July 31, 2007

Setting Expectations for the Semester & Student Ownership of Learning

The beginning of the semester is an exciting and busy time for both faculty and students. The semester start is also the best time for you to take the opportunity to make students aware of your expectations for the entire semester.

Expectations help define a boundary for students in which they can focus on the required tasks, leading them to the desired learning outcomes, rather than being distracted by unclear or obscure objectives. Some areas you can define or clarify include:
  • workload per week (2-3x the credit hours out of class time, usually),
  • assignments (what will need to be accomplished - readings, papers, presentations, projects, research, etc.),
  • assessment/evaluation (how will they be graded/assessed - quizzes, exams, homework, rubrics, informal feedback, etc.), and
  • behaviors (also important to include in order to educate the "whole student" - participation, attendance, professional, during presentations and group work, etc.).

In concert with expections, here are some assignment ideas or discussion topics that allow students to claim ownership of their role in the learning process, :
  • Have students list their expectations for the course before seeing the syllabus or learning outcomes; near the end of the course, return this list and have them revise it, including a list of suggestions for next semester's students
  • On the first day, have them write a letter to you about why they deserve an A in your class; return it to them just before the final exam for them to revise and resubmit, including a section about how they have changed as a result of your class
  • After looking at the course outcomes in the syllabus, have students write their personal short and long term goals for the course

What are some other expectations, outcomes, or activities that help your students take ownership of their learning ? Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

July 24, 2007

Top 10 Future Forecasts for 2007 (from The Futurist)

1. Generation “Y” will migrate heavily overseas
2. Dwindling supplies of water in China will impact the global economy
3. Workers will increasingly choose time over money
4. Outlook for Asia: China for the short term; India for the long term
5. Children’s “nature deficit disorder” will grow as a health threat
6. We’ll incorporate wireless technology into our thought processing
7. The costs of global warming disasters will reach $150 billion per year
8. Companies will see the age range of their workers span FOUR generations
9. A rise of disabled Americans will strain public transportation systems
10. The robotic workforce will change how bosses value employees

(See the YouTube video )

What are your thoughts on these 10 forecasts?
How will these affect education, teaching, learning, and employment opportunities for our students? For us?
Do you have any other predictions/forecasts?

July 10, 2007

TIME's 50 Best Websites 2007

Time Magazine lists some of the best websites of 2007. Categories include Arts & Leisure, Audio & Video, News & Info, Social Networks, and Web Services. Many of these websites include tools that could be utilized in education. Below are a handful of the top 50 that could be useful...

Expertvillage.com: Worlds Largest How-To Video Site

Odeo.com: Millions of MP3s and 1000's of audio channels—podcasts, music, and more.

Ecofoot.org: Measure your Eco-Footprint

Fafsa4caster.ed.gov: Federal Financial Aid Calculator

Pollingreport.com: An independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion.

Linkedin.com: A social network for business professionals and career-minded folks.

: With Wetpaint you can start, share, and grow a wiki with anyone about anything.

And Many More...

What is the best website in the list? How have you used any of these sites? Which ones?...Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!

July 3, 2007

Personalized Home Pages

There are many options for creating a personalized homepage for your web browser. The Center wanted to pass along a couple options. If you already have a Google account try iGoogle, or if you prefer Yahoo! checkout MyYahoo!, or try Netvibes. All have numerous options that will provide you with a concentrated page full of the information you need. Each of these personal homepages can save time by providing the information you access on a daily basis as soon as you open your browser.

Possible Educational Personalizations include...

-Moon Phases
-Wikipedia Search
-News Feeds
-and many others....

Possible Educational Personalizations include
-BBC News
-Stock Ticker
-Space.Com Feed
-WSJ and many more...

Possible Educational Personalizations include
-NASA Earth Observatory
-Flickr Search
-Blog Search
-News Feeds and many more....

How could customized homepage be used in the classroom? Do you have a personalized homepage? Is it different from the ones listed above...if so what do you use? What information do you have on your homepage?...Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!