A Word From Jack

In my 56 years as an educator, many things in the classroom have changed dramatically, however, my goal to promote student engagement and student learning has remained steadfast.

Jack NarayanThis, in part, is what led me to my latest role here at WebAssign as Chief Academic Officer. It is in this role that I now have the ability to further my goal of promoting student engagement and learning. This fall I will begin a series of blog posts that will explore new theories and strategies to promote student learning and increase student engagement. The blog will also feature interviews with faculty and students, book reviews, highlights from academic conferences, and trending topics in the teaching community.

For example, one of the issues I will explore here is the lack of preparation for college. Many students graduate high school, without having learned how to study or how to learn new concepts. Many lack problem-solving skills as well as the basic procedural knowledge of learning. This presents significant challenges for instructors. We need to help students understand that learning is hard and that it only becomes fun after they experience some success. I will interview instructors who have tackled this issue in their classrooms and find out what advice they have for their peers.

The blog will also share case studies exploring the use of new tools in the classroom. For example, WebAssign’s newest tool for instructors, Class Insights, was developed to help instructors pinpoint specific challenges students are experiencing. By analyzing student performance data, instructors can provide support in a targeted manner. The companion tool for students, My Class Insights, lets students easily review their progress and seek help where they are struggling. Enabling instructors and students to access real-time feedback on performance can have an immediate and positive impact on learning and outcomes. I plan to reach out to a number of instructors after the fall semester and report their feedback on these exciting new tools.

I would also like to encourage you to connect with me around the topics of student engagement and student learning. Please feel free to email me with questions and comments, or to share your best practices, at jnarayan@webassign.net.

Here’s to the start of a successful 2015-2016 academic year!