Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Teaching Transformation Academy Podcast

Teaching Transformation Academy Podcast

Podcasting Resources

Madden, M. (2006). PEW Internet project data memo: Podcast downloading. Available online at

Rainie, L., & Madden, M. (2005). PEW Internet and American life project: Data memo: Podcasting. Available online at

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Professional development and training: Context and definitions

Professional development, within the context of higher education, focuses on improvement as teachers and is more pedagogical in content and structure (Fleming, Shire, Jones, Pill and McNamee, 2004). Training is, by design, focused on software and hardware competencies (McCarthy, 2006).

It is important to remember that the development of technological literacy and competence, while important and pivotal to a technology plan, is perhaps crucial to the offering of professional development and training (Clark, 1989). The plan focuses, primarily, on the technology and technological infrastructure, and other associated topics. However global any plan is by design, it is equally as important to decide what technology will be adopted as it is to offer training to use the technology.

The plan provides support for technology (Masi and Winer, 2005), and should provide technology support on an ongoing basis. In this instance, the goal of development is to improve “performance on the part of students, staff, and the organization” (Sparks, 1995, p. 2). Regardless of the label of professional development, staff development or training, the goal should be to improve teaching and learning.

Clark, K. (1989). What strategy can do for technology. Harvard Business Review 67(6), 94-98.

Fleming, S., Shire, J., Jones, D., Pill, A., & McNamee, M. (2004). Continuing professional development: Suggestions for effective practice. Journal of Further and Higher Education 28(2), 165-177.

Masi, A., & Winer, L. (2005). A university wide vision of teaching and learning with information technologies. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 42(2), 147-155.

McCarthy, E. (2006). When teachers take staff development personally. Education Digest 71(7), 45-49.

Sparks, D. (1995). A paradigm shift in staff development. In ERIC Review: Professional development 3(3), 2-4. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No: ED381136). Retrieved March 31, 2007 from

Integration of technology in teaching and learning

Integrating technology into the classroom environment presupposes many elements. First, that those who operate the technology have been trained, that the technology is present and functional and that the technology is appropriate for the teacher, the students and the course or curriculum (Cafolla and Knee, 1995). However each of these elements is addressed, it is still more important to determine that “technology in education [is] a fundamental part of the teaching, learning, assessment, evaluation, and productivity process” (Hoadley, Engelking and Bright, 1995, p. 410). Even with this pedagogical perspective, Cafolla and Knee mentioned that “the effects of leadership, particularly modeling” (Cafolla and Knee, 1995, p. 556) are one of the primary impediments or obstacles to successful technology integration in an educational setting.

The technology available, whether for classroom use or online use, changes teaching and learning (Grementieri, 1998). The change in teaching and learning may impact integration and this may be influenced by training (Cafolla and Knee, 1995; Grementieri, 1998). A successful training program supported by leadership provides the institutional support necessary for the potential of integration (Berger, 2005). As an advocate both for technology and of technology, leaders can create the environment where end users feel safe in using technology and encouraged to integrate technology in the classroom (Cafolla and Knee, 1995).

Training and advocacy are both elements of social change (Frank, Zhao and Borman, 2004). Through training, individuals are empowered with knowledge and skills. Advocates both recognize and respond to the need for training. Advocates become the primary agents for social change (Cafolla and Knee, 1995; Frank, Zhao and Borman, 2004).

Berger, J. (2005). Perceived consequences of adopting the internet into adult literacy and basic education classrooms. Adult Basic Education 15(2), 103-121.

Cafolla, R., & Knee, R. (1995). Factors limiting technology integration in education: The leadership gap. In D. Willis (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, San Antonio, Texas, March 22-25, 1995 (556-560). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED381148).

Frank, K., Zhao, Y., & Borman, K. (2004). Social capital and the diffusion of innovations within organizations: The case of computer technology in schools. Sociology of Education 77(2), 148-171.

Grementieri, V. (1998). Innovation technology and higher education. Higher Education in Europe 23(2), 169-175.

Hoadley, M., Engelking, J., & Bright, L. (1995). A model for technology infusion in higher education. In D. Willis (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, San Antonio, Texas, March 22-25, 1995 (410-413). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED381148).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Learning: The act or the process

So, who are the new learners? The new learners assume that technology is “a natural part of the environment” (Oblinger, 2003, p. 38). This causes, or should cause reflection on the part of every person involved in teaching. For technology to be natural for the learner, it must be natural for the teacher. Students use technology in every aspect of their life, from information gathering, to entertainment, to networking, to communication and to collaboration (Oblinger, 2003). How do they differ from the traditional learners? The new learners may be called many different names but a key difference, I believe, is technology.

Technology may change the learning experience (Green, 1999), but does it change the learner? The newer technologies like blogs, wikis, podcasts, vodcasts and others have the potential to extend learning (Salomon, Perkins and Globerson, 1991). These new technologies are natural and common place for the new learners (Alexander, 2006). Do these technologies change the learner? More often, it is the learner who is using the new technologies to change learning from an act, to a process.

Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? EDUCAUSE Review 41(2), 33-44.

Green, K. (1999). When wishes come true. Change 31(2), 10-15.

Oblinger, D. (2003). Boomers, gen-xers and millennials: Understanding new students. EDUCAUSE Review 38(4), 37-47.

Salomon, G., Perkins, D., & Globerson, T. (1991). Partners in cognition: Extending human intelligence with intelligent partners. Educational Researcher 20(3), 2-9.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trends for Teaching and Learning: Reflections and Perspectives

Podcasting and Pedagogical Concerns

Click on the link to listen Podcasting and Pedagogical Concerns

A discussion on podcasting and some pedagogical concerns or issues for using podcasts in teaching and learning. (N.B. Podcasting can be separated into (1) Audio ONLY, (2) Enhanced - audio with images, URL's inserted, and (3) VODCast or video casts, with audio and video)..

What do you need to podcast?

  • Some sort of digital audio recorder. This may be as simple as your computer (for Windows, it's Sound Recorder or Audacity), for your Macintosh, Garage Band.
  • A good quality microphone. Most good USB microphones will work easily.
  • A relatively quiet place to record.
Just record
  • OK. If you really want a professional podcast, script everything out. If you want to create something that's good, an outline. Unless you are extremely skilled at talking "off the cuff" I wouldn't advise recording without a plan.
  • Think of a podcast as a conversation ... granted, it may be just YOU talking, but talk in conversational modes.
The big decision
  • First, a podcast is a file, a music or audio file. Most audio players can play them. While using iTunes makes it really efficient to organize them, you could use any of a host of MP3 players.
  • You record. Now what. If you want people to "subscribe" to your podcast, it needs to be put on a server. Oh, there are many sites that will "host" your podcast.
Now, remember
  • People can download your podcast ... to their portable MP3 player, their computer IF you give them the URL.
Some references to browse
Some books to browse also
  • Cochrane, T. (2005). Podcasting: The do-it-yourself guide. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.
  • Geoghegan, M. (2005). Podcast solutions: The complete guide to podcasting. Berkeley, CA: Apress.
  • King, K. (2007). Podcasting for teachers: Using a new technology to revolutionize teaching and learning. Charlotte, NC: IAP.
  • Mack, S. (2007). Podcasting bible. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Trends, technology, teaching and learning: Reflections and perspectives

Current trends, or future trends that focus on education are wide and varied. Stopping to survey the educational landscape can be daunting.

