Digitally Related

Formatting the dissertation:
Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick talks in a CHE article about taking risks with the format of scholarship. I think she makes some good points, but it is also easy for her to say that. She is already done and has a ft position.

Despite that, I think the advice she gave is reasonable/important. If we always keep doing the same things we have always done, we will continue to get the results we’ve been getting.

Profs Use Smart Phones to Advantage

LectureTools [4], developed at the Ann Arbor campus’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching [5], lets students instantly relay questions to their professors and instructors during a lecture, cluing in educators as to which topics need more explanation.

“The key is to engage students through their laptops or cell phones, so they don’t drift off onto social networking sites,” said Perry Samson [6], a professor in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences at UM and the developer of LectureTools. “We’ve shown we can do that.”

LectureTools became commercially available in August after being created in 2009.

Using LectureTools, a student can jot electronic notes synchronized to a professor’s lecture slides and respond to questions posed by the professor, who can display student answers to the entire class.

Instructors can upload video and other content from online repositories as Quicktime or Flash files and can include the material in a lecture accessible for students through the web-based LectureTools system.

Mika Lavaque-Manty, associate professor of political science at UM, said using LectureTools to interact with students helps professors involve students who might otherwise sit near the back of a cavernous lecture hall and check for tweets and Facebook notifications throughout class.

“It really does make large classes seem small. It increases interaction in old-fashioned ways, too,” Lavaque-Manty said. “More students raise their hands. It’s very cool.”

My SLAC has very few large lecture classes; however, it is possible that something like this would allow students to ask questions without feeling put on the spot. I will have to check into it.

Academics Blogging
Academics and universities should embrace blogging as a vital tool of academic communication and impact.

Academics wondering whether they should venture into cyberspace should consider its reach, says Adrian Miles, a senior lecturer in media and communications at RMIT. Miles has 1,000 readers a week for his VLOG 4.0 blog and although he describes it as “a very small blog”, he contrasts it with being published in a major international journal where he says “maybe 100 people would read my article”.

I don’t know that this blog, with all its readers, is really an example of my scholarship. I would say instead that it is an example of my teaching. Every month over 5,000 students access my post on writing a character analysis.

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