Wang de Ping: Chinese University
On January 24th, Wang de Ping, a professor at Shandong University in Weihai, China, presented on the Chinese higher educational system. Ping is currently a visiting professor at UNK teaching Chinese in the department of Modern Languages. Her experiences as an educator in both the Chinese and American systems provided an excellent vantage from which to compare the educational systems. “The Chinese and American systems are similar in that China also has primary education (1st-5th grades), secondary education (6th-12th grades) and higher educational systems”, said de Ping.
However, DePing was quick to note that the Chinese system relies heavily on standardized exams throughout elementary and secondary education. Student’s educational future, beyond secondary education, is entirely determined by one, standardized entry exam. These exams are of paramount importance to the students and their families. “It is not uncommon for parents to block the streets around the testing centers to provide an environment free from distraction for their children”, said de Ping.
The standing room only crowd at this CTE event was also amazed by the far reach of the jurisdiction of the Chinese Communist Party into higher education and the faculty selection process in which “good ideology and moral character” were considerations in the hiring process.
The road to becoming a full professor is also vastly different from that of their American counterparts. Chinese professors must pass an intensive Mandarin Chinese language exam. They must also receive an approval rating of at least 90% from their students. Furthermore they must have been published at least three times in three different journals or have published at least 200,000 words to be promoted to full professor.
Students go through a no less rigorous process in earning their degree. Each day starts bright and early with morning exercise at 6:30. The students will then eat breakfast before taking two classes. Then for an hour and a half over mid-day the students will eat lunch and return to their rooms for “nap-time”. They will then return for two more classes in the afternoon, eat, and study until 10:30 at which time the lights go out.
“But not just the lights in the dormitories go out. All campus lights go out which means the students must get enough sleep for the upcoming day”, said de Ping.
The schedule affords little space for personal time, and the schedule certainly is more regimental than that of most American students. The cost of education, is, however, considerably lower than that for American counterparts. Average tuition for Chinese students is between 3,000 and 8,000 Chinese Yuan ($386-1031). Room and board is also considerably cheaper, between 800 to 1200 Chinese Yuan ($103-151). In fact, until lately, all Chinese education was complete subsidized. De Ping made the point that only in the last 10-15 years have students been required to pay for any of their education.
The low tuition is all the more remarkable considering the total enrollment in higher education in China is 23 million people compared with just over 16 million in the United States.
Faculty and professors were interested to learn about salaries and compensation. By American standards compensation is very low. Assistant professors make about 1,800 Yuan ($232) per month. Full professors can make up to 4000 Yuan ($515) per month. However, professors do get full benefits and a housing allowance. In addition the government allows for several bonuses and holiday pay. Furthermore, by Chinese standards, where the average Chinese person earns about 915 Yuan ($117) per month, educators are paid relatively well.
You can access the full audio and Power Point presentation by Wang de Ping on the CTE podcast site at: http://www.lopers.net/weblog/cte/
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Podcasting: A Teaching Tool
It might have been cold outside, however you wouldn’t have known it by looking at the featured speaker on February 15th, Cal Garbin. Garbin, professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, presented to a full room of professors and staff in the warmest pair of shorts that could be found in the second month of the year.
Despite the unusual attire, Garbin’s presentation entertained the participants with the successes and failures of podcasting. Garbin was quick to point out that technology has always been looked upon with skepticism in the world of academia.
“The first piece of questioned technology was actually the textbook. It was thought at the time that scholars should only read scholarly materials, not watered down versions suited for students,” said Garbin.
Since then, new technologies such as the typewriter, calculator and computer have all been seen by some people as the downfall of modern education. As Garbin’s presentation showed, these tools can become very useful in the modern classroom.
Garbin’s research focused primarily on his mid level Psychology 350 class which typically has about 125 students. This class, which focuses on research and research methods was an excellent candidate for the study, commented Garbin, because of its role in curriculum. Instead of being a “weeding out” or “enrichment class”, it was a class Garbin said was necessary for conversation in that particular field.
“Some classes are not well suited for podcasting. Some classes should not be offered in this forum. Careful attention should be given to the curriculum to ensure that podcasting is used for only the correct types of classes”, said Garbin.
Garbin also emphasized the lack of need for recording entire lectures. Recording and maintaining that much material becomes cumbersome. Garbin focuses on specific problems and specific ideas in his podcasting and then whittles them into sound bites the students can use.
