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Friday, March 30, 2012

EduDemic: March 20, 2012

Posted: 29 Mar 2012 09:31 AM PDT
This is the kind of story that makes me love what I do. If I'm ever feeling like the work I do (integrating technology) is not important, I should just watch this video and read the story.

What’s Happening On April 2nd?
Posted: 29 Mar 2012 07:53 AM PDT
We've been hard at work on a few pretty major projects here at Edudemic. The first of those is finally set to launch and we couldn't be more excited. So we thought we'd have a little fun with it.

Posted: 29 Mar 2012 06:00 AM PDT
If you're a Facebook user, you've likely heard of the relatively new design for your profile page. But if you oversee a brand / org page (say, for your classroom or school) then you should know that your page is going to be pushed into the new Timeline mode at the end of the month.


Tomorrow's Professor: Three Faculty Communities: Academic Labor Across Institutional Types

Coaching and Teaching
Perhaps because I?ve never been a natural athlete and never been on an athletic team, I?ve always hated the idea of coaches. I still feel strong visceral contempt when, in a movie or play, a young athlete in conversation with his family says something like, ?Coach says . . . .? Dropping the definite article represents a sure sign of cultish devotion, unwarranted Rasputinesque influence and the end of independent thinking. In my mind it?s ?the coach? or you?re an idiot. But then one of your closest friends sends you an article from the New Yorker and you begin to reflect on the effectiveness of the best teaching you?ve had and even such powerful attitudes can soften as a deeper understanding of coaching takes hold.

To let myself off the hook a bit, I think I?ve always been inclined toward learning through coaching, but simply had a deep prejudice against the word. That, of course, also meant I maintained a powerful barrier against learning what might lie behind mindfully reflecting on the word and where those reflections might lead. For example, when I was invited to go to Saudi Arabia and speak in September, I was given a choice of keynote topics ? the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning or Peer Observation. I snapped up Peer Observation as something I knew to be worthwhile and of direct benefit to teaching faculty, whereas, though SoTL might foster reflection and lead to better teaching, I?d found most of it to be as thin as French veneer without any of its elegance. Way back in the 1970s as a TA I?d agitated to have myself videotaped and persuaded faculty to review the tapes with me at a time when neither was standard procedure and videotaping was a cumbersome affair. So, I guess I?ve believed in coaching all along. I?ve just had a chip on my shoulder about coaches.

The article my friend sent me ? ?Personal Best? by Atul Gawande, appeared in the October 3 issue of the New Yorker in the ?Annals of Medicine? department. Gawande is a surgeon and an associate professor of medicine and public health at Harvard and author of the recent book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. Nearing his mid-forties, Gawande began to wonder if his skills as a surgeon were as good as they were ever going to get. His rates of postsurgical complication had steadily declined as he?d gained experience, but they?d hit a plateau. Then, on vacation, he happened to spend an unexpected hour with a tennis pro whose few comments ended up improving Gawande?s serve significantly even though he had thought his serve was the strongest part of his game. That started Gawande on the course of investigation and reflection that led to writing the article. He recounts how coaching was seen as unsporting in nineteenth-century Britain (an attitude beautifully dramatized in the film ?Chariots of Fire? about the 1924 Olympics) and how its embrace in America led to consistent victories on athletic fields. He then inquired and discovered that top musicians like violinist Itzhak Perlman and soprano Renee Fleming have trusted coaches continually acting as their second, seasoned pairs of eyes and ears helping them see and hear their performances and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This initially surprised Gawande. He?d assumed top musicians operated as most doctors (and most faculty) do: once graduated they go on alone and untutored.

Eventually, Gawande?s investigation led him to Jim Knight, director of the Kansas Coaching Project at the University of Kansas. I?m compressing a fine piece of writing I hope you?ll seek out and read for yourself, but I want to expose you to some of Gawande?s most provocative findings. Through Knight, Gawande became familiar with research on teacher-skill development done in 80 schools in the 1980s that more than supports the idea that coaching may be the best way to improve teaching. That research found that workshops inspired teachers to make improvements in their teaching only 10% of the time whereas coaching about the same skills led teachers to adopt the changes in more than 90% of the cases. Moreover, the coached teachers were more effective and their students did better on tests.

The open question at this point was what makes for good coaching, since clearly all coaches aren?t effective. To explore the question Knight agreed to let Gawande sit in on work being done with teachers in Albermarle County, Virginia. Let me skip the ins and outs of the program there and jump to the post-class session between coaches and the eighth-grade algebra teacher visited, Jennie Critzer. The lesson that day had been about simplifying radicals ? the square roots of 36 and 32 to begin with.

