Do We Use Email, or Does Email Use Us?

Email. It was supposed to save us time–a quick email instead of “snail mail” will be SO MUCH FASTER–but has instead taken more of that precious commodity than we could have ever anticipated. That’s the paradox of technology: sometimes innovations that were intended to be time-savers end up being time-suckers instead. Email is the perfect example of this. It’s not just easy, it’s too easy. Have a textbook for sale? Send an email. Don’t feel like walking down the hall to engage in actual human conversation? Send an email. Want to rant and rave, but find it hard to gather an audience? Send an email! Before you know it, our Outlook inboxes are groaning under the weight of everyone’s electronic id in message form. And that’s not even counting all of the messages generated by a reply-all message chain where everyone is telling everyone else to stop using reply-all. Continue reading “Do We Use Email, or Does Email Use Us?”

Universal Design for All Our Students

It’s easy to forget sometimes, when we’re so focused on our own enrollment numbers semester by semester, that here are more students enrolled in US colleges and universities today than at any previous point in the history of US higher education. As enrollments have increased, so too has the diversity within the college student population. Grand View’s growth has mirrored this larger phenomenon. As our enrollment has grown, our student body has become more diverse. A quick perusal of our class profiles confirms that we have significantly more geographic, racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, and academic diversity than was the case even just a decade ago. So, too, has our curriculum diversified. We’ve developed a new core, new programs, and new modes of instruction to more fully meet the needs and interests of our changing population of students. Continue reading “Universal Design for All Our Students”

Social Media Has Its Academic Uses, Too

I was going to start this post with the declaration that “our students seem to always be on social media,” but then I realized that it’s not just our students. Social media-Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, the whole lot-is a ubiquitous feature of our interconnected daily routines. All too often, though, it seems as if social media is a distraction from more important matters at hand; any of us who have noted students updating Facebook or scrolling their Twitter feeds during class certainly realize this more often than we’d like. Continue reading “Social Media Has Its Academic Uses, Too”

Smart Board Tips and Tricks

Almost every general-use classroom on our campus has an interactive Smart Board installed, which means we have a remarkably versatile technological tool at our fingertips (literally!) when we teach. These devices are touch-sensitive, interactive whiteboards that can act as both a screen for projected images and an extension of a computer’s monitor. Combined with the Smart Notebook software, which is installed on the instructor workstation computers in all of our smart board classrooms, you can create documents, templates, and interactive presentations. You can also use the software to import other files–like a PowerPoint presentation, for example–and convert them into Smart Notebook files for classroom display.  Continue reading “Smart Board Tips and Tricks”

Using Video to Enhance Instruction

If you’re teaching an online class, you’ve probably used video in your courses to provide instruction or tutorials–or perhaps both–to your students. But video tools can be useful in a variety of teaching contexts, from face-to-face to blended to fully online courses. Imagine, for example, you want to show your students how to use a particular piece of software. You could demonstrate it in class using the projector and the smart board, but what if your students forget what you did and didn’t take very good notes to refer to later? (I know, it’s a wildy implausible scenario, but bear with me.) Continue reading “Using Video to Enhance Instruction”

Flipping Out for the Flipped Classroom

One of the biggest obstacles to deeper learning in our classrooms is the fact that, in a traditional face-to-face semester course, we only get about two and a half hours of contact time with our students per week. That’s not very much time at all. So how can we balance covering important course content with the types of (usually fairly time-consuming) in-class activities that promote active, engaged learning? Something has to give, right?  Continue reading “Flipping Out for the Flipped Classroom”