Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education

Quality instruction goes a long way toward keeping students -- especially underrepresented minorities and women -- in the sciences, technology, math and engineering. But measuring educational quality isn’t easy. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education,” says that assessing quality and impact in STEM at the national level will require the collection of new data on changing student demographics, instructors’ use of evidence-based teaching approaches, student transfer patterns and more.

Instead of more typical, highly variable measures of educational value -- such as graduate employment data -- the academies propose a conceptual framework for a national indicator system with three main goals and 21 specific indicators of progress. Goals include increasing students’ mastery of STEM concepts and skills by engaging them in evidence-based practices and programs. Indicators include the use of valid measures of teaching effectiveness and the diversity of STEM degree and certificate earners in comparison with the diversity of degree and certificate earners in all fields.

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Landmark College offers model for institutions and instructors hoping to reach students of all learning abilities

A small institution in Vermont caters to students with disabilities by letting them choose the technology that suits their needs.

Recapping the year in digital learning -- and the developments that will last

What happened this year that will still matter in 2022? Digital learning experts weigh in.

Students have vital role in creating and spreading OER

Through creating and spreading open educational resources, students learn more and make an impact on the world, writes Christina Hendricks.

Why a professor doesn't assign term papers (opinion)

Teaching Today

Students need to read more, talk about ideas and then write shorter papers more often, writes Deborah J. Cohan.

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CUNY Faculty Sees Teaching Load Reduction

The City University of New York and its faculty union, the Professional Staff Congress, reached an agreement on restructuring the full-time faculty workload to allow more time for individual work with students, advising, office hours and doing research, they announced Friday. The agreement reduces the annual teaching load by three credit hours, about one full course, across CUNY institutions and will be phased in over three years, starting in the fall. A labor management committee has been working on the restructuring plan since 2016, soon after the American Federation of Teachers- and American Association of University Professors-affiliated faculty union and CUNY reached an overall contract agreement that took years to negotiate. By fall 2020 the contractual annual teaching load for  professors, associate professors and assistant professors at four-year colleges will be 18 hours, or six courses instead of seven, according to information from PSC. Professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors and lecturers at community colleges will teach 24 contact hours per year, or eight courses instead of nine.

Barbara Bowen, union president and a professor of English at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, called the change a “breakthrough,” most of all for students. “Multiple studies show that the single most important academic factor in student success is time spent individually with faculty,” she said in a statement.

Vita Rabinowitz, CUNY’s executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, said in a joint statement that the agreement moves CUNY closer to a teaching workload that is in line with those of other “quality universities and colleges,” further strengthening “our ability to compete in the recruitment of top-tier faculty.” Just as important, she said, “is the additional time faculty will now spend meeting and advising students, as well as on their research and scholarship. This time invested outside the classroom will provide critical support to CUNY’s goals of increasing graduation rates and remaining a premier research university.”

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Knewton returns, with new pitch

Much-hyped company, early player in adaptive learning, plans to take on the publishers. Some see promise; others have doubts.

Instructional designers weigh in on benefits and drawbacks of team sizes and shapes

Institutions are embracing instructional design as online courses and programs proliferate. Designers hope they'll soon be viewed as part of the academic landscape, rather than merely as tech support.

States mandate OER and affordable textbook labeling, but challenges remain

Institutions in several states are now required to label courses with OER and affordable materials. Proponents cheer the move toward transparency, though some challenges remain.

New Report on College Credit in High School

A new report from the College Board identifies four factors to create strong college credit in high school programs.

The College Board Policy Center brought together 18 experts and educators to evaluate policy, research and practices that can help policy makers develop effective programs that allow high school students to earn college credit. The report addresses the more popular avenues for high school students to earn college credit, including Advanced Placement, dual or concurrent enrollment, career and technical education, Early College High School, and International Baccalaureate programs.

The four factors the group identified are program quality and accountability, value for time and dollars invested, equity and access, and transparency around credit transfer.

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