In my twenty-plus years of teaching in higher education, I have seen a shift from strictly face-to-face classes and the straight lecture mode to hybrid and online courses, and the use of case study and group/team work teaching methods. These shifts have reflected advances in society's use of technology, the tech savvy of our students and faculty, and demands of employers for better prepared graduates.
While much research on learning styles and the use of technology has occurred over the past two decades, it is often published in journals that may not be accessible to frantic, overworked higher education faculty members dealing with the baby boomlet, rising enrollments and larger class sizes. The purpose of this blog is to begin an ongoing conversation with other instructors about the impact of technology and learning styles on the teaching and learning experience. I will bring articles that relate to the dialogue to the blog and discuss them. I welcome your articles and comments, too. While my area of expertise is health care management, my intent is to make this discussion one that will be useful to faculty of all disciplines. Whether you are teaching philosophy, nursing or health care administration, the teaching/learning experience is the heart of the classroom, whether face-to-face or fully online.
In November 2010, I posted a blog titled, "Teaching as a Contact Sport," in which I described my teaching philosophy. In that post, I suggested, first and foremost, teaching/learning is not a solo sport; it is a team effort--a contact sport. An article by Sprinkle (2009) addressed the question, "Who actually bears the burden of learning?" The author investigated student perceptions of educator effectiveness among thirty-two (32) graduate students in a face-to-face classroom. Sprinkle found the "most effective educators exhibited humor, compassion, had a PhD, rather than a master's degree, an interest outside of class in students, were enthusiastic, had real-life practice experience, were empathetic, used hands-on activities in class, awarded few F's and many A's" (Sprinkle 2009, paragraph 19). The author also found male students preferred male professors, female students preferred female professors, younger students preferred younger professors, and older students preferred older faculty with real world experiences.