Saturday, January 21, 2017

Starting a Teaching and Learning Center in a College

This article appeared in Inside Higher Ed (a favorite publication of mine).  I think it has some valid information.

Having started a teaching and learning center myself, I have a lot of opinions on the process.  I also wrote my doctoral dissertation on faculty (educational) development, so I kind of know a little about this.

The T and L director (or whatever other title has been given to the lead professional development person) has to be winsome about bringing faculty--from all disciplines, not just the one that the director may represent--into the center.  Part of this winsomeness is balancing evangelism of a particular pedagogy or even trendy practice with appreciation of what the faculty are already doing.  Any time you ask a person to change you must guarantee that the benefit of the change will be greater than the cost.

If a teacher who primarily lectures (oh, my, no!) has good results from the students in terms of learning outcomes and test results (or licensure, etc.) and student evaluations, why would he or she feel a need to flip the classroom or do full course redesign?  Granted, there are a lot of reasons psychologically and pedagogically that we probably should, but it's a hard sell.  In my experience, telling the faculty member they will be a better teacher if they change pedagogy, stop lecturing, and adopt a new approach is first telling the faculty member that in the developer's judgment, the faculty member is not doing his/her job.

Now, think about that.  Who is the developer to make that judgment? And why would the faculty member in question be persuaded?

I used the term "evangelism" above.  We Christians know that conversion to Christ is impossible without recognition of spiritual need.  Conversion to course redesign is unlikely if the faculty member sees no need.

That doesn't mean the faculty member has to be doing emotional mea culpas about his/her teaching failures before the developer can help.  Sometimes a faculty member is just tired of what he/she is doing and wants a valid change.  I just mean that the developer must be a diplomat about introducing change.

There is also the matter of bringing in speakers.  My research showed that faculty appreciated the speakers coming in because it shows a commitment of the administration to the faculty's professional development.  Otherwise, it depends on the outside speaker's approach.  I have heard many speakers who say, "don't lecture" yet spend the whole session lecturing.  This discrepancy is not lost on faculty.  Remember, these are smart people with doctoral degrees.  Don't treat them like undergrads (really, please!)

Sometimes the faculty member doesn't need full redesign, but small tweaks to improve his/her teaching.  

My last point, for now, is that we should find out what the faculty are doing and focus on interdisciplinary sharing, as well as intradisciplinary sharing.  The faculty are probably doing some interesting and exciting things in the classroom that can help others. They might be studying aspects of teaching (especially in terms of technology) on their own, self-directed, that others can grow by knowing about.

In short, a faculty developer has to approach the peers with humility.  Most of us who come to faculty development are entrenched in our own disciplinary ways of thinking and cannot assume to know how to teach a different one in the actual day-to-day of a classroom.  I am fascinated to know how math teachers teach math.  I don't pretend to know about that (mostly because higher level math is a mystery to me, anything beyond algebra and statistics).

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Just so you know . . .

For anyone who stumbles across this blog and cares to know, this is who I am:  Professor of Communication at Dalton State College and Chair of the Department of Communication, which in our case encompasses performing arts (theatre and music), foreign languages (French and Spanish), and communication.  I am also

Open Educational Resources: A Bibliography

Yesterday I spoke at a conference (very good one!) on Faculty Creation of Open Educational Resources because a colleague and I wrote a textbook for a basic public speaking course.  I will be posting about it and my talk in the future (working on lengthy article which I'll post in parts) but I wanted to post this list of references for those who need help with the question of research that has been done on student satisfaction, faculty satisfaction, and achievement of learning outcomes with open educational resources.  
Azevedo, A.  (2013, February 1).  Pay nothing?  Easier said than done.  Chronicle of Higher Education, 59(21), A18-A19.

Allen, G., Guzman-Alvarez, A., Smith, A., Gamage, A., Molinaro, M., & Larsen, D. S. (2015). Evaluating the effectiveness of the open-access ChemWiki resource as a replacement for traditional general chemistry textbooks. Chemistry Education Research And Practice, 16(4), 939.

Allen, I.E. & Seaman, J. (2014).  Opening the curriculum:  Open educational resources in U.S. higher education.  Pearson:  Babson Survey Research Group. 

Baek, E., & Monaghan, J. (2013). Journey to textbook affordability: An investigation of students' use of eTextbooks at multiple campuses. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 14(3), 1-26.

