A quick announcement: We just wanted to let you know that Atwood Publishing will be hosting a booth at the 30th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning August 12-14 in Madison, Wisconsin. Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this event is a great place to hear leading experts and share best practices with colleagues from around the world in the field of online education and training. Plus, Madison is a beautiful place to visit in the summer. If you’re not familiar with this event, and want to find out more, I encourage you to visit their website at www.uwex.edu/disted/conference. Hope to see you there!
After an unforeseen delay, the Tips are back, and with a vengeance! This week we’re doling out four tips for the “price” of three.
From 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Online Groups, by Donald e. Hanna, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, and Simone Conceição-Runlee, comes the following handy tip, which will help you know how to set the tone for interactions in any online learning environment:
112. Gain agreement with the learners about rules, norms, and procedures for discussion — and do so from the start.
Interactive online courses depend on the relationships and trust developed between and among you and the learners. If the learners are to play an active role in developing the course atmosphere, you must preliminarily define the structure, rules, norms, and procedures for course discussions upfront — but then give your learners the chance to suggest important modifications.
Some teachers routinely build in and act upon opportunity for revisions in the course plan and structure. Doing so gives learners a sense of ownership for the community that they’re helping create.
And from 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Peace and Reconciliation, by William M. Timpson, Edward J Brantmeier, Nathalie Kees, Tom Cavanagh, Claire McGlynn, and Elavie Ndura-Ouédraogo, we ‘ve mined this sharp piece of insight:
66. Help Restore Happiness and Create Fulfilling Lives
As Nel Noddings (2003) suggests in her book, Happiness and Education, at the present time educators and those interested in education are focusing on financial aims in schools—educating students to support a strong economy and to be financially successful, rather than to flourish as adults. We need to remember the key to what helps us to flourish is living happy, peaceful, and fulfilling lives. Tom Cavanagh writes: “I suggest if we want our children to be happy and flourish as adults, then we need to ask them what makes them happy and help them learn how to build healthy relationships and heal broken relationships.”
Using the Peacemaking Circle process (with a talking stick), let us take the time to ask the students we teach what makes them happy and listen to their answers. [For more on the Peacemaking Circle process, you can check out Tip 34 from this volume.]
Finally, we present two additional gems from the forthcoming latest book in our 147 Tips series, 147 Practical Tips for Emerging Scholars, by Kathleen King and Ann Cranston-Gingras.
6. Develop or join a local research or writing collaborative.
Anyone who participates in local research or writing collaboratives
can testify to the power of the experience for personal and professional
development. A group of scholars with similar goals can create their
own collaborative with the choice of at least two basic models: writing
circle or collaborative. In the writing circle model, each individual contributes their current manuscript for the other members to evaluate and offer recommendations for improvement. Using the collaborative
model, the group identifies a project which they are all interested in and
have the skills to pursue. They divide the effort and work among them in
order to accomplish the goal. In both models, we might tweak the old
adage and observe: “Many minds make light work.”
20. Consider new trends in your discipline or field that you
Contrary to popular belief, professors are not all-knowing. The most
productive faculty are those who are life-long learners and who thrive on
new opportunities to develop their knowledge base and skills. What
new trends could inform your current work? Are there new trends about
which you have questions? Currently, knowledge and research grow
faster than ever before; as academic researchers, we cannot afford to
tune out new developments and rely solely on our doctoral preparation.
New developments may serve as vital parts of your growing research
Here’s a new batch of tips warmed perfectly by the summer heat, just in time for the start of June! As the semester closes and you transition into summer mode, remember to refresh your mind every now and then with new tips for your classroom, your practice, and yourself.
For educators looking to publish, here is a great tip (we should know!) from 147 Publishing Tips for Professors by Danny R. Arnold:
48. For each project, decide whether you will write to a target audience or write the manuscript and let it find a home.
Should you tailor an entire project for a specific target journal, or should you simply do a good job writing up the project and then find a home for it? The answer is YES. Actually, it depends on the project. At some point before you finish the manuscript, you certainly need to tailor it for a specific journal.
Two cautions are pertinent. First, developing a project for a narrow and/or unique journal can be dangerous. What if they do not like it? Second, you may want to evaluate early in the project whether the resulting manuscript might fit a small cluster of journals. Having multiple options for your work is desirable.
And from 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Diversity by William M. Timpson, Raymond Yang, Evelin Borrayo, and Silvia Sara Canetto:
68. Insist on responsible language
One fundamental ground rule for a safe environment that all members of the class community — instructors and students alike — respond to each other with understanding and empathy, especially when there are sharp disagreements.
Reexamine the language used in a particular class that dealt with some aspect of diversity. For the purposes of expressing and discussing more precisely, consider the impact of alternative language — terms, concepts, qualifying adjectives and adverbs — that could have been used.
