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College Is No Longer The Path To Success: New Study Shows That College And High School Graduates Earn About The Same

An alarming—yet illuminating—new study conducted by Third Way, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, concludes that college graduates only earn the equivalent salary of high graduates. Contrary to popular opinion, which contends that the path to success is rooted in attaining a college education, the frightening findings indicate that half of U.S. colleges in 2018 churned out a majority of graduates that earned under $28,000 a year.

In past generations, primarily the upper-class, wealthy elites attended universities. After World War II and the passing of the G.I. bill, soldiers returning from the battlefields were offered financial assistance to attend college—and they did so in large numbers. Slowly over time, in the ensuing decades, enrolling into college became almost commonplace for the average American. Today, there is great pressure put upon high school students to attend universities—even if they lack the aptitude or interest. Sometimes the pressure exerted on kids to attend top-tier institutions is intense. This was clearly exemplified by the recent college admittance scandal, in which the rich and famous parents allegedly bribed school officials to get their children into ivy league and top-tier universities.

Along with the general acceptance of college for everyone, the tuition has grown beyond belief. We are now making 17 and 18-year-old kids take on loans in the neighborhood of up to—and in excess of—$200,000. These same young adults are prohibited from voting, smoking and other things, which require you to be considered an adult and mature enough to render an important decision. How many adults do you know of that you’d feel comfortable loaning $200,000 to and feeling confident that they’ll use it wisely? Would you allow the recipient of the loan to stay up late on weeknights attending parties, drinking and smoking pot? Would you permit the person to invest the funds in a venture that was fun, interesting or about a social cause, but lacked any ability to earn a profit or become a sustainable business? Of course not! However, this is the very thing we are doing to our children.

Today In: Leadership

Once in college, there is a proliferation of courses and majors in subject matters that may be interesting, but don’t lend themselves to a real job—paying a reasonable living with the opportunity to advance. These kids graduate with a degree that is not marketable. On top of that, they are saddled with an enormous student debt that may be impossible to ever pay back.

Data from the federal government indicates that many students will leave their academic careers with employment opportunities and compensation that fall far short of what they were led to believe would happen. To compound the problem, when the new graduates realize the slim prospects of opportunities available, they’re encouraged to pursue even more expensive education by signing up for graduate school or a law degree. Then, on top of their already-big burden of loans, they’ll pile up even more potentially ruinous debt.

The study states what should be obvious to most rational people—it’s imperative that prospective students—and their parents—only consider institutions that serve them well by being able to make a living. College rankings are important. It’s great to live at a school with a beautiful campus. Parents love to brag about the name of the school that their children attend. We need to filter out the unessential trappings and look for rankings that focus on the factors that truly benefit students, such as how likely they are to pay back their loans and whether or not they can get a well-paying job with their major—not on things like prestige and exclusivity.

Working as a tradesperson or in a blue-collar type of job was once seen as acceptable and a means toward becoming middle class. Somewhere along the way, as a culture, we started to look down upon those who chose to be a carpenter, electrician, plumber or related function. This further placed pressure on parents to guide their children away from these roles and toward going to college, even if they weren’t emotionally or mentally ready—or even interested. The irony is that blue-collar workers earn a handsome living. Think of how hard it is to get a person to do some work on your home. Many times, a tradesperson starts out as a heating, air conditioning and HVAC apprentice and, 10 years later, he has a thriving business, managing a fleet of trucks and servicing a substantial clientele that pays handsomely for their services.

The study is a wake-up call to take a cold, hard look at what we are doing to our children. According to the data from the study, we are misleading them with false hopes and resigning them to low-paying jobs and a not-so-bright future.

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I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise, and have personally placed thousands of professionals with top-tier companies over the last 20-plus years. I am passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, I have founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where our mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. As a proponent of career growth, I am excited to share my insider interviewing tips and career advancement secrets with you in an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense and entertaining manner. My career advice will cover everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. My articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

Source: College Is No Longer The Path To Success: New Study Shows That College And High School Graduates Earn About The Same

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Get Your Free Elon Musk Book with Amazon Audible 30-day Trial: https://amzn.to/2VaMsGs Here are some successful people explaining why a college degree is useless and worthless in some occasions. Not everyone needs to go to college to be successful because there are more than just one path to success. Many entrepreneurs find that college is not very beneficial when it comes to teaching people how to build a business. The education system is built mostly to teach people how to be workers and not build businesses. With this said, everyone’s situation is different and people need to consider what is beneficial for them. Music Credit: The Bright Morning Star By Borrtex All credit goes to respective owners. Only for educational purposes.

