ED MAP: Insights Blog

8.29.16 Higher Ed Weekly Read: Articles Worth Reviewing
By JoAnn Rollins

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Here are some industry articles that caught our eye recently.

Flipping Large Classes: Three Strategies to Engage Students. “Flipped Strategy #1: Six Thinking Hats ‘Six Thinking Hats’ is an approach to guide and focus students’ thinking, expand their perspectives, and generate creative approaches to solving problems (de Bono, 1999). To implement this strategy, present students with six different colored “hats” to wear as they analyze a situation. The color of the hat reflects the role or perspective you want students to take as they work through the problem: white (data, facts), red (feelings, emotions), yellow (positive view, benefits), black (caution, judgment), green (creativity, new ideas), and blue (summaries, decisions). For large classrooms, you can assign a different colored hat to six different sections in the room. Students within each section can work in pairs or threes to analyze the problem based on the hat they are assigned. This strategy can also be designed as an individual learning activity. Provide worksheets or online tools for students to document their thinking related to the hat they are assigned.”

Recognizing and Rewarding Exemplary Teaching (Not Just Excellent Teaching). “Of course, our first goal for either Exemplary Teaching or Excellent Teaching should be high quality outcomes for students, both in discipline-oriented capability and professional identity and as well in more transferable outcomes such as capability for collaboration and teamwork, quantitative reasoning or creative and critical thinking. But beyond these ‘products’ of teaching, the ‘process’ of teaching also has significant impacts.”

I Want to Make Students Uncomfortable. “For me, making students uncomfortable is the first step to urging them to embrace their own responsibility to answer the core pedagogical questions of learning to write. When I tell them that I will primarily offer pathways of inquiry inside of the discipline, rather than hard and fast answers, many students feel uncomfortable. But I’ve also learned – often the hard way – that to demand that students take risks requires me to incentivize risk, rather than punishing failure, that security must be a given. Put another way, anxious and afraid are not synonyms for ‘uncomfortable.’”

A Novel Way to Launch an Online Program. While grappling with its concerns about OPMs, Schreiner was paid a visit by Paxton Riter, CEO of the instructional design firm iDesign. Riter told administrators that his company could help Schreiner deliver online offerings. He stressed that rather than a revenue-sharing model, his company used an unbundled fee-for-service model. ‘This was a very compelling model for us,’ McCormick said. The fee-for-service approach meant that Schreiner would be able to keep all of the tuition revenue from the online nursing program. The unbundled approach meant that iDesign would let Schreiner choose its desired services — such as marketing or retention — rather than offering all services as a comprehensive package.”

MOOCs and Beyond. “This is a fascinating development. By now it is crystal clear that MOOCs cannot be compared to traditional courses. Yes, they may replace and/or supplement existing courses, but they are fundamentally different. And that difference is exactly the kind of interactivity – of engagement, feedback, grading – that is at the heart of the give and take of deep learning in higher education. Without such engagement, MOOCs might as well be (and have been compared to) the correspondence courses of the 1800s or your local public radio or TV station. It’s just information transfer; not true knowledge development. Until now the MOOC world has created multiple workarounds attempting to get around this more or less impassable obstacle of one of the foundational aspects of a course.”

Nested Scholarship: Towards a Scholarship of Transgression, Anger and Hope. “What does a scholarship of teaching and learning mean in an age where higher education is confronted with the impact of funding constraints and the increasing demands to do more with less? How does our obsession with quantifying and measuring everything, impact on our understanding of what a scholarship of teaching and learning can be? How do we engage and reflect on the scholarship of teaching and learning while acknowledging that even participating in the debate is entangled in issues surrounding gender, race, white privilege, class, socio-economic income, the widening inequalities and the continuing legacies of colonialism and apartheid?”

The Yaz Problem. “Administration is a very different thing from baseball, of course. You can have mediocre eyesight and bad knees in administration, and still be effective. In fact, the folks at Aspen found that nearly every president of an Aspen-prize winner had been in office on that campus for at least ten years. Higher ed being higher ed, change takes time; some level of continuity of leadership allows for sustaining focus long enough to bring positive changes to fruition. But honestly, the Yaz problem is real. Sometimes the good ones hang on too long.”

