Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1345. Let's Get Ready for Summer Writing


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NOTE: The Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List will be taking its annual postings break for the Northern Hemisphere summer. This break will allow us, among other things, to replenish our bank of potential postings. The next posting will appear on SEPTEMBER 2, 2014.

While it's important to understand the challenges academic writers face during summer breaks, they point to the keys for a productive summer. I believe those are: 1) knowing what you need as a human being and what you need to accomplish as a writer and researcher, 2) creating a realistic plan to meet all of your needs, and 3) connecting with the type of community, support and accountability that will sustain you through the summer months. I think each semester should start with a plan, so for this week I want to encourage you to set aside 30-60 minutes, grab your calendar and a piece of paper, and develop a clear and concrete plan.

1345. Let's Get Ready for Summer Writing

Folks:

Rick Reis

The posting below looks at creating a summer plan to be more productive in your academic writing.  It is by Kerry Ann Rockquemore*, PhD, President and CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity [http://www.facultydiversity.org/] It is from her Monday Motivator series of which you can find out more about at: http://www.facultydiversity.org/?page=MondayMotivator.

Regards,

Rick Reis
reis@stanford.edu


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Tomorrow's Research

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Let's Get Ready for Summer Writing

Happy end of term! Happy Graduation! and CONGRATULATIONS! You survived another academic year! And you know what that means: the summer writing season is right around the corner. Throughout the spring semester, I kept hearing from beleaguered faculty and graduate students who couldn't wait for summer so they could "get some serious writing done." And yet, every August I hear from just as many folks lamenting about how another summer has passed by and, once again, they failed to make progress on their intellectual projects. As we head into the summer break, I'm feeling motivated to help eradicate end-of-summer regret among academic writers! To that end, this summer's Monday Motivators are designed to be your week-by-week support system for your summer writing and productivity.

Summer Writing Challenges

While we often fantasize about the freedom that summer represents, there are some important challenges to consider during the summer months. The most important challenge is the deception of unstructured time. Freedom from teaching, committee meetings, advising, and the day-to-day drama of campus life can create the illusion that we have lots of time. Imagining that we have infinite time can lead us to procrastinate and/or belabor tasks unnecessarily. Additionally, for those of you who aren't daily writers during the academic year, you may experience the challenge of heightened expectations. In other words, putting off writing until the summer can create intense pressure (particularly for tenure-track faculty) that you must complete a year's worth of writing in 12 weeks.

Childcare poses yet another challenge to summer writing. Changed schedules for school-aged children, gaps between the end of school and beginning of summer camps, and the increased expense of additional childcare during the summer months can leave some parents struggling to manage additional childcare and a rigorous writing schedule. Finally, some of you are simply exhausted from the intensity of the academic year and, more than anything else, feel the need to address all the neglected areas of your physical health, social life, and personal relationships during the summer months.

While it's important to understand the challenges academic writers face during summer breaks, they point to the keys for a productive summer. I believe those are: 1) knowing what you need as a human being and what you need to accomplish as a writer and researcher, 2) creating a realistic plan to meet all of your needs, and 3) connecting with the type of community, support and accountability that will sustain you through the summer months. I think each semester should start with a plan, so for this week I want to encourage you to set aside 30-60 minutes, grab your calendar and a piece of paper, and develop a clear and concrete plan.

How to Create a Summer Plan

If you have a plan for your writing and personal goals this summer, you automatically lower the possibility of experiencing end-of-summer regret because you will have proactively and consciously chosen activities that lead to specific endpoints. A summer plan allows you to define your goals, identify the activities that will help you achieve them, and provide you with the confidence that when August rolls around, you will have accomplished all the things that are important to you and your future success.

Step #1: Start with your goals

Start by writing down all of your personal and professional goals for the summer. I make sure all of my goals are SMART goals. In other words, I try to state my goals in Specific Measurable, Attractive, Realistic and Time framed statements. So, instead of listing "make progress on my book" and "learn how to cook" as goals, I write "complete the first ugly draft of chapter 2 by July 1st" and "take one cooking class each month." Listing your goals is the fun part, so enjoy it.

Step #2: Outline the tasks that are required to achieve your goals

For each of your end-of-summer writing goals, determine all the tasks necessary to achieve the goal. For example, if one of your goals is to submit that R & R that's been sitting on your desk all year, then ask yourself: What specific tasks do I need to complete in order to revise and resubmit my manuscript? Your list could look something like the following:

* Read the editor's and reviewer's comments.
* Cry a little.
* Create a list of necessary revisions.
* Read for revision.
* Re-analyze data.
* Revise the writing and update tables.
* Submit to a professional editor.
* Draft a cover letter explaining how you addressed the reviewer's comments.
* Mail/upload the revised manuscript to the journal.
* Celebrate the submission.

Each of your goals will require specific tasks in order to be accomplished by August. If you're a visual person (as opposed to a list-maker), then try mapping out a flow chart of each of your goals. Some will be simple and others will be complex, but the main point is that if all you're doing is setting goals without identifying all the small steps that are necessary to achieve them, you are unlikely to finish the summer with much progress or productivity.

Step #3: Map your tasks onto time

Here's where it always gets ugly. Take a long hard look at your calendar and make sure you have blocked out all of your summer commitments (vacation, moving, conference travel, childcare, summer teaching, etc...). What is left is the time you realistically have to complete all the tasks necessary to accomplish your goals. Use your best estimate as to how long each task will take and find specific weeks in your calendar when this work will get done. I estimate the tasks associated with the R&R example would take me four weeks. So I have to find FOUR WEEKS in my calendar to complete all the tasks in order to meet my goal.

I believe that this is where things get ugly because inevitably, you will have more tasks than will fit into 12 weeks. In fact, your summer break may suddenly seem shockingly short! Don't worry, this happens to everyone, and the point of this exercise is to force this realization in May (as opposed to August) because now you can proactively make decisions about the work that doesn't fit into your calendar by scaling back your goals, re-negotiating deadlines, requesting additional support, prioritizing, delegating, and/or letting some things go. Whatever you decide, you will feel far more empowered making your decisions in advance than simply hoping you'll meet all of your goals and then ending another summer disappointed and frustrated over all the work that didn't get done.

Step #4: Execute the plan on a daily basis

Once you have a plan for your summer activity, it's up to you to actually do it! I sit down at the beginning of each week to review what writing tasks I have planned for that week and figure out what specific day and time I will complete them (aka The Sunday Meeting). We are all motivated by different things, so try to figure out what motivates YOU and build it into your daily life. Personally, I am motivated by treats, so when I finish my writing each day, I get a treat. My treats don't have to be expensive or extravagant, they're just a little dose of personal pleasure for a job well done.

Step #5: Create support and accountability

Summer is a time when you will need extra support and accountability because the structured activities of the semester (events, classes, and meetings) cease. This is an ideal time to start a writing accountability group, create a write-on-site group, join the monthly writing challenges on the NCFDD Discussion Forums, and/or join the next session of our Faculty Success Program. Whatever you do, don't try to go it alone! There are many wonderful communities of support that already exist, and you have the power to create them in your own local environment.

As always, adapt these steps to fit your life circumstances and personal needs. And once you have a plan, I encourage you to share it with your mentors to get their suggestions, feedback, and ideas. This way, no matter how your academic year ended, you (and your departmental mentors) will know that this summer, you are a scholar with a clear plan!

The Weekly Challenge

This week, I challenge you to:
   * Take 30-60 minutes to sit down and construct a plan that provides all the rest, fun, support, and community you need to be productive this summer.
   * If you need assistance, register for our May core workshop: Every Summer Needs a Plan.
   * Find or create a community of support that will keep you motivated throughout the summer months.
   * Share your summer plan with at least one of your mentors for feedback.
   * And if you wanted to participate in our Summer bootcamp but missed the deadline, go ahead and add your name to our waiting list.

I hope that going through the process of making a summer plan will help you to identify your priorities, clarify how all of your personal and professional needs can get met, and energize you for the summer months.

Peace & Productivity,
Kerry Ann

* Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD, is President and CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity. Her scholarship has focused on interracial families, biracial identity, and the politics of racial categorization. She is author of two important books: Beyond Black and Raising Biracial Children, as well as over two dozen articles and book chapters on multiracial youth. After Dr. Rockquemore became a tenured professor, her focus shifted to improving conditions for pre-tenure faculty by creating supportive communities for writing productivity and work/life balance. Her award-winning work with under-represented faculty led to the publication of her most recent book: The Black Academic's Guide to Winning Tenure without Losing Your Soul. Dr. Rockquemore provides workshops for faculty at colleges across the U.S., writes an advice column for Inside Higher Ed, and works with a select group of faculty each semester in the Faculty Success Program.

KerryAnn@FacultyDiversity.org

 

 

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1344. Lingua Franca


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With English instruction growing, the researchers asked professors what subjects were being taught in English. And while English literature is of course no surprise, the others show a wide range. Among them: mathematics, engineering, physics, business, geography, biology, agriculture, chemistry, arts, history, medicine, international relations, regional studies and religious education.

1344. Lingua Franca

Folks:

Rick ReisThe posting below looks at the impact of English language instruction globally in higher education. It is by Scott Jaschik and it appeared in the April 30, 2014 issue of Inside Higher Ed, an excellent - and free - online source for news, opinion, and jobs for all of higher education. You can subscribe by going to:http://insidehighered.com/. Also, for a free daily update from Inside Higher Ed, e-mail <scott.jaschik@insidehighered.com>. Copyright ©2014 Inside Higher Ed. Reprinted with permission.

Regards,

Rick Reis
reis@stanford.edu


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Tomorrow's Academia

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Lingua Franca

MIAMI -- English has taken off as a global language in higher education -- as a "medium of instruction," not just a foreign language in those countries where English is not the first language, says a report [http://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/britishcouncil.uk2/files/english_as_a_medium_of_instruction.pdf] releasedTuesday evening here. But in many countries and at many institutions, key issues related to the expanded use of English have not been defined or, in some cases, even discussed.

The report was released at Going Global, [http://www.britishcouncil.org/going-global] the annual international education meeting of the British Council. The report is based on a survey of university professors, university administrators and policy makers in 55 countries, including some where English is the primary language and many more where it is not. The British Council released summaries of findings, not details, which will follow.

As an example of the kind of issue that needs addressing, the report discusses the views of professors -- who are fine teaching in English but not teaching English.

"EMI [English as medium of instruction] teachers firmly believed that teaching English was not their job. They did not consider themselves responsible for their students' level of English," the report says. "They did not see themselves as language teachers in any way. We may ask how students are supposed to understand lectures and classes if the EMI teacher does not help with their knowledge of English by paraphrasing, by teaching subject-specific vocabulary and technical terms."

The report includes this quote from a professor: "I'm not interested in their English. I'm interested in their comprehension of micro-biogenetics."

That attitude raises a key question, the report says: "If subject teachers do not consider it their job to improve the students' English, whose job is it?"

A related issue is the lack of standards for those who are teaching a range of academic subjects in English.

