Category Archives: Teaching

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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…

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Openness, Permission, Courtesy and Nuances of Licenses

bee about to land on flower

I don’t know how common it is for folks to have to explain Creative Commons licenses for others, but it often feels like a “continuously negotiated” thing (to use Catherine Cronin’s term). So I recently had a conversation that went something like this, with a professor who wants to create an open textbook (the actual discussion was slightly more complex and with more people involved):

Me: so what kind of license do you want on the book?
Prof: I am happy for people to reuse it as long as they at…

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How to Learn Better with Ulrich Boser

Ulrich Boser, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, strongly believes that learning more about learning can benefit everyone, no matter their goals or stage in life. Learning how to master new skills and relate new information to existing knowledge is especially important as technological and societal change continually alter the kinds of work we perform throughout our lifetimes.

In his new book, Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or, H…

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The Semester Review

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There are many urgent, practical things that need to be done as the semester winds down: administrative reports, meetings, grading, and book orders for the next term. But setting aside a few minutes for reflection offers many benefits. An end-of-semester review process lets you capture important aspects of your experience while they are still reasonably fresh in your mind so that you can learn from them.

Taking time to notice and celebrate the positive aspects of the semester is especially valu…

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5 Posts Looking Ahead to Summer

As I write this I’m on the brink of clicking “submit” on submitting my grades for the semester and starting my summer activities. Like many faculty in higher ed, I’m thinking about how to make the best of the next 3 months. In doing so, I’ve gone into the ProfHacker archives to see what my fellow authors have written on the subject:

  1. "Five Things to Do With Evaluations Before the Summer Really Starts": Jason Jones argues that, before the semester drifts too far into the fog of memory, take a f…

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Open on Whose Terms?

I’m planning to teach a course with a big digital literacies component next semester inshallah, and as part of the brainstorming of that course, I plan to do some exercises related to having students reflect on Terms and Conditions and privacy policies of various apps before we use them. This was inspired by Jason Jones’ recent post about how Unroll.me was selling customer data to Uber, a link shared by Christian Friedrich written by Unroll.me’s co-founder, and a lesson idea for integrating Ter…

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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

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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…