CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

Archive for the ‘Article Alerts’ Category

Our faculty colleagues featured in a webcast

Posted by Cathy Kelley on February 24, 2009

Becton College faculty members Neelu Sinha, Laila Khreisat, and Kiron Sharma are featured in a webcast later this week provided by the Innovate online journal. The webcasts from Innovate are designed to highlight papers that have been published in the current issue of the journal.

Please check out both the article and the webcast. The article and associated webcast highlight the work done by Becton’s Computer Science Department using tablet PCs to enrich the curriculum. This project was made possible by a grant to the department from Hewlett-Packard.

Innovate -February/March 2009, Volume 5, Issue 3

Learner-Interface Interaction for Technology-Enhanced Active Learning

Neelu Sinha, Laila Khreisat, and Kiron Sharma

There will be a ULiveandLearn webcast for this article at 1:00 PM EST on Thursday, February 26, 2009. We invite you to participate in this webcast.

Follow the link: http://www.uliveandlearn.com/PortalInnovate/Private/Eventreg

If you are unable to participate in the webcast in “real time,” check out the archives at


The archive feed is usually available within 24 hours of each event.


Posted in Article Alerts, Conferences & Events, Faculty Projects | Leave a Comment »

National Survey of Student Engagement shows online students more engaged, challenged

Posted by Cathy Kelley on November 10, 2008

An interesting article in the Nov. 14 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education describes some of the key results of this year’s National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE, called “Nessie”). Among many other interesting findings, the report indicates that online students are considerably more engaged in their learning than are students in traditional face-to-face programs. For example, online students are more likely to indicate that they “Participated in discussions about important topics in (their) major field or discipline” or “Participated in course activities that challenged (them) intellectually.” A finding especially relevant to FDU is that online students were more likely to report that they “Participated in discussions that enhanced (their) understanding of different cultures.”

This finding appears only in this year’s NSSE, as it is the first time that NSSE has distinguished between online and face-to-face programs.

The Chronicle article describes some possible reasons for this finding, including that online instructors may be making a special effort to engage online learners. Another possible reason is that online students tend to be more motivated and self-directed. In any case, it seems clear that generally sepaking, online students are not feeling lost or isolated in the online environment.

Lipka, S. (2008). Does it matter where you go to college? The Chronicle of HIgher Education, Nov. 14 2008. Available at http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i12/12a03001.htm (password required).

If you don’t have an account with the Chronicle and want me to e-mail you a “pass” to view the article, please send a request to clkelley at fdu dot edu. I can send you a pass that will work for several days.

Posted in Article Alerts | Leave a Comment »

Students drawn to distance learning to save on gas

Posted by Cathy Kelley on July 12, 2008

There have been a very large number of reports in the media in the past several weeks about students signing up for more distance or hybrid classes, and citing high fuel costs as the reason. To track this emerging phenomenon, Ray Schroeder has started a blog. You can find over two dozen news reports from a variety of local media sources here:


Ray is  Professor Emeritus and the director of the OTEL (Office of Technology & Enhanced Learning) at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Some of you may remember Ray as one of our presenters at this year’s TNT event. I’ve had a number of interactions with Ray through the Sloan-C organization.

I wonder if hybrid learning can also help colleges and universities with their skyrocketing energy costs, if some campus buildings can be shut down for part of the week. I’ve only seen a few articles on this concept, but it too seems to be a new phenomenon with potential. What do you think?

Posted in Article Alerts, Effective Practices | Leave a Comment »

Important copyright case

Posted by Cathy Kelley on June 27, 2008

An article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education discusses a case that was brought by three publishers against Georgia State University. The publishers (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Sage Publishers) object to librarians and professors disseminating course readings online, through Blackboard / WebCT or other electronic means.


The university claims that these activities are protected under academic fair use. However, the publishers argue that fair use was violated because the amount of material disseminated this way was systematic and widespread. In other words, many professors and librarians were doing it.

There are no “rules” about how to apply fair use. Instead, there are four factors that are considered in determining whether a use of copyrighted materials is fair or not. These are the purpose and character of your use (academic use is a plus); nature of the copyrighted work (use of factual works is more likely to be considered fair, whereas use of creative works is less likely to be considered fair); the amount and substantiality of the portion taken (and “substantiality” is at least as important as actual amount); and the effect on the potential market for the material.

It seems that the publishers are making a case that the last two factors weigh against fair use in Georgia State’s case. But note that any individual professor’s use may not be substantial or have a noticeable effect on the market. The publishers claim that in the aggregate, the practice of online dissemination affects their business.

The outcome of this case is extremely important to any universities who make use of electronic reserves, or whose instructors distribute readings via Blackboard or similar means. If the publishers win, I could see many universities simply banning all electronic distribution of copyrighted materials, unless permission was obtained from the publisher. Note that obtaining permission usually means that a royalty fee must be paid. Payment of royalties would be a substantial new cost for universities.

On the other hand, if the University wins, it will clarify how fair use applies to electronic distribution of course materials.

Posted in Article Alerts | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Cathy Kelley on June 2, 2008

The Wired Campus Blog (produced by The Chronicle of Higher Education) had an interesting post today about a “new” concept that has been called “Edupunk.” Edupunk is a rebellion against one-size-fits-all  course management systems, and takes advantage of free Web 2.0 tools and other DIY approaches to education. The idea is to put students in the center of learning – which was the theme of this year’s TNT event. The analogy to punk music is that punk was also a do-it-yourself approach to music, opposed to big business, and represented a rebellion against the sterile pop sound of the late 70s and early 80s.  Edupunk is do-it-yourself, opposed to big business, and is a rebellion against the sterile environment of corporate course management systems.


