Around the Web: Best Practices

The White House recently called on the nation’s universities to produce more science graduates by adopting better teaching techniques. But which teaching techniques are most effective? A new study shows that learner-centered courses, taken early in a college career, can prime students to get more out of traditional lecture courses. Tomorrow’s Professor shares Jason N.…

Around the Web: New Frontiers

Several recent news stories focused attention on the closely interrelated issues, in higher education, of technological innovation, rising costs, academic elitism, and personal, individualized small-class instruction. Apple entered the digital textbook market (prompting some skepticism); President Obama addressed the cost of higher education in his State of the Union Address; MIT announced that it would…

Around the Web: New Year, New Semester

Happy New Year! With the start of a new semester comes the opportunity to tweak your teaching persona and to try a couple of new approaches. Faculty Focus reports the results of a survey in which students were asked to describe their ideal professor and their typical professor, and suggests one way to bridge the gap:…

Around the Web: Our Minds, Our Learning

What’s in a brain? In the Chronicle of Higher Education, James Lang offers the first installment of a two-part post on memory: how it really works (hint: it’s not the long-outmoded tripartite model—long-term, short-term, and sensory—on which many faculty members still base their pedagogy), and how it might inform the way we teach. Some elementary schools are…

Around the Web: Hitting the Books

What will the textbook of the future look like? There has been a lot of buzz about e-textbooks this year. Will the iPad be the platform that turns the tide? What will collaborations between book publishers and educational platforms bring? Will late-adopting professors, publisher restrictions, questionable fees, and the nonexistence of a secondary market doom the conversion to digital? Will open-source…

Around the Web: Blogging to Learn

Blogging might just be the next academic frontier, if you believe the New York Times. But does the medium lend itself to student learning? John Orlando at Faculty Focus thinks it does. Arguing that blogging harkens back to commonplacing, he advocates for blogs as a space where students’ original ideas can smolder until the moment…

Around the Web: The Two Faces of Cheating

What does it mean when the teachers do the cheating on their students’ behalf? There has been a raft of scandals this year, in Atlanta, L.A., and New York, in which public-school teachers altered test answers to raise their schools’ scores. Things look similarly upside-down in the conflict of interest between TurnItIn and WriteCheck. Owned by the same company,…

Getting Students to Talk to Each Other: Group Exercises

As the semester grinds into gear, why not spice things up with a group exercise? Ye olde divide-and-discuss can elicit groans, but group exercises with a clear purpose can be a really effective tool for peer-to-peer learning. In his recent book review, Nathan Stein, Departmental Teaching Fellow in Statistics describes an exercise in which each…