Monday, November 30, 2009

Seven Suggestions for Online Professors Who Would Like to Improve Their Online Courses

I plan to modify my entire online speech course during the Winter holidays! Unfortunately, it seems that students enrolled in online courses are more likely to drop out of their course than students taking face-to-face courses (Marry, 2009). During the next few years, I would like to discover what keeps the students enrolled in online courses and what causes them to drop out.

Recently, I discovered an article by Bob Kelly (of Faculty Focus) titled "Seven Ways to Personalize Your Online Course". As the title indicates, the article offers other professors some interesting ways to personalize their courses, which may have an impact on student learning.

The author exerpts information gathered from Jane Dwyer's (a senior lecturer at Rivier College) article titled "Tips From The Pros - 7 Things to Personalize Your Online Course".

Here are the tips:
  • Sending the students an introductory letter.
  • Welcome the students to the course with a video clip.
  • Ask the students some "introductory questions" in discussion boards.
  • Create and sustain a "pet gallery", in which students can submit pictures of their pets instead of themselves.
  • Create a "bully session" which enables students to contribute likes and improvement suggestions about the course.
  • Create an environment of shared leadership, in which students will create and facilitate their own discussion questions.
  • Respond to student questions by creating and sustaining a "question forum". This enables all students to see the professor's answers to one student's question.
I am very interested to see if these techniques have an impact on student learning AND if other professors utilize the same pedagogical techniques in their online courses.

Have a great week!

J. Edwards (Millennial Professor)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Technology in the Classroom: Video Clips and Their Potential Impact on Student Thinking

This is a great example of professors using technology in their classrooms. Dr. Michael Mackert, Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin, required his students to submit video links pertaining to health. He made the assignment very broad because he wanted to gauge the students' interpretation of "health on TV".

One of the students submitted the following video which is based on one person's negative experience with a flu shot.

But wait! She IS getting better! One of the professor's teaching assistants found an update video. Here's the interesting aspect, she stated that people have actually hacked into some of her social networking accounts. This prompted her to use another website to post updates on her illness.

The interesting aspect of this classroom assignment is that the students were able to see the "before" and the "current status" of the woman in the two clips. However, if the students were not exposed to the second video, many of them would make an assumption that the woman is not making any progress. Not only do we have to encourage students to dig deeper with news articles, but we need to encourage them to search for updates regarding youtube videos and other new media.

It would be INTERESTING to see if students would be less likely to obtain a get a flu shot after viewing the first video and then seeing if their thoughts change after seeing the second video. However, the changes of IRB board approval would be highly unlikely (at almost any institution). :)

What do you think?

J. Edwards (Millennial Professor)

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Social Networking Could Help Community College Students"

My colleague Lora and I are VERY interested in the impact of Twitter and social networking websites on the learning process. As a result, we are collecting ANY article pertaining to the subject. BTW - We have a practitioner-based article (regarding Twitter) that will be published very soon.

USA Today published an article titled, "Social Networking Could Help Community College Students", which focuses on the extended classroom. I wonder what impact will social networking websites have on the university and high school environments?

If you have any scholarly article suggestions pertaining to social networking websites and their impact on student learning, PLEASE let me (us) know!

Have a great day!

J. Edwards (Millennial Professor)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Award/Grant Opportunity: "Second Annual McGraw-Hill and Magna Publications Award for Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning"

Hello Readers!

If you are as excited about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) as I am, please submit one or more of your articles for the "Second Annual McGraw-Hill and Magna Publications Award for Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning".

Here is some more information:

"[The Teaching Professor website is] pleased to announce the Second Annual McGraw-Hill and Magna Publications Award for Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning. You’ll find all the details on The Teaching Professor website (, including how to submit pieces (your work and that of others), the selection criteria, and the review process. In case you’ve forgotten, a $1,000 award goes to the author or is shared by authors of the winning article, which will be announced at the 2010 Teaching Professor Conference.

Good luck!

J. Edwards (Millennial Professor)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Technology in Action" - Tweeting During a Conference Session

Today, I discovered that "technology was in action" at the National Communication Association Conference in Chicago, IL. There is a VIDEO, an ARTICLE, and a picture from our session on data gathering using new technologies.

