Laptops in the Classroom

The most recent in a string of articles discussing the effects of laptops in the classroom was recently published in the Winter 2016 volume of The National Jurist. The study referenced in the article, entitled “The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of coffee-apple-iphone-laptopLonghand Over Laptop Note Taking,” compared performance between students taking their notes by hand versus those who typed their notes. The study concluded that, while the efficiency of typing appeals to many students, computers are a detriment to student absorption of information.

According to another study by the University of Louisville Law Review, nearly 90 percent of students using laptops during a class are engaging in online activities unrelated to the class at some point during class—whether it be email, instant messaging, shopping, or checking out their fantasy football league standings. But, even when internet is not an option and they are just using their laptops for note taking purposes, their learning may still be impaired because they are not processing the information. By taking handwritten notes, students are forced to listen carefully and analyze what the most important pieces of information are. This process is called “encoding” and is the key to cementing learning—and it doesn’t happen when students are just transcribing what the professor says.

So should we ban all laptops? Not necessarily. Some classes make use of technology during class and many students get nervous trying to take notes without their computers. However, it might be worth informing students that they may be doing a disservice to themselves by choosing to use their computers in the classroom.

Blackboard FAQs 2016

Are you planning to use Blackboard this fall? If so, you should ask yourself the following questions:

1. Did I request my live Blackboard course shell for fall 2016? If not, please go here for more information and to request your live shell.

*note if you did not request your live Blackboard shell and you see the course listed under your Blackboard courses, it is likely a development shell. You still need to request a the live shell to populate with your enrolled student

2.  Do I want my students to see my Blackboard course immediately? If yes, please follow these instructions in your live Blackboard course to make your course available immediately:

1. From the Control Panel, click on Customization
2. Click on Properties
3. Set Availability to YES  & Select Dates for Course Duration
4. Click Submit

*note the default for course availability is the first day of classes.

3. Have I been working in a development shell, and do I need to copy content from my development shell to my live shell? Or do I want to copy course content from a previous Blackboard live shell? If yes, please click here and follow the instructions.

For additional help, view TTU’s Blackboard instructor support page.

Blackboard Support

 

Confer With Librarians For Optimal Student Success

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae blog offered advice to faculty about who they should talk to on campus for optimal student success.

The author notes how graduate students are expected to jump into the classroom autonomously once they are hired as faculty. But this autonomy does not mean that faculty should not confer with other professionals on campus to provide a comprehensive educational experience.

The first set of professional listed are the librarians:

If you haven’t spent a good few hours going over your syllabi with a librarian trained in your subject area, you’re shortchanging your course and your students (and yourself). Librarians keep up with the technology in your field. They know the campus holdings and can order better texts for you if they know what you’re teaching.

Librarians can offer even more help if you give them a heads-up about what your assignments are going to be. They can pull relevant texts from the stacks and hold them on reserve for your course. They can come to your classroom and talk about which sources are available and how to judge their quality. They can suggest assignments and let you know about resources you may not have seen yet. And they can be a great help if you have to miss a class–they can work with your students in the library that day or in your classroom to keep them on track with whatever assignment you’ve given while you’re away at that conference.

Librarians live to help. And they’ll be able to help your class do much better work if you’ve taken the time to share your syllabus, your assignments, and your ideas with them.

The author goes on to list academic advisors, student affairs staff, registrar, financial aid, and veterans’ affairs professionals as others for faculty to confer with. As noted, “get out there and talk to people across your campus, in all kinds of jobs. Who knows? You might make a friend. And you’ll definitely make yourself a more effective faculty member.”

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Expand your horizons with educational YouTube channels

Happy Thanksgiving!

For most of my life, educational programming on TV was limited to a few well-tested formats: Documentaries based on a particular format of photos or video with a narrator and talking heads, or children’s programming. Because of the cost of operating a station, educational programming was limited to public broadcasting or the depths of extended cable. Today, once edutainment-driven channels like TLC and the History Channel now feature shows about child beauty pageants, giant families, pawn shops, and fishermen. It’s fortunate, then, that YouTube has risen to more than cover our needs.

Continue reading “Expand your horizons with educational YouTube channels”