Monthly Archives: September 2013

Visual Review of Talking About Teaching – Disrupting Your Regular Teaching Program

If you were unable to make it to the last Talking About Teaching – Disrupting Your Regular Teaching Program it is okay because we took notes.

Below are visual notes that represent each presenters presentation. Click on each thumbnail to download a PDF of the visual notes.

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Death of the Lecture?

Criticisms of the much-maligned lecture are often summarized by the anonymous quote (usually misattributed to Mark Twain), that;

 “College is a place where a professor’s lecture notes go straight to the students’ lecture notes, without passing through the brains of either.”

Certainly diatribes directed at the perceived defects of lecture instruction abound (http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsld/resources/20reasons.html). Is the lecture merely an antiquated instructional method from medieval days when scholars read manuscripts to students so they could copy into their notebooks germane content from original sources? Or, is the lecture truly a valuable tool in the repertoire of the skilled instructor? The producers of “Ted Talks” (http://www.ted.com/) have clearly identified a community of  enthusiastic “students” eager to “attend” lectures on a wide variety of topics. What is the place of the lecture in the academy of the 21st century? Assuredly a superior lecture far out-weighs a substandard webpage, a dispirited discussion, or an execrable podcast. A quality lecture presentation provides

  • focus on essential content, knowledge, and understanding
  • expert insight and explanation of subject matter
  • shared learning experiences with a cohort of peers
  • discourse with discipline experts
  • interpretation of content based on research and expertise
  • modelling of a disciplinary approach and perspective
  • critical framework and overview of a topic or subject
  • familiarization with the language and discourse of a discipline
  • personalization of learning through note-taking
  • foundation concepts, precepts, and paradigms

(http://www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/ideas/methods/lecturing)

But, the critics will iterate, students may attend but will not pay attention to a 50 minute lecture. Not so! Watch and listen to Naomi Wolf, speaking on “The End of America” at the University of Lethbridge, hold an audience of over 200 enrapt for 58 minutes without any PowerPoint slides, video, group discussion, or other distractions:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/itunes-u/featured-speakers/id430851240?mt=10

Does the lecture live? Undoubtedly! Is it the only teaching tool available to post-secondary instructors? Certainly not! Are there “bad” lectures? Yes. But there are unquestionably also abominable class discussions, online assignments, discussion forums, group projects, laboratory activities, and tutorials. A well-planned, well-structured, and well-delivered lecture can be an essential component of the design and delivery of an exemplary university course.

New Moodle Theme for Fall 2013.

The Teaching Centre is excited to introduce the U of L community to the new Moodle for Fall 2013. Over the summer we have implemented a significant upgrade to the Moodle platform with many new enhancements and features. In order to align with the UofL’s branding, and with the help of both student and faculty focus groups,  we are also introducing a new theme.  We hope you enjoy the new look along with the new features, and look forward to hearing your feedback as we continue to work to improve our Moodle platform.

Key improvements include:

  • Drag and drop topics you can re-order topics by simply dragging them.
  • Drag and drop file uploads you can actually drag files directly from your desktop to your browser
  • Virtual linking to files in your “My files” area you can use your my files area as a file repository for all your classes. One file can be used in multiple locations.
  • New Activity and Resource picker that replaces the two drop down menus with a single link to a pop-up window in a more user friendly format.
  • A completely re-vamped Assignment tool the tool combines the 4 assignment types of old into a single form with more flexible options, and easier to understand setup.
  • Redesigned to automatically reformat for a better user experience on tablets and smartphones using responsive grid.
  • Numerous bug fixes and technical improvements.

Please contact the Teaching Centre if you would like to learn more.