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Patrick Blessinger is the founder and Executive Director of the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association and a Research Fellow at the School of Education at St. John's University in Queens, New York, USA. He has taught over 150 college and university courses and he has served as a program chair at colleges and universities in the US and EU. He consults with HE institutions in the areas of technology innovation and internationalization and he serves as an academic and accreditation advisor for HE institutions. He is the co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Meaning-Centered Education. He is the founder and editor of the International HETL Review and co-editor of the Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education. He is co-editor of several volumes within the Cutting-edge Technologies in Higher Education book series (Emerald) and co-editor of the book, Meaning-Centered Education: International Perspectives and Explorations in Higher Education (Routledge: 2013). He attended Auburn University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia. He is a peer-recognized expert and thought leader in the field of teaching and learning and he has received several academic awards including a Fulbright Scholarship from the US Department of State and a Governor's Teaching Fellowship from the State of Georgia, USA.
Final research papers are still the preferred method for end-of-term assessment in higher education. However, there is a recent push for a greater increase in digital…
Final research papers are still the preferred method for end-of-term assessment in higher education. However, there is a recent push for a greater increase in digital literacy skills in today’s students. Determining the best way to utilize technology, while keeping an eye dedicated toward the pedagogical purpose, is the ultimate focus of this chapter. The authors of this chapter have endeavored to exhibit how tools such as wikis, blogs, and podcasting were best used in higher education situations to promote learning and expand student digital literacy by providing an alternative to the classic final paper option while fully engaging learners with a multimodal approach to learning. The research discussed has demonstrated that learner-generated knowledge requires a higher order of understanding, and as such, leads to higher levels of learning and longer retention of material. Cooperation and collaboration are now key components of the higher education experience; many of these technical alternatives are designed with built-in collaborative elements.
This book centers on several key areas of social engagement and social learning in higher education today, including social networking platforms and e-portfolios. In…
This book centers on several key areas of social engagement and social learning in higher education today, including social networking platforms and e-portfolios. In addition to these Web 2.0 technologies, rapid improvements in related communication technologies (e.g., broadband services, wireless, mobile phones, and tablets) have also provided the necessary infrastructure components by which educators implement innovative teaching and learning practices on a larger scale, in a more reliable manner, and in a more targeted fashion. These technologies are also transforming our views of what it means to learn in an increasingly globalized, interconnected, and pluralistic world. The authors have presented several perspectives on how to use social networking tools to better engage learners in more meaningful and authentic learning activities. Social networking sites like Facebook are not a panacea for effective learning, but they do provide instructors and students with a convenient platform for enhancing the teaching and learning process. Instructors also play an important part in modeling proper online behavior through their presence on the platform and their interaction with their students. However, these tools are only one piece of the learning puzzle. The ultimate goal is to enable students to become lifelong learners and to instill in them a high value for learning that matures over their lifetime. As such, these tools can be used to better engage students more deeply in authentic and personally meaningful learning experiences.
Contextualizing grammar in second language (L2) classrooms implies making grammar constructs relevant to the learners’ world; affording learners the opportunities to better comprehend and apply these concepts in their own milieus. This instructional design (ID) has been devised to contextualize grammar and to explore learner engagement of pre-service English teachers through Computer-Aided Learning (CAL) and Task-based Learning (TBL) in a technology-driven learning environment. CAL encompasses technology-aided discussions, multi-media presentations, online tests and exercises, and social media deployment. TBL, on the other hand, contextualizes grammar using technology and social network in planning, executing, and presenting four assigned tasks: picture essay, brochure design, dialogue composition, and comic strips illustration. Facebook is the e-portfolio of the class, archiving all group and individual output. The CAL-TBL tandem is propelled by group initiatives and class collaboration evident in group discussions and planning, microteaching, task presentations, peer reviews, and self-evaluations. These initiatives engage learners; empowering students to collaboratively take active part and responsibility for their own learning. The three-hour-class meets every week in a computer laboratory. The post-semester feedback and online poll course design review as well as the University Course Evaluation comments have shown that the ID, from the learners’ perspective, is effective in contextualizing grammar and in engaging learners.