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We Can Stop Kids From Cheating in School By Eliminating the Need

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As a high school teacher, I’ve seen a lot of cheating. So much, that I’ve concluded most adults don’t realize how many kids, even otherwise good and honest kids, cheat in school.

If you think of cheating as simply acting unfairly or dishonestly to gain an academic advantage, many people reading this column might remember their own experiences cheating. Whether you actively sought to cheat, or the opportunity simply landed in front of you, many of us can recall at least one occurrence with vivid detail. Your heart raced, your palms sweated, and you felt that undeniable sinking in the pit of your stomach, all due to the fear of getting caught. Yet you still did it.

But why? Why continue the act even when the body sends all the signals identical to a near-death fight-or-flight response? For some, it may be for the sheer thrill. But I argue most people who are tempted to cheat choose the better of two evils, both connected to failure.

Today, more so than when you and I were teens, the pressure to excel is unbearable. From the parents who demand it and the peers competing for it, the colleges that require it and the “influencers” who embody it, the pressure to be perfect has become the driving force for many students. And when the need to maintain perfection trumps the actual learning that occurs, you’ll begin to override your body’s natural warnings.

Our kids cheat because they fear the consequences of failing. So many are raised in a bubble, completely protected from failure. Any time it may have approached, those around them, who love them very much, happily deflected that failure for them. So a disproportionate number of adolescents truly feel they are geniuses, that they can do no wrong.

Unfortunately, an educator’s job is to confront his or her students with challenging obstacles to overcome, and they won’t deflect that failure. This forces our inexperienced youth into a corner, and many react by ensuring their success by any means necessary.

I’m one of these educators, and I absolutely challenge my kids, but I made a decision a few years back that completely changed the culture of my classroom: I eliminated the need to cheat.

I made the decision that the goal of my science class was to learn and appreciate science. From that day, I recognized that to pull these anxious kids from the corner they’ve been trapped in, I had to entice them back to the center. I had to establish an environment that eliminated the fear of failing, and I did it with a few very basic but powerful methods.

First, I eliminated due dates within a unit and moved to a mastery grading model. There are many varieties of this, but in my model, the kids receive a list for the unit describing the tasks to be mastered by test day. For every activity, the kids were encouraged to copy from each other and work together, but their grades came from 30-second conversations I had with each student, when I’d ask a variety of questions to gauge their mastery on the topic. Completing an assignment meant nothing if it couldn’t be verbalized, so the kids quickly learned that copying without understanding was a waste of time in my class.

Then, I encouraged cheat sheets. I let students write or draw anything they’d like on the front and back of a 3-by-5 notecard. The card had to be hand-written and turned in with the test. Many teachers may argue that doing so would invalidate their tests, to which I say, if your kids can write the answers to your tests on a notecard, you write bad tests.

We’ve worked hard to build high-level questions that require students to expand beyond the basic content from a notecard, and the sheer process of internalizing and paraphrasing an entire unit into such a small space encourages that level of critical thinking for our kids; moving beyond comprehension and into application. Plus, I save their notecards and return them before semester and state exams, providing the most personalized, hand-written summative reviews they could ever create.

Finally, after taking the test once on their own, I let them take it again, this time in groups. After grading the exams, I assign them in homogeneous groups; As in one group, Bs in another, etc., but I don’t tell students their scores. Then, I hand them back their original exams to take again. They don’t know which questions are correct, so the intellectual debates that happen over each question are incredible. When they resubmit, the group score is averaged with a student’s individual score.

Of course, there are those who say we need to teach our kids responsibility, to prepare them for the real world by not allowing late work, cheat sheets or group corrections. But it’s these classrooms where cheating is rampant, and it’s specifically because no recovery is possible.

As for tests, consider what every major exam over the course of someone’s professional career has in common: SAT, ACT, CPA exams, MCAT, LSAT, teaching certifications. You can take all of these multiple times for full credit. So where did this fallacy begin that somehow my biology exam is more pertinent to their lives and future success?

In a world that’s constantly demanding risk-taking and creativity, we cannot continue to produce robots of compliance and task completion. As a young gymnast develops her technique, she rehearses in an environment developed to safely take risks, with balance beams low to the ground and foam pits into which she can fall.

So, too should be the goal of every classroom. When kids see that failure is recoverable, the demand to succeed the first time, by any means necessary, is eliminated, and they finally have the freedom to take a leap.

