Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why we don't change as instructors: data vs. emotion

Mary Ellen Weimer writes provocative things about teaching.  Here is one of her articles:

  https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/contradictions-think-teaching/?utm_campaign=Faculty%20Focus&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=53632571&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8SVQawWI_00ymVPLieJX5Cgat5RfP__g57xSbfRHSGrIo5X7XaOb5dHfllcBx3i6eeM_ERe196B96YA7E-K8jN6uwjWg&_hsmi=53632571

Here she is dealing with one of my favorite topics, faculty resistance to improving teaching even when we know there are better ways.  As one of her sources states, faculty approach faculty development the way our students approach learning in the classroom, although we fuss about how students do that.  I saw myself there.  See my post above on my current online learning experience.   

Monday, June 19, 2017

Academic Freedom, Marble Statues, and General Insanity

OK.  Is is getting to the point that anyone who says anything publicly gets death threats?  What exactly is a death threat?  (A generally, "You should die for your viewpoint" or "I know where you live and work and am coming there to kill you soon"?)

So, interesting article below from Inside Higher Ed about a common fact, a conclusion about that fact, the publication in popular media about that conclusion, and the response from people who take things too seriously.  Yes, everyone who has ever taken a humanities course knows the Greeks and Romans painted their statues.  But . . . does that mean they weren't racist? (are you serious?)  Does that mean that the beauty of white marble (which would have been normalized by the Renaissance and Baroque artists, not the 18th century) is a white supremacist statement?

If racism is only framed as black (African, dark-skinned) vs. white (Northern European, pink skin toned) then the discussion is over.  There are other "phenotypes" who have historically hated each other and tried to kill the other off.  Racism is far bigger than one country's historical struggle with slavery.  Not to minimize that; it is the U.S.'s unique and tragic problem and legacy. It just isn't the only instance of racism in world history.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/06/19/classicist-finds-herself-target-online-threats-after-article-ancient-statues?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=e146624ade-DNU20170619&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-e146624ade-198482621&mc_cid=e146624ade&mc_eid=ab27a3f05f

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Shout-out to ed2go

This summer I am engaging in two significant professional development activities.

I am going to get certification as a Quality Matters reviewer.  For those who don't know, that is an organization that credentials online courses.  It's about time, since I was an early adopter (1998) of online teaching.  My institution pays for most of it. 

Secondly, I am taking four courses with ed2go, which is affiliated with Cengage (Pearson) on teaching English as Second Language.  Right now I am taking two of them concurrently.  They are well done; not exactly graduate level, of course, or even undergrad, but informative and well designed. The assignments are easy, but the readings are at the right level for both a lay person and a professional with advanced degrees, as am I.

These are not without costs, but I found them very reasonable.  I had taken an ed2go class on epublishing several years ago.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Another Reason for College Instructors to Stay Off Social Media

From my go-to of the day, (along with Christianity Today), Inside Higher Ed:

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/06/14/dispute-about-sociology-quiz-question-slave-families-ends-lecturers-termination?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=f0b09ed148-DNU20170614&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-f0b09ed148-198482621&mc_cid=f0b09ed148&mc_eid=ab27a3f05f    

(I realize it is better to "hide" the link under a word but I want this to be transparent.)

My take on this:
1.  I tend to side with the student, for once, although she is only 49% right overall.
2.  The instructor lost my support when she went to social media.  Cardinal rule of teaching:  Never, ever, ever discuss classroom issues on social media.  It violates privacy, it will bite you on the butt,  it's nobody's business, and it makes the instructor look childish.