December 17, 2008

Learning, Libraries & Technology Conference, 2009

One of Ohio’s more famous conferences involved in higher education is coming soon. The University System of Ohio’s Libraries, Learning & Technology 2009 Conference will be the tenth anniversary of Ohio’s premier higher conference, previously known as the Ohio Digital Commons for Education Conference. This year’s conference will deliver an excellent forum for professional development and networking opportunities, with a focus on:

  • Teaching and Learning in the 21stCentury
  • Student Success
  • Ohio Is Moving Forward
  • Transforming Technologies
  • P-20 Education

The conference will also include keynote speakers, vendor exhibits, technology demonstrations at Innovation Island, and more.

The conference will be held March 1-3, 2009. Fees for the conference have been reduced.

Two-day registration:
$195 ($95 for students)
One-day registration:
$95 ($55 for students)

Registration Includes:

  • Keynote sessions
  • Concurrent sessions
  • Innovation Island (Monday only)
  • Lunch
  • Continental breakfast
  • Reception with hors d’oeuvres (Monday evening)
  • Conference tote bag and program
  • Free wireless access in the conference area
  • Computer access in the Cyber CafĂ©
  • Free parking at the Hilton Columbus

Please see the conference’s website for more information or registration:

December 15, 2008

Workshop Extension: Science of Learning (Diane Halpern DVSS Keynote & 25 Principles)

A group of several BGSU instructors, from tenured professors to a graduate teaching assistant, attended the “Science of Learning” discussion session last Friday. The discussion centered on Diane Halpern’s keynote from earlier this spring at the 2nd Annual BGSU Teaching and Learning Fair. She began her keynote with the quizzical, yet rhetorical question:
If I taught something and no one learned it, what happened?
(In other words, can I say that I really TAUGHT it?)
Some of the key points the group discussed during the session were the nature the science of learning and importance of faculty knowing about the implications for their courses and the students they teach. Halpern encourages faculty to think about the big ideas of their course (Ten years after your course, what do you want students to remember or be able to do?); be clear about learning outcomes, and encourage/foster a learning environment that allows for practice at retrieval of knowledge and establishes challenging learning opportunities that addresses and transforms their mental models.

Furthermore, it’s important for students (and faculty) to realize that learning is “effortful,” yet rewarding – often most difficult initially, then easier with more efforts and practice… like most things in life. The diverse group of participants provided and discussed examples from foreign languages, musical performance, and the sciences.

Later, participants reviewed Halpern’s list of 25 principles (full list with citations available here or as MS Word file) and selected individual principles that are essential for student success, such as:
• Perceptual motor grounding
• Testing effect
• Spacing effect
• Stories and Example Cases
• Discovery Learning

One concern brought up in Halpern’s address as well as in this discussion session that is an important question for all teachers – (paraphrased) “So, if these methods lead to better, durable learning, don’t these take up more time in the class? What goes and how do we choose?” A great question for all instructors, department chairs, and deans as well!

Halpern suggests focusing your planning on students’ lives today and in the future – What are or will be their needs? What skills and knowledge will best prepare them for a world that doesn’t exist yet? These questions will continue to be explored and certainly more will be generated as additional findings emerge from the "learning sciences" discipline, as well as from the cognitive and neurological sciences.

For the BGSU community, to view this keynote, visit the DVSS (digital video streaming server), log in, and search for "Halpern" -- the video is approximately 70 minutes.

For those who attended this session or just want to leave a thought), click on the Comments link below this post to share your thoughts on the keynote, this discussion session, or any related issues.

December 10, 2008

Matrix for Online Sources

Teaching and Learning
Today’s students conduct most of their research online. More and more students search the web for articles and sources, avoiding libraries at almost all cost. But how do our students know what information on the Internet is reliable?
Professors Susan Miller-Cochran of North Carolina State University and Rochelle Rodrigo of Mesa Community College in Arizona developed a matrix to aid students with this task. This matrix was guided by two questions they encourage students to ask:

How does the information change over time--is it constantly updated and revised, or static?

And, how has the information been reviewed?

Using those questions as guides, the professors developed the matrix below to aid their students in their quest for dependable information.

To read more about this matrix, please click here. To get a better look of the matrix, please click here.

Outstanding TA Award nominations being accepted

Outstanding TA Award nominations are being accepted.

Nominations are being taken now for the Outstanding TA Award at BGSU.
The award, sponsored by the Graduate Student Enhancement Program
(GradSTEP) and the Graduate College, is designed to encourage and
reward excellence in undergraduate instruction. Winners receive a
plaque commemorating their accomplishment and a cash award of $250.

To be eligible, the Teaching Assistant must have taught a course for
which he/she had major responsibility at any time in 2008. Exam
proctors, graders, and past recipients of this award are not eligible.
Self-nominations will not be considered for this award. Those eligible
will come from one or more of the following categories:
1) TA teaching own section(s)
2) TA leading study/recitation section(s)
3) TA teaching laboratory section(s)

Information and nomination forms can be found at

Nominations must be received by Feb. 9 and should be sent to 215 South
Hall or

December 4, 2008

'Measuring Up' report

Every two years higher-education in the U.S. actually receives a report card. Since 2000 the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has released its 'Measuring Up' report, which essentially issues broad and encompassing report of just about every aspect involved with higher education in the U.S. The anticipation for what the report will or will not reveal always is big, and the anticipation for this year's report is no different.

Kevin Carey, a research and policy manager for a major think tank in Washington, describes some of the history and previous experience with reactions to the 'Measuring Up' report. Carey also expresses some thoughts on how serious higher education institutions should consider the report and why it may have so many detractors.

Go ahead and read Carey's article and feel free to tell us what you think.