August 27, 2008

Where Will You Teach?

Among the difficult decisions graduate students must make is what kind of college or university they will work for once they're done with their graduate studies. The soon-to-be teachers/instructors must decide whether they will teach at an institution that has a premium on research or a place where teaching is highly valued. They may be required to have real strengths in both research and teaching, which can be difficult. This is a common dilemma for graduate students. James Lang recently wrote Facing the Truth concerning the situation and he offers plenty of practical advice and information concerning the issue of graduate students going to teach at a teaching-oriented college. What Lang has to offer will probably seem daunting to some graduate students, but his article is definitely worth reading.

The Center for Teaching & Learning would love to hear what some of BGSU's graduate students or former graduate students may have to say about Lang's advice and commentary. Please leave us a short comment about what you think.

August 14, 2008

Perfect the Art of Teaching

Universities every couple of years have to "revamp" and revise their overarching ideas and approaches in order to better prepare their students for their lives after college. BGSU has different programs and goals, like the University Learning Outcomes, which are dedicated to providing a quality education while in college and after.

Kim Mooney's recent article on asks professors to examine the ways they approach teaching. She asks whether professors are asking the right questions, teaching effectively and willing to adjust to their students' needs. Ultimately, Mooney asks if professors and universities are using approaches and materials with their students that are in-line with the world their students live in now and will inherit in the future. Mooney provides readers with interesting questions, anecdotes, and examples of what some institutions are doing to better accommodate their learners. Please read the article and see what other professionals are saying beneath the article.

August 13, 2008

Less Budgeting for Books This Semester?

You can probably walk by the University Bookstore right now and see how ecstatic parents and students are about having to purchase books for the upcoming semester. In a little under two weeks the lines of happy students will be even longer and more of the grim faces. The bookstore clerks are no strangers to the complaints from people buying their books. First-year students taking certain introductory classes will probably be a little grumpy when they have to purchase their first course textbook for some course.

Wouldn't it be a novelty if a university told you not to worry about having to budget a handful of money for your books? Actually, there are some community colleges that are buying the rights to popular textbooks and allowing students online access to the textbooks. If you read an article by Andy Guess on you can discover how some community colleges have managed to gain access to popular textbooks. There are a handful of other university systems around the country who are also putting books online for students to simply read it on their computer monitors, and not have to spend a chunk of change for a book they will use for a couple months.

BGSU is actually part of this "online books" movement. The Jerome Library here at BGSU has more than one thousand books that students have open access to. Students are invited to go and chat with one of the librarians and learn about how they could possibly save some money. Maybe one of the books that your instructor has you reading is listed in one of the networks of online books that you can read and use for free online.

August 7, 2008

Google Jockeying

If you haven't heard of Google Jockeying, you will probably be hearing or reading about it soon. Its popularity is growing quickly in higher education.

Here's a quick example of how Google Jockeying works in the classroom:
An instructor is doing their presentation on the American Revolution or some other topic. At the same time there is a pre-designated member of the class is "Google-ing" (the student doesn't have to use Google either, they can use any search engine they want) the different terms or aspects from the presentation, which students may want to know about. They are doing this with a projector attached to their computer for the entire class to see while they participate in the presentation or listen to the lecture. So, in the American Revolution discussion, the "Jockey" may Google a name like Lord Dunmore or pull up an image of a British soldier or display online links for students to read the Declaration of Independence.

Many instructors are finding Google Jockeying helpful for their students. It's popularity is growing.

Link to more information about "Google Jockeying":

August 6, 2008

Discussing Higher Education

Would you like to be discuss over 37 thousand topics concerning higher education with more than 22 thousand people around the world? Do you have a strong opinion about some practice in the classroom that you want to share with someone?

The Chronicle for Higher Education has a discussion forum where you can peruse more than 790 thousand posts that concern just about any imaginable topic of higher education. Faculty can go into forums about everything from taking attendance with an iPhone, on up to reforms that would better prepare students for college. The dozens of articles that the Chronicle posts are always being discussed there.

Please visit the forum and see what kind of discussion you get involved in.

Link to forum:

Link to Chronicle of Higher Education home page:

August 1, 2008

Foster article: "New Systems Keep a Close Eye on Online Students at Online Students at Home"

Just last week an article by Andrea L. Foster was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The article has been generating plenty of traffic and just as much discussion. If you wonder why the article may be attracting so many readers, please read the first two paragraphs of her article (below) and what she writes about the overhauled Higher Education Act that recently was overwhelmingly approved by Congress.

"Tucked away in a 1,200-page bill now in Congress is a small paragraph that could lead distance-education institutions to require spy cameras in their students' homes.

It sounds Orwellian, but the paragraph — part of legislation renewing the Higher Education Act — is all but assured of becoming law by the fall. No one in Congress objects to it."

Many instructors and students may not realize the impact this act may have on them. We would like to hear what some people say. Please read Foster's article or get some more facts on the Higher Education Act and give us a comment on what you read.

Link to Foster's article:


The Teaching Professor 2009 Conference

In our most recent Center newsletter we featured a short "Visionary" piece on Maryellen Weimer. Dr. Weimer is the editor of the The Teaching Professor online blog and newsletter, which are dedicated to inspiring "educators committed to creating a better learning environment," as their website indicates.

The staff at The Teaching Professor also have a popular annual conference to further their commitment to higher education. They have recently released details on their 2009 conference. The conference will be held: June 5-7, 2009 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. The themes for next year's conference are: educate, engage and inspire.

For more information on the conference, please refer to The Teaching Professor's website at: <>.

You can also peruse The Teaching Professor website and newsletters at: <>.