Monday, January 29, 2007


Tuesday, September 27, 2005


i will no longer be updating this blog. content normally posted here will be incorporated into my general blog

Thursday, August 25, 2005

should be a requirement for faculty

prof spends year as undergrad

Part of the trick to college life, she learned from good students, was being able to quickly decipher what work needed to be done and what could be skipped. Those management skills helped students balance classes, part-time work and involvement in volunteer or professional groups, Small said.

ah, as one book i read called it "the game of school"...the interesting thing is, while we bemoan this practice, i must confess to doing it in the classes i have taken. the challenge, as always is fostering genuine learning...

Monday, April 18, 2005

learning to teach...

the more i teach, the more i am struck by the importance of backing off and doing "less" - create opportunities for students to learn, then get out of the way. recently i had some activities planned, but the students were engaged doing something else - in this psrticular case, had i compelled them to do what i had planned, i don't think their education would have been served as well - they were engaged in meaningful work, answering the questions that were meaningful to them - who am i to stop it...granted there are times when an instructor should assert himself and his aims- but not just to show who's boss

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

distance learning and continuous partial attention...

while reading a page on neal stephenson's site, i came across the phrase "continuous partial attention" coined by linda stone.

this phrase perfectly describes how i feel about the semester so far, largely, i think, because i am teaching 2 distance learning classes. i check my email and the class forums compulsively, many times a day, and respond pretty much immediately to anything i receive - (which given my experience as a distance learning student, not to toot my own horn (well, perhaps a it), gives my students far more timely feedback than is the norm...)

still, i am concerned with the depth of the interaction. the asynchronous nature prevents a true implementation of the socratic method. i can pose a question back to the student to consider, or point the student in the right direction, but i am concerned the dialogue isn't as rich as in a classroom...

i suppose there are two possibilities:
a. find a way to incorporate more meaningful dialogue into a distance learning environment - imitationg that aspect of the classroom - and i'm not convinced that online chat, which seems like the obvious answer, is the way - perhaps that deserves its own post - as a student in distance learning classes, i prefer asynchronous discussion forums to the chaos of online chat
b. accept it as a limitation and look for other meaningful ways to provide the students powerful educational experiences different than the classroom experience

any ideas would be appreciated...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

i agree...

...with this article, for a number of reasons...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

flexible deadlines and rework

i believe both flexible deadlines and allowing students to rework mistakes are critical for student learning. face it, folks don't always learn at the same rate. in the grand scheme of things, how is a student's learning best served - by allowing an extra week to get an assignment *right* or by compelling the student to meet a deadline - often an arbitrarily-set one. mistakes are critical for learning - if teachers allow students and motivate students to learn from them.

that being said, students need to understand, that in many ways, late assignments hurt them more then they do the instructor. a student is robbed of a chance for timely feedback, and flexibility can be abused to where students fall hopelessly behind. with freedom comes responsibility. still, the bigger danger is to try to force each student to learn on the exact same schedule. anecdotally, i believe i have had many students who were able to successfully complete a class, as opposed to dropping, because of my flexibility.

many say that deadlines are important to teach students about professionality, yada yada. there is validity in this line of thinking, however, a few things to consider. first of all, there aren't *always* deadlines - secondly, students are students, not professionals - i mean there are tons of other differences between students and professionals (most obviously, professionals get paid, students don't)- why enforce this particular standard, when students are, by definition, not at the level of an accomplished professional...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

crunch time...

the semester starts next week. i heard yesterday that a couple of my classes were cancelled and i will pick up two classes i've never taught before - a total of three sections - 1 land, 2 web. i am picking up slack for a colleague who will be out all semester. another adjunct will take over 1 of my web classes leaving me with 3 land and two web.

after a period of procrastinating (well spent as it turns out - i did a fair amount of prep for classes i won't be teaching - glad i didn't do more) - i feel energized - the old consultant "do what it takes to get it done..."

oddly enough, i don't feel "dumped on" - although my favorite class was cancelled. hey, i'm a team player - and always up to a challenge.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

great site

about web design and more

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

great concept

from what the best college teachers do by ken bain

The most effect teachers help students keep the larder questions of the course at the forefront. Donald Saari, a mathemetician from the University of California, invokes the principle of what he calls "WGAD" - "Who gives a damn?" At the beginning of his courses, he tells students that they are free to ask him this question on any day during the course, at any moment in the ckass, He will stop and explain to his students why the materials under at the moment - however abtruse and minuscule a piece of the big picture it may be - is important, and how it relates to the larger questions and issues of the course.

i may have to try this...