She?d done well. Gawande didn?t see how she could have done better. She?d had students visualize, verbalize, and write out their ideas. She?d shown good command of ?learning structures??lecturing, problem-solving, cooperative learning, discussion. But the coaches said that every teacher has something to work on. In this case they?d noticed that of the 20 students, four had seemed at sea. How might she have reached them?

Coaching about the class, however, did not begin with that question. It began with the question: ?What worked?? Critzer, an experienced teacher who simply wants to improve, had a good sense of what she?d done well and anticipated the next question regarding what didn?t go well. She had a sense of what needed attention there too ? the students who were adrift and ?not getting it.? So the conversation immediately became one about what she might do to reach them. Critzer quickly thought she might need to break the concepts down more. Coaches prompted further thought about what else she might do, which led to her thinking about how a previous class had been livelier, more verbal. This connected with an observation the coaches had made that boy-girl pairs had had difficulty with their math conversation working on problems. And so the question then became how to help them become more verbal.

All of this underscores a key modality of effective coaching ? conversation. Effective coaching depends on setting aside status and making the matter at hand ? improved teaching ? the only concern. They speak with credibility, as Gawande points out, but while credibility involves ?authority,? it also transcends it. We don?t always believe authorities. Belief relies on trust and trust, of course, involves a willing vulnerability, an exposure of self to criticism. It is an inherently intimate relationship not everyone is willing to embrace. So, coaching, properly understood and executed, is not the repellant surrender of identity I?d long associated with athletics, not the shouting, cretinous commands of bullnecked former football stars. Gawande maintains that coaching differs from teaching, but reading his exploration of good coaching, it seems to me as though coaching is teaching at its very best.

The piece ends with Gawande making that embrace by inviting a trusted retired surgeon, one of his former teachers, to come and observe some of his surgeries. The experience took me back to peer observation and what willing faculty might learn from it, and to ?Lesson Study? of the kind Bill Cerbin describes in his recent book. Most of Gawande?s surgeries went well; one did not. He learned a great deal, he reports, from both experiences.

One of the other presenters at the forum in Saudi Arabia was a colleague from Scotland. That inspired me to end my keynote on Peer Observation with a quote from Robert Burns?s ?To a Louse,? which I vaingloriously delivered in a fine Scottish brogue: ?O would some power the giftie give us to see ourselves as others see us.? Rhetorically, it was a flop, but the point is a good one; we need others to help us see how we?re doing and how we might do better. But they need to be people we fully trust, who care about the same things we do. It turns out, that such people are all around us if we will only reach out to them. As Steve Barkley says in one of the videos on the Kansas Coaching Project website, ?Coaching really isn?t an activity; it?s a culture.? Belief, trust, common interest: these are the economy. Insights, improvement, personal fulfillment: these are the profits to be shared.

Atul Gawande?s ?Personal Best?: 2011/10/03/111003fa_fact_gawande

Jim Knight?s blog:

The Kansas Coaching Project:


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Turnitin 30-Minute FREE Webcast: Why Students Plagiarize

30-Minute Webcast Series
Why Students Plagiarize

Why do students plagiarize? Exploring what students are thinking when they copy work belonging to others, this session will share insights gained from listening to students’ voices and delving into their behaviors and motivations.
Register for this webcast and join a lively discussion on:
  • what students say when asked about copying the work of others
  • unveiling plagiarism and the true motivations driving student behavior
Jason M. Stephens is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut, where his research focuses on the academic motivation and moral development during adolescence.  He is a co-author of two books on schooling and moral development (Educating Citizens and Creating a Culture of Academic Integrity) as well as numerous journal articles related to academic motivation, moral judgment, self-regulation, and cheating behavior among secondary and post-secondary students. 

Webcast Details
Date: Thursday, April 5, 2012

Time:  10am PT / 11am MT / 12pm CT / 1pm ET
Cost: Complimentary

Register Now

The 30-Minute Webcast Series sponsored by Turnitin is for busy educators who want to stay current with the latest trends and technologies related to preserving academic integrity, preventing plagiarism, and improving the quality of student written work.

View All 30-Minute Webcasts

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The Syllabus Enthusiast │Monthly eNews from the Syllabus Geeks

Syllabus Enthusiast

Find, Build, Share - Fork?


In a recent ProfHacker post by Brian Croxall of The Chronicle of Higher Education, the topic of “Forking Your Syllabus” lit up with over 40 comments from the higher ed community.

Much of the conversation revolved around the fine line between stealing, collaborating, and giving credit where credit is due. Two of the three thoughts are more subjective; the third is more academic in spirit and is further supported by our ability, thanks to technology, to “copy with conditions.”  