"Most teachers who were expected to teach through EMI were not native speakers of English and it is as yet unclear what the requirements are with regard to English language competence," the report says. "Teachers were unaware of a language level, test or qualification for EMI teachers. They had been nominated to teach in EMI because they had been abroad, spoke well or had volunteered."

Instructors teaching in English generally said that they would welcome specific proficiency standards.

The report notes debates in various countries about the impact of English language instruction on native languages and cultures. In some countries, English language has been opposed, while others -- seeing economic gains -- have embraced it. While the report doesn't advocate a specific policy, it notes that the lack of public discussion about the role of English language instruction complicates the debate.

With English instruction growing, the researchers asked professors what subjects were being taught in English. And while English literature is of course no surprise, the others show a wide range. Among them: mathematics, engineering, physics, business, geography, biology, agriculture, chemistry, arts, history, medicine, international relations, regional studies and religious education.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/30/report-notes-issues-raised-english-become-global-higher-ed-language#ixzz30NgXTak7 
Inside Higher Ed

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1343. Class-Sourcing: Student-Created Digital Artifacts as a Teaching Strategy


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Class-sourcing provides additional benefits in comparison to a research paper by helping teach a range of skills relevant to professional and civic life in the digital age.

1343. Class-Sourcing: Student-Created Digital Artifacts as a Teaching Strategy

Folks:

Rick Reis

The posting below looks at an interesting new approach, "class-sourcing," that significantly expands students research, writing, and critical thinking abilities as well understanding of class content. It is by Gleb Tsipursky of The Ohio State University, and is #68 in a series of selected excerpts from The NT&LF reproduced here as part of our "Shared Mission Partnership." NT&LF has a wealth of information on all aspects of teaching and learning. If you are not already a subscriber, you can check it out at [http://ntlf.com/about.aspx] The on-line edition of the Forum - like the printed version - offers subscribers insight from colleagues eager to share new ways of helping students reach the highest levels of learning. National Teaching and Learning Forum Newsletter, February, 2014, Volume 23, No. 2. Copyright ©John Wiley & Sons, Professional and Trade Subscription Content, One Montgomery Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94104-4594. Reprinted with permission.

Regards,

Rick Reis
reis@stanford.edu


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Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

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Class-Sourcing: Student-Created Digital Artifacts as a Teaching Strategy

Students in my class on imperial Russian history faced an unusual final assignment: building a website based on original research on a topic of their choice. The impressive quality of their projects convinced me of the benefits of having students make online digital artifacts as class assignments. I suggest calling this teaching method "class-sourcing," an adaptation of the term crowd-sourcing. The latter describes the creation of digital artifacts best exemplified by Wikipedia.
A related but distinct method, class sourcing involves students building websites, wikis, blogs, videos, podcasts, and other digital artifacts as part of their class activities. As with a research paper, students conduct independent research on a specific topic, and then analyze, organize, and communicate this information. Doing so strengthens their research, writing, and critical thinking abilities as well as their understanding of class content.

Benefits, Benefits, Benefits

Class-sourcing provides additional benefits in comparison to a research paper by helping teach a range of skills relevant to professional and civic life in the digital age. Through class-sourcing, students develop digital literacy, by locating and evaluating digital information; data management, by organizing and curating digital materials, and integrating digital and traditional materials; digital design, by combining textual, visual, and native digital techniques in arranging digital and traditional materials to create overarching interpretations; digital communication, by conveying materials and interpretation to a wide public audience; collaboration, through working in teams; and public presentation. Students quickly recognized these benefits. As one student feedback form recorded: "Working with visual materials both as a teaching tool and as a method of examining [history] both allows and requires a different dialogue regarding the visual stimulation inherent in media and the way those messages are internalized." Another stated that "[We] will approach digital sources differently in the future by realizing that they are a good tool . . . for teaching and learning."

These assignments also position students well for the job market, which values digital abilities highly. One student who intends to pursue a teaching career wrote in a post assignment feedback form: "I am glad that I had this opportunity to use this tool in the academic environment as I had not really considered the teaching potential for this application." Since online digital artifacts have long-lasting lives, students can use these in their professional portfolios and for academic activities. For instance, several students presented on their class-sourcing projects at The Ohio State University at Newark History Research Conference. The skills gained also apply well to civic life, having the potential to assist students in civic activism.

An additional advantage of class sourcing assignments comes from their capacity to improve student engagement and performance. In my experience, having students construct digital artifacts promotes student enthusiasm due to the novel nature of this assignment and the deployment and development of digital skills. This contributed to a constructive classroom dynamic and enhanced comprehension of course content. Moreover, student feedback illustrates that the public nature of the online projects resulted in improved dedication to and performance in this assignment. For instance, one student team reported that their website, compared to a traditional research paper, was "more precise, because of public scrutiny" from a broad online audience.

These benefits, to me, seemed worth the challenge of setting up these nontraditional class-sourced assignments. I found it crucial to devise a thorough prompt with clear guidelines and a grading rubric. To help them I found and organized tutorial materials for students to use in learning how to create websites and Pinterest boards. These forms and tutorials, along with a list of varied student class-sourced projects, are available at my website, and you are welcome to use any materials there with attribution: http://www. glebtsipursky.com/teaching/classsourcing.

Team Building

Once past their initial concerns spawned by the innovative nature of the assignment, the vast majority of students had little trouble working out the technical aspects of these digital projects. Actually, teams experienced more issues with internal group dynamics, as a couple of students did not engage fully with team activities. Still, even in these cases, students found the teamwork aspect beneficial overall: As one stated, "the group project considerations and challenges 'refresher course' that this had turned out to be is going to be even more valuable moving forward in my career. Coordinating and following up on the various stages of projects and allowing for different styles of work practice is an art as much as a skill." Indeed, having students learn such teamwork skills represents a key goal for my teaching. Furthermore, I structured the assignment so that part of the grade for each student came from anonymous evaluations of her or his team members, which both encouraged full participation by the large majority of students and also negatively   impacted the grades of those who chose not to contribute their fair share. In the future, I plan to place a greater emphasis on the need for full engagement by all team members.

Overall, the student teams succeeded in creating a variety of excellent class-sourced projects. For instance, one team from the imperial Russia class devised a website on Bloody Sunday, an event that sparked the 1905 revolution (see Figure 1). They found and integrated together a wide variety of primary and secondary textual sources, images, videos, and links in a well-organized website format. They used these different sources to support and illustrate their own interpretation of the importance of this event.

A team from the course on the history of consumerism assessed the evolution of Super Bowl commercials from 2000 to the present, teasing out how advertisers appealed to social status, emotions, sexual appeal, and humor to market consumer goods.

Pinterest turned out to be an ideal and user-friendly forum to present and analyze these visual sources: according to one feedback form, "Pinterest provides a truly user-friendly environment both for the person setting up the boards as well as for the person exploring the content. Simple controls with intuitive meanings and very straightforward editing processes made this very pleasant work." After my students created the websites, I checked them for accuracy and corrected mistakes, as I would do for any assignment. The clear grading rubric prevented any confusion over the grading of these innovative projects.

These steps constitute the basic level of class-sourcing, but this method has further benefits. First of all, from the beginning I intended to use the class-sourced material that my students created to teach subsequent classes. Indeed, the websites built by my Spring 2012 Soviet history class served well as supplementary readings in my Spring 2013 Soviet history class. I plan to use other class-sourced digital artifacts in a similar fashion.

Drawing on my experience, I contend that class-sourced assignments produce content well suited to teaching others. In fact, these and similar class-sourced artifacts have the potential to satisfy much of the widespread demand among college faculty and high school teachers for free class materials, especially ones available on the internet where our students spend so much of their time. Since faculty guide their creation, these products can be specifically tailored to the needs of teaching and learning, as opposed to crowd-sourced resources such as Wikipedia. Moreover, since faculty check and correct their students' assignments (in other words, undertake a review of these digital products prior to their public unveiling) class-sourced artifacts deserve more trust than crowd-sourced data that lacks such review. Additionally, there can be many digital artifacts dealing with the same topic. By presenting a diversity of perspectives and interpretations, class-sourced materials can offer a fuller and richer portrayal than the cohesive and unified narrative style of either Wikipedia or textbooks. Faculty members can select and assign those artifacts that best fit their pedagogical needs and preferences, supplementing textbooks or replacing them altogether.

Stockpiling Benefits For All

Furthermore, such class-sourced digital artifacts can positively impact our outreach beyond the college and high school classroom to the broader public. Already, the digital artifacts my students created have an impact, as you can see by typing "Soviet History-The KGB" into Google, where my students' website currently appears near the top in the search rankings. Once enough have been created and compiled together in an organized fashion, class-sourced projects could serve as a valuable informational resource for the public, one that can supplement Wikipedia entries with public sources of information reviewed by academic experts.

Efforts to organize these artifacts can start at the level of individual faculty, as I did with my personal webpage, and grow to span departments, universities, and eventually the national and even international level. Faculty can collaborate with librarians, IT specialists, and other internal stakeholders to promote class-sourcing within their institutions. They can partner with schools, museums, governments, businesses, non-profit organizations, and other institutions to create digital artifacts that serve the particular needs of such external stakeholders. In this age of digital technology and tightening budgets, class-sourcing would help ensure that academia stays relevant and demonstrates the value of its contributions to society as a whole.

 

 

Contact:
Gleb Tsipursky
Assistant Professor
The Ohio State University
History Department
Newark Campus
Lefevre 287, 1179 University Drive
Newark, OH 43055
Telephone: (740) 755-7806
E-mail: tsipursky.1@osu.edu
Web: www.glebtsipursky.com

 

 

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1342. Thinking Creatively and Critically


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Two popular targets on the list of Things These Students Can't Do are creative thinking (coming up with innovative ideas) and critical thinking (making judgments or choices and backing them up with evidence and logic). When our colleagues complain to us that their students can't do them, after we make appropriate sympathetic noises we ask, "Where were they supposed to learn to do it?" The answers may vary, but one we rarely hear is "In my class." 

1342. Thinking Creatively and Critically

Folks:

Rick Reis

The posting below gives some excellent suggestions on how to help your students think more creatively and critically. It is by Rebecca Brent and Richard M. Felder and is from Chemical Engineering Education, 48(2), 113-114 (2014) and is reprinted with permission.  Check out Felder's website at: [www.ncsu.edu/effective_teaching].

Regards,

Rick Reis
reis@stanford.edu


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Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

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Thinking Creatively and Critically

Want Your Students to Think Creatively and Critically?  How About Teaching Them?

Ever hear a conversation like this in your department?

Professor X: "All these students can do is plug numbers into formulas-give them a problem a little different from the one in the text and they're helpless."

Professor Y: "Yeah, and they're also functionally illiterate-most of them couldn't write a coherent grocery list. On a quiz last month I asked for a clear and grammatically correct definition of vapor pressure, and a bunch of the students stomped me for it on the midterm evals. "I went into engineering to get away from this crap," one of them said.

Professor Z: "It's this whole spoiled generation-they want the grades but don't want to do anything for them!"

If you haven't heard anything like that, you haven't been listening.

