Encouraging Students to Use Research Databases

Guest contributor: Joseph Palmisano, Senior Editor at Gale, a part of Cengage Learning. As college instructors and academic librarians, you encounter it most working days: students who use free Web resources—rather than research databases—to complete course assignments. Do you ever wonder if academic research findings support your experiences? Well, let’s find out.   Based upon our survey of academic journals and trade magazines, students often demonstrate common online research behaviors. These include:

    Relying heavily on Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube, often instead of libraries’ research databases (Anderson 2011)
    Using Wikipedia because “it meets students’ needs in terms of coverage, currency, convenience and
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How Strong Are Adjuncts’ Connections with Colleagues?

Recently, we’ve been looking at a number of aspects of adjunct instructors’ teaching experiences, including the challenges of the adjunct role. Of the instructors we surveyed, 40% mentioned that “poor connections to colleagues/institution” posed a challenge to their work. Today, we look at this aspect of their experience in greater depth, and share a few ideas that may help adjuncts at your college feel more connected to their colleagues and other professionals in the field.

Do adjuncts feel connected with colleagues and other professionals?

In any professional environment, connections with colleagues can be beneficial (not to mention enjoyable). The longer you work at Read More…

Investigating the Adjunct Instructor Experience

Given that many colleges and universities are hiring greater numbers of adjunct instructors, you’re likely to be working with several in your department or at your college. In fact, you may be an adjunct instructor yourself.

Of course, all college instructors share many common joys and challenges. And yet, you’ve probably observed (or experienced for yourself) that adjunct instructors face several experiences and needs unique to their employment situation.

And at that, not all “adjuncts” are alike. Some teach courses while holding down other types of jobs in their field of expertise (e.g., nursing, law, finance, or counseling). Others take jobs as adjuncts with the hope of eventually obtaining a full-time or tenure-track position. Still others take on adjunct roles that allow them to maintain a schedule centered around other responsibilities and interests.

In our recent Spring 2015 Instructor Engagement Insights survey, we asked adjunct instructors a number of questions designed to help us better understand their experiences. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing what we’ve learned from the adjuncts who responded.

We’ll begin by looking at the number of institutions where they teach. By so doing, we can gain some insight into their teaching responsibilities and the types of challenges they may face as they manage their workloads. We’ll also offer some suggestions that will help adjuncts get the new semester off to a good start.

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Reaching the Masses: The Power of Education

Often the newest technologies reach more expensive, private schools earlier than they reach public schools or community colleges. This may leave the hard working students and instructors at these schools at a disadvantage. Cengage Learning CEO Michael Hansen answers: “What do you think the country owes to the middle class?” He believes that we are not well served if we serve to only the elite. Community colleges are the backbone of the college system. Michael explains how easily education can change someone’s life. Education is a way to bring your creativity to the world in a way that is uniquely personal to you. Read More…

Detroit Collective Impact Initiative: Our Commitment to Action

Cengage Learning recently announced its Clinton Global Initiative America Commitment, “Detroit Collective Impact – Pathway to Education & Work.” Alongside other businesses and social-service organizations, we’re committing to use our collective resources to accelerate Detroit’s recovery by implementing some of our best and most innovative educational solutions. Through the work done in this initiative, Detroiters in need can earn their high-school diploma and access valuable career training through Career Online High School (COHS). Our partners will be providing tuition assistance and onsite support services to help broaden access to the program. What’s more, learners will be surrounded Read More…

Three Cheers for Hands-On Learning (and Making)!

This past weekend, I attended the Maker Faire, held in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here, techies, engineers, artists, DIY-ers, and curious people of all ages convene to take part in an event that blends today’s high-tech tools with the enduring values of creativity, inventiveness, and hard work. If you’re into hands-on learning, it’s a great place to be! I first attended the Maker Faire a couple years ago, primarily out of curiosity. Quite simply, I wanted to know what the buzz was all about… after all, tens of thousands of people don’t just randomly show up at a fairgrounds Read More…

Teaching with Technology: Look Into the Not-So-Distant Future

Not that long ago, watches that served as telecommunications devices, holograms, and voice-controlled computers seemed like the futuristic stuff of cartoons and science fiction movies. But now, that future is upon us, with wearable tech tools like smartwatches, augmented reality apps, and “intelligent personal assistants” for your smartphone. As this technology becomes more commonplace, there’s a likelihood that you or your fellow instructors will be teaching with technology tools like these in the not-so-distant future. Furthermore, some of the software and tech tools you already use will soon be getting enhancements that can make it easier for you to bring this technology into your own classroom. Interested in Read More…

What’s the Role of the Instructor in Today’s Learning World?

If, as many say, we’re moving past the age of the “sage on the stage,” what’s the role of the instructor in today’s (physical or virtual) classroom? How can the instructor make use (and sense) of the wide variety of learning technologies and teaching strategies available? And, how can the instructor gain (or maintain) a dynamic, creative, collaborative, and—dare we say—playful learning environment for their students?

In his presentation “Education 3.0: My, Our Learning World is Changing!,” given during the Twentieth Annual Cengage Learning Computing Conference, held in March 2015, Curtis J. Bonk, professor at Indiana University, considers the role of instructors in today’s learning world. It’s an informative, fast-paced, and energetic session: watch the Microsoft Office Mix below!

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McDonald’s® Celebrates First Employee Graduate of Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School

Cengage Learning congratulates Juan Garcia, the first employee graduate of Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School. This program is being offered through a partnership of Cengage Learning and McDonald’s and its franchisees. Having moved to the United States after attending college in Mexico, Juan’s educational accomplishments weren’t recognized by our systems. He attempted to enroll in an adult school in North Hollywood, only to be placed in ESL classes. After getting frustrated with the adult schooling process of having to drive to an institution, he temporarily gave up. Juan continued working at McDonald’s, working his way up from maintenance Read More…

Three Reasons ePortfolios Matter to Today’s College Students

Job-seekers and professionals in many fields such as art, education, and advertising have long used portfolios as a means of displaying their work to prospective employers or clients.

Today, those who have studied a variety of subject areas are using digital portfolios to demonstrate their skills and their proficiency in various competencies relevant to their fields of expertise. According to our Spring 2015 Student Engagement Insights survey, 31% of college students say that their institution requires them to complete a portfolio. As more and more students, instructors, and institutions see the value of ePortfolios and their power to track progress and achievement against specific learning outcomes, we believe this number will rise.

For these reasons, and many more, Cengage Learning has partnered with Pathbrite, developers of the leading portfolio learning platform. We firmly believe that providing this resource will stand students in good stead as they seek what is a very important outcome: employment in a meaningful career. Below, we’ll explore our viewpoint in greater detail.
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