Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer News

Summer, for many of us, is a time to catch up on news in higher education and to spend a bit of time reading more than the headlines. Here's some recent articles of interest:
Do you think about the future of education?  Check out the 2020 Forecast which provides ideas for you to explore, in terms of drivers of change, trends, signals, and learning agents.

Ever wonder about the debate between the effectiveness of lecture versus active learning?  There is a great deal of research supporting the effectiveness of pedagogies that engage students.  Take a look at this recent article on the results from research on an undergraduate physics course, "Applying science to the teaching of science"; "according to Dr Deslauriers and his team, their result is the biggest performance boost ever documented in educational research."

Want to learn more about options for new classrooms and learn about new trends (and possibly throw in your recommendation with an administrative committee?).  Campus Technology has an interesting article on new "active learning classrooms" that integrate technology for positive results.

And finally, read the new Faculty Focus special report on Course Design and Development Ideas that Work.  You can download the report for free.  There are several relevant topics to teaching at a university today, and my eye was caught by the discussion of scaffolding (supporting) learning:

"But the point of teaching cannot be to eliminate or even reduce the likelihood of failure. To eliminate failure throttles the learner. For the student does the learning. The student must be free to think and act and, in so doing, err—and recover. That is the cost of learning. To prescribe that teachers enable learning is a tautology. Of course that is what we want to do—the question we beg is: “How?” If scaffolding is to help answer that question, it should illuminate the differences between what the teacher does and what the student does. It should get us to think about the instructor as a planner and initiator of activities that invite students to develop their own goals and strategies. As we know, learning grows out of the students’ previous knowledge and skills. But the assignment must challenge without being so difficult as to discourage learning or so easy as to evade it. Both student and instructor have to be active."

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