By: Ramy Mahmoud

Ramy Mahmoud is a lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas Teacher Development Center, a high school science department head in Plano and a two-time TEDx speaker. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/

Have you ever cheated in High School? I kinda might have. Art done with: http://muro.deviantart.com/ Song #1 producer- Harry Gettings: http://www.youtube.com/hgettings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41dHIu… Song #2 producer- Duce Wa: free download: http://www.mediafire.com/?2aalei5hcil… http://twitter.com/DuceWa http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?i… Online Store: http://www.districtlines.com/Swoozie

 

 

 

It’s Official: The MBA Degree Is In Crisis

Graduating MBA students this year have had no trouble landing very good jobs. In most cases, starting pay has hit record levels and placement rates for schools are at or near records as well.

Yet, for the second consecutive year, even the highest ranked business schools in the U.S. are beginning to report significant declines in MBA applications and the worse is yet to come, with many MBA programs experiencing double-digit declines. Last year, the top ten business schools combined saw a drop of about 3,400 MBA applicants, a 5.9% falloff to 53,907 candidates versus 57,311 a year earlier (see Acceptance Rates At The Top 50 Business Schools). The University of Michigan Ross School of Business experienced the worst drop, an 8.5% decline from 3,485 to 3,188 apps. Harvard fell 4.5%, UC-Berkeley Haas 7.5%, Wharton 6.7%, Stanford 4.6%, and Booth 8.2%.

“For the second consecutive year, the top ten schools all saw significant declines in applications,” says William Boulding, dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. “I have been hearing that some schools in the top ten are in double-digit territory so I think it is going to be worse than last year when all is said and done.”

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School just announced that applicants for its fall 2019 intake numbered 5,905, down 5.4% from 2018 and 11.8% from the school’s all-time high of 6,692 in 2017. It was the first time in at least eight years that apps dipped below 6,000 at Wharton, and it corresponded with the lowest international student intake — 30% — in at least that span.

NYU’s Stern School of Business applications for its latest incoming class declined by more than 5% to 3,518 from 3,718 the prior year (see Average GMATs Up Five Points At Stern). Along with the previous year’s 3.7% drop in apps, the fall pushed the school’s acceptance rate to 26%, a three percentage point increase from 23% a year earlier. It also had an impact on the school’s entering class size of 359, down slightly from the 370 enrolled the previous year.

“The MBA market is in dire straits right now,” concedes Andrew Ainslie, dean of Rochester University’s Simon School of Business. “The joke among deans is that ‘flat is the new up.’ If we can just hold our numbers, that is an incredible achievement.” Ainslie says that when he meets with fellow deans, “half of our discussion is, ‘What are you doing about your MBA program?'”

Ainslie recently participated in an accreditation review at a leading business school and was shocked to find that its full-time MBA program now gets only three applicants for every enrolled student. “Most of us feel we need to make three offers to get one student” says Ainslie. “So once you get there that means you are making offers to just about everyone. And this is at a school that is an internationally known brand.”

Ainslie predicts that 10% to 20% of the top 100 MBA programs in the U.S. will likely close in the next few years, with even greater fallout among second- and third-tier schools. Just three months ago, University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business became the latest school to announce that it is getting out of the full-time, on-campus MBA market.

Simon saw its application volume remain stable this past year, largely because last year it become the first U.S. business school to gain full STEM designation for its full-time MBA program.  The change allows international students to apply for an additional 24 months optional practical training (OPT), which helps to bridge the gap between a student visa and a work visa. “We thought we would be in an incredible position with STEM. Given the news I’m hearing from everyone else, I am very happy being flat,” sighs Ainslie.

Deans attribute the decline to a confluence of factors that include a strong U.S. economy, which is keeping more people in their jobs, as well as uncertainly over work visas by international students who also have been scared off of coming to the U.S. due to anti-immigration rhetoric. Also playing a role is the rising cost of the degree and cannibalization of the full-time MBA market by the success of undergraduate business degrees, online MBA programs, and specialized master’s programs in such business disciplines as finance, accounting, analytics, marketing, and supply chain management.

MBA application volume, of course, goes up and down in different economic cycles. Typically, recessions bring a rebound as career opportunities diminish and more professionals seek to ride out a downturn in graduate school. In fact, says Ainslie, he hears fellow deans also joke that ‘All we need is a nice little recession.’ We are about the only people in the world who like a recession,” he says. “We think it will still be good enough for us.”

