Category Archives: Teaching

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Advice for Content-Independent Teaching

glass house

I’m going to share here my personal view of what makes it possible to teach a course in a content-independent manner. These may not be the same as what and why other people do it, but it’s why and how I do it.

What Do I Mean by Content-Independent?

My students read for my course. So it’s not that there is zero content. But I mean that my courses (and also sometimes workshops) are not organized around a canonical body of content. I’m not just saying no textbook. I’m saying no assigned readings. …

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Smithsonian Learning Lab Allows for Interdisciplinary Research and Discovery

Learning Lab Logo Laptop Sticker

A few weeks ago — Oh look, it was a month ago! Where did June go? — I attended THATCamp NoVa CC (Northern Virginia Community College). THATCamps are always wonderful for learning about new resources. One of those resources is the newly created Smithsonian Learning Lab, a platform to access and curate the millions of resources across all of the 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research institutes, and the National Zoo.

Having gotten the chance to play with it while at THATCamp, I have to say that it…

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Plain Language and Inclusive Document Design

bright colorful tree and fields

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this month about making teaching documents of all kinds more accessible. Some of this is about a syllabus, but some of it is about rethinking some of our signs and documentation at work, as well as ways that we can make our edX courses more accessible to that highly varied audience. So I was delighted to discover an excellent new article on In the Library with the Lead Pipe by Jennifer Turner & Jessica Schomberg on “Inclusivity, Gestalt Principles, and Plain La…

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Make a More Inclusive Syllabus with Tulane’s Accessible Syllabus Project

small packages of useful things

Ok, I know it’s still June and so probably a little too early to be thinking about your fall syllabus. But if the alternative is thinking about #Brexit–or, worse, reflecting that “what is the EU?” is a top Google search *in* *England* today–maybe it’s not such a bad thing? I’m teaching a class this fall for the first time in a couple of years, and so I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there to think about it.

Via Gerry Canavan, a syllabus-design resource that’s new to me is Tulane’s Acce…

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Review: The Videographic Essay – Criticism in Sound & Image

Film

I have long been interested in assigning alternatives to the standard essay, and so I read Janine Utell’s recent guest-post here on teaching with video essays with great interest. I’ve long admired what Ryan has accomplished with his unessay assignment, and even tried to do my own kind of assignment using the great resource Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. I have yet to be successful in assigning a great not-essay assignment in a traditional literature or writing course, …

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#PulseOrlandoSyllabus: a Crowdsourced Teaching Resource

As a professor at the University of Central Florida, I was glued to Twitter on Sunday following the tragic aftermath of the Orlando shooting during Latinx night at popular gay / GLBTQ nightclub Pulse. Several students and graduates from colleges around the area are on the list of dead, and local campuses (including mine) have been hosting blood drives and vigils in the wake. It’s always difficult to know what to do after this type of event in classes: I pushed back the deadline for assignments …

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Software that Supports Multilingual Dialogue

If you are reading this, chances are, you understand English. Do we realize how much of our online interactions are in English, and how much we are missing of who and what lives on the internet that is not speaking/writing English?

I had a recent interaction on Twitter with Juan Domingo Farnos (@Juandoming) and a few other people, in which Juan responded to all of our English tweets in Spanish, and Twitter on my phone had a quick translate link (this uses Bing). This conversation was a little s…

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To Test for Accessibility, Try Navigating Without Your Mouse

A significant percentage of those who use your web pages are people with disabilities, and many of those people can’t use a mouse to navigate through the information they find there. For example, for people who are blind or have low vision a graphical user interface is useless, so they rely on their keyboard alone. Those of us who are sighted might find it difficult to imagine what it means to navigate information by keyboard alone, but there’s an easy way to learn: stop using your mouse for an…

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Synchronous Online Classes–With a Little Help From My Friends

tunnel of books

[This is a guest post by Rebecca J. Hogue (@rjhogue), a multi-affiliated (aka adjunct/contingent) online lecturer (University of Massachusetts-Boston, Brock University) and avid blogger. She teaches Digital Citizenship and Instructional Design online. In addition, she works as a consultant helping to develop and produce self-published eBooks. Her research and innovation interests are in the areas of online collaboration, social media, and ePatient blogging.--JBJ]

It was with trepidation that I …

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Leaving the LMS to Make Course Remixing Possible

peanut butter truffle

A recurring favorite topic for ProfHacker writers over the years has been alternatives to, or ways to dispense altogether with, learning management systems. No one likes them, no one likes the idea of “managing” learning, and the whole affair feels like a Skinner box designed to teach us the truth of Audrey Watters’s claim that ed tech is basically here to destroy education from within.

A few of us have recently taken a shine to Jekyll, a still-newish way to generate static websites. (In additi…