leading them to pick and choose what they think is important, not what the course developer thinks is important.

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Teaching Students about Their Digital Footprints

students texting

Our students live in an online world. They’re emotionally and physically attached to their devices and many of their relationships exist within technology. As educators, there are many ways that we have had to adapt to this changing landscape of communication within our teaching, and when I look around my institution, I think we’re doing a remarkable job at keeping up with the rapid pace of change.

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PA026: Recording Videos for Your Classes, Part 2

This week, we continue our discussion on recording videos for our courses. We discuss recording techniques using a variety of recording methods. One of the most important things that goes into your welcome video is a brief explanation about who you are and why you love to teach. This initial introduction helps to humanize the course and sends of message of approachability.

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Team-Based Learning: Strategies for Getting Started [Transcript]

STEM students working on a problem.

Making sure students come to class prepared is an ongoing challenge for all faculty members.

With the Readiness Assurance Process, Team-Based Learning (TBL) helps instructors and students alike get past this age-old obstacle. This seminar transcript delves into TBL’s problem-solving framework and discovers how you can use it to design team activities to deepen students’ problem-solving experience.

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How to Integrate Self-Regulated Learning into Your Courses [Transcript]

student studying in library

With so much material to teach, it seems luxurious or even indulgent to spend time thinking about thinking. However, there are distinct benefits of focusing some effort on developing self-regulated learning (SRL) practices among your students.

Incorporating aspects of self-regulated learning into your courses can improve your students’ exam performance, reading and listening comprehension, written and designed products, and problem-solving skills. Its name might suggest otherwise, but self-regulated learning—the skill set and practice of strategically planning, monitoring, controlling, and evaluating ones’ own learning—can be taught.

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Using Brief Interventions to Maximize Student Learning [Transcript]

college classroom

The shift toward student-centered learning has transformed our classrooms, and it’s no longer enough to be a subject-matter expert. Instructors have to not only know the material their students need to learn, but they also have to have a reasonably good grasp of how students learn it.

The task is to master both, because that’s when the real learning magic happens. That’s the idea behind cognitive theory and its application in higher education. And while it took you years of study to earn credentials in your discipline, you can learn how to apply relevant aspects of cognitive theory to your courses in far less time.

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Preparing a Learner-Centered Syllabus

writing on sticky note

The Oxford Dictionary defines “syllabus” as “an outline of the subjects in a course of study or teaching.”

“Students who read a good syllabus are more likely to feel that course strategies have been designed to help them reach their goals, rather than merely as busywork or, worse, to torture them” ~ Slattery & Carlson, 2013, p. 159.
The syllabus literature tends to focus on “Here’s what makes a good syllabus,” but hasn’t addressed the following questions nearly as well: “What are the purposes of the syllabus?” and “What are the syllabus’ implications for learning?”

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