non-cognitive factors March 26

The Importance of Non-Cognitive Factors

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The last few years have brought an explosion of interest in the role of non-cognitive factors in education, those behaviors outside of course content that make a real difference in student success. Educational researchers have begun to examine the ways in which colleges and universities can encourage students to develop the attitudes, habits of mind, and behaviors that enhance their classroom performance and raise their grades, and ultimately result in higher student retention and graduation rates.


helping students find a vocation February 21

Hearing the Call: Helping Students Find a Vocation, Not Just a Job

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Ask any potential student or their parents about their top concerns when choosing a college, and “employability” will likely be on the list. A host of societal factors have combined to make this true: First, the Great Recession of 2008 made families much more concerned about the cost/benefit rationale for higher education, with the hope that the increasingly expensive investment will pay off in greater lifetime earnings. Second, businesses increasingly work with colleges and universities to provide much-needed input on the real-world skills graduates need to demonstrate, while also providing subtle (or not-so-subtle) pressure on institutions to train graduates to be ready to work from day one. Finally, governmental oversight and regulations such as the “gainful employment” rules have turned the spotlight on how effectively institutions are preparing their graduates to find jobs.


Skills Expectation Gap December 13, 2017

Closing the Skills Expectations–Performance Gap

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A Google search for “college graduate employment readiness” produces over 2.5 million hits. Unfortunately, the top results have titles such as, “Study Finds Big Gap between Student and Employer Perceptions” (Inside Higher Ed); “Why Are So Many College Students Failing to Gain Job Skills before Graduation?” (Washington Post); and “2015 College Graduates May Not Be as Ready for the Workplace as They Think” (Time). The titles reflect an expectations–performance gap in skills.



Open education September 11, 2017

Curt Bonk Talks about Open Education

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Open education really breaks into two forms: open courses and open resources.  Open courses are the MOOCs hosted on Coursera, EdX, and elsewhere. Open courses allow higher education to advance its fundamental mandate of serving the public good by making its faculty expertise freely available to the world. By contrast, open resources are free material from the outside world that higher education pulls into its teaching. 


graduate students August 30, 2017

Friendship as a Teaching Strategy for Graduate Students

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As graduate students, we find that developing friendships with professors results in increased learning and performance. In such an environment, one is not afraid to reveal weaknesses or academic shortcomings, and it erases (or minimizes) any insecurity that could result from unequal content authority. We feel secure in asking questions, expressing frustrations, and asserting intellect. Therefore, friendship plays an essential role in the struggle for knowledge.