Friday, June 8, 2012

Study time--what can we do?

I have written before about the diminishing amount of time students report studying outside of class. Now, American RadioWorks takes up the topic with this recent Podcast, "College Study Time."

We don't need to go over the data again--much of what is shared in this Podcast verifies the claim in my earlier post  that students are studying about half as much as faculty have traditionally expected them to study, and many of the same possible causes that I originally posted are mentioned.

What I especially like about the Podcast, though, is that the conversation eventually turns to solutions. Beginning at the 13:25 mark, you can hear mention of flipped classrooms, lecture capture, and clickers as just a few of the solutions that can increase both student engagement and time on task.

What do these solutions have in common? Other than requiring technology, they all entail course redesign. (Applying these technologies without rethinking course design won't get you far). Yes, course redesign can be a way to increase students' time on task. In fact, course redesign can be a solution to many challenges: promoting deep learning, getting students engaged in the learning process, increasing student success rates, and ultimately increasing student persistence.

And so next week I will begin a series of posts on course redesign, focusing primarily on answering the questions "what is it?" and "why is it so needed at this juncture?" Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Can Google jockeying work in your class?

Some time ago, I came across this short piece from Educause Learning Initiative on 7 Things You Should Know About Google Jockeying. The idea is intriguing--designate a student to "surf" the Web during class and for terms, definitions, images, etc., related to the ongoing lecture or discussion--in order to make class time more interactive, less teacher directed, and potentially more engaging to students. I wasn't convinced, though: wouldn't this just add to classroom distractions? 

Now, Maryellen Weimer has posted about Google jockeying in an Environmental Sustainability class, as reported in a recent Journal of Chemical Education article. I'm coming around to the idea of maybe incorporating this technique into my next class. What's helpful about Weimer's post, and about the JCE article, is that they are forthcoming about what worked, what didn't work, and what caveats remain. In particular, this line in Weimer's post made me think that maybe this can work in my class:
The authors do acknowledge that a strategy like this depends on course content. They don't see it working well in a highly structured, content-heavy course. But for a seminar, maybe in courses for non majors, it's an interesting option that proved very successful in this course.