February 26, 2009

Learning Styles

Teaching and LearningWorkshopIt’s no secret that people learn in different ways. The key to success in teaching is realizing that people learn differently and finding ways to incorporate different learning styles into our classes. Recently, we held a workshop titled Pragmatic Practices for Teaching Assistants, Learning Styles that addressed how to assess learning styles and how to make our students aware of and responsible for their own learning styles.

In a paper titled Student Learning Styles and Their Implications for Teaching, authors Susan Montgomery and Linda Groat discuss the importance of recognizing learning styles and offered several different ways to assess these styles. Among the learning style models that they covered are the Myers-Briggs Model and the Kolb/McCarthy Learning Cycle. The authors also provide useful tips to engage students with different types of learning styles in your classes. These tips include using both group and independent work, requiring in-class presentations and providing less direction to students.

To read the rest of the article please click here.

How do you engage students in your classes that have different learning styles?

February 23, 2009

Assessing Assessment

Inside Higher Ed’s article “Assessing Assessment” launches its discussion by stating that assessment and accountability movements are “alive and well,” and that colleges who think they can ignore them are “misguided.”

In an effort to provide an overview or guide of assessment practices, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes and the Alliance for New Leadership for Student Learning and Accountability are being developed, the former being led by Stanley Ikenberry and George Kuh.

The president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Judith Eaton, is noted as supporting the work of these institutes, claiming that (from IHE) “better knowledge of assessment would improve the relationship between accreditors and institutions, and that a sustained commitment by higher education to accountability would preserve the principles of self-regulation for higher education.” Eaton hopes that the new effort will “strengthen the academic leadership of our colleges and universities.”

Some detractors of the higher education assessment movement have called it an oversimplified and potentially harmful mission due to concerns over using a single test to demonstrate student learning outcomes. According to one faculty member, what’s lacking is “any evidence of validity” for these single measures. Members of the NILO and ANLSLA, however, state that the intent is not to establish a single standardized test for colleges, but to offer a more comprehensive method for accountability, which Ikenberry states will most likely incorporate multiple measures.

To read the full Assessing Assessment article click here: Inside Higher Ed

Where do you stand on these assessment and accountability movements?

February 22, 2009

New Newsletter

Communicating for Learners
The newest CTL “Communicating for Learners” newsletter has just been released. In the latest newsletter you can find interesting pieces about the 2009 BGSU Teaching and Learning Fair, where Dr. Barbara Millis was they keynote speaker. There is also an interesting article about making changes for teaching and learning success. In this issue you can also look at the different dates and times of workshops and discussions available here at the CTL.

Please take a look at the newsletter for yourself by clicking here.

We welcome comments! Join the conversation!

February 20, 2009

Teaching Assistants and Principles for Good Practice

Using a framework to provide effective, impactful, and quality education is not a new concept. While grounding pedagogy in theory is important, Teaching Assistants more often are interested in how to implement educational practices that will result in student learning. Chickering and Gamson’s (1987) 7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education is a foundational document that offers both a framework and specific methods valuable for any instructor. Chickering and Gamson give seven suggestions, based on a review of literature, to facilitate good practice:

1. Encourage Contact Between Students and Faculty,

2. Develop Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students,

3. Encourage Active Learning,

4. Give Prompt Feedback,

5. Emphasize Time on Task,

6. Communicate High Expectations,

7. Respect Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning.

As a Teaching Assistant, we can use this framework to plan methods that will result in student learning.

If you want more detail or would like to learn more, consider attending one of our Pragmatic Practices workshop sessions. You can still sign up for the last two: Learning Styles and Teaching Tips! Visit the Center's webpage for full descriptions or to register, or call 419-372-6898 for more information.

February 17, 2009

Vella's 12 Adult Learning Principles

In recent years Jane Vella has become a renowned and respected figure in the adult teaching field. Vella's 12 Principles for Adult Learners, spelled out in her known book Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults, are highly regarded in adult education. Below are Vella's 12 Principles.

* Needs assessment: participation of the learners in naming what is to be learned.

* Safety in the environment and the process. We create a context for learning. That context can be made safe.

* Sound relationships between teacher and learner and among learners.

* Sequence of content and reinforcement.

* Praxis: action with reflection or learning by doing.

* Respect for learners as decision makers.

* Ideas, feelings, and actions: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor aspects of learning.

* Immediacy of the learning.

* Clear roles and role development.

* Teamwork and use of small groups.

* Engagement of the learners in what they are learning.

* Accountability: how do they know they know?

These 12 Principles are actually quite helpful towards working with any learners in higher education.

February 9, 2009

3rd Annual BGSU Teaching & Learning Fair Slideshow

Here are just a few pictures from the Third Annual BGSU Teaching and Learning Fair, held on Friday, February 6, 2009 in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Barbara Millis, from the University of Texas at San Antonio's Teaching and Learning Center, presented the keynote, Persisting with Passion: A Summary in Break-throughs in Teaching and Learning. For more information on presenters or the keynote, visit the CTL Fair site.

February 6, 2009

Two Opinions on Higher Education

Suggestions and opinions for ways to improve the quality of higher education is not a new discussion topic. Different scholars, studies, and projects suggest different strategies for improving higher education. Paul Basken and Kevin Carey are two of known researchers and writers who have ideas of why higher education needs improvement and strategies for bringing about its betterment.

Basken seems to agree with the idea that there is a culture amongst many faculties who simply are resistant to change. Hence, traditional methods and older pedagogical frameworks continue to prevail in institutions of higher education.

Carey, however, has a different take on how to improve higher education. In simple terms Carey is an advocate of holding faculty members responsible for the pedagogical methods they choose to implement in their courses.

Both writers have different, and interesting, opinions on how to deal with improving higher education. You can read the articles that both men wrote on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website and see how many people are responding to the articles.

February 3, 2009

Upload and share your work on Scribd.com

One of the leaders in online publishing is Scribd. Scribd allows people to upload documents - which can be in the form of reports, brochures, books, spreadsheets, puzzles and games, etc. - to the Internet for sharing with millions of readers. The website also allows you to discuss work that belongs to other people. And, Scribd is free for users!

As per Scribd's FAQs:

Scribd lets you publish and discover documents online. It is like a big online library where anyone can upload. We make use of a custom Flash document viewer that lets you display documents right in your Web browser.

Part of the idea behind Scribd is that everyone has a lot of documents sitting around on their computers that only they can read. With Scribd we hope to unlock this information by putting it on the web.

Scribd would a useful website for students, especially, graduate students to get feedback on term papers, thesis or dissertation chapters, and for providing feedback to other users. For professors Scribd could prove helpful in publishing pre-publication documents for feedback or learning about what other college instructors are doing in their field or another field.

Over the past couple years Scribd has steadily grown in its users and readership. Please take a look for yourself and see what you can share or discuss.