Friday, May 6, 2016

Faculty Acheivement Celebration

Come celebrate the accomplishments of your colleagues, along with the end of classes, at the annual faculty achievement event.

Thursday, May 12, from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. in Social Center A and the Galleria at the DePauw Inn

Friday, April 22, 2016

Exploring the Next-Generation Digital Learning Environment: Opportunities and Challenges

On Wednesday and Thursday, April 27-28, FITS will be sharing sessions from the Educause Learning Initiative Online Focus Session - Exploring the Next-Generation Digital Learning Environment: Opportunities and Challenges. 

The schedule for the entire two-day event is linked below. The following sessions may be of particular interest to DePauw faculty members: 

W 1:10-1:55, Learning Analytics, Advising and Learning Assessment 
W 2:50-3:20, Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning 
Th 3:00-3:20, Community Observations on the Next-Generation Digital Learning Environment 

Please consider joining us for any of these sessions.

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How To Get Tenure (If You're a Woman)

Interesting piece in Foreign Policy on the challenges of attaining tenure if you're a woman.

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Three Critical Conversations Started and Sustained by Flipped Learning

The flipped learning model of instruction has begun to make the transition from an educational buzzword to a normative practice among many university instructors, and with good reason. Flipped learning provides many benefits for both faculty and students. However, instructors who use flipped learning soon find out that a significant amount of work is sometimes necessary to win students over to this way of conducting class. Even when the benefits of flipped learning are made clear to students, some of them will still resist. And to be fair, many instructors fail to listen to what students are really saying.

Most student “complaints” about flipped learning conceal important questions about teaching and learning that are brought to the surface because of the flipped environment. Here are three common issues raised by students and the conversation-starters they afford. 

Student comment: “I wish you would just teach the class.” 

Conversation-starter: Why do we have classes? 

This issue is often raised once it becomes clear that class time will focus on assimilating information, not transmitting it. For many students, the only kind of instruction they have ever known is the in-class lecture, so it is quite natural for them to conflate “teaching” and “lecturing”. Hence, students are perhaps justifiably unsettled to see their teacher not “teaching”. When students raise this concern, it is an opportunity to have a conversation about why classes meet—or for that matter, why they exist—in the first place. 

When students want the professor to “just teach”, the professor can pose the following: We can either have lecture on basic information in class, and then you will be responsible for the harder parts yourselves outside of class; or we can make the basic information available for you prior to class, and spend our class time making sense of the harder parts. There is not enough class time for both. Which setup will help you learn better? 

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What I Learned from Student-Created Learning Taxonomies

My assignments are often inspired by things I learn about from my Personal Learning Network (PLN), and this particular assignment is inspired by several people. The assignment I recently gave my students (who are largely freshmen learning about educational game design as part of a core curriculum course on creativity) is to develop their own learning taxonomy, in any shape or form, with any items that they feel are important to their learning. 

The idea of the assignment was inspired by a an activity Sean Michael Morris created where we hacked (well re-thought) Bloom’s Taxonomy during the recent #MOOOCMOOC Instructional Design. It was also partly inspired by Amy Collier’s keynote here at Digital Pedagogy Cairo (recorded here) which referred to a recent presentation by Gardner Campbell using a taxonomy of engagement which focused on love. 

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Love Letter to Blended Learning

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tasked with examining the future of online education have returned with a simple recommendation for colleges and universities: focus on people and process, not technology. Back in 2013, an MIT task force presented a vision of undergraduate education at the institute in which students spend half as much time on campus as they do today. Freshman year would be fully online, and instead of a senior year, students would take online continuing education courses to refresh their knowledge and add new skills. That vision leaned heavily on MIT’s work with edX, the massive open online course provider it founded with Harvard University. 

The buzz around the report led to the creation of the Online Education Policy Initiative, also known as OEPI, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. While the 2013 task force looked specifically at MIT’s future, the OEPI took a step back to look at online education in general. The OEPI released its final report earlier this month, focusing on four major online education recommendations that span research, teaching and organizational change. “Focused attention in these areas could significantly advance our understanding of the opportunities and challenges in transforming education,” the report concludes. But the report is as much about the shortcomings of online education as it is about its potential. Most importantly, it recommends online education play a supporting role as a “dynamic digital scaffold.” Online education can offer personalized pathways through course content with short lecture videos and well-timed quizzes that help students retain knowledge, the report reads, but it is most effective in a blended setting where students regularly interact with faculty members face-to-face.

 “Technology will not replace the unique contributions teachers make to education through their perception, judgment, creativity, expertise, situational awareness and personality,” the report reads. “But it can increase the scale at which they can operate effectively.” In fact, on four separate occasions, the report makes that same argument. Faculty members and their work are “essential and irreplaceable … in ways that a computer program can never be.” In the classroom, they “[provide] context and mentoring, and [foster] reflection and discussion.” Their feedback provides “invaluable input … that online tools struggle to match.” For more, see 

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Community Engagement Forum

The next community engagement forum will be held on Tuesday, April 26, from 11:30-12:20; Location TBA. Samantha Sarich and Doug Harms will lead a discussion about the relationship between Community Engagement activities and power, privilege, and diversity. A light lunch will be provided. More information and details to follow.