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The latest—announcements, updates, articles & more—from the CTLE


Online Education Getting Better, Way Better

In the frantic days leading to the first day of classes, I missed a New York Times article about a recent report commissioned by the Department of Education that found, “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

The report is a meta-analysis of 99 research studies conducted between 1996 and 2008. Unlike previous studies that found no significant differences between online and face-to-face instruction, the current report concluded that students in the online environment would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, while students in the traditional classroom would rank in the 50th percentile – a statistically significant difference.

To see the full 93-page report, visit Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Education: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. The article from the New York Times can be accessed here.



CTLE Has New Technology for Faculty Use: Podcasting and Pen-Based Technology

The CTLE has recently acquired technology that will be available for faculty to borrow for classroom projects. Faculty will be required to complete the “Proposal for Classroom Project Using Learning Technologies” form.

The DigiMemo L20 pad (pen-based technology) allows you to immediately get both a digital record and a hardcopy duplicate of handwritten notes without scanning. It is as easy as writing/printing or drawing on this tablet, then connecting it to a computer via a USB port and voila, the notes appear on the screen ready for editing in MS Word. The resulting file can also be uploaded to ANGEL courses for students to access.

Create a Podcast very easily by taking a digital voice recorder into your classroom and recording your lecture. The recorder saves audio in MP3 format which can then be uploaded to ANGEL, iTunes or a website for students to download.



Study Skills: Strategies for Textbook Reading

As we welcome our new class, I think once again about college readiness. By all current measures, the students in the new class qualify as college ready. In fact, the new students will soon be described admiringly as “tech savvy.” However, while these students certainly deserve to be described as tech savvy, many of these same students cannot be described as “information savvy.”

The new students will find themselves in situations where they encounter a great deal of information, but they must construct the meaning of this information themselves. They were probably taught the skills to accomplish this task many years ago. They spent time learning how to identify essential elements such as topics, main ideas, and supporting details. However, for many students, these skills were deemphasized as they progressed through the educational system. It may have become easier to provide students with knowledge, especially for standardized assessment, than to have students discover and create knowledge from multiple sources of information.

Whatever the reason for the lack of emphasis on these basic skills, we now fnd ourselves teaching students unprepared for dealing with multiple sources of information. We have to reemphasize the need for using the basic skills, and we have to teach new skills that allow them to evaluate sources of information and put new information into their own words. Of course teaching these additional skills as well as the content presents a formidable challenge. Unfortunately, the teaching of content depends on the students’ use of basic skills. Therefore, we can decline to review or teach basic skills, but we run the risk of impairing our ability to teach the content.

I find myself imposing a strict structure for reading assignments in my classes. I have the students identify topics, main ideas, and supporting details. I have even had work sheets that the students must fill out with this information. I do this with information that I would assign to read regardless of the need for basic skills review. So, the students read material that I deem necessary for my class, but I do point to the type of information that I want them to “remove” from the text. I also insist that they put the information into their own words in appropriate situations. I am not willing to continue this practice for the entire course. Eventually, I assign the readings, and the students inherit the responsibility for dealing with the information. I let them know in the beginning that they will eventually deal with these tasks on their own.

In reality of course, the responsibility has always been theirs, but I know some lack the preparation to assume this responsibility. It seems that another layer has been added to teaching.



2009 Teacher of the Year: Dr. Jack O’Malley

Dr. Jack O'Malley is this year’s honoree. Congratulations!

I am an alumnus of the University of Scranton (Class of 1964). For me and for many of my classmates, the University of Scranton was the one chance to obtain a college education. We received an excellent education in the Jesuit tradition and we learned that cura personalis is more than just a notion, but a core value. We were encouraged to embrace cura personalis, carry it our careers and personal lives, and seek to enrich the lives of others. When the opportunity to return and teach at Scranton was presented, it was an easy decision for Helene and me. I have enjoyed a productive and fulfilling career of service at my Alma Mater. For Helene and me it has been a wonderful life. Five of our children have been blessed with a Scranton education. Paul Fahey, Frank Homer (two classmates who also returned to teach) and I were recently asked to speak at our 45th reunion about how the University of Scranton has changed. I choose to speak about how it has stayed the same. The hallmark of a Scranton education always has been and always will be cura personalis. John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach at UCLA, once said “They ask me why I coach/teach. Where else could I find such splendid company.” How true of the University of Scranton!

  • Associate Professor, Psychology
  • Married to wife, Helene (45 years)
  • Six children (John, Edward, Julie, Diane, Erin, Ryan) and eight grandchildren
  • Chair, Dept. of Psychology: 1977 – 1987
  • Faculty Advisor, CAS Academic Advising Center: 1987 – present
  • Introduced, along with Dr. Gary Wodder, Coaching Minor: 1988
  • University of Scranton NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative: 1987 – 1999
  • Volunteer Assistant Softball Coach, University of Scranton, 1993 – 1997; 2001 – 2006
  • Rev. Paul R. Beining Service Award (2007) for exemplary service to the student-athletes of the University of Scranton
  • Northeastern Pennsylvania Sportsman of the Year Award presented by the Scranton Life Underwriters (1992) in recognition for contributions to youth sport and in particular for promoting sportsmanship and fair play
  • Alpha Sigma Nu (1977) citation recognized contributions to youth sport
  • Chairman, Bochicchio Sport Character Initiative (present)
  • Eucharistic Minister, St. Paul’s RC Church, Scranton
  • CCD instructor, 2001 – 2008
  • A poem I wrote, “Prince of Peace,“ was set to music by Benjamin Kapilow and performed at Noel Night, December, 2008, thanks to Cheryl Boga. It was a really nice moment for our family.
  • Member of the University of Scranton Wellness Committee (2007 – present)


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