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Great points, Nic and Jered.  My question is "How can we get faculty to understand this?"  I think we have to approach the folks who do faculty development in our institutions.  We first need to alert them to the problem, and then suggest they sponsor a workshop on this topic.

I think this would be a great topic for a presentation at CRLA!  Please consider presenting on this topic.  The perspectives that Nic and Jered pointed out were extremely helpful.

Can you imagine what impact this could make on retention and graduation rates at our institutions?

Have a great Tuesday!
Saundra






Saundra McGuire, Ph.D. 
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Learning, Teaching, and Retention
Professor, Department of Chemistry
135A T Boyd Hall
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
225.578.6749 phone
Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D.
[log in to unmask] 

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jered Wasburn-Moses
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:20 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: What many faculty tell students about reading textbooks

I believe that I have made this observation here before, but I think it bears repeating in the current context. I like to call this observation "College Math."



In high school, the typical student has something like 140 contact hours with the instructor per course. In college, the typical number is around 37 hours-and roughly the same amount of content is covered!



This simple arithmetic impacts everything about the high-school-to-college transition. One implication is that in high school, teachers can "afford" to make the textbook optional; they generally have ample class time to address topics in sufficient depth without requiring students to read independently. (Of course, don't tell this to HS teachers-especially in these days of NCLB!) By contrast, college instructors have very little classroom time, and can only cover "highlights" of the text. They (we) must rely on students actually reading the text to obtain full coverage of the material.



It is unfortunate that more students aren't made aware of this crucial difference more explicitly. I have never had a student react with less than complete surprise when the facts are laid out in this way-of course in some sense they were aware of it, but it never really hits home until you lay out the numbers.



Who says math is useless?

Jered Wasburn-Moses
Math Center Coordinator
Success Skills Coordinator
Learning Assistance Programs
Northern Kentucky University
http://lap.nku.edu<http://lap.nku.edu/>
University Center 170F
(859) 572-5779






