Tag Archives: teaching tips for online course instructors

Lecture Hall

Tips New Professors Can Use in the Lecture Hall

Lecture Hall
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Are you new to teaching college courses and lectures? Teaching at the college level can be very rewarding and more than a little daunting. Here are some tips for new professors when standing up in front of a lecture room full of students for the first time.

1. It’s OK to be nervous- Standing in front a room of people is always a bit nerve racking, but above all else you must exude confidence! Students need to know that you are an expert in your field, especially during the beginning of a semester.

2. Innovate- Sitting for two hours and listening to a lecture can be less than entertaining.  More and more professors are implementing multimedia into lectures. Video, for example, will continue to play an important role in education.

3. Don’t over-prepare– Spending to much time preparing for a lesson may overwhelm you when the school year rolls around. Prepare your course outline and learning expectations early, develop an assessment standard, and take it one step at a time.

4. Be honest- If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t fuddle an answer. Instead, just say, “Let me get back to you.” You don’t want to lose credibility by giving a false answer.

Above all else make the lecture fun! Get creative in your lesson plans and make use of all resources available to you.

To find more tips for new professors and other resources, contact us at Labyrinth Learning to see how we can help you prepare for the school year.

College Student

How One University Quadrupled Female Enrollment in Computer Science

College Student
Source: freedigitalphotos

Despite the numerous successes of the Feminist Movement, female participation in tech-oriented programs remain low. However, evidence shows that this is not an insurmountable problem for colleges. Better still, there is reason to believe that the solution to increase female enrollment in computer science can be replicated.

Here are the three methods that Harvey Mudd College used to increase female enrollment in computer science:

  • First, Harvey Mudd College changed their course from “Introduction to Programming in Java” to “Creative Approaches to Problem Solving in Science and Engineering Using Python.” The change of name made the course less intimidating to interested individuals, while Python replaced Java because it is a more forgiving language. At the same time, the professors separated the class based on coding experience to improve its atmosphere.
  • Second, the college encouraged women to sign up for the course by showing them that women can be successful in tech-oriented industries. This was accomplished by bringing the students to the Grace Hopper Conference, which is meant to celebrate women in said industries.
  • Third, students were encouraged to use their skills to make something that mattered. Examples ranged from educational games to the conversion of popular software for use by new user bases. Their successes showed them that the tech-oriented industries were not out of their reach, with the result that large numbers of women switched over to computer science.

For materials that can be used in computer science courses, please contact us at Labyrinth Learning to speak about our products.

DOCC May Soon Replace MOOC as the Hottest Acronym in Education

DOCC May Soon Replace MOOC as the Hottest Acronym in Education

These days, much of the most recent news in higher education circles around the opening and credit transfer workings of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Though, under the radar, a new form of online course has been making a name for itself in higher education. DOCC, also known as a Distributed Open Collaborative Course, offers a new twist to online learning.

DOCC May Soon Replace MOOC as the Hottest Acronym in Education
Use a few of these pointers to find the right online course for your students and lesson plan.

Both styles use key features like open enrollment, video components and credit options. A wide range of students can enroll in these courses and receive an in-depth education on a variety of subjects that were previously limited to the number of students a classroom could hold.

You will find a few key differences between MOOCs and DOCCs. A DOCC does not bring a single centralized syllabus to the individuals that participate. It does, however, organize around a central subject.

The DOCC distinguishes itself by actively distributing the expertise and pedagogy throughout all those involved, instead of relying on two or three individuals. This also allows for a bit of leniency in each lesson and can vary immensely based on a number of factors.

It is still unclear which discipline will survive, or if they both have a place in the education landscape, but we eagerly follow the developments to see how these new platforms evolve.

To improve your online courses, please contact us today at Labyrinth Learning!

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

Tips to Improve Your Work in the Classroom This Year

Tips to Improve Your Work in the Classroom This Year

Tips to Improve Your Work in the Classroom This Year
Sharpen your skills in the classroom by following a few of these basic tips. Source: freedigitalphotos

Traditionally the New Year is a time for making resolutions to better ourselves, improve our lifestyles, and conquer bad habits. This year, why not make it your aim to improve your lectures in the classroom?

