Improve Learning with Student Interviews

Interviews are a powerful yet underutilized learning device in higher education. There are thousands of experts available who would be more than willing to add interesting material to your courses. While it is not very practical to fly those people in to speak in a face-to-face course, video recording systems make it easy to add interviews to an online course.

Tips from the Pros: Tips for Effective Video Instruction

Videos are the ideal way to deliver content in an online course because the web is a fundamentally audiovisual medium. But while many faculty assume that videos require high-level technical skills to produce, they are actually not beyond the means of the ordinary instructor. They just require understanding of a few basic production principles. This check list will get you started with effective video instruction.

Best Systems for Student Collaboration

I am often asked what software I would suggest for student collaboration on files, such as group projects. Not surprisingly, my go-to systems are Google Drive and Dropbox. Google Drive is ideal for shared document editing, while Dropbox is ideal for transferring files between people. But the distinction between file editing and transfer systems is quickly collapsing as those designed for one purpose are continually incorporating the functionality of the other.

Scaffolding Learning

I recently took a canoe paddle-making course with my son from an instructor who guaranteed that all participants would come away with a result that they could be proud of. One of the ways he ensured this was by giving us various “scaffolds” at different points in the process that helped us channel our work in the proper direction. Instead of starting with unformed wood, we were given pieces that already had the broad cuts made in them. This allowed us to concentrate on the detailing that forms the real heart of paddle-making. At each step we were provided with the proper tools and clear instructions needed to complete the job. As advertised, we all walked away with a result we were proud of and a deep understanding of the paddle-making process.

The Benefits of Peer Review

Cultivating student creativity is more and more being touted as a fundamental objective of education. We are also hearing more and more about the benefits of peer review activities for student learning. However, some have claimed that peer review of student work dampens creativity (Hurlburt, 2008). They argue that student anxiety about how they will appear to others tends to cause them to withdraw into producing less risky work.