Whether you’re traveling or staying put on the couch during the winter break, the holidays are always a great time for catching up on some great reading or viewing!  Here are some of the Faculty Commons’ recommendations to keep your brain limber this December!

Average Reading Time: 2 minutes

#1 : What’s up with how students are consuming and evaluating news?  A new report from Project Information Literacy sheds some light and provides some teaching recommendations.  

At the library, we are often asked about strategies to help students engage with the news in thoughtful and critical ways. So, we were excited when Project Information Literacy released the results of a national study which explores how students interact with the vast and polarized news landscape. The report highlights the multimodal nature of students’ news consumption, their respect for the necessity of the press in a democracy, and the impact of fake news: more than a third of the respondents indicated that fake news left them feeling distrustful of any news. In response to these and several other takeaways, the report offers practical advice for educators.  Recommendations include helping students to gain a sense of agency when evaluating news by helping them to focus on content (quotations, figures, methodology) over format (e.g. .org website vs. book), encourage these skills early and often in a course, and incorporate news discussions to allow students to practice framing questions and investigating the context of a story beyond the news headlines. Don’t have time to read the report?   Watch this brief video which captures the main research takeaways.


#2 : Stream an awesome documentary from the Media Education Foundation

The Media Education Foundation (MEF) produces and distributes documentary films to inspire critical thinking about the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media with a special focus on representations of gender and race, and the effect these representations have on identity and culture.  The Film & Video Collection at Morris Library has long provided access to high-quality MEF titles such as the Killing Us Softly series, Tough Guise, and The Codes of Gender on DVD. But did you know that you and your students can also view MEF’s offerings online? Explore over 10,000 minutes of content in 150+ videos.  Access these titles as eVideos through DELCAT Discovery, or explore this database (and other streaming media collections to which the Library subscribes) directly via the Library’s Streaming Media Guide.

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#3 : Learn about the science behind why some teaching strategies work (and others don’t).

Hot off the presses this month is a book that answers a question that many of us who’ve had success in teaching have wondered about: Why do some things I do in my class really work, and others don’t? In How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective Teaching (ISBN: 978-1-946684-64-6) Joshua Eyler (Rice University) documents how people learn through five topics: curiosity, sociality, emotion, authenticity, and failure. Josh spent 5 years researching and writing this book. How do we know that? We asked him! Read our recent interview with Josh when Rose caught up with him at a conference.


#4 : Get a head-start on prepping for the 2019 Summer Institute on Teaching by reading the newly released book by one of our keynote speakers!

If you’re not familiar with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) yet, winter break is a great time to get started with Thomas Tobin and Kirsten Behling’s Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (ISBN 978-1-946684-60-8). Tobin and Behling introduce you to the science behind UDL while also providing you with short, medium, and long-term planning exercises for implementation. If you hold on to your copy for a few months, you can ask Tobin to autograph it when he comes to deliver one of our two keynotes at the Summer Institute on Teaching (June 5-6, 2019)


#5 : Getting ready to teach online? Wondering how you can make the most of the online educational environment? (And you are a super overachiever?!)

Our second keynote speaker for the Summer Institute on Teaching, Michelle Miller, is the author of Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology (ISBN: 978-0674660021). In this book, she grounds approaches to teaching online in current research in neuroscience and psychology. Since it came out in 2016, this book has been generating quite the buzz. Miller is a professor of Psychology at Northern Arizona University, so she’s been able to use her own experience to create a book that speaks to faculty needs. If you’ve ever thought about teaching online, or want to learn how to do so more effectively, this is a must-read.


#6 : Understand the science of good feedback–how to give it and how to use it.

With course evaluations on your mind this time of year, you might be a little skittish to think about feedback systematically. But learning how to give effective feedback is a big challenge–and not just for our students. That’s why we’d suggest checking out Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (ISBN-13: 978-0143127130). The book frames effective feedback within the context of relationships and responsibility. While it is not specifically aimed at higher education, there are lots of actionable tips and strategies that you (and your students) might find helpful in the course of group work and projects, mid-semester feedback, and even in generating course evaluations. If you’ve read it and want to hear what your colleagues have to say, this book will be featured in a Faculty Commons Book Club in the Spring!

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