Friday, 17 February 2012

Teaching this week while slightly under the weather

It is amazing how much of a difference a minor ailment can make in the teaching process. I was a bit under the weather from a head cold, presumably a gift from my kids.

It seemed to affect me in three ways. First, I simply couldn't talk as clearly or as enthusiastically. And I could almost hear an echo in my head, which was disconcerting.

Second, I found focusing on preparatory work more difficult. This was partly just tiredness, I think, but also that I didn't feel as engaged with the topics, or as comfortable with the lecture materials I had prepared.

Finally, I felt tired in the actual lectures, and wanted to be finished sooner. I have little doubt that some students were aware of it, and in two of my classes I specifically mentioned that I wasn't operating at 100%.

I have a two week break in my Edinburgh courses, during which my students will be working hard to make progress on their coursework for assessment. I will be travelling to London to meet with research colleagues and pitch in on some teaching activities at Imperial.

Mindful Teaching from Tomorrow's Professor

The posting below is based on an interview with Harvard psychologist Ellen J. Langer, author of: The Power of Mindful Learning. The article is by James Rhem, executive editor of The National Teaching and Learning Forum (NT&LF) newsletter and is #58 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 [ ] 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, Vol. 20, Number 6, October 2011.© Copyright 1996-2011. Published by James Rhem & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprinted with permission.