Two popular targets on the list of Things These Students Can't Do are creative thinking (coming up with innovative ideas) and critical thinking (making judgments or choices and backing them up with evidence and logic). When our colleagues complain to us that their students can't do them, after we make appropriate sympathetic noises we ask, "Where were they supposed to learn to do it?" The answers may vary, but one we rarely hear is "In my class."

Leaving aside anomalous prodigies like Mozart and Gauss, people develop skills of any kind-musical performance or composition, math or physics, critical or creative thinking-through practice and feedback. That's how you acquired your skills. You were either given or voluntarily took on tasks, and with someone else's help or on your own you learned how to do them. The more you did them, the better you got. Unfortunately, creative and critical thinking are not routinely taught in our schools, nor are they activities that students eagerly learn on their own. It shouldn't surprise us when our students can't magically do them on our assignments and exams.

Let's suppose you decide to take on the job of helping your students learn to think creatively or critically. Can you equip all of them to be brilliant at it? No, any more than you or anyone else can turn them all into brilliant scientists and engineers-they don't all have the talent. How about the ones who have it-can you do it for all of them? Probably not-some lack the motivation to do the required work. Well then, can you help the talented and motivated students become much better at creative and critical thinking than they were at the beginning of the course? Definitely!  How? Easy-show them examples of the kind of thinking you have in mind; ask them in class and in assignments to complete tasks that require that kind of thinking; give them feedback; and repeat.

In the remainder of this column we offer examples of creative and critical thinking tasks you can easily incorporate into your course-any course, on any subject-that should require relatively little time to prepare and grade and not much expertise (if you're worried about your own creative and thinking skills). To design more extensive instructional modules or courses on creative and critical thinking, consult references on those subjects. A particularly good source of information is Fogler and LeBlanc's Strategies for Creative Problem Solving,  which also deals with critical thinking. Also, consider using a grading rubric to evaluate the students' products and help them develop the targeted skill.

*   *   *

Creative and critical thinking: Idea generation and prioritization

(Creative) List possible

       * ways to verify a [calculated value, derived formula]

       *  ways to determine a physical property or process variable [as a function of one or more specified variables, with no   instrument calibrations, using a stuffed bear]

       * uses for [a specified object, a waste product]

       * ways to improve a [process, product, experiment, procedure, computer code]

       * real-world applications of a [theory, formula, algorithm]

       * safety or environmental concerns in [an experiment, a process, a plant]

       * flaws in a proposed design or procedure

       * benefits of doing something differently from how it is normally done

You could stop right there, or you could go on to

(Critical) Select the top three items on your list in decreasing order of their probable importance, and justify your selection.

Creative and critical thinking: Explaining unexpected results (perhaps the most important task scientists and engineers face, both in industry and in research.)  In Part (a) of this problem, you calculated that the cantilever support should fail when the applied load reaches 5.5x104 N. Suppose a test is run and the support fails at a load of only 2.1x104 N. (Creative) List at least 10 possible reasons, including three or more that involve assumptions made in the calculation. (Critical) List the top three reasons on your list in decreasing order of their likelihood, and justify your selection.

Creative and critical thinking: Problem formulation. "[Make up, make up and solve] a problem involving material covered in the past two weeks of [this course, this course and any other course you are currently taking]. If your problem requires only simple formula substitution and contains no errors, you will get a minimum passing grade. To get more credit, your problem should require high-level analysis or critical or creative thinking to solve." Formulating the problem requires creative thinking, and determining whether or not it meets your criteria calls for critical thinking. Before you give the first such assignment, show in class several examples of poorly constructed and low-level problems and examples of well-constructed problems that meet your criteria.

Critical thinking: Selecting from among alternatives. Following are [two strategies for solving the given problem, two computer codes for executing a stated task, four alternative process or product designs, four possible explanations of given observations or experimental data]. Select the best one and justify your choice.

Critical thinking: Analyzing. Assign a complex open-ended problem, with the first task being to determine whether enough information is available to get a solution, and if it isn't, to figure out what more is needed and how to find it. Another analysis problem involves an ethical dilemma. The following scenario describes the case of [an employee who learns about an illegal activity that involved his supervisor; a graduate student who discovers that her research advisor altered experimental data]. List and discuss possible courses of action and make and justify a recommendation.

Critical thinking: Critiquing. Read and critique the attached [article from a popular scientific journal, op-ed column in yesterday's paper, transcript of a televised speech or interview]. Your critique should include an evaluation of the accuracy and persuasiveness of the opinions expressed and should identify stated and hidden assumptions, misleading statements, and inaccurate and unproven claims.

Critical thinking: Grading. A student who took this course last year submitted the attached [project report, design, essay]. Give it a grade and summarize your reasoning.
                                                                                  * *
Whichever of those exercises you use, there's a good chance many students have never been asked to do anything like it before. Don't ask them to do it without first giving them a clear idea of what you are looking for. A good way to do that is to first show several good and bad examples of student products in class, state how you would grade each one, and explain what makes them good or bad. Then give several more examples, and for each one, (a) have the students rate it individually; (b) have them compare their ratings in pairs and reach consensus on the appropriate rating; and (c) share your rating with them and discuss your reasoning. After several such exercises they will all know what you want them to do, and most should do reasonably well on their first attempts and much better thereafter. By the end of your course they may not all be brilliant creative or critical thinkers, but they will have taken a major step in that direction.

References

Fogler, H.S., and LeBlanc, S.E., with Rizzo, B.R. (2014). Strategies for Creative Problem Solving, 3rd edn. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Felder, R.M., and Brent, R. (2010). Hard assessment of soft skills. Chem. Engr. Education, 44(1), 63-64. <www.ncsu.edu/felder-public/Columns/SoftSkills.pdf>. A good starting point for developing a grading rubric or checklist is <http://course1.winona.edu/shatfield/air/rubrics.htm >.

 

 

 

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1341. Putting E-Portfolios at the Center of Our Learning


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The use of e-portfolio spans the breadth of our work and organization from students, faculty and staff, to programs, from academic and curricular to administrative and institutional functions.

1341. Putting E-Portfolios at the Center of Our Learning

Folks:

Rick Reis

The posting below looks at the campus-wide impact of e-portfolios at Charles Guttman Community College in New York, NY. It is by Laura M. Gambino, professor and faculty scholar for teaching, learning, and assessment, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY and is from Peer Review, Winter 2014, Vol. 16, No.1. Peer Review is a publication of the Association of American Colleges and Universities [http://www.aacu.org/peerreview/pr-wi14/Gambino.cfm]. Copyright © 2014, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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Rick Reis

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Putting E-Portfolios at the Center of Our Learning

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, formerly the New Community College, is the first community college to open in the City University of New York in over forty years. When we welcomed our inaugural class in August 2012, Guttman introduced an innovative educational model that brings together multiple high-impact practices (Kuh 2008) such as first-year experience, learning communities, and experiential learning. As Tom Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, said, "The important thing about the New Community College is not any one thing they're doing, but that they're doing all of them together. All the research shows that if you do them alone, for a modest amount of time, they have a modest positive effect, but it doesn't last. This will be a chance to see what happens if you do them together, consistently, over a longer period of time (in Perez-Pena 2012)."

Guttman's goal in transforming the traditional model of community college education is to significantly increase student engagement, success, retention, and graduation rates.

E-portfolios are central to this transformation. They enable us to connect our high impact practices into a holistic, integrative learning environment for students. E-portfolios also serve as the primary vehicle for assessment at Guttman, using authentic student work to create a culture of learning and continuous improvement. Guttman is the first college in the country to be built with e-portfolio as the centerpiece of learning, connecting curricular, cocurricular, and institutional structures. Our vision statement reflects this:

As an institution focused on learning and improvement, e-portfolio is an integral and integrating component at the center of Guttman Community College. The use of e-portfolio spans the breadth of our work and organization from students, faculty and staff, to programs, from academic and curricular to administrative and institutional functions. E-portfolio is an environment in which we showcase our work, articulate and reflect on our learning, assess our outcomes, document improvements and change, and communicate to each other and the larger communities we are a part of." (E-portfolio Task Force 2013)

While we acknowledge that it is rare to have the opportunity to build a new college from the ground up, we believe there is much to be learned from our experience. Generating a "vision of the possible," Guttman has the freedom to experiment, demonstrate, and share what it means to build e-portfolios into virtually every aspect of campus life, creating a multi-layered e-portfolio culture. We are also interested in identifying the transportable processes and elements of this model and sharing our lessons learned. We hope our work will help demonstrate the transformative potential that e-portfolios offer higher education.

Background

The planning for Guttman's e-portfolio initiative predates the opening of the college. The initial concept paper proposed that we adopt a portfolio system for assessing student learning, growth, and mastery of core competencies (The City University of New York 2008). A working committee for assessment and portfolios recommended "the use of portfolios as the core of the assessment system" (The City University of New York 2010, 55). It also recommended that students create an e-portfolio during their summer bridge program and add to that e-portfolio during their time at the college, culminating in a graduation portfolio where they "demonstrate mastery of critical skills as well as reflect on growth during their college experience" (65).

Moving from concept to practice is always a challenge. While ideas from the concept paper and working committee report have been modified and adjusted as needed, we remain true to many of the core recommendations. We use e-portfolios "at scale"; they are a critical connector for every student's Guttman experience and serve as a catalyst for learning-for students, faculty, and the institution. Our e-portfolio philosophy, developed in 2013 by a college task force, articulates this concept:

We believe e-portfolio can serve as the conversational centerpiece and clearinghouse for institutional learning and change. E-portfolio catalyzes learning, assessment and communication in proportion to its use.... As a community of learners, we use e-portfolio to define and shape integrated curricula, advising programs and career preparation through asynchronous exchanges of knowledge, culture, and experience. (E-portfolio Task Force 2013)

In addition to the task force's work, a faculty team participates in the Connect to Learning (C2L) project, based at LaGuardia Community College (see the related article on page 8.) C2L's Catalyst for Learning framework (Catalyst 2014) helps structure the complex nature of our e-portfolio implementation. Many of our e-portfolio practices are influenced by what we have learned from partner campuses in the C2L network.

As a result of these efforts we have a burgeoning e-portfolio culture. By focusing on integrative, reflective, and social pedagogy, e-portfolio use helps create a holistic learning experience linking teaching and learning, assessment, and professional development.

Teaching and Learning

At Guttman, students' e-portfolio experiences begins in the summer during their mandatory bridge program. Using Digication, Guttman's e-portfolio and assessment platform, students create their learning e-portfolio. They author a "Who Am I" essay and begin to customize their e-portfolio. E-portfolio use is integrated throughout the summer bridge curriculum and cocurricular activities, including a group research project focused on a New York City neighborhood. At the conclusion of the bridge program, students submit their e-portfolios to Digication's assessment system; those portfolios are used to assess the program and serve as a baseline measure of our Guttman learning outcomes (GLO)-the college's five institutional core competencies (see below).

Student use of e-portfolios helps unify Guttman's required first-year curriculum, which consists of courses such as City Seminar, Ethnographies of Work, Composition, and Statistics. Our faculty and first-year advisors (termed "student success advocates" at Guttman), engage students in activities that use reflective and social pedagogies to connect and support our integrative curriculum. For example, at the mid-point of our twelve-week fall and spring sessions, students engage in a community-service experience. Through an activity in City Seminar, students use the e-portfolio to reflect on their experience and link it back to their course-based learning. In Lori Ungemah's class this past fall, students composed a self-reflection letter after being prompted "to explain how your experience connected to ideas you had already learned in City Seminar this fall. Where did you see overlap? How did your experience affect your thoughts on our City Seminar topic? What resonated with you most?" (Ungemah 2013).

In addition to course-based applications, e-portfolios are used in our academic support structures, helping students develop the skills and persistence needed to be successful. According to Ariana Gonzalez-Stokas (personal communication), "Our academic support space, known as Studio, seeks to support students in their development of academic competencies and cultivate a sense of ownership over their learning and identity as a college student." In this support context, scaffolded reflective journaling and project-based activities connect with the bridge program and first-year coursework, enabling students to gain a better understanding of themselves as learners.

Through deliberate weaving of e-portfolios across the curriculum, experiential learning opportunities, and academic support, the Guttman model creates a connective space for learning in the first year. Students can see their own growth and learning over time; e-portfolios facilitate their ability to grasp how each individual component fits into a holistic, integrative learning experience.

As we begin our second year at the college and develop our upper-level courses and degree programs, we are working with faculty to extend the connective role of e-portfolios. In our human services program, for example, Nicole Saint-Louis developed a template that provides opportunities for students to connect their second-year coursework, fieldwork, and a capstone project with the GLOs. In addition, our second-year career strategists work with students to develop showcase e-portfolios. The strategists also developed a comprehensive resource e-portfolio that serves as a virtual hub for second-year students to communicate with their strategist and to find information about their advising and transfer processes.

Our pedagogical uses of e-portfolios center on improving learning through careful attention to the curricular, cocurricular, and affective dimensions of the student experience. We want students to become reflective practitioners with an understanding of the learning process and who they are as learners. One student, Sam van der Swaagh, articulated this in a reflection he authored. For Sam, "The e-portfolio platform provides an area to display 'how I arrived here,' which is much more interesting than merely showing the final products. The reflective nature of [an] e-portfolio provides me with a professional website to showcase who I am as a person and displays how I became who I am... [it] essentially profiles me as a student and presents my narrative" (2013).

Outcomes Assessment

Guttman has a strong commitment to ongoing, comprehensive assessment that examines student learning at both the individual and aggregate levels. This commitment is centered on the concept of using assessment for learning (Barrett 2004) across the various layers of the institution- students, faculty, and programs- with the ultimate goal of improving student learning, persistence, and success. Since our assessment structures were constructed with a strong emphasis on examining student learning via e-portfolios, we did not encounter faculty "buy-in" issues and were consequently able to move quickly into practice-examining work, reflecting on findings, and identifying and implementing changes.

Our assessment of student e-portfolios began last year when we examined portfolios from the summer bridge program. Based on that evaluation, we found the majority of students were not comfortable using e-portfolios and that the bridge program experience was fragmented. We revised the curriculum and created a more cohesive experience, integrating e-portfolios into each component of the program.

Ongoing assessment is essential to our work; coordinated by our Center for College Effectiveness, dedicated assessment days are scheduled into the mid- and end-points of each twelve week fall and spring session. While a variety of assessment and professional development activities take place on these days, the primary goal is for faculty and staff to work together assessing first-year student work and reflections from their e-portfolios. Instructional teams, which include faculty and student success advocates, conduct an assessment of each student. Teams then identify any individual interventions and action plans needed to help students succeed academically.

E-portfolios allow us to focus our institutional assessment on authentic student work and reflections connected to real classroom, experiential, and cocurricular activities. A team of faculty and administrators attended AAC&U's General Education and Assessment Summer Institute last spring and, informed by the work of our colleagues at LaGuardia Community College (Arcario et al. 2013), developed a comprehensive GLO assessment plan. Teams of faculty, staff, and students at the college will engage in a three-year inquiry, reflection, and integration cycle, examining snapshots of student e-portfolios collected at various milestones: the conclusion of the bridge program, the end of the first-year experience, and graduation. These snapshots will allow us to look longitudinally at how students are learning and growing in relation to the GLOs, identify any needed curricular improvements, and implement changes.

We envision our assessment work as an ongoing, action-research process- planning, evaluating, reflecting, and implementing changes in a cyclical process over time. Our work will mature and deepen as our students move through their programs. Our goal is to become a learning organization, where faculty, staff, programs, and the institution learn and grow as our students learn and grow.

Professional Development

Given the pervasiveness of e-portfolios across the student learning experience and its central role in Guttman's institutional model, professional development is critical to our work. Our challenge in this area is two-fold. We are bringing many new faculty members on board each year, the majority of whom are not familiar with e-portfolios. We also are still building our professional development structures, working to integrate e-portfolios into them.

Our initial professional development work focused on introducing e-portfolio. Throughout our first year, faculty and staff participated in e-portfolio workshops and activities. Participants were learning "on the fly;" leaders helped them work with the technology, design integrative assignments, and develop reflective prompts. This year we developed a comprehensive professional development plan to introduce e-portfolio pedagogy and practice to our new hires. We also worked closely with our peer mentors and graduate coordinators.

E-portfolio leaders work to integrate e-portfolios into our professional development practices, using e-portfolios to "practice what we preach." For example, we developed professional development e-portfolios for our E-portfolio and the Arts and E-portfolio Peer Mentor/Grad Coordinator Bootcamp workshops. In addition to sharing materials, participants engage in social pedagogy, commenting and engaging with each other via e-portfolios, both before and during workshops.

While workshops are beneficial, we know and see from our C2L colleagues that successful e-portfolio-related professional development activities utilize a sustained seminar approach. We are exploring ways to integrate this type of approach into our college structures. This spring we will pilot communities of practice, engaging small groups of faculty and staff with e-portfolio pedagogies. Connecting with our outcomes assessment work, our GLO teams will participate in sustained professional development. As we launch our degree programs, we will offer ongoing professional development with faculty to integrate e-portfolios into the second-year curricula.

Cultivating an E-Portfolio Culture

For many e-portfolio leaders, the phrase "scaling up" refers to growing or broadening an e-portfolio initiative. Having started "at scale," we understand the phrase to refer to the deepening of our e-portfolio use, finding ways to further integrate it into Guttman's learning culture. We have taken several steps this past year to cultivate that culture. At the same time, we see innovative uses for e-portfolios emerging from our faculty and staff.

Guttman does not use a learning management system. E-portfolios are the vehicle through which we deliver course materials to students. Each instructional team develops an e-portfolio that contains syllabi, assignments, videos, or other instructional materials that are shared with students and updated regularly, providing them a single space to find what is needed for courses.

In addition, almost every faculty member and advisor has his or her own e-portfolio where they share information about themselves, their teaching and research, and outside interests. Karla Fuller, for example, developed an e-portfolio for reappointment where she shares a narrative curriculum vitae and reflections on her growth as an academic and scholar. Fuller explained the value of this exercise in terms of both pedagogy and professional development. When she saw

How artfully one can present information as evidence through this venue, I decided to create my own e-portfolio for two main reasons: (1) to model curation of an effective e-portfolio for my students and (2) to document my own professional growth and development as an early-career faculty member. After working very hard on my e-portfolio for months, I really liked the interactive way I could share my professional life with others. (personal communication)

We also see uses for e-portfolios that have evolved "organically" from faculty and staff. The City Seminar committee created a curricular e-portfolio that provides a wealth of resources including curriculum and learning outcomes, sample syllabi, videos, and assignments. Other groups followed its lead and we now have portfolios for each of our first-year courses. They are dynamic resources; faculty continually update and add to these repositories, creating a rich library of shared instructional materials accessible to all faculty and staff.

Our peer mentors find creative uses for e-portfolios. They develop resource e-portfolios that provide academic support materials for students. They also created an e-portfolio for our bridge program's commonly assigned reading. This e-portfolio, accessed by students before the bridge program began, contained videos in which mentors discussed the book along with questions for students to respond to via the e-portfolios.

These examples, which emerged both from the innovative thinking of our faculty, staff, and peer mentors, and from our curricular, cocurricular, and institutional uses of e-portfolios, combine to demonstrate the transformative potential of e-portfolio use. Through careful planning and deliberate implementation we see an e-portfolio-based learning culture developing.

Conclusion

Guttman's e-portfolio work will allow us to see a "vision of the possible," the value of using e-portfolios while persistently combining multiple best practices, as scholar Tom Bailey reminds us, over a substantial period of time (Perez-Pena 2012). While we cannot yet examine the long-term impact of e-portfolios on learning, our preliminary findings suggest that e-portfolios help students unify and make meaning out of their educational experience; thoughtful and deliberate integration of e-portfolios into any one aspect of college life can make a difference, having a positive impact on students, faculty, and the institution. Connecting e-portfolios across multiple structures has an even greater impact on a college culture; a deliberate and intentional approach to professional development is key to e-portfolio pedagogy and outcomes assessment; going forward, more sustained work in this area will be vital to our success.

At Guttman, we are privileged to have the unique and challenging opportunity to build an institution with e-portfolios at the center of our learning. We know there is more to be done to fully realize the promise of our vision and the integration of e-portfolios into our college structures. We hope by continuing to share our practices and findings that we can contribute to the broader e-portfolio field and demonstrate e-portfolios' potential to catalyze learning and change for students, faculty, and the institution as a whole.
 
REFERENCES

Arcario, P., B. Eynon, M. Klages, and B. Polnariev. 2013. "Closing the Loop: How We Better Serve Our Students through a Comprehensive Assessment Process." Metropolitan Universities Journal 24(2): 21-37.

Barrett, H. 2004. "Electronic Portfolios as Digital Stories of Deep Learning: Emerging Digital Tools to Support Reflection in Learner-Centered Portfolios." http://electronicportfolios.org/digistory/epstory.html.

Connect to Learning. 2014. Catalyst for Learning: E-portfolio Research and Resources. Accessed February 7. http://c2l.mcnrc.org/.

City University of New York. 2008. A New Community College Concept Paper. New York: The City University of New York. http://guttman.cuny.edu/about/strategicplanning/planning-documents.html.
City University of New York. 2010. First Round Working Committee Reports. Retrieved from http://guttman.cuny.edu/about/strategicplanning/planning-documents.html.

E-portfolio Task Force. 2013. "E-Portfolio Vision and Philosophy Statements." Stella and Charles Guttman Community College. https://guttman-cuny.digication.com/assessment_days_february_2014/Group_5_ePortfolio_and_Scaling_Up.

Kuh, G. D. 2008. High-Impact Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Perez-Pena, R. 2012. "The New Community College Try." The New York Times, July 20. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/education/edlife/the-new-community-college-cunys-multimillion-dollar-experiment-in-education.html?_r=0.

Ungemah, L. 2013. Self-Reflection Letter.

