Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall 2009 EDC Resource Review

In this issue:

Journal Reviews:

1. Dee, K. C. (2007). Student perceptions of high course workloads are not associated with poor student evaluations of instructor performance. Journal of Engineering Education, 96(1), 69-78.

Submitted by: Nicola Simmons, Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE), University of Waterloo

In this study of engineering students’ course evaluations at two institutions, Dee found no correlation between student perceptions of high course workload and low overall instructor performance ratings. This is contrary to what Dee reports as a common belief (one held by 54% of faculty) that “to get favourable evaluations, professors demand less from students” (p. 69). On the other hand, many items were strongly correlated with overall instructor performance ratings, including “the professor used teaching methods that helped me learn”, “the professor met the course objectives”, and “the professor was generally well-prepared for class”.

Recommendation: The article is heavy on statistics, but the results are interesting and compelling - and could provide an excellent starting point for conversations with faculty, particularly those in engineering, math, and science disciplines.

Keywords: course evaluations, student workload, engineering

2. Gale, R., & Golde, C. M. (2004). Doctoral education and the scholarship of teaching and learning. American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) PeerReview, Spring, pp. 8-12.

Submitted by Nicola Simmons, Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE), University of Waterloo

Gale and Golde present clear argument for introducing doctoral students not only to teaching, but also to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), and offer several tips as well as suggested resources on how this can be accomplished. The article’s perspective is American, with strong ties to the Carnegie Foundation’s work, but the resources are accessible to all, and the issues addressed are pervasive.

Recommendations: A very clear read for those beginning to think about SoTL, particularly when considering programs for graduate students. Some nice quotable sections for substantiating the need for such programs.

Keywords: doctoral student preparation, SoTL

Website Review:
1. ProfHacker Blog

Submitted by: Linda B. Nilson, Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University, USA

This blog addresses much more than technology and software, which is why it gets 10,000 page views a week. It posts academically-relevant information and advice on how technology can enhance faculty productivity, time management, mentoring, collaboration, research, and many aspects of teaching, including course planning and management, learning goals, syllabus design, mindful learning, group work, grade records, and assessment. In addition, it features ways to make the most of Internet tools such as blogs, wikis, Twitter, Google, Zotero (for group work), and Doodle as well as free software such as WordPress and CommentPress. Two tech-savvy American professors, Jason B. Jones from Central Connecticut State University and George H. Williams from the University of South Carolina Upstate, run the site, and they have ten regular contributors. Jones and Williams claim that they learn the best practices they promote from solving their own problems on the job. Ultimately, they aim to make the faculty member's life easier. Wednesday's "Open Thread" offers readers the chance to ask for help, advice, and feedback and to share advice, feedback, and ideas about topics that ProHacker should cover in the future.

Educational developers can use this blog to help them stay on top of the latest technology relevant to the faculty, and they can refer faculty to it for the same purpose. They or their faculty may also want to post questions, responses, or examples of their applications to the Open Thread. In addition, faculty who have developed their own software or have used software in unusual ways can share their innovations with colleagues on this blog.

Keywords: technology, productivity, pedagogy, research, Internet

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