Social Media in Higher Education: here to stay (photo from mkhmarketing, available under creative commons)

Social media in teaching: picking the right tool for the job

Now that we’ve examined the arguments for using social media in the classroom, and discussed some of the practical considerations, it’s time to talk about the tools themselves. There is a befuddling array of social media tools from which an instructor could choose. Even the more web-savvy among us can be intimidated by all the choices! How should we go about identifying and selecting the right tool for the job? To make this discussion a little more straightforward, we’ll limit it to include what we would consider our “Top Ten Tools”. These are user-friendly, well-supported, free, include opportunities for information-sharing/networking, and are commonly used. Continue reading


Create interactive images with Thinglink

I just ran across a very interesting tool for creating interactive images. Thinglink is a “freemium” tool (most features are free for educators) that allows you to upload any image and add “hot spots” linked to text, websites, videos, recorded audio and much more.  I created an example for Education 627, one of McGill’s first Active Learning Classrooms. Continue reading


My farmer, my teacher

Earlier this fall I spent an afternoon in my farmers’ field digging up carrots. Yes, I am part of community supported agriculture (CSA) – this particular group is led by a couple whose farm is in the outskirts of Montreal. Every week, I enjoy deliveries of fresh, local, organic and DELICIOUS vegetables. However, this Sunday was different. Instead of bringing my canvas bags to the neighborhood drop-off point to pick up my veggies, I headed across the bridge to where the vegetables are actually grown. Continue reading

Antique typewrite

Handwritten notes vs. laptop notes: Does one method afford deeper learning than the other?

Apparently, yes.

HandwritingA study entitled The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014) compared the two methods in different experiments. Findings suggest that when tested for factual recall, student performance was about the same for both note-taking methods; however, students who took handwritten notes fared better when tested for conceptual learning. Continue reading

Higher Ed the New Normal

Is today’s university student experience different?

Edtech Magazine has a very interesting article about an infographic  that looks at the college experience then and now. Created from a number of different sources, this infographic focuses on the experience of students then and now across a number of dimensions, including cost, demographics, socioeconomic and others. From their blog:

Technology has helped foster growth in the education world, but it has also increased the workload. According to the infographic, two out of three college students today use a smartphone for school work — a capability that didn’t exist even 10 years ago, let alone 30. The data also shows that 45 percent of today’s students will take at least one online course, whereas learning in the 1980s was confined to classrooms.

Check out the infographic: Continue reading


Click record: Hi, [name]. I’ve just finished reading your paper and I’d like to give you some feedback …

Thus begins the audio recorded feedback I provide students with on their oral and written assignment drafts. When I refer to audio feedback, I mean assignment feedback I give to students in the form of an audio recording. This means of feedback is an effective and efficient alternative to providing students with handwritten comments. Continue reading

PassNote from Purdue University

PassNote: A feedback tool for improving student success

Purdue University has developed a very interesting tool (PassNote) to help streamline formative feedback to help both instructors and students. It was featured in the September issue of Educause Review Online: “PassNote: A Feedback Tool for Improving Student Success“. It is a free tool that can be used by any instructor without a login. Instructors are provided with “feedback prompts” that can be drag and dropped into a message, copied to the clipboard, and sent to students. Purdue provides a summary below: Continue reading

Discussing what matters in higher education.


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