Category: Higher Education

ESIL: A Learning Lens for the Digital Age

In the early 90’s, most people had three reasonable choices for looking up the information you did not know: a book or journal you owned, the notes you took in class, or a library. In all of these cases, you had to physically move yourself to the location where the information source was stored. The best bet to be able to state information quickly was to know the information yourself. Given that we are humans, let’s assume the accuracy of all the information we hold in our heads is (at best) 80%. In the later 90’s and early 00’s,...

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Adjuncts shouldn’t have to fix a broken system

For 10 years I taught as a full-time professor at a community college. My loads were between 4-4-0 and 5-5-4, depending on the year. Typically I had 2-4 preps each semester. With a PhD and two Master’s degrees my hourly wage was somewhere around $40/hr if I truly worked a 40-hour week and I received health care and retirement benefits on top of that. Realistically, benefits probably made my hourly wage more like $60/hr, but then working 60-hour weeks brought it back to about $40/hr. I left academia in 2012 to pursue a career in the corporate world, and...

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Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM

Learning at Scale: Using Research To Improve Learning Practices and Technology for Teaching Math In the last 5 years, there has been a rise in what we might call “large-scale digital learning experiments.”  These take the form of centralized courses, vendor-created courseware, online homework systems, MOOCs, and free-range learning platforms. If we mine the research, successes, and failures coming out of these experiments, what can we discover about designing better digital learning experiences and technology for the learning of mathematics? Learning at Scale: Using Research To Improve Learning Practices and Technology for Teaching Math from Maria Andersen   Possibly...

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Broken Educational Metrics: Office Hours

Our modern-day system of higher education was built to mass-produce education during the industrial age.  The system is loosely based on a factory-model where students are, in general, processed through the system in batches through a series of distinct steps.    As long as the goal of education was to impart information in a uniform manner, this served our needs relatively well, ramping up education from one-room school houses and private tutors to a large-scale operation with a goal of educating the entire population.  But we now live in a different era – one where information is abundant and readily available at our fingertips, creativity means greater employability, and the ability to understand interdisciplinary projects and work on a team is vital. If we’re going to change education to adapt to the new era, there’s no doubt that we have to change the metrics that measure student learning.  However, we also have to change the metrics that measure instructor duties and performance. Let me illustrate with an example of a broken educational metric from the instructor’s point of view: office hours.  Most full-time instructors in higher education are required to hold office hours. What purpose were office hours supposed to serve? Student Engagement Presumption: Students will use office hours to communicate with their instructors one-on-one when they need help or guidance Today, the act of being physically present in...

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