March 23, 2007

L. Dee Fink: The Joy and Responsibility of Teaching Well

Dr. L. Dee Fink presented the keynote address, "The Joy and Responsibility of Teaching Well" to faculty, staff, students, and Regional Center Learning Community guests last Friday in Olscamp Hall. His visit was part of both the First Annual Teaching and Learning Fair and the Student Achievement Assessment Committee (SAAC) Awards, held the night before.

[NOTE: If you were unable to attend, WBGU taped the presentation and it can be viewed via the DVSS. After authentication with BGSU login, search for "The Joy and Responsibility of Teaching Well."]

Here are some brief highlights from Dr. Fink's keynote:
  • The iceberg metaphor for teaching: Above the surface - what and how we teach; Below (hidden) - how we gear up and who we are as professionals
  • Focus not on "just teaching," but on "teaching well"
  • If we want to experience the deep joy and fulfill the responsibility to students and society at large, we are going to have to rethink what we do and how we are doing it
  • Group tests on "readiness assurance" -- after an introductory reading; used for feedback; small grade received by all; learning from each other in preparation for next phase(s) of learning (part of his "Creating Significant Learning Experiences" book)
  • Jet Blue's reservation specialists (many whom are housewives working from home) get 4 hours of professional development each month... "isn't college teaching at least as important as airline reservations?"
  • It's an exciting, challenging journey, with lots of bumps, but it's well worth it!
Look for our upcoming Communicating for Learners newsletter with more on Dr. Fink's keynote.

For more information on Dr. Fink and his work:

What about your highlights from the keynote or your own thoughts/experiences on the "joy and responsibility of teaching well?" Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

March 22, 2007

Teaching Tips: One Stop Shopping!

A wonderful online resource for categorized, research-based teaching tips can be found at the U. Hawaii at Honolulu's Teaching Tips Website.

Make this site a weekly or monthly appointment for your professional development!

Ask AL Tech Tip- Google Language Translation

I saw an interesting Web page, but it was in a foreign language. Is there a way to translate the Web page using Google?

AL's answer

Why would translating a webpage be useful? Have you used this feature before? If so, for what? Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

March 21, 2007

Strategies to Engage Students in Large Lecture Classes

Classes should be designed so it is impossible for the students to take a passive role in the course. This Chinese Proverb is a good reminder: "Tell me, and I forget. Show me, and I remember. Involve me, and I understand." Unfortunately, it is often difficult to gain the involvement of students in large lectures. In an ideal world, students would ask questions when needed, however, most students are apprehensive to speak up in large lectures.

Below are some tips to keep students actively engaged in large lectures:

1) Use a deck of index cards of student names to randomly call on students to share in their own words their understanding of key concepts of the reading and/or lecture. This strategy will keep students actively listening in lecture since all students have the possibility of being selected to participate.

2) Develop a routine time, either before or after lecture, for students to drop off written questions they have about the material/concepts discussed.

3) Give students the option to turn in a piece of paper with their name and the discussion topic they shared in class for participation points. This can also help you with learning your students' names.

4) Invite the class to bring in materials, such as current news articles, which are pertinent to the class topic.

Read More Ideas:

• The Chronicle's Big, But Not Bad article with additional resources at the end, such as tips and books

Survival Handbook for Teaching Large Classes (from UNC Charlotte)

Interactive Lectures: Summaries of 36 Formats

Engaging a Large Lecture Course

What works for you? Please comment with additional ideas you use to encourage student engagement in large lectures. Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

March 20, 2007

Using Images:

As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." If that's true, then there are many words to be found at Here you can find royalty free stock photos for use in any type of digital or print media that you may use in your work as an educator, researcher, or learner.

Everystockphoto is a search engine that indexes numerous photo sites and has over 1 million free images. Each image has its own ownership license, so when using images from the site be sure to check the license to understand how you can legally use the image in your own work.

Images and photos can be used for numerous projects in an academic setting -- they can enhance websites, PowerPoint presentations, blogs, video clips, movies, and any other digital or even print media. The addition of images can help to better explain or demonstrate theory and processes in a classroom setting.

Share your opinion and experiences by leaving a comment below:
• How have you used stock photos in your teaching?
• What other types of projects could utilize the "power of images"?
• Share your experiences and tips on using

March 13, 2007

Terence Online- Another BGSU Blog Resource

TerenceOnline is an eLearning Resource Center and blog to help you stay informed with what's going on in web 2.0, technology, education, and eLearning pedagogy.

Terence Armentano is an Instructional Designer and Multimedia Specialist for IDEAL (Interactive Distance Education for All Learners) at Bowling Green State University. His blog entails his weekly elearning spotlights as well as feeds from many of his favorite resources. These resources could be integrated into online or face-to-face courses -- or anywhere in between.

