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Friday, August 30, 2013

Cengage Learning eNewsletter - Activity: Using a Planner as a Tool for Student Success


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Cengage Learning eNewsletter
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Topic of the Week :

Get Ready, Get Set... Go!

This week's posts at the Cengage Learning Blog offer you and your students suggestions for beginning the school year with energy and confidence. Join us at the Blog.
This Week's Featured Topics :

Getting Students Active and Engaged on Day One

Are you starting classes soon? Try this technique that encourages student participation and engagement, right in your first class session. Read More »

Your Favorite "Icebreaker" Activities

We share some first-day-of-class activities contributed by readers of the Cengage Learning Blog. Read More »

The Relationship Between Student Wellness and Student Learning

Dr. Christine Harrington offers suggestions that can help you integrate valuable information about wellness into your course, while maintaining an appropriate emphasis on academics. Read More »

Activity: Using a Planner as a Tool for Student Success

Expose your students to the various time-management tools available to them, and help them see the value of using one on a regular basis. Read More »

Rest: An Essential Element of College Success

Remind students that, as they invest time in earning A's and B's, they should also strive to get their Z's. Read More »
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Faculty Focus: Prompts That Get Students to Analyze, Reflect, Relate, and Question
August 28, 2013

Prompts That Get Students to Analyze, Reflect, Relate, and Question

A simple teaching technique that helps students learn; now there’s something few teachers would pass up! This particular technique involves a four-question set that gets students actively responding to the material they are studying. They analyze, reflect, relate, and question via these four prompts:
  • “Identify one important concept, research finding, theory, or idea … that you learned while completing this activity.”
  • “Why do you believe that this concept, research finding, theory, or idea … is important?”
  • “Apply what you have learned from this activity to some aspect of your life.”
  • “What question(s) has the activity raised for you? What are you still wondering about?” [You might need to prohibit the answer “nothing”.]
Dietz-Uhler and Lanter, who authored the set, had students in an introductory psych course answer the questions about a Web-based activity that they had completed in groups. Alexander, Commander, Greenberg, and Ward used the set to promote critical thinking in an online course. Their students answered the questions before discussing a case online.
The question set is versatile. Here are some examples of how it could be used.
  • Use the four prompts as a way to summarize an in-class discussion, adjusting the wording of the questions: “Identify one important idea that you learned during this discussion,” etc.
  • Have students answer the questions about a reading assignment. Dietz-Uhler and Lanter had students write 100-word responses to the first three prompts. Written answers could be shared in small group discussions.
  • At the beginning of class, give students five minutes to write answers to the questions as a way of reviewing notes taken in a previous class session. Or, have students submit answers online before class and use sample responses to review the material.
  • A version of the question set could be the template used to provide peer feedback on a paper. (What’s one important idea presented in this paper? Why does the author think the idea is important? Is that idea important to you? Why or why not? What question(s) do you think the author still needs answer?)
  • Use the questions as way to end and evaluate a course. (What’s one important idea you’ll take from this course? Why do you believe it’s important? How does it relate to your life? What are the next questions you want to find answers to?) To answer these questions, students must reflect on their learning. Their answers might cause teachers to reflect as well.
Does this question-set have an effect on student learning? Yes, it does! Dietz-Uhler and Lanter’s students who answered the four prompts before taking a quiz did significantly better than students who completed them after they took the quiz. The average quiz score for those answering the questions first was 74% (SD 25.48%) and 59.18% (SD 29.69%) for those answering them after the quiz. The second author group analyzed the level of critical thinking in the online discussions of a case when students answered the four questions before they participated in the discussion. They discussed two other cases without using the prompts. Critical thinking scores were significantly higher when students used the question set first.
If the technique is used in a dissimilar way the same results aren’t guaranteed, of course, but you can test your results. Short of an empirical analysis, you can ask students whether the questions enhanced their understanding. When asked, Deitz-Uhler and Lanter’s students said that they did. You also could decide to make a critical assessment of the questions’ effectiveness.
Sometimes I think we gravitate toward fancy techniques—the ones with lots of bells and whistles. It’s nice on occasion to wow students, but it’s not always necessary. A technique like this showcases a simple but useful way students can interact with the content. It’s a teaching technique that becomes a study strategy capable of moving students toward thinking and learning on a deeper level.
References: Dietz-Uhler, B. and Lanter, J. R. (2009). Using the four-questions technique to enhance learning. Teaching of Psychology, 36 (1), 38-41.
Alexander, M. E., Commander, N., Greenberg, D., and Ward, T. (2010) Using the four-questions technique to enhance critical thinking in online discussions. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6 (2), 409-415.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Call for Comment on Accrediting Organizations Scheduled for CHEA Recognition Review







These organizations will be reviewed at the November 25-26, 2013 meeting of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Committee on Recognition. Third-party comment must be received in the CHEA office no later than October 15, 2013 and may be submitted by mail, fax or email to:

Council for Higher Education Accreditation
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-955-6126 - Fax: 202-955-6129 - Email:

The Committee on Recognition meeting will take place at One Dupont Circle, Level 1B in Conference Room A.


