We had over 150 students and supervisors in attendance yesterday in the Farish Kiva. Allison Laubach Wright will be providing us with a summary and discussion post soon, but I wanted to thank once again Dr. Tamara Fish, our new TA Coordinator, Bruce Martin, Allison Wright, and members of the UH Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy Colloquium for making this such a successful event, as well as the Provost’s office for their support.
This message is from De’Awn Bunch, of the Division of Student Affairs. The new GPSA is planning a grad student tailgate (Sept. 1) and reception (Sept. 6). Please pass this invitation along to all potentially interested graduate students.
In an effort to connect the students within the University’s graduate and professional programs, the Division of Student Affairs has organized the Graduate and Professional Association. The Graduate and Professional Student Association at the University of Houston will aim to provide a community that allows graduate and professional students to collaborate in order to enhance graduate student academic and social student life experiences.
Our goals are to:
* Provide a social network and support group for graduate and professional students
* Connect graduate students with resources and support services
* Build and maintain relationships among graduate students, faculty, and administration at UH
* Foster an environment in which graduate students can freely express their ideas and opinions on current academic and institutional matters
* Provide opportunities for professional development through workshops and seminars
We have planned two events for September and would greatly appreciate you circulating the electronic invite below to any graduate and professional students you may know. Students may RSVP online at www.uh.edu/gpsa. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Division of Student Affairs
The Teagle Foundation, a group devoted to improving American undergraduate education, held a convening this June on the question of “What works and what matters in student learning?” The page linked here will take you to the President’s opening address, along with summaries of discussion by Ashley Finley, Senior Director of Assessment & Research at the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and Laura Rosenthal, Professor of English at the University of Maryland.
Lots of interesting stuff here, but I’d like to point readers to the three major strategies, or “promising practices,” included in Finley’s essay, linked here: What-works-for-student-learning-Finley:
1. Develop an Organizational Culture that Makes Student Learning a Priority and Emphasizes Community Building in Support of that Commitment.
2. Enable Learning-Centered Environments that Foster Student Learning
3. Develop Better and more Meaningful Assessments to Understand Student Learning
The report discusses each of these points in more detail, but the takeaway for improved student learning is better community-building, learning environments, and assessments. Take a look.
Though the study that inspired this blog post came from a recent university study in Singapore, it is interesting precisely because it reinforces existing findings from Higher Ed research running from Gamson and Chickering’s famous “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” article (1987) all the way into the present.
In other words, there are no surprises here, but the article does reassure us that adult learners really do value, and need, our efforts to engage and retain them in the classroom through good practice. Here are a sampling of the results from 2700+ adult students’ responses to a survey. For example:
Engaging Students in Active Learning
A commonly held assumption is that students like to take the easiest routes/short-cuts and prefer to be passive learners. Despite the fact that adult learners are busy individuals, the student feedback suggested that they do want to be engaged in active learning. They wanted their lessons to be interesting, practical and applicable.
Here are some of their suggestions for facilitating engaging lessons:
- use meaningful and purposeful learning activities
- ask stimulating questions
- use appropriate and relevant multimedia tools/technology to engage students
- incorporate real-life and application-based examples
- interact with students and effectively manage group discussions
There are also suggestions about posting course readings and lecture notes in advance, and keeping these available throughout the semester. Asynchronous self-study and review seems particularly important for adult, working students, as are presentation, time-management, and discussion-leading skills. Well worth checking out, whatever the age of the groups you end up teaching.