Van der Swaagh, S. 2013. Self-Reflection Letter. https://guttman-cuny.digication.com/samuel_van_der_swaagh/Portfolio_Reflection.

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1340. Design Considerations for Exam Wrappers


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Exam wrappers are short activities that direct students to review their performance (and the instructor's feedback) on an exam with an eye toward adapting their future learning (again, see Appendices A1 and A2 for two samples).  Exam wrappers ask students three kinds of questions: How did they prepare for the exam?  What kinds of errors did they make on the exam?  What could they do differently next time?

1340. Design Considerations for Exam Wrappers

Folks:

Rick Reis

The posting below looks at the use of exam wrappers as a way to help students improve their performance on exams. It is from Chapter 2 - Make Exams Worth More Than the Grade: Using Exam Wrappers to Promote Metacognition, by Marsha C. Lovett, in the book,  Using Reflection and Metacognition to Improve Student Learning Across the Disciplines, Across the Academy, edited by Matthew Kaplan, Naomi Silver, Danielle LaVaque-Manty, and Deborah Meizlish. Published by Stylus Publishing, LLC. 22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, Virginia 20166-2102. [http://www.styluspub.com/Books/Features.aspx] Copyright © 2013 by Stylus Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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Rick Reis
reis@stanford.edu


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Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

---------- 2,263 words ----------

Design Considerations for Exam Wrappers

To devise a practical and effective intervention that helps students develop metacognitive skills, we need to consider several realities of teaching and learning.  First, however much instructors may value metacognition, they still face great pressure to cover the course content (especially in introductory courses) and hence must allocate their class time sparingly.  So any practical intervention must impinge minimally on class time.  Second, today's college students are busy and as such tend to be highly sensitive to the time they spend on course-related activities, especially if they do not see a connection to their grade or the course content.  So students must be able to complete any practical intervention within the (likely small) amount of time they are willing to invest.  Third, courses vary widely in many different ways, including the disciplinary content (e.g., biology versus physics), format of the course (e.g., lecture versus small-group discussion), and types of activities (e.g., problem set versus essay), and instructors do not want to have to design a distinct instrument for every course.  So any practical intervention must be easily adaptable across diverse course features.  Fourth, in order to produce significant learning gains, instructors need to give students repeated practice opportunities.  Moreover, the repetitions need to allow enough variety, to avoid seeming dull and predictable, and to support transfer.  So any effective intervention must be repeatable and yet flexible enough to accommodate variation in format.  Finally, and most importantly, metacognition will not improve unless students are actively engaging in metacognitive practice of the sort discussed earlier.  In other words, to be most effective, the intervention must be (a) targeted on the metacognitive skills that instructors want their students to learn, (b) repeatable for multiple practice opportunities, (c) exemplified in diverse contexts, and (d) grounded in the content of students' disciplinary learning.

For the reasons identified in the beginning of this chapter, exams offer an ideal platform for achieving metacognitive gains. My approach was to build metacognitive practice around exams and in so doing satisfy the previously listed constraints.  As the name suggests, this is what exam wrappers are all about.

What Are Exam Wrappers?

Exam wrappers are short activities that direct students to review their performance (and the instructor's feedback) on an exam with an eye toward adapting their future learning (again, see Appendices A1 and A2 for two samples).  Exam wrappers ask students three kinds of questions: How did they prepare for the exam?  What kinds of errors did they make on the exam?  What could they do differently next time?  Each of the question types is discussed next.

1. How students prepared for the exam.  Asking students to reflect on how they prepared for the exam forces them to confront the choices, explicit or implicit, they made about their studying.  This prompts students to consider issues such as whether they studied enough or sufficiently in advance.  Similarly, asking students which of various study strategies they employed (e.g., reviewing notes, solving practice problems, rereading the textbook) highlights that there are many options they could have taken.  It also presents various study strategies that students might not have even considered and thus suggests some new possibilities for how they might prepare differently next time.

2. What kinds of errors students made.  Once they have received a grade, students do not always think carefully about their performance on an exam.  If they did well, they might mark it as a success without much further thought; if they did poorly, there's a strong temptation to leave the painful event behind.  Thus, the second set of questions posed in exam wrappers is designed to encourage students to analyze their performance in greater depth, giving students something constructive to do with the feedback a graded exam offers.  One way to do this is to identify the critical components or stages of the tasks on the exam and have students estimate their degree of difficulty (e.g. how many points they lost) with each component.  For example, did they read the question carefully, did they have trouble "setting up" the problem, did they fail to understand the concepts involved, or did they make mistakes on the required arithmetic or algebra?  Focusing students' reflection at this level informs their analysis of their own performance.  Moreover, the labels for the different possibilities provide a concrete language for students to use when assessing their own performance.  Note that this part of the exam wrapper is a natural place for instructors to tailor the questions to their own needs.  For example, the exam wrappers in Appendices A1 and A2 use different labels to fit the needs of two disciplines: physics and calculus.  Instructors may also want to adapt these labels to include specific misconceptions or difficulties that have been revealed in their course by past students.  Or, they may want to include more general issues that affect students' exam performance.  For instance, an instructor I worked with recently was concerned about test anxiety adversely affecting her students' exam performance, so she incorporated this issue into her exam wrapper.

3. How students should study for the next exam. Students can use their responses to the first and second types of exam-wrapper questions to think about how they should approach the next exam.  A key goal of the third type of exam-wrapper question is to help students see the association between their study choices and their exam performance so they can better predict what study strategies will be effective in the future.  One way to do this is to ask students to look back at their responses to the first two parts of the wrapper and then to list specific ways they might prepare differently for the next exam to improve their performance.  Another option is to prompt students to attribute their various difficulties (from part two of the wrapper) to specific study strategies (from part one) they did or did not employ.  Rather than merely telling students to "study harder" or "do more practice problems before the exam," this third type of exam-wrapper question helps students discover effective study strategies on their own.  In effect, exam wrappers are asking students to give their future selves advice.

Why Exam Wrappers Work

The earlier section on design considerations described five constraints that a metacognitive intervention should satisfy to be practical and effective.  Understanding the ways in which exam wrappers satisfy these constraints helps explain why they work.

1. Impinge minimally on class time.  Exam wrappers require only a few minutes and are completed at a time when students arguably are somewhat distracted anyway.  Moreover, instructors can eliminate even the minimal impact on class time by giving exam wrappers as part of homework.

2. Be easily completed by students within the time they are willing to invest.  With typically only one page of questions, none of which requires much writing, exam wrappers take relatively little student time.

3. Be easily adaptable.  As we have seen, exam wrappers include three main question types, and these question types can be applied to almost any course - as long as it has exams.  (See the following section, How to Use Exam Wrappers, for different ways of implementing exam wrappers.) In addition, this general approach can be applied to any kind of graded assignment.  (See the section titled Other Kinds of Wrappers for a brief discussion of other ways to employ this type of tool.)

4. Be repeatable yet flexible.  The core questions being asked in an exam wrapper do not diminish in value when asked repeatedly.  At the same time, it is easy to adjust the details of exam wrappers so as to keep the exercise fresh.  Instructors can easily vary the specific content of exam wrapper questions, add new questions, and tailor the questions to their particular instructional situation. (See Appendix B for two additional exam wrappers beyond those presented in Appendices A1 and A2.)

5. Exercise the skills instructors want their students to learn.  The reflection required to complete an exam wrapper leads students to assess their own strengths and weaknesses, evaluate their performance, identify which strategies work for them, and generate appropriate adjustments.  These are key metacognitive skills that many instructors want to promote.

How to Use Exam Wrappers

Here I describe a basic recipe for how to use exam wrappers, along with variations and options instructors may find useful.

Step 1: Students prepare for and take the first exam using their typical study strategies.  No special intervention is needed for this first exam.

Step 2: The instructor gives students the exam wrapper instrument when the graded exams are returned and asks students to complete the exam wrapper as soon as possible upon seeing their exam performance.  Ideally, this is done right then in class and need only take 10 minutes of class time.  But there are other possibilities.  Students can complete the exam wrappers as homework, submitting their responses by a specified deadline.  Or students can complete the exam wrappers online as a nongraded assignment (e.g., within a course management system or online instructional environment or with an online survey system).

Step 3: The instructor collects the exam wrappers.  Although exam wrappers are not graded activities, it is important to collect them because (a) the exam wrappers will need to be returned to students at a later point (see Step 4) and this prevents them from getting lost, and (b) the instructional team may want to review students' responses to gain insight into their students' learning that they otherwise might not be able to obtain.  In particular, the instructor or teaching assistants can skim students' responses to see whether there are patterns in how students analyzed their strengths and weaknesses or in how students described their approach to studying for the exam.  For example, instructors may be surprised to learn the amount of time students spent studying (either how much or how little), when students chose to start their studying (e.g., 2 a.m.. the night before), or how students spent their study time (e.g., memorizing formulae rather than solving practice problems).  The instructional team can also consider the additional instructional support students said they would like to receive and possibly provide something along these lines.  A wide variety of adjustments may be suggested based on what the instructional team learns from the exam wrappers about students' strengths, weaknesses, and study strategies.

Step 4:  At the time when students should begin studying for the next exam, the instructor returns the completed exam wrappers (from the previous exam) to students.  The idea here is that students review their own recommendations for how to study more effectively, given their own past experiences, strengths, and weaknesses.  Depending on the class format and the time available, there are many variations on this step that instructors can use.  For example, Figure 2.1 shows a set of follow-up questions that can accompany the completed exam wrapper sheet.  These questions prompt students to review their exam wrapper responses and recommit to implement their own suggestions.  Another option (not mutually exclusive) that works well with smaller classes is to give students a few minutes to reread their exam wrappers and then take a few minutes for students to share effective study strategies.  Regardless of which approach instructors take for this step, the key aspect involves reminding students of their own advice and encouraging them to take it.

Step 5 (optional, but desirable): Repeat steps 2 through 4 for subsequent exams.

When an instructor provides exam wrappers regularly across multiple exams, students get repeated practice in applying the skills of self-regulated learning.  This helps students build a habit of mind to monitor their own learning, reflect on their study strategies, and make appropriate adjustments.  For reasons mentioned earlier, it can be useful to include nontrivial variation in the structure of subsequent wrappers while still prompting the desired metacognitive processes.  For example, an exam wrapper used for exams later in the semester can be streamlined compared to the first exam wrapper.  Having the wrapper still gets students to engage in reflection and analysis, but fading the scaffolding encourages students to take on more of the responsibility for the process.

These five steps are easy to implement, take relatively little time, and are very flexible.  The metacognitive practice from using wrappers in a course offers substantial benefits.  And when multiple instructors do this across different courses, students can learn metacognitive skills in multiple contexts, thereby increasing their likelihood of transferring the skills to new learning situations in the future.  This is exactly what we did at Carnegie Mellon University, implementing wrappers in several introductory math and science courses, as described in the next section.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Figure 2.1. Exam wrapper add-on: Additional questions for when completed wrapper is returned.

Physics Pre-Exam Reflection                                     Name: ______________

You will soon be taking Exam #2.  This sheet poses a few questions to help you reflect on your experience with Exam #1 so that you can prepare effectively for Exam #2.

