Category Archives: Teaching

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5 Tips for Designing Course Documents

Here towards the end of the semester, I’m thinking about all of the different kinds of documents I’ve seen left behind on or near the departmental photocopier over the past 15 weeks. And I’ve developed some … opinions about how such documents could be improved.

Here are 5 specific tips I’d like to share with you:

  1. Add the same visible metadata to every document: Remember that each of your documents will have a life independent of the other documents you’re creating for a course. When that docu…

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DIAGRAM Center Provides Guidance on Accessible Images

Here at ProfHacker we’ve written several posts over the years about accessibility of digital resources for all people, including people with disabilities. Right now, my campus is engaged in a 3-year plan to get all of our digital pedagogical resources to adhere to federal regulations regarding accessibility. One issue that has been the subject of many conversations is the use of images and how best to make them accessible while still fulfilling their function in teaching.

I’m a big fan of WebAI…

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End of the Semester: Make a List

3166085824_d93fe8c5c5_b

Here on my campus, we have only 3 weeks of regular class meetings left. I don’t know about you, but the end seems to come more quickly every semester! The more experienced I get the less chaotic these few weeks feel to me, but I still have to work at it to stay organized and to look ahead to what lies beyond the semester’s end.

Back in December of 2009, Ethan wrote up some advice explaining his own end-of-semester checklist. Here’s the overview:

  • Backup my course websites

  • Update my CV

  • Writ…

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New Resource on Open Access, Pedagogy, Learning

The concept of “Open,” particularly when it comes to Open Access, is something that we’ve written a lot about here at Profhacker. In fact one could make the argument that part of our Ethos here is build around the idea of openness; we write openly about our pedagogies, our practices, and our struggles. Increasingly, however, “open” is being turned into the latest buzzword around education and education reform (transformation, disruption, revolutionize, leveraging, etc). The word, then, is losin…

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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