Here's our interview after the session:

Here's our Twit Pic during the session:
Here is the article from the session - "How to Collect Data in the 21st Century?"

Quite interesting! People were sending tweets during a conference session and other people came to the session because of the tweets they received! 

J. Edwards (Millennial Professor)

Monday, November 16, 2009

National Communication Association Annual Convention - Nov. 11th - 15th (My Sessions)

I am EXHAUSTED! I attended the National Communication Association Annual Convention in Chicago, IL and presented FOUR sessions! Here are the titles of my presentations:

Service Learning Discussion Circles Turns 10: Celebrate Service-Learning in Communication
Building: Hilton Chicago, Room: International Ballroom North
*Selected Person: Jennifer Edwards
Presenter on Individual Submission: Peer-to-Peer Mentoring in an Interpersonal Communication Classroom

G.I.F.T.S. Session I (Great Ideas for Teaching Speech)
Building: Hilton Chicago, Room: International Ballroom North
*Selected Person: Jennifer Edwards
Presenter on Individual Submission: Does YOUR Group Have the Most Persuasive Business Plan?

The Pros and Cons of Using New Media in Communication Research
Building: Hilton Chicago, Room: Continental Ballroom A
*Selected Person: Jennifer Edwards
Presenter in session submission: The Pros and Cons of Using New Media in Communication Research

The Role of Training and Development in Improving Organizational Stability while Nurturing Change
Building: Palmer House Hilton, Room: Salon 10
*Selected Person: Jennifer Edwards
Presenter on Individual Submission: The Effectiveness of a Digital Dirt Training Workshop on Millennial Individuals.

Yes, it was a LONG, yet fulfilling conference! PLUS - I had a GREAT hotel room. Complete with a television in the bathroom mirror (take a look at the pictures below)! However, I got a GREAT deal for the hotel and it was within walking distance of the conference hotel.

Lora, one of my colleagues from Southern University New Orleans, accompanied me to the dinner at Merlot on Maple (a really nice Italian restaurant). I LOVED the appetizer, main course, AND dessert! We had a GREAT conversation with a larger group of wonderful communication scholars and we gained some interesting insight into the world of publishing. We discovered that we DO NOT want to write a textbook. It seems that it is very time consuming AND does not count as much as journal articles (in the eyes of academic departments). Therefore, we are going to focus on journal articles and book chapters.

I am glad that NCA is finally over because I finally have a chance to focus on grading and research. Tomorrow (after offering informal critiques to my students), I will search for CFPs focused on my research interests. I need to find a business communication journal for the millennial digital dirt article.
Back to the real world. I have lots of great research that I would like to explore, but tonight I am going to pay some bills and catch up on housework. Wish me luck!

J. Edwards (Millennial Professor)

Monday, November 9, 2009

"10 Ways Colleges Can Work With Their Communities"

Today, I finally had a chance to sort through my pile of articles from Chronicle of Higher Education. One article I saved is titled, "10 Ways Colleges Can Work With Their Communities" (Sarkisian & Taylor, 2009, p. A28). This article focuses on how higher education institutions can build a relationship with their surrounding communities through service learning initiatives. Here is the list from the article:
  1. Form partnerships with local non-profit organizations that share its institutional mission and vision.
  2. Offer campus spaces for community use.
  3. Adopt a public-school district.
  4. Adopt a local nonprofit or citizen-action organization.
  5. Offer scholarships to local students.
  6. Establish a faculty-speakers bureau.
  7. Encourage professors to make mutual beneficial service-learning assignments.
  8. Work with local officials to create a "Day of Service".
  9. Become a certifying organization for the President's Volunteer Service Award.
  10. Document community-service activities conducted by members of your campus community.
Every faculty and staff member should consider adopting these relationship-building initiatives with their surrounding communities. EVERYONE can do something! Form a partnership with a colleague or start something on your own, but MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

J. Edwards (Millennial Professor)


Sarkisian, G. V. & Taylor, S. (2009, September 11). 10 ways colleges can work with their communities. The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. A28.