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Publication date: 1 November 2012

Nathan E. Whitley-Grassi and Patricia Hoefler

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…

Abstract

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.

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Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Social Technologies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-239-4

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Book part
Publication date: 1 November 2012

Abstract

Details

Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Social Technologies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-239-4

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Book part
Publication date: 1 November 2012

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…

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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.

Details

Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Social Technologies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-239-4

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Book part
Publication date: 1 November 2012

Laura A. Wankel and Patrick Blessinger

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…

Abstract

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.

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