Friday, April 24, 2009

The 150th Post! Thank you!

Today is my 150th post. This has been a LONG journey, but a much needed one. Sometimes, I feel that I have to express my gratitude, triumphs, and sorrows to someone. This blog and all of you (the readers) enabled me to blossom during the past year and a half.

Through this blog, I have come in contact with many interesting people. This people include:
a) Amy - The Ch-Ch-Changing Librarian
b) Amanda - An outstanding librarian from my institution
c) Dr. Lora (*smile) - My SSCA friend and research partner
d) The Millennial Law Professor
e) Jaclyn Schiff - A fellow millennial, who is bound to make a strong impact on society.
f) Dr. Julie-Ann M. McFann - The new professor mentor.
I have been intellectually touched by many of you, but sometimes I forget your names. Please forgive me if I accidentally left your name off of the list.

If you have not subscribed to this blog, please do so. I keep a running count of readers, followers, and subscribers through google. It makes me happy when I have a few additional readers than the previous day! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Helicopter Parents and Their Millennial Student(s)

Helicopter Parents are EVERYWHERE! Fortunately, I have not have the pleasure of speaking with any of my students' parents (outside of summer orientation/parent's days). However, some of my colleagues have had the pleasure of doing so on a regular basis. I try to keep myself abreast of the new articles regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, but it seems parents (and students) utilize a variety of strategies that may challenge the rights provided by this act.

For example, it seems that a few millennial undergraduate students give their parents access to their university (and personal) e-mail addresses. Sometimes, I will receive an e-mail from a "student", only to discover that the e-mail was written by a parent and submitted through the students' e-mail or blackboard account. However, all of the e-mail that I received (via their student's account) have been focused on upcoming or past absences/sicknesses.

As a professor from the millennial generation, this was very surprising to me for a variety of reasons:
a) I would never give my mother (or father) access to my e-mail account.
b) My parents just learned how to send e-mail. However, they do not use the feature frequently.
c) I feel that college independence contributes to the student development process. Therefore, students should learn how to prepare for the post-graduation world through this four (perhaps five or six) year acculturation process.

Today, I found an article titled, "How Not to Be a Helicopter Parent - but Still Be a Parent". It seems this article/book's content will help our undergraduate students' parents become less involved in their students' lives, but more involved in sustaining a positive experience that conducive for student growth and development.

What experience do you have with helicopter parents? What are your opinions of helicopter parents?

Millennial Professor

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tangential vs. Non-Tangential Teaching Styles

Today, I discovered an article focused on tangential, but relevant comments from professors during their lectures. This article, "Classroom Teaching Methods: Are Your Lectures Sidetracking Student Learning?", made me think about my teaching style.

I thought this article was interesting, because I have never had a professor who excluded tangential comments from their lecture. The researchers utilized an experimental research design to discover if tangential comments enhance or slightly diminish a student's ability to retain important details from a sample lecture.

Their research study yielded results that affirm null hypothesis that many professors believe - tangential, but relevant comments enhance the lecture and the students' ability to retain vital information from the lecture. I will have to try tangential vs. non-tangential lecture styles during my two interpersonal communication classes next fall and I will employ the note card technique to test the results.

For those of you who deliver workshops or teach college/high school courses. What do you think of these results?

Millennial Professor

Friday, April 17, 2009

What? I Have to Be ACCOUNTABLE for My Words?: Professors and Online Content
Some colleges and universities are encouraging their faculty to record their lectures and to post them online (either a university-based website or a site like youtube). However, professors are on both sides of the fencepost on this issue. Some professors are excited about the possibility of uploading their lectures online and others are afraid of the potential consequences.

Recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education featured an article titled, "Caught (Unfortunately) on Tape: More College are Recording Lectures, so More Professors are Learning to Watch Their Words". In the article, one of the professors stated, "[W]hen it [the lecture] is recorded, "and you say something you shouldn't-you make a joke about a fellow scholar-then what if it gets out and suddenly you're sued for slander?""
Slander is one of the many issues that professors encounter in their journey towards tenure/ promotion in the digital age. Despite all of the video cameras and recording devices that currently exist or that may appear in classrooms in the future, I believe professors should maintain a sense of self in the classroom. I worry that professors will not be comfortable in their own skin if they fear the potential repercussions of their statements.

"Most classrooms are still free of microphones and cameras (the latest Campus Computing Survey, which tracks information-technology trends, showed that only about 3 percent of courses are recorded)" (Young, 2009, p. A17). However, the last sentence of the article states, "Some professors suggest that the best approach is to go into every class session assuming that their words could be broadcast to the world" (p. A17).

I believe professors should take this information into consideration. It seems more universities are offering online courses to cope with the recession (Pawlowski, 2009). Therefore, more professors may be asked to upload their lectures to compliment their PowerPoint presentations. Who knows what the future may bring to the higher education environment? It is always advantageous to be prepared!

Millennial Professor


Pawlowski, A. (2009, March 18). Ride out the recession in a virtual classroom. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from

Young, J. (2009, March 20).
Caught (Unfortunately) on Tape: More College are Recording Lectures, so More Professors are Learning to Watch Their Words. Chronicle of Higher Education, 55(28), A17.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some Facts about Our College Freshmen

Last month, Spectra (a monthly publication from the National Communication Association) featured an article titled, "On Freshman's Minds: A Statistical Profile". This article included information from the UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute titled, "The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 2008." The statistics for this report featured information from surveys administered to 240,580 first-year students attending 340 baccalaurate colleges and universities in the U.S. Here are some facts from this report:

I. Miles from College to Permanent Home: 4.9% of freshmen live five (5) miles or less from home 5.8% of freshmen live six (6) to ten (10) miles from home 24.3% of freshmen live 11 to 50 miles from home 17.3% of freshmen live 51 to 100 miles from home 33.0% of freshmen live 101 to 500 miles from home 14.1% of freshmen live over 500 miles from home
II. Student Rate Self Above Average or Highest 10 Percent in: 75.2% Drive to Achieve 73.7% Cooperativeness 69.5% Academic Ability 67.2% Understanding of Others 61.8% Leadership Ability 60.7% Self-Confidence 58.5% Self Understanding 56.8% Creativity 55.8% Physical Health 54.5% Emotional Health 52.5% Self-Confidence (Social) 47.5% Writing Ability 44.9% Mathematical Ability 39.9% Spirituality 39.4% Popularity 38.4% Computer Skills 37.7% Public-Speaking Ability 30.6% Artistic Ability

What do you think about these statistics? It seems this study's public speaking statistics are reinforced by my students' public speaking goal setting assignment. Their goals indicate the students are not comfortable delivering a speech in front of a group of people. I require the students to reexamine their goals during the midterm examination period. When the end of the semester arrives, my students give their goals a final examination and a written reflection. Overwhelmingly, it seems most of the students are significantly more comfortable with their public speaking ability after completing the course. It would be interesting to see if HERI decides to turn their Fall 2008 study/report into a longitudinal study!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Can Professor Elevate Their Stature By Wearing Heels?

Today's post is personal. This topic is near and dear to me. Yes, this topic is something that I deal with everyday. Shoes!

As a professor of small stature (I am 4'11), I like to wear heels...all kinds of heels (100% of them are Nine West). Short heels, stilettos, does not matter on most days. However, I am in a peculiar situation. My classroom is located five minutes away from my office. My daily trek involves some barriers, which manifest themselves in the forms of gravel, concrete, puddles, wet/dry grass, and stairs. Some people may think this topic is trivial, however this topic affects my yearly personal collection of shoes.

When I finally arrive at my daily destination (my classroom), I have another death defying act to survive - maintaining my balance in my selected pair of shoes for three hours. My students present more physical barriers (i.e. - backpacks, books, chairs, etc.). By now, the students know that I lose my balance easily and they remove their personal items from the aisle.

Ladies - What kinds of shoes do you prefer to wear in the classroom/across campus?


Millennial Professor

Friday, April 10, 2009

Twitter in the Classroom

This week, I started something new... I incorporated twitter in my course!

Here's the assignment:

Twitter Extra Credit Assignment (Due by April 24th) - WORTH 12 POINTS

Step 1 - Create a twitter account. Add (follow) the following people to your twitter list - Dr. Edwards (my username is "drjtedwards") AND at least five people from our class (their usernames will be in the title of their messages).

Step 2 - Update your twitter feed (140 words or less) at least two times per day for four consecutive days.

Step 3 - Reply to this message with your username in the title (please see my example).

Step 4 - In your reply, please respond to the following questions (1/one paragraph per question):

A. What were your opinions of twitter? In what ways would you think twitter would be beneficial?

B. Do you plan to continue using twitter? Why or why not?

C. What impact will twitter have on the communication field?

If you have ANY questions, please let me know.

I will post updates next week. This entire twitter phenomenon is getting pretty interesting!

How have you incorporate twitter into your classroom OR training?

Millennial Professor

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Class Ideas - Mini Quizzes for Millennials

Another week, more amazing students. Last week, I tried a new teaching strategy. Mini-Quizzes! This idea was inspired by the BK Burger Shots... the new mini burger. This idea was wonderful! I was able to detect how much the students were learning from the in class lectures and whether or not the students were able to apply the in-class concepts to hypothetical situations.

Step One - Each student receives either a colored or white note every other student in the class.

Step Two - I gave the following instructions via Powerpoint:
Step Three - The students with white note cards were instructed to complete the white side of the "test your knowledge" and students with colored note cards were instructed to complete the colored side of the "test your knowledge" section. Students were given five minutes to complete their note card. Each section of my classes received a different set of "test your knowledge" questions.

My Analysis - I try to keep my classes organized and color coded. This activity enabled me to keep each of the classes in a binder clip and each of the binder clips in ONE PLASTIC BAG. This assignment was heaven! Despite the organizational nature of this assignment, I was able to gauge whether or not the students were learning the material.

Most of the students remembered at least one aspect of the chapter material that pertained to the "test your knowledge" section. This impressed me and I will definitely use this assignment for another chapter.

Student Motivation - Some students made 100% or more (bonus points) on this 5 pt. assignment. I like to reward students who do exceptionally well on assignment by giving them a special message. This time, I attached Knock Knock Stickies (Office Supplies) to the note cards that read:

You're Cool Because: (check one please) ( ) You work hard. ( ) You try hard. ( ) You listen. ( ) You're hilarious. ( ) You help out. ( ) Just because. *Then the sticky provides a space for comments.

What do you think about this assignment? The millennials seem to like it.

Millennial Professor

Monday, April 6, 2009

Residental Learning Communities: A Win Win Situation!

I am very interested in Residential Learning Communities. Every semester at XYZ institution, I've taught a communication course that features students from university's RLC. I think that the RLC concept is one of the most positive life-altering programs a university can offer their students.

Today, I received an article (via RSS feed) from the University of Connecticut. This program pairs incoming freshmen with other like-minded peers who wish to explore their intellectual and social interests. Therefore, a communication major who has an interest in jazz music could choose to live in a residential community of peers who love jazz music! To learn more about concept, please visit the following link - Residental Learning Communities Help Foster Student Interest.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Help a Millennial Professor!!!


Please help me improve this blog by taking a short poll! This poll is located at the top of the blog -