Welcome to Dr. Julie “Jules” Troyer’s Ph.D. World of Educational Consultation

The digital age is transforming the world of education and methods of instructional delivery. It is imperative that educators begin to rethink some of the outdated pedagogical techniques that guide student learning. The online revolution is making higher education more accessible to millions of people who would otherwise be unable to afford the time or money it takes to attain a degree. Many changes are occurring in “the academy” and for those of you like myself, we are excited! Technology challenges educators, program directors, and administrators to think about effective instructional delivery in a whole new way. I have watched, even the traditional face to face classroom, transform dramatically in the last decade, as technology is encouraged more in our higher education institutions. Some embrace the change, some resist the change, all are affected by it. I am passionate about finding the best practices in this new digitized classroom and improving learning for all students, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or culture. Improving the consciousness of our students to attune them to a better learning experience can be a challenging endeavor but it is well worth the effort. It is an energized and inspiring time to be in the world of education. ~Julie “Jules” Troyer Ph.D.

Education is Reflection

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  1. Mary McKenzie says:

    I think that electronics are very useful in the classroom and many kidds find it helpful and fun to use. Computers are a great way of teaching a lesson and gaining their attention.

  2. Alisan Stewart says:

    I found particular interest in you most recent post about cheating in online classes. I chose to read it because I have taken several online classes, and am set to take two more in the spring. I have noted that many of my current classes use the internet as a way of giving tests and quizzes. I have overheard numerous conversations among students regarding taking tests and quizzes online. As you stated, it is a popular trend to get together with a partner and take the exams. I personally have never thought of this as cheating due to my thinking that “if a teacher didn’t want us to do it, they would give us the test in class”. However, after reading your post, I am now aware of the ways of online cheating, and working with a partner as being one of the main ways. Using someone else’s answer and allowing them to use yours is most definitely cheating!

    • Alisan,
      You reveal one of the main things I have found in my research on student cheating and plagiarism: often folks don’t even realize what they are doing is cheating! I think awareness via academic honesty contracts is a great way of educating students about what exactly cheating and plagiarism are, so they know if they are breaking the rules :-)

  3. Shanna Beall says:

    This topic really interests me. I am in an education class at VSU, and we were talking about the different learning styles that take place in education. Students in the Lowndes County School System are using iPads in gifted classes. Students with disabilities are using programs on their iPhones and iPads to communicate more clearly. I remember being in third grade when we had five desktops installed in our classroom, and we would have a rotation of days that we were allowed to be on them. Now, students are turning in the majority of their assignments online. My senior year of high school was when Smart Boards started to become a popular educational tool. I wonder if the use of new technology is going to create a generation of visual learners. I think that education has really benefitted from advances in technology, but could it possibly hurt students in the long run if they become dependent on the new technology. I think that their grades could begin to suffer if something ever happened or the technology became inaccessible. Technology is a way to capture students attention. Power-points, for example can include bright colors and pictures to help students encode the information being presented. If students are used to having this kind of technology and all of a sudden it’s not available, will the majority of students still be interested or will their interest begin to decline?

    • Shanna,
      Great question! I think with any advances in technology there is a threat of dependancy. Take eletricity for example; I recently had a power outage that lasted for about five hours and was reminded of how much I rely on it being there whenever I want. I found my phone needing to be charged, my stomach grumbling because my oven is electric, and my eyes squinting as I tried to read by flickering candlelight. I also found myself chuckeling, as I realized I was grumbling because my routine was interupted and I was mildly inconvenienced. I think this is a natural reaction for folks when things they come to expect are not available. The key is teaching adaptability and flexible thinking to prepare students for the inevitable changes in the terrain of learning and life.

