Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Review: Doyle & Zakrajsek's _The New Science of Learning_

Doyle, Terry & Zakrajsek, Todd.  (2013).  The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony With Your Brain.  Sterling, VA:  Stylus.  126 pages.


Advances in brain science have opened up our understanding of how the brain makes and retains memories—i.e., learning.  This book, written for students, examines how the brain processes new information, what makes us pay attention, and how important sleep and exercise are for memory.  An excellent book for any student--or faculty member, for that matter!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Book Review: John Shank's Interactive Open Educational Resources


Shank, John.  2014.  Interactive Open Educational Resources:  A Guide to Finding, Choosing, and Using What’s Out There to Transform College Teaching.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.  176 pages.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are an important instructional tool that are growing in importance and sophistication.  This book provides a very elementary look at some of the most important OERs, focusing on interactive learning materials (ILMs).  Different repositories (such as MERLOT or PBS Teaching) are evaluated for the collection quality and quantity, the ease of searchability, and tips are provided for both basic and advanced searches.  

I found this to be an incredibly basic book that focuses too heavily on site-specific search strategies, rather than how ILMs can transform teaching.  The list of potential locations/repositories for ILMs was nice, but as with all books that focus on web-based resources, I worry that some of this information is already out of date or inactive.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Classroom Techniques to Assist Students with Hearing Loss

By Carlee Andress

When a child has a communication disorder, a language barrier exists that can cause deficits in all areas of life ranging from interpersonal relationships to academic success. As educators we have the responsibility to implement learning based accommodations so that each student can access information despite their possible language and learning barriers.  It is difficult to understand which accommodations are appropriate and how to facilitate them effectively in the classroom. This article will address strategies and technological tools that promote learning in the classroom for people with hearing loss.  
Hearing loss or hearing impairment is the most prevalent disability with 360 million people affected by it world-wide.  Furthermore, the main impact is found in communication, which is closely linked to learning, writing, reading, speaking, and understanding the world around us.   Imagine you are at rock concert or a major sporting event and a friend (who is sitting down the row from you) is trying to tell you something.  Can you comprehend every word your friend is trying to say?  No, probably not.  Can you write down what your friend is trying to say?  Nope.  If you were to read a passage later in the day, could you identify that text as something that was said to you before? No.  Chances are excellent that you cannot identify, process, retain, or apply your friend’s message simply because the sound signal was not clear.  For people with hearing loss, every conversation, lecture, or dialogue is unclear.  Every time someone speaks to them, the quality of the message is similar to the quality of your friend’s message at the rock concert or sporting event. 
People with a hearing loss are not of lesser value, intelligence, or competence; however, they do need to be able to hear in order to interact socially and participate academically.  The student and the professor are both responsible for employing communication strategies to facilitate learning in the classroom.  
The first, and perhaps most important, communication strategy is to reduce background noise.  Even in a quiet environment, students miss some speech sounds and other sounds are ‘muffled.’ When noise is added to the environment (i.e. humming computers, fans, buzzing lights, open windows, hard floors), more sounds and therefore language is eradicated and the learning barrier strengthens. 
The second strategy is to speak just a little slower and a little louder.  If you speak too slow or too loud, the message will become distorted thus making it difficult to comprehend.  Speaking slightly slower and louder is beneficial to a person with hearing loss.  Slowing down your rate of speech gives the person more time to fill in the ‘unheard’ sounds with contextual clues.  Speaking louder overcomes the ambiguity of sound signals associated with background noise.
The third strategy is to stay at a close distance from the person with a hearing impairment.  In fact, a good rule of thumb is to stay an arm’s length away at all times.  People with hearing loss become experts at filling in ‘sound gaps’ with lip reading and facial expressions.  To achieve competent communication with people who have a hearing loss, we must give maximal visual support.  This includes everything from gestures to written communication.
The fourth strategy is to use technology.  Clearly, the person with a hearing impairment needs to visit with their audiologist for a full assessment, and it is their responsibility to wear and properly maintain their hearing aids.  With that being said, professors and teachers alike should be familiar with the many features and unique qualities of a FM system.  One FM system that audiologists on our campus support is the Phonak Roger Pen FM system.  This pen can be pointed at the speaker/professor or can be worn by the speaker/professor.  The pen will only pick up the professor’s voice and then direct it straight into the receiver on the hearing aid.  The pen eliminates the hearing difficulties associated with background noise and distance.  Sometimes wearing a hearing aid alone is not enough, because the hearing aid amplifies all sounds and this taxes the listener. In short, the pen (or other FM devices) filters out unnecessary noises and picks up the communication partner’s voice.
If you have a student with a hearing loss, please encourage them to:
1.)    Set up an appointment with an audiologist.
2.)    After the results come in, the student must visit with disability services.
3.)    The student should present their diagnosis (from doctor) and classroom accommodation plan (from disability services) to the professor.
4.)    The professor and the student should work together to incorporate appropriate strategies and tools in the classroom.

