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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Center for Digital Education Newsletter February 26, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Aegis Identity Software was founded on 8 years’ experience with one mission: to create an affordable Identity Management Solution specifically for K-20 Education. With a foundation of contemporary open standards, our Trident Identity Manager software reduces implementation and operating costs. Learn more.


A GPS for Education and Careers is Available
Colleges could increase graduation speeds if students set clear education and career courses.

States Struggle To Keep Online Schools Accountable
The rapid growth of online education is raising concerns. While unscrupulous or incompetent online educators may be rare, there are enough of them that many states are considering ratcheting up their oversight.

Dance Competition Pairs Humanoid Robots with Students
In a marriage of art and science, students program robots to dance.

STEM Tops Education Agenda in Chicago
A partnership between Chicago and the Navy is the city's latest effort to equip students for high-tech jobs.

States Plan to Test Computer Assessments
A pilot test will give developers and schools an idea of how the Common Core assessments work.

Question of the Week

What University Won an Award for its Emerging Technology Strategy?

Most Popular

6 Emerging Technologies in Higher Ed

The 2013 NMC Horizon Project lists six technologies that could be adopted in colleges and universities over the next five years.

Industry Papers
Empower Your Students Today – 30-Day Free Trial for Educators
VideoBlocks for Education is a database of royalty free and copyright safe multimedia clips that students and teachers can legally download and use in a variety of video editing and media projects. Start empowering your students today with a 30-Day Free Trial Today! Learn more


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TeachHUB Magazine - March 2013

TeachHUB Magazine
Now available on the iTunes Store!
TeachHUB Magazine is a new publication dedicated to giving teachers and educators the best tools for their classroom—and having some fun at the same time. Each issue is packed with original content from the best education writers in the business. Check it out for:
  • Reviews of awesome apps, cool tools, and the books and movies your class will be clamoring about.
  • An insider's guide to the new Common Core State Standards, how to help struggling students, and tactics for putting an end to bullying.
  • Jokes, cartoons, and stories that'll remind you why it can be so fun, and funny, to be a teacher.
  • Best of all, every issue is 100% free!
TeachHUB Magazine E-Publication
TeachHUB Magazine Screenshots
Available for FREE in the iTunes Store! - Click Here to Download

Teach Hub | 20624 Abbey Woods Court N | Frankfort, IL 60423 | United States


FREE LearningHouse Webinar: Building Capacity for Student Success: A Case Study



Upcoming Webinar

Building Capacity for Student Success

Online academic advising not only helps students achieve their educational goals, it also can improve retention rates. Online academic advisers may proactively monitor student performance, assist with goal setting and provide regular contact to help students feel involved in the institutional community. As online programs continue to grow, however, the role of online academic advisers also expands.

In this webinar, learn best practices for online academic advising and hear how one school has successfully used these relationships to increase enrollment and retention. Dr. Howell Williams and Michael Tyree, of The Learning House, Inc., and Dr. Carol Ziegler, Chief Mission Officer, from Notre Dame College, will discuss:

·         The Appreciative Advising approach in an online environment

·         Best practices for success coaching

·         How these techniques have been applied at Notre Dame College

·         Lessons learned at Notre Dame College

About the presenters:

About Dr. Carol Ziegler

Dr. Carol Ziegler is a Sister of Notre Dame and an assistant professor at Notre Dame College. She came to Notre Dame in 2007 from Lesley University in Massachusetts. She primarily serves as Chief Mission Officer for the college and is the national accreditation chair for the Division of Professional Education. Carol has written and conducted research on adjunct faculty orientation in higher education. She advises students at the graduate, undergraduate and post-baccalaureate levels. She believes that faculty advising work should highly correlate with the mission of Notre Dame, which calls for the community to care for one another.

About Dr. Howell Williams

As the Senior Director of Client Services for Learning House, Dr. Howell Williams reviews and investigates institution-wide student satisfaction issues and provides client colleges and universities with best practices and tools to meet student needs, as well as overall direction and management of success coaches and advisers. She has extensive experience helping higher education institutions create positive learning environments that feature comprehensive yet high impact student services.

About Michael Tyree

Michael Tyree, Director of Student Success for Learning House, ensures that online students have access to resources that will enhance and encourage engagement in their education with an overarching aim of increasing retention and graduation rates. He shapes strategy and oversees implementation through a team of Success Coaches who work with students directly to integrate support services for the undergraduate and graduate student. Areas of assistance include goal setting, educational and career planning, academic planning and problem solving. Michael has almost a decade’s worth of experience in online education and working with diverse student populations.


The People's Scientific Conference 2013 Mentoring Program



The People’s Scientific Conference to Promote Health and Eliminate Health Disparities (The People’s Scientific Conference) will occur on Friday, June 14, 2013 and Saturday, June 15, 2013 at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. The conference is sponsored by the UF Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program in partnership with the UF Prostate Disease Center and the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).


This first-of-its-kind conference will launch a Health Disparities Research Fellow Mentoring Program that aims to inspire and train the next generation of researchers (e.g., post-docs, assistant professors) and community health workers to conduct research that has implications for promoting health and eliminating health disparities in racial/ethnic minority and underserved communities. All mentees selected to participate in the Mentoring Program will receive funding for transportation and lodging to attend the conference, and a registration fee waiver.


For more information about the Mentoring Program and its application process, please see the attached document or visit The application deadline is Monday, April 15, 2013.


Visit to learn more about The People’s Scientific Conference.


Thank you,



Jeanne-Marie R. Stacciarini

Assistant Professor

University of Florida –College of Nursing

Phone:  (352) 273 6499

Fax: (352) 273 6577



Barbara M. Albert

Executive Assistant

Office of Academic Affairs

(504) 816-4216 (office)

(504) 816-4144 (fax)


Tomorrow's Professor: What Do You Mean Active Learning Doesn?t Work!?!

What Do You Mean Active Learning Doesn?t Work!?!

1. Andrews, T.M., Leonard, M.J., Colgrove, C.A., & Kalinowski, S.T. (2011). Active learning not associated with student learning in a random sample of college biology courses, CBE-Life Sciences Education, 10, 394-405. Retrieved 11 April 2012. DOI:10.1187/cbe.11-07-0061


Active Learning

Although ?active learning? as an approach to classroom instruction has been around for decades, its widespread acceptance and deployment has been hastened by the publication of numerous studies demonstrating that active learning techniques have a positive and significant impact on student learning. As an ?instructional method that engages students in the learning process? (Prince, 2004, p. 223), active learning is comprised of a host of classroom activities such as class discussion, group-work, structured student debates, simulations, games, and collaborative problem-solving. Along with its corollaries ? constructivism, collaborative learning, team-based learning (Michaelsen, Bauman-Knight, & Fink, 2003), & problem-based learning ? active learning often is contrasted with passive learning, a modality most frequently associated with lecture-based pedagogies.


Among the most important studies that have secured active learning?s place of prominence in the scholarship of teaching and learning is a seminal meta-analysis conducted by Michael Prince, who concludes that, ?Although the results vary in strength, this study has found support for all forms of active learning examined? (2004, p. 7). However, the authors of the study considered here note that there is the potential for significant bias in existing scientific literature on the impact of active learning techniques. Andrews, Leonard, Colgrove, and Kalinowski contend that given that most studies are authored by instructors who 1) are deeply interested in science education, and 2) are engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning, it is possible that this interest and engagement might enhance their ability to deploy active learning effectively resulting in the gains observed and reported. The authors, therefore, hypothesize that the results produced by instructors with extens

 ive experience using and researching active learning teaching techniques are not comparable to the larger population of science instructors who may not be engaged in educational research.


Data & Methods

The authors randomly selected 77 colleges and universities from a list of 144 institutions (comprised of the 2 largest in each state + top 50 according to the U.S. News & Report rankings). From these randomly selected schools, the authors identified introductory biology courses that included a unit on natural selection and invited 88 instructors to participate in the three-semester study. Of these, 33 (38%) instructors accepted the invitation resulting in a sample that included 29 courses at 28 institutions in 22 states; controls for self-selection bias were employed using comparative data collected from non-participants.