  4. Hyeon Lee says:

    I read the article about 8 kinds of tips for improving motivation, this makes me thinking about what kind of motivation inspired me for achieving my goal. Especially, I was impressed by this part “Do not focus entirely just on the test.” Tests are important but what I learned in any classes is also important.
    Actually, I studied only for enter the university in my country during middle school and high school. I just studied mechanically like other students. All high school students in my country are my competitors. There was no time to think about what is my motivation or passion. I thought that getting an admission from good university is the important thing only at that time. After I came here, I tried to change my self and got rid of that kind of thinking.
    When I read this article, I really felt the importance of motivation, and also I realized that the grades are not only thing in my university life. This motivation article really helped me change my thoughts.

  5. William Majors says:

    It IS an inspiring time to be in the world of education. Access to information and learning has never been easier and technology can accommodate a variety of learning styles. Access to tools of learning in the music classroom where I teach has never been easier. Students have easy access to things such as tuners, metronomes, music theory lessons, composition and recording apps all on their smartphone. Classroom management systems such as Class Dojo are powerful tools to encourage positive behaviors. Learning management systems such as moodle and edmodo allow us to reach students in a way we never could have before. In short, these are awesome times! Technology makes both teaching and learning more creative and interesting.

    • William,
      I think smart phones have been one of the most poignant changes to learning environments I have seen, even in face to face classrooms! The ability to immediatly look something up on google, take photographs of slides in class, submit homework on your phone anywhere in the world, or the myriad applications available for almost everything has truly changed the face of education.

  6. Mindy Epstein says:

    I am so happy to see that you are excited about these technological advances and have thought of ways to use them in your teaching. This definitely keeps things interesting for us students and I have actually had many professors that refuse to use them. I love how you say, “The online revolution is making higher education more accessible to millions.” This is so true and I am certainly glad people are starting to recognize it. I absolutely love this blog post and am definitely on board for the changes that are yet to come.

    • Mindy,
      It is very exciting but it can also be challenging to sort through all the new advancements and select implementation of only those that actually assist in learning and are not just a novelty. I think this is one reason why some professors are resistant to using new technology. Many folks adhere to the idea, “if it is not broken, why fix it?” I believe we can always make improvements, always grow and refine our arts and sciences. Build on the classic or basic tenants of learning but always be on the look out for how to make it more interesting, relevant, and effective!

  7. Shelly Silva says:

    I really loved your article on motivation. It gave me some good advise on how to get myself motivated, especially this time of year with finals and Thanksgiving break approaching! I also liked the 5 ways to improve memory and I hope these ways will help me in the future.

  8. La-Kee Smith says:

    I agree that the technological changes in the classroom at all levels is creating quite the conundrum. The need to move forward without separating the students by socioeconomical differences will require much more strategy than we’ve seen so far. For instance, a college student who chooses to take classes in-residence instead of online so that they can avoid purchasing a computer will be automatically at a loss if the professor requires that all discussions and submissions of assignments be done online. If the instructor resists moving forward technologically, the student who has chosen to go to school online to avoid paying high gas prices will lose if asked to take all quizzes and tests in person. The same would go for allowing the classroom to be forward enough to keep a young person’s attention so that you are able to churn out the most learned citizens possible without leaving a retired return student in the dust. It’s important that no rock is left unturned when doing what you have to do to keep up with the times may not only leave the classroom imbalanced but also cause a severe division between who can do well who cannot…especially when it won’t be based on their actually abilities but their age, time available or finances. You just want everyone to have a fair chance at true success.

    • La-Kee Smith says:

      I would add that this is worse for the school-aged student. If the parents don’t have the money to allow the child access to the technological items that a forward-thinking teacher who lacks the balance to consider the home situation of the students or plans multiple field trips that cost the families, the child will lose. This same unbalanced teacher may ask for a report about said field trip or website. Again, the access to these items may be the difference between your successful student and the opposite.

    • La-Kee,
      You make a great point about how different students can be impacted by the teacher’s decision to use or not use technology. It is important for educators to factor in economics and the impact of how instruction is delivered when planning and making pedegogical decisions.

