Beyond the Grade: Digital Badges to Certify Learning

Grades are not the only way of assessing student work. There are a number of colleges and universities that have experimented with alternative approaches to the traditional letter grade. One such college, Reed College in Oregon, provides students with more detailed feedback and assessment in addition to grades. As stated in their Guidebook, “Students’ work is closely observed and frequently evaluated by instructors; the student and adviser then discuss these evaluations in individual conferences” (Reed College, n.d., para 2). Grades are de-emphasized. More qualitative, active feedback and discussion is promoted. As the… Read More

Draft Report and Recommendations from ACPA’s Task Force on Digital Technology

The following post originally appeared on the ACPA Digital Task Force’s website.  I have been proud to serve alongside some amazing colleagues on the Task Force this year and the following represents the initial draft report of the group.  Please consider giving your feedback on the original post so we can improve it. Video from ACPA Video On Demand by Ed Cabellon and Tony Doody, Co-Chairs of the ACPA Presidential Task Force on Digital Technology On behalf of the entire ACPA Digital Task Force, we are pleased to share with you all our… Read More

Formal learning empowers the teacher. Informal Learning empowers the student.

Any of my good colleagues and friends who are doing research into college students and social/digital technology will tell you that the distinction between formal and informal learning is an important one to understand.  Small and Vorgan (2011) state that technology has ushered in “a new culture of communication—no longer dictated by time, place, or even how one looks at the moment” (Kindle Locations 1458-1459).  This liberating and democratizing force is allowing individuals to access learning and educational content with ease and in ways not previously possible.  It has also highlighted a distinction between how… Read More

5 Outcomes #PechaKucha Presentations Can Teach You

From the first ACPA PechaKucha session, to its adoption as a conference-wide event, a number of faculty have begun to utilize the presentation style as a class assignment for their students.  For a few years, I have avoided assigning this to my own students.  I thought it was just too hard.  That it required too advanced a skill set.  I’ve since changed my mind and this semester I am assigning my students a PechaKucha assignment for the first time.  As I reflected, I realized there were just too many positive outcomes associated with the… Read More

100 Professionals Answer “Why They Choose Student Affairs” As A Career #CSAM15

In honor of Careers in Student Affairs Month (CSAM), I asked my colleagues to complete the following sentence: I received approximately 100 responses.  Doing a back-of-the-napkin qualitative coding and analysis for themes (completely non-scientific on a non-scientific sample), the chart below represents the most common responses.  Not surprisingly, “learning and growth” and “making positive change” rose to the top.  As a helping profession, one would hope to see this occur.  Many respondents explicitly reported they are motivated by wanting to help our most vulnerable student populations.  Interestingly, the theme of “pay it forward” appeared… Read More