Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Professional Development Roundtable with Bruce Sanders and Rick Provine, "Open Access and Scholarship"

DePauw has an Open Access Policy. What does that mean for you? We will discuss what it is, what it isn't, how it works and why its important. Find out how the libraries can assist you to retain your author's rights and enhance the visibility of your work.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Workshop with Dr. Kathleen Blake Yancey, "Designing Writing for Learning, What's in it for My Discipline and my Students?"

Through this workshop, Yancey, Composition/Rhetoric Teacher/Scholar, will help us contextualize our perspectives in terms of recent writing composition studies/theory and help us think more intentionally about why we do what we do.


Teaching Faculty Forum with Dr. Kathleen Blake Yancey, "Putting the visual in writing: re-mixing composition."

Join us for Yancey's talk and her workshop later in the day. Her forum presentation addresses how we can help our students develop the suite of communication modalities that are required in different contexts.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Social Climate Science: A New Vista for Psychological Science

Read article here...

Why Should We All Be Cultural Psychologists? Lessons from the Study of Social Cognition

Read article here...

Optomizing Learning in College: Tips From Cognitive Psychology

Click here to read article...

GLCA Global Crossroads Grant Information Panel and Luncheon

Last year’s launch of the GLCA Global Crossroads grant program at DePauw is fueling innovative pedagogical and research projects across the disciplines, both on and off campus. To learn more about how this grant can provide funding for your project—and to hear first-hand from a panel of grant awardees about the application process and the kinds of projects that have been funded so far—please plan to attend an information and discussion luncheon about GLCA Global Crossroads grants on Thursday, Nov 10.


Teaching Roundtable: Taking the Next Steps: Documenting International Student Voices and Strategies for Success (Wilson and Hahn)

After another year of collecting data, we will be discussing the personal strategies that International students say have helped them --using the research strategy of listening to "their own words." We will also identify and describe academic support that they have found helpful and build on our developing list of best teaching practices. Come join our on-going discussion.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Research Faculty Forum with Tim Good, "Activist Performance - Causing Trouble Where Trouble Needs to be Caused" (in conjunctiion with ArtsFest)

Please join us next week for Tim Good's forum talk on "Activist Performance - Causing Trouble Where Trouble Needs to be Caused." Tim will be joined by members of The Living Theatre. This event is scheduled in conjunction with Artsfest.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Learning to Help: The Importance of Education in Supporting ethical Volunteering.

"In schools, colleges, and universities across the world, we are educating our young minds to become global citizens, encouraging good will, a zest for life and a desire to travel and to grow in the world. We are actively encouraging voluntary service--it is fast becoming an expectation on a CV or resume. However, we are not yet (for some reason) teaching our students how to carefully choose their voluntary service; nor about the importance of choosing ethically, sustainably and critically."

Read more here...

Professional Development Roundtable in Conjunction with ArfsFest: A Panel Discussion on Art and Utopia

Join us next Thursday for this special ArtsFest event: a panel discussion on Art and Utopia.


Teaching Faculty Forum: Alicia Suarez, "From the Ivory Tower to the Prison: Rewards and Challenges of Teaching in a Women's Prison

Join us next Wednesday, at which Alicia Suarez (Sociology and Anthropology) will talk about her experience teaching marginalized students at a women’s state prison during her recent sabbatical.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Teaching Roundtable: "Team-Based Advising using Student Success Collaborative (SSC)."

This Teaching Roundtable will focus on DePauw's use of the Student Success Collaborative (SSC) to facilitate team-based advising that enables faculty members, class deans, and other advisors to provide integrated support for students.


Friday, September 30, 2016

GLCA's Oral History in the Liberal Arts, Prof. Ric S. Sheffield (Kenyon)

Come hear about the GLCA's new program to promote and support the teaching of oral history methodologies and the development of oral history projects as “high impact” teaching practices in the liberal arts environment. Grants are available. If you wish a one-on-one meeting, Ric Sheffield will be available 10:00-11:30, 12:30-1:30, 6 October 2016. Contact him at


Research Faculty Forum: Diana Sinton, “Interpreting Student Learning in the Geospatial Technology Sciences.”

Geographic information systems (GIS) and related geo-technologies are increasingly applied in novel ways across numerous academic disciplines. Concepts such as location, scale, representation, and distance play particularly important roles in knowledge-building, and this contributes to the appeal of GIS as a tool to support learning. Yet the experience of using a GIS draws upon skills and abilities that likely extend beyond the learning outcomes that the instructor had anticipated. In this presentation we will share current research that provides insights for alternative approaches to assessment of student learning in these environments. 


Friday, September 23, 2016

Teaching Roundtable: Can Rubrics Make Us Better Teachers?

Three DePauw faculty members—Lydia Marshall (Sociology and Anthropology), Tim Good (Theater and Communication), and Rich Martoglio (Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Q Program)—who have gone through American Association of Colleges and Universities' training and scoring in the VALUE Rubric project will talk about their experiences and how they are (or are not) using the rubrics in their teaching. Ken Kirkpatrick, Susan Hahn, and Rebecca Schindler will also give an update on how using the rubric for assessing student writing, and they will share some data from the last two years of our internal writing assessment project.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Teaching Faculty Forum: Omid Fotuhi, Stanford U., "Principles and Practices for Fostering Effective Growth Mindset"

A workshop-style presentation for faculty advisors to improve student engagement and learning. The focus of the lunch session will be on helping educators to effectively incorporate growth mindset strategies in the their day-to-day communication and advising as well as in the classroom.