Check out the videos, live chat and many other numerous features of the blog. Also, if you have questions about Blackboard or online pedogy techniques feel free to ask him questions...

Share your opinion and experiences by leaving a comment below:
What do you think of TerenceOnline? What information on his site did you find useful?

March 5, 2007

Academic Freedom - Part II: Ask Paul

Dr. Paul Cesarini, an assistant professor in the Visual Communication & Technology Education department here at BGSU, began a discussion that we wanted to continue here on Interact at the Center. The original article, Caught in the Network, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, began a discussion on academic freedom, IT controls and limits, and the fine balance between the two. Paul was kind enough to respond to some of the comments and questions he has received as well as reflect his experiences over the past few weeks:
I appreciate how many of you read my article, commented on it in various online venues, and linked to it so that others might read it. Please keep in mind my goal in writing this piece was not to denigrate our Information Technology Services office in any way. As I mentioned in the article, I worked there for years, and I still know and respect the folks that work there. Heck, our Director of ITS even had me over for Thanksgiving dinner a while back. Our ITS office, if I may attempt to personify it as a single entity for a moment, works tirelessly to make sure our network infrastructure remains stable, dependable, and active. Without the often thankless efforts of this office, we wouldn't be able to send a single piece of email. We wouldn't be able to rely on a vast, yet standard set of software tools that are officially supported on campus. We we wouldn't even be able to get our paychecks. 

My point in writing this piece was not really about Tor, either. It could have just as easily been about Bit Torrent, YouTube, or any other application or service that could potentially be problematic for our university on a variety of levels. Rather, my point in writing this had more to do with my own need to explore, discuss, and attempt to balance the often competing needs of faculty and administrative IT, within the context of this ever-increasing pace of technological change swirling around us at all times.

The incident that served as the catalyst for the article -- plainclothes detectives and IT security staff visiting a faculty member, unannounced -- is certainly not unique to me, nor was the request to avoid teaching specific content areas in class. What is perhaps unique about it is that is occurred within the times we are living in now: pervasive broadband times, consumer / creator times, Web 2.0 times. This tenuous balance between faculty and IT needs is only going to be amplified in the coming years, as more faculty try to explore more technologies that may or may not be officially sanctioned by their respective IT departments. This isn't a black or white, right or wrong issue, yet it is still an issue that needs to be debated in a heathy, open manner.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn't also point out some of the more interesting comments, questions, and in some cases misconceptions I have either personally received or read in various forums online:
  • One of the first and most repeated statements I have read about me is that I'm a Computer Science professor. I'm not. I'm faculty in our Visual Communication & Technology Education department, which is not only entirely separate from our Computer Science department, it is also in a completely different college here (Technology, as opposed to Arts & Sciences) and in most universities.
  • I'm not a scientist, and make no claims to be one. I am a technologist.
  • I do not have tenure, and thus did not attempt to use tenure as a "free pass" to get my own way. I am, however, tenure-track.
  • Neither I nor my wife typically consider me to be a "brave freedom fighter" who was "sticking it to The Man". I'm not even sure who The Man is, really, unless it's the Director of our ITS office I mentioned before, who had me over for dinner. He's a real decent guy, and was a great boss while I worked there.
  • I did not lose my job, at least as far as I know.
  • I realize the following sentence could be read two different ways: "Someone looking up potentially sensitive information might prefer to use [Tor] -- like a person who is worried about potential exposure to a sexually transmitted disease and shares a computer with roommates." My editor and I went back and forth on this sentence for quite some time. Thank you, Slashdotters, for pointing that out. 

If anyone else has some specific questions or comments about my article, I would love to hear them. ~Paul

[Post them below in the comments section and Paul will respond -- Just click on COMMENTS to get started.]

March 1, 2007

BGSU Teaching and Learning Fair - Friday, March 23, 2007

All members of the BGSU Community and members of the Regional Community are invited to attend the Fair.

Dr. L. Dee Fink, author of Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses and former president of POD (Professional & Organizational Development Network in Higher Education), delivers his keynote address, "The Joy and Responsibility of Teaching Well." (seating is limited)

Fair Presentations
BGSU faculty and graduate students are encouraged to register to present at the Fair
For information and presenter registration visit the Center,, and click on the Fair Icon.

Already presenting at the Fair are representatives from the following organizations:
Arts Village, BGeXperience, BG Perspective, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, Chapman Community at Kohl, COSMOS Learning Community, Firelands College, Honors Program, IDEAL, Instructional Support Caucus, Office of Academic Enhancement, Office of Service Learning, Partners in Context and Community, Student Achievement Assessment Committee, Undergraduate Student Research, University Libraries