Trends (or directions)
  • How can all students be engaged in the learning process? It's more than merely "entertaining" them, it's more than keeping them "active" in the process. Is engagement something that can be designed?
  • What role does or should technology have in engaging students? Can technology be used to reduce the "divide"?
  • Given the desire to promote collaboration, is technology a natural vehicle for collaboration?
  • With the "flattening" of skills (see Friedman's "The World is Flat"), and the new shift towards a global marketplace, education must change, but how?
Technology (instructional and/or educational)
  • What technology promotes individual growth? Can technology provide equal opportunities for all learners?
  • What technology promotes social growth? Who determines effective social growth? Is it technology itself that promotes the growth, or the integration and use of technology that assists growth?
  • What technology enhances socialization? Does technology provide for equal growth and opportunity?
Teaching - generally, the act of teaching, the art of teaching
  • How are the pedagogies of engagement impacted by technology? Can technology engage students better? more effectively?
  • How are the pedagogies of inquiry impacted by technology? How should technology promote or enhance inquiry?
  • What are the effective pedagogical uses of technology? If all technology can be used in teaching, are some more "pedagogically sound" than others?
Learning - the act or the process
  • Shift from traditional learners to "new" learners.
How can we refocus on teaching and learning in the new technological age?

(See a slideshow )

Friday, October 05, 2007

What is liberal education?

Liberal education is more than a new approach to education, or even a new approach to a traditional education. Liberal education of today not only focuses on enhancing critical thinking and collaboration, but also on promoting and enhancing student engagement. Liberal education focuses on providing a foundation, a well-rounded foundation, upon which to build continuous, lifelong education.

Learning in this manner involves refocusing education. This learning challenges both students to become more involved in their learning and faculty to present learning in a manner that challenges students and engages them in the process of learning. We must refocus our assessments to be more holistic and comprehensive. No longer should assessments merely focus on single-course curriculum. Assessments must encourage a multi-disciplinary approach.

Students may be more focused, able to employ analysis, synthesis and evaluation, in this newer approach to learning. These attributes, coupled with critical thinking and problem solving, for example, may be observable over the course of one semester, or multiple semesters. Determining competency, rather than mastery, requires a different teaching style.

Teaching would require both a greater depth and breadth of curriculum. Instruction must not only focus on specific curricular material, but should also extend the curricular material, integrate the material in such a way that teaching becomes a blending of curricular content rather than an isolated perspective of curriculum. This is more than teaching a specific curriculum to a specific level; it is teaching, or rather integrating curriculum to produce a well-rounded individual who is adaptable to, and in, an evolving global economy, committed to improvement, and prepared to serve society.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Teaching Tip: Impact of student feedback on teaching and learning

The questions that often arise surrounding feedback are typically: How do we get feedback? When should we seek feedback? What do we do with the feedback we’ve received? These are important questions. But, before attempting to answer these questions, let’s take a moment and reflect on feedback.

Providing feedback to students is important. Chickering and Gamson (1987) stated that “knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning” (p. 5). The focus on learning, for both student and faculty, has the potential to improve learning and teaching. For improvement to take place, there must be some form of communication, of dialogue, of feedback between student and teacher. Feedback that improves learning clearly communicates to the student what is right and what is wrong (Gagne, Briggs & Wager, 1988).

Students who know what is right, wrong, and how to improve performance can focus their learning. Through good, constructive, personalized and educative feedback, students can focus (Brookfield, 2006). Just as students expect feedback on a test, paper, assignment or lab experiment, feedback should become an integral part of every classroom, every teaching and learning opportunity. Davis (1993) concluded that “frequent, immediate, and specific feedback helps students learn” (p. 182).

Give students feedback. Let them know regularly what they are doing well. Share with them how they can improve themselves. Taking the time and effort to provide feedback can have unexpected results … students becoming more engaged in their learning, asking questions about the curricular content, and learning.


Brookfield, S. (2006). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987, March). “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.” American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, 39(7), 3–6.

Davis, B. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Gagne, R., Briggs, L., & Wager, W. (1988). Principles of instructional design. (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Connected Learning

Connected learning focuses more on the context of learning, than a particular pedagogical perspective. Connected learning acknowledges the role of the environment and context for learning. It is more than merely learning without regard to time or place. It is an immediate connection of the learning to something, whether a place (to use the learned material), an object (to use with the learning), or a person (to extend and reflect on the learning).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Teaching Tips: The First Day of Class

That first class is the most important session of the semester. Let your vocal and body language project your love of your subject field. You should give the message that this is the most important class they will have in their program and then illustrate why you believe that is true. The first day of class sets the tone for the entire semester. Try some of these tips for a smooth first day, first week and first semester.
  • Get to the classroom a little early. You may need to find out how it is arranged, how long it takes you to get there.
  • Greet students as they arrive. Setting this conversational tone with them early lets your students know they can come and talk with you.
  • Involve students quickly. Getting them involved will help them feel included and help them feel comfortable talking with others. Have your students do something. Have them write one or two things they hope to learn in class, collect them and share them with the class.
  • Communicate your expectations for the course. Let your students know what you value and why you value it. If participation is important, let them know how you expect them to participate.
  • Let your students know what they’ll be expected to do in the course. Explain how many tests, exams and papers there will be and what kind of feedback you will provide. Explain how their grade will be determined.
  • Clearly communicate your acceptable classroom behavior standards.
  • If you are using a textbook, bring it to class so they can see the book.
  • Answer their questions. It may be difficult to predict ALL the questions, but be honest and let them know YOUR answers.
  • Explain where your office is and encourage them to come by and visit you during office hours. If you see your students around campus, say hello to them and ask them how your class is going.
  • Learn their names quickly, and call on them by name. Having them sit in the same seat for the first week can help learn names
  • Let your students know the importance of this class. How will this class help them? What will this class prepare them for in the following semester?
  • Linger around your classroom at the end of the first class and chat with students.
  • Above all, start on time and end on time. You are setting an expectation for the entire semester.
Ice-Breaker Ideas
  • Have students pair up with another student and introduce them to the class.
  • Have students pair up and share their concerns about the class. As the groups share with the class, the instructor can address the concerns.
  • Have students pair up and generate 3-5 questions about the class. As the groups share with the class, the instructor can use the syllabus to address their questions.
  • For more ice-breaker ideas, contact the CTL.
Need more information? Check out the following books from the CTL:
  • Barbara G. Davis. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Robert Magnan, (Editor). (1990). 147 practical tips for teaching professors. Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing
  • William McKeachie. (2002). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. (11th Ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Selected Online Resources

  • Center for Teaching and Learning, University of North Carolina. (1988). The first day of class … a day of missed opportunities? Available online at
  • Barbara G. Davis. The first day of class. Available online at
  • Eastern Kentucky University Teaching and Learning Center. (n.d.). Starting a course. Available online at
  • L. Dee Fink, University of Oklahoma Instructional Development Program. (1999). First day of class: What can/should we do? Available online at
  • Delivee L. Wright, Teaching and Learning Center, University of Nebraska. (1999). The most important day: Starting well. Available online at

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Learning style readings

Monday, July 09, 2007

Thoughts on Teaching and Learning 2.0

New perspectives on teaching, learning and technology are appearing everywhere. Some of the “new” terms we are finding are “Learning Spaces,” “Web 2.0,” “Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing,” just to name a few. Thinking on how this may impact teaching and learning, I pulled out several books (trying to find a unifying thread) … Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century” … If the world is becoming flatter, has our teaching and learning responded in kind? Have we viewed teaching as a communal effort? Do we have a global classroom? Is our curriculum reflecting the integrated and inter-related nature of knowledge, learning and success? Do we see the classroom as a point of convergence? The world has moved “from a primary vertical – command and control – system for creating value to a more horizontal – connect and collaborate – value-creation model” (Friedman, 2006, p. 234).

Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” … "Mavens are data banks. They provide the message" (Gladwell, 2002, p. 70) … mavens may be more than the teacher. The resources for learning, the library, may provide some of the content for the message. Students learning from students may also provide a message. "Connectors are the social glue: they spread it" (Gladwell, 2002, p. 70) … collaborative learning, cooperative learning, project-based learning, problem-based learning … each of the pedagogies of engagement would indicate that learning TOGETHER with others is powerful. "... there is also a select group of people - Salesmen - with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing ..." (Gladwell, 2002, p. 70) … I believe Gladwell may be describing newer roles for teaching and learning.

In “Blink” Gladwell focuses on thin-slicing … or “the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience” (Gladwell,2005, p. 23) … is this where we know what works in a classroom? How do we learn how to thin-slice?

Do we need to revisit and repurpose our perceptions of teaching and learning? Can the changes in technology be used to guide us? Is it time?

Friedman, T. (2006). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

Gladwell, M. (2002). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Multiple Intelligences, Technology, Teaching and Learning

While the growth of our understanding of learning has matured with and without technology, the presence of technology within our educational systems needs to be reexamined. Noting that “technologies out to be mobilized for better instruction” (Gardner, 2000, p. 33), we need to begin to see how technologies can help students. It is not the presumption that all technologies can help all students equally, but that certain technologies can help certain students (Veenema and Gardner, 1996).

Understanding learning styles is critical to integrating technology into teaching (Grasha and Yanbarger-Hicks, 2000). By understanding how students learn and how our teaching can impact learning, we can begin to identify how technology can be matched to a particular learning style and, ultimately a teaching style (Gardner, 2000). Extending this to the theory of Multiple Intelligences, we can begin to imagine multiple modalities of instruction, multiple forms of assessment and a modular-type classroom. Students working together, in small groups, with a facilitator or teacher as a resource. Technology would be available, but not required. Students could determine what technology they needed. Learning becomes learner-centered and learner-focused.

Gardner, H. (2000) Can technology exploit our many ways of knowing? In D. T. Gordon (Ed.), The digital classroom: How technology is changing the way we teach and learn (pp. 32 – 35). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Letter.

Grasha, A., & Yanbarger-Hicks, N. (2000). Integrating teaching styles and learning styles with instructional technology. College Teaching, 48(1), 2-10.

Veenema, S., & Gardner, H. (1996). “Multimedia and multiple intelligences.” The American Prospect 7(29), 70-75.

Friday, June 29, 2007

New technologies

Sharing slide presentations. could provide a way to share PowerPoint presentations with a larger group.

Also, to share and keep Internet bookmarks The ability to add tags and subscribe to other collections of bookmarks.

Online brainstorming. Creates a Flash format file that can be embedded into a web page or other compatible media.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Teaching styles, learning styles, active learning and digital assets

Reflecting on the relationship between teaching styles and learning styles, and how this can be impacted/directed by active learning, I wonder how the use of digital assets can fit into this comparison? It may be relatively safe to assume that certain learning styles would find the use of digital assets to be more engaging. It may be safe to assume that certain teaching styles would favor using digital assets in teaching.

Does the use or integration or even introduction of digital assets change or transform a person's teaching style? Is it likely to presume that technologically savvy teachers would gravitate towards the digital assets? Can their past experience with technology predict their likelihood to use digital assets?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Reading List

Created June 14, 2007; Updated last September 14, 2009


  • Berkun, S. (2007). The myths of innovation. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly.
  • Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987). "Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education." American Association for Higher Education Bulletin 39(7), 3-7.
  • Ferraro, J. (2000). Reflective practice and professional development. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED449120).
  • Freed, J. (2005). "Creating a total quality environment (TQE) for learning." Journal of Management Education 29(1), 60-81.
  • McClenney, K. (2004). "Redefining quality in community colleges." Change 36(6), 16-21.
  • Travis, J. (1996). Models for improving college teaching: A faculty resource. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED403810).
Teaching Styles
  • Brown, B. (2003). Teaching style vs. learning style: Myths and realities. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED482329).
  • Davis, B. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Learning Styles
  • Brualdi, A. (1996). Multiple intelligences: Gardner's theory. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED 410226).
  • Davis, B. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Gardner, H. (1985). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  • Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: NY: BasicBooks.
  • Gardner, H. (2006). Five minds for the future. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Concept Mapping
  • Novak, J. (1998). Learning, creating, and using knowledge: Concept Maps TM as facilitative tools in schools and corporations. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Plotnick, E. (1997). Concept mapping: A graphical system for understanding the relationship between concepts. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.:ED407938)
Active Learning
  • Bonwell, C., & Eison, J. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED340272).
  • Bonwell, C., & Eison, J. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.
  • Meyers, C., & Jones, T. (1993). Promoting active learning: Strategies for the college classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Silberman, M. (1995). 101 ways to make training active. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
  • Stalheim-Smith, A. (1998). Focusing on active, meaningful learning. IDEA Paper No. 34. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University, IDEA Center. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.ED418659)
Classroom Management
  • Davis, B. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Metzker, B. (2003). Time and learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED474260).
  • National Education Association Research Department. (2006). Classroom management: Brief. Washington, DC: National Education Association. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No.: ED495812).
Teaching Methods, Teaching Strategies
  • Brown, B. (2001). Group effectiveness in the classroom and workplace: Practical application brief no. 15. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED451346)
  • Davis, B. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Assessment and Evaluation
  • Angelo, T., & Cross, K. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Kirkpatrick, D., & Kirkpatrick, J. (2006). Evaluating training programs: The four levels. (3rd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.
  • Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Bates, A., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Bonk, C. (2009). The world is open: How web technology is revolutionizing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Active Learning

Reflecting on active learning ... and seeking answers to a question like "How do you evaluate active learning?" I read (again) Bonwell and Eison (1991) and Meyers and Jones (1993). Active learning is an effective method or strategy. I believe that it can work, but it requires some advanced planning on the part of the instructor.

An interesting perspective is from Mitchell (2006), is that "There IS evidence that active learning, student-centered approaches to teaching physiology work, and they work better than more passive approaches" (p. 165). This may be the beginning point, or tipping point (see Gladwell, 2002), for improving or transforming teaching AND learning. Intuitively we can see that active learning ENGAGES students in the process of learning.

More on this topic as it develops ...

Bonwell, C., & Eison, J. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED340272).

Gladwell, M. (2002). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

Meyers, C., & Jones, T. (1993). Promoting active learning: Strategies for the college classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mitchell, J. (2006). "Where's the evidence that active learning works?" Advances in Physiology Education 30, 159-167.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

New Faculty Orientation Topics

First Things First

  • What Is a Good Teacher?
  • Preparing to Teach: Planning a Course
  • Recognizing Your Instructional Style
  • Teaching Methods
  • Civility: The Affective Concerns of Teaching
  • The First Day of Class
  • First Class Survival Tips

Classroom Management

  • Managing the Classroom
  • Planning a Class Session
  • Practical Tips for Planning & Teaching a Lesson
  • How to Manage Classroom Discussions
  • The Basics of Learning Assessment
  • Strategies for Common Difficulties in Planning Courses

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How to get a discussion going in class

After setting through some "good" discussions I started reflecting on what made the discussions good. Are good discussions something that can be planned? Good planning can play a part in the success of a discussion. Understanding the types of questions that will facilitate discussion is a definite plus ... open ended questions are more effective than closed questions. Knowing when to ask a question, knowing how questions can redirect or refocus the discussion are all skills that have to be developed and refined. Moderating a discussion is, I believe, an art. Trying to find some link between discussion and evaluation requires planning.

Some topics that merit further thought are:
  • The question types, stems, or key words to use in a discussion
  • Moderation tactics, strategies and techniques
  • Evaluation of a discussion
One key thought ... if one accepts the idea that a good discussion can enhance student learning ... and that the flow or process of a discussion can engage students cognitively ... how can discussions promote critical thinking, critical reflection and be measurable?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Reflections on critical thinking and professional development

  • How do you begin to teach critical thinking?
  • Why should students (and faculty) engage in critical thinking?
  • What does critical thinking cause to happen? or what does it change?
  • Can critical thinking be critically assessed?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Technology and teaching and learning

Teaching methods in most community colleges are more traditional, and do not normally include the integration of technology (Schuetz, 2002). It is important to expand the technological environment currently used for professional development and training of faculty and adjunct faculty. For those faculty who do adopt instructional technology, the past experiences with technology have demonstrated some level of efficiency and thus render them appropriate for teaching (Gilbert, 1995; Gilbert, 1996).

Imagine the possibilities of increasing the use of technology in teaching, and imagine the impact of teaching with technology on student engagement (Grasha and Yanbarger-Hicks, 2000). The pervasiveness of technology in the workplace demands that we provide technology in the classroom. While most faculty support and participate in professional development opportunities, most professional development does not include the integration of technology into teaching (Chism, 2004; Schuetz, 2002). The presence and availability of newer technologies for teaching and learning are integral in demonstrating the viability of programs and the desire to prepare graduates for success (Moquin and Travis, 1999). This technology has the potential to change the learning experience in a positive manner (Green, 1999), and demonstrate the commitment to educational innovations.

Chism, N. (2004). Using a framework to engage faculty in instructional technologies. Educause Quarterly, 27(2), 39-45.

Gilbert, S. (1995). Technology & the changing academy. Change, 27(5), 58-61.

Gilbert, S. (1996). Making the most of a slow revolution. Change, 28(2), 10-23.

Grasha, A., & Yanbarger-Hicks, N. (2000). Integrating teaching styles and learning styles with instructional technology. College Teaching, 48(1), 2-10.

Green, K. (1999). When wishes come true. Change, 31(2), 11-15.

Moquin, B., & Travis, J. (1999). Community colleges on the highway: Major issues for technology planning. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 23(2), 147-159.

Schuetz, P. (2002). Instructional practices of part-time and full-time faculty. In C. L. Outcalt (Vol. Ed.), Community college faculty: Characteristics, practices, and challenges. New directions for community colleges. Number 118. (pp. 39-46). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

The benefits of technology to teaching and learning

With the increasing presence of technology in our classrooms, and the comfort of students using technology, it is important for faculty to understand the pedagogical implications of integrating technology into their classrooms (Gilbert, 1995; Watts and Hammons, 2002). It is important to provide a model classroom for faculty to see best practices exemplified, and observe how the various technologies can be integrated in teaching and learning. Faculty development efforts and programs must focus on the integration of technology into teaching (Chism, 2004). Instructional or educational technology should be “integral to teaching practice” (Chism, 2004, p. 43) and not viewed as an add-on to teaching (Bates, 1995; Bates and Poole, 2003; Grasha and Yangarber-Hicks, 2000).

Instructional technology can influence and improve learning (Gilbert, 1996; Kulik, Kulik and Cohen, 1980). These types of technologies can improve teaching and learning by increasing teacher and student efficiency and reaching different learning styles (Flecknoe, 2002). Through increased exposure to and competence with technology, faculty can select those technologies that improve “the quality of teaching and learning [and] student motivation” (Gilbert, 1996, p. 12).

Bates, A. (1995). Technology, open learning and distance education. London: Routledge.

Bates, A., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Chism, N. (2004). Using a framework to engage faculty in instructional technologies. Educause Quarterly, 27(2), 39-45.

Flecknoe, M. (2002). How can ict help us to improve education? Innovations in Education and Teaching International 39(4), 271-279.

Gilbert, S. (1995). Technology & the changing academy. Change, 27(5), 58-61.

Gilbert, S. (1996). Making the most of a slow revolution. Change, 28(2), 10-23.

Grasha, A., & Yanbarger-Hicks, N. (2000). Integrating teaching styles and learning styles with instructional technology. College Teaching, 48(1), 2-10.

Kulik, C., Kulik, J., & Cohen, P. (1980). Instructional technology and college teaching. Teaching of Psychology, 7(4), 199-205.

Watts, G., & Hammons, J. (2002). Professional development: Setting the context. In G. E. Watts (Vol. Ed.), Enhancing community colleges through professional development. New directions for community colleges. Number 120. (pp. 5-10). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Revisiting: Pedagogical Approaches for Promoting Critical Thinking in Information Literacy, Technological Literacy and Information Technology

The terms information literacy, computer literacy, media literacy and technological literacy have some distinct implications for teaching and learning. While some may view these terms in a very limiting fashion, they can be broadly defined to include the abilities to “access, evaluate, and use” information (Doyle, 1992, p. 2). Doyle’s definition of information literacy identifies, in addition to other aspects, individuals “who … [use] information in critical thinking and problem solving” (Doyle, 1992, p. 2). It is the use of, or the application of information in a particular pedagogical approach that should be a goal in promoting information literacy. Thinking of the end result, promoting critical thinking, information literacy is the ability to discern quality, computer literacy is the ability to become efficient and each type of literacy must be developed to develop critical thinking (Kasowitz-Scheer and Pasqualoni, 2002).

Literacy is much more than skills taught, received or developed within an academic setting. It can be said that information literacy can contribute to “a productive, full, and satisfying life” (U. S. Department of Labor, 1991, p. i). Without an acceptable degree of information literacy and technological literacy, individuals who are seeking employment or advancement may be limited in their array of choices.

The pedagogical approaches to enhancing, improving and integrating information literacy both across the curriculum and into discipline specific curriculum include “the realms of critical thinking and ethical usage of information” (Spitzer, Eisenberg and Lowe, 1998, p. 26). Blending traditional curricular approaches of reading, writing and speaking with critical thinking should become the rule, if we are to view information literacy as an inclusive, rather than exclusive perspective (Doyle, 1994). This integration produces students who are competent and prepared to not only enter the workforce, but also succeed as a part of the workforce.

In the case of information literacy, it is more than keyboarding, composing, surfing and viewing. These skills, when developed, “enable the construction of higher orders of meaning, nuance, and inference” (Daley, 2003, p. 36). Through developing information literacy, we are beginning a journey. We choose to make the journey and want to experience all that we can along the way. The approach to literacy is based, in no small part, on the desires, needs and perceptions of the end user. Whatever approach we take, we know that we must become literate. The approaches need to be flexible and include “other literacies: visual, media, computer, network, and, of course, basic literacy” (Spitzer, Eisenberg and Lowe, 1998, p. 26).

Technological literacy becomes a subset of information literacy. An individual who becomes information literate will, from necessity, become technologically literate (American Libraries Association, 2000). Technology becomes a means to an ends: through the use of technology, one can become information literate much easier and quicker because of the mere presence and availability of technology. Education should focus on enhancing critical thinking skills. Technological literacy will produce a greater sense of information literacy. Information literacy, when refined, produces critical thinking. We should focus less on requiring critical thinking skills, and more on acquiring critical thinking skills (Kurfiss, 1988). Once students understand the process of critical thinking, and we provide them instructional opportunities to develop their skills then, and only then, will they begin to understand critical thinking.

American Libraries Association. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries. Retrieved April 9, 2007 from

Daley, E. (2003). Expanding the concept of literacy. Educause Review 38(2), 32-40. Retrieved April 3, 2007 from

Doyle, C. (1992). Outcome measures for information literacy within the national education goals of 1990: Final report to national forum on information literacy: Summary of findings. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED351033). Retrieved April 2, 2007 from

Doyle, C. (1994). Information literacy in an information society: A concept for the digital age. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED372763). Retrieved April 2, 2007 from

Kasowitz-Scheer, A., & Pasqualoni, M. (2002). Information literacy instruction in higher education: Trends and Issues. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED465375). Retrieved April 9, 2007 from

Kurfiss, J. (1988). Critical thinking: Theory, research, practice, and possibilities. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 2. Washington, DC: Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Spitzer, K., Eisenberg, M., & Lowe, C. (1998). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED427780). Retrieved April 2, 2007 from

U. S. Department of Labor (1991). What work requires of schools: A scans report for America 2000: The secretary’s commission on achieving necessary skills. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Labor. Retrieved April 9, 2007 from

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pedagogical Implications for Blogs and Wikis in Higher Education

The emergence of blogs and wikis within higher education is causing the academy to reexamine traditionally held pedagogical beliefs. Once labeled as emerging technologies, they are becoming more common due in part to the increase in usage. While the pervasiveness of the technologies is growing outside of the academy, many are wondering how they can be included within the academy. Specifically, can these technologies be used to promote critical thinking, academic engagement and promote reflection? Do these technologies require a curricular shift or a mere revision? How can these technologies “fit” into accepted pedagogical practices?


Stephen Downes noted, “the process of reading online, engaging a community, and reflecting it online is a process of bringing life into learning” (Downes, 2004, p. 26). As educators, we want to provide opportunities for our students to interact – whether with the content, the instructor or other students (Moore, 1989). Blogs and wikis provide the vehicle for student interaction on all three levels.

Through reading, knowledge is transmitted and through writing knowledge and experiences is ingrained (Dale, 1946). The process of writing, in terms of wikis and blogs, is a learned behavior (Emig, 1977); through the use and integration of blogs and wikis within the college curriculum, we can provide students with greater opportunities to write and ultimately hone their craft and abilities as writers.

The “Read-Write” Web

Unlike the first generation technologies that did not support ease of collaboration, the newer technologies “have created opportunities for [creating] such learning communities” (Leh, Koubs and Davis, 2005, p. 241). The “Read/Write Web promises to transform much of how we teach and learn” (Richardson, 2006, p. 2). The students of today enter the academy with the perception that technology is a natural part of their environment and should be equally as natural, pervasive and transparent in the educational environment (Oblinger, 2003). They have grown up with technology and are much more comfortable and competent with what we label as ‘emerging technologies.’ They are able to adapt their previous technological experiences to newer versions or models of technology.

For many educators who are familiar with emerging technologies, recent technologies like blogs and wikis “offer powerful opportunities for online collaboration” (Godwin-Jones, 2003, p. 12). The new technologies have, in essence, created “social writing platforms” (Alexander, 2006, p. 36) where the free and unfettered exchange of ideas can occur. Through these new technologies, instructors can provide a natural context for learning and developing writing skills (Chism, 2004).

This new technological horizon has the potential to refocus college teaching from “covering the materials for the students” to “uncovering the material with the student” (Smith, Sheppard, Johnson and Johnson, 2005, p. 88). In this new environment, students are actively engaged in the learning process, “reading, writing, discussing” as they learn (Stalheim-Smith, 1998, p. 3). Students can develop critical thinking skills, written and oral communication skills and become reflective about learning (Owston, 1997).

Focus on journaling skills

Writing skills is a critical step for student development. Writing helps, encourages and provides an outlet for students to reflect on their learning (Anderson, 1992). By providing the structure of a blog or wiki, students can “demonstrate the reflection, synthesis, and experimentation” normally associated with composition classes (Anderson, 1992, p. 305).

Integrating new technologies, such as blogs and wikis, into writing needs instructor provided guidance as to structure, content and context (Orem, 1997). Many students, when beginning a journal assignment often do not have the past experience (Anderson, 1992) and to create an environment for success need and rely upon instruction and feedback.