Contact information for the University of South Dakota’s Audiology Program:
Communication Sciences and Disorders – Noteboom Hall
Noteboom Hall
Phone: 605-677-5474
Email: csd@usd.edu
Website: www.usd.edu/csd

Contact information for the University of South Dakota’s Disability Services:
Phone: 605-677-6389

For more information on the Phonak Roger Pen FM system, please visit the following site:   

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Book Review: Husten, Therese. Teaching What You Don't Know (2009)


Husten, Therese.  2009.  Teaching What You Don’t Know.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.  305 pages.

One of academia’s little secrets is that almost everyone, at some point in their career, will be asked to teach a course that covers content that is unfamiliar.  This book takes on this topic with authenticity and humor, and in the end conveys much about great teaching in general, and in particular with courses that may lie outside your comfort level.

I found this to be a very good read--at times I was thinking "I wish I had thought of that!" with the new course I taught this past spring.  Highly practical, and grounded in theory.  I strongly recommend it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review: Generation on a Tightrope, by Aruther Levine and Diane Dean (2012).


Levine, Arthur, & Diane Dean.  2012.  Generation on a Tightrope:  A Portrait of Today’s College Student.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.  227 pages.

Generation provides a portrait of the values and needs of today’s college students.  It is based on the research of 5,000 college students from 270 college campuses.  It explores the similarities and differences between this generation of students and previous generations.  

On a personal note, I found the book disappointing.  Books that explore "generational" trends can sometimes be so broad as to lose meaning, and at times this book ventured in that direction.  In addition, there were very few significant conclusions as to what to do to better education this generation. In addition, I found the tone slightly negative--both about the world at large, but also about the students themselves.

Multicultural Education in the Classroom.

American schools and learning environments are becoming more and more diverse. This rich diversity requires that teachers adopt instructional methods and strategies that reflect the learning needs of all students. The University of South Dakota is home to a growing number of international students. The university also hosts students of different social and economic backgrounds. This diversity necessitates an environment that works for all and mirrors the cultures of all the people it serves, hence the field of study known as multicultural education.
Multicultural education answers the questions of the new challenges brought by the demographic transformations in U.S. schools. With a set of strategies and materials at its disposal, multicultural education moves beyond the one-size-fits-all type of teaching. It seeks to promote collaboration among students, decision-making, and critical thinking while moving toward cultural pluralism. Multicultural education is comprised of three major dimensions: content integration, prejudice reduction, and equity pedagogy. Each of these dimensions ensures that all students benefit equally from the lessons taught in the classroom.
Content integration deals with the extent to which teachers use examples and contents from a variety of ethnicities, races, religions and cultures to illustrate key concepts, generalizations, and issues within their subject area. This is evidenced by the books that are read, the activities that are completed, and the lessons that are taught. The prejudice reduction strategy, on the other hand, works to remove the negative views students have about their peers. In effect, in their communities, students grow up with many misconceptions about people they are not familiar with. Prejudice reduction describes the lessons and activities teachers use to help students develop positive attitudes toward different racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. Teachers that seek to reduce prejudice in the classroom promote inter-group cooperation, monitoring, and equal treatment of all students. Finally, equity pedagogy seeks to modify the instructions to facilitate academic achievement from all subgroups. To achieve this goal, instructors make use of a variety of teaching methods and instructional strategies in order to meet the learning needs of all students. Those methods and strategies include checking for understanding, cooperative learning, direct instruction, and hands-on learning.
Overall, multicultural education uses a variety of tools that help to accommodate the unique aspects of having students of different origins, ethnicities, and social background in today’s schools and learning environments. 


 PowerPoint of Multicultural Education


                                                                         Prosper Zongo
                                                                         Graduate Teaching Assistant
                                                                         Center for Teaching and Learning


Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Pedagogy Wheel!

This PDF Poster has links to 122 of the latest and most popular educational apps. Now these resources are available in 19 different languages. The poster also has app selection criteria according to Blooms taxonomy. It could provide the backbone of a complete course or seminar on Learning Design.

The link below will direct you right to the PDF poster. Make sure to hover your mouse over all the different images/text inside the wheel as well as outside the wheel to see what different resources are accessible.

PDF Poster

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Welcome to the New CTL Staff!

Hi folks, the Center for Teaching and Learning has had the exciting opportunity to welcome two new team members, as well as welcoming a current team member into a new role.  We wish the very best to Faye and Vera, who have moved on to ply their expertise at various medical schools in Nebraska (Faye) and Virginia (Vera).

Darin Jerke moved from being our Online Program Manager to become an Educational Technology Integrationist in December.  Darin has an M.A. in English and is working on his Ph.D. in Educational Administration.  He has been an online adjunct for the English department, and replaces Vera Chen.

Ryan Los joined the CTL in January, replacing Faye Haggar, and will serve as another of our Educational Technology Integrationists.  Ryan is a Ph.D. student in Human Development and Educational Psychology, and is a former GTA for the CTL.

Angela Jackson is our newest team member.  She joined us in June as our new Online Program Manager.  Angela has been an adjunct faculty member at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, and has also served as a corporate trainer and assistant program manager for IOAS, an organization that certifies organic and sustainable agricultural practices.


I warmly welcome our new teammates, and look forward to a wonderful year!

Book Review: Adding Some Tec-Variety (Bonk & Khoo, 2014)


Bonk, Curtis & Elaine Khoo.  2014.  Adding Some Tec-Variety:  100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online.  Bloomington, IN:  Open World Books.  367 pages.

This book provides an introduction to learning theory, and then uses that theory as a basis for exploring 10 principles related to active learning in online learning.  Each principle is illustrated by 10 different types of activities that would be appropriate for online learning.

I found the book to be an interesting resource, but as with many of these books that provide "100+" activities, it is not necessarily something you want to read straight through.  The opening chapters on learning theory are a well-done, albeit quick introduction to the field.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

January 8-9 CTL Workshop on Native Student Success Registration now open!

The Center for Teaching and Learning warmly invites you to a very special event January 8-9.  We are hosting a 2-day workshop on Native American Higher Education Student Success.  This workshop will take place in the Neuharth Media Center, and features Michael Fire, Ph.D, and a team of researchers:

Michael Fire, Ph.D., MPH, RN is an elder of the Cheyenne Arapaho Tribe of Oklahoma, a retired military officer, and former Chief of Staff of the Oklahoma Area Office for Indian Health Services.  He brings a lifetime of experience as a Native American educator, health administrator, and clinical practitioner.

Nancy Fire, Ed.D. is a Faculty Development Specialist at the University of North Texas, whose work is focused on integrating cultural and life experiences into learning, and about virtual learning and Native American students.

Amy Fann, Ph.D. has focused her research on college access within American Indian communities.  Her postdoctoral research has been funded through the University of California and looks at the role of higher education in advancing tribal economic development and self-determination, and tribally designed higher education initiatives.

Registration details are below.  The schedule is as follows:

Workshop on Native American Higher Education Student Success
Context:  This workshop is framed by two streams of action.  The first is the continuing conversation that the University of South Dakota has been having for many years on how to best serve Native students.  The second is the CTL's commitment to Inclusive Excellence, which is our determination to (among other things) establish inclusive habits of teaching and learning.  Undergirding all of this is my belief that as we improve our ability to understand and teach Native students, we improve our ability to serve all of our students.

January 8 (Day 1)
 4:00-4:15:  Consecration/blessing of learning space (Gene Thin Elk)
 4:15-5:00pm Keynote:  Native American Higher Education Student Success:  Presentation and Q and A (Amy Fann)

January 9 (Day 2):
9:00-10:30  Talking with your Native American Students:  Panel and discussion (Michael Fire)

10:30-10:40 Break

10:40-12:00: What Research Tells Us about Native American Student Learning using Native Ways of Knowing (NWOK):  Presentation/Activities and Q & A (Nancy Fire)

12:00-1:15:  Lunch and discussion:  Our Ways of Knowing:  Reflecting on Our Own Ways of Learning and Understanding (facilitated by Nancy Fire).  Lunch provided for all who pre-register.

1:15-2:30:  Experiential Learning and Incorporating NWOK in assignments (Nancy Fire)

2:30-2:40:  Break

2:40-3:45:  Purposeful Student-faculty Interactions: Becoming an Integral Part of your Students’ Learning (Michael Fire)

3:45-4:00 Closing: Blessing (Gene Thin Elk)

We strongly encourage you to attend as much of this as possible.  Drop ins are welcome!

You may register for this event by emailing us at (ctl@usd.edu) or calling us at 605-677-5411.  Only those who are pre-registered may participate in the lunch session on Friday.  If you need accommodations to participate in any of these events, contact disability services at 605 677-6389 at least 48 hours in advance.  Due to the highly interactive nature of this workshop, it will not be offered through Collaborate.  The CTL is also using a new card-swipe system to track attendance, please bring your faculty ID card!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CTL Workshops: D2L Grades, Online Faculty Forum, and Native Student Success

Hi folks!  We have a wonderful lineup of holiday training events through these next weeks of December, and we continue to offer 1:1 assistance on D2L and other pedagogical technologies.  

You may register for any of these events by emailing us at (ctl@usd.edu) or calling us at 605-677-5411.  If you need accommodations to participate in any of these events, contact disability services at 605 677-6389 at least 48 hours in advance.  If you would like to attend any of these workshops (but not web seminars) by Collaborate, please let us know 48 hours in advance by emailing (ctl@usd.edu).  The CTL is also using a new card-swipe system to track attendance, please bring your faculty ID card!


Friday, November 14, 2014

CTL Workshops: Turnitin, International Student Employment, and more!

Hi folks!  We have a wonderful lineup of events for you next week and the first week of December, and we continue to offer 1:1 assistance on D2L and other pedagogical technologies.  You may register for any of these events by emailing us at (ctl@usd.edu) or calling us at 605-677-5411.  If you need accommodations to participate in any of these events, contact disability services at 605 677-6389 at least 48 hours in advance.  If you would like to attend any of these workshops (but not web seminars) by Collaborate, please let us know 48 hours in advance by emailing (ctl@usd.edu).  The CTL is also using a new card-swipe system to track attendance, please bring your faculty ID card!