The National Teaching & Learning Forum

Cover image for Vol. 25 Issue 4

Online ISSN: 2166-3327

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James Rhem, Executive Editor

Editor James RhemHaving felt a passion for teaching for as long as he can remember, James Rhem, creator and executive editor of The National Teaching & Learning Forum, describes teaching and learning as sacramental acts. He was pursuing post-doctoral studies when the opportunity to have a wider influence on the teaching community opened and he began creating publications on teaching for higher education. After founding four newsletters, including the popular Teaching Professor, he founded The National Teaching & Learning Forum in 1990. Rhem is also active as a speaker, offering a humanities perspectives on teaching.

Editor's Note, Volume 25 Number 3

March 2016

The current issue of The National Teaching & Learning FORUM opens like a field of daffodils in springtime. One bright, encouraging article after another affirms the importance of teaching and learning and offers new ideas, insights and encouragement to winter/career weary faculty.

The issue opens with a piece called A Curriculum of Things: Exploring an Object-Oriented Pedagogy by Randy Laist of Goodwin College. Working with his school's archive Laist came to find that a nineteenth-century Japanese tea set, an elephant tusk carved with images of the middle passage, a letter written in Braille to Helen Keller, a jar of acorns collected from Connecticut’s legendary Charter Oak all awakened significant paths of learning for students. The resonance of objects spawns remarkable forms of motivation.

And article called PSP: Public Sphere Pedagogy reports on an innovative outreach by CSU-Chico, an outreach invited by city officials, brings town and gown together in significant debate and discussion about issues of importance to all. Students's semester-long research fuels the encounters and sets fire to wide-spread learning on both the Chico campus and the campuses of a number of nearby schools.

Both these pieces indirectly offer insights into that long-standing puzzle of student motivation. Marilla Svinicki'sAD REM . . . column looks at one aspect of that puzzle head on in examining the effect of goal-setting. Which inspires more learning: when faculty set the goals or when students set their own? It turns out faculty in the UK have a perspective different from the dominant one in the US. To delve into the British perspective, this issue includes a provocative essay by Graham Gibbs on the importance of self-assessment in student learning.

There's more: Are you under pressure to quantify and document improvement in teaching and learning? Who isn't? Ed Nuhfer'sDEVELOPER'S DIARY column explores some dicey points in "numeracy" and the misleading turns some popular graphic conventions invite, turns toward inaccurate conclusions from even the best data.

A FIELD REPORT on the NTLF Residency at Georgia Southern University last March and an account of a deeply moving class discussion on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Round out this bright springtime offering.

James Rhem, Executive Editor

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