North America

The shift online could set digital learning back by years

Submitted by dene.mullen on Thu, 23/09/2021 - 09:01
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The year 2020 should have been a watershed for online learning. With the pandemic sending tens of millions of students online, it was poised to be a breakout moment.

Standfirst
The digital tools used during the pandemic may help address access and scale, but they do little to help students actually learn, says Tom Adams
Teaser
The digital tools used during the pandemic may help address access and scale, but they do little to help students actually learn, says Tom Adams

HE needs to follow tech companies’ lead and go ‘agile’

Submitted by dene.mullen on Wed, 22/09/2021 - 09:01
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This summer marked a decade since the US entrepreneur and software engineer Marc Andreessen famously predicted that “software is eating the world”.

Standfirst
Universities need shorter cycles of learning and credentialing, such as eight-week academic terms and quick, stackable certificates, says Tom Monahan
Teaser
Universities need shorter cycles of learning and credentialing, such as eight-week academic terms and quick, stackable certificates, says Tom Monahan

Displaced workers deserve more than short-termism from universities

Submitted by dene.mullen on Wed, 15/09/2021 - 09:01
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When I was a graduate student in the late 1990s, the North American labour market was undergoing a profound (albeit gradual, in modern terms) shift. A still nascent but booming internet economy, expanding international trade agreements and the offshoring of industrial jobs led to mass factory and plant closures. 

Standfirst
Institutions must stop and think before helping reshape the career trajectories of millions of workers, says Gangaram Singh
Teaser
Institutions must stop and think before helping reshape the career trajectories of millions of workers, says Gangaram Singh

Leaks and holes: beyond the pipeline versus process debate on diversity

Submitted by dene.mullen on Fri, 10/09/2021 - 09:01
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“Do we really have to attend your diversity training?” challenged one member of faculty after I announced that we would be making justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (Jedi) education mandatory for all members of search committees.

I stiffened.

“I mean, we can do all the training we want. The problem isn’t us; the problem is that there isn’t a pipeline for women and scholars of colour in our discipline,” he continued.

Standfirst
A pipeline does exist in higher ed, but process and structural violence in education writ large keep puncturing the pipe, says Pardis Mahdavi
Teaser
A pipeline does exist in higher ed, but process and structural violence in education writ large keep puncturing the pipe, says Pardis Mahdavi

If we want non-traditional results, we need non-traditional approaches

Submitted by dene.mullen on Thu, 09/09/2021 - 09:01
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As we begin to emerge out the other side of the pandemic, it has become increasingly clear that a large and growing demographic of adult learners − historically underserved by traditional higher education − was disproportionately affected.

While they strive to complete degrees and credentials while re-entering or navigating the workforce, many find that colleges and universities are ill-equipped to respond to their needs. This ongoing demographic shift comes as no surprise, so why has the sector been so painfully slow to react?

Standfirst
We must listen to − and respect − the needs and aspirations of learners as they are, not as we wish them to be, say Gregory Fowler and Kate Smith
Teaser
We must listen to − and respect − the needs and aspirations of learners as they are, not as we wish them to be, say Gregory Fowler and Kate Smith

Building a community of support for remote students through academic advising

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Mon, 06/09/2021 - 09:00
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This past year has emphasised the value of community. In higher education, many students and instructors struggled with a sense of isolation from their peers and colleagues when institutions adopted remote and virtual settings at the start of the pandemic. While academic advisers are not often in the spotlight, they play a vital role in bridging the gap between student and institution and in helping students feel part of a broader learning community. Feeling connected – that is, being “seen” and “heard” – is critical to student success.

Standfirst
Janet Morrison details academic advising strategies that keep students feeling connected and supported throughout their educational journeys when learning online
Teaser
Janet Morrison details academic advising strategies that keep students feeling connected and supported throughout their educational journeys when learning online

THE Podcast: Bridging higher education’s new digital divide

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Thu, 02/09/2021 - 09:00
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Podcast
Standfirst
Lauren Herckis from Carnegie Mellon University discusses her research into the new digital divide in ed-tech knowledge and pedagogical training among faculty and how universities can work to fill it
Teaser
Lauren Herckis from Carnegie Mellon University discusses her research into the new digital divide in ed-tech knowledge and pedagogical training among faculty and how universities can work to fill it

Do we need equity or equality to make things ‘fair’? Actually, we need both

Submitted by dene.mullen on Thu, 02/09/2021 - 09:00
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I taught my first university course as a second-year graduate student. Luckily I’d just finished a graduate teaching seminar that we were required to take in the psychology department. In that seminar, we learned the fundamental aspects of HE teaching. One of the principles stressed was that we were to treat every student the same. The instructor told us it would inevitably turn out bad if we allowed one student to make up an exam and not another student or allowed only some of our students to turn in work late.

Standfirst
Fair, to some people, means everyone getting the same thing. But that’s only fair if everyone begins at the same place and needs the same things to succeed, says Todd Zakrajsek
Teaser
Fair, to some people, means everyone getting the same thing. But that’s only fair if everyone begins at the same place and needs the same things to succeed, says Todd Zakrajsek

A pedagogy of kindness: the cornerstone for student learning and wellness

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Fri, 20/08/2021 - 09:00
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When a home is constructed from stone, the cornerstone is the first stone to be laid. It orients the placement of all that follows. It can’t be added on later. The same is true of a pedagogy of kindness. It can’t be a checklist that is pasted over a syllabus that already exists – it needs to be foundational to course design and central to an instructor’s teaching practice.

Standfirst
Fiona Rawle outlines a pedagogy founded on human connection, care and compassion that improves student learning outcomes
Teaser
Fiona Rawle outlines a pedagogy founded on human connection, care and compassion that improves student learning outcomes

Taking challenging courses requiring step-by-step instruction online

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Wed, 18/08/2021 - 09:00
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The sudden change to teaching online required faculty to be nimble and to learn new technology very quickly, bringing a multitude of stresses. A personal challenge for me was the amount of time it took to convert my “chalk talk”-style lectures to something such as PowerPoint that was more amenable to online delivery. Calculation-based courses such as chemistry, physics and mathematics necessitate students seeing problems worked out step by step.

Here are 11 tips for teaching challenging courses that need step-by-step instruction online:

Standfirst
Pam Benz offers tips for translating challenging courses, which necessitate students seeing problems worked out step by step, to online instruction modes
Teaser
Pam Benz offers tips for translating challenging courses, which necessitate students seeing problems worked out step by step, to online instruction modes