The White House recently called on the nation’s universities to produce more science graduates by adopting better teaching techniques.
But which teaching techniques are most effective? A new study shows that learner-centered courses, taken early in a college career, can prime students to get more out of traditional lecture courses. Tomorrow’s Professor shares Jason N. Adsit’s advice on designing and delivering effective lectures, excerpted from The National Teaching and Learning Forum newsletter. Faculty Focus offers tips for recording and transcribing your lectures to make them more accessible to students and improve their learning experience, as well as adapting technology, and—even more crucially—your syllabus, to the distance lecture. Among her seven strategies for improving your online teaching, Andrea Zellner includes tips on how to counteract the deadening effect that videotaping has on lectures. The standard advice for using technology is not to get carried away with what it can do—in the L.A. Times, Michael Hiltzik distinguishes between sound pedagogy and corporate hype, taking a stern look at the new educational technologies that are supposed to be revolutionizing today’s and tomorrow’s classroom. And, at Mathalicious, Karim Ani offers a detailed and scathing critique of the Khan Academy’s pedagogy.
Whether you’re giving traditional lectures or incorporating lots of learner-centered activities, getting students to think—both critically and creatively—can be an enormous challenge. The grading instructions for the New York State Regents exam show disturbingly low standards for passing. At the college level, Dean Dad notices a pervading fatalism that seems to prevent students from engaging critically and with purpose. SUNY Stonybrook’s news-literacy curriculum offers a way out of the fatalistic thinking that all news is so biased it can’t be trusted by teaching students to apply critical thinking skills to the media that bombards them on a daily basis. At the Harvard Education Publishing Group, Dan Rothstein connects his research—on the startling effects of simply teaching students to ask their own questions—to a discussion about types of thinking, in order to argue that creative thinking involves just as much narrowed focus as we traditionally associate with critical thinking. Speaking of questions, formulating effective research questions can be particularly challenging for students: at Journalist’s Resource, Harvard fellow Alison Head shares insights from her research. A must-read for anyone teaching a tutorial this semester. And Inside Higher Ed interviews the authors of We’re Losing Our Minds on their ideas about how to reintroduce real learning into the college classroom.
P.S. Finally! Some concrete guidance in the murky and often treacherous world of fair use: the Association of Research Libraries recently released their “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.”
This post was written by Odile Harter.