National online learning database launched

As reported by Inside Higher Ed, Oregon State University Ecampus has created a database compiling research on the efficacy of online learning.

Supporting Undergraduate Teaching Improvement

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences this week released the fourth and final paper from its Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education, called “Policies and Practices to Support Undergraduate Teaching Improvement.” The paper says that institutions are increasingly under social, economic and political pressure — just not pressure to improve undergraduate teaching. Even public accountability systems, in the form outcomes-based accreditation processes, ignore the educational processes underlying those outcomes, it says. Good college teaching means subject-matter knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, but especially the latter, according to the report. It describes examples of teaching improvement initiatives, including teaching centers, mentoring programs, guided reflection programs and the Science Education Initiative, a recent effort to systematically improve the teaching of science at two North American research universities. While teaching centers

and faculty mentoring programs tend to be rooted in general pedagogical knowledge, the latter two programs focus — particularly helpfully — on teaching within a specific discipline, the commission found. To improve teaching across an institution, the paper concludes, leaders must share an idea of what good undergraduate teaching looks like and value to role of discipline-specific pedagogical knowledge. The commission also found that whether teaching improvement initiatives are on campus or off, improvement of teaching is most likely when there is “coordinated activity at multiple levels of the academic enterprise.” The report includes numerous policy recommendations, such as that campus ands system leaders analyze and realign the formal faculty incentive system and fund and fill tenure-track faculty positions that emphasize undergraduate teaching. 

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U of Memphis Investigating Professor's Tweet

The University of Memphis is reportedly investigating Judy Cole, a professor of nursing, for comments she made on Twitter about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, according to WMC Action News 5. On Saturday, Cole responded to a tweet by Huckabee’s father, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, saying that a U.S. Army pilot had given his daughter a jacket to wear during her recent visit to the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea. “@realDonaldTrump should promote him! Of course libs go nuts about it,” Mike Huckabee, a Republican, wrote in reference to the gesture. In response, Cole reportedly tweeted, “If she froze to death, she wouldn’t be missed.” A number of people criticized Cole on Twitter as uncaring before Huckabee responded.

Source: Twitter

Memphis later said in a statement that it was “aware of personal comments made on social media by a current faculty member of the Loewenberg College of Nursing. These statements do not represent the values of the [university] or the values of the Loewenberg College of Nursing. This matter is being fully investigated in accordance with [university] policies.” Cole’s Twitter account has since been deleted.

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Fordham Non-Tenure-Track Professors and Postdocs Vote to Form Union

Non-tenure-track faculty members — adjuncts, full-timers and postdoctoral fellows — at Fordham University voted 16-to-1 to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, they announced Tuesday. The news comes weeks after administrators and faculty organizers signed a neutrality agreement allowing for a free and fair election at the Roman Catholic campus. Fordham in a statement called the election process “full and fair” and said it’s looking forward to “working with SEIU on behalf of our employees.”

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Digital learning leaders stress importance of building faculty support for online initiatives

Digital learning leaders diagnose the challenges of seeking faculty support -- and possible solutions to obtaining it.

Administrators and sports experts weigh in on how many online courses college athletes should take

Iowa imposed limit on distance education by its athletes, only to back away. Does online ed help athletes learn, or just make it easier for them to miss classes?

New Blackboard tool helps grades participation in online discussions

As reported by Inside Higher Ed, Blackboard plans to introduce a new feature in its learning management system later this year to help instructors grade students’ participation in online class discussions. The feature, called the “discussion forum recommended grade,” will use computer algorithms to analyze students’ posts in class discussion forums.

Peer advice for instructors teaching online for first time

Seventeen instructors offer guidance for colleagues teaching an online course for the first time (and for those seeking a few new ideas).

California Community Colleges to create statewide​, online-only college

According to a report in Inside Higher Ed, 2.5 million Californians have attended college but don’t have a degree -- a problem the state’s two-year system is trying to help solve with a new statewide, online-only college.

Embracing unconstrained time in online courses

Christopher Haynes argues that instructors teaching online courses should embrace unanticipated and unconstrained time -- something he’s learned a lot about from his toddler.


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