I’ll be blogging here periodically. The posts might be related to great instructional practices, specific dilemmas faced by me or my colleagues, useful resources, or interesting discussions in history, teaching, or higher education. I see this as an opportunity to think through some ideas and to do so while writing in a less formal way than I usually do.
Students were the main reason for my positive teaching experiences in Zoom in Winter Term. They were open, hard-working, and willing to be engaged. These first-year students prepared for each class meeting, wrote thoughtful reflections on our topics, and took steps to help create a supportive learning community.Continue reading Tips from My Students (on learning in Zoom)
I was teaching a short-term intensive course during our January Winter Term. It was scheduled to meet synchronously in Zoom five days a week for three hours a day for 3 ½ weeks. Yikes. Winter Term at Elon is a challenging format.
Beforehand, I was quite nervous about how to engage the 34 students in Zoom. In a pre-course survey, students sounded a bit wary or worried too, even after having had some previous experience with online synchronous classes in the fall.Continue reading I Survived Winter Term in Zoom
What’s Stereotype Threat?
When students find themselves in an environment where they worry that they will be judged or treated negatively because of stereotypes about one or more facets of their identity, they become anxious and vigilant, combing their environment for how they are being viewed and trying to regulate their thoughts and emotional responses (like worry, self-doubt) to the threats.Continue reading Stereotype Threat – What Instructors Can Do
While preparing a workshop about ways to do observations of teaching, my co-facilitator and I were thinking about how to adapt the traditional ways at our institution (i.e., sit in on a face-to-face class) for the many varied online and hybrid ways faculty are teaching during these pandemic days.
That got us thinking about the various benefits and limitations of any one way of evaluating a faculty member’s teaching (e.g., student ratings forms, observations, materials like syllabi and assignments, actual student work, communication and interactions in a learning management system, etc.).Continue reading What is good teaching?
I was over-the-top excited when I received my first responses from students to my pre-course survey. After spending the summer reading, adapting, pondering contingencies, and attending course design institutes and digital learning days, I’m tired of being anxious about the semester and just want it to start.
I’m also ready to interact with real students rather than the imaginary ones I’ve been thinking and worrying about all summer.
Some of the students are eager for the semester to get started too. I sent out the survey much earlier than I usually would (11 days before the first day of class), and a couple of students filled it out right away! Responses have been trickling in since then; over 90% had completed it a couple days before class begins.Continue reading Building a learning community during tough times
Musing 3 on Teaching about Race
As I’ve been reflecting on teaching about race in the U.S., I returned to the framework I first encountered in a webinar taught by some great pioneers in multicultural education, Christine A. Stanley and Mathew Ouellett. (I adapted their framework in the image to the right.) For inclusive teaching, they advised we think carefully about who it is we are teaching.Continue reading Who We Teach
Assuming we accept the idea that we need to teach more and/or better about race, before we start, we need to consider the fundamental question, WHAT do we want to teach?
I think sometimes busy faculty don’t take enough time considering this question. But as I wrote in chapter one of my book, choosing significant and meaningful goals is a crucial step in the process of designing an effective, well-integrated course in which students learn deeply and retain what they learn.Continue reading What we Teach about Race
White police killed an unarmed Black man. Again. The murder of George Floyd – captured on video by 17-year-old Darnella Frazer for all the world to witness in its senseless and brazen cruelty – resulted in persistent protests around the nation. Again. By now everyone knows Floyd’s name, just as we learned the names Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. (Yet too rarely do we know the names of or facts about police brutality towards Black women, as pointed out in the powerful exposé Say Her Name by the African American Policy Forum.) In 1991, everyone knew the name of Rodney King, and in the mid and late 1960s we watched frequent clashes with police as they resulted in burning cities.Continue reading Let’s Teach More, and/or Better, about Race
Have you ever before heard faculty talk so much about emotions?
Cathy Davidson, author of The New Education, asserted on the HASTAC blog that “our summer of planning for better online learning this Fall will be wasted if we do not begin from the premise that our students are learning from a place of dislocation, anxiety, and trauma. So are we.”
“Precarity, uncertainty, grief and feeling overwhelmed abound,” observed Becca Pope-Ruark in Inside Higher Education. She cautioned faculty to pay attention to signs of debilitating burnout.Continue reading Emotions in Teaching
Review: Flower Darby with James M. Lang, Small Teaching Online (Jossey-Bass, 2019)
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been desperate to read advice on how to teach well online. Since we may well be teaching remotely again sooner or later, I decided to read and review Flower Darby’s Small Teaching Online.
Bottom line: Yes, I think it’s well worth a read.……..
But before you read: Clear your mind. Give yourself a treat for having survived the spring. Take a vacation.Continue reading Online Teaching: “Small” but Powerful