Higher Education Seminar Series: Financial Management in Higher Education with Brad Kelsheimer

This talk will review how dollars flow into and out of an academic enterprise and why established--and seemingly broken--economic structures have persisted in private higher education. 


Friday, September 9, 2016

Higher Education Seminar Series: "Understanding Fundraising in the Context of Higher Education" with Melanie Norton

Join us for lunch as Melanie Norton, Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement, speaks to us about fundraising trends in higher education. 


Friday, September 2, 2016

GrantForward Webinar

GrantForward invites researchers to join them on Thursday September 15 at 2:00 - 2:40pm (Central Time) for a GrantForward Webinar. This webinar will focus on getting to know GrantForward-- more specifically, what can GrantForward do for you to help moving your research forward? They will showcase a few useful and popular use cases of how they see researchers are making good use of GrantForward to learn about funding opportunities in an effortless way-- including searching by filters, setting grant alerts, monitoring favorite sponsors, getting recommendations, and so on. For more information contact Corrine Wagner.

Click here for more to sign up...

Research Faculty Forum with Dan Gurnon, "Rare Disease Research with DePauw Students"

Join us for the first faculty forum of 2016-2017, a presentation by Dan Gurnon (Chemistry and Biochemistry) on his research with DePauw students. This event will be held on September 7, 2016 from 11:30 - 1:00 in the Union Building Ballroom.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Gladwell's Revisionist History of American Higher Education

By Humberto Barreto, Q. G. Noblitt Professor of Economics and Management

Click here to read article...

Conquering the Freshman Fear of Failure

Interesting article about first-year students that provides research insights regarding ways to address their fear of failure. Might provide a useful reading assignment in your FYS. 

Click here to read article...

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.

Read more here...

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? 

Read more here...

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. 

Read more here...

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 

Read more here...

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.

Faculty Forum with Dr. Mark Seifert, Dean of Acadmic Programs, The School for Field Studies - Engaging Undergraduates in field-based research: examining successes using an active learning/action research framework

We will use a few field-based case studies to demonstrate how good teaching, careful mentoring, and active participation of learners deliver rich academic experiences that build skill sets, provide practical application of discoveries, and offer opportunities for meaningful student reflection.


Friday, April 8, 2016

More Professors Say Undergraduates Need to Hone Research Abilities, Survey Finds

This latest edition of a survey that is conducted every three years found an uptick in faculty members who believe undergraduate students are arriving at college with inadequate research skills. Many faculty members believe their institution’s library plays a critical role in helping students develop those skills. Scholars increasingly see it as their responsibility to support their undergraduate students, with an emphasis on competencies and learning outcomes. 

Now in its sixth cycle, the survey included more than 9,000 scholars in the fall of 2015 at four-year institutions in the United States, and found, among other things, that: 

Fifty-four percent “strongly agreed” that their undergraduate students have “poor skills related to locating and evaluating scholarly information,” up from 47 percent in 2012. 

The share of scholars who think libraries help students “develop research, critical-analysis, and information-literacy skills” is up 20 percentage points from 2012.

. . . Faculty members are more willing than ever to publish their research as free and open access online, and more than half agree they would support journals trading in their traditional print edition for electronic-only editions. When it comes to undergraduate students, the professors are more concerned than ever about students’ inability to conduct research adequately.

Read more here...

Showcasting Digital Student Work

Digital projects have been at the center of a number of ProfHacker posts: the easy and free availability of cool tools for making things gives us all sorts of possibilities for the classroom. However, works produced in the classroom often have a very small audience, with peers and the professor serving as the only guaranteed audience. Creating opportunities for showcasing digital student work for outside audiences can provide incentives and recognition for great student work while also creating conversations. However, digital works present technical challenges that don’t accompany more traditional project showcases, like the photography and drawing exhibits that tend to fill the corridors of art departments.

Read more here...

Small Changes in Teaching: Giving Them a Say

Check out this interesting Chronicle piece about allowing students to direct their own learning. 

Read more here...

Research Facutly Forum with Marnie McInnes and Harry Brown, "Fire and Ice"

Come listen to Marnie and Harry delve into the subterranean dimension of American environmental thought. Their short presentations were originally part of a panel called “American Burial Grounds” at the 2015 conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE).


Teaching Roundtable, "Using Narrative to Make Arguments"

For this roundtable we will discuss two chapters from Thomas Newkirk's book Minds Made for Stories: How we Really Read and Write Informational and Persuasive Texts (Heinemann 2014). 


Friday, April 1, 2016

Designing Next-Generation Universities

Read article here...

Library and Academic Technology Advisory Committee Seeks Your Input on Roy O. West Renovation and Technology Center Creation

You are invited to join with members of the Library and Academic Technology Advisory Committee for a lunchtime meeting on upcoming renovations to academic spaces. We will provide an update on progress toward a renovation of the Roy O. West Library that reflects the vision of access, collaboration, and community. 

We will also provide an update on plans for launching the Tenzer Technology Center, and we seek your input on these projects, which will inform next steps.

Please join us on Friday, April 8th from 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. in the Julian Auditorium. To help us plan for lunch, please RSVP by Monday April 4th if you plan to attend.

Study Highlights Importance of Multimodal Communication in Higher Ed

Research from North Carolina State University finds that “multimodal” communication – using a mix of words, images and other resources – is important for students and faculty in higher education, a finding that argues for increased instruction in multimodal communication for undergraduates. 

At issue are “modes” of communication, with each mode being a different means of communicating information. For example, speech, the written word, sound, physical gestures and graphic images are all different modes of communication. Multimodal communication is communication that takes advantage of multiple modes, such as a PowerPoint presentation or a television commercial.

“We wanted to know how relevant multimodality was to academic writing instruction,” says Gwendolynne Reid, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work.

 “We know, from previous research, that multimodal communication is important for professional and civic life, but we wanted to know if it was also important for success in academic life,” says Robin Snead, a lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and co-author of the paper. Snead worked on the project while a Ph.D. student at NC State. 

The researchers surveyed 65 faculty members in multiple disciplines at a large university. The survey collected information on the study participants, the communication assignments they gave their students and the types of communication they did themselves.

The researchers found that, across all disciplines, more than half of study participants assigned multimodal communication work to students – and more than 70 percent did multimodal work themselves. 

Read more here...

The inquiry-based approach to higher ed that could prevent college students from dropping out

There may be a more democratic way of learning than declaring a traditional college major. A growing body of research-based evidence shows that student learning communities (SLCs) can provide an effective path to increased academic achievement as well as student engagement and retention. 

Student learning communities are curricular programs designed by faculty and instructional design staff working together with a group of students. These students (known as “the cohort”) take a shared set of courses that are usually connected by a common theme or overarching set of questions or learning outcomes – a key feature of inquiry-based learning . . . 

The learning activities and content from one course are usually designed by a faculty member independent of the learning activities and content of courses taught by other faculty, even within the same program. This puts the onus of figuring out how to link the theories and principles from one course to the other almost entirely on the students. 

While some highly self-motivated students are able to make these connections, others are less able to do so. At best, students who are not able to make the cross-course connections are not able to maximize their learning experience, and at worse, students may feel frustrated and underperform academically or even drop out of school. Connecting different theories and principles across courses is very important because that is where higher order learning occurs and it is the heart of academic inquiry. It is in the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of different bodies of knowledge that higher learning takes place. It is for these reasons that student learning communities have started to become more popular on college campuses.

Read more here...

Liberal arts are where we learn how to be citizens

Education has become almost exclusively a linear pursuit to secure employment, at the expense of other crucial factors. Education at the secondary, postsecondary, and even high school has become a training ground for developing human automatons. 

There is little room for studying the arts in its myriad forms. No time to read Melville, too busy for Federalist No. 10, and why take jazz or art appreciation if it does not get me in the door of a large company in Silicon Valley? 

Some governors have actually advocated doing away with liberal arts education in its state institutions. This may be well intentioned, but the unintended consequence will be the systematic dumbing down of society. 

The etymology of education includes the definition to “bring out.” Moreover, there are benefits to liberal education that are undeniable.

I’m not suggesting that one forgo a business degree to become a philosophy major. I am suggesting, however, the ethics that is taught in business school will be bolstered greatly with an understanding of and appreciation for Plato’s Republic. 

Liberal arts can remove one from the naivety of believing that the human condition is black and white, but rather multiple shades of grey. It is where students learn critical thinking and find comfort while existing in the discomfort of ambiguity. It is to pretend that objectivity is the exclusive coin of the realm, while subjectivity garners a value equivalent to the Confederate currency circa 1866.

Read more here...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spreading Innovations into the Mainstream: Building Strong Foundations

Developing and validating a teaching innovation may be “easy.” But weaving it into the institutional fabric of teaching and learning? That’s really hard.

 At the University System of Maryland (USM), we have taken a close look at a recent series of initiatives piloting course redesign (2006–2014) . . . 

In the past, universities have tried to improve learning outcomes by altering curricula or improving advising. But experience and research in many quarters, including our research on course redesign across the University System of Maryland, suggest that altering courses and programs has a better chance of success if the institution strengthens seven foundations: 

1. Seek and retain senior administrators and department chairs who allocate their time and resources to improving learning outcomes. 

2. Where needed, work across silos to solve problems and seize opportunities, in the process developing relationships that later can be used for larger-scale, more sustained efforts. 

3. Encourage faculty discussion and debate about core beliefs about teaching, learning, and their own instructional roles. 

4. Help a large fraction of faculty gain experience with at least a few of the elements of learning-centered teaching.

5. Provide necessary infrastructure and support systems for more learning-centered and more technology-intensive approaches to teaching. 

6. Provide the kinds of assessment-related services needed to guide teaching and learning. 

7. Examine faculty personnel policies and practices to make sure that they do not subtly discourage faculty, full-time and part-time, from working to improve student learning.

For more information click here...

3 Takeaways From the SXSWedu Conference

Digital courseware and other tools that aim to "personalize" the college experience were all the talk at the SXSWedu conference here last week — along with at least a few voices warning that colleges have so far failed to adequately inform students of how those innovations are being used to track students’ activities. The four-day event, an offshoot of the popular South by Southwest music and film festival, brought together some 10,000 participants from all walks of education: teachers and professors, administrators and policy wonks, and publishers and ed-tech company officials. There were even a few actual students in the mix.

