The Productive Academic

Literature Review: How To Do It Right

A few tips for getting students started on literature reviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYlPSmYpoG4 About the Author Johannes Urpelainen is the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor and Director of Energy, Resources and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Washington DC, USA). He is the Founding Director of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP). … Continue reading Literature Review: How To Do It Right

Letters of Recommendation: How to Help Your Students without Going Crazy

Going crazy with letters of recommendation? Follow these simple rules - all three of them - to help your students succeed while staying sane: About the Author Johannes Urpelainen is the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor and Director of Energy, Resources and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Washington DC, USA). … Continue reading Letters of Recommendation: How to Help Your Students without Going Crazy

Can You Hear Me? Dealing with Connectivity Problems in the Virtual Classroom

Teaching a virtual course requires a good internet connection. Without generally reliable data transfer, the learning experience will be inferior. But even if the instructor’s connection is good, it is rarely 100% reliable. In a larger class, there is always someone without reliable internet. While improved internet infrastructure will help over time, instructors can also … Continue reading Can You Hear Me? Dealing with Connectivity Problems in the Virtual Classroom

Using Background Memos as a Teaching Tool

Last week, I concluded a successful ViaX workshop on policy responses to COVID-19. One important component of this workshop was a policy simulation, where the students developed possible responses to COVID-19 in Pakistan.   A key challenge with this simulation was background knowledge. I specifically chose to focus on a country that was mostly unfamiliar … Continue reading Using Background Memos as a Teaching Tool

Discussion Forums in Online Teaching: Pros and Cons

An important advantage of online teaching is flexibility. Students can participate from almost any location around the world, and the use of asynchronous instructional techniques can increase temporal flexibility. People may have different schedules and time zones, so temporal flexibility is an important complement to geographic flexibility. In this post, I discuss the use of … Continue reading Discussion Forums in Online Teaching: Pros and Cons

Assignments for Virtual Courses: A Survival Guide for Faculty

One key challenge for virtual courses is assignments. Because students and instructors do not have face-to-face interaction, managing the process can be quite a challenge – and doubly so in these trying times. Here I offer two simple suggestions for effective management of assignment. Suggestion #1: Use an Online Learning Platform   To receive assignments, … Continue reading Assignments for Virtual Courses: A Survival Guide for Faculty

A Virtual But Captive Audience: Student Presentations in an Online Environment

Online learning offers flexible tools for a wide variety of interactive learning techniques. Student presentations can strengthen the feeling of community and engagement in an online course. Here I describe two possible approaches to effective presentations.   Approach #1: In Real Time   There is no reason why students could not present their original work … Continue reading A Virtual But Captive Audience: Student Presentations in an Online Environment

Social Distancing for Academics: Transitioning to Online Teaching

At this time, the coronavirus wreaks havoc in higher education. Dozens of colleges and universities, including my own employer and the world's leading public health research institution, Johns Hopkins University, have banned in-class teaching. In this situation, my latest vlog discusses the challenge of transitioning to online teaching: https://youtu.be/ryYIfKaxTX0   About the Author Johannes Urpelainen … Continue reading Social Distancing for Academics: Transitioning to Online Teaching