Make sure to follow the links inside the article to get a full understanding of Edupunk.

I think that the case against the big learning management systems is somewhat over-stated; after all, these are just big containers and you can put into them whatever you like. While there are compartments for various kinds of materials, you can ignore them or use them your own way. And not everybody is cut out to be a DIY-er.

On the other hand, it is also true that learning management systems have among the worst user interfaces of any product I’ve used. They are also designed to be very teacher-driven; only the instructor can post or edit content, for example. While this is necessary for many kinds of material, there are times when it makes sense for students to contribute material and take a more active role in the educational process. We’ll never get away from the sage-on-the-stage / lecture/ pour-knowledge-into-kids-heads model until we move away from such strongly instructor-centric course models.

I have many more thoughts on this, but I’m curious to hear what the community thinks. If you read the blog, please comment – it’s getting to feel kind of lonely in here.

Posted in Article Alerts | 3 Comments »

Excellent resource for sciences

Posted by Cathy Kelley on May 29, 2008

The following appeared in today’s Wired Campus blog (a service of The Chronicle of Higher Education):

Pedagogy in Action Online

This blog post describes the Science Education Research Center at Carleton College, an online resource available here:


This resource gives wonderful ideas for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to undergraduates.  Not all are technology-enhanced, but all are great ideas to consider for re-invigorating your classes and helping your students learn. I am a particular fan of the “studio teaching” approach which gets prominent mention on the front page of this website.

If you are reading this and you are not a scientist, but know some scientists, please pass this along! I’d like to get broader readership of this blog at FDU. And if you stop by, drop a note in the comments to let us know you’ve been here.

Posted in Article Alerts, Effective Practices | 2 Comments »

Using short videos to help students learn

Posted by Cathy Kelley on April 29, 2008

An article in today’s Chronicle of HIgher Education provides some ideas about how to use short home-made videos in your class to help your students learn better. This article describes how some professors will work through a single problem or example and record it outside of class time. Students often find these short, highly-targeted videos to be far more useful than full-length lectures.

The article also provides ideas about low-cost, easy-to-use technologies that can be used to produce these videos. Some of these technologies are available to FDU faculty members in our Instructional Design Studio, located on the first floor of Dickinson Hall on the Metropolitan Campus. Starting this summer the studio will be open again five days a week.

Young, Jeffrey (2008). Film School: To Spice Up Course Work, Professors Make Their Own Videos. The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 2008.  http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i34/34a01301.htm

Posted in Article Alerts, Effective Practices, id Studio | Leave a Comment »

Article Alert: Free online textbooks?

Posted by Cathy Kelley on April 25, 2008

A short article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education describes a company that will start publishing free online textbooks next year:

Rampell, C. (2008). An Online Company Tries an Unexpected Publishing Model: Free Textbooks. The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 24 2008. http://chronicle.com/free/2008/04/2614n.htm

What do you think? Would you consider using a free online text in order to save students money?

Posted in Article Alerts | 1 Comment »

Using guest speakers

Posted by Cathy Kelley on April 7, 2008

Today’s Chronicle of Higher Education includes an article by James Lang concerning the effective use of guest speakers in the classroom. Lang describes his uninspiring experiences using a guest speaker, and contrasts his experience with that of a colleague who routinely uses guests with great results.

Lang’s analysis suggests that the key difference is that his colleague makes a point of integrating the guest speaker’s appearance with the learning objectives of the class. “The speaker has to play an essential role in fulfilling the learning objectives of the course; if that doesn’t happen, the students will have little incentive to take advantage of what guest speakers can bring to a classroom, and the guest speakers won’t understand what they can contribute.”

Lang’s advice pertains to the face to face classroom – but like all good teaching advice, it has a direct analogue in the blended or distance class as well. Think about how you could apply Lang’s advice to the use of a Global Virtual Faculty member.

Lang, J.M. (2008). Guest Speakers. The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7 2008. http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2008/04/2008040701c/careers.html

Posted in Article Alerts, Effective Practices, Values | Leave a Comment »

10 tips to keep your online or blended class up to date

Posted by Cathy Kelley on February 5, 2008

A recent issue of the newsletter Online Classroom includes an article that lists 10 great tips for easily keeping your online class up-to-date (Crone, 2007) . These tips will help you achieve one of the Quality Assurance Values identified in the Guide to Quality Assurance for Online and Blended Classes at Fairleigh Dickinson University:

Adaptability – The course is designed so that it will be easy to update, adjust for curricular changes, and to respond to changes within the discipline.

Crone points out that keeping classes updated is getting very difficult, as publishers frequently release more and more new editions of textbooks in order to keep sales up. (a topic for another post or discussion!) Given this reality, how can you design your class so that a new edition doesn’t mean a complete re-working of your class?

Crone makes some excellent suggestions, and some that I would offer with reservations. E.g., Crone advocates putting as much material as possible into your class rather than hyperlinking, as hyperlinks can get stale over time. I would add that you should be careful to comply with copyright regulations before doing this.

This article is not available on the open Internet. However you can find a full-text copy in our campus library’s online research databases. I used the Ebsco Academic Search Premier tool, and did a publications search for “Online Classroom.” From the publication page, simply click down through 2007 issues to the November issue.

We also keep paper copies of back issues of Online Classroom in the Instructional Design Studio located on the first floor of Dickinson Hall on the Metropolitan Campus.

Crone, D. (2007). Ten tips to extend the shelf life of your online class. Online Classroom, November 2007, pp 1, 3.

Posted in Article Alerts, Effective Practices, Values: Adaptability | Leave a Comment »