But when the next recession comes, he expects only a temporary and more mild bounce back in applications than history would suggest. Ted Snyder, who just left the deanship of Yale University’s School of Management, agrees with him, citing the high cost of the MBA degree as a reason why a recession won’t lead to double-digit jumps in application volume.

“Having followed along with annual increases in tuition rates at two percent above inflation for more than 25 years,” adds Snyder, “many schools have found themselves in a tuition trap in which they cannot find a market for their programs. I think the number one thing (holding back a rebound) is the high price so I don’t see how a recession is going to have a great effect. Schools have to stop raising the price.”

It’s not all bad news, of course. “The positive side of the news is that this is causing us to do some really interesting new product development,” adds Ainslie. “The online market is really maturing and there are some excellent offerings out there. Master’s programs in business are slowly moving from a product solely for international students to domestic students. We are seeing the demise of the MBA but we are still getting a lot of students in different degree programs.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m the editor-in-chief of Poets and Quants, the most read and most popular provider of information on business programs in the world. Our main website, PoetsandQuants.com, has been visited by nearly 100 million people and is updated daily with a wealth of admission and career statistics, school profiles, breaking news and long-form features on programs, students, faculty and alumni. Earlier in my career, I was editor-in-chief of Fast Company and executive editor of Business Week.

Source: It’s Official: The MBA Degree Is In Crisis

#Sunstone #Eduversity is an academic institution that aims at creating industry ready professionals with our unique pedagogy and technology enabled education delivery. We partner with existing colleges who have a well-equipped infrastructure to run and manage an AICTE approved, PGDM program by leveraging the use of modern – day technology and thus ensuring that the students are provided with the highest level of education quality across all our campuses. All our students are imparted with the desired skill sets that are in sync with the corporate environment and given practical training on various corporate domains that exist in an organization

Using Text To Speech Technology To Assist Dyslexic Students

Davis Graham wanted to participate. His teachers could not understand why he was so resistant to learning. He almost completely gave up on his education. Mr. Graham, a life-long dyslexia advocate, has dyslexia and he was not alone. Eighty percent of children who have a learning disability are also impacted by dyslexia. This is a staggering number of students.

With technology we can tackle some of the challenges facing these students. Even changing how we view these differences.

I asked a friend of mine, Tony Wright, who has two children with dyslexia, what he would change in the world of education. He said we need a change in perception because, “In a perfect world, my children’s learning differences would be accepted as differences, not disabilities. Their peers would understand that they think differently. That they are not inferior. Also, they would be able to be accommodated without disruption to their day. Of course, they have a father who loves reading. I want my kids to enjoy reading. In a perfect world, my kids would be just able to be normal kids and given the chance to excel and succeed in whatever their talent is. I think that’s what most parents want as well.”

With increased early screening we could identify more children who struggle with dyslexia. Early screening could provide a pathway to learning with Text to Speech technology (TTS) and could even lead to a decrease in our total IEP costs. TTS in schools creates an excellent opportunity for a huge impact in schools with very limited budgets.

With regard to how we view reading and writing in education, Mr. Graham points out, “It’s a crossroads. [We should] say look, you can dictate it with speech to text or you can consume it by text to speech or the reading acceleration program.”

The point is the challenges caused by dyslexia in reading and writing can be alleviated. Cost savings for IEPs would be realized in both the short and long-term. Providing students access to TTS technology is the most efficient solution in solving reading challenges that dyslexic students face. In the long-run, districts will see improved comprehension and less frustrating outbursts from students. Very often we see a decrease in the need for assistance from teachers and better test scores often follow. All of these elements combined lead to a positive net impact on students, teachers and schools with limited budgets.

“In the Education delivery system, text to speech will level the hurdles of the printed word in any language, providing a level playing field for all students,” says Mr. Graham.

Despite being severely dyslexic, Mr. Graham went on to receive his Master of Science in Health and Medical Informatics from Brandeis University. When he was diagnosed with dyslexia in the late 60’s, his road to achieving educational success was a long, winding path. With support from many educators along the way, he became passionate about providing access to various content for those who also suffer with dyslexia. Mr. Graham found Bookshare, an ebook library, and began listening to volumes of books converted from a written format to an audio format. This is a life changing experience for someone willing to learn, but who lacks the ability to just sit down and read. Enter the mobile age and the explosion of access to content for those with dyslexia, and we begin to see innovative solutions in solving learning disabilities.

Along with internet access and either a mobile device or tablet, any student with dyslexia can access TTS technology. TTS is not new, but it is dramatically improved over the years.