Writing as critical reflection

Once students have begun to immerse themselves in the writing process, they will be more likely to “realize the power of reflection and its positive influence on generating knowledge and competence” (Orem, 1997, p. 155). Because writing takes time, and is not immediate, students or writers have a greater opportunity because of the medium to be more reflective (Emig, 1977). Writing, whether in the form of a blog or wiki, provides students with a new form of information literacy (Richardson, 2006). Through these new technologies, students learn to collaborate, to think and to express themselves and deepen their learning (Boulos, Maramba and Wheeler, 2006).

Evaluating or assessing Web 2.0 composition

To begin to evaluate this new form of composition, it is important to remember that this medium is somewhat unstructured and unencumbered by the subtle nuances of formal, academic writing. This form of writing focuses on the process of writing and not on the end product of producing a paper (Anderson, 1992). The new web is “a viable means to increase access to education” (Owston, 1997, p. 29). Both wikis and blogs “actively involve learners in their own construction of knowledge” (Boulos, Maramba and Wheeler, 2006).


Blogs have been characterized as “on-line journals” (Godwin-Jones, 2003, p. 13). Richardson defines a blog as “an easily created, easily updated website” (Richardson, 2006, p. 17). The very nature of a journal provides students opportunities to write for an audience, normally the teacher; in the online environment, the audience becomes much larger (Downes, 2004; Godwin-Jones, 2003). This dynamic now creates an environment where students will become more aware of their audience.

One limitation, or restriction, of a blog is that they are normally “chronologically organized” (Godwin-Jones, 2003, p. 14). Blogs consist of a post, normally arranged in date time order, and subsequent comments to a particular posting (Alexander, 2006). The structure would encourage reflection, sustained writing, engaging readers and reading (Downes, 2004).

Through a blog, a student has opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of the content by their postings and demonstrate synthesis and analysis by commenting on other students postings (Moore, 1989). The demonstration of knowledge can best be evaluated by reviewing and commenting on the process, rather than the product (Kerka, 2002). It is more productive, from the perspective of the learner, to receive reflective feedback that causes them to refocus on their writing.


The wiki has the potential to “become a shared repository of knowledge” that grows over time (Godwin-Jones, 2003, p. 15). The dynamic and fluid nature of the wiki demonstrates that the wiki is “in a constant state of flux” (Lamb, 2004, p. 38). A wiki is “a website where anyone can edit anything anytime” (Richardson, 2006, p. 59). Building learning communities through and with a wiki can provide students with opportunities to share ideas, become critically reflective, analyze and synthesize content and ideas (Leh, Koubs and Davis, 2005).

As a platform for writing, wikis are ideal as “shared online sketchpads or as spaces for brainstorming” (Lamb, 2004, p. 38). This fluid writing space is ideal for immediate student interaction with the content and other students (Moore, 1989). The structure of a wiki and its ever-changing nature is best evaluated in terms of writer reflection and development of thought, not on the grammatical and syntactical components, which may impede the reflection of the writer (Kerka, 2002).

Uses for emerging technologies in higher education

After considering the technological implications for supporting blogs and wikis, and their apparent novel approach or venue for writing, it should become evident that these technologies support peer-editing of work, developmental writing, critical thinking, reflection, enhancing and supporting the process of writing (Alexander, 2006; Lamb, 2004).

Using these technologies to replace traditional classroom instruction should not be the primary concern of educators, but using them to “[fill] a gap void in existing practice” (Lamb, 2004, p. 48) provides the greatest promise. To remain a viable institution, to develop and change with technology rather than because of technology, we must find ways to integrate the new technologies into teaching and learning.

These technologies may reach those students who were or have been considered unreachable. These technologies can significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning (Chism, 2004; Gilbert, 1995). This is now the “Read/Reflect/Write/Participate Web” (Richardson, 2006, p. 133). These technologies may encourage writing and ultimately impact student learning.


Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? Educause Review 41(2), 33-44. Available online at:

Anderson, J. (1992). Journal writing: The promise and the reality. Journal of Reading 36(4), 304-309.

Boulos, M., Maramba, I., & Wheeler, S. (2006). Wikis, blogs and podcasts: A new generation of web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC Medical Education 6(41). Available online at:

Campbell, G. (2005). There’s something in the air: Podcasting in education. Educause Review 40(6), 33-46. Available online at:

Chism, N. (2004). Using a framework to engage faculty in instructional technologies. Educause Quarterly 27(2), 39-45. Available online at:

Dale, E. (1946). Audio visual methods in teaching. New York: The Dryden Press Inc., Publishers.

Downes, S. (2004). Educational blogging. Educause Review 39(5), 14-26. Available online at:

Emig, J. (1977). Writing as a mode of learning. College Composition and Communication 28(2), 122-128.

Gilbert, S. (1995). Technology & the changing academy. Change 27(5), 58-61.

Godwin-Jones, R. (2003). Emerging technologies: Blogs and wikis: Environments for on-line collaboration. Language, Learning & Technology, 7(2), 12-16. Available online at:

Kerka, S. (2002). Journal writing as an adult learning tool. ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Practice Application Brief, No. 22. Available online at:

Lamb, B. (2004). Wide open spaces: Wikis, ready or not. Educause Review 39(5), 36-48. Available online at:

Leh, A., Koubs, B., & Davis, D. (2005). Twenty-first century learning: Communities, interaction and ubiquitous computing. Educational Media International 42(93), 237-250.

Moore, M. (1989). Editorial: Three types of interaction. The American Journal of Distance Education 3(2), 1-6.

Oblinger, D. (2003). Boomers, gen-xers, millennials: Understanding the new students. Educause Review 38(4), 36-47. Available online at:

Orem, R. (1997). Journal writing as a form of professional development. In S. Levine (Ed.), Proceedings of the Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community Education (pp. 151-156). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED412370).

Owston, R. (1997). The world wide web: A new technology to enhance teaching and learning? Educational Researcher 26(2), 27-33.

Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Smith, K., Sheppard, S., Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. (2005). Pedagogies of engagement: Classroom-based practices. Journal of Engineering Education 94(1), 87-101.

Stalheim-Smith, A. (1998). Focusing on active, meaningful learning. IDEA Paper No. 34. Manhattan, KS: IDEA Center. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.: ED418659).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pedagogical approaches to integrative learning

The process of teaching requires faculty “to teach well, to engage students, and to foster important forms of student learning” (Hutchings and Shulman, 1999, p. 13). To fulfill this goal, faculty should focus on developing an integrative approach to teaching. An integrative learning environment focuses on blending and extending one course seamlessly into another course. Integrative learning blends perspectives “from disciplines, cultures, subcultures [and] life experiences” (Klein, 2005, p. 9). Integrative learning provides an active learning environment, creates opportunities for deeper learning and can engage students regardless of learning style (Chickering and Gamson, 1987).

To define integrative learning is easier accomplished by characterizing educational opportunities. Students who connect skills, content from multiple sources are integrating learning; applying knowledge from one discipline to another reinforces both disciplines and extends the disciplines equally as well; integrative learning occurs during the process of learning not as a result of learning (Huber and Hutchings, 2004).

Typical courses focus on learning “discrete, unconnected chunks” (Huber, Hutchings and Gale, 2005, p. 6). This focus, while economical for course design, development and delivery, does not typically provide students with the materials, experience or exposure to the broader connections of knowledge (Glaser, 1984). This narrow focus does not adequately prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s workforce (National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America’s Promise, 2007). It should become evident that, to promote active learning, students should be challenged to think about course content in new and different ways and to make connections both within courses, experiences, and other courses.

Faculty must think of the learning that occurs after the course has ended. If they have adequately taught the content, students will be searching and making connections to other courses. Courses in this sense never fully answer the discipline specific questions, the students will be seeking answers and continually integrating old knowledge into newer knowledge (Chickering and Gamson, 1987; Huber and Hutchings, 2004). In this approach, faculty and colleges will “help students make connections across learning experiences and over time” (Shi, 2006, p. 4). Students will become lifelong learners and continually add to their own knowledge worth by exploring new ways to learn and connect and extend their knowledge.

Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin 39(7), 3-7.

Glaser, R. (1984). Education and thinking: The role of knowledge. American Psychologist 39(2), 93-104.

Huber, M., & Hutchings, P. (2004). Integrative learning: Mapping the terrain. Washington, DC: The Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved March 29, 2007 from

Huber, M., Hutchings, P., & Gale, R. (2005). Integrative learning for liberal education. Peer Review 7(4), 4-7.

Hutchings, P., & Shulman, L. (1999). The scholarship of teaching. Change 31(5), 10-15.

Klein, J. (2005). Integrative learning and interdisciplinary studies. Peer Review 7(4), 8-10.

National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America’s Promise. (2007). College learning for the new global century. Washington, DC: The Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved March 29, 2007 from

Shi, D. (2006). Technology and integrative learning: Enabling serendipitous connectivity across courses. Peer Review 8(4), 4-7.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Promoting Faculty and Adjunct Faculty Professional Development: An Open Dialogue

Promoting faculty development, and more specifically adjunct or part-time faculty, within the community college system requires a systematic approach to ensure success. Faculty development must focus on developing those who are charged with teaching. Successful faculty professional development should include community building, professional and personal growth and recognition and appreciation (Oromaner, 1998; Wallin, 2006) and focus on improving faculty as teachers, regardless of their discipline (Chickering and Gamson, 1987). Regardless of the structure of professional development, the most effective element is a contextual approach, meeting the immediate needs with immediate solutions (Watts and Hammons, 2002). Likewise, professional development should be available, regardless of delivery method, and reinforce the mission and goals of the institution (Stern, 2003).

One element in professional development that shapes and directly influences and impacts the success is the ability of faculty members to become critically reflective. To teach, or more specifically, to become a better teacher requires us all to stop and examine what worked, and what did not work as envisioned. Brookfield (1995) stated that “we have available four lenses through which we can view our teaching” (Brookfield, 1995, p. 29). The four lenses are “(1) our autobiographies as teachers and learners, (2) our students’ eyes, (3) our colleagues’ experiences, and (4) theoretical literature” (Brookfield, 1995, p. 29).

As faculty, we look at what we do through the perspective of a student. We listen to and observe our students. We often seek the advice from peers, and may observe them in the classroom. We read pedagogical literature in our discipline to stay abreast of current teaching strategies. Through each lens, we may see opportunities for professional development and growth. It is through the reflective process that we have the opportunity for growth, improvement and professional development.

Rather than dwell on topics that cannot be directly related back to teaching and learning, the program should be relevant for both the novice and the experienced community college faculty member. The topics should provide a holistic approach to teaching and learning and not focus on unique discipline aspects with potential limited impact (Watts and Hammons, 2002). The program should be well rounded and well grounded in contemporary pedagogical approaches (Schuetz, 2002). Topics for professional development should contribute to success professionally, personally, and institutionally (Hilsen and Wadsworth, 2002).

An overall approach must be both supported institutionally and acknowledged as contributing to the overall success of the faculty member, the academic units, the institution, the students and all stakeholders. From an institutional perspective, professional development programs for both faculty and adjunct faculty must “cross divisional lines [and be] responsive to [the] mission and all of [the] employee groups” (Oromaner, 1998, p. 5). Any formalized or non-structured program should have a focus and goals that align with overall institutional goals and strategic plans (Murray, 2002).

The success of the faculty professional development rests with those who are responsible for the design, development and delivery, with the faculty who attend and implement or modify their practices, with the institution to ensure the emphasis is placed on professional development and ultimately with the students who are the indirect recipients of successful faculty development (Murray, 2002). Professional development for faculty, and adjunct faculty, should address the four functions from Boyer (1990), “the scholarship of discovery; the scholarship of integration; the scholarship of application; and the scholarship of teaching” (Boyer, 1990, p. 16). Professional development should meet the needs of local faculty and connect faculty to faculty with the overall goal of improving teaching and learning (Fink, 2002).

Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate: A special report. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin 39(7), 3-7.

Fink, L. (2002). Establishing an instructional development program: An example. In K. H. Gillespie (Ed.), L. R. Hilsen and E. C. Wadsworth (Associate Eds.), A guide to faculty development: Practical advice, examples, and resources (pp. 35-44). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.

Hilsen, L., & Wadsworth, E. (2002). Staging successful workshops. In K. H. Gillespie (Ed.), L. R. Hilsen and E. C. Wadsworth (Associate Eds.), A guide to faculty development: Practical advice, examples, and resources (pp. 108-122). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.

Murray, J. (2002). The current state of faculty development in two-year colleges. In C. L. Outcalt (Vol. Ed.), Community college faculty: Characteristics, practices, and challenges. New directions for community colleges. Number 118. (pp. 89-97). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Oromaner, M. (1998). Faculty and staff development. Los Angeles, CA: ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED416941). Retrieved March 26, 2007 from

Schuetz, P. (2002). Instructional practices of part-time and full-time faculty. In C. L. Outcalt (Vol. Ed.), Community college faculty: Characteristics, practices, and challenges. New directions for community colleges. Number 118. (pp. 39-46). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Stern, S. (2003). Professional development: Leading organizational change in community colleges. Los Angeles, CA: ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED477912). Retrieved March 26, 2007 from

Wallin, D. (2006). Short-term leadership development: Meeting a need for emerging community college leaders. Community College Journal of Research and Practice 30(7), 513-528.

Watts, G., & Hammons, J. (2002). Leadership development for the next generation. In G. E. Watts (Vol. Ed.), Enhancing community colleges through professional development. New directions for community colleges. Number 120. (pp. 59-66). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Blogs and wikis

Blogs and wikis are changing how students learn, and eventually will change how we teach. Blogs and wikis are examples of tools or “social writing platforms” (Alexander, 2006, p. 36) to promote writing, reading, critical reflective thinking, and the potential for collaboration. Blogs are a more structured format. By structure, the blogs are a journal of sorts, with postings and comments arranged in a reverse date format. According to Alexander, “blogs are about posts, not pages” (Alexander, 2006, p. 33). Wikis, on the other hand, have the possibility of having great structure or almost no structure visible. The wiki is an example of a brainstorming or concept mapping application (Lamb, 2004) where the structure is not as critical as the communication of ideas and thoughts. Wikis, in Alexander’s view “are streams of conversation, revision, amendment, and truncation” (Alexander, 2006, p. 33).

