Category Archives: Teaching

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Reflections on Structurelessness

tangle toy

This post is inspired by an article called The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman. Thanks to Gardner Campbell for sharing it while collaboratively annotating an article for the #OpenLearning17 MOOC. Freeman’s article, originally written about the women’s liberation movement, can be repurposed with a focus on academia: on our classrooms, our institutions, our conferences and gatherings.

Structurelessness does not prevent the formation of (informal) structures

Jo Freeman writes:

“to striv…

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Playing at Computational Thinking with The Tessera

Earlier this month, a team of researchers from Brigham Young University and University of Maryland, led by Derek Hansen and Kari Kraus, launched a new free educational game The Tessera: Ghostly Tracks. Funded in part by the NSF, the game is a beautiful way to explore principles of computational thinking in a multiplayer, narrative-driven setting while unraveling a ghost story.

The web-based game works well on any fairly up-to-date browser, and doesn’t require any downloads. To play, just make a

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A Simple Way to Get Student Feedback Regularly

Longtime readers of ProfHackers might remember that I’m a fan of the simple solution: from putting labels on your stuff to carabiners for my keys to rubber bands around my dry erase markers to a multitool on my keyring to velcro ties around everything to a holster for my smartphone. I’m always looking for simple, relatively inexpensive solutions to everyday problems.

Recently, I’ve started doing something new in the classroom. It’s a simple little thing that I do every single time my class meet…

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Improve your Writing with Expresso

espresso

I write. A lot. But I don’t get edited very often, and I am terrible at revising my own work. I came across this little tool, developed by Mikhail Panko, a PhD student in computational neuroscience, called Expresso. You paste your text into a text box and it gives you a number of metrics directly in the text. It aims to help you find “weak spots” in your text, as well as encouraging you to paste the text of writers you admire to compare styles.

I decided to take it for a spin with my own writin…

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Taking Notes on Primary Sources with Drupal

notebook page

As George noted in September, we’ve had a long-standing fascination with note-taking here at ProfHacker. (Heck, back before ProfHacker was a thing, I’d had a popular note-taking assignment, called Wikified Class Notes.) We’ve had posts on note-taking with AppleScript, paraphrasing as note-taking, note-taking in Zotero, note-taking with iOS, note-taking on a Nook Color … there’ve been a lot of posts about note-taking.

And with good reason! The ability to take good notes is an essential skill for…

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New Pedagogical Resource – Prompt

A pile of journal articles

I’m always looking for pedagogical resources, as w
ell as publishing/scholarship opportunities for faculty (and myself) to publish in, and there is a new open-access journal, Prompt. It is, as stated in the editors’ introduction,

a multidisciplinary journal focused specifically on collegiate writing assignments. This journal highlights the pedagogical process of crafting writing assignments and offers contextualized reflections on teaching writing in varied disciplines.

The first issue features…

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Salam for Helplessness

Palm tree during Cairo sunset

“Are you coming to the US this summer?” people have been asking for months.

“If they let me in, inshallah,” I have been responding. Long before this week happened.

I know. You’re a good person. You care. You’re feeling enraged. And helpless. The rage may rise and fall, but the helplessness is a constant struggle. I know that feeling. Not every person can march and strike and stand in solidarity and advocate day in and day out. So here are some ways to get through this by focusing on what you ca…

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Visualize Your Document Changes with Draftback

2349630643_52f4f12da9_o

Recently, I was introduced to this cool Chrome extension called Draftback. It works with your Google Docs to track the changes you (or your students or collaborators or whoever) have made in the document and allows you to visualize them.

When you click on the Draftback box now located in the top right corner of your Google Doc, you can generate a playback of the changes. I chose a collaboratively-written document that my students wrote last year. As you can see, there were almost 3500 changes m…

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Pedagogy of Imperfection

Imperfectly shaped strawberry
[This post is co-authored with Autumm Caines and Rebecca J. Hogue. Together we are the co-directors of Virtually Connecting.]

They say perfect is the enemy of done, but there may be more value to imperfection in pedagogy than just getting things done. Learning is an imperfect process and the situation is few and far between where we see someone getting it perfect the first time. Many times perfection is a self-defined construct that we ourselves cannot even precisely articulate, though we know …

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New Keywords on Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities

Manifesto for Teaching Online

I’ve made note before (in December 2015 and last June) about the open review process for the Modern Language Association’s project, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments, “a curated collection of reusable and remixable pedagogical artifacts for humanities scholars.”

There’s a new batch of keywords open for review, and they’re pretty great: