Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My OnIOn Method of Instruction

Here's how I see education moving into, if it is not there already. I call it My OnIOn method of instruction for Online, In-person, One-on-One and because these are the three layers:

Layer 1: Online Instructional Component: This component contains the course material such as readings, activities, quizzes, and other items the students can use for learning purposes. This is also where the assignments will be submitted.

Layer 2: In-Person Instructional Component: Students can attend various lectures and activities dealing with the topics of the course. Some of these topics can be repeated throughout the term depending on their foundational importance and student needs.

Layer 3: One-on-One Assistance: Students can meet one on one with a faculty member or designated staff to discuss the material further to gain better understanding of the concepts in the course.

The idea is to have all of the material online with the two in-person components to support the student’s education.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Plagiarism is out there

Every school has a plagiarism problem; especially, when using publisher issued material such as test banks and case studies without changing them before assigning to students. I can see this going unnoticed if the instructor is not aware of the instance. Also, we have some measures of prevention such as MyLabs and we can increase the use of TurnItIn type software. 
Students also don't think that copying and pasting is plagiarism and wrong. In an extreme case, a student here turned in a copied page of the textbook with some highlights and notes on the side pointing at the textbook text with Answer to #1, Answer to #2. Technically, they are providing the answers to the questions as instructed (Answer Case Study Questions 1-4), but not in their original voice. That's a difficult concept to communicate sometimes (critical thinking). In another case, I've a student argue that the paper was their own because they bought it.
In the end, we need training in discovering this and more assuring support for faculty when they discover this. I'd say that I see or find a case of plagiarism in each course I've taught/teach. Some are coaching moments for the student and some are extreme as the examples above. We need awareness for students as well.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Is Hybrid the way to go? YES

Technically, since the advent of internet access and globalization of this method, there is no real absolute need to go to a building for information (or at least there shouldn’t be a need). However, the trick is deciding what aspects of education are better suited for online instruction and what aspects are better suited for live interaction (notice live not in-person, but it can be). The world has advanced technologically where we can do correspondence courses better. We can be in the same presentation without being in the same room.

Here’s an interesting article showing how hybrid helped this math course.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Please don’t teach to the test

I would love to see one person teaching and a different one grading. Better yet, a panel of credentialed faculty grading assignments to ensure the student learning outcomes are met. This way, the same person teaching does not rate their own student’s learning success. Is the better teacher the one with all the A’s in class or the one with well-distributed grades? We can’t tell by just this information. Then, there is after the course. 

How do the students do after your class in another course? That’s more telling than grades. I have students in my quantitative analysis classes that sometimes cannot convert decimals to percentages. I mean, I am stopped in the middle of class when I say there is a 6% probability of xyz (wait, Dr. C. where did the 6% come from?).  So, I start with another problem and work it out and I get the same question. Eventually, I realize that I omitted the automatic step of .06 = 6% because to me that is common knowledge. 

Does that mean that their algebra teacher failed? What about their elementary school teacher? Well, probably not. These may be students that did not do well in these sorts of subjects to begin with. Maybe, they were barely passed with a C, which means they potentially do not understand 30% of the material (or even more).

The bottom line is that there should be a better system to ensure that all of the required objectives are met by the student and not just 70% of them. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mapping Demonstrated Competencies to Credit Hours

How about we create competency-based training that can be mapped to credit hours (although credit hours were created as a faculty load measuring tool and turned into a student learning number, so I don't think we ought to be bound to these hours, but that is the world we are in; therefore, fitting a new model into the current structure - like a the children's toy with the shapes to go into the cube).

We would have to break down each course and determine the concepts learned in each course and the contact hours required in each concept in order to map it back. Then, we will be able to have students learn what they need to learn. I am thinking of the retired military sergeant who is being required to take a management intro class or even a speech course. I understand that there is theory to test, but maybe s/he can focus his/her attention on the necessary items.

Many others can fit the made-up person above and figuring out what is in each course down to the concept can come in handy in better serving this student to maximize the learning experience. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let’s meet our students at “home”

Let’s meet with our students in their “home” page, that is. If that is where they are hanging out, let’s educate them where they are or at least meet them half way. I am one that allows the use of technology (laptop, mobile devices, etc.) in the college classroom. Every once in a while during the discussion I ask guiding questions that they can search for. In a quantitative analysis class, I may pose a question about seeing the +/- % at the bottom of polls, survey results, articles, etc. Many of them go to their devices to look for that. Or, I refer to an article found at xyz site.

Of course, not all students are engaged in the discussion, but usually, all are engaged at some point or another. I don’t have to call on anyone as they are more than eager to share (and brag) about what they found. I ask them to post their links in a central location in online board. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Taking advantage of what students love: Tech

The online world is here and technology should be able to help (not hurt). We can use it to teach our students responsible behavior. My daughter conducted research regarding phishing. Her objective during this nice summer weekend was to explain three instances where phishing has occurred and identify 5 ways to prevent it. She is in middle school and as technology is used more and more in the classroom, she needs to be aware of the possible dangers and the better ways to approach its usage.

Again, nothing will be perfect, but I would much rather experience this vicariously and maybe even fall a fool for a couple of trick now giving her favorite color and life’s savings away today than when she has much more to lose like a job, real savings, etc. 

This article from CNN shares more about bringing the classroom to our students using technology (but, the technology that 'they' use):