Here are three trends that emerged from conversations among people attending: 

Colleges Need to Better Explain New Data Tracking Colleges are using courseware and advising systems powered by tools that track student activities electronically as they work their way through a course — and in some cases, around the campus itself — via their student IDs. But the norms of the new learning environments are still evolving. That’s true for how the systems interact with students, with professors, and with the designers of courses. 

"What’s the contract that actually exists between the institution and the learner" that spells out "what is shared and with whom and how?" asked Phillip D. Long, associate vice provost for learning sciences and deputy director of the center for teaching and learning at the University of Texas at Austin. In a session on data in education, Mr. Long said colleges have "failed miserably" in letting students understand how deep the "the wake of their digital presence" runs. "We have the obligation to make this more transparent."

For more information click here...

Class, Race, and the First-Generation Student Label

In a recent article for the Atlantic Monthly, “How Low-Income Students Are Fitting in at Elite Colleges” (24 February 2016), Richard Kahlenberg explores the shifting narratives around students who are the first in their families at four-year universities. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and author of The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action (1973), reports that these “first-generation students” are finding power identifying their (familial) educational backgrounds.

The first-generation label “stakes a broader tent than limiting concerns to students who come from impoverished backgrounds.” This is a significant and timely shift. Whereas earlier cohorts of first-generation students found themselves hidden in the shadows of elite institutions, current students locate a sense of pride in overcoming the significant obstacles to educational access they face. Data show that, in comparison to their “continuing-generation” peers, first-generation students take longer to complete their degrees (Chen & Caroll, 2005) and have higher dropout rates (Engle & Tinto, 2008). As of 2016, only about a third of Americans have a college degree. According to researchers’ best estimates, first-generation students make up over 30% of all of today’s college students. These numbers reinforce Kahlenberg’s own findings. First-generation students are not uniformly the children of impoverished families, but rather represent a kaleidoscope of different backgrounds. At a time when America as a whole is focused on expanding access to higher education and re-thinking current models for the bachelor’s degree­—just think of the current debates around education among presidential candidates—, faculty members must consider the ways that existing teaching and learning practices do, or do not, meet the needs of first-generation students.

In his article, Kahlenberg zeroes in on elite institutions. Rightly so, some might argue. The most prestigious and powerful institutions have long been bastions of privilege, until recently limited to white, middle- and upper-class men. The ongoing democratization of higher education has done little to shake the status quo. Roughly half of all government and corporate leaders, research shows, come from just 12 elite universities. In his widely-acclaimed, antagonistic treatise Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life (2014), former Ivy League professor William Deresciewicz cites the elite educational system for the reproduction of existing class structures. Success in college often means following a series of rules that are largely unwritten. Regardless of the resources available to students from less resourced families, it is often impossible to succeed if these rules continue unwritten. By fostering the success of only those students that have the capital, financial and cultural, to succeed in college, the argument goes, elite institutions limit the pipeline of future leaders to students lucky enough to be born into privileged families.

Read more here...  

From Written to Digital: The New Literacy

In his book about the history of the digital revolution, Walter Isaacson contends that the major innovations of the digital revolution—from the first general-purpose computer to the transistor to the iPhone—were all created by individuals who understood how to synthesize the humanities with technology. Yet even though there is much focus in higher education on how we teach using technology (e.g., e-texts, flipped classrooms, adaptive learning, personalized learning), what we teach about technology is just as important. Because technology enables students to solve problems across a range of disciplines, those of us at higher education institutions need to rethink not just how we teach our students but what we teach our students.

Digital Literacy and 21st-Century Success In today's world, college/university graduates come into contact with a quickly evolving range of technologies and have access to a wealth of information. Students can be more successful after graduation if they are digitally literate—having learned how to identify and create digital solutions, adapt to new tools, and discover more effective and efficient ways of doing things in their fields. The use of technology has transformed every discipline and career, from engineers to doctors to politicians. Yet the traditional academic experience does not prepare many students for the challenges they'll face in these professions today. For instance, young campaign managers must be versed in tasks such as writing a blog and analyzing a social networking initiative, rather than just planning traditional stump speeches and campaign rallies.  

This gap between employers' expectations and students' skills is demonstrated by disparities in perceptions of students' readiness to enter the workforce. In a recent study, when students were asked if they felt digitally prepared for work, 44 percent responded that they felt "well-prepared" or "very prepared." In contrast, only 18 percent of surveyed employers responded that students are prepared for entry-level positions.1 Additionally, employers often find digital tools more valuable than traditional tools in evaluating job applicants. In a Hart Research Associates study, employers found electronic portfolios significantly more useful than a college transcript in assessing whether students had the skills necessary to fill a position: 80 percent of employers found electronic portfolios fairly or very useful, but only 45 percent of employers found traditional college transcripts helpful.2

We have heard the same feedback about the value of digital skills to graduates directly from some major corporations. Jaime Casap, Google's Chief Educational Evangelist, told us: "Digital citizenship is the minimum requirement for the new economy. We need strong digital leaders!" Victor Montgomery, State Farm Business Analyst in charge of local recruitment in Atlanta, stated: "Digital literacy bridges the opportunity divide for students. With that in mind, we are looking for students that display initiative, innovation, and creativity while transforming the communities they live in."3

The need for students to learn digital literacy skills should not be surprising, given that this generation of students has known technology only from a consumer perspective. Whereas older technologists first experienced technology in the workplace and then found ways to merge technology into their personal lives, the current generation of students first experienced technology as a means of entertainment and social communication. Despite having grown up with access to an increasing amount of technology, students now need to learn how to use technology to solve problems in academic and professional settings. Historically, we in higher education have not readied students for this transition, even though students are increasingly asked to use technology in their learning experiences. Many students enter college having already used technology to complete academic assignments: 75 percent of high school students have accessed class information through an online portal, 52 percent have taken tests online, and 37 percent have used online textbooks.4

Learning to write, learning to think, and—these days—learning to form computational structures and to think digitally are requisites not only for employment but also for intellectual independence. Traditionally, the liberal arts have been about learning to think logically and to express ideas. The "liberal" in the liberal arts is about freedom. Some people have argued that widespread literacy (understood as reading at an eighth-grade level) was about making sure factory workers could read manuals well enough to keep machines running, rather than about providing for an informed citizenry. The equivalent for digital literacy would be to define it simply as being able to learn software quickly. Instead, digital literacy should be defined as knowing the effective practices suited to the dominant media. We should not teach students just the skills that will prepare them to follow instructions or quickly comprehend a user interface; instead we should aim to help students develop the expertise that will allow them to combine and create technologies to develop new and dynamic solutions. Just as traditional literacy and the liberal arts have been the key to independence since the advent of public schooling, digital literacy today is about intellectual freedom.

For more information click here...    

Teaching Roundtable with Susan Wilson and Susan Hahn, "What Can Our International Students Teach Us"

The two Susans have been collecting and analyzing data about what DePauw International students have to say about their process of learning to speak and write in an American college experience. Come join the lunch session.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Small Changes in Teaching: The Last 5 Minutes of Class

In my experience — having observed many dozens of college courses over the past two decades — most faculty members eye the final minutes of class as an opportunity to cram in eight more points before students exit, or to say three more things that just occurred to us about the day’s material, or to call out as many reminders as possible about upcoming deadlines, next week’s exam, or tomorrow’s homework. 

At the same time, we complain when students start to pack their bags before class ends. But why should we be surprised by that reaction when our class slides messily to a conclusion? We’re still trying to teach while students’ minds — and sometimes their bodies — are headed out the door. We make little or no effort to put a clear stamp on the final minutes of class, which leads to students eyeing the clock and leaving according to the dictates of the minute hand rather than the logic of the class period. 

When it comes to the deliberate construction of our course periods, we can do better.

Read more here...

Walking on a Wire

Interesting piece on the past and present challenges of protecting tenure and academic freedom, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette.

Read more here...

Teaching Faculty Forum with Dr. Owen Lewis, "Narrative Medicine and the (re-)Education of Health Professionals

Come listen to Dr. Lewis talk about the three semester course for medical students at Columbia University where the capacity for reflection and empathy are taught alongside of anatomy, pathology and other basic sciences.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Faculty members unfamiliar with Open Education Resources, skeptical of digital course materials

No Rush to 'Go Digital' Quality, cost, reputation -- in that order. Those are the top three factors that influence how faculty members pick which textbooks and course materials they assign, according to the results of a survey of faculty at two- and four-year institutions. 

Virtually every faculty member surveyed (97.1 percent) for “Going Digital,” a report being presented today at the Independent College Bookstore Association retail conference in Orlando, Fla., said their own assessment of the quality of a textbook is an important or a very important factor influencing their course material selection process, followed by the cost (86.3 percent) and a near tie between comments from colleagues (71.2 percent) and students or teaching assistants (71.1 percent). Less than one-third of respondents (31.6 percent) said the availability of digital supplements played an important role in that process. 

 But responses to the central question of “Going Digital” suggest faculty members are in no rush to get rid of physical textbooks. Only 15.1 percent of faculty members said they used primarily digital materials last fall. Of those who are still using print, 7.4 percent said they intend to make the switch this fall, while 27.3 percent and 17.1 percent see themselves switching in the next three or five years, respectively. Nearly one-quarter of all respondents (24 percent) said they will never primarily use digital materials in their courses. 

Open educational resources, meanwhile, remain unknown or unused by all but 15 percent of faculty members, raising further questions about the lack of awareness about free or inexpensive alternatives to commercial textbooks. 

For more click here...

Why Do Colleges Still Use Grades?

From as early as kindergarten, students are told that their academic efforts rank somewhere between an A and an F in any given subject. But as new technology in higher education has changed how teaching and learning happen, and as many educators place a heavier emphasis on learning outcomes over GPAs, professors like Trudy A. Milburn wonder why institutions still rely so heavily on the traditional grading system.

Ms. Milburn, an adjunct associate professor in communication studies at the City University of New York’s Baruch College, says she’s much more concerned with what students have learned than with letters. And, to some extent, she feels that grades have become so inflated at many colleges that they have lost their meaning. With more institutions relying on adjunct instruction, she can’t help but wonder whether grade inflation might become even more pronounced since instructors are judged partly on student evaluations. 

"No one ever questions it," she says of the grading system. "You can’t get into college if you don’t have a certain GPA from high school, and you can’t get into grad school if you don’t have a certain GPA from college." 

To her, it would be better for instructors to simply require students to demonstrate a certain level of mastery to pass a course, rather than to do the extra work of assigning grades to the skills students have learned.

Over the last 16 years, Ms. Milburn has worked as a professor at Baruch and at California State University-Channel Islands, and has also held the position of director of campus solutions at Taskstream, a company that helps institutions with the outcomes assessments they provide to accreditors. In her experience at those different institutions, she has often wondered: If grades aren’t a good indicator of student learning, why do we keep using them?

 For more information click here...

HBCUs: an Unheralded Role in STEM Majors and a Model for Other Colleges

For an interesting Chronicle piece about the role of historically black colleges on fostering STEM majors follow the link

Making Learning Spaces Work: Designing a Comprehensive Support/Faculty Development Program for Active & Collaborative Learning Spaces

We invite you to the Educause Learning Initiative's 3-part series on learning spaces, "Making Learning Spaces Work: Designing a Comprehensive Support and Faculty Development Program for Active and Collaborative Learning Spaces," which may be of special interest as renovation efforts on campus move forward: 

While new learning spaces, like Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs), create exciting new teaching and learning opportunities for instructors and students, they also create unique challenges. Successful teaching and learning in these new spaces necessitates that instructors rethink their approach to teaching and students rethink their approach to learning. The structure of support and development work with instructors on how to use these spaces to help improve teaching and learning is critical.

March 9 at 1:00 - 2:30 pm in the CTL/FITS area, Roy O. West Library lower level 
March 16 at 1:00 - 2:30 pm in the CTL/FITS area, Roy O. West Library lower level 
March 23 at 1:00 - 2:30 pm in the CTL/FITS area, Roy O. West Library lower level 

Read more about these sessions here...  and feel free to come for 1, 2, or all 3 sessions. 
If you cannot make any sessions but are interested, let us know.

 Please RSVP for refreshments here...

Teaching Roundtable - Narrative Medicine: An Introduction

In anticipation of Dr. Lewis's Faculty Forum on 16 March, the first Writing Curriculum Committee event is a teaching roundtable to introduce Narrative Medicine and discuss how we might apply the practice of teaching "narrative competence" in our own disciplines. 

Reading materials for this lunch session were distributed by Rebecca Schindler, on behalf of the WCC, on 25 February 2016.


Friday, February 26, 2016

7 Things You Should Know about the 2016 Key Issues in Teaching and Learning

1 Academic Transformation Gardner Campbell, Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success, and Dean, University College, Virginia Commonwealth University Must higher education change? An overwhelming “yes” comes from various sectors: the Christensen disruption corner, various educational technologies (and the money following them), the “degree-completion agenda” that also goes by various names connected with “student success” (some little more than high-volume models of “get that C and get your degree”), and the drive toward “economic competitiveness” (a job upon graduation, U.S. market dominance). But another question also deserves our attention: Should higher education change? This latter question, sometimes overlooked, engages larger questions of value and meaning at the heart of the practice of schooling we call “higher.” In both cases, the primary agent of transformation, disruption, liberation, or commodification remains the computer, a mind-like invention that can turn relationships into automated transactions, as well as enlarge our capacity to store, retrieve, judge, share, and build on the products of human ingenuity.

 2 Faculty Development Norm Vaughan, Professor, Mount Royal University Faculty members in higher education are often overwhelmed with the competing demands on their time in the areas of teaching, research, and service. In order to overcome this issue, there has been a growing trend in faculty development to focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) through a community of inquiry (CoI) approach. SoTL attempts to integrate teaching, research, and service through a process of scholarly inquiry into student learning, which advances the practice of teaching by making the findings of the inquiry public. Rather than undertaking this inquiry process in isolation, faculty members are being encouraged to participate in CoIs, which are composed of other faculty, students, and staff. These CoIs engage in active and collaborative research projects that investigate student learning across the disciplines.

Read more here...  

For more articles about each topic click here...

Research Faculty Forum with Daniel Scott, Advancing Therapuetic Platforms through Bionanotechnology

Come hear Daniel talk about the avenues through which pharmaceutically relevant treatment options are produced. These include the discovery and/or development of new pharmaceutically active molecules and improving current drug molecules by engineering the packaging and delivery of the drugs. 


'A Trusted Network' for Scholarship

'A Trusted Network' for Scholarship DePauw is connecting with the Digital Liberal Arts Exchange--learn more about it and join the effort. A group of liberal arts colleges and research universities are exploring how they could share expertise and services through a Digital Liberal Arts Exchange, easing the burden on colleges to be jacks-of-all-trades and allowing them to specialize in what they do best. The initiative is being led by Michael D. Roy, dean of the library at Middlebury College. In an interview, he said he adapted the idea for the exchange from a “babysitter consortium” his and several other families used to participate in. Instead of trusting the safety of their children to high school students, parents would enlist other families in the consortium, he said. 

The DLAx aims to give researchers the confidence that their other children -- their projects -- are in good hands. Middlebury received a $46,000 planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the project. “You need to have a trusted network,” Roy said. “Building on that idea, the notion of this planning grant is to explore what a trusted network would look like that would allow members of this consortium to collaborate in deep and meaningful ways in order to share expertise and services." 

The exchange is primarily meant to give digital humanities scholars support for projects that might not exist on their campuses, but the plan is for colleges to share more than the services provided by their libraries and centers of excellence. In the future, faculty members at one college could use the exchange to find a different college that offers application development support, for example, but also to host their digital projects and find a database of vetted speakers. 

The DLAx is in some ways a response to the pressure on colleges, universities and their libraries to offer a stream of new expertise and services -- and do it without significantly larger budgets. Roy said that development can be seen in job listings libraries post asking applicants who are comfortable with multiple coding languages, publishing platforms and digital research and teaching tools. “You need a small army,” Roy said.

Read more here...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Students Aren't Coddled. They're Defeated.

Sometimes I think the hardest part of teaching is balancing between what students want, and what they need. In my general education, first-year writing course, a few periods in I offer students a hypothetical. I tell them they can have an “A” in exchange for never doing anything. No classes, no assignments, no reading, no feedback, nothing. They just have to make sure not to tell anyone because we’d all get in a lot of trouble.[1] This past semester 80-85% of my students said they would take that deal. Their reasons?

 An “A” is an “A,” and “A’s” are good because they help their overall GPA. It would mean more time to dedicate to their other classes. They could sleep in later. They do not like English classes and would therefore dodge the unpleasantness of such a thing. They could check off a requirement without having to do any work. They could take 18 instead of 15 hours and be closer to graduation. They could pick up an extra shift at their job.

They ask, “What’s the trick?” This is when I tell them they won’t learn anything. They acknowledge this reality, but are willing to shrug it off for all the above reasons. When I drop the guaranteed grade to a “B” I only get about 50% of the class to bite. For 30% of them, the pain of the course will be worth it if they can get an “A” instead, but otherwise, no. Here is where we are tempted to lament the coddling of the “everyone gets a trophy,” “special snowflake” generation. They are spoiled and entitled. Swine unable to appreciate the pearls cast before them. I have a different take. Students are not coddled or entitled, they are defeated. We have divorced school from learning, and this is the result.

Read more here...  

How to Launch a Campus Innovation Center

Almost every week brings news of another campus opening an innovation center. Community colleges, liberal arts schools and research universities are all carving out intentional spaces for creativity and collaboration. Driven in part by the rapidly changing needs of employers, higher education is seeking to make its spaces more reflective of a work environment that places a premium on entrepreneurship. Most of these centers feature modern furniture, whiteboards and prototyping equipment like 3D printers. But architects and designers suggest university leaders ask themselves several key questions before getting too far into the process.

 Jill Goebel, design director and the Southeast region education and culture practice area leader for Gensler, an architecture, design, planning and consulting firm, thinks that there may be some confusion around the lexicon. "There are innovation centers, makerspaces, accelerators and incubators," she noted. "Sometimes the language is muddied because people use the terms interchangeably." 

But just because you create something that looks hip and cool does not mean that innovation happens there, Goebel warned. "There has to be a driving mission and vision behind it. We work with campuses on visioning sessions and interviews to unpack their culture and discover who is ready for it — what programs and leaders within the university have a willingness to be adaptive and go in and try things. You can't just plunk this in the middle of campus and think something is going to happen. It takes leadership."

 Brad Lukanic, executive director of CannonDesign's education practice, also starts his work with universities with a visioning exercise. Among the questions he asks is: As an institution, how interdisciplinary do you want to be? "Depending on what programs are involved or if the provost or deans are in the room, you get very different answers," he said. Other questions he asks include how the new center aligns with the strategic mission of the institution and who will be responsible for the curation of content. "One of the potential pitfalls is you make these spaces but there is no ownership in terms of who manages and operates it," he explained. "You have to look beyond day one."  

Lukanic said questions about the look and feel start with: Is it in a new facility or in a renovated facility? What do you want the front door and image to say? Is it about boundary crossing between departmental silos and interconnectedness? 

Ready article here...

Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities

Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities . . . Acquiring the habit of overcoming habitual perception is one process that brings engineering and the arts together. It is how great writers impart human experience in new ways, and it is how engineers innovate. Technology does not proceed along a preordained single path, as one might suppose from a textbook or problem-solving approach. Like literature, engineering sometimes works not by satisfying recognized needs but by creating the needs it satisfies. And that is also like literature: Tolstoy did not satisfy someone’s need for a novel called Anna Karenina. But Tolstoy did provide his readers with a glimpse into Anna’s inner life. Similarly, engineering thrives by going beyond the technical into the realm of its human users. 

More and more, engineering education is recognizing the importance of understanding devices, systems, and processes in terms of the people who use them. At the heart of human-centered design is empathy, and empathy is what literature, above all, is good at teaching. When you read a great novel, you identify with a character, experience what she is experiencing, follow her thoughts and feelings moment by moment from within. You do this with people of a different culture, age, gender, social class, nationality, profession, and religion. You do it with several characters in the course of one long novel, and not just once, but countless times, until it becomes a habit. Empathy creates better people and better technical innovations for people to use. 

So how do we ensure that more skillful innovators emerge from academe? Boosting enrollments in STEM is not enough. An educational system that merges humanities and sciences, creating whole-brain engineers and scientifically inspired humanists, fosters more than just innovation. It yields more-flexible individuals who adapt to unanticipated changes as the world evolves unpredictably.

Read article here...

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fostering Student Agency at ILiADS 2016

Please join last year's participants for a discussion on opportunities to foster student agency through the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship (ILiADS) and the Bucknell University Digital Scholarship Conference (BUDSC) on Mon., Feb. 15, at 11:30am - 12:30 pm in CTL/FITS (lower level of ROW). We will discuss how you can start or continue a digital scholarship project in addition to sharing strategies for submitting a proposal for the upcoming ILiADS deadline of Feb. 22. Bring your lunch and we’ll supply drinks and dessert! Please RSVP by Sunday, Feb. 14.


