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     Access at the Crossroads Blog

    These blog entires identify best practices to increase success for historically-underrepresented college students including excerpts from my book, Access at the CrossroadsClick here to subscribe to this blog.

    Thursday
    May262016

    Expanded 2016 Revised Directory of Apple TV Apps used for classroom and personal life

    Click on this link to download the Apple TV apps directory I use as classroom teacher and in my personal life.

     

    Disclaimer:  This document provides an overview of the Apple TV apps I have found useful as a college educator and in my personal life. After posting up this directory a few weeks ago, I have revised it with addition of more apps and reorganized it.  In the future I will only revise the directory about every six months.

    I enjoy Apple TV since I am able to watch on a large-screen with a great sound system the same content that used to be confined to my iPhone, laptop, or desktop computer.   At the University of Minnesota where I am a history professor, Apple TV is integrated into a growing number of classrooms so that students can share video content through the projection television system.  First-year students in the College of Education and Human Development receive an iPad upon arrival and use of it is integrated into many of their first-year courses.  I use the history apps to help me connect today’s events with the history topics we are studying in class. 

    Check the App Store Often

    This abridged directory contains apps that are often free and are of my interest and taste.  With additional ones being added weekly, this directory does not try to be inclusive of all of them.  A nice feature of these apps are that some will dlowload to your personal iPhone and iPad if you have set up the device to receive automatic downloads.

    Click on this link to download the Apple TV apps directory I use as classroom teacher and in my personal life.

    Thursday
    May262016

    Expanded 2016 Directory of Apple iPad apps for classroom and personal life

    Click this link to download the 2016 Directory of nearly 600 Apple iPad apps for classroom and personal life. 

    This document provides an overview of the iPads apps I have found useful as an educator and in my personal life.  Most of the apps were free, some cost a dollar or two.  I have a separate section in the directory for the apps used in my college history course as well as current history events that are also integrated into class sessions.

    Some of the Apple iPhone and Apple TV apps on those iOS devices will download to your iPad.  This automatic downloading only occurs if the iOS devices have the automatic downloading enabled through the settings of the iOS device.  I have noticed that some Apple TV apps will download to the iPad but not to the iPhone.  This may have to do with whether they can display on the smaller iPhone screen than the larger iPad.

    Features of the Apple iPad

    There are four features of the Apple iPad I find compelling in comparison with other desktop or laptop computers:

    • Due to its slim design and modest weight, mobility is a key feature.  I carry around the home and use in different places.  Rather than feeling burdened by its constant connection to the Internet through WI-FI, I use it frequently as a resource to enhance other parts of my life.
    • For me, the touch screen with the iPad is an enjoyable way to interact with the device.  This tactile interaction with the iPad is different from use of a traditional keyboard and a mouse.
    • Ease and enjoyment of reading has been increased since I can use the touch screen easily with my fingers to enlarge the image or text to increase readability and focus attention.  While the pinch and zoom feature is not available through all apps, nearly all of them allow easy increase or decrease of text size as well as changing the font and the background color of the publication.
    • The apps. With the total approaching two million to select from, there is an app for nearly everything.  While creating an app requires great skill, it has opened opportunities for many more software designers to share their applications for free or very modest cost.  The app store through Apple provides a very democratic way for people to widely share their work with others.

    Check the App Store Often

    This abridged directory contains apps that are often free and are of my interest and taste.  With additional ones being added weekly, this directory does not try to be inclusive of all of them.  You can go to the official Apple App store and use the options on the top menu bar to search all apps by name, category, and whether paid or free  I also downloaded some apps noted below that focus on identifying the newest and best apps.  I have noticed that some apps are free for the first week or two they are introduced and then they become paid only.  I think this is done to generate positive buzz and reviews in the App Store to encourage future consumers to purchase them.  I have made it a game to check out the official App Store every few days.

    Click this link to download the 2016 Directory of nearly 600 Apple iPad apps for classroom and personal life. 

    Wednesday
    May252016

    Analysis of student performance in peer led undergraduate supplements

    Gardner, L. M. (2015). Analysis of student performance in peer led undergraduate supplements. (Ph.D. Dissertation), University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.  Retrieved from https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/19159/Gardner_ku_0099D_14264_DATA_1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

    Foundations of Chemistry courses at the University of Kansas have traditionally accommodated  nearly 1,000 individual  students every year with a single course in a large lecture hall.  To develop  a more student-centered learning atmosphere, Peer Led Undergraduate Supplements (PLUS) were introduced  to  assist  students,  starting  in  the  spring  of  2010.    PLUS  was  derived  from the  more well-known Peer-Led  Team  Learning  with  modifications  to  meet  the  specific  needs  of  the university and the students.  The  yearlong  investigation  of  PLUS  Chemistry  began  in  the  fall  of  2012  to  allow  for adequate  development  of  materials  and  training  of  peer  leaders.    We  examined  the  impact  of academic achievement for students who attended PLUS sessions while controlling for high school GPA, math ACT scores, credit hours earned in high school, completion of calculus, gender, and those aspiring to bepharmacists (i.e., pre-pharmacy students).  In a least linear squares multiple regression,  PLUS  participants  performed  on  average  one  percent  higher  on  exam  scores  for Chemistry 184  and  four  tenths  of  a  percent  on  Chemistry  188  for  each  PLUS  session  attended. Pre-pharmacy  students  moderated  the  effect  of  PLUS  attendance  on  chemistry  achievement, ultimately negating any relative gain associated by attending PLUS sessions.  Evidence of gender difference was demonstrated in the Chemistry 188 model, indicating females experience a greater benefit from PLUS sessions.  Additionally,  an  item  analysis  studied  the  relationship  between  PLUS  material  to individual  items  on  exams.    The  research  discovered  that  students  who  attended  PLUS  session, answered  the  items correctly  10  to  20  percent  more  than  their  comparison  group  for  PLUS interrelated items and no difference to 10 percent for non-PLUS related items.   In summary, PLUS has a positive effect on exam performance in introductory chemistry courses at the University of Kansas. the implementation of the program in the university, particularly for the accounting faculty.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations of postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click on the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib

    Monday
    May232016

    Summary of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education History

    The following is an excerpt from my monograph, Access at the Crossroads.  The history of learning assistance and developmental education is often misunderstood and overlooked by today's policy makers.  To learn more about my publication, click on the box in the left column.  Following is my summary to the series of blog postings on the history of learning assistance and developmental education.

    Learning assistance serves a pivotal role in the history of U.S. postsecondary education. It developed a variety of approaches, and the language used to describe it has evolved. Regardless of the expressions, learning assistance bridges the gap between students’ academic preparation and expectations of college courses. It began as an embedded service by providing tutoring for all students enrolled in college during the first century of the United States. Later, the services became less embedded in the curriculum—with some students participating in learning assistance and others not. At times it has been essen­tial for supporting student enrollment and persistence to graduation, and at other times it has been rejected and stigmatized. Sometimes these different per­spectives on learning assistance have existed at the same time in different types of postsecondary institutions.

    As learning assistance approaches permitted voluntary participation or required mandatory placement, stigma sometimes emerged for those using the services. The student body can become divided: students required to partici­pate, students choosing to participate, and those who elect not to participate. The stigma issue is most pronounced for students enrolled in remedial or developmental credit courses, but credit courses are only one approach to learning assistance. Other students who did not enroll in such courses often accessed other forms of learning assistance such as tutoring, learning assistance centers, or other services. Students who use these services, however, especially those from more advantaged backgrounds, do not suffer from the same stigma. These learning assistance activities and services are perceived as supplemental or enrichment and have escaped negative stereotyping.

    A balanced review of the history places learning assistance in its proper position, operating at the crossroads of three major components of higher edu­cation: academic affairs, student affairs, and enrollment management. The next chapter ex

    My next blog posting in this series explores the scope and expression of learning assistance today. The expression of learning assistance is often quite different among different institutional types based on admissions selectivity and degrees conferred.

    Friday
    May202016

    From the horses’ mouths: Reflections on transition from peer leaders.

    Dean, B. A., Harden-Thew, K., Austin, K., & Zaccagnini, M. (2015). From the horses’ mouths: Reflections on transition from peer leaders. Unpublished manuscript. University of Wollongong. Australia. Retrieved from http://www.unistars.org/papers/STARS2015/09B.pdf

    World-wide peer learning programs support students in their transition to university. Peer leader support is distinctive, being closer to the learning experience or transition encountered. This paper explores transition into the first year of university through the reflections of peer leaders. It outlines two synergetic programs at the University of Wollongong (UOW): one supporting high school students in the early stages of transition to university (In2Uni); and the second supporting enrolled university students (PASS). Focus groups were conducted to elicit the voices of leaders reflecting on their own transition and experiences of mentoring peers through transition. The findings suggest peer leaders assist transitioning students to confront change; develop strong social networks; make connections within and across curriculum; and learn how to learn in the new academic context. It was found that peer leaders valued peer support in their own transition (or wished for it) and saw its ongoing significance for others in transition.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations of postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click on the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib

    Wednesday
    May182016

    Assessing the impact of a muilti-disciplinary Peer Led-Team Learning program on undergraduate STEM education

    Carlson, K., Celotta, D. T., Curran, E., Marcus, M., & Loe, M. (2016). Assessing the impact of a muilti-disciplinary Peer Led-Team Learning program on undergraduate STEM education. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 13(1), article 1. Retrieved from http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1570&context=jutlp.

    There has been a national call to transition away from the traditional, passive, lecture-based model of STEM education towards one that facilitates learning through active engagement and problem solving. This mixedmethods research study examines the impact of a supplemental Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) program on knowledge and skill acquisition for students in introductory biology, chemistry, calculus and applied statistics courses. Results indicate program participants reliably outperform their matched pairs in courses that emphasize quantitative reasoning. Moreover, program participants report acquiring important insights about learning, collaboration, and engagement in undergraduate STEM education. These results are consistent with previous findings on PLTL and also provide insight into the roles of course context and student population on program outcomes.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations of postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click on the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib

    Tuesday
    May172016

    2016 Apple TV App Directory

    Click this link to download the free Apple TV app directory.

    At the University of Minnesota where I am a history professor, Apple TV is integrated into a growing number of classrooms so that students can share video content through the projection television system.  First-year students in the College of Education and Human Development receive an iPad upon arrival and use of it is integrated into many of their first-year courses. 

    The Apple TV has been an underappreciated technology that Apple has significantly improved through this third-generation unit.  This annotated directory identifies the apps that I use on my Apple TV unit at home on a regular basis.  There are many other apps that I do not profile simply because they require an additional charge for their use or are not of interest.  Currently there is about 160 apps.  I remember when I purchased my first iPhone and then with the first iPad and there were a relatively small number of apps.  Now the library of Apple apps exceeds half a million.  While I don’t expect the same exponential growth for Apple TV, their library will rapidly expand. Many of these Apple TV apps are also available for use on iPhones and iPads.  If you have set up for automatic download of new apps on all your iOS devices, do not be surprised to see some of these apps appearing on other Apple devices.

    The Apple TV device allows many free Internet video sources to be accessed through home televisions.  Unless noted otherwise, all apps in this directory are free to download and use on Apple TV.  There are others (especially games) that require a small fee to download (most under $5) and may also include in-app purchases for additional features or for games to obtain more resources.  This abridged directory contains apps that are often free and frankly are of my taste.  With more than 159 apps and additional ones being added weekly, this directory does not try to be inclusive of all of them. 

    Click on this link to download the free annotated directory of Apple TV apps.