“I will usually dot my powerpoints to indicate places where I should begin and end recording so that I will know going in what I want to put into my podcasts,” said Garbin.
Interestingly class participation did not suffer because of podcasting. Garbin discovered that students who weren’t going to come to class probably weren’t coming regardless of whether or not it was a podcasting course. In addition Garbin found it was the good students, not the poor students who most likely missed classes with podcasting.
Garbin also discovered test scores rose considerably when he implemented the podcasting technology. It seemed the students could use their time more wisely and extract only the necessary information without having to wade through countless hours of unnecessary information. This specified learning is typical of podcasting, according to Garbin.
Garbin emphasized the important role of the professor/student relationship and how it is not enhanced nor diminished by podcasting. The students still like to feel they are appreciated by their professors and that is a great motivator of learning.
“Some students even went so far as to say they attended class because they knew [I] spent a lot of time preparing for the class, so the least they could do is come and participate,” said Garbin.
The future of technology is limitless. Garbin is certain that in the future teachers will utilize more videocasting techniques in the education. He even said there is software available which utilizes new artificial intelligence technology to cater to the students’ needs. Though it is expensive and as yet, out of reach, the time is coming when it will be much more manageable.
Hear all of Garbin’s presentations and see the powerpoint by navigating to the following link:
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Building and Maintaining Motivation in the Online Classroom
Presented by Errol Craig Sull
With a fast-growing online education market, getting students to initially sign-up for distance learning courses is not a problem. But once in the online classroom, keeping the students excited and motivated throughout the course can be a totally different situation. Many students don’t fully understand the discipline and time needed to successfully complete an online course, which means that in addition to being content experts, online instructors must play the role of the motivator and couch.
The instructor, the subject taught, and the online environment are not nearly enough to keep students excited, involved, or eager. Rather, small tweaks added “unusuals”, and a determined effort on the professor’s part are required – and the long-term payoffs in class motivation will be the result.
The session, taught by Errol Craig Sull outlined what instructors could do to help their students succeed. Errol has taught online courses for more than 10 years and is currently Composition Instructor with Excelsior College. He has developed online teaching activities that are in sue at more than 200 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada and was the 2005 recipient of the Dell “Teacher of Excellence” award. Errol is a nationally recognized authority on developing and maintaining motivation with online students and a columnist for Online Classroom.
Some ideas presented by Errol on student motivation include:
- Using a few strokes of the keyboard to express engagement in the course
- Using outside resources to bring sizzle to the subject
- Using other students to add excitement to the course
- Mastering “the language of motivation” so it seeps into the class
- Integrating the students’ lives into the course
- Taking students’ excuses and turning them into valuable lessons
- Turning the strange and unusual into motivating techniques
- Create ownership of the material within the students
- Hone in on each students to create a class of fanatics
View the complete online course as well as gain access to resources at:
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Platte Valley Assessment Conference Set
The Platte Valley Assessment Conference has been set for April 20th at the Nebraskan Student Union from 8 am to 4 pm. This year’s conference is entitled, “Using Assessment Data to Bring About Change”, and will focus on the various strategies in assessment used to improve student outcomes.
The conference boasts presenters from all over the state including Dana College, Union College, Doane as well as presenters from the UNK departments of psychology, business and technology, ITEC as well as several others. Several posters will be presented, by UNK faculty and students.
The keynote speaker is scheduled to be Dr. Maureen McCarthy, professor of psychology at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. Her presentation is entitled Attributes of High Quality Programs: A Developmental Framework for Program Assessment and will cover eight essential factors of program review.
There still is time to register for the conference. Anyone interested in presenting at the conference is encouraged to apply. All requests can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. The following is a link to an up to date schedule.
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Spring 2007 Calendar
02/23, 11:00-12:30 Communications Building 243
Issues with Group Level Measurement, Dr. Katherine Klein, University of Pennsylvania
03/07, 3:00-4:00 Nebraskan Student Union Room 310
Multidimensional Assessment: Meaningful Classroom Assessments
Models of General Education
03/23, 11:00-12:30 Communications Building Room 243
Item Response Theory, Dr. Neal Schmitt, Michigan State University.
04/20, 8:00 - 5:00 Nebraskan Student Union
Platte Valley Assessment Conference
04/20, 11:00-12:30 Communications Building 243
Longitudinal Data Analysis, Dr Robert Ployhart, University of South Carolina
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