“Our vision is more obstructed by what we think we know than by our lack of knowledge.” Kristen Stendahl

Openness and innovation in Higher Education


David Wiley, a significant voice in Higher Education (in the US) summarises the testimony he gave the US Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education:
In summary, higher education has fallen out of step with business, science, and everyday life. In order to realign itself with changes in society and in its student base higher education must find the will to innovate in the area of openness, and then in connectedness, personalization, participation, and other key areas. Openness is the key to enabling other innovations and catalyzing improvements in the quality, accountability, affordability, and accessibility of higher education. The open infrastructure of the Internet has enabled a huge number of innovations at a speed and scale that could never have occurred if this infrastructure had been closed. I submit that content, faculty support, and peer support are the infrastructure of teaching and learning. To the extent that we open these, we can speed the adoption and scale of innovation in the teaching and learning space.
In a previous post he shares his full intervention.

Categories: Artifacts


Assessment for learning


Just in case this is ever helpful in the future from Assessment for Learning from Educause:
We are developing a plan of research on assessment for learning using eportfolios. We would like to hear from others doing similar research or interested in collaborating with us. We are focusing initially on using eportfolios to document and improve deep learning beyond the classroom: especially in the forms of undergraduate research, community service learning, and leadership experiences.

Categories: Artifacts


I'm following Alex Halavais blog who sometimes talks about student feedback of their lecturers. He's writing from New York in the USA (which is why student feedback is referred to as "student evaluations") but everything he says could apply to us in Setúbal.

He talks about the way your teaching practices don't count when it comes to joining the quadro:
In some places, and I’m sad to say my current institution is one of them, teaching doesn’t matter that much to tenure or promotion. There are some really excellent teachers, but they are excellent teachers in many ways in spite of the university. I’ve been told that the only way to have your teaching impact a tenure decision is if you bite the students. Another tenured faculty member said that students would have to picket the tenure proceedings in order for bad teaching to stop someone from getting tenure. In other words, excellent student evaluations don’t matter in my school. There is a move afoot to make evaluation reports more easily accessible to students, which I think will help them to choose classes more effectively. But if you are no good at teaching, you don’t mind if people decide not to take your classes.
And he reflects on the disadvantages of student feedback ("student evals.") and the ways the teacher, can maipulate them:
I have mixed feelings about student evals. I think they do roughly approximate the ability of the teacher. Unfortunately, I know exactly how to improve my evals. First, I raise the average grade in the class: there is a strong correlation between mean grade in a class and teacher evaluation. In fact, some schools (not UB) are now weighting these ratings by the average grade. That again raises problems, because in a small senior seminar or optional graduate class, I may have a dozen students, many of whom deserve the A. The efficacy of the class leads its evaluations to be discounted.
The other way I can improve ratings is to do something a faculty member at my graduate institution did, and build the evaluations into the syllabus, reminding students along the way the ways he was “effectively using information technology,” or “providing timely feedback.” Certainly, this “teaching to the test” in reverse probably led the course to do better in those categories, but he was also aiming (successfully) to manipulate his evaluations.
And then the question of when you do the feedback. How can students know now what will help them in the future?

The best suggestion I’ve heard—this from Tom Feeley, who has studied student evaluations, as well as from others—is that you give the student evaluations five years after the course is over. Yes, we tend to forget traumatic events as time passes ;) , but we also find that some of the teaching that we like at the time may not be the work that was really relevant to our lives and careers down the road. Deciding the worth of a class just before a looming final exam may not be the best timing.

Categories: Artifacts, Reflections


Academic blogging


In the chronicle, Inside Higher Ed., Jeff Rice laments what he sees as academics being afraid to blog, unless they blog anonymously. He talks of the warnings of "the dangers of blogging. Blogging will ruin your career! Blogging will prevent you from getting a job! Blogging will ... fill in the blank."

Instead, he says, academics should be playing more with the digital form, content and genre. His article produced some controversy and irritation by people in the academic blogging world, including Lisa of IT who pointed out that many people have been fired for blogging and that not everyone has tenure. Others, like New kid on the Hallway, are annoyed by his complaint that academics aren't doing enough "amazing things (that) blogging has provided writers: ability to create discourse in widely accessed, public venues, ease of online publishing, ability to write daily to a networked space, ability to archive one’s writing, ability to interlink writing spaces, ability to respond to other writers quickly, etc."