CHEA recognition review includes an opportunity for parties independent of the accrediting organization under review to comment on whether the organization meets the CHEA recognition standards. Third-party comment may be either oral or written and is limited to the accrediting organization's efforts to meet the CHEA recognition standards. This may include commentary from many different sources, such as other accrediting organizations, institutions and programs, or professional or higher education associations. The comments will assist the CHEA Committee on Recognition as it considers the applications for recognition. A list of the committee on recognition members is provided here.

CHEA staff will review any third-party comment to assess its applicability to the recognition review. As provided in the 2006 and 2010 CHEA Recognition Policy and Procedures, third-party comments are reviewed by the CHEA Committee on Recognition.

"THIRD-PARTY COMMENT. Third-party comment may be either oral or written and is limited to the accrediting organization's efforts to meet the CHEA recognition standards.  All third parties requesting the opportunity to make comment related to an accrediting organization's recognition review are to notify CHEA staff and provide the names and affiliations of the persons requesting the opportunity to make third-party comment and a description of the organization(s) they represent. CHEA staff will review third-party requests for oral or written comment for completeness and applicability to eligibility and recognition standards.

Third parties who wish to appear for oral comment before the CHEA Committee on Recognition are to provide an outline of the proposed oral comment.  Where in the judgment of the Committee doing so may be useful, the Committee may invite third parties to appear before the Committee.  The accrediting organization will receive the outline of the proposed oral comment of third parties invited to appear.  Accrediting organizations will have the opportunity to review and respond to proposed oral comment.

Third parties wishing to make written comment are to provide the text of the third-party comment.  After review by CHEA staff, written comment will be provided to the Committee and the accrediting organization.  Accrediting organizations will have the opportunity to review and respond to written comment.

Third parties are to provide an outline of their oral comment or the text of their written comment in sufficient time to provide for review by CHEA staff, review and response by the accrediting organization, and for the outline or text to be provided to the Committee.

CHEA staff will notify all concerned parties of the location, date, and time of the public presentation."

Posted: August 27, 2013      

Teaching for Success Faculty Success Center Today's Success Tip: A Simple Active-learning Energizer

 Today's Success Tip
A Simple Active-learning Energizer
by Jack H. Shrawder, Executive Director,
Teaching For Success, Faculty Success Center
From the TFS Instructional Mastery Program:
Clarity, Confidence, and Capability

An Active Learning Innovation Break
Here's a creative thinking, brain energizer for your students. Try this easy, change-of-pace opportunity to engage your students in a hands-on creative-thinking and problem-solving learning experience.

The Setup
Divide your class into small work groups of 4 to 5 students in each group. Supply each group with 20 to 25 large paper clips. The exact number is not critical.

The Challenge
Challenge each group to design and create as many paper clip inventions as they can in 3 minutes.

The Process
At the end of the three-minute build period, each group should pick their top three inventions. A small-group spokesperson from each group then explains their invention to the entire class.

After each group has presented their top-three inventions, the class votes on which of the all the inventions is the most clever or creative.


The exercise finishes with appropriate instructor's and students' comments on the creative process. This activity ends on a positive note when the instructor invites the class to give themselves a nice round of applause.
Recommended Ideas for More Teaching Improvement

Newness Gets Noticed

Newness engages. With it, students are more likely to complete your course. If retention and win-win results teaching is your goal, then you will want to take your students to Level Four. Find out how to accomplish this in this TFS resource.
    Some "Recommended Ideas" are restricted to access by faculty at colleges with a TFS Institutional Subscription. If your institution is not yet a TFS subscriber institution, why not request your administrator subscribe. Just forward this TFS Institutional Order Form to her or him.  Then you'll soon have access to the entire e-library of teaching improvement and success ideas 24-7.

    Would You Help? Be recognized and help improve teaching by sharing your favorite teaching tip. For immediate consideration, email your Tip of 200 words or less to Jack Shrawder, for immediate consideration.

    Please share the TFS Success Tips Sign Up Link with Your Colleagues.
Jack H. Shrawder, Executive Director, TFS Faculty Success Center


Pentronics Publishing, 721 6th St. NE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124, USA


Monday, August 26, 2013

BET Daily News: August 26, 2013 - March on Washington Then & Now Articles and Pictures











Friday, August 23, 2013

Inside Higher Ed Articles: President Obama and Education

Obama proposes expansive college rating system. Making it happen won't be easy, but higher education leaders said they'll play ball.
Professors overwhelmingly voted for Obama twice. But five years into his presidency, few faculty leaders are surprised that they disagree strongly with his plan for higher ed reform.
For colleges and other organizations promoting alternative paths to degrees, the president's speech was validation they have wanted.


Education Dive: Articles about President Obama and Education


Faculty advocates react to Obama's plan for higher ed


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

EmergingEdTech: Socrative – A 21st Century Way to Assess (as Easy as Raising Your Hand)


Socrative – A 21st Century Way to Assess (as Easy as Raising Your Hand)


Teacher Dave Rudey Agrees that Using this Student Responses System is "As Easy As Raising Your Hand"

Let me set the stage: it’s professional development at our district administration building. Our district has made a MAJOR leap; within the next three years, we want to have a full 1:1 iPad rollout to our students completed. This coincides for our overall “rethinking education” push and a move to NxGL ("Next Generation Learning") classrooms. One-third of the roll-out had been  completed (Districts, like elephants take their time and aren’t usually in a hurry). At the time it was “Arab spring” in areas of the Middle East, and there was a similar feeling in room 704 - the professionals were restless ...
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