Category Archives: Teaching

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Strategies for Encouraging Effective Student Discussions

If you’re not already following Jennifer Gonzalez’ site, Cult of Pegadogy, I strongly recommend that you start doing so. Gonzalez regularly publishes useful posts that provide specific advice for the classroom, from K-16 and beyond.

A recent post that caught my eye — “5 Ways College Teachers Can Improve Their Instruction” — was no exception, featuring an interview with author and teacher Norman Eng. One of the recommendations is especially interesting to me: “Implement ‘Cold Calling’ and ‘No Op…

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How to Teach Students How to Read on Screens, and Why You Might Want To

kid reading on a coach

Internet-literate people are at a funny moment when it comes to digital reading. Just in my own family, for example, I do about 85% of reading on screens of various types, mostly because I just don’t have any room for books. My wife, a full professor of contemporary American literature, is the exact opposite–reads most things in print. Our son *tends* to read books in print and other things via social media links, but there are exceptions. (In December he read Empire Falls on a phone, which see…

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Using Text Analysis to Discover Work in JSTOR

grounds in coffee

JSTOR have just announced the JSTOR Labs Text Analyzer, a clever tool–still in Beta–that will analyze any document you upload (or text that you copy and paste) and find suggested matches in the JSTOR archives. It’s an interesting proposition–if you click that link on a phone, you can even take a picture of text and the Analyzer will process that.

You can find out more about how it works at this link, but I thought it would be fun to run it through a paper I published a while back. The paper was…

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New Teaching Resource for Digital Literacy

Lego Yetis in Confederate Uniforms

I’ve already shared the work Mike Caulfield is doing with the Digital Polarization Initiative, as well as the analysis he has done (and continues to do) on his blog. Now Mike has published an OER textbook, Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. It can be used alongside the Digital Polarization Initiative work (which I am going to be doing in a few weeks) or as a stand-alone textbook or resource. You can find the book in different formats linked on his blog.

Much of what is in the textbook is b…

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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…