Belikov, O. M. & Bodily, R.  (2016). Incentives and barriers to OER adoption: A qualitative analysis of faculty perceptions. Open Praxis, 8Idoi:10.5944/openpraxis.8.3.308

Bliss, T. J., Robinson, T. J., Hilton, J., & Wiley, D. A. (2013). An OER COUP: College teacher and student perceptions of open educational resources. Journal Of Interactive Media In Education, 2013(1).  DOI:

Bolkan, J.  (2015, September 1).  Survey: Most students prefer traditional texts over e-Books.  Campus  Retrieved from

Burgess, M. L., Price, D. P.,  & Caverly, D. C. (2012, Fall).   Digital literacies in multiuser virtual environments among college-level developmental readers.  Journal of College Reading and Learning, 43(1), 13-30.  

Ciampa, M., Thrasher, E., Marston, S., & Revels, M. (2013). Is acceptance of E-textbooks discipline-dependent? Comparing business and non-business student perceptions. Research In Higher Education Journal, 20.

Downes, S. (2007). Models for sustainable open educational resources.Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects, 3, 29-44. Retrieved from

Clarke, V. (2015). Experience factors related to students’ perceptions of eTexts: extending the Technology Acceptance Model. Retrieved from 

Farrow, R., Pitt, R., Arcos, B. l., Perryman, L., Weller, M., & McAndrew, P. (2015). Impact of OER use on teaching and learning: Data from OER Research Hub (2013-2014). British Journal Of Educational Technology, 46(5), 972-976. doi:10.1111/bjet.12310
Fischer, L., Hilton, J. I., Robinson, T. J., & Wiley, D. A. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students. Journal Of Computing In Higher Education, 27(3), 159-172.

Hilton, J. I., Gaudet, D., Clark, P., Robinson, J., & Wiley., D. (2013). The adoption of open educational resources by one community college math department. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 14(4), 37-50.

Hsu, L. S., Walsh, E., & Malhotra, R. (2014). What Technology Do Students Use: Implications for Faculty Development. Digital Commons@Georgia Southern.

Judith, K.,& Bull, D. (2016 March).  Assessing the potential for openness:
framework for examining course-level OER implementation in higher education. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24(42), 1-19.

Knox, J. (2013). Five critiques of the open educational resources movement. Teaching In Higher Education, 18(8), 821-832.

Krämer, B. J., Neugebauer, J., Magenheim, J., & Huppertz, H. (2015). New ways of learning: Comparing the effectiveness of interactive online media in distance education with the European textbook tradition. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 46(5), 965-971.

Liu, H. (2011). What do the college millennial learners say about an open source digital textbook for a teacher education course?  Journal Of Technology Integration In The Classroom, 3(1), 17.

Liu, Z.  (2005).  Reading behavior in the digital environment: Changes in reading behavior over the past ten years.  Journal of Documentation, 61( 6), 700-712.

McKerlich, R., Ives, C., & McGreal, R. (2013). Measuring use and creation of open educational resources in higher education. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 14(4), 90-103.

Ngafeeson, M. N. & Sun, J. (2015).  The effects of technology innovativeness and system exposure on student acceptance of E-textbooks.  Journal of Information Technology Education:  Research, 14, 55-71.  Retrieved from

Ngafeeson, M.N.  Sun, J.  (2015). "E-Book acceptance among undergraduate students: A look at the moderating role of technology innovativeness" International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(3).  Retrieved from

 Nicholas, A. J., & Lewis, J. K. (2011). Is free really cost-effective? A case study of open access e-textbook usage in several undergraduate business courses. Proceedings Of The Northeast Business & Economics Association, 350-354.

Robinson, T. J., Fischer, L., Wiley, D., & Hilton, J. I. (2014). The impact of open textbooks on secondary science learning outcomes. Educational Researcher, 43(7), 341-351.

Sutton, S.C. & Chadwell, F. A.  (2014).  Open textbooks at Oregon State University:  A case study on new opportunities for academic libraries and university presses.  Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 2(4), 34-48.  doi:  10.7710/2162-3309.1174

Weisberg, M. (2011). Student Attitudes and Behaviors Towards Digital Textbooks. Publishing Research Quarterly, 27(2), 188-196. doi:10.1007/s12109-011-9217-4

Woody, W. D., Daniel,  D. B.,  Baker, C. A.  (2010, November). E-books or textbooks:  Students prefer textbooks.  Computers and Education, 55(3), 945-948.  doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.04.005