Online and Nontraditional Students

News Roundup: Understanding the Needs of Online and Nontraditional Students

This week, considering the needs of online and nontraditional students, and ensuring the curriculum is relevant to students’ careers and lives.

Understanding the Needs of Adult Learners
As the population of adult learners in higher education grows, institutions and faculty search for ways to engage these nontraditional students. Laurie Quinn stresses the importance of helping adults see a return on their financial investments, suggesting that faculty consider how the needs of online and nontraditional students may differ from those of traditional students. (The Evolllution)

How One University Wants to Teach Students to Use Data
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute adopted a “data dexterity” requirement to help students learn how to use data. Kristen Bennett fulfills this requirement in her Introduction to Data Mathematics course by having students work in teams to design drugs and devise computer models to predict how different chemicals interact. (The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)

What Do Students Want Most? To Be Treated with Respect
In a survey at one institution, students requested that instructors treat them with more kindness and respect. The results led one instructor to reflect on the damaging effects of treating students with contempt and to suggest that academics work to change the culture and question their own behavior and priorities. (The Guardian)

7 Steps to Better Online Teaching
Engaging students in online courses can be daunting, Esther Kim writes. She offers strategies for motivating students in virtual online environments, such as paying attention to facial expressions, using conversational language, and making participation mandatory. (The Chronicle of Higher Education — Paywall)

From College to Life: Relevance and the Value of Higher Education
According to a new Gallup and Strada Education Network study, students who found their coursework more relevant to their work and daily life are more likely to believe they received a high-quality education. It also found a correlation between education relevance and individuals’ sense of well-being. (Gallup & Strada Education Network)

Partner News

Sacred Heart University: ACUE Panel at Faculty Institute
As a teaching institution with a goal “to achieve prominence through innovative teaching and learning while cultivating a campus community that is recognized as caring and creative,” Sacred Heart University (SHU) held its spring Faculty Institute on April 2nd, with a focus on the celebration and advancement of teaching excellence and innovation.

The agenda for the Faculty Institute included a one-hour faculty panel discussion on the learning experience that Prof. Sue Goncalves, Prof. Chris Paone, Prof. Dan Rober, and Prof. Jennifer Trudeau have had from taking ACUE’s foundations course. The panelists come from different disciplines (business, nursing, and the arts and sciences) and represent full-time and adjunct faculty. Serving as the moderator was Prof. Wendy Bjerke, one of the course facilitators, who provided background information on how the ACUE course complements ongoing faculty development efforts at SHU before the panelists offered in-depth insights they’ve gained and teaching strategies—such as the Fishbowl Technique and how to use online polling tools with large classes—they’ve learned from the course.

Thank you to Jaya Kannan, director of digital learning at SHU, for sharing the details of this event with us and to SHU for providing the photos.