  9. Krystal Johnson says:

    I truly enjoyed the postive blog about education and how the digital age is negatively afecting education in the classroom. I agree with you about, “The digital age is transforming the world of education and methods of instructional delivery.”I feel that the digital devices are positive and negative. I have a four year old cousin, who currently knows how to use an IPad for games and fun educational activities, but she does not know all of the alphabet yet. She knows how to unlock her mothers phone and call people but cant write her name. I feel that if her brain is developed enough to use electronics then take advantage and have the child write her name on the IPAD rather than play mindless games. Its not her fault or other students fault, its her educators at home and school who dont have the same outlook that you have to go above and beyond to educate the young mind. We need more teachers like you who care and are going above and beyond to research and find solutions.

    • Krystal,
      Thanks for the great anecdote about technology and learning! It is true, like everything in life, there are aspects of the technological revolution in education that are assets and some are deficits. We, as educators, have to be mindful that although technology and the easy access to gagets is enticing; it also makes it easy to neglect learning the basics. It also requires us to be able to critically analyze what is important to learn and how to gear our students to the valuable aspects of what technology has to offer. For example, technology has produced the game Angry Birds and the social networking site Facebook, which may be fine for “down time” but probably have very little to offer as far as educational experiences. Whereas, reading online articles related to our profession, playing educational learning games, or uploading digital portfolios may be beneficial technological learning experiences. There definitely needs to be a critical compass for helping our students navigate the digital terrain!

  10. Markala Moore says:

    Like in every other area in our lives technology has changed us and I do mean for the better. Technology has changed the overall teaching and the student learning process in a good way for most of us, however I don’t believe this is the same for everyone as stated in the article. I do believe a digitalized classroom challenges the educators as well as the students but I don’t think this is the aspect of teaching that needs to be challenged. The way a student learns doesn’t need to be challenged but what he or she is learning needs to be challenged. Some teachers are passionate about finding and experimenting on ways to improve learning for all students but, I don’t know if that’s in the best interest for the student. I have engaged in conversation with people who learn better in a face to face classroom like myself. I understand that everyone is not going to learn the same way, but what do we do with those people who are stuck with the traditional learning style while technology in the classroom is rapidly developing, and changing the face of a traditional classroom.

    • Markala,
      I agree with your point that different folks learn in different ways, including many students much prefering the in-person learning experience. One of the points I make in the above statement, is technology is revolutionizing who has access to education. Individuals who live in rural areas or who work full-time and do not have time to attend face to face classes are the one’s who benefit most from online offerings. Indeed, technology is changing the face of even in-person classes and it is true some people may not like the alterations. I believe in continued improvement and refinement in the art and science of teaching and learning. This may or may not include the use of technology. Sometimes, as you allude to, the key to improving educational experiences for some students is simply listening to them and responding to their needs. This is one of the reasons I love teaching face to face classes, it is much easier to “hear” my students. What I enjoy so much about our current educational system, is the diversity of choices students (and teachers) are beginning to be offered!

  11. Kierra Dottery says:

    I love the motivation article. I lost my motivation awhile back and I am going to try a few of the steps to bring it back. Hopefully the tips will help improve my motivation. The other articles are helpful as well. The motivation and memory article some what go together. Guess I will try them both. Thank you for the motivation tips.

  12. Chelsea King says:

    I read about the 5 ways to improve memory for a test. I definitely need to adopt some of those ways because lately my ways have not been working so well. I had it backwards. I thought if I studied before the test that I would be fine, and I thought sleeping would make me forget everything. However, I guess your mind still processes the information and transfers it to LTM while you rest. The video was very interesting as well. Now I know left handed people have better memories due to the corpus callosum. Too bad I am a righty because I could use some memory enhancing abilities, especially while I am a student.

  13. David Poole says:

    I love your articles because I can relate to them on a personal level. There are times where I lack motivation or my motivation decreases as the end of the semester approaches. I love your articles on memory and improving your grades in difficult classes because I know that I need improvement in all of those areas. I’m a student of yours in psychology 3900 and I can tell how much time and effort you put into putting your information that you use in your articles in practice in our class. I can tell you have a real passion for what you do and it makes us students want to work harder because we know you care. I agree with setting mini realistic goals to boost your self-confidence and motivation. Like your article stated we sometime blame others for our failures instead of evaluating what we did wrong and try to improve for the next time.

