February 18, 2013, 8:00 am
January 12, 2012, 11:00 am
“Dear professor, I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend any class sessions during the first week of the semester. I’ve got [insert official school function] going on.”
“Doc, My flight from [insert foreign country where the student lives] has been delayed and I will not arrive to the campus until [insert late date]. Sorry. ”
“I regret to inform you that I will not be in class the first two days because of [insert family event. I've personally gotten everything from Disney vacation to funeral to family-organized mission trip].”
I don’t know about you, but I get these emails about one to two weeks before every semester, and sometimes even after the fact. Personally, I struggle with handling them because my perspective, both when I was a student and now as a professor, is that class time is equivalent to a job commitment. Would you email your employer two days before your start…
November 11, 2011, 8:00 am
[This is a guest post by Aimee L. Pozorski, an associate professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. The president of the Philip Roth Society, her book on Roth and Trauma is just out with Continuum. Her prior ProfHacker posts focus on responding to criticism and on creativity and academic research. Weirdly, she's not online at all.--@jbj]
The political imperative–absolutely universal in America today–that one “support the troops” has confusing corollaries. First, the requirement to support the troops implies, oddly, that men and women who have risked their lives in unbelievable circumstances might have unusually delicate sensibilities. And second, there’s a fascination with the veteran as traumatized and necessarily wounded, and therefore as either somehow incomplete or as perhaps having a blighted or limited future.
My own work is in contemporary American…
October 21, 2011, 8:00 am
[This is a guest post by Doug Ward, an associate professor of journalism and the Budig Professor of Writing at the University of Kansas. You can find him online at www.kuediting.com and www.journalismtech.com, and follow him on Twitter @kuediting. He previously wrote on "iPads and the Embarrassment Factor."--@jbj]
Listen, I tell students. For a few minutes, just listen.
The guitar riffs of Wilco surge from the classroom speakers.
Or, depending on my mood, the melodic, folk-tinged strains of Josh Ritter sway through the air. Or the heartfelt blues of Kelly Hunt. Or the rebellious pop anthems of Kesha.
The first couple of times I do this each semester, students look at me quizzically. Inevitably, though, they listen – and they learn.
Popular music permeates students’ lives, with earbuds outnumbered only by mobile phones. With a little imagination, music can also provide …
August 23, 2011, 8:00 am
If you have been around higher education for any length of time, you have been exposed to that recent phenomenon, the helicopter parent. The helicopter parent, as you might know, is a parent that continues to manage her or his college student’s life, well after a time that the student should be able to manager her own life. Common traits among these parents include calling each day to make sure the student is up and awake for classes, checking on homework or assignment completion, selecting courses for the student to make sure the “appropriate professors” teach the student, and then calling that “appropriate professor” to talk about the student’s grades or course work.
Parents micromanage for a number of valid reasons. (This isn’t a post about parents; the focus is on these behaviors.) First and foremost among these valid reasons is that today’s parents and…
July 25, 2011, 11:13 am
We seem to have reached the point in the summer when the emails start to come in from students asking for the reading lists for their fall classes. At first glance, such requests might seem welcome—after all, who wouldn’t welcome such signs of enthusiasm and eagerness? The desire to read ahead is supposed to signal ambition and achievement. The early bird catches the worm; the first to the buzzer wins the round; the first to the table gets the bacon, etc., etc., etc.
And yet, I find myself deeply ambivalent about such requests not because I think that my students should bow to my every whim or because I refuse to acknowledge that they have other responsibilities and obligations, but rather because the act of reading ahead is often exceptionally damaging to our work together in the classroom.
Such a claim probably seems counter-intuitive. How can trying to get a head start be a …
July 8, 2011, 8:00 am
One of the several winners of this year’s Knight Foundation media innovation contest that offers great potential for scholars and students is a service and set of open-source tools called DocumentCloud. Currently in beta, it focuses on three primary feature areas designed to help journalists or anyone “reporting on” primary sources: search and analysis, highlighting and annotation, and document sharing.
In most of the examples I have seen of DocumentCloud being used, when we say documents we are talking about scanned texts: a politician’s scandalous memo, an oil company’s outline for destroying the planet, a scathing letter from an actress to her studio, and so on. Once you have an account you can upload your stash and take advantage of their analytic tools on docs that were either OCRed before uploading or done afterwards within DocumentCloud using their installation of the open …
June 23, 2011, 3:00 pm
Hopefully you’ve heard by now, but clickers are a great tool to use in the classroom to facilitate student learning through peer instruction (PI). Much has been written about them, and if you are new to clickers and PI I encourage you to take a look at what others have said about them, especially the pedagogy they support. Two must-have starting resources are Eric Mazur’s Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual and Derek Bruff’s Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments.
What I like about Bruff’s book is that he uses the more general term of “classroom response systems”(CRS) instead of clickers. As Nathanial Lasry said in his article, “Clickers or Flashcards: Is There Really a Difference?” (Phys. Teach. 46, 242 (2008) ), “the pedagogy is not the technology by itself.” Clickers are great for implementing the pedagogy, but sometimes the expense or…
June 17, 2011, 8:00 am
[This is a guest post by Celeste Marshall Kahn, an undergraduate at Converse College. She is majoring in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing and is a member of the Converse Nisbet Honors program. Follow her on Twitter at @cellykahn. --@eetempleton]
When Dr. Templeton invited me to attend THATCamp LAC with her, I knew that it would be a great opportunity. But an opportunity for what, exactly, I honestly did not know. My head was full of questions: What are the Digital Humanities? How can this help me? What is an unconference? What are the Digital Humanities, again? I was also concerned because I’m not really what I would call “technologically savvy.” I’m an English major! I read books and write papers! What does this have to do with me? Needless to say, I was both curious and apprehensive. But after perusing the THATCamp LAC website (which you all should do if you…