Articles that I have found myself returning to several times over the past few days. I hope that you find them interesting as well. Read on.
Tom Krieglstein shared a blog post last week featuring this Urban Speaker, an outdoor art installation by Carlos J. Gomez de Llarena. It was intended to offer an instant stage for public communication.
I shared with a colleague that having my own urban speaker, or Campus Speaker, would be quite handy as my office overlooks a major residence hall thoroughfare.
Things I would share on my Campus Speaker:
Hey, you! Walking through the landscaping! They call it a sideWALK for a reason!
Hey, you! Please use the crosswalk! You are becoming a retention risk!
Yo! You on the motorcycle! SLOW DOWN! This is a residential area!
And today I could add things like, “Congrats to the Cyclone Volleyball team for sweeping Iowa in three sets!”
What would you share on your Campus Speaker?
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Lynn O’Shaughnessy discussed the phenomenon of students voluntarily missing class and featured the Skip Class Calculator on her blog. The calculator helps a student determine the cost of missing a class based upon class meetings per week, attendance history, and upcoming exams. A cursory glance at the Skip Class tool found one factor missing; the money invested in missing a class.
Running an estimate based on the full-time cost of attendance at our university, an in-state resident student invests $53 to attend an hour of class. For non-resident students, the amount increases to $86 an hour. Miss 10% of classes for a semester and a student can easily waste a grand or more.
At an institution where student loan debt at graduation is among the highest in the nation and as electronic course attendance systems become commonplace on college campuses, skipping class is pouring money down the drain.
I never expect to see perfect work from an imperfect man. ~Alexander Hamilton
Like many institutions, my university participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to measure programs and activities that enhance student learning and personal development. The purpose of NSSE is to help identify areas to improve the undergraduate experience in and out of the classroom.
The scholarship program that I coordinate hosts a first-year seminar course each fall for the 100 recipients of the award. The course is loosely based on the University 101 model framed by John Gardner when he was at the University of South Carolina. It follows an orientation and transition format and includes community-building activities for our program. We have a large group lecture for one hour each week and students meet in recitation groups of a dozen students for a second hour weekly.
In the NSSE spirit of enhancing the course experience and engaging our students, we try to integrate fun and a bit of technology for student projects. Our latest adventure was digital storytelling. Staff and peer mentors selected random movie genres, and a student from each recitation section drew from the genre options. We shared examples of digital storytelling and creating storyboards. We suggested task assignments such as videographer, actor, writer, and film editing to help the project go more smoothly. We made certain to review campus computer labs for the appropriate editing software in advance and provided this information to students. Finally, we stocked up on sale priced Flip Camcorders and gave this assignment to students:
- Create a media project that embodies the transition to college and your first semester experience.
- Final Project: No longer than 5 minutes and must include a flash mob.
The final productions were screened during our class “Film Festival” complete with popcorn and soda. Students were encouraged to vote for “Best Picture” and create award categories to fit the projects. Winning productions were featured on our student-run cable news channel.
There were a few bumpy roads throughout the ten-week project, but overall the response and student evaluations of the project assured us that students were engaged and most importantly, community was achieved. On an unexpected side note, our first semester grade point average rose to the highest level in five years, with no change in entering student academic profile. Of course we already look forward to repeating the project with our next student cohort.
Check out the final productions and let me know what you think.