Monthly Archives: February 2013

CSUN Biology Professor Puts the Fun Back in Learning

Associate biology professor Mary-Pat Stein maintains a simple philosophy with her students: “If I’m not having fun, you’re probably not having fun, either.”

For Stein, students who enjoy what they are learning — and how they are learning it — are far more likely to retain information. So, don’t be surprised when walking by Stein’s classroom to hear singing or the use of games and innovative technology.

Stein’s inspiration for her creative teaching style started with one of her graduate school professors, whom she recalls standing on a desk and “contorting her body to mimic a molecule of DNA.” That professor’s unorthodox display piqued the interest of even the most disconnected students in her class.

Annual Report Focuses on Top Tech Trends in Higher Ed: Tablet Computers and MOOCs

Tablet computing and MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) have topped the list of  hot topics of the 2013 NMC Horizon Report, which identifies emerging technologies that will impact higher education in the coming year and beyond.

The report indicates that in the next year tablet computing “will see widespread adoption in higher education.” This news is well-timed for CSUN. Just last month at the faculty retreat, CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison introduced a potential Apple initiative that could provide opportunities for faculty and staff to use iPads in the classroom.

The report also details the challenges in higher education when adopting and integrating new technology. The lack of faculty training and the need for digital media literacy are some of the issues discussed.

The Horizon Report also highlights games and gamification and learning analytics as technologies to expect in the next two to three years while 3D-printing and wearable technology will emerge in four to five years.