Pedagogy and Teaching

Ten Tips to Smashbook your Blackboard Learn

 Yes, Blackboard is broken, but with some mental reframing, spit, and bubblegum, anyone can smash it into a different direction. Also, who’s sick of calling this making-do business a “hack”? Let’s go back to jury-rigging or MacGuyvering. Also, your mileage on these so-called hacks may vary depending on your institution’s implementation of Blackboard. The easiest way to get Blackboard working…

Corporatized Syllabi, Corporatized Faculty

“While we may not talk about it, we know a syllabus reveals a lot about our colleagues,” writes Linda Nilson in The Graphic Syllabus. The book, published in 2007, talks about how bureaucratized syllabus developed in response to various political pressures in higher ed, the old-style syllabus (which was simple and teacher-centered), and the learner-centered syllabus (which is guide-on-the-side and…

The VARK

Again. People are talking about the VARK again. Most research has discredited the VARK. Just Google it and you’ll see the debate pop up right away. But I still like it, the same way I like astrology, Tarot cards, and various other personality tests. The VARK is a framework that can over-determine or define people once we buy into it…

Blackboard Learn Sucks, Again – Or, Teaching Mobile

The Blackboard app sucks more than Blackboard itself. The mobile app is teacher unfriendly. In fact, it’s downright teacher-hostile. Remember, the medium is the message. Since Blackboard has yet to master mobile-responsive design, the mismatch between the website and mobile app causes users to get mixed messages. This is a huge headache for teachers and students alike. Additionally, instructors cannot…

Blackboard: Learn, Hate, Hack

Blackboard continues to suck. I’m at a new institution, and I have learned that admin regulation of features accounts for only a small amount of Blackboard’s suckage. My current school has foregone some convenient features, but adopted other nifty ones. In the end this just illustrates that Blackboard’s suckitude and lack thereof amounts to installing car mats, electric windows, and…

Gratitudes

Gratitudes: Burning Off and On

Keeping track of gratitudes helps keep me positive and appreciative. The only rule is people can't be on the list because there are too many to name. Focusing on the small things keeps me mindful. Here's my gratitudes for today.

1. Everyone who cares about how teachers teach and learners learn (cf http://chronicle.com/article/TeachingLearning-About/146403/)

2. Every teacher, professor, PODster, colleague, and faculty professional development expert who taught me about teaching.

3. Every administrator who realized that pedagogy and faculty professional development should be funded and supported institutionally.

4. Every student who put up with my insensitivities, failures, and experiments as a teacher.

The VARK: Teaching first grade to college students

Learning about learning, Part I The VARK I know my VARK and where I fall on the inventory of learning styles: Visual. Auditory. Read/Write. Kinesthetic. Someone recently asked me if I remembered Amy Grant’s song, “Every Heartbeat.” My reply: “Yeah, that’s the song where she’s wearing that cute polka dot dress and big sunglasses and there’s a dog. Like, she’s…

Teaching Test-Taking Skills

Testing should be as much about learning as assessing.  Even though I believe this, I caved in and started giving multiple choice exams years ago. Blame it on Swiss cheese memory. Blame it on some fantastical conversion experience wherein I now believe memorization and identification are rigorous! That’s hogwash. To redeem my unpalatable decision, I give the students a chance…

Dr. Sells’s “Low Tech Weekend”

In Interpersonal Communication we have an assignment in which students describe what it’s like to unplug for a weekend. I decided to blog about the assignment because…well..you’ll see… Class Assignment Select a 48-hour period during which you will “unplug” from your computer-mediated communication (CMC) technology. This includes email, Facebook, interactive computer gaming (MMORPGs, etc.), texting, and chatting. You may use…