A good article to remind us to take care of our “humanity” during this busy time of the year.
A good article to remind us to take care of our “humanity” during this busy time of the year.
Open Journal of Preventive Medicine-
Information below is taken directly off the journals website:
As it turns out, this journal was identified as predatory by a list of criteria provided to our department from the Va Tech library staff. Our department submitted a couple of manuscripts to this publication that were instantly accepted and asked for no revisions. After working with the Va Tech library staff, the decision was made to no longer submit work to this open access journal.
After researching MOOCS a bit, I ran across a few interesting articles. One article I found listed all the places you could access free, online classes. But, what I found to be disturbing is that one of the larger suppliers of “free” online course, Udemy, actually charges. The courses I search ranged from free to $500. Other articles such as these two( http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303759604579093400834738972, https://chronicle.com/article/MOOCs-Are-Usefully-Middlebrow/143183/ ) are reporting that while MOOCS has good intentions, they are not great. They have a 90% drop-out rate, students feel isolated and disengaged and the content is watered- down.
What would I change in higher education? This is a tough question since we can hypothetically only change one thing. I think I would change the learning environment. I would move more toward student-centered learning, active learning, and/ or problem based learning. The University of Virginia medical school has taken this type of approach with their students. You can read more about their teaching philosophy here: http://uvamagazine.org/features/article/adjusting_the_prescription/#.Up9F40KWydw.
As I think about my past two years here and all the classes I have taken, I almost regret all the time I’ve spent on projects and papers that really didn’t lead to anything more than a grade at the end of the term. I would have liked for the projects and papers to have been applied somehow to a larger context, such as a service learning project that would benefit an organization in the community. Or, work that could result in a manuscript or part of my dissertation. I’ve had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in a class that used service learning and also in a large lecture class. From my perspective, the students involved in service learning grew more from this experience and I’m not sure how much of the information from the large lecture class will be retained after students move on. This type of change may not work for everyone, but I believe it would help with student engagement and satisfaction.
Being a faculty member means you are intellectually curious and engaged in discovering both questions and answers to issues relevant to your discipline, your community, your country and your world. Your intellectual curiosity will hopefully drive your research. Being a faculty member means you will be charged with disseminating your knowledge through teaching and community engagement. As a professor, a faculty member should strive to involve a students’ curiosity, present the information clearly and meaningful, and create an environment conducive to active learning and questioning. Being a faculty member means you will be a role model and advisor to others, particularly students who you are working directly with. With this duty comes responsibility and ethics. As a faculty member you will be in a position of power so it is important to recognize this and be responsible and ethical with that power. It will be important to be fair, open-minded, empathic, friendly, ethical and motivating; but at the same time to maintain respectable boundaries. Being a faculty member means individuals, governments and organizations will look to you, your work, your department, and your department’s work for information crucial to decision making. As it will be impossible to predict the future reach of one’s work and how it may one day affect other people’s lives; consequently, this thought should guide the integrity of your work at all times. Above all, being a faculty member means you are in a special position to be of service to others, expand your intellectual capacity, be a life-long learner and teacher, and to make a difference in your community.
Last week, from my perspective, it appeared our group really enjoyed the communicating science exercise. Today I was quickly looking through Facebook posts and I noticed an article called, “Are You A Phone Person?” (http://ivyleagueinsecurities.com/2010/08/are-you-a-phone-person/) This article caught my eye because once upon a time I was a huge phone person. I would talk for hours at a time to my best friend, my mom, my sister and anybody else that wanted to talk. Now I hate the phone. I rarely talk on the phone and most of the time I let messages go to voicemail. The reason I’m bringing up last week’s exercise and this silly article on Facebook is because I feel like there’s a common theme.
Let me explain.
What I found interesting about last week’s communicating science workshop is that it really could have been called communicating as humans with humans. It really wasn’t about science at all. What I took away from the experience was it was a chance for all of us wired folks to unplug, look at each other in the eye and connect. Boy, it was hard at first. Our coach even said our group appeared to be especially anxious. I think one reason for this is because with laptops, tablets, iPhones, etc. we can go about our day without looking at too many people in the eye or feeling vulnerable. I’ve sat in many classrooms over the past couple of years where instead of getting to know my fellow classmates, I check email, Facebook, the weather, etc. until the teacher begins the lecture. I know a lot of other people do this too. The article gets at the same thing, it is basically a blog post by a person who has noticed herself not being a phone person anymore because of social media. Although she poses a few questions at the end wondering perhaps if social media is changing our human connections/communication in a problematic way. I wonder about this too.