For student data, the authors employed the Conceptual Inventory of Natural Selection (CINS) ? Abbreviated version, a 10-question multiple-choice test on the topic of natural selection that has been subjected to validity tests by instrument developers and inter-rater reliability testing by the authors. Additionally, students completed an open-ended question in which they applied knowledge of natural selection to a question regarding the adaptive ability of cheetahs to run quickly; responses to these questions were graded using an established rubric, the results of which were subjected to inter-rater reliability testing (Pearson?s r = 0.93). Data regarding student experiences, instructor teaching methods, frequency of classroom activities, and the like were collected via instructor and student surveys.


For the analysis, the authors primarily used the Cohen?s d for repeated measures statistic to measure learning gains, but compared the Cohen?s d results with other established learning gains measures (e.g. normalized gains, % change, raw change) to confirm their findings. To establish the relationship with the theoretical variables of interest, the authors employed a generalized linear regression model that included a host of controls for instructor and student variation.



There are four main findings reported in this article. First, instructors reported using active learning techniques frequently (8.03 instances/week). Second, learning gains were modest for both the CINS test (Cohen?s d = -0.11 to 1.26; mean effect size = 0.49; normalized gain = 0.26) and the open-ended question (Cohen?s d = -0.16 to 0.58; mean effect size = 0.15; normalized gain = 0.06). Third, no association between the frequency of active learning activities and how much students learned about natural selection was found. That is, student learning was not positively associated with the amount of active learning used. Fourth, other factors, such as overcoming misconceptions, course difficulty, and how interesting a course was, were positively associated with student learning.


Discussion and Implications

The implications of the finding that active learning is not associated with student learning has implications for two important groups in the academy: 1) researchers and faculty development professionals, and 2) instructors. For the former, the authors recommend that researchers need to identify what it is about active learning that makes it effective. Those findings, in turn, need to inform the development of a broad set of active learning strategies and exercises that are fungible [i.e.,interchangeable], useful, and easily distributed to a broad population. Faculty development programs can be built around these strategies and exercises to train and support the general population of instructors in using active learning more effectively. For the latter, instructors cannot assume that they are effective teachers just because they are using active learning exercises; they need empirical evidence that is garnered through a carefully planned assessment protocol to help them under

 stand what is and what is not working. Furthermore, given that it is highly unlikely that students will not alter their a priori beliefs about a particular topic (e.g. natural selection) without targeted instruction, instructors need to identify what preexisting beliefs students possess and plan their approach to the topic accordingly.


Four methodological issues may limit the effectiveness and accuracy of this study. First, the selection process does not really appear as random as the authors purport with an a priori winnowing of possible participants and participants? self-selection into the study. Second, self-reported frequencies of events and activities is a highly individuated task that can introduce biased or incorrect responses due to a host of factors, not the least of which is individual memory. Third, the number of courses included in the analysis is relatively small, limiting the statistical power to detect with a great deal of accuracy the impact of active learning techniques. Fourth, although the CINS is both a valid and reliable instrument, it might not be the appropriate instrument given the amount of instructor, course, and institutional variation inherent to the study.


While the article?s title is jarring and certainly grabs one?s attention, the general thrust of this research is not that active learning is inherently ineffective, but active learning can be executed poorly, just like any other teaching technique. Most instructors need coaching, examples of good practice, and faculty development programs that encourage a fundamental shift in pedagogical approach if it is to be effective.



Michaelsen, L., Bauman-Knight, Arletta, & Fink, D. (2003) Team-based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching, Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.


Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Edu



1. The authors used multiple calculations for learning gains, each of which were highly intercorrelated, to demonstrate general consistency in results regardless the methodology used.


CUR: Call for Undergraduate Research Highlights Summer 2013


Call for Undergraduate Research Highlights:

Summer 2013 issue of the CUR Quarterly

Submissions for the "Undergraduate Research Highlights" feature of the Summer 2013 issue of the CUR Quarterly are being accepted until March 22, 2013.  Highlights consist of brief descriptions of recent (past six months) peer-reviewed research or scholarly publications in scholarly journals. These publications must be in print and must include one or more undergraduate co-authors.

To be considered for publication as an Undergraduate Research Highlight, a submission should include the information listed below and MUST CONFORM TO THE FORMAT OF THE EXAMPLE PROVIDED BELOW.  Submissions must be sent via the electronic submission form available at the following link:  

Should you have any questions regarding the eligibility of your highlight, please send your question to the Highlights Editor by email (Nicole Bennett - ). 

For a sample highlight submission, please visit:

Questions regarding the submissions process may be directed to the CUR National Office at or 202-783-4810


Parker JS, Stewart GS, Gantt C. Research and intervention with adolescents exposed to domestic violence. Family Therapy. 2006; 33:45-52. (University of South Carolina Upstate)

The present study examined characteristics of adolescents exposed to domestic violence and tested a group intervention protocol utilizing expressive writing (EW) as a coping method for this population. The experimental group used "Positive Points", a list of personal strengths, in the writing intervention based on the hypothesis that their use would increase cognitive insight and positive word usage. A significant group effect was found and all participants demonstrated positive overall emotional change as a result of EW. Jennifer Parker is an assistant professor of psychology. Gina Stewart and Courtney Gantt, both senior psychology majors, participated in the research for independent study credit. The research was supported by a USC Scholarly Research and Development Award and a mini grant from the USC Upstate Center for Undergraduate Research, which was awarded to Gina. Gina is currently in a doctoral program in psychology at the University of Mississippi. Courtney is employed and in the process of applying to graduate programs.

INFORMATION YOU WILL NEED TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DESCRIPTION (through the electronic submission form):
-Title of the article and full journal citation (inclusive pages).

-A brief description (3-5 lines) of the research and its significance.

-Title and department or program affiliation of the faculty member.

-A brief description of the student co-author(s).  Include the year of study in which the student(s) undertook the work, the opportunity through which the work was undertaken, (independent study project, summer project, REU program, senior thesis project, etc.), and the current status of the student (graduate school, employed, still enrolled, etc).

-The source of funding for the work.

Lindsay Currie
Communications & Membership
Council on Undergraduate Research
734 15th Street NW  Suite 550
Washington, DC 20005
p: 202.783.4810 x 206
f: 202.783.4811 


LSU and the role of faculty

Dear faculty colleagues,

At the request of leaders of the Louisiana State University Faculty Senate, the LSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the LSU System Council of Faculty Advisors, and other faculty members, the national office of the American Association of University Professors recently sent a detailed letter of concern about the role of the faculty in the process by which the LSU system is being converted to a single campus and in the search process for its new president. The letter, publicly available on the website of the AAUP Louisiana Conference, has drawn coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Baton Rouge Advocate, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and the Baton Rouge National Public Radio affiliate, among others.

This is only the most recent of the many important efforts that the AAUP has undertaken to protect Louisiana faculty, most importantly its investigation of the cutting of faculty positions by five universities after Katrina and its successful efforts to spare faculty positions at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.  These efforts are not free, however.  AAUP is almost totally funded by the membership dues of faculty members across the country.  We invite you to join and we urge you and your colleagues to work with your state conference and your local AAUP chapter. If such a chapter does not yet exist we will work with you to form one.

Be a part of the solution. Join the AAUP.


Evolution 2013 MSI Faculty Travel Award

Evolution 2013 MSI Faculty Travel Award

Are you a faculty member at a minority-serving institution (MSI)? Apply now for a travel award to attend Evolution 2013 in Snowbird, Utah.

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), with support from the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), is pleased to announce travel awards for faculty from Minority Serving Institutions to attend Evolution 2013, as part of our continuing outreach efforts focusing on groups that are under-represented in evolutionary science.

If you are a faculty member at an MSI, HBCU or other institution with significant enrollment of under-represented minority students, you are encouraged to apply. Funds are available to cover conference registration, travel, food and lodging.

This award is intended to provide MSI faculty with an opportunity to present original research in evolution, systematic biology, evolutionary genomics/informatics, evolution education/outreach or other disciplines typically represented at the Evolution meetings. As such, your application must include a talk/poster title and abstract. In addition, you will be asked to provide a brief (1 page) statement describing how this award will contribute to your professional/scientific development, as well as provide benefit to your students and institution.

To apply, please visit

Application Deadline: April 5th, 2013 (Awards will be announced by April 12th, 2013)

For more information, please contact Dr. Jory Weintraub (
Jory P. Weintraub, PhD
Assistant Director, Education & Outreach
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)
2024 West Main St., Suite A200, Durham, NC 27705
Phone: 919.668.4578 Fax: 919.668.9198
Email: Skype: jory.weintraub
Lynn Strong, Director
Undergraduate Research
Dillard University
PSB 250