1. Read through your responses on the Post-Exam Reflection sheet from the last exam.  (Your TAs will hand back your sheet.)  Jot down anything your read that you think will be helpful for you as you study for the next exam.

2. Self-assessment involves analyzing your own strengths and weaknesses.  This can be helpful in deciding what you should study more or less.  Given your responses on the Exam #1 reflection sheet along with your experiences learning new topics for Exam #2, what do you think you should study most as you prepare for Exam #2?

3. Read your response to question #4 on your Post-Exam Reflection sheet.  Write down how you plan to implement your own suggestions to study effectively for Exam #2.

 

 

 

 

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1339. Stanford Online Courses from all Parts of Campus are Reaching Millions of Learners Globally


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Stanford's online learning initiative is growing at a fast pace and the university is looking far beyond the MOOC at how to best educate students in the 21st century. A new report highlights accomplishments in 2013 and eyes the future of research-driven innovation.

1339. Stanford Online Courses from all Parts of Campus are Reaching Millions of Learners Globally

Folks:

Rick ReisThe posting below looks at the extensive reach of Stanford University online courses. It is by Clifton Parker and is from the May 19, 2014 issue of the Stanford Report [http://news.stanford.edu/]. © Stanford University, 2014. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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Rick Reis
reis@stanford.edu


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Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

---------- 596 words ----------

Stanford Online Courses from all Parts of Campus are Reaching Millions of Learners Globally

Online education is changing the way we learn, where we learn and how we think of higher education. Stanford Online is pioneering advances in teaching and learning at Stanford - and beyond - as its new report, "2013 in Review," describes.

The 32-page document reveals the explosive growth at Stanford Online - 1.9 million people from almost every country in the world have registered for one or more courses, and learners have spent more than 4 million hours engaging with Stanford Online courses since the fall of 2012.

John Mitchell heads the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning, which coordinates the university-wide Stanford Online initiative. Online courses and modules are taught by Stanford faculty and instructors and offered to Stanford students as part of "flipped" or "blended" campus classes; they are developed as massive open online courses (MOOCs) and offered to the public as free lifelong learning opportunities; and they are developed as professional education and continuing education courses for specialized and professional audiences.

Stanford Online is a university-wide initiative coordinated by the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning (VPOL), headed by Vice Provost John Mitchell. VPOL was created in 2012, and its mission is to advance the understanding and use of new technologies and teaching methods in support of Stanford students and faculty, in service to higher education and to promote lifelong learning.

Stanford has been associated with the advent of MOOCs, but its efforts to improve teaching and learning are much broader, the report underscored. Experiments in technology-driven and experiential education are occurring in every corner of the university and are strategically led by the vice provost's office. Some of the key questions being addressed include:

* How can the university help students learn more effectively?
* How can we better leverage classroom time?
* How can technology enable educators to better meet the needs of particular learners?

To answer these questions, faculty from all seven Stanford schools are now experimenting with creative uses of technology to improve course material. And the vice provost's office is building data-driven research capacity and coordinating with faculty and graduate students across campus in conducting research on technology-mediated instruction.

'Ecosystem' of knowledge

Stanford runs its own instance of an open-source online learning platform (Stanford OpenEdX) that supports research and experimentation in instructional design. VPOL engineers are contributing new features and code as part of a vibrant open-source community. And VPOL is committed to open collaboration on other fronts, contributing to an "open online ecosystem" by sharing course material and research with other education organizations.

Since the first three Stanford MOOCs were offered in fall 2011, VPOL has awarded 66 faculty seed grants to support faculty-driven initiatives, and has helped more than 145 faculty members from all seven schools produce 246 online offerings for campus or public use, delivered through three different online platforms (Stanford OpenEdX, Coursera and NovoEd).

"Stanford's vision is much broader than MOOCs," said Mitchell. "We're thinking about how we will best educate students for generations to come."

This involves moving the conversation away from "MOOC completion rates" to "engagement," or how learners are engaging with and benefiting from the material, the report noted. And at Stanford, the conversation is shifting from "technology-driven" to "research-driven" innovation in teaching and learning.

Billed as a "snapshot" of the research-driven approach at Stanford, the report describes demographics of Stanford Online users, gender enrollment survey data, time usage, countries and U.S. states with the highest rates of enrollment in free public online courses, collaboration with other universities, research possibilities and the "larger conversation" surrounding significant changes underway in higher education.
---------

Media Contact
Judith Romero, Stanford Online: (650) 725-7289, judith.romero@stanford.edu

Clifton B. Parker, Stanford News Service: (650) 725-0224, cbparker@stanford.edu 

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1338. Connecting Creativity, Imagination, and Play


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In particular, the fluid ability to read multiple emotional cues and to exercise a meta-awareness of one's own somatic body states and the chains of reasoning that flow from these is strongly correlated with success in working as a change agent.

1338. Connecting Creativity, Imagination, and Play

Folks:

Rick Reis

The posting below gives a nice overview of emotional intelligence and its role in the higher education environment. It is from Chapter 3 -- Connecting Creativity, Imagination, and Play, in the book Engaging Imagination: Helping Students Become Creative and Reflective Thinkers, by Alison James and Stephen D. Brookfield. Published by Jossey-Bass , A Wiley Brand. One Montgomery Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94104 - 4594 [www.josseybass.com/highereducation]. Copyright © 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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Rick Reis
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---------- 1,223 words ----------

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is embedded both in self-awareness and in an ability to read others' emotions and craft appropriate responses.  Goleman argues that mathematically and technically derived notions of IQ have little relevance to success in real life, particularly for members of a growing number of professions that place relationships at their center.  Successful practitioners in what are broadly called the "human service professions" (education, social work, management, health care, advertising, training and human resources development, and so on) reach levels of expertise and positions of leadership because of their ability to be aware of their emotions in the moment and over time.  This allows them to stand back and change their behavior in ways that build teams, bolster morale, and improve performance.  This is because the limbic system of the brain (the part that controls emotions) is far more influential in determining how we respond to situations than is the rational left brain.  Hence, anyone working in fluid situations involving colleagues and clients relies far more on the limbic system.  By way of contrast, anyone engaged in an isolated analysis of technical data, or facing work conditions that remain stable, taps into the rational part of the brain.

In particular, the fluid ability to read multiple emotional cues and to exercise a meta-awareness of one's own somatic body states and the chains of reasoning that flow from these is strongly correlated with success in working as a change agent.  Although Goleman's work is typically framed within corporations, we believe the same is true in social movements (Preskill and Brookfield, 2008; Brookfield and Holst, 2010).  Consequently, if we are preparing students to work in these professions we need to develop these skills knowing that they are not best assessed or demonstrated through written tests or reflections calmly drafted long after moments of stress, anxiety, or decision have passed.

The kind of brain research that Goleman has popularized is but the tip of a much deeper and broader iceberg of research and theorizing that has caused a paradigm shift in the comprehension of mind-body relationships and how people process information.  In A Whole New Mind (2008), Pink draws on this research to articulate differences between left-directed thinkers (analytical, logical, emotionless, objective) and right-directed thinkers (empathic, artistic, conceptual).  This has included a complete revision of our understanding of the usefulness of the right side of the brain, the part that controls emotions, creativity, and instinct.  From early twentieth-century assumptions of it as a deficient and superfluous part of the organ, there has developed an acceptance of the inter-dependence of the workings of our two cranial hemispheres.  As Robinson (2011) writes, "Academic work focuses on certain sorts of verbal and mathematical reasoning: on writing factual and critical essays, verbal discussions and mathematical analyses.  These are all very important forms of ability.  But if human intelligence was limited to them, most of human culture would never have happened" (p. 65).

Thomas West, in In the Mind's Eye (2009), states the case for moving away from intelligence that is solely measured through read-write traditions to one giving equal legitimacy to different ways of knowing and showing.  His book celebrates the visual modes of thought present in many great minds at work, not just in art and design but in science, engineering, medicine, and mathematics.  His definition of visual thinking can equally apply to the creative, nonlinear, multilayered emanations of reflection we will explore:

We may consider "visual thinking" as that form of thought in which images are generated or recalled in the mind and are manipulated, overlaid, translated, associated with other similar forms (as with a metaphor), rotated, increased or reduced in size, distorted, or otherwise transformed gradually from one familiar image into another. (p. 21)

West argues that the symmetrical/asymmetrical formation of the two cranial hemispheres accounts for the range in people's thinking abilities.  His perspective is driven in some measure by his own experience of being profoundly dyslexic and diagnosed as such well into his adult years.  Dyslexia is a classic example of how an alternative mode of processing information in an environment that measures academic success through the written word can put learners at a distinct disadvantage.

We have thankfully traveled a very long distance from the days when dyslexia was wrongly equated with being lazy or stupid; however, associations with the "remedial" still linger in some minds with reference to alternative assessments or modes of learning.  The now-extensive literature on dyslexia in general and in the arts in particular argues that students who have difficulties in reading and writing because of dyslexia or a specific learning difficulty may have matching or surpassing strengths in other ways - what Eide and Eide (2012) call the "dyslexic advantage."  Most of us have heard of these other strengths - lateral thinking, big picture visualization, alternative ways of problem solving, innovation and entrepreneurship, artistry and creative dexterity - as well as being regaled with lists of famous individuals with dyslexia such as Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill, and Richard Branson.

These limbic strengths are certainly manifested in the domains of the arts and design, but it would be a grave mistake to assume they are limited to these. Essentially, any work that requires formulating responses to unforeseen situations depends on its actors to access these strengths.  Teaching - the profession that we assume many readers work in - is a prime example.  The one thing you can depend on in a world of what seems like daily exponential leaps in technology, and hence in the ways students access, interpret, and use information, is that whatever you learned in graduate school regarding classroom management procedures, learning design, or student assessment will almost certainly be outdated by the time you enter your first job.  Again, in postsecondary classrooms the one constant you can anticipate is the ever-increasing diversity of learners you will have to face.  This will be a diversity not only in terms of students' racial and cultural backgrounds, or their identity politics, but also in their levels of readiness for learning and their ways of processing information.

Creative teachers are open to using many pedagogic models, including problem based or inquiry based learning, dependent on the context for learning.  They ask themselves what different kinds of students they are dealing with, what they wish the students to be able to know or do, how best to use the time and other resources available to them, and what successful colleagues have done that they can steal.  From this mélange of contextual factors, decisions and strategies emerge that are tried out, some of which are then modified further, whilst others are dropped. Unless you choose to sleepwalk your way through your teaching days and ignore how students are responding to learning, no matter what the discipline you teach, your work as a teacher is inherently creative.

Figure 3.1 suggests the different kind of domain groupings that can organize our thinking about multimodal and multisensory forms of teaching that foster students' creative reflection.  The figure is a visual of the possibilities for practice in an engaging classroom, and we believe it applies to a multitude of disciplines and subject matter boundaries, from fashion design to engineering, art history to real estate management, psychology to business studies.  Although these modes are represented cyclically, they also cut across the circle in other ways.

