Efficacy and research

On Being “Open for Learning”

Earlier this month, Cengage and Learning Objects—a Cengage business unit—announced the launch of OpenNow, “a suite of digital products for general education courses with open educational resources (OER) content.” Responses to media coverage of this new offering focused mainly on the business model, the adherence to the “5 Rs” of OER and the contributions of materials from Cengage back to the OER community. While these reactions are to be expected, they reminded me that “open” is much more than OER content and its associated implementation and business models. An open approach to education and learning also encompasses Read More…


Four Ways Going Digital Makes Humanities Courses More Enjoyable

You just heard another student say, “I’m only taking this course because I needed another Gen Ed credit to graduate.” After everything you’ve put into your course, they’re only taking it because they have to? Unfortunately, students are often unpleasantly surprised to learn that humanities courses are in their future. At most institutions, students will take at least one required humanities or social sciences course. While students may not know the intention behind such a requirement, it’s our responsibility to make sure they reap the benefits from our courses. We strive to make the content relevant while sharpening students’ critical Read More…


Holy High-Tech: One Instructor’s Journey Through Digital Evaluation

I’d love to sit here and tell you that getting here today was easy. That it all fell into place without much effort. That I was able to take a backseat and watch it all happen before my eyes. It wouldn’t be the truth, though. As is the case with most instances of success, achieving it takes time and work. You’ve seen some of the digital options available to educators. Today, there are too many to count and far too many to test, pilot, or sit through a demo of. Plus, there are many factors to consider when evaluating Read More…


Become a T-shaped Thinker like Lin Manuel Miranda

What if the story of Alexander Hamilton’s rise from an orphaned West Indian immigrant to America’s first Treasury Secretary were told in hip-hop verse? What if a multiracial cast portrayed our country’s Founders in an unconventional Broadway musical? Looking for a book to read on a vacation to Mexico in 2008, Lin Manuel Miranda picked up a copy of Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. Reading Chernow’s biography, Miranda imagined Hamilton’s story told in contemporary verse, thus forever changing the language of Broadway musicals. Miranda is a MacArthur genius grant recipient and his greatest work to date, “Hamilton,” was the 2016 Pulitzer Prize Read More…


Learn How to Break Down Digital Barriers in Art History Instruction

Teaching art history from slide carousels might be a thing of a past, but the transition into digital doesn’t have to be difficult for faculty or students. Modern-age students now expect learning to be easily accessible, interactive and align clearly with the reading materials. Introducing MindTap—where those expectations are met through an approachable learning experience in a clearly organized digital format. Art History faculty at Genesee Community College have found that MindTap helps develop a unified teaching approach between multiple faculty teaching different course sections—especially when bridging traditional and online courses. GCC has integrated MindTap into most of our Read More…


Part Five: Major in Humanities—Build on Creativity Skills

For National Arts and Humanities month, I’ve discussed some of the benefits of a major in the humanities and how to actualize these benefits in our classrooms. Writing, reading, critical thinking and digital literacy are just a few of the myriad of skills a humanities major can offer to students to prepare them for future careers and be to engaged citizens. According to Erik Brynjolfsson, director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, in-demand skills in a world of increasing automation may actually be skills best achieved with a humanities education. In an interview with NPR he Read More…


Part Four: Bring Digital Humanities to Your Classroom

Digital humanities—a phrase that’s been floating around academic blogs, conferences and publications for at least the last decade, if not longer. But incorporating digital into our classrooms to benefit our students can be tricky. Technology at times fails to work during key moments of a class—or the new digital platform that promises better learning outcomes just leads to frustration and confusion for instructors and students. However, as many of our study fields date back to before the advent of the printing press, we’re uniquely positioned to show our students the value of technologies while likewise modeling when a Read More…


Part Three: Teach Your Humanities Students to Communicate through Reading and Writing

Among the skills many college graduates are seen to lack when they enter the workforce after graduation, writing proficiency tops the list. As a First-Year writing instructor, teaching critical reading and writing is, of course, my main objective. Yet this instruction shouldn’t end for students after they’ve completed their foundational writing courses. Instructors at all levels, and in all disciplines, should reinforce and build upon this—particularly in the humanities as developing strong writers and thoughtful readers are where we can shine. Here are some quick activities you can incorporate into your courses now to help your students: Build Read More…


Part Two: Can We Teach our Students How to Teach Themselves Critical Thinking?

Before the start of term this fall, I sat through two days of professional development with colleagues from a variety of disciplines. When the facilitator asked us what we wanted our students to be able to do after leaving our classes, one phrase that came up again and again was critical thinking—we want our students to leave our classes with stronger critical thinking skills than they came in with. The facilitator pushed back, asking us what we meant by that and what it looked like in our classrooms. There was a collective pause in the room. Lots of Read More…


Part One: Why the Humanities Matter in Higher Education

Elizabeth Martin is an Instructional Specialist in the Writing Studies Department at Montclair State University in New Jersey and a staff writer for American Mircoreviews & Interviews. She received her M.F.A. from William Paterson University. Her journalism has appeared in Parsippany Life, Neighbor News and The Suburban Trends. Her creative writing has been published by Neworld Review, Hot Metal Bridge and Menacing Hedge, among others. She’s the recipient of two New Jersey Press Association awards. Currently, she’s at work on a collection of essays. Near the start of every fall semester, I cancel classes for a week to have Read More…