The increase in processing speed and decrease in costs over time, has allowed for dramatic improvements to TTS technology. Now with programs like Dragon Dictate or Google’s Dictation.io, students can speak into a microphone, or use a dictation feature to “write” papers or take tests.

The problem goes beyond just improving grades

Research by Jean Cheng Gorman, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist who studied youth suicides in 1998, found a staggering 50% of students who unfortunately end their lives have a learning disability, and 40% suffer from dyslexia. There is yet to be a research study showing TTS technology having a causal impact on decreasing suicide. However, helping alleviate barriers to knowledge, while decreasing frustration with learning, will have a positive impact on all student’s lives.

Beyond cost savings, the significance in learning to each student is tremendous. As a child, I personally was slow to read, but I don’t remember when I suddenly “learned” how to read. The act of reading is so automatic for most people, that it is hard for most people to imagine what it would be like to lack the ability to read. Providing solutions to these problems can help make some students feel empowered to learn again. TTS can change the lives of those students who need help with managing dyslexia.

 

Jabez LeBret is Chief of Schools at Sisu Academy, the first tuition-free private boarding high school in California. Cofounder of two companies he is also a regular Millennial Management speaker.

Jabez is embarking on a mission to change the lives of local high school students by opening the first tuition-free boarding high school with a self-funding model in Cal…

Source: Using Text To Speech Technology To Assist Dyslexic Students

How Business Can Make An Exponential Difference In The Lives Of Students – Lisa Dughi

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We know how much of a difference one person can make in another’s life. But what if your goals are loftier than reaching just one person? What if you want to make a difference in the lives of a hundred, a thousand, or more? There are millions of young people across this country that need access to opportunity so that they can have successful futures after high school. What if you could play a pivotal role in providing that access? That’s the challenge NAF is working to solve. With over 100,000 students enrolled in NAF academies in underserved high schools across the country, reaching these students wouldn’t be possible without our business partners…………..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2018/11/13/how-business-can-make-an-exponential-difference-in-the-lives-of-students/#33d522411227

 

 

 

 

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AI Innovators: This Researcher Uses Deep Learning To Prevent Future Natural Disasters – Lisa Lahde

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Meet Damian Borth, chair in the Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning department at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) in Switzerland, and past director of the Deep Learning Competence Center at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). He is also a founding co-director of Sociovestix Labs, a social enterprise in the area of financial data science. Damian’s background is in research where he focuses on large-­scale multimedia opinion mining applying machine learning and in particular deep learning to mine insights (trends, sentiment) from online media streams. Damian talks about his realization in deep learning and shares why integrating his work with deep learning is an important part to help prevent future natural disasters……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nvidia/2018/09/19/ai-innovators-this-researcher-uses-deep-learning-to-prevent-future-natural-disasters/#be6f7b16cd16

 

 

 

 

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5 Myths About Classroom Management in PBL – John Spencer

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Why Classroom Management Matters

When I was new to project-based learning, people told me to “embrace the chaos.” I tried my hardest to embrace this mindset. Our class would be a vibrant space filled with noise and chaos and movement. I told students that during our project time, they could go wherever they wanted to go and talk whenever they wanted to talk.

This lasted three days.

I had students wandering around the classroom for the entire class period, socializing with friends and never actually working on their projects. The room became ear-splittingly loud. Meanwhile, I became edgy. The chaos felt off-task at best and unsafe at worst. At one point, another teacher walked into my classroom and said, “Why did you kick Alejandro out of class? He’s normally so quiet.” But the thing is, I hadn’t kicked Alejandro out. He had walked away because he felt anxious in the chaotic space.

Alejandro wasn’t alone. I printed up a quick survey (these were the pre- Google Forms days) to see how students felt about the classroom environment. Two-thirds described having a hard time concentrating on their work.

The next morning, I had coffee with my mentor and lamented, “I thought the project was authentic. I thought I could create a student-centered environment. I thought they would just know how to behave during a project like this. But, I don’t know, maybe I’m not able to create that kind of environment.”

He furrowed his eyebrows and said, “You ever work on a project when you’re at Starbucks?”

I nodded.

“Okay, watch the people in Starbucks. What trends do you see?”

I described people sitting at the tables and occasionally standing at a tall table. They moved to get coffee, to use the restroom, and to order items. However, they weren’t running around. Instead, it was relaxed.

Although the environment was noisy, it was mostly due to the work of grinding coffee and blending beverages. Most people were talking at a reasonable volume. They followed unspoken norms that allowed for communication and work. He then challenged me to think of all the spaces where I had done my best individual and collaborative projects. These were spaces designed for communication, deep thinking, and deep work. Some of these spaces were silent and others were loud. However, they were all spaces where I could focus.

I realized something critical at that moment. If we want students to engage in authentic projects, we need to design systems and structures that facilitate collaboration and creativity. For all the talk of “embracing chaos,” it turns out classroom management is a vital part of authentic PBL.

Myths About Classroom Management and PBL

The following are some of the common myths about classroom management and PBL.

Myth #1: Structure ruins creativity

This was the myth I bought into when I first embraced the PBL process. Like I mentioned before, I created a classroom environment free of constraint. Go where you need to go. Be as loud as you need to be. Take the John Mayer route and run through the halls of your high school and scream at the top of your lungs (yes, I just paraphrased John Mayer). This came from a genuine recognition that school structures are often arbitrary and overly restrictive. However, I had gone to the opposite extreme of classroom management anarchy. I mistakenly believed in a false dichotomy between student ownership and classroom expectations.

Reality: Well-designed structures facilitate creativity

Architects often design spaces with two competing goals: craft spaces to reflect the way people will use them (starting with empathy) and create spaces that will create desired behaviors. Take Panera, for example. The physical layout reflects the need for both open and closed spaces with plenty of “breathing room.” They designed it to reflect the way people actually like to collaborate (the empathy-driven approach). However, they also have visual cues and physical structures that lead you toward specific locations the moment you walk in the door.

The same should be true of the structures in a PBL classroom. As educators, we can work like architects designing the structures that will facilitate creativity. We can start with the empathy-driven approach by asking “What would this be like to experience this as a student?”  It can help to imagine you are a student and spend some time thinking through what you might think and feel during an entire PBL Unit. You might even create student surveys to gauge what students need in order to thrive in a PBL environment.

From there, we can design systems that fit the needs of our students. For example, students need to move and they need to have the chance to stand up. However, they also need the opportunity to focus without distraction. So, we can create standing centers at the edges of the classroom. We can create physical pathways that allow for movement of materials.

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However, we can also embrace the ideas of UX Design to guide students through the process. Students should be able to know where to find materials and where to go to get help. This goes beyond the physical structures. Students need to have pedagogical structures for things like brainstorming, ideating, research, and collaborative decision-making.

Myth #2: You need tons of transitions or students will be off-task

This was one of my biggest fears when starting out on my PBL journey. I had always transitioned every 15-20 minutes to prevent students from getting bored and checking out. I kept my lessons fast-paced with tight deadlines. So, when I switched to a project-based approach, I initially broke tasks down for students and kept the same tight time deadlines. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was creating a stop-and-go approach to projects. Although I wanted students to work quickly, they never truly hit a place of deep concentration because we were frantically moving from task to task, only to stop, wait for directions, and move on.

Reality: Students need to engage in deep work to hit a state of flow

Students actually accomplished more when we took out the transitions and focused on longer stretches of time to engage in the project work. This is a key idea behind what Cal Newport describes as “deep work” (I highly recommend the book), where people spend 1-3 hours without distractions. Here, they often hit a state of creative flow, where they attain hyper-concentration and fixate on their work. When this happens, they learn at a deeper level and they retain more of their knowledge.

But these moments of flow, whether they are in groups or individually, can also work as preventative classroom management. When students focus on their projects, they are less likely to disrupt the learning.

Myth #3: An engaging project means you won’t have discipline issues

When I look back at my worst moments as a teacher (those times when I shamed a student or yelled at a class), it was almost never during a project. A well-constructed project is one of the best preventative classroom management strategies. However, it’s a myth to think that you can focus on the pedagogy and ignore classroom management. Even in your best PBL units, you will have discipline issues you need to deal address.

Reality: You need clear expectations

When you first launch a PBL unit, you will likely have students who have never experienced project-based learning. They will need to know how it works and what they are expected to do. Because it’s so different (more collaborative work, more creativity, and often more hands-on learning) you will need to clarify the expectations. You might need to generate a list of rules or norms together with your students. You will likely need to model and practice procedures with your students. The goal is to make it clear, visual, and memorable for students. Although this can feel less exciting than the actual project, it’s actually a vital part of the process.

Myth #4: PBL classrooms are noisy all the time

I get it. Some tasks are inherently noisy. It’s hard to have students doing physical prototyping in silence. The class is going to get noisy during the collaborative part of ideation. However, a project-based classroom doesn’t have to reach a deafening volume all the time.

Reality: The noise should never get in the way of the learning

It’s easy for one group to get louder and then other groups start talking louder until it slowly creeps to a level that prevents groups from working effectively. This is why it’s okay to have expectations of a general volume level during collaborative work. I’ve seen teachers use volume level charts (like a noise meter). When I taught middle school, I would do a thirty-second silent time-out when the noise got too loud. It worked like a reset button.

It also helps to create moments of strategic silence throughout a project. You might start the class period with a silent warm-up and end with a silent reflection. Or you might break up the project process to have students engage in silent thinking or quick writes to boost metacognition. You can also embed quiet individual tasks into the project process. For example, students can engage in individual research to gain extra background knowledge. During the ideation process, students can brainstorm in isolation before meeting with their groups. They can also create their own SWOT assessments on their own before meeting with their groups to test and revise prototypes.

Myth #5: You need a system of punishments and rewards to keep group members accountable

We’ve all been there before. You do a group project and suddenly one member disappears. Another member has tons of opinions and ideas but doesn’t want to do any of the work. So, you end up doing the entire project by yourself. For this reason, it’s tempting to create rigid rules and consequences for group members in PBL units.

Reality: The best accountability is interdependence

There is a time and a place for external accountability. PBL expert Trevor Muir has students sign group accountability contracts at the start of each PBL unit. However, I’ve found that students are more accountable to one another when they have to work interdependently on their projects. Take, for example, this brainstorming strategy. Students actually benefit from listening to one another depending on each other for new ideas.

I often think of the LAUNCH Cycle as a roadmap for interdependent student ownership in creative projects. Here’s what this looks like:

  • Students tap into their own awareness and background knowledge during the Look, Listen, and Learn phase. Here, each member has the opportunity to share what they already know.
  • Students own the inquiry process as they ask specific questions in the Ask Tons of Questions phase. Each member can contribute their own questions to the entire group’s set of questions. Each member can add questions, regardless of their skill level or prior knowledge.
  • Students work interdependently to find specific facts in the research phase.
  • Students are generating their own ideas individually before engaging in the Navitage Ideas (group ideation) phase.
  • Each member of the group has a different role in the project management process and they all discuss progress collectively as a group
  • Every student has the opportunity to engage in assessment in the Highlight and Fix phase. I love the interdependence of the 20-minute peer feedback system here.

Being Proactive About Classroom Management

  1. Think about the procedures you will need to teach ahead of time.  What procedures and expectations will you need to teach ahead of time? How will students get materials? How will you handle noise? How will you handle movement? Are groups allowed to talk to one another? If so, what does that process look like? How will you handle students finishing at different rates? What kinds of “brain breaks” will you offer to students who need to walk away from their projects? How will you help students define these expectations together as a classroom community?
  2. Think about the space. How will you differentiate the space for different tasks? How will you design spaces for different types of learning? What will you do to encourage a free flow of movement? What visual cues will you create to help students navigate the space? What materials will you use? Where will you store these materials? Where will students put their physical products when they leave the class period (or move on to a new subject)? It helps hear to do an empathy exercise where you picture yourself as a student and ask what a student might be feeling or thinking.
  3. Think about the roles within the classroom. What types of group roles will you have?  How will your role change as a teacher? How will you spend your time when students are in the prototyping phase?
  4. Consider how you might communicate this shift to stakeholders. Are you comfortable having administrators and other leaders walking into your classroom during the prototyping phase? What kinds of fears might certain teachers face if they saw something that looked chaotic? What do you need to do to communicate the PBL process to parents/guardians, fellow staff members, and administrators?

Classroom management can actually be easier in a PBL classroom. With increased engagement and clear expectations, you often find yourself doing student-teacher conferences rather than redirecting behaviors. However, this requires an intentional, proactive classroom management plan. When this happens, all students are able to work collaboratively and creatively on the epic projects you have designed for them.

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7 Things I Always Try to Build into My Online Courses

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1. A welcome video

Everyone is always a little nervous at the beginning of a new semester, including the instructor. Help reduce some of that anxiety by creating a video to welcome students to the class. To quote my coworker, Josh, who’s done a lot of work with video: “Sprinkle that video with tidbits about things that make you human. If your cat jumps into your lap during the recording, don’t start over or delete that part. Introduce your cat.”

