Category Archives: Teaching

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Reasons to Open Source Your Syllabus


The Open Source Renaissance flickr photo by opensourceway shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

This semester I’m teaching a new graduate course prep. I always enjoy putting together a new syllabus, but graduate courses are particularly exciting: I always have more things I want to teach than can possibly fit into a semester. During my summer planning, I read and reread articles and gather possible materials, and consult the best reference of all: everybody else’s syllabus.

When I fi…

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Tell a Story with your Data with StorylineJS

pietro-jeng-266017

Knight Lab has done it again. Creators of the popular tool TimelineJS and StoryMap have just introduced StorylineJS, which allows you to essentially annotate a data set.

As described in the announcement from Knight Lab,

StorylineJS makes it easy to tell the story behind a dataset, without the need for programming or data visualization expertise. Just upload your data to Google Sheets, add two columns, and fill in the story on the rows you want to highlight. Set a few configuration options and …

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Open-Thread Wednesday: After the Hurricane

If you were in the extensive path of Irma, like I was, then this week has probably changed drastically from what you imagined when you wrote this semester’s syllabus. My campus has been closed for classes since last Thursday, and won’t re-open for students until next Monday. In the great scheme of the impact of a tremendous storm like this one (or Harvey), the loss of instructional time is relatively minor, but it will present challenges for all of us faculty looking ahead to meet the learning …

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From the Archives: Starting a New Semester

seminar table

Whether you’ve already been in the classroom for a week or two, or will be heading back in September, the ProfHacker archives are full of helpful tips to start the new semester off right. Here I mention several of our back to school roundup posts, highlighting just a few of the many links each contains.

The posts linked in From the Archives: Creating Syllabi (2014) focus on the basics of syllabus creation, including technology policies, accessibility, syllabus design, and our ever-popular 11 Fa…

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What First Years Might Not Know & What To Do About It

College Hall sign

[This is a guest post (actually, a collated series of tweets, by Anne Trubek. Trubek is Director of Belt Publishing and author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting--and, to her points below, a former associate professor at Oberlin College.]

Teaching first-years today? Here are some things my son, starting college today, was never taught:

  1. How to address professors–Dr., Mr, Mrs., Miss, Ms., first name. Don’t get huffy if your students don’t know either. Teach them.
  2. How to ‘read’…
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Participating in the Digital Polarization Initiative is now ‘Ridiculously Easy’

When I was at the Domains 2017 conference earlier this summer, Jon Udell issued a challenge – what are you doing to help the fight again digital polarization, “fake news,” and general media illiteracy? He has been working hard with Mike Caulfield on the Digital Polarization Initiative (which I’ve already written about), and they’ve come up with a new way to make it easier for teachers to incorporate the project into their classes.

(By the way, my part is using the platforms that I have access t…

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On Writing: Anne Lamott

laptop and notebook

One of the things that most frequently causes writers to feel stuck or frustrated is trying to write and edit at the same time. These are two very different cognitive activities, and examining your last three sentences for flaws is a sure way to block the creative impulse that might lead to the next sentence.

The answer, of course, is to write what Anne Lamott calls “a shitty first draft” in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life:

Very few writers really know what they are doing un…

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Learn About Digital Accessibility This Summer

Looking to add to your digital skill set this summer? Interested in digital accessibility? Via Anne Janhunen comes word that Microsoft is offering a "Web Accessibility Fundamentals" course on edX. The course is free to audit and $99 if you’d like a "Verified Certificate."

From the landing page for the course:

In this course, we will teach you the guidelines and best practices required to create a new web application from scratch. You’ll also learn how to repair inaccessible sites as they exi…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Online Class and Virtual Attendance Challenges

Like many of you, I’m in a moment of rapid transition, with spring semester grades barely posted and summer classes already underway. For students who are motivated by their graduation pace, funding, or other needs, summer classes are a great way to move forward: when I was an undergraduate I regularly embraced the format. As a faculty member I have more mixed feelings, particularly with the rising popularity of online summer classes.

This summer I’m revisiting a difficult format that I’ve onl…

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Review: The Interactive Past

I frequently write here about the potential for using games in the classroom, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting transdisciplinary engagement with this idea. So I was excited to see the recent open-access Sidestone Press release of The Interactive Past: Archaeology, Heritage & Video Games edited by Angus A.A. Mol, Csilla E. Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke, Krijn H.J. Boom & Aris Politopoulos. The project is interesting both as an academic approach (it was funded via Kickstarter) and as a co…