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  • January 2012
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No More Best Practices

Those of us engaged in e-Education have a difficult time using various terms and words consistently and accurately. Therefore, we have a Best Practices Highway Sign - Next Exithard time communicating with others and they have a hard time understanding what the heck we’re talking about.

My term for today is “best practices.” It sort of makes me crazy every time I hear this because the practices are not always very good, let alone the BEST!! “Best practices” seems to be very egotistical and most likely just dead wrong. During many of my presentations I’ve made a remark something like this: “Every time I hear the phrase ‘best practices,’ I flip a little switch in my brain that converts the phrase into ‘practices that don’t totally suck out loud.’” That’s very different from “best,” and certainly more accurate.

Unfortunately, some people don’t like it when I use my favorite word (suck), so I’ve been trying to curb that urge.  For a while I found myself saying “good practices,” but that also bugs me, although a bit less than “best.” I always feel as though I’m comparing appliances at Sears – Good, Better, Best (I have no idea if they still do that, but they did about 40 years ago).

From this point forward, I am going to try to use the term “effective practices.” Unless, of course, the practices haven’t been effective and Best Practices Road Sign - Turn Around, you missed them completely.then I’ll call them something else. Effective practices sends me the message that these practices or methods have been tried and been found to be useful or worthwhile. Doesn’t say they’re the most effective; just that they have been at least somewhat effective. Also indicates that there can be several different practices that are effective, but there should only be ONE best – and I doubt that anyone has discovered that one just yet. Especially in an emerging field such as e-Education. But just in case you are the best, and you’ve discovered the best practice: More Power to Ya!!

Now let’s continue to document, to share, and to celebrate our effective practices.

(Graphics are my own. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.)

Adjunct Appreciation Dinner at SC4

I had the pleasure of presenting at the annual Adjunct Appreciation Dinner at St. Clair County Community College (SC4) in Port Huron, MI. This is both an appreciation dinner and a night of professional development for the adjunct instructors at the college.

My topic was Myths and Realities of Teaching with Technology. I’ll post the slides soon, but here are most of the links that I referred to during the address.

1) My Excellence in e-Education site:  http://xlents.com

2) Infographic that says 90% of faculty are using social media in courses they’re teaching (which I don’t believe)
Source: http://www.seo.com/blog/internet-changed-education-infographic/
Same source for Wikipedia/library use by students

3) Pearson Learning (& Babson Group) paper on faculty use of social media:
http://www.pearsonlearningsolutions.com/educators/pearson-social-media-survey-2011-bw.pdf  (PDF)

4) One of many articles related to the myth of learning styles:
http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=2070611

5) Infographic on text messaging:  http://www.mbaonline.com/planet-text/

6) Another infographic on texting:  http://cellphones.org/blog/facts-about-text-messaging

7) Broadtexter groups for safe texting w/students:  http://broadtexter.com

8) Remind 101 site for safe texting w/students:  http://remind101.com

9) ECAR Natuonal Study of Undergraduate Students and I.T. – http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERS1103/ERS1103W.pdf  (PDF)

10) Wi-fi.org research on college students and wi-fi:  http://goo.gl/Eg5kp

11) Wi-fi research study reported in ComputerWorld – http://goo.gl/Fh2F2

12) Brain Rules book site – http://www.brainrules.net/  see chapter 4 about multi-tasking (task-switching)

13) Digital Net-Gennials (whatever) – so many sources, so little time. Try these two.
Net Gen Skeptic (blog w/lots of research cited) – http://www.netgenskeptic.com/
Digital Natives – 10 Years After (JOLT) – http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no4/koutropoulos_1211.htm

14) Broadband penetration:    http://www.websiteoptimization.com/bw/1107/

15) SOPA: hundreds of articles. Try these:
http://lifehacker.com/5860205/all-about-sopa-the-bill-thats-going-to-cripple-your-internet
http://edudemic.com/2011/12/sopa-guide/

16) Online Student Satisfaction data (my previous school) http://studentsatisfaction.wordpress.com/