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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Course scheduling is tied integrally to two of an institution’s most expensive resources—facilities and faculty.

Course scheduling is tied integrally to two of an institution’s most expensive resources—facilities and faculty. Managing schedules involves more than just cracking a complex logistical code each semester—it’s also a potential bane or boon to the operating budget.

From the professor’s podium, all the technology throughout the room can easily be switched back and forth for use.

College and university instructors across the country are incorporating technology into their classes with little effort. As classroom control systems have advanced, they’ve also become more user-friendly, making a wider variety of teaching methods possible.

Cutting-edge higher education institutions across the country are leveraging AV and IT technology to advance the learning experience on their campuses. Five of these institutions were honored at the 2014 AMX Innovation Awards, which were presented this past June at UBTech, higher ed’s leading national technology and leadership conference.

At Grand Valley State University, faculty are asked to write a script before using the video-hosting platform to record a lecture.

While video’s presence in higher learning is undoubtedly expanding, the frequency and extent to which it is being used varies widely—even within institutions. Here are best practices for effectively integrating video into course collections at the campuswide level.

Fall 2014 freshman seminar at University of California, Los Angeles, taught by Grace Hong, an associate professor of gender studies and Asian-American studies

A recent report suggests that while new technologies enable adaptive learning to play a major role in the future of higher ed, most instructors have yet to use the philosophy to its full potential because they are not connecting it with other important innovations.

The classroom furniture and touch-screen displays at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business work in tandem to facilitate collaborative learning. The five-piece desks can be placed in multiple configurations around the displays.

First-year MBA students in the action-based degree program at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business spend seven weeks working with a U.S. or international company. After that, they form seven-member teams to propose a solution to a problem they encountered in the corporate world.

Wesleyan University President Michael Roth's new book is "Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters"

Read just about any editorial page these days and you’ll see a familiar refrain: “Is a college degree still worth it?” Wesleyan University (Conn.) President Michael Roth argues that not only is it worth it, but that it is more important than ever.

Higher education admittedly faces many challenges over cost and access. Online instruction, certificate courses and skills-based learning offer fixes, but Roth says there is much more to higher education than just getting a job.

Team-taught this summer by professors from three Northwest Five Consortium institutions; students from any of the five member schools could register

Eating food is critical to everyday life, and yet many have the luxury to treat daily sustenance as an afterthought. For some, the connections between food and the larger environmental and social systems that sustain human life are largely invisible.

The need for proctoring derives from the perceived need to prevent “academic dishonesty”, aka cheating. The issues with proctoring include 1) the assumption of guilty until proven innocent (all students are potential cheaters), 2) the cost borne by the student directly or indirectly, 3) the Orwellian loss of privacy, and 4) that the vast majority of students are made to suffer because of a few perceived bad actors.

The average college student now spends about $1,200 per year on course materials. (Click to enlarge)

Textbook publishing has long been seen as an impenetrable business, with five major players controlling most of the nearly $14 billion industry. But in recent years, the shift to digital and open-access content has led to a proliferation of free and low-cost alternatives.

Meanwhile, spiraling costs, massive student debt, changing consumer demands and public as well as legislative efforts have pushed the industry toward a true disruption that is now widely considered to be inevitable.

Richard Baraniuk talked about how free, digital textbooks are created in his open keynote at UBTech. (Photo: David Bergeland)

UBTech open keynote speaker Richard Baraniuk, of Rice University, talked about an initiative to create a library of free, high-quality textbooks for college courses and how that can impact the debt crisis facing students.

English: 399-101: Trauma Narratives

Shenandoah University (Va.)

Taught by Michelle Brown, assistant professor of English in world literatures

Several universities, spurred by student groups, are considering adding trigger warnings to course material that some students may find disturbing.

We’ve all seen the familiar warning preceding TV shows: “The following program contains material that may be disturbing.Viewer discretion is advised.” Online, the term “trigger warning” is a common notation on women’s blogs and forums to alert readers, particularly victims of sexual abuse, of content they might want to avoid.

Now several universities, spurred by student groups, are considering adding trigger warnings to course material that some students may find disturbing. That may include references to rape and violence as well as racism.

A Beginner’s Guide to World Domination

Alfred University (N.Y.)

Taught to honors program undergrads by Associate Professor of Psychology Danielle Gagne and Associate Professor of Astronomy David DeGraff, who jointly came up with the idea of a class about supervillains when discussing re-running a class called “The Science and Psychology of Superheroes”

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