Figure 3.1 Multimodal Forms of Reflection (note: the various phrases are all connected with arrows in a clockwise direction)

 

  • Collaborarively in conjunction with other                          Visually - in all kinds of images
  • modes and through exploration                                      as well as drawn, diaggrammatic forms

 

  • Discursively, in groups                                                 Textuall, in writing, using word play
  • as well as dialogically and                                            and triggers
  • through listening 

 

  •                                            Physically and spatially, 
  •                                            through kinesthetic and 
  •                                            movement based activities

 

References

Brookfield, S.D. and holst, J.D. Radicalizing Learning: Adult Education for a Just World, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.

Eide, B.L., and Eide, F.F. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Plume, 2002.

Pink, D.H. A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future.  New York: Penguin, 2008.

Preskill, S.J., and Brookfield, S.D. Learning as a Way of Leading: Lessons from the Struggle for Social Justice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008.

Robinson, K. Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative.  Chichester, UK: Capstone, 2011.

West, T.G. In the Mind's Eye: Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics and the Rise of Visual Technologies.  Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2009.

 

 

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1337. A Proactive Approach to High School STEM Education in Israel


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The background story of Views is the shortage in high school STEM teachers that many Western countries, including Israel, are currently facing. In order to cope with this shortage, the Technion launched the Views program three years ago, in 2011. The objective of Views is to help alleviate this shortage in Israel by providing Technion graduates with an additional profession - high school STEM teachers - that they will be able to use if and when they choose to switch to education.

1337. A Proactive Approach to High School STEM Education in Israel

Folks:

Rick Reis

The posting below looks at a program at the Technion in Israel that increases the number of high school teachers in science, engineering, technology and mathematics fields. It is by Orit Hazzan [oritha@technion.ac.il], head of the Department of Education in Science and Technology, at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.  The paper is based on my June 9, 2013 presentation at the Technion's Board of Governors meeting. Reprinted with permission.

Regards,

Rick Reis

reis@stanford.edu


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Tomorrow's Academic Careers
---------2,488 words ----------
Management Analysis of the Technion's Proactive Approach and Contribution to High School STEM Education in Israel

This  paper describes how the Technion's proactive approach towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in Israel, though it originated in a very honest desire to contribute to Israeli high school STEM education, it has, in fact, several economical merits and can be highlighted by well-known management principles. 
Specifically, I will focus on the Views program, which the Technion launched three years ago. Views is the abbreviation in Hebrew of Engineers/scientists in Science and Technology Education. I will first describe the program and then I will analyze it from a business perspective.

The background story of Views is the shortage in high school STEM teachers that many Western countries, including Israel, are currently facing. In order to cope with this shortage, the Technion launched the Views program three years ago, in 2011. The objective of Views is to help alleviate this shortage in Israel by providing Technion graduates with an additional profession - high school STEM teachers - that they will be able to use if and when they choose to switch to education.

Views invites Technion graduates back to the Technion to study toward an additional bachelor's degree in its Department of Education in Science and Technology. The degree they earn includes a high school teaching certificate for STEM subjects in one of 8 tracks: math, physics, biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental sciences, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. 

Technion graduates enrolled in the Views program receive full study scholarships from the Technion for two years. Since the number of credits required to complete this degree is similar to that required for an MBA, the students study one day or two half-days a week for two years, like in MBA programs, and can continue working in parallel to their studies. 

Although the Technion graduates who are enrolled in the Views program receive full study scholarships from the Technion for two years, they are not required to commit to teaching in the education system. They are not asked to commit to teaching in the education system since the knowledge they gain in the Views program is also useful in the high tech industry for coping with new knowledge and technological developments. Thus, even if they decide not to switch to education, they will still contribute to Israel's prosperity, but in a different way.

At the moment, 207 Technion graduates are enrolled in the Views program: 45 started in its first year - 2012; 70 started in its second year, and 92 started their studies in the 2013-2014. 

In what follows, the Views program will be analyzed from a business perspective. I will show how it relates to, and is supported by, the following ten business-oriented ideas and principles:

1. Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) 

2. Proactivity 

3. Risk management

4. Diversity

5. Change management 

6. Mobility 

7. All win

8. The job market 

9. The Gini index  

10. Connecting academia-education-industry

1. Knowledge Economy 

The World Bank's Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) represents a country's overall level of development towards the Knowledge Economy. It measures a country's ability to generate, adopt and diffuse knowledge and indicates whether the environment encourages knowledge to be used effectively for economic development. In 2012, Israel ranked in twenty fifth place on the KEI.  In 2000, Israel ranked 18. The KEI is calculated based on a country's scores on 4 pillars that relate to the knowledge economy. The first pillar is economic and institutional regime; Israel's rank in 2012 was 26. The second pillar is educated and skilled population; in 2012, Israel was ranked in 41 place. The third pillar is an innovation system; in 2012, Israel's rank on this pillar was 9. The forth pillar is Information and communication technology; Israel's rank on ICT is 20.

The pillar that dramatically decreased Israel's position is the educated and skilled population pillar. This pillar is about people and it measures a country's ability to create, share, and use knowledge well; as mentioned, in 2012, Israel ranked on this pillar in the 41 place. This means that Israel, as a nation, does not know how to create, share, or use knowledge well. Since the Views program is about learning, it may improve Israel's score on this pillar. 

2. Proactivity

Being Proactive is one of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - a book written by Stephen R. Covey and first published in 1989.Being proactive means planning ahead and anticipating problems. Being reactive (which is the opposite of proactive) means waiting for problems to appear before addressing them.

In December 2010, the Technion president, Professor Perets Lavie was interviewed by a daily Israeli newsletter. The title of the interview was Science Education in Israel is Collapsing. The Technion could be reactive and continue complaining about this situation. It decided, however, to take a proactive approach and during the year after the interview, the Views program was launched.  

3. Risk Management 

When talking about risk management with respect to STEM education, we should ask whether or not the fact that Israel's STEM education is not of a high level constitutes a risk. The answer is definitely positive: A consensus exists in Israel with respect to the importance of STEM education for Israel's future technological leadership and economic strength. Since in the case of STEM education, it is difficult to predict precisely how many teachers we will need, since the future increase in the number of students in STEM subjects is unknown and depends on several factors. Nevertheless, it is evident that the number of high school students in Israel, who choose to study STEM topics on the highest level, has been decreased in the past several years; this decline is partially explained by the shortage in high school STEM teachers with the appropriate STEM background. 

Thus, the Technion, by launching the Views program, made the decision to manifest a proactive approach towards this risk management by creating a pool of excelling STEM teachers to alleviate these shortages. 

4. Diversity

It is well known that diversity is a social phenomenon that promotes organizations that foster it. Diversity is reflected in Views in terms of ages, backgrounds, work experiences, the faculties they graduated from, and more. You can see in one class students who are 20 years old (a regular undergraduate students) and students who are 30 - 40 (60% of Views students), 40 - 50 (25% of Views students) and 50 + years old (15% of Views students).

Gender diversity is also expressed in the cohort of Views students: out of a total of 207 students, 109 (53%) are men and 98 (47%) are women. This data indicates that the Views program attracts populations that traditionally do not choose education as their first choice mainly due to social norms, and who at the same time are attracted by its educational vision. 

So, if and when the Views graduates join the education system, this diversity in the cohort of high school STEM teachers may also change the image and quality of the profession of STEM education and benefit STEM education in Israel high schools as it benefits organizations such as Intel and Microsoft.

5. Change Management 

Schools are going to undergo various changes in the near future, due to technology and other cultural factors. When schools do undergo change, Views graduates will be well equipped to lead the process, since:(a) they can introduce the schools to a different organizational culture, one they have experienced in the hi-tech industry, including that of start-ups and international markets; (b) they already have experienced coping and working in an industry that functions in a very dynamic world and is constantly changing; And (c) many of them have already managed and led change processes in their organizations and will be able to lead and implement this experience in the education system as well. 

6. Mobility 

Technion graduates who participate in Views gain an additional profession - teaching - that may enhance their mobility either in the industry or in the education system.

For some of these Technion graduates, this potential mobility will be the fulfillment of a dream to contribute to the educational system that they could not have accomplished otherwise; For other Technion graduates, this mobility may include potential jobs in the industry in which they are currently working, in training and professional development departments as well as leadership positions that require teaching skills. Others may teach part-time or join informal educational programs and continue working in their various companies. 

In addition, earning a degree in STEM education can solve the problem faced by many engineers either during economic crisis or when they approach the age of 40-50, when some lose their jobs and have difficulties finding new jobs. 

7. All Win 

Views reflects a win-win situation on many levels (in addition to the individual level):

The hi-tech and technology industry, which is the work arena of most of the Views participant, gains (at no cost) people with pedagogical knowledge which is essential in this industry. This is why these companies allow their Technion graduate employees to miss work one day a week in order to study in Views.The Technion wins since the returning graduates have very extensive and solid scientific and engineering knowledge and so, if and when they switch to education, they will be able to better educate future generations of Technion students. This, of course, is not to say that other teachers do not have strong and updated knowledge.

The high school educational system benefits from the Views program since its graduates bring into the education system not only updated content knowledge but also organizational experience, which includes new management methods and teamwork habits that they implemented previously in the high-tech industry. 

The government wins, since Views may (at least partially) eliminate the need to invest special effort (and funds) in order to attract qualified people to switch to education or to encourage young people to enter into the field of education by offering them financial benefits. Thus, it will be possible to stop advocating an approach that sometimes leads to bad feelings in teacher lounges, when teachers discover that different teachers receive different pay, which is not necessarily based on their educational success and commitment to the system. Fifth and lastly, the state of Israel wins since this new pool of scientists and engineers with educational backgrounds is an investment in the state's human capital.

8. The Job Market 

One quarter of students in the Views program, as well as one quarter of all students in the department undergraduate program, are enrolled in the technological tracks - electrical engineering and mechanical engineering education. In fact, these two technological education tracks have grown almost threefold from 31 students (before Views was launched) to about 100. 
This distribution is important due to the increasing attention that technology education has been receiving lately in Israel, after it had almost vanished during the past twenty years, while the Israeli industry was "starving" for thousands of practical engineers with technological background (not necessarily engineers). Consequently, in the last several years, an effort has been made in Israel to revive the technological education, and the frequently asked question was: who will teach the pupils who wish to study these subjects in school?

The technological education tracks of the Department of Education in Science and Technology, which have tripled in size since the Views program was launched, may significantly contribute to the effort to revive technological education in Israel and partially answer the above question. 

9. Gini Index  

The Gini index measures family-income inequality within a country and gives each of the world's countries a score that ranges between zero (perfect equality) and 1 (total inequality). A correlation was found between the Gini index and the level of vocational education, which is not really surprising since vocational education is a bridge between young people's competencies and employers' needs. Providing vocational education in the framework of secondary schooling is therefore especially important. 

According to the OECD's most recent report, Israel ranks among the five countries with the highest level of inequity, together with the United States, Turkey, Mexico and Chile (Israel scored 0.37 on the Gini index, while the average of the OECD countries was 0.3). 

