Talkin' 'Bout My Generation: Fostering inclusivity and harmony with Millennial students in a diverse online learning community
Recently I had the privilege of presenting on this topic with Steven Pyser at the Faculty of the Future conference at Bucks County Community college. We touched on several topics and themes but ultimately the discussion came down to giving students everything they need, not everything they want. Major topics included ...
Letting students take ownership of the learning process, since there is nothing we can tell them that they cannot find online somewhere. Letting students gather information on relevant course topics is empowering, and engaging. Encourage critical thinking skills in any way possible. While its true that students can find knowledge on the internet, they can find wisdom by being challenged in the class room.
Promote "anywhere learning". Students like the flexibility of learning and completing coursework wherever and whenever its convenient for them. iTunes U is a great tool to accomplish this. In one course I've developed and taught this summer, I produced short down-loadable presentations that enabled the students to take the course with them on their ipods or iphones. Soon we hope to be developing materials for the new ipad.
While these things help accommodate today's students, I thinks its equally important to hold them to high academic standards. Students today often expect to be able to make up work, and even major exams late and at a time of their choosing. These expectations were almost non existent three years ago. The other trend I have noticed is that students are expecting to be treated more like discriminating consumers rather than students. While researching the traits and performance of millenial students in both college and in the work place Steve showed me some alarming data on grade inflation which can be found here. There is also an interesting article from the wall street journal that I'd like to share...
If this is how our students are entering the work force, we have to think critically about how we teach them and treat them while they are undergraduates.