How to be Successful in Grad School

I spent a lot of time in grad school (with the loans to prove it), and I’ve been teaching exclusively grad students for the last 5 years. So, I fancy myself somewhat of an expert on how to be successful in grad school. Now that the new academic year is almost upon us, here are some tips for getting the most out of your grad school experience:

Why I don’t lecture

As a professor in the MAT@USC program, I occasionally get a question from a student that goes something like this:

“I enrolled in this program so that I could learn from the top-notch USC faculty. So why am I spending most of my time talking to my classmates instead of listening to YOU tell us what is important for us to learn?”
I appreciate it when a student asks this question, because I think it takes guts to speak up when you think a learning experience isn’t working for you, or isn’t being productive. I think it is an important question to ask. WHY, when I have a very expensive and hard-earned set of letters after my name, would I sit back and let my students teach each other? Why am I not bestowing this wisdom upon them? How are they getting their money’s worth out of a prestigious program from USC, when the professor isn’t the center of attention? Shouldn’t I be lecturing about Bandura and Piaget as so many of my academic predecessors have done? Lecturing is a time-honored tradition in academia, so why am I not honoring it?

5 Things I Wish People Knew About Online Learning

I’ve been teaching in a fully online setting through the MAT@USC for just about 5 years now. It’s been an amazing experience, but I still encounter the same pervasive incorrect ideas over and over from people who haven’t experienced what online learning in the 21st century looks like (or should look like). I’ve often wished that I could include on my business cards as a tagline “Online learning really isn’t what you think it is.” So, here is my list of things I wish people knew about online learning:

The most wired colleges in the US. WiFi? WiFi Not? Rankings | Unigo

WiFi? WiFi Not? Rankings | Unigo. Wifi is a wonderful thing to have, as are the myriad other tech resources that the listed schools have.  However, access to resources is not the same as having faculty and administration in all departments on board with the technological revolution.  Tech is changing the very nature in whichContinue reading “The most wired colleges in the US. WiFi? WiFi Not? Rankings | Unigo”

Beautiful Moments in the Extended Classroom

There’s a unique aspect, however, to this type of classroom. In a brick and mortar classroom, my room extends to the walls, and whatever the students can see or hear outside. In the virtual, video based classroom, though, my classroom now extends into each of their homes. Their sofas, desks, posters, cats, and children all become part of the classroom. Some professors fight this tooth and nail. They inform students that pets and children need to remain off camera, and they warn against eating or smoking (yes, smoking!) in class.

I take a different perspective. I think that, as educators, we need to embrace the elements of this extended classroom. We need to balance professionalism and comfort. Acceptance and distraction.
So how do I do this? I let students know that I have a few guidelines for online behavior: {…}