11. Identify and list the areas and strengths of your academic preparation and research interests.
Some of the strongest determinants in one’s early research and publication agenda will be one’s academic preparation focus and initial research interests. Indeed, for doctoral students, we recommend exploring research areas, building a foundation for your likely dissertation topic. In this manner, your work will build valuable background knowledge and perhaps data for your future effort. For early career faculty members, it is likely that your initial research and publication agenda will stem from your dissertation. Revisit the recommended future research sections of this document and your notes from your dissertation defense to see what leads you may uncover. We encourage faculty to explore more than one theme or focus of research in order to provide fresh perspectives, additional collaboration, publishing and funding opportunities.
Continuing in our brand-new (but sure to be time-honored) tradition of tip-sharing via blog, we present you with the Tips of the Week. Savor and mull over these delightful morsels of education advice, and check back in next Tuesday for more!
With warm temperatures finally hitting Madison, WI (where Atwood is based), and spring making itself felt in earnest across the country, the topic of icebreakers seems appropriate. From 147 Practical Tips for Using Icebreakers with College Students by Robert Magnan comes this handy tip:
48. Find out more through follow-up questions.
You can intervene after an answer by asking a follow-up question. Here are some examples. The question “Who here is planning on a career in this field?” could lead naturally to “What do you want to do specifically?” The question “Who here would like to take this course pass/fail or for no grade?” could lead logically to “Why?” The question “Who here reads books in this field for fun?” could lead to “What have you read lately?” or “Which books would you recommend to other students?”
Spring is also a great time to think about sustainability. With green leaves and grass all around us and fresh air in our lungs, the natural world cannot be ignored. From 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Sustainability by William M. Timpson, Brian Dunbar, Gailmarie Kimmel, Brett Bruyere, Peter Newman, and Hillary Mizia, comes this delightful suggestion:
83. Develop Natural Schoolyards.
Students learning from nature at school is so important. Outside areas can be converted to gardens for what once grew locally. Students can see what it is like to grow gourds in the fall, tend the land, observe the wildlife, and participate in the process of nurturing plants and protecting wildlife.
Last but not least, any time is a perfect time to learn about the tricks and advantages of implementing online technology in your education practice. 147 Practical Tips for Synchronous and Blended Technology Teaching and Learning by Rosemary M. Lehman and Richard A. Berg guides you in that process with tips like this one:
97. Use learned presentation skills.
If you are using videoconferencing, webconferencing, or webcasting, your course participants will spend a great deal of time watching you and listening to you. Remember that your presentation skills will be magnified through the lens of the camera and through the microphone. Learn about presentation skills and practice them. It’s always a good idea to practice your presentation skills with a pilot audience for feedback and critique, or tape yourself while you’re presenting and watch the tape for self-critique.
We’re so excited to be here in the blogosphere, and we hope you are too. To celebrate our new blog (this one you’re reading!) and to jump-start our weekly sampling of handy and thoughtful tips for educators, we’re laying out a veritable feast of not one but three handy tips from different books in our ever-popular 147 Tips series.
Let the tips begin!
From our first ever 147 Tips book, 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Professors, edited by Robert Magnan:
21. Don’t forget the spice.
How often have we heard that variety is the spice of life? And how often do we think only in terms of matching delivery with material? Sometimes what’s appropriate for three minutes may not work for seven. Switch to another delivery — a different tone, a different phrasing — just for variety. In baseball terms, it’s not the pitch itself as much as the change of pace.
From one of our most popular distance learning titles, 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Online Groups, by Donald E. Hanna, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, and Simone Conceição:
135. Help your learners manage information.
With an abundance of text-based resources, managing information becomes an important skill to acquire when learning online. This calls for managing access to resources, academic discourse, information flow, and service arrangements.
Include in your syllabus all of the possible ways learners can access information through Internet hyperlinks or web-based procedures that emphasize certain skills.
And from our most recent addition to the 147 Tips series, 147 Practical Tips for Using Experiential Learning, edited by William M. Timpson, Jeffrey M. Foley, Nathalie Kees, and Alina M. Waite:
4. Engage, connect, and construct.
In experiential education, learning is an active and constructive process where knowledge is constructed by the interaction of the learner directly with the phenomena. The facilitator works to engage participants with the knowledge/experience and with each other.
Here the learner is an active participant whose individual life experiences, loves, passions, biases, and prejudice are intimately involved in the learning process. Together groups of students can create vibrant learning communities.
For an upcoming session, diagram the ways in which you would like to see the flow of information, ideas, and power happen. How can this model help you understand a particularly meaningful experience in the past?
You can find the complete list of books in our 147 Tips series here: http://www.atwoodpublishing.com/subjects/Tips%20series.htm
Stay tuned for more great tips!
“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”
Welcome to the latest member of Atwood Publishing’s online family, our new blog! We will be sharing news, announcements, thoughts on education and life, inspiring quotes, and education tips from the books of our popular 147 Tips series.
Hope you enjoy it! See you back here soon.