Blogs could easily be adapted for uses in courses or opportunities to demonstrate reflection, and process (Downes, 2004). Blogs provide instructors the means to communicate with students in an almost conversational tone by their postings, and comments. Improving the opportunities for interaction with the instructor and other students (Moore, 1989), blogging can effectively reduce the potential isolation for the distant student.

Wikis would be appropriate for developmental writing or collaborative writing (Lamb, 2004). A shared space, like a wiki, becomes the virtual coffee house, where ideas can be freely exchanged, conversational threads can be developed, explored and altered as the conversation or dialogue matures.

Both provide opportunities for developing and honing composition skills, focusing on written communication, editing, and revision (Alexander, 2006).

Alexander, B. (2006). “Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning?” Educause Review 41(2), 32-44. Retrieved September 26, 2006 from

Downes, S. (2004). “Educational blogging.” Educause Review 39(5), 14-26. Retrieved September 26, 2006 from

Lamb, B. (2004). “Wide open spaces: Wikis, ready or not.” Educause Review 39(5), 36-48. Retrieved September 26, 2006 from

Moore. M. (1989). "Editorial: Three types of interaction." The American Journal of Distance Education 3(2), 1-6.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Transparent technology

The transparent nature of technology is a result of the changes in student population. Students are more familiar with technology and are increasing in technological competency (Oblinger, 2003). As educators, we must attempt to integrate technology into teaching and do it in a way that does not draw undue attention to the technology (Wargo, 2006). Transparent technology is used to impact and improve student learning (Parsons and DeLucia, 2005). The terms transparent technology, ubiquitous computing and pervasive computing are used synonymously through the literature (Brown, Burg and Dominick, 1998) and imply that it is not the technology itself that impacts teaching and learning, but the instructional methods that use the technology (Brown and Petitto, 2003). Thus, technology is transparent to the learning.

Brown, D., Burg, J., & Dominick, J. (1998). A strategic plan for ubiquitous laptop computing. Communications of the ACM 41(1), 26-35.

Brown, D., & Petitto, K. (2003). The state of ubiquitous computing. Educause Review 38(3), 24-33. Retrieved March 26, 2007 from

Oblinger, D. (2003). Boomers, gen-xers and millennials: Understanding the new students. Educause Review 38(4), 36-47. Retrieved March 26, 2007 from

Parsons, C., DeLucia, J. (2005). Decision making in the process of differentiation. Learning and Leading with Technology 33(1), 8-10.

Wargo, E. (2006). No data left behind. Learning and Leading with Technology 33(5), 22-25.

Thoughts on technology and teaching

Imagine a learning space where access to technology is not confined to a physical location. Access to computing resources and internet connectivity should be a commonplace occurrence, and not an infrequent activity (Brown, Burg and Dominick, 1998; Brown, 2003). Learning occurs more often within spaces outside of the classroom and at times other than scheduled class periods. Ubiquitous and pervasive access to resources should be equally as fluid, flexible and transparent (Brown and Petitto, 2003; Moquin and Travis, 1999). Institutions must be bold and flexible in creating, growing and supporting the technological infrastructure to allow for access anywhere and anytime (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003)

Imagine a learning space where technology is so transparent, so pervasive and so ubiquitous that learners are more focused on learning with technology than learning how to use technology (Westera, 2004). Technology should not be viewed as the driver of education, but an option to provide quality educational opportunities to all (Brown, 2003). Through the careful and deliberate integration of technology into the teaching and learning spaces, we are now able to tap into a wealth of information (and multimedia) that was previously untouchable and out of reach (Green, 1999; Moquin and Travis, 1999). Instructional technology, or information technology, must become a partner and provide, support, encourage, facilitate and fund transformations of teaching that integrate technology into teaching and learning (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003).

Imagine a learning space that can easily be reconfigured without technological limitations or restrictions (Moquin and Travis, 1999). Not only should the physical or virtual space be mobile and flexible, the content that is delivered should be flexible and provide learners opportunities for personalized training and growth (Brown and Petitto, 2003). The central focus of a university, learning, is constantly adapting to new curriculum and other physical elements and should be equally adept in adapting to new technologies (Masi and Winer, 2005). Institutions should actively engage both technology and pedagogy in the design and development of learning spaces that promote and positively impact learning (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003).

Imagine a learning space that creates and fosters collaboration using technology to facilitate the process rather than direct or control the process. Collaboration between and across traditional stakeholders in all aspects of teaching and learning can produce the need, desire, direction and suggestions for improvement (Brown, Burg and Dominick, 1998). This form of collaboration can lead to and contribute to personal, professional and institutional development (Lanicci, 2002). Institutions should model technological collaborations, information dissemination and communications to acknowledge the efficiency of technology in institutional growth and development (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003).

Imagine a learning space that produces technologically skilled and proficient workers. Training and skill development should be thought of as an integrated part of the curriculum, where students, faculty and staff have the resources, assets and opportunities to learn (Brown and Petitto, 2003). Technological literacy is fast becoming an expectation of and for all stakeholders and providing the training and support to become technologically literate should be commonplace (Brown, Burg and Dominick, 1998; Westera, 2004). Institutions should invest in the human capital improvement by providing common software, platforms and training for all stakeholders (Duderstadt, Atkins and Van Houweling, 2003).

Brown, D., Burg, J., & Dominick, J. (1998). A strategic plan for ubiquitous laptop computing. Communications of the ACM 41(1), 26-35.

Brown, D. (2003). The ubiquitous computing movement. In D. G. Brown (Ed.), Ubiquitous computing: The universal use of computers on college campuses (pp. 1-13). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Brown, D., & Petitto, K. (2003). The state of ubiquitous computing. Educause Review 38(3), 24-33. Retrieved March 25, 2007 from

Duderstadt, J., Atkins, D., & Van Houweling, D. (2003). The development of institutional strategies. Educause Review 38(3), 48-58. Retrieved March 25, 2007 from

Green, K. (1999). When wishes come true: Colleges and the convergence of access, lifelong learning and technology. Change 31(2), 10-15.

Lanicci, J. (2002). A concept model for integrating IT into education. Educause Quarterly 25(1), 46-49. Retrieved March 25, 2007 from

Masi, A., & Winer, L. (2005). A university-wide vision of teaching and learning with information technologies. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 42(2), 147-155.

Moquin, B., & Travis, J. (1999). Community colleges on the highway: Major issues for technology planning. Community College Journal of Research and Practice 23(2), 147-159.

Westera, W. (2004). On strategies of educational innovation: Between substitution and transformation. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning 47(4), 501-517.

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