  • Connect with other professors. Use the Internet to chat with other professionals in your field. Improve your knowledge of teaching methodologies you would like to try and learn new teaching skills you had never previously considered.
  • Make it a goal to remain organized. Organization will help you teach and your students’ ability to learn. Plus, you will always be able to find the materials and resources you need, even on short notice. Extend your organization efforts to your computer by deleting unnecessary files and keeping desktops free of clutter.
  • Teach like a pirate. If you are looking for inspiration, check out the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. It is full of excellent ideas you can put into practice in the classroom that will change the way you teach.
  • Above all, enjoy yourself. This means keeping some time for yourself; working all the time is a bore and your students will soon notice your lack of enthusiasm. Take some time for a hobby, either one that you already practice or something new.

For more support, teaching tips, and classroom resources, contact us at Labyrinth Learning.

How to Teach a Successful MOOC

How to Teach a Successful MOOC

How to Teach a Successful MOOC
Source: morgueFile

There are many proverbs and cliches readily available to help a new teacher get through their first classroom experience. However, with the advent of the technological education revolution, there are numerous new challenges facing modern teachers for the first time in history.

A deeply disconcerting issue is that, as opposed to the age-old dilemma of struggling to find competent students, for the first time ever teachers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of interest when teaching a MOOC.

Massive Open Online Courses are the next stage in the progression of global educational standards. However, as the form of instruction emerges into society’s infrastructure, many teachers are finding their traditional methods of teaching to be a bit outdated. It is difficult, even impossible, to have a personal connection with every student when class sizes range in the hundreds-of-thousand of participants, spread across the planet in a dozen different regions speaking a plethora of languages, but all equally intent on learning.

Successful MOOC teachers have found that utilizing effective multimedia demonstrations that encourage group discussion are among the best approaches to this new classroom dynamic. Offering material that impresses, captivates, and inspires students in lieu of purely lecturing them on facts and figures creates an environment of enjoyable learning. What’s more, teaching a MOOC is less about providing plain “information,” for the Internet is full of information, but more about providing students with an opportunity to discuss the ideas with like-minded individuals all over the Earth.

If you’re interested in furthering this conversation, please contact Labyrinth Learning today!

Teaching to the Visual Learner

People usually lean toward one of these learning types: kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. Kinesthetic learners absorb information through hands-on experience; auditory learners through verbal explanations; and visual learners through graphics, demonstrations, and textual instructions. The secret to being a successful instructor is knowing what kind of learners you’re going to face so that you can prepare materials suited to their style.

Visual learners will be more receptive to taking lessons from the chalkboard than a lecture.
Visual learners will be more receptive to taking lessons from the chalkboard than a lecture.

If you’re working with the visual type of learner, then get creative with your lessons! The following tips and tricks can help you teach a visual learner:

  • Show, don’t tell: For visual learners, you need to explain a process step by step, whether it’s about solving a math problem or assembling a DIY wooden table. It’s better if you use videos, diagrams, and other visual media showing a specific example from start to finish.
  • Paint mental pictures: Memorization can be a difficult task especially for visual learners. Make it easy for them by creating imagery with each item they need to memorize, especially when they have to remember lists, acronyms, dates, foreign alphabet characters, etc.
  • Use technology: The Internet is a bottomless source of information for practically any topic, so encourage visual learners to explore relevant sites in their free time. You can also suggest apps they can download and use in their mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

The great news is that it’s much easier to teach visual folks now than ever before with a little help from us at Labyrinth Learning. We create effective learning solutions that use innovative online tools. Contact us for more information!

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?

Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?

Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?Once upon a time, grading a student’s work seemed to achieve its intended goal. It began as an equilateral assessment tool to encourage students to learn and master given material. However, that module was also privy to subjection, systematic pressure and increasing awareness of learning differentials.

In other words, old school grades in higher education worked for some, but not enough for all. As blended learning continues to dominate the curricular landscape, the need for a fresher approach toward determining mastery of skills becomes imminent. So, how can this be done? A simple solution is changing who does the grading.

Peer grading has impressive potential for becoming an effective assessment tool for several reasons:

  • It teaches students equivocal responsibility.
  • It encourages honesty and integrity
  • It sharpens critical thinking and judgment
  • It facilitates constructive communication

Higher education is the learning realm where students began to apply what it means to be peers in an astutely professional sense. Peer grading is an excellent forum to establish a fair system for assessment and to put the aforementioned benefits into practice. There is also an inherent balance within knowing that the person you are grading will grade you, too. It is a subtle, yet proactive push toward peer consideration, development, and sensitivity. Of course, it is also a less biased way toward scoring assignments.