    • David,
      I appreciate that you see the integration of the educational and psychological research and theory into pedegogical practice! Thank you for taking the time to make that observation, it is encouraging to see students improving and benefiting from these techniques!

  14. larry eanes says:

    I think that you are totally right Dr. Troyer. Technology is making it better for everyone all over the world to learn rather than just the rich or more fortunate. Which is an amazing feat itself. I know a lot of educators that don’t want to adapt to the new age from how they have been teaching for years and would rather eduction stay the same, which is blasphemy in my opinion. When those teachers entered education they took an oath to do whatever they can to help people learn and when they simply say “no” to change they are going against the basic beliefs of teaching. Technology is for the better, this article is right on point!

  15. Caleb Reaves says:

    I really enjoyed your comments, as you said we are in a time where education is greatly changing and alot of this is because of technology. There are so many resources and online programs teachers and students can use to be sucessful that did not used to be available and I know for some teachers making this change is hard but I also know, as a student, how greatly benefiial it can be.

    • Thanks Caleb, your so right that resources available for folks to learn are becoming more and more available to everyone. In the era we live in we are fortunate the information is largely available to everyone despite age, class, ethnicity, or culture!

  16. Roger Humphrey says:

    The digital age is definitely upon us and I strongly believe you need to get onboard or be left behind. Like you pointed out “The online revolution is making higher education more accessible to millions.” This introduces many obstacles that need to be overcome by educators, program directors, and administrators.

    My number one concern is abuse. Online courses provide what I like to call, “The student behind the curtain” mentality. It is near impossible for an online teacher to be 100% certain that the person doing the course work is the person who is earning the degree. Mary Beth Marklein from USA TODAY points out “The burden is on the college to ensure students who get the grade for taking an online course is the same person who does the homework and completes the exams.” How are Universities and Colleges doing this? Well they are doing something, some schools are proctoring live exam at testing centers. This kind of defeats the definition of online. Valdosta uses this technque in some of the classes I have attended. They use the term “Hybrid”. So far I think this is the most effective approach. Secure user names and passwords are also used, but this falls short if the students are providing the imposter with the user name and password.
    Adding to the problem is the fact that there is money to be made. Marklein further points out in her article “web-based companies such as BoostMyGrades.com and Noneedtostudy.com actually offer to take online classes for a fee.”

    I have personally have little confidence in the present processes in place that prevent academic fraud. These issues will have to be dealt in order to prevent online course from losing anymore credibility.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/16/internet-online-classes-security-college-courses/2518175/ (Retrieved 05 Nov 2013)

    • Roger,
      You make excellent observations about the limitations of the online course environment and how every advancement in society has inherant weaknesses. Unfortunately, one of the primary incentives for utilizing online education is the convenience of course access to individuals who may not have a university accessible to them; thus the term “distance education.” Ensuring academic honesty and personal accountability in higher education has always been a concern, for example the still rampant problem of paying other students or services to write term papers, still has not entirely been surmounted. One potential solution for testing dishonesty that I have looked into is the use of video conferencing software during online testing situations. Hybrid classes are excellent alternatives for situations where many of the students live near the campus but for classes where many of the students live nonlocally, other alternatives have to be used. I am really glad you brought this weakness of online education up, as it is one area I am looking to improve!

