May 10

End of Semester & Graduation

Below is Steven Levitan’s commencement address at the University of Wisconsin in 2017.  In it, this Emmy-winning creator of the  show “Modern Family” imparts wisdom, stories of his college days at Wisconsin, and plenty of humor.

In this 20 minute video, Steven passes on five pieces of wisdom to the graduating class (You will have to watch to get the explanation of each point):

  1. Roll the dice in your 20’s
  2. Succeed or fail on your own terms
  3. It’s hard to fail ten times in a row
  4. Be calm in a crisis
  5. It’s hard to live up to your potential when you don’t like what you do

Well, you made it through another school year!  Have a great summer and thanks for subscribing the the FLC!  (Faculty Learning Corner).  I will see you in the Fall!!!

May 03

Late Work from Students?

Do you accept late work from your students?

Here is a very recent Facebook Post from a former professor of mine:

“Cue that point in the semester where students who neglected to hand in assignments for the past 13.5 weeks want to know what they can do in the next 10 days to get an A. 🙄”

So what do you think?  Should a student turn in all assignments on time, teaching them a valuable lesson of deadlines?  Or should they be able to turn assignments in late so they can show mastery in the subject?

Is work rushed and not as polished if hard deadlines are kept?  Are students complacent if they don’t have deadlines?

I want to know what you think.  Please take part in this poll, and in the comment section, let me know why you gave your answer (and give an example if you have one).

I’m looking forward to seeing your response!

Apr 27

Want to do some Computer Coding?

Have you ever thought how great it would be if your skill set included computer coding?  For adults, the process of learning these skills usually takes time, access, and money.  Google has eliminated these barriers with a new app called Grasshopper!  This is a beginning coding program where you can learn to do computer coding in a fun way using an interactive app.  You work at your own pace, it can be done on your smartphone, and it’s free!!

You will learn beginning coding, using JavaScript programming language, with this app.  When you are done you will “graduate” with fundamental skills that will enable you to move forward in your “coding adventure.”

Here’s what to expect when you download the app:

  • The Fundamentals – How code works, calling functions, variables, strings, for loops, arrays, conditionals, operators, objects, and how all these things work together.
  • Animations I – Drawing shapes using the popular D3 library, defining functions, callback functions, and animations.
  • Animations II – Creating more complex functions using D3 and the topics from The Fundamentals course.

The app is free and is available for Android and iOS –

Have fun learning to code!!

Apr 20

Open Educational Resources

Have you thought about how great it would be to convert your class from commercial textbooks to “OERs” or Open Educational Resources?

Take a look at this 3-1/2 minute video to see what students think of text books and the cost associated with them.

“Educators using OERs also report increased levels of student engagement and retention. Nearly 70% of educators in an OER Research Survey reported an increase in learner engagement, interest, and satisfaction. Tidewater Community College in Virginia saw higher retention rates and lower student withdrawals after utilizing OERs.”  (

But how do you find the right OERs for your class and situation?  The answer is as close as your library!

Here is a link resource to the “Alt Textbook” project for UAS.  The Egan Library has many resources and the knowledge to help you with OERs.

Contact the Egan Library for more information and tips on converting your class.

Apr 13

How Do We Learn

In looking for meaningful learning we have to remember that it is the brain that gives us the mental models needed for understanding.  When we recognize the brains role, we will be in a better place to help students grasp and master the lessons we give them.  Cognitive learning is a huge subject, so expect more FLC posts on this subject as we breakdown the brains role in the process.

Until then, enjoy this 6 minute Ted Talk “teaser” on the subject of cognitive learning.

Apr 06

It’s Friday!

Has it been a long week?  Well, I thought I’d finally add a “Fried Friday” post to the Faculty Learning Corner.  Have a great weekend, and dance like no one is watching!!!

Mar 30

Happy April Fool’s Day

April 1st is here this weekend, and that mean’s it’s April Fool’s Day.  Being a baseball fan in the 80’s I was totally fooled by Sport’s Illustrated’s story of Sidd Finch, who could throw a baseball over 160 mph, with a boot on one foot, and the other barefooted.  Drafted by the New York Met’s, and unknown to anyone else, this young man was going to single-handedly change baseball, except for one problem…he wasn’t real.

If you are a fan of good April Fool’s jokes, there is a website that lists 100 of the greatest pranks and hoaxes.  I’m happy to say that Sitka’s own Oliver “Porky” Bickar, made the list at #3 for the 1974 Mt. Edgecumbe volcano eruption prank.  Read about it here:

And just to keep the tie to education, here is a fantastic April Fool’s presentation by Matthew Weathers at Biola University in Los Angeles County, California.

Do you have a favorite April Fool’s Joke?  Share it in the comments!

Mar 23


Motivation is a critical, yet somewhat unknown component in successful teaching.  Although this video is geared toward corporate organizations, there are many interesting points that can be applied to education.  The video narrated by Dan Pink is 11 minute video long.

Important points from the video

  • When Rudimentary Cognitive Skill is needed, a larger reward leads to poorer performance
  • Incentives can have an opposite effect than expected – Students concentrating on grades will do worse than those concentrating on subject matter.
  • 3 Factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction are:
    • Autonomy – Self Direction
    • Mastery – We like to get better at stuff
    • Purpose – We are animated and driven by what we do

When motivating students, you want to avoid “extrinsic” motivators such as rewards, and make sure they are not concentrating on grades, scholarships, or the brownies that have been brought in to reward students.

Instead use “intrinsic” motivators, such as making lessons as interesting as possible, and helping students to feel good about what they are learning.  Humor in the classroom will go further to motivate a student than donuts!

Go ahead and comment and tell us what you do in the classroom to motivate students!!

Mar 15

St. Patrick Video

This Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day, which we may think of as a day of parades and green beer.  But do you know the story of St. Patrick?  To tell the story, I’ve chosen a video (below).  This method of delivery is not only fun, but also helps to demonstrate multimedia learning with video!

Not only is animation an attractive way of teaching a lesson online, it is also engaging to the student.   There are four features of video hat help make it a good choice for on-line learning:

  1. Technological Infrastructure – Easy to edit and annotate, and allows students to pause, fast forward, and rewind at their convenience.
  2. Video Content – Content can highlight best practices, and has the ability to illustrate “complex teaching dilemmas” in which students can then do further analysis.
  3. Task Structure – Potential for learning revolves around teacher interaction and understanding of the videos used.  Can be used to enhance, recall, and deepen understanding of the topic, or as a basis for problem solving.
  4. Social Structure – Video can be used as a basis for online class participation, as the teacher creates social structure using video as a catalyst for discussion.

Video supports learning and helps students to acquire knowledge and support new skills.  It can also illustrate class activities and interactions, and does so in an engaging and positive way.

That being said, you now have the chance to find out more about St. Patrick.  Enjoy the video, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Mar 02

‘Ask Me’

As we look at student needs, it is important to remember that we grow through diversity, and every student has an important contribution to make.  Title IX policy’s are in place to protect students from discrimination, but we shouldn’t follow these policies because they’re the rule, we should follow them because it is absolutely the right thing to do.  The following 12 minute video is from The Chronicle of Higher Education, originally published in September 2015.  Please take the time to watch, and thank you for helping every student feel welcome!

Link to article and video:  Ask-Me-What-LGBTQ-Students Want Their Professors to Know


  • Ask them how they identify
  • Ask them about respect
  • Ask them if they feel safe
  • Ask them about LGBTQ resources
  • Ask them what gets them excited to learn
  • Ask them who they are