Open Access – Tips for Public Affairs Faculty

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As we celebrate International Open Access Week this week, some public affairs faculty might have questions about how to participate in the open access movement. We’ve put together some suggestions of steps you can take to explore publishing openly. Talk with Your Library Find out if your university has an open access librarian. If so, this person will be a great source of information about the open access resources at your disposal and any open access-related activities taking place at your institution. Here at the University of Minnesota, all it takes is an email to to connect with a librarian who knows open access inside and out. See If Your Institution Has an Open Access Policy and Open Access Fund Every inst... Continue reading

Special JPAE Issue: Using Technology to Support Interactive Learning

The new issue of the Journal of Public Affairs Education (JPAE) examines how technology can be used to support interactive learning in the classroom. The issue was edited by Jodi R. Sandfort, a Professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Founder and Academic Director of the Hubert Project. In her introduction to the JPAE symposium, Sandfort notes that the issue is "an invitation to recognize the potential of what the Internet age can offer our explore new teaching practices from the science of teaching and learning that will help develop astute, analytical, and compassionate public affairs professionals." The symposium showcases several ways that interactive learning has been used in higher educati... Continue reading

A Win-Win Learning Experience: Technology in the classroom

Attention spans are getting shorter, we are increasingly inundated with condensed sound bites of infotainment, positional arguments, social media shares and TED Talk style experiences. In this context, what works in and out of a classroom, to prepare students for class, to engage students, to ensure students walk away having learned something, and to create value for the student’s vocational journey? I sat down with some students to find out about their learning experiences in graduate school. I worked to get a diverse perspective of students representing different academic programs and backgrounds. I will do my best to share the biggest takeaways from our conversations. Technology has a greater potential for use in and out of the clas... Continue reading

Resource: Course on Using Open Education Resources

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Check out this online course on learning to (re)use open educational resources. General description of the course This open course will guide participants through the discovery, use and reuse of open educational resources (OER) for teaching purposes in all sectors of education. Together we will explore approaches to selecting and using materials that have been created by others, unpack the process of adaptation and discuss sharing and networking. This course will be highly attractive to both those who want to start using OER in their teaching and those who are already users but who are looking for an opportunity to create and share their own teaching resources for teaching. Learning outcomes Awareness of benefits and disadvantage... Continue reading

Building Your Portfolio for Work and Academic Pursuits

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In between classes, labs, homework and trying to stumble upon some work-life balance, have you been thinking about post-graduate life? No, I am not going to ask you "What you are going to do once you graduate?" I am going to ask you how you are going to get there? How are you going to translate these intense years of learning, of stretching, of challenges, and of accomplishments into something that a future employer, investor, or colleague can engage with and begin to understand what you are capable of? For better or worse, many jobs are filled without being listed, meaning you don’t even go through the process of formally applying. Here are some steps to help position yourself best for recruiters and for networking. 1. The most obv... Continue reading

Free Tools to Kickstart Your Multimedia Use in the Classroom

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So you’ve decided to incorporate multimedia and e-learning tools into your classroom, but where do you start? Often the first step is to figure out what information you would like to convey and what purpose the multimedia serves. Whether it’s visually representing complex information or processes, creating a short methods tutorial for your students, or simply giving your students more resources for their group work, there are a variety of resources to suit your needs. There are so many tools available online that it can be challenging to figure out which to use. Each of the tools listed below is available online at no cost and serves a different purpose: collaboration and organization, creation of infographics, video and image captur... Continue reading

New Year’s Resolution: Improve student engagement

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How often do you look around your classroom and see students on their phones or engaged in non-course related activities on their laptops? We know that students learn better when they engage more in the learning process, especially when the course content can be visualized, chunked into manageable pieces, and linked to pre-existing stories or knowledge. How can students stay engaged and more importantly, learning and mastering the topics being taught? With a classroom full of different learning styles, pre-existing knowledge, and preparation, what can be done to maximize classroom time with students? Four Ways to Student Engagement 1. Diversify how students prepare for class, instead of assigning just textbooks and journal articles,... Continue reading

Why Instructors Should Consider Incorporating Multimedia

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Multimedia learning materials offer an easy way to make graduate courses more dynamic and interactive. To effectively leverage multimedia, it’s critical for instructors to understand how these materials can benefit students. Here are a few reasons to consider introducing multimedia into your syllabus: 1. Dynamic Concepts — Not all concepts are created equally. While some are best explained orally or in writing, others may benefit from a more dynamic visual representation. Resources such as video briefs offer concise explanations of concepts that can be used to frame or introduce a topic at the start of class. 2. Engaging Students — Graduate students spend a remarkable amount of time reading textbooks and sitting in classrooms.... Continue reading

Designing Engaging Hybrid Courses for Public Affairs

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An article recently in published in the Journal of Public Affairs Education examines the role of hybrid courses in public affairs education. In the article, "Hybrid Course Design: Promoting Student Engagement and Success," Jennifer Shea and colleagues outline recommendations for course design that emphasize engagement and the development of appropriate learning experiences for students. The recommendations flow from a case study of two pilot hybrid courses at San Francisco State University. Hybrid courses are increasingly utilized in graduate education in part because they benefit students with busy schedules. While the specific format varies, hybrid courses have three common features: 1) they employ both virtual and classroom learni... Continue reading

Exploring Innovation in Teaching & Training

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With fall semester just around the corner, now is a perfect opportunity for instructors to think creatively about their upcoming courses and assignments. In his recent article “Exploring Innovation” for Hybrid Pedagogy, Michael Strawser considers the ways that instructors can leverage technology and digital multimedia in their courses to enhance student learning. Advances in technology have enabled instructors to shift from traditional classroom-centric models towards a style of teaching that emphasizes the ways that students learn in the 21st century. This shift also comes with a new set of skills that students expect to gain. Technology can address this need for active and experiential learning by providing flexibility in course sc... Continue reading