Pearls of the Week: How to Get Students to do Their Reading and More Good Ideas

Image representing Pearltrees as depicted in C...We have heard the complaint or issued it ourselves one too many times: “They don’t read!”  This quotation from one of the Pearls [bookmarked resources using Pearltrees] that I’ve collected this week that shares methods to encourage students to learn – actively.  I’ve selected the best of the Pearls that focus on two areas, active learning which is consistent with my most recent posts, and the need-to-know developments with Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs.

Active Learning: Teaching ideas, Theories and More

How I used Wiki’s to Get Students to do their Readings, Ulises A. Mejias, Learning Through Digital Media Experiments in Technology and Pedagogy. This professor shares a creative and innovative method to encourage students to complete their readings prior to class. Instructors considering this method may want to consider using Google Docs in place of the Wiki tool the author suggests, since the article was written two years ago and recent improvements to Google Docs make it a more effective collaborative tool. Though Wikis and Google docs are only the tools, it is the assignment itself that is of value.

Introduction to Active/Cooperative Learning, a brilliant resource for active and cooperative learning created by the not-for-profit organization Foundation Coalition. And though this organization focuses on science and engineering studies, one of its initiatives is to improve curricula and learning environments for educational environments of all disciplines. A well-designed site with a plethora of resources, including research that supports active learning principles and practical ideas for the classroom.

Active and Cooperative Learning for the College Classroom, Donald Paulson and Jennifer Faust. A thorough resource for educators wanting to incorporate active learning into their classroom but aren’t sure where to begin. Numerous feasible suggestions for individual and group activities. There is one section devoted to critical thinking and how to encourage and develop higher-order thinking skills in students.

The Problem with Lecturing, Emily Hanford, American RadioWorks. A good article giving the reader the background information on active learning and how it became the focus of research for a small group of Ivy League professors in the 1980’s.

Education Site Expands Slate of University Courses, Lewin, New York Times. Coursera adds 17 new university partners, four of which are International schools, to the already robust list of universities. The new schools to join Coursera as announced on September 19 are:

Berklee College of Music
Brown University
Columbia University
Emory University
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Ohio State University
University of British Columbia
University of California, Irvine
University of Florida
University of London
University of Maryland
University of Melbourne
University of Pittsburgh
Vanderbilt University
Wesleyan University

What is encouraging are the number of humanities courses available including, Greek and Roman Mythology, Aboriginal Worldviews and Education, Women and the Civil Rights Movement to name a few. I’ve signed up for the Sports and Sociology which has a start date of April, 2013. Click here to see a full list of the humanities courses.

MOOCs: What role do they Have in Higher Education? Randy Riddle, Center for Instructional Technology at Duke University. An excellent perspective on the educational value of MOOCs in three areas, 1) the casual course, 2) professional development and 3) as a supplement to secondary education.

To view my Pearltrees, please click here.

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