    • Roger Humphrey says:

      It just so happens, I was watching the news last night. There was a spot on a local Jacksonville College attempting to bring face recognition software into their online programs. It would be a major step in the right direction, but seemed expensive. I agree, video conferencing might also be a possible solution. But, are colleges and universities willing to pony up the money? It cuts into their profit.
      I think you and I are in agreement that academic fraud is a problem that has been around longer than the internet. There is no denying that fraud has been enabled by the technological advances. It is also true that the advances are necessary to bring education to those like myself that do not live close to a university. If it was not for the satellite campus at Kings Bay, Ga. Sub Base and online courses, I would be driving a long way every weekend for this degree or I wouldn’t have pursued furthering my education at all. I feel however that the academic fraud problem is more dire than many want to except.
      I am confident technology is going to be the answer to these problems technology created. I am concerned that solutions to online degree problems will not arrive quick enough to save the credibility of the online degree. According to the National Center of Educational Statistic, “Enrollment in degree-granting institutions increased by 11 percent between 1990 and 2000. Between 2000 and 2010, enrollment increased 37 percent, from 15.3 million to 21.0 million.” The increase in enrollment is contributed in no small part to online degree programs. Money is being made. As long as universities are making money they will continue to award degrees with or without safeguards in place to protect the value of the degree being awarded.
      An acquaintance of mine recently bragged how he just received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business without doing any of the work. He produced his degree with his name on it as proof. He further explain that his wife took all the courses. She did all the work, she already had a Master’s Degree of her own and completed his degree in her spare time. I went to High School with this guy 30 years ago. He wasn’t then nor is he now college material. How can this help the credibility of online degrees? This kind is abuses is far worse that someone taking an exam or doing a term paper in your name, not by much though.
      Thanks for reading,
      National Center of Educational Statistic, http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98 (Retrieved 07 Nov 2013)

    • Roger,
      First, you have inspired me to write an article on preventing cheating in online classes! You are correct, this is a very notable issue and I want to do a meta-analysis of the existing research on this issue. I know some programs are looking into using fingerprint access to courses, using similar technology to what the new iPhone and other smart phones are using as a unlock function. This is somewhat more cost effective than facial recognition software which might encourage more higher education institutions to improve their security functions and thus help to bolster the integrity of the online degree.

      Second, the story you told of a friend who attained a degree by having his wife complete the work is very disturbing. This is a serious issue and I must admit my personal work ethic and pride in my work prevented me from even really conceptualizing that this would be a prevalent problem. Indeed, as online education becomes more accessible this type of fraud will naturally increase as well. We as professionals need to conscientiously analyze the options available to implement effective countermeasures or the integrity of online degrees will suffer and consequently the industry itself will suffer. I hope you will check back to the site in the next week or so for the article you inspired.

  17. Justin Moore says:

    I really enjoy how your articles focus upon action. In this article in particular you say, “some embrace the change, some resist the change, all are affected by it”. I have seen this happen in my own life, especially when it comes to making changes in the classroom. The digital age has left some behind, while others push forward. I respect that you consider it important to change some aspects of teaching to make education more obtainable for the student, and I couldn’t agree more!

  18. Lacey Bauer says:

    I love how all the articles are on topics that actually come up in my life. From being a student who was out of school for a while, when it came to studying I was lost! Most of the things mentioned in the 5 steps to improve memory I have started implementing and I hope I get good positive results!

    • Lacey,
      It is hard when one is away from something for a while to still have confidence in performing well; however, school is like riding a bicycle: once you got it you always got it…even if it does take a few tries to work out the rusty kinks!

  19. Danielle White says:

    As it is an ongoing challenge to stay up to date with technology, I believe it’s essential to be reminded of the basics of studying and what methods really work. Not only do the students need to realize these tactics, but professors as well. All too often I hear “make sure you read your textbook” when they’re giving last minute study advice at the end of the class before a test. If anything I feel more intimidated than encouraged.

    • Technology seems to be evolving almost daily and indeed it is a challenge to stay on top of the developments. I try to learn something new about the novel ways to improve education, learning, and delivery of information through technology every day.

  20. LaShawn Harris says:

    I love how all of your research focuses on education and how to be successful in a classroom. I don’t think professors realize how much of an impact that they can leave on a student; as your student, I feel like you’re impact is indeed a great one. You’re always challenging the statistics and instead of going along with them, you prove your own to be just as adequate if not better. You’re research is phenomenal as well as your theories on teaching. You have a passion in what you do and it’s obvious you believe in change.

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