Episode PA021: Leveraging Technology to Maximize Teaching

by Jim and Beth Harger | The Professional Adjunct Podcast

On this episode, we sat down with Dr. Jean Mandernach at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference and discussed leveraging technology to maximize teaching effectiveness. We also discussed her presentation, “One Size Doesn’t Fit All” and “Pedagogy First,” a tool to help instructors select the most appropriate instructional technology for their class.

According to Dr. Mandernach, one area that adjunct faculty struggle with is time management. She discusses how using time management priorities and batching tasks will help us to be more efficient with our tasks.

“Consistently, [discussion threads and grading] account for about fifty percent of our instructional time in the online classroom.”

One way to ensure we use our time wisely is to go into our discussions with a lesson plan with clear objectives that identify all of the topics that need to be brought up either by the students or the instructor in the discussion.

Pedagogy First is a tool to help instructors select the most appropriate instructional technology for their class. You will find this tool on the website for Grand Canyon University and the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching: www.pedagogyfirst.com.

We then took a few minutes to discuss Dr. Mandernach’s presentation, “One Size Doesn’t Fit All.” When we set up our classes, we often look at our students’ learning preferences when we decide how to present material. However, Dr. Mandernach says we should be looking at our students’ lifestyle. She talks about how many students prefer video, but they do not have the time to sit and watch it. So what method do most students utilize? The answer may surprise you.

B. Jean Mandernach, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching at Grand Canyon University. Her research focuses on enhancing student learning in the online classroom through innovative instructional and assessment strategies. In addition, she has interests in the development of effective faculty evaluation models, perception of online degrees, and faculty workload considerations. Jean received her B.S. in comprehensive psychology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, an M.S. in experimental psychology from Western Illinois University and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Along with Tom Tobin and Ann Taylor, Dr. Mandernach is the co-author of Evaluating Online Teaching: Implementing Best Practices.  In this book, we read how student ratings, peer observations, & administrative evaluations align to the online medium via five use-them-now practices. Dr. Mandernach also wrote the forward to Essential Teaching Principles: A Resource Collection for Adjunct Faculty.

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