Monthly Archives: November 2012

CSUN’s Connected Professor

Ellis Godard is only a click away. This professor uses a variety of platforms to connect with his students — eight e-mail accounts, three phone numbers, and 16 online resources, all of which feed into his Android phone.

His goal is to minimize the distance students might feel when they are away from the classroom environment.

“In the past, students had to come only when I was available, the time before or after a class when they were taking another class or on a different day when they were working or unavailable or living somewhere far away. And now they can contact me 24/7 through whatever means they want,” he said.

It helps that for Godard, sleep is overrated. The CSUN assistant professor of Sociology gets about six hours, on a good night.

“I can’t imagine trying to write during the day because I know that students will IM and e-mail and call,” he said, adding that his most productive hours tend to be from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., when most students are not trying to get in touch with him.

Godard has always been an early adopter, eager to experiment with different types of technology and platforms. That interest started in the early 1980s when when he got his first computer.

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Biology Professor Sings Lectures to Help Students Learn

Try as you might, but you aren’t likely to forget the chorus of your favorite ditty.  Similarly, students in Cheryl Van Buskirk’s class won’t forget the content of their biology lessons, even if they try.

Especially because they spend some of their class time singing it.

As a postdoctoral fellow working in a large laboratory, Van Buskirk started writing songs on her guitar to perform for colleagues at their farewell parties.  The songs were about their research projects, and often contained rhyming biology terminology.

“I did this for a friend of mine, and was surprised how much people loved to listen to these songs,” she says. “I thought to myself, maybe I should try to incorporate that into teaching.”
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Expanded USU Computer Lab Benefits Students

Students now have expanded access to computers and printers thanks to a popular service provided by the University Student Union Computer Lab.

Students can already use printers in the Oviatt Library by purchasing a $5 debit card and paying 10 cents per page.  Starting this semester, the USU Computer Lab has significantly expanded the number of computers and offers students the ability to print up to 20 pages per day at no additional charge.

The new lab—located in the USU just west of the Student Recreation Center—was unveiled in August and replaces the one previously located in the Sol Center.

Year of the MOOC

The New York Times brings us an article today called The Year of the MOOC, which pretty much sums it up.  Yes, there is hype, but there is also a lot of substance behind these Massively Open Online Courses and what they offer to students.