# -----Original Message-----

# From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:LRNASST-

# [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nic Voge

# Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:00 AM

# To: [log in to unmask]

# Subject: Re: What many faculty tell students about reading textbooks

#

# Hello Saundra,

#

# You raise a number of very important issues. Not least that many

# students in high school don't have textbooks or can only use class

# copies. Thus, they can't take them home for independent reading. So,

# they internalize a norm or expectation (about the function of textbook

# reading in courses) and do not gain practice and do not develop their

# strategies for learning from textbooks. This is a clear example of how

# the level of resources in a high school advantages/disadvantages

# students in college.

#

# Coupled with the highly explicit instructions of most high school

# classes where students are told precisely what they need to do and

# exams merely test reproduction, these students are often ill-prepared

# for courses where they have to decide how to study and do so

# independently.

#

# I tell students they must orchestrate or design their own learning in

# college. They can't simply do what they are told and expect to learn

# and achieve at the level they want. They can't assume that a professor

# has designed the course that is going to work for them as an individual

# learner. They may need to go beyond the materials assigned, which means

# they must find these materials or resources on their own and make tough

# choices about what and how they will study.

#

# In part this situation arises because faculty, like you say, possess so

# much background knowledge on a topic that they are poor judges of the

# accessibility and effectiveness of materials for novices. The reverse

# of the example you give is that faculty assign texts that are not

# accessible to students because they are written for audiences that

# possess domain, genre and other bodies of knowledge and skill that

# students do not possess. Yet the faculty  do not account for this in

# their teaching. Teaching with a textbook (an instructional text,

# written for novices) is different than teaching with a set of scholarly

# articles or a scholarly non-fiction book (argumentative texts, written

# for experts), but I don't see the corresponding change in instruction.

#

# Another point which I think this thread makes clear is that reading

# does not stand alone from other aspects of a course. How students are

# expected to read/use a text and what they are expected to take away

# from it is related to what happens in lecture and other resources in

# the course. There is no one way to read for a course, it depends on the

# design of the various course components and their mutual relationships.

# I'm not sure that much college reading advice takes sufficient account

# of this fact.

#

# Any thoughts?

# Nic

#

#

# Dominic (Nic) J. Voge

# Associate Director

# McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning

# Princeton University

# 328C Frist Student Center

# (609)258-6921

#

#

# ________________________________________

# From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [LRNASST-

# [log in to unmask]] on behalf of Saundra Y McGuire [[log in to unmask]]

# Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 9:32 PM

# To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

# Subject: What many faculty tell students about reading textbooks

#

# Hello Listers,

#

#

#

# I've been following this thread with interest, and decided to let you

# know what I have found over the last ten years.  When I've asked

# students about reading their chemistry text books, many students have

# told me that the professor says that they don't have to use the book.

# They are told that they can just use the notes that the professor has

# compiled and made available to the class.  This was very disturbing to

# me, because those of us in the learning center community all know that

# students need to read the textbook, which has far more information, and

# includes diagrams, charts, etc.

#

#

#

# When I asked one professor (whom students told me didn't encourage

# reading the textbook) why he didn't encourage students to use the book,

# he told me that textbooks are too expensive, and that the students

# preferred his notes to reading the text.  Well, duh, I wonder why they

# would prefer to read 20 pages of notes ABOUT a chapter, rather than

# read the 50 page chapter!

#

#

#

# The way I help students understand the importance of using the textbook

# is to do a little exercise with them.  I ask them what jumps into their

# mind when they see c_t.  Most readily say cat.  But it's fine if they

# say cot or cut.  I then ask if that word would have come to mind if we

# lived in a culture that had no cats, and they hadn't seen it often in

# books.  They all say no.  Then I explain that if the brain is very

# familiar with something, it immediately fills in any missing

# information.  That's why we can read txt msgs easily.  And that's why

# the professor THINKS that everything is there in the notes.  The

# professors' brains "see" information that is not there because they are

# so familiar with the topic!  But, I say to students, YOUR brain doesn't

# have the information stored!  This is usually enough to get students to

# start reading the textbook.  And EVERY ONE of them has come back to me

# to report that reading the book made a BIG difference.  Below are

# excerpts from emai!

#  ls from one student who was failing the class before getting the book,

# and who made an A in the class after starting to use the book one month

# before the final exam!

#

#

#

# From an email sent April 6, 2011:

#

# "...Personally, I am not so good at chemistry and unfortunately, at

# this point my grade for that class is reflecting exactly that. I am

# emailing you inquiring about a possibility of you tutoring me."

#

#

#

# From an email sent May 13, 2011:

#

# "I made a 68, 50, 50, 87, 87, and a 97 on my final. I ended up earning

# a 90 in the course, but I started with a 60. I think what I did

# different was make sidenotes in each chapter and as I progressed onto

# the next chapter I was able to refer to these notes. I would say that

# in chemistry everything builds from the previous topic"

#

# The student went from a 50 to an 87 after using the book!

#

#

#

# And I learned a few years back that many students don't even HAVE books

# in high school.  They use the PP handouts from their teachers, memorize

# the information on the PP, and are tested on that information.

#

#

#

# Listers, PLEASE continue to help students (and faculty!) understand why

# students SHOULD be reading the book, even if the professor tells them

# not to!

#

#

#

# Sorry for the long email, but I wanted to add this to the discussion.

#

#

#

# Happy that the end of the semester is in sight!  :) Saundra

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

# Semester GPA:  3.8

#

#

#

#

#

# Saundra McGuire, Ph.D.

#

# Assistant Vice Chancellor for Learning, Teaching, and Retention

#

# Professor, Department of Chemistry

#

# 135A T Boyd Hall

#

# Louisiana State University

#

# Baton Rouge, LA 70803

#

# 225.578.6749 phone

#

# Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D.

#

# [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

#

#

#

#

#

# -----Original Message-----

# From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:LRNASST-<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

# [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>] On Behalf Of Krueger, Pamela

# Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 7:21 PM

# To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

# Subject: Re: reading levels of college graduates

#

#

#

# I was wondering the same thing. From my experience giving workshops on

# study skills and tutoring students, I hear all the time that they don't

# read their textbooks. Often they say they don't have to, but I wonder

# if they just think they don't have to. I also wonder if instructors

# know that their students are not reading the textbooks. In my reading

# classes, I prepare them to read textbooks, but they keep telling me

# they have no reading assignments. Most students tell me that they did

# not have to read in high school, and they do not read for enjoyment at

# all.

#

#

#

# Pam Krueger

#

# ________________________________________

#

# From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [LRNASST-

# [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jane Neuburger [[log in to unmask]]

#

# Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 2:06 PM

#

# To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]:[log in to unmask]>>

#

# Subject: reading levels of college graduates

#

#

#

# Dear Colleagues,

#

# This interesting question was posted on the Kentucky listserv and is

# relevant to many of us.  Has anyone done recent work on the reading

# levels of graduates?

#

#

#

# Please feel free to respond to the listserv or to Dr. Hollingsworth

# directly.  And thank you, all.  J. Neuburger

#

#

#

#

#

# ". . . .  It raises for me a question about the actual use of textbooks

# and required readings in the everyday postsecondary classroom - and

# series of classes toward a particular major. Has anyone done research

# on the reading skill levels of our postsecondary ed graduates? Do the

# reading levels of our successful graduates relate in a significantly

# statistical way to 6-year graduation rates in a particular institution?

#

#

#

# >

#

#

#

# > Randolph

#

#

#

# > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

#

#

#

# > Randolph Hollingsworth, Ph.D.

#

#

#

# > Assistant Provost

#

#

#

# > University of Kentucky

#

#

#

# > 551 Patterson Office Tower

#

#

#

# > Lexington, KY  40506-0027  USA

#

#

#

# > 859-257-3027  FAX 323-1932

#

#

#

# >

# [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]:dolph<mailto:[log in to unmask]:[log in to unmask]:[log in to unmask]:dolph>

# > @uky.edu>>  SL: Bella Yan

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

# Jane A. Neuburger

#

# Director, Tutoring & Study Center

#

# Syracuse University

#

# 111 Waverly Avenue Suite 220

#

# Syracuse NY 13244

#

# 315.443.2005

#

# Fax: 315.443.5160

#

# www.tutoring.syr.edu<http://www.tutoring.syr.edu<http://www.tutoring.syr.edu%3chttp:/www.tutoring.syr.edu>>

#

#

#

#

#

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