The Power of Mindful Teaching Working up five presentations for my September trip to Saudi Arabia in a few short weeks posed a challenge both exciting and daunting. In hope of saying somethings other than the usual tired, if valuable, thinking on the topics I’d been given, I started to review material I’d found especially exciting and thought provoking. So, I picked up my copy of Ellen J. Langer’s The Power of Mindful Learning (1997) and thought that skimming through my extensive underlinings would surely guide me toward some fresh ideas about “critical thinking” and “effective teaching.”
That didn’t work. Langer writes so fluidly and engagingly that I couldn’t stick to my underlining. By noon I’d reread half the book and emailed Langer saying, “I’m not sure just what the focus might be at the moment, but I’d like the chance to interview you again. Your books ignite fireworks in my brain.” I’d interviewed Langer once before in 2003 after first reading The Power of Mindful Learning and then eagerly reading her earlier book, Mindfulness (1989). After a couple of email exchanges and one short phone call, we set a date for a longer conversation after my return from Riyadh.
Langer, the first tenured woman professor of psychology at Harvard, does a lot of interviews. Her thinking, her research, have more than begun to reach a popular audience. A movie starring Jennifer Aniston (as Langer) about some of her most provocative research showing the power of the mind’s assumptions over the realities we experience is in development. When I tell her how much I admire her books and how stimulating to my own thinking they have been, she laughs and thanks me saying, “flattery is always welcome.” She’s being what I would call happily ironic. One of what she calls the “one-liners” through which she encapsulates some aspects of her brand of “mindfulness” is: “If you don’t take the compliment, you’re not vulnerable to the insult.” She does take the compliment of course, but only as something pleasant, not as proof of anything. That’s what I mean by “happily” ironic. Langer’s skeptical detachment from common ways of looking at things has nothing cynical, nothing negative about it. She sees—and study after study she and collaborators have conducted confirms—positive possibility in simply embracing the uncertainty that embraces us and in continually questioning the implied answers and choices that automatic (or as she calls it, “mindless”) thinking commonly pushes us toward. For good reason many regard her as the mother of the positive psychology brought to prominence by Martin Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness.
“So, what’s your bottom line?” Langer asks me as we begin to talk. I tell her that I suppose if I had to boil it down it would be something like “the power of mindful teaching.” Her book on mindful learning had debunked or at least seriously brought into question the validity of a number of myths about learning. For example, that
• the basics must be learned so well that they become second nature • paying attention means staying focused on one thing at a time • delaying gratification is important • rote memorization is necessary in education • forgetting is a problem • intelligence is knowing “what’s out there,” and especially that • there are right and wrong answers
I’d written about this before (NTLF 12/2) and most of the faculty I knew still bridled at the notion that most of these ideas weren’t more fact than myth. Still, the conversation about teaching has been changing. The effectiveness of various pedagogies other than traditional lecture and fact-focused learning has begun to open up faculty thinking about the possibilities for increasing student learning. If confronting sacred bovine commonplaces had bruised faculty thinking, perhaps talking about some fundamental processes of mindfulness as they might improve teaching could offer the new health that college teaching is longing for.
The Central Myth in Teaching Most all of us approach teaching with a variety of assumptions both about learning and about its compliment, teaching. Some of these, as experience shows, prove ill-founded, but it’s often hard to resist commonplace, automatic thinking. In part because it is so commonplace, we see it as true without thinking about it. I asked Langer which of these common assumptions looming over teaching she found the most difficult to confront.
“I think it’s the simple notion of fact,” she replied, “for people not to realize that facts are situated understandings that a particular group of people have at a particular time, and that when you add back in this person notion, then people recognize that, well, the facts might have changed, and that at the same time, if other people had been considering the situation, they might have come up with something quite different.”
Langer likes to illustrate her points with stories from her personal experience, stories that model mindfulness in operation and show how homely and yet profoundly liberating this habit of mind, of simply reflecting on experience rather simply accepting it unthinkingly, can be. To illustrate her point about “facts,” she recounts being at a horse event with a friend who asked her to look after his horse while he went to get the horse a hot dog. “Horses don’t eat meat,” she thought, “period.” The idea “flew in the face of the facts,” she thought. But then the owner returned with a hot dog and the horse ate it eagerly.
And so the “fact” was wrong at least today in this context, and that prompted lots of questions in Langer’s mind. “Which horses [hadn’t eaten meat]? When? How hungry were the horses? What kind of horses? [There are] a bunch of questions,” she says, “that once we ask them, we see that this information we’ve been given is probably probabilistic. Indeed, research only gives us probabilities and we transform those probabilities into absolute facts. When you know something is absolute then there’s no reason to think about it anymore. But when you know something in this conditional way, then it almost primes thinking of counter instances. There are hidden decisions that go into any research program — What breed of horse? What kind of hot dog?—and once you reveal these hidden decisions, you begin to see how situated and contextual what we accept as facts actually are. One of the cultural myths is a belief in the absolute nature of science, but science itself is based on probability.”
