Friday, July 29, 2011

Using Technology to Enhance Critical Thinking

Hiring managers are quick to point out that many students enter the professional work force lacking the writing, communication, and critical thinking skills necessary for today’s competitive environment. Recent research sponsored by The Association of American Colleges and Universities entitled Raising the Bar: Employers’ Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn highlights an increased need for “written and oral communication; critical thinking and analytic reasoning; the application of knowledge and skills in real-world settings; complex problem solving; ethical decision making, and teamwork skills.” Here are a couple of examples of how technology is being employed to address these issues.

Hunter College faculty members discuss how they incorporate wikis and other tools to support collaborative problem-solving in the their classes.

Metropolitan Community College (Kansas City) hosts a Critical Thinking Project web site that allows instructors to share resources across all areas of the college curriculum.

How do you use technology to enhance critical thinking skills and prepare your students for the world of work?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's a small world, and it's getting smaller...

My alma mater recently announced that its five-year fundraising program had ended (thankfully!) and the goal had been surpassed: $3.88 Billion!  Vowing not to spend it all in one place, they also mentioned that among their primary objectives was to ensure every undergraduate would be afforded the chance to study abroad during the college years.  Where was this when I was in school?

It's a wise move, actually.  The world is changing.  Thomas Friedman will tell you it's flat, and it's also smaller than ever. As a result, college graduates are entering a global job market with greater opportunity and a different set of demands than faced by previous generations of professional job seekers.  Study and work abroad programs provide good experience and improve students’ career prospects at home particularly when they compete for slots with global companies.

Research from The Open Doors project at The Institute of International Education (IEE) indicates that over 260,000 U.S. students studied abroad in 2008-09, about double the amount of a decade earlier.  Almost half of these students were social science or business/management majors, the students most likely to apply to global corporations for entry-level positions.

Besides traditional study abroad programs, international internships, typically for college credit, provide perspective and experience for students to become competitive in today’s job market while they build cross-cultural knowledge and global skills.  NAFSA: Association of International Educators supports many programs to support this goal and provides support to colleges worldwide.

What types of programs does your college offer to prepare students for this global environment?  What specific activities does your department or course use to prepare students to compete internationally?  Share your ideas here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Share Your Work with the AcademicPub Scholar Collection

When you create your custom course materials with AcademicPub, you can add articles, assignments and textbook chapters you have authored as well as using items from our Content Library and the Web. This is a great way for you to give your own students the very best learning materials.

And now, there is an easy way for you to expand that impact. By adding your work to the AcademicPub Scholar Collection, you can share your independently-authored materials, articles and academic research with other professors around the world. 

The system is designed so you can set the royalty payment that you would like to receive from the works you submit for use in the Content Library, and AcademicPub will collect and remit the royalty payments directly to you. Your works will be included in the available content for your discipline, and made available to registered users of the AcademicPub service.

Visibility of the Scholar Collection content is enhanced as it is included in recommendations as generated by our recommendation engine and presented to peers in your discipline. You can also let your academic colleagues know they can access your materials by using AcademicPub.

The process is simple -- just fill out this form and we'll let you know if your content is approved for addition to the Collection. Comment below if you have any questions about this feature or check with our Customer Service department. We hope this new option will help you increase the audience for the important research you've done in your academic discipline and assist you in bringing the work to more people who can benefit from it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Higher Education Social Media Trends

It isn’t news that students find college to be an engaging social experience, but many colleges and professors are now using social media to improve learning, reach beyond the classroom, and to create collaborative environments that enhance student engagement and achievement.

Let’s look at trends and some ways college educators are using social media to transform the traditional classroom.

· John Orlando, PhD in Integrating Social Media into Online Education in a Faculty Focus blog post provides an interesting discussion of campus learning management systems (LMS), course design, and the use of social media pointing out that social media (blogs, wikis, YouTube videos, etc.) may or may not be integrated into the local LMS creating a range of course management issues and the need for a college-wide social media policy.

· College Ready Writing was founded earlier this year by Dr. Lee E. Skallerup to help students improve their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Also, there’s a weekly Twitter conversation for faculty to share ideas and best practices on teaching freshman English and composition.

Check back for further discussion of social media in higher education. We will share highlights from research reports, industry information, market trends, and user experiences as they relate to social media usage and trends.