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Articles: Teaching & Learning

A bookstore renovation gave officials the chance to reimagine how  technical support is provided to students and make changes for the better.

Tech support is rarely fun—even, apparently, if it’s a lot closer than an overseas call center. Despite 24/7 help desk availability and in-person technical consulting, Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) staff at the University of Pittsburgh believed their services were being underutilized by the main campus’ 26,000-plus students.

REL 397D: From Revelation to “The Walking Dead”: Apocalypse Then and Now

Central Michigan University

Taught by Kelly Murphy, a philosophy and religion faculty member

Alison Bechdel's graphic novel, "Fun Home," was assigned at The College of Charleston.

Two South Carolina public institutions are at risk of losing nearly $70,000 in state funding after books with LGBT themes were assigned to freshmen last fall.

For 2013-14, The College of Charleston provided 2,000 freshmen with the graphic novel Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel. It details the relationship of the author and her closeted-gay father, and her own personal coming-out as a lesbian, says Christopher Korey, biology professor and director of the college’s summer reading program. The book wasn’t required reading, but was part of the discussion at campus events.

Ed Rock, Senior Advisor to the President and Provost, and Director of Open Course Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania Law School

University of Pennsylvania was one of Coursera’s first four partners, having started its open course initiative in April 2012. Today, it offers 25 courses from 10 of its 12 schools, and has logged 1.9 million enrollments.

Brian Klaas, senior web systems designer at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The flipped classroom is a hot topic; faculty are excited to hear more about the model. But, after all the buzz, many are still confused on how to proceed with the flip.

Kelly Walsh, CIO, College of Westchester

Traditional in-class activities are made available online and assigned as homework, freeing up class time for more individualized learning, group work and workshopping concepts.

Institutions in nine states are experimenting with using papers and coursework—instead of tests—to judge whether students are learning skills employers need.

University representatives from these states will develop standards for judging students’ critical thinking, problem solving, intercultural competence and more. These skills were determined to be what employees most value in graduates, says Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Breaking Down “Breaking Bad”

University at Buffalo

Taught by SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture Bruce Jackson, also a filmmaker who served, in 1966, as a senior consultant on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Crime Commission

As more colleges and universities offer credit for MOOCs, one problem that has cropped up is how to authenticate the results of student assessments conducted online.

A handful of companies have developed a solution: online proctoring. Using a webcam to monitor the students as they take tests, online proctors can peer into students’ living rooms, kitchens or back patios, watching their computer screens and observing their eye movements to ensure they are not looking at notes in a closed-book exam.

The University of Central Florida is the second-largest university in the U.S., with 12 campuses serving 60,000 students. Keystone College, on the other hand, a small, private, liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, is on the other end of the spectrum, with just 2,000 students. Both institutions transitioned to a new learning management system—UCF to Canvas (by Instructure), and Keystone to Moodlerooms. Here, Thomas Cavanagh, associate VP, distributed learning at UCF, and Justin Kraky, educational technologist at Keystone College, talk about the similarities and differences in their migration experiences.

Inmates in a study session at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility, a medium-security facility outside Ellenville, N.Y.

Bard College doesn’t judge the success of its prison initiative by the number of students who stay out of jail. Recidivism is an extremely low bar, says Executive Director Max Kenner. “We judge by how many people are becoming middle-class taxpayers, how many people are involved in deeply meaningful ways in their communities. We think by those measures we are thriving.”

John Fragola (left) and Peter Grady use iPads to monitor the heat inside Dana English Hall on the Mount Carmel campus at Quinnipiac University. Both are licensed HVAC mechanics in the facilities department.

Members of the facilities crew at Quinnipiac University were spending a lot of time traveling back to their shop during the workday.

This situation, of course, was not unique to Quinnipiac, but department officials at the school set out to eliminate the trips workers had to make to retrieve new work orders, find information about equipment in manuals or look up floor plans. The central Connecticut institution has a 212-acre main campus, and two branches that are a half-mile and about five miles away.

It’s not enough today to put together a presentation and talk through the slides. Students have short attention spans and need to be fully engaged with the course material. In this session, Brian Klaas, web systems designer for the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explains how to create a lively, memorable presentation or online class lecture using the basic structure of a great screenplay. Here are his eight recommendations.

Fourteen years ago, as a Victor E. Cameron professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University in Houston, Richard G. Baraniuk was frustrated that he couldn’t find the ideal book for his class. He knew there were tens of dozens of other professors out there with the same concern, so rather than write a book to suit his own needs, in 1999, he solved a wider audience’s needs by founding Connexions, a platform for making high-quality educational content available for free on the web and at a very low cost in print.

Online lectures, classroom capture, MOOCs, e-books and other digital content mean that questions about intellectual property rights are on the rise. Kevin Smith, director of copyright and scholarly communication at Duke University, will help guide attendees through the legal landscape in his UBTech featured session “Yours, Mine or Ours? Intellectual Property in a Digital Age.”

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