By the end of the workshop last week, I felt like my group had bonded. We were talking, joking and sharing stories with each other. Without the workshop, without the focused connecting, listening, and being “present” exercises, I don’t think that would have otherwise happened. In the big picture, spending two hours learning how to connect, bond, and communicate, would pay dividends to interdisciplinary teams working towards the same goal. Perhaps this should be a part of any type of “Team Science” curriculum?
For me, the lesson learned from both last week and the article is that even though its not always easy to pick up the phone or connect with people, I usually never regret it.
I was shocked. I read about a professor from the University of Pittsburg (http://ori.dhhs.gov/content/case-summary-weber-scott) who plagiarized text and falsified data in two unpublished manuscripts and two National Health Institute grant applications. I guess I’m naive, but I never dreamed a researcher would submit someone else’s work as his own in order to put up the front he had actually conducted research, all with money from the U.S. Public Health Service. I’m curious to know how this person got as far as putting together two manuscripts and two grant applications without input from a co-author or the IRB? When given tax dollars to conduct research for the good of humanity, I believe researchers should be held to the highest standards. I’m also shocked he was asked to not participant in government funded research for only three years. That seems like a short time to me.
Northern Essex Community College (NECC), is a community college in Massachusetts with two campuses, one in Haverhill and the other in Lawrence, the state’s poorest city. eUNH is part of the University of New Hampshire (UNH), a land-, sea-, and space-grant university located in both Durham (main campus) and Manchester, NH. The two colleges are about 40 miles from one another. However eUNH is a virtual campus offering online classes and programs to students worldwide and NECC serves one of the poorest regions in the state.
One thing that stood out to me was both NECC and eUNH addressed cost in their mission statements. One of the missions of NECC was to offer affordable adult education and one of the main ideas behind eUNH is to reduce total cost of degree completion. Knowing cost is one of the hot topics in higher education, it was interesting to see this issue addressed in the mission statements of two New England colleges. The other issue I see addressed by the missions of NECC and eUNH is that of access. Both schools are striving to be accessible to the people. Having lived in northern New England for 10 years, I know there are parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine without convenient access to a college and commuting to the Boston area for school is not always a feasible or affordable option for people.
As a Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) student in the community behavior track, I am currently involved with a National Institutes of Health grant that entails working with residents of rural Appalachian counties in southwestern Virginia. Because of this experience, I am constantly thinking about cost and access of things like health care and education. We know in HNFE there is a strong positive correlation between health and education. Ideally, everyone would have access to education and health care, but this is not the current reality. So, I am pleased to see these two issues addressed in the mission statements of two very different, but geographically proximal schools.
I did my undergraduate work from 1991-1995. Before laptops were popular, or even affordable, before email really took hold, before PowerPoint and before most of the information we receive on a daily basis was digitalized. I, and the rest of the class, took notes on loose-leaf paper and organized it in a 3-ring binder or Trapper Keeper. I did my master’s degree from 1995-1997 so I had a very similar experience except that digital email was becoming popular and websites like Yahoo and Google were just born. So only a hand-full of people even knew about them. I still went to the library to do research.
When I returned to school for my doctorate degree, the digital revolution had truly transformed the academic landscape into a place unrecognizable to me. There was no pressing need to physically go to the library to do research, all the lectures were typed out on PowerPoint and most everything was archived on a course management system. Wow, I thought school in the 21st century is so much more convenient now; it’s all at the end of my fingertips. But, what I didn’t realize right away was the effort it took to organize all this digital information being thrown at me (my 3-ring binder was now a thing of the past) and how easy it was to experience information overload!
A professor in 2013 can deliver an unbelievable amount of information in 60 minutes using PowerPoint. Whereas, I remember my undergraduate biology professor physically drawing a cell and all its parts on the chalkboard with different colored chalk. He was a talented artist and watching him physically draw a cell while describing its parts certainly made it easier to understand than a quick glance of an entire cell on a PowerPoint slide shown for a few seconds.
So, for me, not only is multi-tasking and surfing a detriment to academic success, but the rate at which information is delivered can also pose a potential problem. I find myself needing to take a digital Sabbath to keep the focus necessary to carry a task to completion. I also find myself weeding through a lot of information presented in classes to find the diamond in the rough, the information necessary to help me understand and complete a task.
However, I feel we all could benefit from learning how to use our gadgets for good and not for distraction. Recently, I was at a national conference. During one of the talks, the woman beside me used her iPad in an amazing way. As the speaker was talking, he would mention a study, simultaneously the woman beside me looked up the study, downloaded it, and took notes on the talk all in real time. It was amazing. So, at the end of 45 minutes, she had downloaded all the sources mentioned as well as took notes on how the speaker used them. I thought, this is certainly an efficient way to use an iPad. Perhaps moving forward, instead of complaining about students checking Facebook or the news during class, instructors will focus on teaching them new and engaging ways to use their devices during class that will actually increase their scores instead of lowering them.