Probability, Possibility, and Engagement It’s this quality of engagement from students higher education has been talking about wanting to cultivate, but has done with mixed results. Perhaps the primary limiting factors have been attitudes toward certainty on the one hand and uncertainty on the other. Students often find uncertainty fearful and threatening. And faculty feel enormous pressure to convey accepted understandings. Langer believes real learning gets lost somewhere in between. She sees uncertainty not as fearful, but as an inviting canvas of possibility, a learning adventure waiting to be had (as well as a fundamentally honest appraisal of our existential condition). But how might faculty get there without appearing not to know what students expect them to know and without frightening students with such fluid notions of how protean knowing and knowledge can be?
“To go back to your original question,” Langer continues, “‘How do you get a teacher steeped in these myths to teach more mindfully?’ One way would be for the teacher to begin most of his or her sentences with ‘In my view’ or ‘From one perspective.’ By doing that they make clear to themselves that this information is situated, which means it’s true sometimes but not in all contexts and certainly not necessarily over time. And it also sets the student up with the same understanding.”
In essence a mindful approach invites students to the party. It tacitly conveys an honest picture of the known and the unknown that implies respect for students as fellow (if somewhat junior) learners in an ongoing saga of inquiry. Indeed, real learning is always a shared inquiry, not a top down delivery of information. The insights often go both ways. While beginning sentences with a conditional touch fully reflects Langer’s thinking, she picked up the specific habit from a student:
“I actually had a graduate student about 20 years ago who, in our lab meetings, would begin almost every sentence with ‘In my view’ and I thought ‘Gee, that’s charming.’ And when you do that even if you are vehemently disagreeing with somebody it doesn’t have any harshness.”
But Then There’s Grading Teaching, mindful or not, will never be easy, and mindful grading may be the most painful part of it. “For me, from the beginning, it was the most painful thing. I would read their papers and based on information in a sense—that is, a sense that this is an A, this is a B and so on— [I’d come to one assessment], and then I’d read them again and think ‘Well, for the student, this is an A,’ and then reading them again I would think that this person is going to be devastated and not really helped with this particular grade and so on. I prefer giving qualitative responses rather than grades.
“Now I do this thing in my seminar where they write a short paper every other week and rather than a grade or words that are easy to translate into a grade I give them qualitative comments. But grading is always hard for me. When The Power of Mindful Learning came out, it would happen that a student would raise his hand and say ‘Are you going to give us a final?’ because on page whatever I make the point . . ., and I say to them that I agree completely, that there is something lacking in the system that requires this, but I can’t fight all battles. ‘So, yes, I am going to give a final and grade you. I can’t imagine that any of you are going to fail, but . . . .’
“I think that if we change the whole business of the way we teach, [grading] would be less of an issue. Right now we start off with the notion of limited resources. If you have limited resources then you have to figure out how to divvy up the ones you have. Whereas resources really aren’t limited. Everybody can win. Then with that there’s less need to define people—A students, B students, and so on.”
While the system currently requires grades, it doesn’t require unmindful teaching, Langer believes. “If one is engaged in mindful teaching, so that it’s conditional, it allows the C, D, B, and A student each to go with the information in a way that is personally relevant. So if I say to you ‘One cause of the Civil War was X’ rather than ‘The cause of the Civil War was X,’ the A student is going to come up with many different possibilities, the B student maybe fewer, and so on; so teaching mindfully can encourage thinking and growth. It’s when you’re teaching these absolutes that some people know and some people don’t you’re going to be boring the people who already know. But if you are not teaching facts as absolute truths, then you don’t have that problem in the first place.”
In short, mindful teaching engages everybody or at least invites everybody to become engaged.
More Reasons for Hope Things are always changing, says Langer, and while that means in some ways things are always uncertain, it’s our mindsets, she’s found, that cause us to see this flux at times as fearful. She’s optimistic about the future of education. “I think that it’s going to evolve in spite of (it would be nice if it were because of) but in spite of the current modes of education because of the computer. Today’s kids are learning and having fun with what they are learning and being creative in ways that they are not getting and never did get from the classroom.”
Moreover, today they see more color and difference in the world, she says: “Part of this evolution as I see it comes from [a growing awareness of diversity]. Years ago in this country we had White Supremacy, and then at some point in the ’60s we had Black is Beautiful, and then all of a sudden we realize there are Latinos, and so on. And then what happens? Because the world is so much smaller now, we see whole countries behaving differently than we do, which means that there are choices. And so I think that is one of the countervailing forces against the mindless education that so many of us have had and perpetrate.
“Evolution will take care of it,” she says. Perhaps with a little more mindfulness we can help it along.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Stanford's online courses, on and off campus

Stanford has announced that its core computer science courses are now available free online.

Stanford Engineering Everywhere

Also, see this Tomorrow's Professor posting about Stanford's other efforts to offer online-enabled courses.

TP Msg. #1152 Stanford Faculty Collaborate to Improve Online Education
Posted on February 13, 2012

Professors are building new software to simplify lecture recording, host course material online, spark discussion among students and teachers and share Stanford courses. Others are testing these new tools in the classroom.

Stanford Faculty Collaborate to Improve Online Education Several Stanford faculty members are working together to improve online education at the university by developing new software and testing it in the classroom.
The collaboration unites three experimental online education efforts: ClassX,[] a video processing platform that facilitates lecture recording; CourseWare,[] an online course hosting site with social networking features; and Open Classroom,[] a web platform designed to share Stanford lectures freely with the world.
"The researchers are combining the three programs into one. The unified system should be available to the Stanford community by the fall quarter, said computer science associate professor Andrew Ng,[] creator of Open Classroom. The software will eventually be available to other universities as well," he said.
"We've known for many years what we wanted to do for online education," Ng said. "We just needed to build the software to make it work."
Traditionally, a professor delivers one long lecture each class session. In large classes with hundreds of students, there’s often little back-and-forth questioning between students and the teacher.
Online courses increase information availability for students. Prerecorded lectures can free up class time for more interaction between students and teachers. Students help each other in discussions similar to a comment thread on a social networking site. And supplemental interactive lessons can help reduce disparity among students with different educational backgrounds.
Stanford computer science Professor Daphne Koller [] tested CourseWare and ClassX during a sophomore-level programming class. She posted recorded lectures online and used class time to cover problems, host guest lecturers from the tech industry and review material her students found difficult.
Students watched each lecture in 10- to 15-minute "chunks." A multiple-choice question followed each chunk to help reinforce the concepts. Koller posted weekly quizzes online as well. The short tests require students to think about the material, rather than listening passively to a lecture. Studies have shown information retrieval enhances learning.
Koller made attendance at scheduled class time optional, but students came. She said the audience for these sessions was higher than typical televised courses she’s taught, where the lecture was presented in one 75-minute video.
After polling her students when the course was over, Koller said about two-thirds of them told her they preferred the new format compared to a traditional in-person lecture. Nearly all found the video quizzes "very helpful."
Recording lectures Koller recorded her classes by videotaping a lecture or drawing on-screen with an LCD tablet while she narrated an explanation.
Software developed by electrical engineering professor Bernd Girod [] and students simplifies lecture recording. A commercial camcorder captures the lecture. The professor uploads the video to the ClassX server, which processes the video for interactive streaming during playback. The viewer needs only a web browser to zoom and pan around the room while watching the video online. The ClassX team [] released the code as open source software in April.
Ng developed the tablet-recording program. It displays a slide from a presentation. Teachers draw on a graphics tablet, an electronic device used by digital artists, and the drawings appear on screen immediately as if they were writing on a chalkboard. They narrate the lecture using the computer’s microphone. A camera looking at the screen over the teacher’s shoulder records the video.
Ng also created some of the software for the interactive quizzes in the recorded lectures.
Facilitating discussion online
When Koller presented her idea for a new teaching method to her colleagues, computer science professor John Mitchell [] realized he had a web interface that could help her distribute videos to her class and encourage student discussion.
CourseWare is a public website that houses many Stanford courses. Professors control the visibility of any material placed on their course pages, restricting access to Stanford students or releasing it to the world. Many course management systems used at other universities limit any access to registered students.
CourseWare allows faculty to upload video and handouts, create interactive quizzes and track discussions among students and teachers.
In Koller’s class, students often helped each other when a classmate posted a question. The instructor or a teaching assistant confirmed or clarified the answers.
Mitchell had seen this student interaction early in the site’s development. "This was one of the biggest indications that we were on to something," he said.
CourseWare housed 10 courses in spring quarter, including computer science, political science, education, biochemistry and psychology.
Mitchell plans to make the site available to other universities over the web. He hopes faculty teaching similar courses at different universities will use the site to collaborate and share material.
Supplements for introductory courses Professors around the university are beginning to adopt portions of this three-pronged technology in their classrooms, especially instructors in large introductory science, engineering and math courses.
Cammy Huang-DeVoss, course coordinator for the large introductory biology courses, is using the tablet recording and interactive quiz technology to develop lessons that enhance the lectures. Before a lecture on DNA, for example, students will watch an online video about the chemical bonds in DNA. It’s a way for the instructors to cover extra material, reinforce concepts from other classes and help unite students with different science backgrounds.
The biology teachers plan to launch their new online supplements in the middle of the fall quarter. "We hope the use of this technology can help close the gap between students of different backgrounds, and perhaps reduce the dropout rate from these fields, especially for under-represented groups," Koller said.
Advantages of online education Online lectures have some advantages over the traditional in-person instruction. They allow students to control the pacing of a lecture – they can speed it up or instantly replay the material.
A large library of online classes could allow students to personalize their education, Koller said. Students could combine many different lecture chunks to create courses tailored to their interests and abilities.
Analytical programs built into the course-hosting system could allow faculty to monitor a course in real time, tracking student progress and adjusting their teaching techniques to maximize effectiveness throughout the quarter.
Ng has found that his colleagues are receptive to these online teaching methods. "We try to deliver a better education. Every professor wants to do that," he said.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Helping students "self-regulate"

From Tomorrow's Professor

Self-Regulation of Learning in Postsecondary Education 

The chapter introduces this volume on self-regulation of learning by providing a look at the soundness of the theories, techniques, and tools readily available to instructors and students that could serve to facilitate self-regulation.
Self-regulation of learning occupies a fundamental place in postsecondary education. It is hard to think about the academic success of students in our colleges and universities if the students are not self-directed and self-motivated and cannot sustain cognition, affect, and behavior in order to assist in pursuing their academic and professional goals (Bembenutty, 2009; Schunk and Zimmerman, 2008). Self-regulation of learning refers to learners' beliefs about their capability to engage in appropriate actions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to pursue valuable academic goals while self-monitoring and self-reflecting on their progress toward goal completion (Zimmerman, 2000). The need for self-regulation of students enrolled in postsecondary education institutions is undeniable. Consequently, the focus of this volume on self-regulation of learning is on the specific knowledge that educators and students must acquire in order to secure effective acquisition of skills necessary in our demanding society.
Objectives of This Volume
The chapters making up this volume provide a look at the soundness of the theories, techniques, and tools readily available to instructors and students that could serve to facilitate self-regulation. The authors have synthesized theory, research, and practice from multiple areas in which self-regulation has been tested and implemented successfully. I anticipate that the readers of this volume will find that these chapters are enjoyable, informative, practical, and thought-provoking for those interested in postsecondary education.
What Is Self-Regulation of Learning?
The seminal work of Albert Bandura promoted self-regulation of learning as a pivotal component of any major academic endeavor (Schunk and Zimmerman, 2008). Over the past three decades, self-regulation of learning has emerged as an important area of research helpful in explaining academic success. Researchers have made substantial progress in understanding how children and adults learn how to exercise psychological and behavioral control in order to direct efforts and remain goal-focused despite distraction. Self-regulation affects motivation, emotions, selection of strategies, and effort regulation and leads to increases in self-efficacy and improved academic achievement.
Motivational and Regulatory Processes of Self-Regulation.
Self-efficacy is related to successful academic performance. Self-efficacy refers to learners' beliefs in their ability to organize and execute actions necessary to attain specific goals (Bandura, 1997). Students with high self-efficacy may decide to continue working on an important assignment even when test anxiety arises and/or a temptation to stop calls for attention. However, students with low self-efficacy beliefs may not only succumb to temptation, they may let disruptive thoughts interfere with performance.
Self-regulation also influences outcome expectation, which refers to individuals' beliefs that their course of action will result in the attainment of desirable outcomes (Bandura, 1997). Self-regulation of learning has been found to be effective in most major areas of human development and learning, such as in school, college, and medical settings; sport and industrial organizational tasks; and direct classroom instruction as well as online instruction.
Self-regulation influences, and is influenced by, learners' intrinsic interest, which is students' enjoyment of participating in a task for the sake of learning, and by extrinsic interest, which refers to students' engagement in a task for reasons other than the task itself (Deci and Ryan, 1985; Pintrich and others, 1993; Schunk, Pintrich, and Meece, 2008). Students may possess intrinsic but not extrinsic motivation, have extrinsic but not intrinsic motivation, have both, or neither.
Self-regulation is a function of learners' future time perspective, which is individuals' perception of how far psychological distance they are from reaching future goals (Husman and Lens, 1999). Students with adaptive future time perspectives highly value future academic outcomes in spite of highly attractive immediate rewards. They indeed are able to delay gratification for anticipated valuable rewards attainable only in the future (Bembenutty, 2009). Psychologically, for them, the conflict between a small immediately available reward and a large one reached after a voluntary waiting period is less difficult because of their future time orientation. In this regard, Zimmerman (2000) observed that in light of the obstacles that exist, learners need to delay gratification.
Self-regulated learners exercise effort regulation, which is construed as students' intentions to put forth resources, energy, and time to secure completion of important academic tasks (Pintrich and others, 1993). Skilled self-regulated learners are those who generate extraordinary motivational beliefs in order to secure goal accomplishments. They are also those who, when conflicts arise between pursuing important academic goals and alternative tempting options, learn how to remain task-focused despite immediate impulses to succumb to attractive temptations.
Cyclical Processes of Self-Regulation. Zimmerman (2000) proposed that learners have the capacity to engage in a cyclical self-regulated learning process in which they establish standards, set academic goals, regulate their beliefs and motivation, select learning strategies to be used, monitor their academic progress, and evaluate their progress toward goal completion. According to Zimmerman (2000), self-regulation of learning involves three cyclical phases. Self-regulation of learning is cyclically initiated when learners set valuable academic goals, select learning strategies, and assess their feelings and motivational beliefs necessary to attain the goals.
1. Forethought phase. During the forethought phase, learners, as proactive agents, engage in self-generating goals, strategic planning, intrinsic interest on tasks, and sustaining self-efficacy beliefs.
2. Performance phase. During the performance phase, learners initiate actions by which they enact volitional control and use strategies such as self-instruction, imagery, self-monitoring, and attention control.
3. Self-reflective phase. During the self-reflective phase, the process of self-regulation ends with learners' self-reflection of their level of satisfaction with task completion and self-evaluation of task completion itself. During this phase, learners initiate self-evaluation of their performance, examine their attributions and self-reactions, and adapt their performance according to their successes or failures.
Why Is Self-Regulation of Learning Important for Postsecondary Education?
Contrary to students' experiences during elementary schools and to some degree in secondary schools, postsecondary education requires students be proactive and self-disciplined and engage in self-creation, self-initiation and self-evaluation of academic tasks. During elementary and second education, teachers and parents primarily guide students, for the most part students take classes with the same peers, homework assignments are checked often, notes to parents are often sent about good academic progress, and children are to some extent protected from distractions and competing alternatives to education. In postsecondary education, however, students are expected to exercise control of their conduct, maintain motivation, develop plans for the future, exercise delay of gratification, and put into effect goals and learning strategies.