Improving Rates of Success in STEM Fields

What would it take to dramatically improve the success rates of non-traditional students in STEM fields? One answer is a holistic, multifaceted approach that re-imagines every facet of the learning experience, from curriculum design to pedagogy, assessments, and support services. Without compromising standards or rigor, this new model pulls multiple levers known to improve student success. A prototype program – a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences -- launched in Fall 2015 at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which serves the poorest and third poorest counties in the United States in one of the country’s fastest growing regions. Almost all students in the BMed program work full-time. Many also carry substantial caregiving responsibilities. Over twenty percent speak English as a second language and over ten percent are off the grid, lacking cellphone and Internet connectivity. Texas’s Lower Rio Grande Valley has an urgent need for health professionals. The nation averages about 240 doctors for every 100,000 inhabitants. In Texas, the figure is 170, and in the Rio Grande Valley, just 107. There are similar shortages of nurses and other health care providers. What elements define this prototype program?

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A Piece of the Learning Puzzle

. . . Later that day I read a recent article in College Teaching by Raymond Benton, Jr., a business professor at Loyola University Chicago. He writes about a teaching technique, developed in the 1970s by Elliot Aronson, called the “jigsaw classroom.” You may have heard of it but I hadn’t. It involves dividing students into small groups and asking each member of each group to learn about a different area or aspect of the day’s subject. For example, you could break up a reading into five sections, divide your class into groups of five, and then have each member of each group tackle one of the five sections. After giving the students time to work on their individual sections, you then form cross-sectional groups — uniting all the students assigned to section No. 1, all the students assigned to section No. 2. After those groups meet, students then return to their original groups and present their sections to each other, discussing the reading as a whole.

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Professors Can Learn to Be More Effective Instructors

Studies of faculty development efforts at a liberal arts college and a land-grant university suggest the programs can have an impact on student outcomes. Intuitively, it makes sense that professors who spend time developing their teaching skills will become more effective instructors -- and that that will eventually translate to better student outcomes. Practically speaking, though, the challenges of (and the variables involved in) tracing the effects of professional development on student learning are myriad. That’s probably why the research on the matter is patchy, relying largely on self-reported measures. But a new book based on data from two very different institutions purports to show that faculty members can learn to become more effective teachers. “Broadly speaking, faculty development has measurable impacts on teaching,” the book says. “Existing research and the current project confirm that faculty consistently self-report learning gains aligned with workshop goals at the end of these experiences.” Moreover, it continues, faculty members’ accounts demonstrate that they can look back at past development opportunities and describe changes in their teaching aligned with these goals. An analysis of subjects’ syllabi, assignments, methods and grading scales backs up those claims -- as does a review of student work. Faculty Development and Student Learning: Assessing the Connections (Indiana University Press) was written by William Condon, a professor of English at Washington State University; Ellen R. Iverson, director of evaluation at the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College; Cathryn A. Manduca, director of Carleton’s Science Education Resource Center; Carol Rutz, director of the College Writing Program at Carleton; and Gudrun Willett, a cultural anthropologist at Ethnoscapes Global. The book is based on the Tracer Project, two parallel, multiyear studies of how faculty development impacted student learning at Carleton, a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and at Washington State, a large land-grant institution. Despite their differences, the authors found similar outcomes at both institutions -- including that the benefits of faculty development are cumulative.

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8 MOOCs for Better Technology-Enhanced Teaching

Let 2016 be the year you revamp your understanding of technology-enhanced teaching or add a new skill for helping students learn. We've culled through hundreds of massive open online courses (MOOCs) that are starting in or after February 2016 to identify seven free courses for fine-tuning the instructional practices in your classrooms. Becoming a Blended Learning Designer Timeline: Starts February 22; runs for 5 weeks; requires 2-3 hours of work per week Hosts: the University of Central Florida and Educause, Platform: Canvas Network Description: This MOOC will talk you through the Blended Learning Toolkit, a free, open resource for institutions that want to develop or expand their blended learning programs. Why you should take it: You don't have to reinvent the wheel. If you're not already trained on teaching courses that blend face-to-face time with online elements, here's your chance to learn from the pioneers at UCF! Note: You can learn the BlendKit on your own, sans MOOC, and still get some real-time sessions with experts at UCF and other schools. Check the schedule here on the UCF Web site. (Taken by FITS staff and highly recommended) Teaching with Tablets Timeline: Starts February 29, 2016; runs for 5 weeks; requires about 3 hours of work per week Host: University of Northampton, Platform: Open Education, powered by Blackboard Description: Intended for educators from elementary school through higher ed, this MOOC will cover the use of iPads and other tablets for teaching and learning. Why you should take it: The eight instructors putting this course on from an officially designated "Changemaker Campus" promise to give you something new to try out from each session, including the use of digital storytelling and collaboration. Accessibility: Designing and Teaching Courses for All Learners Timeline: Starts February 22, 2016; runs 6 weeks Hosts: State University of New York Empire State College and SUNY Buffalo State, Platform: Canvas Network Description: Your chance to gain the knowledge and skills to design inclusive learning experiences, especially for students with disabilities. Why you should take it: Finally, somebody will explain what you need to know about Section 508 standards and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 guidelines in a methodical and understandable way — and help you figure out how to apply Universal Design for Learning!

Read more here...