You only get one chance at making that first impression with your students. Invite your students to create a welcome video, too, and post them in a discussion board to start building connections.

2. An introduction video of the course

Along with the welcome video that I create, I always record a separate video that helps introduce the course content to the students. This usually covers an overview of the syllabus, course layout in the LMS, assignments and grading policy, contact information, important dates, and possibly a walkthrough of a specific learning module. I try and cover only the most important topics and not the fine details because I don’t want to overwhelm them when everything is brand new. Ease into it and allow the fine details to present itself when it’s time.

3. Consistent weekly updates and reminders

Build online courses with weekly video updates Whether I like it or not, this class is not the only important thing happening in my students’ lives. They may be taking other classes, have a full or part-time job, family obligations, and the list goes on. One way I try to keep students focused is by posting weekly announcements about what tasks need to be completed in the upcoming week. This announcement is typically a video (screen recording and webcam) of me checking in and walking through where we currently are in the course syllabus. I will point out what assignments are due, and answer any questions from students that came up during the prior week, so that everyone is getting the same response. Even though these weekly videos are only generally between five to seven minutes (or less), it’s a great way to keep that visual connection with students in an online learning environment.

Here’s a recent tweet from a former student sharing how being consistent with updates and reminders has been helpful.

4. Guest speakers and content experts

Having field experts join us to share their experiences and answer questions is definitely beneficial to the learning. My favorite way to do this is during synchronous live chats (we have at least five each semester). This is a time to not only connect and engage with each other, but to bring in content experts to share their knowledge. Students get the unique opportunity to hear directly from individuals in their field of study. It also provides them with a different perspective on the topics we’re discussing.

5. Meaningful feedback

I’ll be honest, this is one area where I need to improve. One of the biggest assignments during the course is submitting three separate mini-literature review blog posts. Students always do a great job with these, and I enjoy reading them. My goal every semester is to provide meaningful feedback on their work, and for these written pieces I’ve tried to include spoken/video feedback as well. Here is my process:When you build online courses, use video to give meaningful feedback on student assignments

  1. 1. Take a scrolling screen capture of their blog post (I use Snagit to do this, with its easy-to-use editing tools).
    2. Use editing tools to insert brief comments and highlight specific areas of the blog to provide more detailed spoken feedback later.
    3. Record the mocked-up image with the video capture tool and share my audio and visual feedback with the student.
    4. Share the video to Screencast, Google Drive, or another favorite hosting site, and send the link to the student, along with the mocked up image capture for reference.

Above is an animated gif (blurred, to protect student privacy) to show you what the blog post capture looks like after comments were added. Here is an example screenshot (also blurred for privacy), and a screenshot of the finished video providing my audio/visual feedback.

6. Let students lead

When I first started teaching online, I had a love/hate relationship with discussion boards. I actually still do in a way, but as I build online courses I’ve tried to make improvements to make them more meaningful and engaging. One thing I’ve tried is to require students to moderate a weekly discussion during the semester. These typically cover a chapter or two of the textbook, and students are each responsible for deciding how the chat is run. They will make the first post during their designated week, and will help guide and encourage the conversation.

Instead of having the discussion board last an entire week, I’ve tried targeting a few days (i.e. Wednesday – Friday) when everyone should be participating. This has definitely helped deter the typical ‘wait until the last day and post something’ tendency that has contributed to the love/hate relationship. It has also given the students a chance to experience moderating, or leading a discussion board instead of only participating. I’m always looking for more ways to improve the discussion board experience, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments below. Thank you in advance.

7. Participate in learning

One thing is for sure, and that is learning is constant. I think the best thing I can do for my students is to participate and support them in the learning process. I try and do this by staying active in our discussion boards, asking questions, and commenting on individual posts by students. When students email me questions, I often share the question and response (usually in a quick video) with everyone in the class, if they can all benefit from it. This also helps avoid getting asked the same questions multiple times. We learn together and all try to improve and grow for the next opportunity ahead.

Thank you for reading and I hope you found useful information to help build online courses. Reach out any time if I can help you, or if you have any advice for me. I will always welcome it.

 

Author

Ryan Eash

Ryan designs, implements, and maintains curriculum that helps educators create images and videos. An adjunct at Lenoir-Rhyne University, he teaches a fully online course in the Online Teaching and Instructional Design program. Prior to joining TechSmith in 2007, Ryan received his bachelor’s in elementary education from Indiana University, his master’s in instructional technology and design from East Carolina University, and taught for 10 years in elementary through higher education.

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