In this chapter, the authors examine the challenges presented by supporting higher education students with disabilities in an online learning environment and put forth a…
In this chapter, the authors examine the challenges presented by supporting higher education students with disabilities in an online learning environment and put forth a discussion and recommendations for delivering literacy supports to geographically disparate students in fully online courses by embracing the social model of disability and universal design principals as opposed to the typical medical model of disability that it pervasive in educational systems. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, educational institutions are required to promote auxiliary aids and services. Broadly defined, these aids are meant to enhance communication, inclusion, and participation of people with disabilities. The discussion of the resources put forth in this chapter begins with an exploration of the evolving consensus on the nature of disability and the standard (medical) model for providing accommodations and supports for students with disabilities, which was developed before the rise of online and blended learning environments. Next, the authors explore the problems inherent in the use of the medical model and highlight how the social model and universal design for learning can be utilized to empower learners and enhance their learning experiences in online and blended learning environments. The discussion returns to the importance of inclusion, participation, and engagement for students with disabilities no matter the modality of learning. This chapter concludes with a comparison of two models of support and recommended changes for implementation of best practices to enhance literacy supports in online learning environments.
University and college students are fully immersed in a participatory, interactive, digital culture that permeates every aspect of their lives. Today’s educators must find…
University and college students are fully immersed in a participatory, interactive, digital culture that permeates every aspect of their lives. Today’s educators must find ways to integrate educational technology into their curriculum to fully engage their students in the learning process. The difficulty for educators is vetting educational technologies for pedagogical effectiveness and devoting time to work with them prior to classroom integration. Those responsible for creating faculty professional development training opportunities will find self-directed online learning modules coupled with a virtual learning community an effective training tool. Structured inquiry-based learning, which relies on self-direction, curiosity, and knowledge creation, serves as the framework for such professional development efforts. Faculty and staff from 10, public institutions in New York State created an inquiry-based, self-directed, learning community called Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP). The goal was to help faculty and staff identify and master Web 2.0 tools relevant to their teaching needs for integration into their skill set. Approximately 300 faculty and staff from across these 10 institutions met in a virtual environment during a four-month period to actively engage in a collegial, online community where they were encouraged by mentors and fellow participants to learn about Web 2.0 tools. Results of pre- and post-surveys and participants’ comments have shown this self-directed format to be an effective professional development training tool. The pace of TOEP and the differential teaching and learning aspect of the modules have helped faculty and staff who struggle to find the time to integrate these pervasive technologies into their teaching practice.
This chapter unpacks the unique characteristics of online students, research that exists pertaining to support of online students in American higher education, and reviews…
This chapter unpacks the unique characteristics of online students, research that exists pertaining to support of online students in American higher education, and reviews the subsequent chapters in this volume. The chapters in this book focus on research, theoretical foundations for supporting the success of online student. Authors present case studies in various context including a large state university system, a large and increasingly growing public master’s degree, two private institutions, and a Scottish institution. Various theoretical constructs are provided to help inform practices for supporting online students including “communities of practice” (Wenger, 2000) or “communities of inquiry” (Garrison, 2007) and the Dynamic Student Development Metatheodel (DSDM). The final chapters of this book unpack the experiences of specific populations including post-baccalaureate, students, and doctoral students, understanding that each subset of students encounters different challenges throughout their online experiences. Finally, this book closes with a focus on a very important topic for all professionals: accessibility discussing the importance of inclusion, participation, and engagement for students with disabilities no matter the modality of learning. The last chapter compares two models of support (medical and social) and offers recommended changes for implementation of best practices to enhance literacy supports in online learning environments.
This chapter provides an introduction to how the inquiry-based learning (IBL) approach is being used by colleges and universities around the world to improve faculty and…
This chapter provides an introduction to how the inquiry-based learning (IBL) approach is being used by colleges and universities around the world to improve faculty and institutional development and to strengthen the interconnections between teaching, learning, and research. This chapter provides a synthesis and analysis of all the chapters in the volume, which present a range of perspectives, case studies, and empirical research on how IBL is being used across a range of courses across a range of institutions to enhance faculty and institutional development. This chapter argues that the IBL approach has great potential to enhance and transform teaching and learning. Given the growing demands placed on education to meet a diverse range of complex political, economic, and social problems and personal needs, this chapter argues that education should be a place where lifelong and lifewide learning is cultivated and where self-directed learning is nurtured. To that end, this chapter argues that IBL helps cultivate a learning environment that is more meaningful, responsive, integrated, and purposeful.