Author Archives: Nicole

Solving Problems

Guest Host: Jane Grabowksi

Education is Solving Problems

Every Fall, the faculty and staff of our college get together on the two days before Thanksgiving break for what we call Collaborative Learning Days. This year, Alan and I had a raucously good time facilitating sessions. We were lucky enough to do one on Play, in conjunction with our  colleague Kate Hess, a librarian and play researcher.  (Stay tuned for a podcast on play!) Alan did a session on solutions to puzzles within Angel, our campuswide LMS, and Nicole attended a session on common problems in teaching. The more we thought about these days, the more we realized that an awful lot of being an educator is solving problems. Students texting in class – is it a problem, why, how do you “solve” it? Students not attending class and their learning suffering? What do you do? Got tech trouble in the LMS…ack! Fire drill during a face-to-face class, or Internet outage during a distance one…OK, we’ll handle it…

Education is about solving problems, or at least approaching puzzles with a solution-oriented mindset. Recently Alan and I sat down with Jane Grabowski, an instructor in Communications, to chat about inquiry-based teaching methods, and how for her, it has helped resolve some of the traditional complaints about attendance, attention, motivation, and learner investment. We think inquiry-based models are pretty intriguing, and hope to explore them more in future podcasts.

In the meantime, have a listen to the podcast, and let us know how you’ve solved a particularly tricksy problem in your classroom, your teaching, or your learning. Comment or email us today!

About Passion

Guest Host: Laura Yost

Education is about passion

I recently called up Alan and informed him that he’s my “idea friend.” He politely said that he was honored to be so, but he knows it comes with the joy/burden of being subject to wacky ideas about education, student motivation, faculty professional development, teaching and learning shenanigans, impassioned rants about library stuff, and all sorts of other flotsam. In fact, Alan and I share a passion for ideas, fun projects, and learning. So we got curious about all the other folks we know who have passion for education, and a particularly passionate lecturer at our school sprang to mind as good for a conversation on passion in education.

Dr. Laura Yost is passionate about many things – military history, central America, microfinance, teaching, and understanding cultures. Learn more about her here: We invited her into our studio to discuss passion in education – and learned quite a bit about history and sociology along the way.

How does your passion for education find outlet? What are you passionate about when it comes to teaching and learning? We want to hear your stories – comment below or shoot us an email.

A Career

Guest Hosts: Jack Terndrup & Mona Parekh

Education Is A Career

What does it mean to be a worker in an education setting, particularly an instructor? Coming off our last podcast in May with Mona, where we explored being a new online instructor, Alan and I have sort of been in a “What does it mean to be an educator” mode. We settled on exploring the theme of “Education is a Career,” and dug in with reading and conversation.

First we sat down with Jack Terndrup, a bit of a local celebrity here in our college. He’s a seasoned professor with a long history as an educator, but also a quick wit, great stories, and the sort of warmth that makes you want to learn from him, regardless if you’re a student or not. Jack teaches Education, and he also does a really enjoyable lecture on his 10 greatest teaching mistakes (and while that didn’t make it into the podcast this time, let’s just say puppets were involved). We also included some of Mona’s path to teaching, from her childhood kitchen table, where her friends begrudgingly learned math, to a highschool in the Bronx, and finally to Eastern Iowa and the Internet. In this podcast, you’ll hear Jack, Mona, and Alan discuss their paths to becoming formal “educators,” and what lead them to this career.

What got you into education? What keeps you there? We want to hear your stories, and your path!