Tag Archive for Pedagogy

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…

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The VARK and other learning styles

Look, let’s be frank. Some schools swear by the VARK. Some researches say the VARK has been disproven or no research has substantiated it. Due to my own academic training, which emphasized the metatheoretical and critical, I believe that something is useful and super-awesome until it’s not. To me, the VARK makes total sense, and whether or not it’s a legitimate framework or voodoo is irrelevant. There are other frameworks that I overlay with the VARK when I teach, but the VARK is language people understand. The problem, the MAIN problem is when teachers are unwilling to engage in pedagogy at all. They teach entirely from anecdote and subjectivity, and their teaching is solipsistic: “I know it when I see it,” and, secretly, “I teach to the way I learn best.” That, to me, is the most devastating to the classroom learning environment. I just needed to get that off my chest. Whew.

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…

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…

Controlling Stealth Texting in Class

Stealth texting or crotch texting in class. What a nightmare. I can’t make up my mind about permitting mobile devices and other technology in class. Even though I geek out over the latest tech toys, my class policy alternates every semester. Lately, my approach has been NO DEVICES whatsoever (without a disability services accommodation letter). This works best when students…

Black Doll, White Doll

The Black Doll, White Doll test was used in the Brown vs. Board of Ed case to contest desegregation. A 17-year-old high school student made a documentary, A Girl Like Me, revisiting this test today to see how much things have changed. Not much. The clip is great to show in class for discussions about race and identity. It’s useful…

The Culture of Student Learning at My School

Maymester is almost over. The students were dynamic and engaged. Only one or two students seemed to struggle with the material.  Summer students are always stronger, perhaps because they know they have to work harder in a compressed time period, and perhaps because summer school includes university students. Culture of Learning Summer, though, reinforces my confidence about doing things a…

Students’ Sense of Entitlement

An article about contemporary students’ sense of entitlement is all over the Canadian papers today. It cites a UC Irvine study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The article discusses how entitled today’s students feel. Here are some stats from the article: The study asked approximately 400 undergraduates aged 18 to 25 whether they agreed with these statements:…