Leslie Madsen Brooks summarises more of the arguments that are taking place in academic blogoshpere in Academics Anonymous over in BlogHer. (And as she points out, some of the best bits of the discussion if you are interested is in the comments that follow different people's posts. )

I wonder how blogging from Higher Education is affected in Portugal with so many of us hanging on to our contracts by our teeth as we drown in the extra Bolonha related work and are offered the stick rather than the carrot for researching, developing and experimenting. Does it - or could it - make us more or less playful with the blogging genre? I think this could be an interesting topic for the Encontro sobre Weblogs at Universidade do Porto in October.

Categories: Reflections, Artifacts

Technorati Tags: ,

The end of the line


I can relate to what Jill/txt writes about student emails.
it's a remnant of the old ideal of the independent student who should have the right to learn as she pleases) yet they all email you questions - you know, the "I won't be able to attend any of the tutorials. What's the assignment? Can you give me feedback?" kind of questions. And the frantic "Did you get my email?" the next day if you haven't answered.
The exame for Época de Recurso was yesterday. At least eight students I have never seen, only one of whom obviously knew what he was doing. Of the eight, four entered into email contact with me five days before the exam.

The questions I got this time in the week running up to their last chance exam i.e. their re-resit:
Is it important to study the book?
What do I have to study?
I can't do the oral presentation because I haven't had time to prepare it.
Please correct my article (midnight before the exam/time to give it in).
I hope the teacher will understand (and make allowances) that I can't speak English and so I couldn't come to the classes.

After the oral presentation I also have the standard scene with two - females - whose eyes glisten as they tell me that this is the only discipline they have em atraso and that 6.5 is really a 7 and if you consider X,Y and Z it could go to 7.6 which would make their final mark 8.8 which was nearly 9 which was nearly 10. And that would mean they had passed!

Technorati Tags:

Inglês Técnico or English as a global strategy


I get frustrated with the way that "English" in Ensino Superior is seen merely as a língua or a ferramenta rather than as a phenomena or a strategy of globalisation related to identity, exclusion or politics. That was what originally started me on my PhD quest.

Now I see this interesting report, English Next 2006 - from David Graddol commissioned by the British Council which articulates it better than me.
The teaching of English has been seen in the past as largely a technical issue about the best methodologies, a practical issue of resources in teacher training and text books, or a problem about imperialist propoganda. We can now see that it has become much more than these things although such issues have not gone away. If the analysis of this book is correct, then English has at last become of age as a global language. It is a phenomenon which lies at the heart of globalisation. English is now redefining national and individual identities worldwide; shifting polticial fault lines; creating new global patterns of wealth and social exclusion; and suggesting new notions of human rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Graddol outlines a number of trends one of which is "the end of "English as a foreign language".

Categories: Productions Reflections


Student generated sumários on a blog


An idea I've always toyed with but never done from D. Kuropatwa at The Difference. He gets the students to write the summary of the lessons on the class blog. He tells them:

"Write a brief summary of what we learned in class today. Include enough detail so that someone who was away sick, or missed class for any other reason, can catch up on what they missed ... Over the course of the semester, the scribe posts will grow into the textbook for the course; written by students for students. Remember that as each of you write your scribe posts. Ask yourself: 'Is this good enough for our textbook?' And remember, you have a global audience, impress them."

It would be a lot more useful to fellow-students than the token sumários that we have to write. I suspect it would make a better sabenta too.

Categories: Artifacts

Day before the exam


I know you can't please everyone.
But I'm someone who tries. And I've learned a lot from trying.

But there's one time of the year when I'm at a complete loss. It's the day before "The Exam".

"Oh professora" it always begins. "Posso falar Português. Não falo nada em inglês."

"OK" I say, knowing already what's coming.

"O que eu tenho que estudar para o exame de inglês?"

Did you come to any of the classes?
- No.

Have you kept up with what your colleagues have been doing? Are you a member of the Yahoo discussion group where I put all the materials and summarise some of the things we do in the class? Have you checked out the Inglês Empresarial blog? Are you familiar with the criteria ...
- No.

Mas a professora não está a perceber. Não entendo nada de inglês.

So what would could I do to help you one day before the exam, dear student?

Quero saber qual é a matéria para estudar. Quero uma nota positiva.

Well, you have a written test and you also have to do an oral presentation and to write an article for a business magazine.

Mas a professora - não consigo. E eu tenho que passar inglês porque já tenho outras disciplinas em atráso. O que eu faço? A professora não pode me ajudar?

Dear, dear student. Where did you get the idea that I could help you?

Category: Reflections


About me

  • I'm bev trayner
  • From Setubal, Portugal
  • My profile
What is this portfolio blog?

Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz

    HigherEdBlogCon 2006

Last posts


Blogroll - Ensino Superior

Blogroll - Higher Education

Pistas como docente


ATOM 0.3

Get Firefox!