As for syllabi, Croxall and the many commenters thought beyond the Creative Commons model to talk about ClassConnect, a teaching documentation share-house, and the potential for course-forking with open source repository GitHub.

We might have been ahead of the curve as it relates to course sharing and collaboration, but it didn’t come easy. When we first built Concourse, we developed features from a student perspective, i.e., I want information, I want it now, and I want it easy. Now, we accommodate the need for immediate gratification and more.

Our online syllabus solution Concourse supports forking your syllabus and more importantly helps your academic community share syllabi in a way that works best for any school, department, and instructor. Full blog post.

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Syllabus of the Day

This month's course syllabus comes from the University of Cincinnati, Engineering Research Center.

Static & Basic Strength of Materials, AEEM 1001, is it a syllabus or course brochure? Either way it's pretty, informative, and available

Have a syllabus worth sharing? Send us the link and we'll feature it in our Twitter feed.
More Concourse for OHSU


Old fan of Concourse

The School of Dentistry at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) wanted to replace their outdated syllabus management system and implement a tool that was more capable and instructor-centric.  
They formed an assessment committee and compiled a list of features and functions that would make an ideal syllabus system, including:
Standardize syllabi
Advance reporting
Readily integrate
Accelerate accreditation
Improve accessibility
Fast forward...

We're proud to announce the School of Dentistry at OHSU...
Defeat Faculty Resistance

Campus Villain

Faculty Resistance 

Having featured syllabus copyright in this edition of The Syllabus Enthusiast, it seemed appropriate for us to bring up our most infamous campus villain, Faculty Resistance.

We’re not sure if it’s her devious gaze, mind control, or her disdain for new technology that make the academic community love to hate her.
No, no…everyone knows we love all faculty members. In fact, we’ve worked tirelessly at developing a tool that puts the over used term “user-friendly” to shame.
Here’s your security clearance for defeating faculty resistance and other evil campus villains. >>

Feature Facts

Veruca Salt Students

There are some students that make a habit of reaching for the lowest hanging fruit, but most students are savvy consumers of information.
Disruptive technology is becoming a way of life for students and schools are rapidly shifting to meet the demand of the, “I don’t care how, I want it now,” scholar.
Always one step ahead, the Syllabus Geeks have optimized Concourse for the small screen.
Mobile devices are personal and almost always within a users reach; a syllabus-on-the-go is a perfect solution for connecting the entire academic community to the class. More syllabus on-the-go. >>
Syllabus Geek vs. arch nemeses Faculty Resistance and Budget Constrictor. The Epic Tour
The Syllabus Enthusiast, a monthly publication, is brought to you by Intellidemia, the Syllabus Geeks. | 518.444.2060 | @syllabusgeeks
Intellidemia, Inc.


FridayLive! March 30 Social networking Part Two

30 Mar 2012 2:00 PM EDT

Part Two- Social Networking

March 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm ET - free to all.  

Leader: Steve Gilbert and volunteers TBD - could be you!

Last week's session was really good, fun, useful!  

Have a favorite app or idea you want to share?
Question/poll you want to ask?
Request for help with ....???

I'll be reviewing the transcript from last Friday to identify more specific things we should consider including tomorrow.

Thanks in advance on even shorter notice than last week!


PS:  This is a little like a "flash mob" invitation - yes?  Is that good or bad among our colleagues and friends?

NOTE:  Login instructions for the session will be sent in the Registration Confirmation Email. Please check your Junk folder as sometimes these emails get trapped there. We will also send an additional login reminder 24 hours prior to the start of the event.

More information and online registration:
FridayLive! March 30 Social networking Part Two

Hope you can join us!


The TLT Group, A Non-Profit Organization    301-270-8312


Dillard University to Honor Paul Flower and Dorothy Perrault as Champions of the American Dream, March 29

(New Orleans) The Dillard University College of Business will honor local entrepreneurs Paul Flower and Dorothy Perrault at the second annual Champions of the American Dream event on Thursday, March 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the Georges Auditorium of the Professional Schools and Sciences Building. Attendance is free and open to the public.

Flower is the president and C.E.O. of Woodward Design+Build, the New Orleans architecture firm that helped build Dillard's Professional Schools and Sciences Building. Perrault, a Dillard alumna from the class of 1960, was the first registered African-American nurse at Sara Mayo Hospital in New Orleans. Today she owns Perrault Kiddy Kollege, a pre-school program with locations in the Gentilly area. They were chosen for their success and persistence in business pursuits, their history of philanthropy, and their service as role models for the New Orleans community.

At the ceremony, both honorees will lecture on business entrepreneurship and participate in an audience Q&A session. A reception will follow in the atrium of the Professional Schools and Sciences Building.

