August 28, 2007

Service-Learning Faculty Focus Discussion Series

These discussion based programs feature faculty talking about their service-learning courses and experiences working with all aspects of service-learning and civic engagement. For more information, visit the Office of Service Learning website.

(NOTE: All presentations take place at the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology @ 201 University Hall)

Thursday, 9/6/07, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm

Experiential, Transformational Learning Trips: Or two old (wise) guys take students on trips to places they might never go to on their own
Gordon Rickets, Director of Arts Village and School of Art,
Bill Thompson, Instructor, Continuing & Extended Education

These two presenters hold extensive knowledge and experience of incorporating experiential learning with undergraduate courses in both the arts and social work fields. [more...]

Wednesday, 10/17/07, 9:45 am-10:45 am

Report on the 2007 National Gathering of Service-Learning: The CSUMB Workshop Experience
Khani Begum, Associate Professor, English Department,
Kate Collins, Instructor, Theatre & Film Department & Chapman Learning Community

Returning from the recent Service-Learning Conference in Monterey Bay, California, these presenters will share their experiences and discuss their developing ideas regarding connecting service-learning with curriculum design and pedagogy development for the engaged college course. [more...]

Friday, 10/26/07, 11:00 am-12:00 pm
Service-Learning for the Introductory Experience: Field Experience in EDHD 201
Sansanee Ohlson, Instructor, Teaching & Learning
Every year, nearly 900 students engage in community based learning as part of their EDHD 201 Introduction to Education Class. This team taught course is designed to not only help students decide whether or not to pursue the teaching profession, but also to help impact a community agency during the discovery process. [more...]

What kinds of service learning activities or experiences do you include in your course(s)? Click on the COMMENTS link below to share your thoughts or ask more questions.

August 22, 2007

Instructional Strategies for Blogging

An article by Ruth Reynard, Associate Professor from Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee, discusses the inherent, powerful learning opportunities for students when they reflect on their learning in a written fashion - in particular, through blogging. She states,
(w)hile the notion of "finding individual voice" is not new to the learning process, technology such as blogging has presented a unique opportunity for teachers and students to work intentionally at this process.
She continues, noting that
(s)tudent response statements really cover a wide variety of "types" that reflect the instructional goals of the courses. That is, when developing individual voice throughout a learning process, each stage of that process is often reflected in the students' comments. I have described each of these that I have noticed into the following categories:
  • Reflective statements;
  • Commentary statements;
  • New idea statements; and
  • Application statements.
In a 2005 article Blogs in Higher Ed: Personal Voice as Part of Learning, Reynard expresses the importance of blogging for learning:
(f)inding personal voice as a pedagogical method is important to establish learner identity and focus, and journaling has long been recognized as an effective way to provide space for this to occur.
Furthermore, with regard to assessing student learning,
(t)he idea that more than one person will view the work is quite powerful in promoting a sense of ownership from the student. Teachers can also benefit from "hearing" the personal voice of their students to begin to really understand the learning path of each student through a course.
For more information about the basics of blogging in education, visit this page, organized by Drs. Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson or visit The Center's Blog & Wiki Resource Page.

What has been your experience with blogging for learning? How can blogging be used in your teaching, research/scholarship, service, and engagement? What type of blogging assignments do you create for students?

August 21, 2007

The Center's New Resource Page

Our newly designed Resource page is now available on the Center for Teaching Learning, and Technology's web site. The new appearance was designed to allow the user to navigate various resources more easily. The page contains an organid set of resources located in sections pertaining to The Center, Technology Tools for Learning, The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and Blogs and Wikis in Education. To view the new Resources page, click on the link below.

What other resources (Web or print) do you find valuable? Click on the COMMENTS link below to leave your suggestions.

August 17, 2007

Developing a Learning-Centered Course Syllabus

The process of teaching and learning requires detailed preparation. One of these important steps in preparation is developing a course syllabus. There are many methods for syllabus creation and a great resource for such a task is the book The Course Syllabus: A Learning-Centered Approach by Judith Grunert. This manual is intended to assist instructors in planning and constructing a learning-centered course syllabus that incorporates tools and information to aid students' learning.

In the book, Judith notes that "...[A] syllabus can serve a wide variety of functions that support and challenge students as they engage in their educational activities" (p.14). Some of these functions are: Establishing an Early Point of Contact and Connection Between Student and Instructor, Helps Set the Tone for Your Course, Describes Your Beliefs About Educational Purposes, Acquaints Students with the Logistics of the Course, and Provides a Conceptual Framework.

Below is a checklist designed to help an instructor develop a learning-centered course syllabus. This checklist was taken from page 81 in Judith's book.

Grunert, Judith. The Course Syllabus: A Learning-Centered Approach.
Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 1997.

For a more detailed description of the Judith Grunert's book visit:

See these web sites for more syllabus examples:

How are Judith's tips helpful to you in developing a syllabus?
What other methods for syllabus development have you used?
Are there any other important functions of a syllabus you would like to share?

August 16, 2007

What's New for this Semester?

Are you trying something new this semester? Perhaps a new active learning strategy or a new assessment? Leave a comment (anonymously or with your name) telling us what new strategies you'll be implementing this fall in your course(s).

Click on the COMMENTS link below to share a strategy

August 8, 2007

Essay Highlight: Age of Wonders... Just Different

Corrie Bergeron, M.Ed., an Instructional Designer at Lakeland Community College in Ohio recently wrote an essay entitled Age of Wonders and shared it on one of the OLN (Ohio Learning Network) listserves. Below are some highlights, but the entire essay is a good, but short read for anyone concerned with being inundated by constant technological change in their life or classroom.
In the film "Master and Commander," 19th-century British sea captain Jack Aubry is handed a wooden model of a new warship. He examines it carefully, noting its many innovative features. Finally he sets it down, saying, "What an age of wonders we live in."

If he had only known what was just over the horizon.

...For those of us who teach (and who directly support the teachers), this is a huge challenge. Many of our students know far more than we do about the new tools and toys. Others struggle with basic skills most of us mastered years ago.  Every semester faculty come to me and say, "Please get me set up with Blackboard. My students say I need to use it."  

But in truth, the technology doesn't matter all that much. Regardless of the tools they use, people are still people.  We all have the same basic human needs: for food and shelter, for security, for love and belonging, for esteem, for self-actualization.  Under the iPod and Razr, behind the email or discussion board post, is a human being with the same fundamental needs as his or her great-great grandparents.  

They just meet those needs in different ways, that's all. iTunes is not so very different than the traveling minstrel of Chaucer's time.  It just has a larger repertoire.

A tool is merely a set of affordances and constraints – stuff it lets you do easily, and stuff it makes it hard to do. That applies to tools used for teaching, too.  You can teach in the 3D simulated world of Second Life, where people can fly and a student may appear as an alien with an orange mohawk (ok, bad example – that can show up on campus, too).  But you also can teach while sitting on a log and using your finger to draw in the dirt (hey – digital interactive multimedia!)  

...Is that good? Is it bad?  Neither.  It's just different.  

...We often feel like hamsters on a wheel that's spinning faster than we can run.  But we keep up as best we can with what's going on "out there."  We try new things.  Sometimes they work better than we'd planned.  Sometimes they crash and burn.  We pick up the pieces, learn from the experience, and try, try again.  

We have to, if we want to prepare our students for the next Age of Wonders.  It's just over the horizon.
This is distrubuted with the author's permission and a Creative Commons license (non-commercial with attribution).

What are your thoughts or observations about this "age of wonders"? How does or will these realities change the way you teach... or change the way students learn -- in 3-5 years, 10 years, 20 years? Any other comments regarding the essay?