November 29, 2007

Tools for Learning In Plain English...Wikis, RSS and Social Bookmarking

Ever wish you could watch a video that would easily explain these new technology concepts?

Well today your prayers have been answered! Below are three great YouTube videos that help to explain what a the concepts behind wikis, RSS feeds, and social bookmarking



Social Bookmarking

Did these quick videos help with your understanding of these technology concepts? Do you have any other questions regarding Wikis, RSS, or Social Bookmarking? Do you have any other great YouTube videos to share?...Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

November 27, 2007

Ken Bain (Part 2): People Learn Best and Most Deeply When . . .

From the Research Academy website at Montclair State University, Ken Bain's research includes a list of a dozen requirements for meaningful student learning . . .

  • They try to answer questions or solve problems they find interesting, intriguing, important, or beautiful;
  • They can try, fail, receive feedback, and try again before anyone makes a judgment of their work;
  • They can work collaboratively with other learners struggling with the same problems;
  • They face repeated challenges to their existing fundamental paradigms;
  • They care that their existing paradigms do not work;
  • They can get support (emotional, physical, and intellectual) when they need it;
  • They feel in control of their own learning, not manipulated;
  • They believe that their work will be considered fairly and honestly;
  • They believe that their work will matter;
  • They believe that intelligence and abilities are expandable, that if they work hard, they will get better at it;
  • They believe other people have faith in their ability to learn;
  • They believe that they can learn.

What else should be added to this list? As educators, what is our role in helping students to believe they can learn?. . . Click on the COMMENTS link below to leave your thoughts!

November 19, 2007

Ken Bain: What the Best College Teachers Do

Ken Bain, Vice Provost, Professor of History, and Director of the Research Academy for University Learning at Montclair State University, visited campus on November 5th to present "Little Things Make a Big Difference" at the College of Arts & Sciences Forum. Author of "What the Best College Teachers Do," Dr. Bain also facilitated two workshops based on his book and the years of research he has conducted.

Over the next couple weeks, we will highlight some of the insights offered during these sessions. Here is the first installment. . .

In the morning session, Bain asked participants to, "Think about the best teacher you’ve ever had; one that had a profound influence on what you feel and think. What were some traits of this teacher?"

Some of the responses. . .
  • firm, yet caring
  • in love with subject
  • moved students into leadership positions
  • high expectations, especially for college (even in elementary)
  • generosity
  • demanding of self & others
  • passionate
  • well prepared
  • good listeners; learned from the students too
  • authenticity
  • humility
  • help students feel comfortable
  • belief in the student
  • hands-on learning activities
  • identify strengths in individuals
  • personal (yet, professional) relationship with students
  • role model for them; even outside of the classroom
  • inspirational
  • joy of learning exuded to students
  • techniques and process behind learning/how to learn & preparations for learning
  • sense of care about topic and self as scholar
  • understood why did what done and explained why to the students
  • charisma – makes subject come alive; passionate about helping students learn
  • encouraging; pushed to do more

What traits, if any, are missing from this list?. . . Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

November 15, 2007

Ask AL- Web 2.0 and Google Docs

Question 1

I've been seeing a lot of references to Web 2.0. What is it?

AL's answer

Now that we know what Web 2.0 is, here is a Tip on Google Docs...

Question 2

How do you check spelling in a document when using Google Docs & Spreadsheets?

AL's answer

Do you currently use any Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom? If so, how? Do you have experience or any other questions relating to Google Docs?...Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

November 13, 2007

Exploring the “New World” Learning Paradigm

The following is an article from our Fall #2 "Communicating for Learners" newsletter. We encourage your comments, thoughts, experiences, and questions as they relate to this concept of a "new world" learning paradigm. Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

The change of seasons can be a small reminder of the myriad of changes going on all around us—at BGSU, in Ohio, nationally, and globally. These large-scale, institutional, and even global changes necessitate a journey of discovery with new directions and paradigms.

The research-based concept of a “new” paradigm for learning in higher education was originally proposed over a decade ago. In 1995, when the term “paradigm shift” was all the rage, Barr and Tagg described a shift from an instructional paradigm to a learning paradigm. Then in 1997, Smith and Waller set forth over a dozen examples of changing paradigms for learning. More recently, Fink (2003) echoed the need for moving from a content-centered to a learner-centered paradigm, while Bain (2004) uncovered the effectiveness of challenging students’ existing models or paradigms, helping them transform existing understandings into better, more accurate models of truth.

Semantics aside, the change involves a clear shift from one-dimensional, unidirectional teaching to multi-dimensional, multidirectional learning. So why now? Primarily because we live in a changing, connected world, with increasingly complex problems to solve.
What is the Learning Paradigm?
The student-centered learning paradigm is not a new concept, but the implementation of these revised pedagogical strategies has yet to become mainstream in higher education. At the core of the learning paradigm is a foundation of reciprocity between students and faculty. Essentially, it requires active, problem-based, collaborative strategies for both student and faculty learners. The learning paradigm is based on a community of continuous learners—both students and faculty. This change from higher education to continual learning has “learning how to learn” as its valuable product.

Just as early explorers set out to discover new places of potential riches, educators too can set out on their own journey of discovery in learning. Christopher Columbus, who was looking for a new world, certainly found something that resembled a “new” place—unfamiliar people, plants, foods, and treasures. But what he really did was bridge two unconnected land masses already sharing the same water and sky. Similarly, faculty “explorers” of the new learning paradigm can help students connect seemingly distant concepts, creating bridges to deeper, synthesized, and meaningful learning.

Beginning and Continuing the Journey
When working toward changing a paradigm, especially one that may have worked well for us as students, it is important to consider the future—what will our students’ emerging careers be, what skills and knowledge are essential for them to be engaged in their professional worlds, and what paradigms might they face? Our teaching behaviors, our expectations we set for our students, and our students’ learning behaviors must evolve to fit our students’ futures.

Tagg (2003) reminds us that to change our paradigm from teaching to learning is to view education through a new lens—“seeing” our work in a different light and having diverse experiences as we and our students interact to learn. As we peer through the telescope to chart our course toward a new horizon of a learning paradigm, what do we see? Where will BGSU students and faculty travel in their journey toward a learning paradigm? Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

An additional BGSU resource is “Premier Learning: A Scenario for BGSU in 2020.” Convened by President Ribeau in May 2007, the Strategic Positioning Group prepared this report that conveys a vision for our University. You can read the report at the Office of the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs website. A video relating to this document is also available.

  • Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning—A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change (27) 6, 12-25.
  • Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Smith, K. A., & Waller, A. A. (1997). New paradigms for college teaching. In Campbell, W. E., & Smith, K. A. (Eds.), Paradigms for college teaching (pp.269-281). Edina, MN: Interaction.
  • Tagg, J. (2003). The learning college paradigm. Bolton, MA: Anker.

November 9, 2007

How University Administrators (& Faculty) Should Approach Facebook: 10 Rules

This is a useful article on how our students are using Facebook and things that we should consider as college educators. Listed below are rules 1 and 2 in a list of 10. For more information, please click here:

1. The Facebook isn't going away. While may not last forever, a service like the Facebook will always be present and useful on a college campus. The logic to this is quite simple: students are forced to renegotiate their social networks every semester. The Facebook supports and answers the student's information needs. Put simply, our students are curious; they want to know anything and everything about the students around them. If you had the Facebook when you were an undergrad, wouldn't you have wanted the same?

2. Almost all of your institution's undergraduates are on the Facebook. I found that 94 percent of UNC's Freshman class was on the Facebook. Techcrunch reported in November that 85% of all college students were on the Facebook, and surely that number has increased. You can't fight numbers like this. More importantly, you can't ignore them.
Both of these services can provide useful tools that can be utilized from home, office, or dorm room.

Do you have a Facebook account? How can Facebook be used to stay in contact with our students?...Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!