Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PowerPoint + Classroom = Student Boredom?

This morning, a colleague sent me an article titled, "When Computers Leave the Classroom, So Does Boredom". This article made me think about my own approach to teaching the content to students in the classroom. I use PowerPoint, but I also make the lecture interactive by using the following:

a. Discussion Prompts on the PowerPoint
b. Interactive Surveys (students select an answer by raising their hands)
c. Using Youtube videos

I am married to a high school teacher and we commonly have discussions about students' learning styles (kinestic, auditory, visual, reading/writing). The article listed above begs me to question, "What happens when most of the students in the classroom do not have an auditory learning style (which the article primarily advocates)?"

What do you think?

Millennial Professor

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Economy and Our Undergraduate Students

As an undergraduate, my sorority sisters and I spent most of our meager salaries on restaurant meals, shopping, road trips, movies, and weekend "entertainment". I know that this is the budget for most active undergraduates. However, I know that current undergraduates might not be able to live such a "lavish, fun-filled" lifestyle in this economy.

Some of the undergraduates in my classes went on road trips to South Padre Island for Spring Break. However, most of the undergraduates went to their hometown to make money at their old part-time jobs. When I was in college, it was an anomaly to hear that one of our classmates went home during spring break to work.

In addition to working during spring break, my undergraduates' persuasive speech topics have changed as well. I give them a choice of the following topics: (a) to persuade my audience to perform an act of service, (b) to persuade my audience to purchase a particular product, (c) to persuade my audience to adopt a money saving strategy. Consistently, the undergraduates usually choose option "a" or "c". Through topic "c", they advocate using coupons, living off campus, cooking meals at home, etc.

This frugal lifestyle for undergraduates also expands to include new graduates. An article in USA Today, "Recession generation? Young adults brace for simpler lifestyle" focuses on how recent graduates are coping with the new economy.

What are your opinions of our newly frugal undergraduates?
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Academic Travel on a Frugal Budget: Know Your Surroundings BEFORE You Leave Home!

Last December, I discovered that Google Maps provided EVERYONE on the internet with a picture of my house (thank God the leaves were raked)! This was something that I had to adjust to, but I see Google Maps as a definite blessing now. For instance, if I have an upcoming conference, I log on to Google Maps to see the area outside of the hotels and the adjacent eating establishments.

This helps me create a travel budget and to make a list of potential locations I would like to visit on my trip. When I visited Norfolk, VA for the Southern States Communication Conference, I discovered that there was a Schlotzsky's restaurant across the street. This restaurant provided me with a very cost effective option for lunch and dinner.

In addition to the street view feature of Google Maps, this website is also adding a college campus "sidewalk view" feature. This is exciting for my husband and I, because we visit the college campus library of each city we visit in Texas and Louisiana. Google gathers this "sidewalk view" information from cameras on bicycles powered by Google representatives.

Has Google visited the sidewalks of your campus?

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Academic Travel on a Frugal Budget: Finding the Cheapest Airline Ticket

Searching for the cheapest airline ticket for academic conferences can be a daunting task sometimes, but I strive to pay the least amount for my air travel. Here is a personal guide that I follow when purchasing an airline ticket.

a) Find the HUB - Try to find the hub for the major airlines in your area. For example, when I lived in the Houston area, I flew Continental Airlines. Houston International Airport is one of the many hubs for Continental Airlines. Therefore, their airline tickets will usually be less expensive than other airlines that fly from that hub. Since I live in the DFW area, the Southwest Airlines and American Airlines tickets are usually cheaper than the tickets from other airlines. However, this has not been the case for the past few months.

b) Arrive or Depart on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday - Usually, these days are the cheapest arrival or departure dates for airline tickets.

c) Make Monday - Wednesday Your Purchase Dates - It seems the airline rates tend to increase after Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I will usually check a particular route that I am interested in after I receive the weekly special from Continental Airlines and American Airlines on Monday afternoons. Monday is usually their "reset" date for airfares.

d) Compare Your Rates With Other Airlines - I will usually submit my route to (formerly This website compares the rates from This website will usually tell you the rates from AirTran, American Airlines, etc. For example, I used this website to search for a fare from DFW to IAH (Thu, Jul 23 - Thu, Jul 30|1 adult) and here are the results:

AirTran - $547

American - $118
Continental - $116

Delta - $547

Frontier - $487
US Airways - $497
United - $497

In addition, this website enables you to see if the rates are projected to increase or decrease in the future. However, I used this feature last summer to find the cheapest rates to San Diego and the website told me the rates were projected to decrease. The rates were already inexpensive ($250 or less), but I wondered if the rate would decrease. The next day, the rate increased to $325. Since that point, I decided to use the website for comparison purposes only.

e) Continue to Monitor the Airfare Rates - Most websites suggest that people purchase their airline tickets around 90 days before the travel date. However, continue to monitor the websites for sharp decreases before the 90 day period. For example, I purchased a ticket for the National Communication Association Conference in Chicago, IL for slightly less than $200.00 (I monitored this rate since April 2009).

I hope to offer more tips as I purchase additional tickets for the fall/spring semester. If you have any additional tips, please let me know! Contribute a comment!

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Academic Travel on a Frugal Budget: Finding the Cheapest Airline Ticket

Academic Travel on a Budget... (Post One of Many)

Before I consider attending a conference, I will usually ask myself the following questions:

a) Is this conference important to my academic career (i.e. - Is this conference a communication, higher education, or service learning conference)?

b) Will I be able to present a paper, presentation, or interactive session at the conference? This is important for my career, because I improve my CV everytime I present a paper at an academic conference.

c) Where is the conference located? If the conference is in Texas AND is at least five hours away, I will usually send a proposal submission. If the conference requires airline travel, I will check the rates on my preferred airline (Continental Airlines). Then, I compare other airlines' rates with the Continental Airlines rate. Usually, the Continental rate will be cheaper than American Airlines and Southwest. (*However, American Airlines was cheaper for my November conference.)

d) How much is the hotel rate? This is VERY important for me, because I will usually work on several papers in my hotel room and I need some peace and quiet (not a roommate).

What do YOU usually ask yourself when considering an academic conference?

Next post...Finding the Cheapest Airline Ticket

Millennial Professor