For more information about the current state of grades in higher education and blended learning systems, contact us at Labyrinth Learning.

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

Does Digital Content Affect Reading Comprehension?

Does Digital Content Affect Reading Comprehension?

Does Digital Content Affect Reading Comprehension?
Source: morgueFile

Many critics of the digital revolution are quick to mention that reading from screens makes for inferior reading comprehension. There is a rising belief that any knowledge gleaned from a digital source is somehow inferior to knowledge gleaned from a traditional paper source. A study in Scientific American makes a number of statements claiming the legitimacy of these fears.

However, what these types of studies fail to note is the perpetually shifting dynamic of technology in education. For example, this specific study is really only comparing the benefits of uniform paper books over the currently ubiquitous scrolling technique popular on most computers and ebook readers.

For a number of logical reasons, the familiarity of the same passage always appearing on the same page, in addition to visually seeing how much total volume of “book” you have completed and are still working on, is a superior choice to fluctuating page locations, text sizes, and representative “books” that offer little sensory perception that currently commonplace in the digital world.

It is quite clear that digital media content does not inherently decrease reading comprehension. As technology improves, the gap between new information and traditional books will decrease, but in the meantime, there are many other aspects to focus on for the benefit of students and teachers alike.

To stay up to date on the latest wonderful advancements in utilizing technology in education, please contact Labyrinth Learning today!

Take Advantage of the Web: Best Free Resources for Teachers

Prior to the internet, teachers relied on conferences and snail mail to tap into new teaching resources for ideas and materials. Now, an afternoon perusing the web provides a wealth of information and free downloads that will reinvigorate your lessons while adhering to both state and national standards.

Here are some of our favorite teaching resources:

Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

National Science Digital Library. The NSDL has resources and materials for teachers from K through 12, as well as college. You can stay up to date on the latest and greatest advances in math and science, and download lesson plans and activities, including iTunes multimedia files.

FREE. The Federal Registry for Education Excellence offers – you guessed it – FREE materials pertaining to every subject under the sun, from music to physics. You can browse by topic but we recommend subscribing to their RSS feed so you know when new resources become available.

TeAchnology. The TeAchnology website is home to more than 9000 free teacher resources, including worksheets, lesson plans, rubrics, and the ever important “Time Savers.”

Teachers’ Domain. The website Teachers’ Domain compiles free digital media and resources from public broadcasting stations across the country. It also allows teachers to set up individual profiles from which they can share lesson plans and ideas that worked for their classes. Materials and lesson ideas can be searched for by individual states’, national, or core standard requirements.

You can also stop by the Labyrinth Learning website. Our textbooks and course management systems make it easy to incorporate technology into your classroom.

The Flipped Classroom Model

Turning Education On Its Head: The Flipped Classroom Model

The flipped classroom model is gaining popularity across the country. It’s the ultimate merging of technology and education, requiring the use of computers, videos and presentation software, in addition to traditional teacher-student classroom instruction.

Here’s how it works:

The Flipped Classroom Model
Source: Shutterstock

Teachers use programs like PowerPoint to create lectures. These presentations can be as creative as teachers want to make them, including video links and live links to supplemental resources. Teachers also have the option of recording themselves giving lectures and posting the videos on YouTube, or embedding them within their PowerPoint presentations. These lectures are all hosted online, where students can access them remotely.

Rather than coming to school to listen to a lecture and then do homework, students are required to access lessons beforehand. This gives them the opportunity to listen, read, and tap resources at their own pace. or to re-watch something over and over again. Students can use online portals to chat with other students and/or the instructor, regarding observations, questions, or comments. When they arrive to class, the instructor can begin the class by answering any remaining questions and utilize the rest of the class time by doing activities and hands-on work to reinforce the lesson’s key points.

The flipped classroom model allows students to have access to lessons and materials 24/7, and increases their efficiency and productivity in class.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to learn more about our wide range of products, including Course Management Systems, that include internet hosted software and supplemental learning resources for your flipped classroom.