Why Cold-Calling on Students Works. “Put simply, as the frequency of cold-calling increased, so, too, did the frequency of students’ voluntary contributions to discussions. What’s more: In those classrooms in which instructors regularly called on students, voluntary participation increased as the semester went on. The study’s results suggest that participating in a class discussion in college is a skill — and like all skills, it requires practice. Calling on students gets them to talk, and gives them practice at speaking up. That practice then leads to further, voluntary participation, without the need to be called on. The “practice” hypothesis is borne out by the study, which found that the more practice students got in class participation, the more they spoke up of their own accord.”

Should college come with a money-back guarantee? “Guarantees give buyers the certainty that their purchase will deliver what they’ve been promised—making it a less risky endeavor—and they also push sellers to focus on quality and satisfaction. Higher education is a classic example of the expensive, complicated product for which guarantees would work well. Yet colleges have, until recently, managed to avoid being held to account by guarantees for the quality of their product and the promises of their advertising. Now that may be starting to change, thanks to some innovative institutions that are offering guarantees in a variety of forms.”

College Scorecard: With victories like these, who needs failures? “The data in the Scorecard is flawed, and I am stunned to see this listed as one of their greatest victories. For the vast majority of students who are not first-time full-time students, they have no access to realistic graduation rates and the ones presented are misleading. For the more than 50% of students not taking federal financial aid, they have no access to realistic average costs of attendance, and in cases where there is significant state aid, the resulting data can be nonsensical.”

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, or Denial? “ublic statements, or even tones, that are wide of the mark can become self-fulfilling. A leader who is too candid or blunt about the challenges an institution faces can trigger a death spiral.  If the external community starts to believe that the college is declining, enrollments will drop, political support will drop, and a death spiral may very well ensue.  Internally, too much crisis talk from leadership can lead to a siege mentality, which rarely leads anywhere good.   But too much optimism has costs, too.”

Online learning for beginners: 1. What is online learning? “The important thing to remember is that online learning is primarily a mode of delivery, a way of delivering education to learners, NOT a particular method of teaching. Online learning can support a wide range of teaching methods. For instance lectures can be delivered in class (face-to-face) or over the Internet, as can experiential learning, constructivist approaches and many other teaching methods. This will be a topic of later posts. We shall also see that online learning, like face-to-face teaching, can be done well or it can be done badly, but that too is a topic for another post.”

Decision Time. “The key to graduating in four years (at least in the minds of many parents) is picking a major early and sticking with it. But a new report suggests students who change their major as late as senior year are more likely to graduate from college than students who settle on one the second they set foot on campus.”

A Domain of One’s Own in a Post-Ownership Society. “How do we help people understand the fragility of their digital data, the gnawing away at ownership and at (individual and collective) memory and at individual and institutional legacy that the ‘Silicon Valley narrative’ tends to exalt? In part, I think we resist through education; we help students and scholars understand how new digital technologies work, how these technologies shape and reshape and are shaped by culture, politics, money, and law. In part. In part.”

Seven Principles. “One size doesn’t fit all. Today’s highly diverse student body needs a variety of pathways to success, including guided pathways that streamline the route to a degree, cross-walk programs that award credit for prior learning, just-in-time learning opportunities, and co-op models that combine learning with work or internship experiences. Delivery modes, too, need to meet student needs, whether through block scheduling, hybrid or fully online delivery, or low-residency options.”

Why Google Increases the Value of Relationships with Academic Librarians. “The more information that I have access to from the web and search, the more important it is to develop and nurture relationships with my academic librarian colleagues. The reason for this conclusion about the importance of the value of these relationships can be found in what Google can’t do – and in what academic librarians do beautifully. What I can’t do with Google is have a conversation.  I can’t discover what I don’t know when interacting with Google.  I can’t evolve my understanding in dialogue with Google.  From Google I can get facts, data, and information – but I can’t contextualize that information within the problem that I am trying to solve. Nor can that information be placed within the cultural and organizational context in which I’m trying to utilize that information to answer a question or tackle a challenge.”

JoAnn Rollins

JoAnn Rollins
Ed Map Director of Communications

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