Tag Archives: pedagogy


Open Thread: Are Closed Book Exams Still Relevant?

Skilled_and_unskilled_laborers_taking_the_TVA_examination_at_the_highschool_building,_Clinton,_Tennessee.-_-_NARA_-_532813Knowledge is changing. In the world of print knowledge, internalized knowledge of facts once signaled expertise. But in the age of smartphones, Google and Wikipedia, this knowledge is now at our fingertips. How important, then, is it for our students to have this knowledge memorized?

Does this change our notion of what constitutes “learning”? Are closed-book exams, the mainstay of print knowledge, still useful? Professionals rarely have to undertake closed book exams in real life. Lawyers co…


Learning How to Teach History in a Digital Age

Cover of Teaching History in a Digital AgeYou only have to read a few of Mills Kelly’s posts at his blog Edwired to pick up on his overarching argument: historians should pay as careful attention to scholarship on teaching as they do to the scholarship in their fields of research. There is a growing body of “Scholarship on Teaching and Learning,” demonstrating, for example, that lecturing is the least effective method of teaching. Kelly contends that historians “have remained stubbornly ignorant of the history of teaching and learning i…


Making Scientists: Some Assembly Required

science lab[This is a guest post by Jeremy Yoder, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota. You can find him online at Denim and Tweed, or follow him on Twitter at @jbyoder.--@JBJ]

One of the quirks of academic science is that earning a graduate degree in science doesn’t necessarily prepare you for teaching, which is one of the principal things one does after earning a graduate degree in science. Graduate school is pr…


Reacting to the Past: An Open Game Based Pedagogy Workshop at Duke, January 19-20

In June this year, I found myself screaming at the Ming dynasty Emperor Wanli for wanting to anoint his third born son in place of the first born. For all my remonstrations, I was executed as a Confucian martyr on the next morning. The following day, I entered a chaotic meeting between illustrious American citizens desperate to uphold slavery and a team of Abolitionists. All in all, in the last week I travelled between five centuries in a matter of four days.

I was not in a time machine. I was a…


Announcing Three Digital Workshops at the 2013 MLA

Boston MBTA train outside Boston Garden[This is a collaborative post written by Brian Croxall, Ryan Cordell, and Adeline Koh.–@bc]

As of this week, registration for the 2013 MLA Convention has begun. While there is always lots to do at the convention, we want to draw your attention to three associated events that you may want to sign up for as well.

1. A Digital Pedagogy Unconference

If you would like to talk with other people working in the modern languages about different methods, philosophies, or assignments for integrating digita…


The Cure for Thinking is Work

Men at Work SignIf you’re a scholar or student in the humanities and you’re having trouble making progress on that latest article or essay you’re supposed to write, chances are that you’re thinking too hard.

What? Thinking too hard?

Yes, thinking too hard. Thinking is the bane of our existence in the humanities, rooted in Romantic visions of the lone and misunderstood genius, conjuring thoughts of philosophical profundity out of nothingness. If that’s how scholarly discourse truly proceeded, we’d have thousands…


Keeping Up With Online Assignments and Grading

Busy!One of the best parts of of being a union president is that you get invited to new faculty orientation and similar events every year, so you get to meet new colleagues from all over campus. This year, at lunch, the topic of discussion at my table eventually turned toward learning management systems vs. roll-your-own assignments. New part-time faculty often have the experience of having to juggle multiple LMS platforms–one for each campus or system–every semester, which isn’t fun or efficient.



Stocking a Teaching Tool Box

Toolbox contents[This is a guest post by William Patrick Wend, a lecturer in the Liberal Arts program at Burlington County College in Pemberton NJ. He can be found online and on Twitter at @wpwend42.--@jbj]

One of the first things I tell my students on day one of class is that I failed every class my first semester of college. Well, I got a D in one, but that was a pretty major exaggeration of my skills. Some of this was my own fault; I was barely prepared for college due to a number of circumstances involving …


How to Study Your Own Teaching (And Why You Might Want To)

Classroom[This is a guest post by Janine Utell, who is an Associate Professor of English at Widener University in Pennsylvania. She teaches composition and 19th and 20th century British literature; she has also facilitated a number of on- and off-campus workshops on writing, critical thinking, and general education. Recently at ProfHacker, she's written on "Practical Wisdom and Professional Life." You can follow Janine on Twitter: @janineutell --@jbj]

Figuring out whether something is working, and whet…


THATCamp Pedagogy: Applications Now Open

In recent weeks, ProfHacker has featured several posts about THATCamp.  Ryan wrote about his experience organizing THATCamp LAC. Heather wrote about her experience attending THATCamp LAC as as an “outsider.” My student, Celeste Kahn, discussed “>what is was like to attend an unconference as an undergraduate and encouraged more of our readers to consider bringing their students to such events.

If the thought of bringing a student (or students) to THATCamp appeals to you, you might consider attend…