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Was This Professor Fired for Requiring Students to Think?

A Utah professor used the Socratic method in his college classroom. Now he's out of job.


College students claim they'll pay attention in class if professors cut the lectures and make class more engaging, but former Utah Valley University business professor Steven Maranville found out the hard way that's not always the case. Seniors in Maranville's "capstone" business strategies course complained because he didn't lecture enough. After a year on the job, citing negative student course evaluations, the university denied Maranville tenure. Now Maranville, who left a tenured faculty position at the University of Houston to teach at UVU, has filed suit against the school.

What was going on in Maranville's classroom that generated such a backlash? He says he simply required students to do what most employers wish colleges would do: connect academic concepts to the real world. To facilitate that process, Maranville used the Socratic method, creating classroom dialogue by asking students open-ended questions that necessitated creative thought and participation—even if they hadn't raised their hands. He also required them to work in teams and participate in small-group discussions during class time.

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Ed Tech: One of These Ideas Might Be the Next Big Thing to Make Learning Easier

Here are five smart business ideas that use technology to solve education challenges.


What's going to be the next big education technology idea? One of the 10 finalist ideas invited to the "Education Innovators Showcase" at the upcoming Venture Capital in Education Summit in New York City could be the "thing" that revolutionizes learning.

The Showcase gives business ideas that use technology to make teaching and learning easier the opportunity to get in front of influential education leaders as well as potential investors. To be able to participate, interested companies went through an application process and were judged by representatives from the Summit’s two host organizations, Education Growth Advisors and Startl, as well as several other education entities. (Full disclosure: One of the judges selecting the finalists was the Apollo Group, parent company of the University of Phoenix, which sponsors this education hub.)

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Making Pint-Sized Authors in Los Angeles with 826

826LA's Executive Director Joel Arquillos gives some perspective on how to teach Latino students and dishes some project-based learning tips.

Former Bay Area high school social studies teacher Joel Arquillos dedicated his life to writing, but unlike so many others who moved to Los Angeles, he's not pitching screenplays. The 38 year-old Executive Director of writing and tutoring nonprofit 826LA wants to equip the next generation of L.A. kids with the writing chops they need to hit it big in Hollywood, or bring in the As at Harvard.

Arquillos manages two 826 offices in Los Angeles—one in Echo Park and one in Venice—and oversees the organization's savvy push toward running programs on school campuses. Last year 826LA taught writing to over 6,000 students, many of whom come from low-income, Latino backgrounds.

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