Although the technological education tracks offered by the Department of Education in Science and Technology are not identical to vocational education, there are some similarities between the two, and it is reasonable to assume that some Views graduates will end up teaching in the vocational education system (several have already joint it). So, it is proposed that due to the relatively large number of Views students who study in the technological education tracks, the Technion will also contribute to reducing the family-income inequity in Israel. 

10. Connecting Academia-Education-Industry in Israel

The Technion's success is explained, among other things, by its relationships with industry (see Technion Nation). These relationships manifest also in the case of Views, where academia, the education system, and industry, all aim to improve STEM education in Israel. 

First, as mentioned earlier, since the Views students gain skills that are very useful in the industry as well, the companies that employ the Technion graduates let them study at the program one day or two half days a week, without deducting from their salaries. Clearly, the fact that they gain additional skills required for the industry tighten the relation between the Technion and the industry.

Second, the flourishing of the technological education tracks will foster human resources with technological backgrounds, which are in demand by the industry.

Third, when the Views students become teachers, they will introduce innovations from the industry into the school system. 
Finally, since the students in the Views program tend to be older and unlike regular students in many cases have children in the Israeli educational system, they often volunteer, either on a regular basis or on special occasions, at their children's schools. When they do so, they too enhance the connection between the industry and the schools.  

Vision

The Technion's vision is that in about 5-10 years, 1000 Technion alumni will have teaching certificates to teach STEM in Israeli high schools. Since there are now in Israel about twelve thousand high school STEM teachers, this implies that about 10% of STEM teachers in Israel will be Technion graduates. Since Israel is a small country, it is believed that the Views program will significantly impact Israel's science and technology education in the very near future. It is, however, worthwhile to investigate its potential in other countries. Thus, Technion and Israel may serve as a pilot case study for countries abroad on a larger scale. Needless to say, traditional STEM teacher preparation programs should be continued as well.

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Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter: 1336. Colleges Try New Approaches to Post-Tenure Review


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"One principle that I think is important in thinking about full professor reviews is to think of them as something that's designed to be enriching for anyone who goes through it," he said, "rather than something that's designed to be a bureaucratic competency check for all faculty members." 

1336. Colleges Try New Approaches to Post-Tenure Review

Folks:

Rick Reis

The posting below looks at some new ways to approach post-tenure review of faculty. It is by Colleen Flaherty and it appeared in the May 2, 2014 issue of Inside Higher Ed, an excellent - and free - online source for news, opinion, and jobs for all of higher education. You can subscribe by going to: http://insidehighered.com/. Also for a free daily update from Inside Higher Ed, e-mail <scott.jaschik@insidehighered.com>. Copyright ©2014 Inside Higher Ed. Reprinted with permission.

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Rick Reis
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Colleges Try New Approaches to Post-Tenure Review

Post-tenure review is viewed by many professors with skepticism. To some, it seems like an attack on tenure; to others, a waste of time. And recent announcements by two colleges, Ball State and Suffolk Universities, that they're considering adopting post-tenure review policies that could in some cases lead to dismissal, have brought out those skeptics.

But at another college, administrators say they're hoping to shore up an existing post-tenure review policy not in an attempt to weed out the bad professors, but to make the good ones better. So Westmont College's newly mandatory, peer-led reviews for full professors raise the question: Can post-tenure review win faculty backing?

Mark Sargent, Westmont's provost, says yes.

"One principle that I think is important in thinking about full professor reviews is to think of them as something that's designed to be enriching for anyone who goes through it," he said, "rather than something that's designed to be a bureaucratic competency check for all faculty members."

Sargent said that means the process has to be faculty-driven. Luckily for him, even before his arrival at the college two years ago, Westmont had in its faculty handbook a periodic peer-review policy for "accountability of full professors."

The policy was formerly enforced on a voluntary basis. Sargent is making it mandatory, starting next year.

The policy says that after a faculty member becomes a full professor, he or she will participate every six years in a "structured process of discussion, reflection, evaluation and future goals." The purpose of the process, Westmont says, "is to encourage ongoing personal and professional development in all areas of service to the college." The review process involves meeting with the provost and an individual written reflection component, but it hinges on work with a mutual mentoring group that meets on its own throughout the semester. This is not a system for getting rid of tenured professors.

Previously, the faculty Professional Development Committee has assigned full professors who volunteer for review to groups of three to five. At each mentoring meeting, professors are supposed to share with peers how they've developed as teachers and scholars, and how their philosophies on education have evolved. They're encouraged to explore goals, share insights, get advice and observe one another's teaching.

There's no prescribed place or way to meet. But Russell Smelley, professor of kinesiology, recommends "food and wine." He completed a post-tenure review several years ago, and said the meeting over dinner followed two other meetings with his peer review group. While the initial discussions were fruitful, he said, the last helped coax the bigger "introverts" in the group out of their shells to share some of their frustrations and successes about being teachers. It helped to have a gregarious group member, an education professor, who took on the role of leader or facilitator, he added.

Smelley said that sense of camaraderie was the biggest -- and most surprising -- takeaway from the review. Rather than feeling "critiqued," as one might expect, he said, the experience made him feel more connected to his fellow professors.  That helped alleviate some of the isolation he and his peers feel after decades working long hours, often alone, at the institution.

"There is this desire to be connected to other people," Smelley said. "You start to think that you work the hardest or that your job's the most difficult, and you get isolated. Everybody feels that pressure as an individual, but hearing that it's universal was helpful to me." Smelley remembered the administrative check-in at the end of the group's work as a "positive," mainly because "there was no evaluative aspect to it."

Sargent said he prepares for individual check-ins at the end of the review process by meeting with the professor's department chair and looking at course evaluation data, among other steps. But ideally, all the hard questions about performance have been asked and answered within the group - not by him.

The provost came to Westmont, in Santa Barbara, Calif., several years ago from Gordon College in Massachusetts. There, he oversaw a similar, mandatory post-tenure review process of which faculty generally approved.

"My overall sense is that the two times I have gone through this process have both been helpful, with feedback that's been both encouraging and constructive," Timothy R.A. Sherratt, a professor of political science and chair of Gordon's Academic Senate, said via email. "The substantive value of the review lies in requiring me to undertake a formal, and thus intentional, consideration of my professional trajectory as a teacher/scholar/member of the college community."

Sherratt said he couldn't say for sure that all his colleagues felt the same way, but wouldn't be surprised if they did. He wondered if connecting the process to pay might make it even more meaningful, but said that also would change the nature of the review.

Smelley said he believed his colleagues at Westmont were on board with making full professor reviews mandatory, but acknowledged that even voluntary reviews haven't gone as well as his in the past (the two other review groups in his year either fizzled out or never met). He also said the dynamics of the group would have been different if one of the professors had been a poor academic or teacher. It's possible that that might be more common when reviews go mandatory, starting next year, since presumably professors who volunteer themselves for reviews have little to hide. But Smelley also said that at a small college with a strong tenure process, those professors were few to nonexistent.

Sargent said he wouldn't "rule out" the possibility of identifying an underperforming professor during the review process for possible administrative action, but that it's not the point.

For most or all professors, he said, the value of review is that "all of us like to learn how to enrich what we do, and we like having affirmation about what's going well. And for what's maybe not going well, finding some approaches and strategies to address that."

Russell Howell, professor of mathematics at Westmont and chair of its Academic Senate, also said his "general take" is that the faculty as a whole is fine with the new protocol.

Controversy at Other Campuses

But outside Westmont, post-tenure review remains controversial. The practice began to spread at public colleges and universities in the 1990s, and now some institutions and systems in most states require it. For many professors, including Daniel Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin, it remains another administrative task with little meaning.

"It was a complete waste of time," said Hamermesh, whose most recent review was about five years ago, and entailed filling out a "few forms."

That said, Hamermesh said he's not opposed to the idea entirely. While he may not have benefited from review personally, he said, the system allows administrators - who are "deluged" with annual faculty evaluation data - to really focus on a few professors each year. So it's a price he's willing to pay for the possibility that reviews might make the faculty better over all. A peer-review component could make it more meaningful, however, he said.

Most recently, both Ball State and Suffolk announced they were considering post-tenure review as a way to target underperforming faculty members.

At Ball State, the Board of Trustees is expected to vote by fall on a measure that would enable administrators to pursue termination of professors whose performance was unsatisfactory for two consecutive years or three years out of five, after a one-year improvement plan failed to yield results, The Star Press [2] [http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20140416/NEWS01/304160017/Ball-State-profs?nclick_check=1] reported.

Via email, Joan Todd, a Ball State spokeswoman, said: "In collaboration with our governance system, we are developing a policy that addresses how to deal with a potential occurrence of unsatisfactory performance in all aspects of a faculty member's assignment - teaching, scholarship and service. The discussions are focused on a faculty-driven process that first provides a development plan to bring performance up to the minimum standards as defined in the department. If that is unsuccessful, then more severe actions could be taken. The process is only for situations where a faculty member is not meeting the minimum expected levels of performance for multiple years. Many universities already have similar policies in place."

David Pearson, a Ball State associate professor of exercise sciences and University Senate chair, said commenting on the policy, which is still being drafted by the university's promotion and tenure committee, would be "putting the cart before the horse." But he said that the policy will be "based on low performance" and will not be a "traditional" post-tenure review, in that it is just for low performers.

Suffolk, a private institution in Massachusetts, recently announced it had approved post-tenure review for all professors every five years, citing increased calls for accountability to parents and students as the reason. Those professors who failed to meet university standards for performance or demonstrate improvement could face dismissal, The Boston Globe [3] [http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/04/23/suffolk-professors-object-new-policy-requiring-tenured-faculty-undergo-performance-reviews/P7F18MHDl5ZvXYhOfm3eSK/story.html] reported.

Faculty advocates, including Charles Baker, head of the Massachusetts conference of the American Association of University Professors, immediately criticized the move. "This is destroying tenure; there's no other word," he told the Globe. Other faculty members have signed on to a letter to administrators opposing the move.

The presidents of both Suffolk and Ball State have said the respective polices are not an attack on tenure, but rather a way of a preserving or strengthening it.

The AAUP opposes post-tenure review, saying that such periodic reviews "would bring scant benefit, would incur unacceptable costs, not only in money and time but also in dampening of creativity and of collegial relationships, and would threaten academic freedom."

But where it exists, AAUP offers a set of minimum review standards, [http://www.aaup.org/issues/post-tenure-review]  including that it "must not become the occasion for a wide-ranging 'fishing expedition' in an attempt to dredge up negative evidence." AAUP says the process should be "developmental and supported by institutional resources for professional development or a change of professional direction."

Source URL: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/05/02/colleges-try-new-approaches-post-tenure-review?width=775&height=500&iframe=true
Links:
[1] http://bit.ly/1fpzECs
[2] http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20140416/NEWS01/304160017/Ball-State-profs
[3] http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/04/23/suffolk-professors-object-new-policy-requiring-tenured-faculty-undergo-performance-reviews/P7F18MHDl5ZvXYhOfm3eSK/story.html

 

 

 

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