No quick fix for universities

Good article below on the current situation that many of us are facing in our universities, namely the decreasing number of full-time (and tenure stream or tenured) faculty and an increase in student-teacher ratios. It has certainly been my experience that faculty are teaching more, rather than less, yet are still expected to perform to high standards in both research and service.  The increased reliance on part-time instructors is problematic; this is not to say that such instructors are not effective or excellent instructors, but they are not always available to teach on a regular basis, and thus it is difficult to ensure a consistency in how and when courses are taught. Furthermore, part-time instructors are often not involved in the scholarly activities that contribute so crucially to the teaching process, and are not always expected to contribute to service, which means an increased burden on full-time faculty to fill all needed committee positions.

No quick fix for universities – thestar.com.

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Students Push Their Facebook Use Further Into Course Work

This article discusses how university students are increasingly using Facebook to discuss homework assignments and exams. “More than 30 percent of students say they use sites such as Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Google+. Nearly a quarter of students report using social studying sites, such as CourseHero and GradeGuru, and 11 percent say they wish instructors would incorporate these sites into the curriculum more often.”  It’s not clear to what extent this use of technology may impact upon matters of academic integrity. I have discussion boards for assignment questions where students can ask me general questions; if the questions are too specific, then I direct them to contact me in person, but I make it clear that any answers should come from me.  This sounds a bit controlling, perhaps, but I discourage students from using our online discussion boards to discuss assignments amongst themselves, since it becomes difficult to determine how much of the student’s work is his or her own; furthermore, sometimes students given themselves incorrect advice with unfortunate results for the accuracy of their work.

Below is the infographic that summarizes students’ use of technology: