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Articles: Classroom

Tony Bates

Tony Bates is the author of 11 books in the field of online learning and distance education. In addition to his most recent title, Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Co. 2011), Bates moderates a widely read blog about online learning and distance education resources at www.tonybates.ca. Popular with audiences at education conferences around the world, Bates will be a featured speaker at UBTech 2013 in Orlando.

Over the holidays, Steven Spielberg’s latest film, Lincoln, riveted the nation’s attention on the role President Lincoln played in emancipation. Yet, little attention was given to the role that Lincoln played in empowering and educating the small family farming and industrial working class. Nor was there any celebration of the Morrill Act creating America’s first land-grant universities – missioned to provide higher education opportunities to agricultural and industrial workers.

Gone are the days when a basic classroom with a podium and desks was considered an acceptable learning space. In fact, according to CDW-G’s “Learn Now, Lecture Later” report released in June 2012, 47 percent of instructors surveyed said they are moving beyond the lecture-only model. In addition, 71 percent of students and 77 percent of instructors said they use more classroom technology than just two years ago.

A traditional liberal arts curriculum focus doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it often involves interactive, interdisciplinary approaches. Stephanie Fabritius, vice president for academic affairs and dean of Centre College (Ky.), explains that it is increasingly multi- and interdisciplinary in nature. “The curriculum is designed so that connections are drawn among classes and between class material, and in a global context.”

A classic liberal arts education, long viewed as a firm foundation for a successful professional life, has taken a backseat in recent years to more career-specific training. To remain competitive, many colleges and universities have added pre-professional programs and, in some cases, slashed liberal arts requirements. However, some colleges remain committed to a traditional liberal arts curriculum and continue to find success.

We know that conference programs offer a variety of topics for attendees who want to sample from some of the best and brightest ideas in higher education.

But there are times when deeper discussion is warranted, beyond a breakout session presentation. So this year, for the first time, UBTech (June 10-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort) is launching a program of pre-conference special interest groups (SIGs), on the opening day of the show. It will be a chance for like-minded higher ed professionals to get together and share ideas and collaborate.

Starting this fall, full-time students enrolled in Wake Forest University’s (N.C.) Master of Arts in Management (M.A.) Program won’t be able to roll out of bed and rush to class. Instead they will be required to be in school from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the weekday to learn real-world responsibility and accountability.

In the movie “Idiocracy,” the world has degenerated to garbage-filled state where people don’t know basic farming. Could this fate be avoided by maintaining support for the liberal arts?

Gene Wade

Gene Wade is making it his goal to provide quality education at a low cost. As cofounder and CEO of UniversityNow, which combines an online learning platform with on-campus partners, Wade offers an easily accessible college education that most people can afford without loans or financial aid.
“I became an education entrepreneur because the current system fails far too many people,” he says.

As a consultant to schools on programming for students with autism, I’m used to proposing ideas and hearing, “Sounds great, but sorry, we can’t do that.” Good intentions sometimes can’t overcome limitations in resources. But when I proposed the development of a bachelor’s degree designed to meet the specific needs of students with autism to The Sage Colleges (N.Y.), the response was very different. From the president on down, the prevailing attitude was, “How can we make this happen?”

Flipped classrooms are more of a strategy than a specific collection of technologies and room configurations. As long as
students have the ability to access lecture materials and other online elements in their non-class time, a professor can flip the course. However, there are two components to room setup that tend to work better than others:

Even in a large lecture hall environment, it’s unlikely that professors using a flipped classroom strategy will see anyone dozing off. Part of the class time in a flipped classroom often involves the use of student response systems. As students respond to a quiz, the instructor gets instant feedback on what aspects of the lecture video assigned for homework may need to be reinforced in class.

By now, most of us have heard the term “flipped classroom” and learned that the concept is not as aerodynamic as its name. But it is becoming a movement. In this type of learning space, lectures and other traditional classroom elements are swapped out in favor of more in-person interaction, like small group problem solving and discussion.

In the wake of a slow, mostly jobless recovery, volatile market conditions have chilled the appetite of multinational corporations for creating permanent, full-time employment opportunities with health benefits. Recent seismic tremors in international financial markets have exacerbated these market conditions, and importantly, established the critical need for preparing a new breed of global business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Business school is a laboratory for problem solving where aspiring executives are trained to make organizations more efficient, manage risk, and develop new ways to meet society’s needs. They are trained to manage a wide variety of business tasks such as introducing better detergents or MP3 players, running a theme park, bringing life-saving medicines to market, or establishing micro-lending to improve living standards in the third world.

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