One of the most important skills we can teach students is to identify the underlying principles that tie together different discrete items. This is because pattern recognition is central to expertise. Physics professors analyze problems by identifying the underlying categories that are needed to solve them, and medical students diagnose illnesses by seeing how certain diseases are manifested in common symptoms across different cases. In each case, the practitioner needs to develop the skill of seeing patterns that appear in different situations.
Advances in online education have opened up a host of opportunities for the integration of multimedia to enhance the student learning experience. As technology has improved, so has access to a plethora of open educational resources, publisher supplements, and instructional content that can be integrated into an online course. From Khan Academy to Connexions to YouTube (and everything in between), faculty and students have a virtually unlimited selection of educational content available at the click of a button.
One of the classes that I teach is Keyboard Skills, often referred to as “group piano.” In a face-to-face (F2F) classroom, there can be anywhere from 12-36 students, each seated at a digital keyboard. Keyboard Skills classes typically meet on the usual MWF or TR schedule. Students rely heavily on frequent teacher modeling, demonstration, and feedback tailored to their specific needs. This is a typical sequence for teaching any skill: students watch, learn, and are inspired through the demonstrations of a teacher or mentor. The students then try their hand at the task, and the teacher offers immediate and frequent hands-on feedback.
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FERPA is probably the most widely misunderstood law relating to education. I consistently hear faculty and administrators make incorrect claims about FERPA. At one conference, a teacher proclaimed that using a student’s name in public is a violation, but that would mean I violate FERPA when I take attendance in a course. More important, nearly every college website has a public directory of student names.
One widespread misconception is that the Internet is a place for people to express malevolence toward one another, but that’s not true. People are generalizing from a handful of social media forums. Flaming is actually a situation-dependent activity and is isolated to places such as YouTube.