Unfortunately, many students arrive at colleges and universities lacking basic self-regulatory skills, exhibiting difficulties such as the ability to set academic goals and failure to identify appropriate learning strategies. These limitations seriously handicap some students despite their high intelligence, academic ambitions, prior knowledge, and high school performance. Thus, those with inadequate self-regulatory skills begin their postsecondary educations at a disadvantage.
Less discussed but equally important, some students also lack the willingness and the ability to delay gratification, as indicated by their preferential choice for an immediately available, less valuable reward rather than waiting for a more valuable reward that is temporally distant, such as getting their dream job after graduation or gaining acceptance to desired graduate school or professional programs. Academic delay of gratification refers to students' postponement of immediately available opportunities that would satisfy impulses in favor of pursuing important academic rewards or goals that are temporally remote but ostensibly more valuable (Bembenutty and Karabenick, 1998, 2004). In education at the postsecondary level, it is likely that students would have to overcome greater obstacles than in elementary and secondary schools in order to be academically successful, and they may have fewer resources with which to do so. That is why self-regulation of learning is an important aspect of learning that deserves the attention of educators, researchers, and policy makers interested in promoting academic success of students in postsecondary education.
Overview of Chapters in the Volume
The contributors to this volume have done a laudable job at examining aspects of self-regulation of learning that truly need the attention of students, educators, and policy makers of postsecondary education. Four major themes guide the chapters in this volume: motivation, use of strategies, professional training, and technology.
Motivation. Lichtinger and Kaplan argue that self-regulated learning involves students' different purposes of engagement. They observe that motivation and self-regulation are important for the adaptive engagement of students in postsecondary education.
Zusho and Edwards, after reviewing the literature on self-regulation of learning and motivation through the lens of achievement goal theory, offer practical tips to educators who struggle with unmotivated learners.
Use of Strategies. Self-regulation depends on effective help seeking. On this topic, Karabenich and Dembo point out that to be self-regulated learners, students need to seek help strategically when they need it.
The chapter by Weinstein, Acee and Jung focuses on the critical roles that learning strategies play in both academic readiness and the self-regulation of learning necessary for academic success in all categories of higher education.
Bembenutty posits that the ability to delay gratification is the cornerstone of all academic achievement and education. His chapter provides a review of research on the association between academic delay of gratification and students' motivational beliefs and use of self-regulated learning strategies.
Professional Training. Middleton, Abrams, and Seaman examine case studies of student teaching interns to identify contextual factors that may enhance or inhibit their use of self-reflective practices. They argue that self-reflective practice could be considered a form of self-regulation by which individuals monitor and change their own beliefs, motivation, and behavior.
Cleary observes that interest in student motivation and self-regulation among educators and school psychologists has increased in recent years because of the impact of school-based professionals on student academic success.
Randi, Corno, and Johnson explore how preservice teachers prepare for the transition from college classroom to career through assignments and features of the learning environment designed to approximate the demands of work settings and job-related tasks.
Technology. This volume provokes reflection and dialogue within the academy to consider contemporary instructional tools that could serve to enhance self-regulation of learning. The chapter by Kitsantas and Dabbagh discusses the role of Web 2.0 technologies in self-regulated learning. They urge educators to identify effective educational applications for these technologies important for higher education institutions and to ensure that faculty members have the training and resources necessary to create learning environments that promote and support student self-regulation.
Greene, Moos, and Azevedo observe that, increasingly, university faculty are presenting course content and complex topics to students via computer-based learning environments, such as hypermedia.
The purpose of this volume is to engender reflection and dialogue among educators and students about the important role of self-regulation of learning for postsecondary education. This volume provides evidence that educational psychologists not only can carry out interesting research but that their scholastic work has significant educational and practical implications for postsecondary education. This volume attests that with regard to self-regulation, we have come a long way during the last few decades and that more exciting work and contributions to postsecondary education are under way.
Bandura, A. Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: W. H. Freeman, 1997.
Bembenutty, H. Academic delay of gratification, self-regulation of learning, gender differences, and expectancy-value. Personality and Individual Differences, 2009, 46, 347-352.
Bembenutty, H., and Karabenick, S. A. Academic delay of gratification. Learning and Individual Differences, 1998, 10(4), 329-346.
Bembenutty H., and Karabenick, S. A. Inherent association between academic delay of gratification, future time perspective, and self-regulated learning: Effects of time perspective on student motivation. Educational Psychology Review, 2004,16(1), 35-57.
Deci, E., and Ryan, R. Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum Press, 1985.
Husman, J., and Lens, W. The role of the future in student motivation. Educational Psychologist, 1999, 34(2), 113-125.
Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D.A.F, Garcia, T., and McKeachie, W.J. Reliability and predictive validity of the Motivational Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Educational and Psychological Measurements, 1993, 53, 801-813.
Schunk, D. H., Pintrich, P. R., and Meece, J. L. Motivation in Education: Theory, Research,and Applications (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, 2008.
Schunk, D. H., and Zimmerman, B.J. (eds.). Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning: Theory, Research, and Applications. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2008.
Zimmerman, B. J. Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In M. Boekaerts, P. R., Pintrich, and M. Zeidner (eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation (pp. 13-39). San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press, 2000.
HEFER Bembenutty is an assistant professor of educational psychology at Queens College of the City University of New York. His research interests include self-regulation of learning, delay of gratification, and homework.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The University Of Adam Smith?

