Monthly Archives: May 2013

10 Ideas For Rich Academic Student Discussions Online

logo 7.gifI know, it is summer break and the last thing any educator wants to hear now is how to make online discussions richer. When you prepare for classes this fall, consider incorporating some of the ideas from Michael Gorman’s blog on Tech & Learning regarding richer online discussions.

Including a discussion component in either an online, blended, or face-to-face course allows the learner to analyze and comprehend the topic from various viewpoints. As the instructor, you are provided an opportunity to assess the learner’s comprehension and application of the knowledge. Integrating the components of  Bloom’s Taxonomy to encourage higher-order thought by building up from lower-level cognitive skills is one means of creating more in depth conversations. Bloom’s original taxonomy focused only on the knowledge domain, but in 2001, Bloom’s was updated by Anderson and Krathwohl to include cognitive process. The new taxonomy highlights the interactions between the two domains.

Gorman’s 10 ideas follow the updated Bloom’s model. “It is important that teachers facilitate proper online communication while promoting digital citizenship. Through proper guidance and digital education, any classroom can discover the rich and meaningful opportunities that an online discussion can provide” (Gorman).

One of my favorites is the idea of the inclusion of various media in discussions. Discussions do not always have to be text-based. They can include the use of documents, PDF files, movies, music, sound files, PowerPoints, website links, and images to promote the standards and concepts.  To discover the other 9 ideas, select the following link to read the article in its entirety:


Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., & Bloom, B. S. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.

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Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


Student Polling Systems in the Undergraduate Classroom

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Engaging students with the use of polling systems or student response systems, has been associated with positive educational outcomes. With polling systems, students are engaged and receive immediate feedback. Increasing student “engagement has been associated with positive educational outcomes by fostering student engagement and by allowing immediate feedback to both students and instructors” (Fortner-Wood, Armistead,Marchand,& Morris, 2013).

Faculty members at Harding University from various disciplines have been engaging students with student polling systems for several years. Dr. Grodon Sutherlin, Professor in the College of Education here at Harding, along with his daughter, Dr. Amber Sutherlin, an Associate Professor at Abilene University conducted a study, which explored the effectiveness of student polling systems in promoting engagement and to assess the advancement of a positive and active learning environment in lectures.

As part of our Colloquium Series, Dr Gordon Sutherlin presented his research to fellow faculty members, which evaluated six studies conducted over four years. Check out the link below to see the presentation in its entirety and find out more about student polling.

Past colloquial presentations are available on our website.

Dr. Gordon Sutherlin’s Presentation

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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


What are the Characteristics of a Twenty-First Century Educator?

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Are you finding yourself spending more  time online developing and re-purposing content to create an online presence for your students?  Do you consider yourself a modern or digital teacher?  According to Jeff Dunn (edumemic), there are 8 characteristics that describe a twenty-first century educator.  A twenty-first century teacher should be an adapter, communicator, learner, visionary, leader, model, collaborator and risk-taker.  Mind you, it would take a super-hero to embody all of these characteristics at once.  Instead, a twenty-first century educator should be able to “pull from experience and be a leader, a collaborator, or a communicator at a moment’s notice” (Dunn, 2013).

For a more in depth description of these characteristics and more, visit the slideshare by Zaid Alsagoff.

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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized