6-24-2010 2-47-25 PM.jpgRecently 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.



Penn State has recently reached a licensing agreement with lynda.com, Inc., an industry leader in software training. This new web resource provides thousands of high-quality video tutorials on hundreds of IT topics to Penn State faculty, staff, and students at no cost. These training videos are broken down into short, comprehensive segments to accommodate busy schedules.

Topics include Microsoft Office applications, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, SQL, Drupal, audio and video editing applications, ColdFusion, operating systems, and hundreds more. These tutorials are taught by industry experts and are available 24/7 for convenient, self-paced learning. In order to access the tutorials at no cost, go to http://its.psu.edu/training/lynda/, where other service requirements, as well as the dedicated link for the Penn State community, are posted.

Faculty Development in Online & Hybrid Learning

Over the past 9 months, I have been working with other instructional designers from other PSU campuses to develop a series of workshops to teach faculty how to teach hybrid courses. If there is enough interest from faculty, this series will begin this fall. This workshop series will take place in a hybrid format, to help familiarize faculty to the blended learning environment. We will meet for two face to face sessions, and we will spend 2 weeks doing online activities.
Major topics covered in this series include...

  • Conceptualizing and reflecting on the benefits of hybrid learning
  • Interaction & collaboration in the online environment
  • Activities & assessments online
  • Online teaching strategies
  • Time management strategies

Faculty members who are interested in this series of workshops should contact me at rjc35@psu.edu at your earliest convenience so I can gauge general interest in this topic. This series will be run as a cohort and will be scheduled to accommodate the schedules of the group.

Equipment and software will be provided to those who complete this four week course.

tbird.jpgLately users have been struggling with the junkmail feature on Eudora. Mail is being put into the junkmail for no apparent reason. I am strongly recommending users switch to Thunderbird, which is being supported by ITS. It is availible from the its downloads page under email clients.


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ANGEL Released version 7.3.  The overall look is different but most of the commands and functions are unchanged.  The most notable changes are to the chat, email, and message board functions.  Click on the video below for a brief walkthrough of the new functions. 

NOTE:  It is highly recommended that ANGEL users access ANGEL via the Firefox web browser.  There have been major compatibility issues between ANGEL 7.3 & Internet Explore, as well as Apple Safari.  These issues are most notable in regards to the functionality of ANGEL's email.

For more information please visit...

iclicker copy.jpgWhat is iClicker?


   }An interactive system using remotes

}Encourages student feedback
}Gauges a classes understanding
}Can be used for assessment (compatable with ANGEL)
For more information contact Ron Costello at x-7374



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