An interesting, if not unbiased Wall Street Journal review of "" by Andrew Rose. The University of Phoenix is the currently the largest University in the world by student population (by a lot), so these are very relevant issues:

Wall Street Journal
FEBRUARY 6, 2012
The University Of Adam Smith
In the scramble for money and prestige, colleges lose their focus on education. A business executive thinks he has a solution.
By Naomi Schaefer Riley

About halfway through "," Andrew Rosen relates a story from a consultant who was hired by a small private college to help it implement the once-trendy concept of Total Quality Management. The consultant began by asking the school's administrators and staff a question: "Who is your customer?" The provost said that "basically everyone is our customer." Two of the school's deans named "the faculty" as their main customer. The college president picked "the trustees." The faculty itself found the word "customer" offensive. The consultant was eventually fired.

Mr. Rosen, who is chief executive of Kaplan Inc., one of the largest for-profit higher-education providers in the country, has a way with an anecdote, and "" is a lively read thanks to his in-person interviews and firsthand reporting at colleges across the country. As the customer-related anecdote suggests, one of the book's themes is that most colleges and universities have trouble identifying exactly whom they are trying to please and thus what exactly they are supposed to be doing....

Read the rest:

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Is the future of teaching online?

Here's food for thought:

Stanford Professor Gives Up Teaching Position, Hopes to Reach 500,000 Students at Online Start-Up

The Stanford University professor who taught an online artificial-intelligence course to more than 160,000 students has left his tenured teaching position at the university, and remains an untenured research professor there, to aim for an even bigger audience.

Sebastian Thrun, a research professor of computer science at Stanford, revealed today that he had given up his teaching role at the institution to found Udacity, a start-up offering low-cost online classes.

The power of feedback

I try to gather feedback in most of my lectures. Sometimes it's very formal, such as post-it notes (thanks Daphne Loads) on a flipchart, sometimes it's tacit/informal, such as observing body language, questions, etc.

I've been surprised that some of my students this term have said, in the feedback notes, that they would prefer not to give feedback at all.

So here is a reason for students to give feedback:

On Tuesday I asked for feedback from my Informatics Entrepreneurship students, and one of them asked why I didn't show the subtitles for the short video clips I use in class. And the simple answer is that I didn't know that the Stanford e-Corner site had that functionality.  It's right there on the window interface, but because I'm a native English speaker, and I know the buzzwords and topics, it never occurred to me to look for it.

To be sure, sometimes feedback is more nuanced, and responding would require more sophisticated thought, but this is a brilliant example of how feedback can work simply and beautifully.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Social entrepreneurship resource

Students interested in social entrepreneurship and social enterprise might want to look at this online resource:

The Social Enterprise Exchange