Champions of the American Dream is an initiative of the Dillard University College of Business designed to recognize local business leaders. The event honors one Dillard alum and one non-alum annually. In 2011, Dillard recognized Beverly McKenna and Larry Lundy at its inaugural Champions ceremony.

Flower and Perrault were nominated by a committee consisting of Dr. Christian Fugar, dean of the College of Business; Dr. Walter Strong, executive vice president; Kemberly Washington, assistant dean for student programs in the College of Business; Ronald V. Burns Sr. of the board of trustees; Troy Baldwin, assistant vice president for development; and Travis Chase, senior officer for advancement services. Interim President James Lyons and the senior cabinet approved the nominations.


Register now for Summer Classes in College Teaching!


Want to improve your college teaching skills or your competitive edge in the academic job market?

Consider enrolling in one of our practical, theory-based graduate courses in pedagogy for higher education.

Preparation for the college classroom involves more than a solid base of knowledge in a discipline; it requires a systematic inquiry into the pedagogies and processes that facilitate learning. The Colleges of Worcester Consortium’s Certificate in College Teaching program is grounded in the latest educational research on best practices in college teaching, and is designed to enhance the teaching and learning experiences for faculty and students at our member institutions. The primary focus of the Certificate is to prepare graduate students, adjunct and full-time faculty who aspire to, or who are currently engaged in, a career in academia.  Courses carry Worcester State University graduate credit and may be taken individually or toward completion of the six-credit Certificate. A complete course schedule, full course descriptions, and sample syllabi are available on our website.


(All courses carry Worcester State University graduate credit.)

(ONLINE) 2 graduate credits; no prerequisites; May 23 – July 10

The Seminar in College Teaching, the first course in the Certificate sequence, is designed to acquaint participants with basic principles and theories of education and instructional practices associated with effective college teaching. These concepts apply across numerous disciplines as the emphasis is on pedagogy, not course content. Learn the basics of college teaching: designing and developing courses, choosing and using a variety of teaching methods, and assessing student work. The foundational course Seminar in College Teaching is a prerequisite for some Certificate courses. Read what Seminar participants have said about this course!

(ONLINE)  1 graduate credit; CT 901 helpful but not required; May 23 – July 11

 With a focus on the instructor as the primary user of technology in the classroom, this course offers participants an opportunity to deepen their thinking about effective teaching with technology and challenges them to make on-going improvements to their teaching practice. The course supports participants in creating an on-line portfolio featuring lessons or projects that exemplify effective instructor use of technology to promote student learning and demonstrated proficiencies. Teaching technologies include (but are not limited to) the following: Web pages, multimedia presentations, spreadsheet activities, desktop publishing, interactive quizzes, and learning management systems. The central focus of the course is for participants to understand a variety of roles that technology can play in supporting teaching and learning; be comfortable discussing various teaching technologies and how they apply to classroom teaching; share strategies and resources with other educators within their community of practice; and develop an on-line portfolio which demonstrates proficiency in selected teaching technologies. 

(ONLINE)  1 graduate credit; May 14 – June 22

As higher education continues to become increasingly diverse, faculty members will be faced with the challenge of preparing and delivering instruction to students with widely divergent cultural, economic, social, and linguistic backgrounds. In this course, we will look at theoretical and practical ways to prepare ourselves to teach (and learn from) students in ways that reflect culturally relevant pedagogy. Students in the class will analyze and discuss individual and social differences as they manifest themselves inside and outside the classroom, and will have opportunities to design practices that can be applied in their own teaching.

REGISTRATION: Application procedures are described on our website.  Follow the appropriate link under "Course Registration" or "Certificate Application Process."  When using the online pre-enrollment form (for beginning the registration process) you will have to pay by credit card.  Have your card in hand.

TUITION: Tuition for Certificate courses is $299/credit for participants from Colleges of Worcester Consortium member institutions and $479/credit for external participants.  In addition, there is a $75/semester pre-enrollment fee. (Because Worcester State University is the CCT program's credentialing host, WSU current students, faculty and staff pay $262/credit.) You must pay for courses at the time of registration, but you may qualify for tuition reimbursement. Consult with your adviser, faculty development center, or HR Department for details about applying for tuition reimbursement from your institution before you register for any courses.

Founded in 1968, the Colleges of Worcester Consortium, Inc. is an alliance of 12 public and private colleges in Central Massachusetts that works cooperatively both to further the missions of the member institutions individually and to advance higher education regionally.

For more information about the Certificate in College Teaching program, please visit our website or contact Susan Wyckoff to discuss how this program might meet your needs.

Vice President for Academic Affairs
Colleges of Worcester Consortium, Inc.
484 Main Street - Suite 500, Worcester MA 01608