Tag Archive for Teaching Tips

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…

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…

Overcoming Speech Anxiety

Students who take public speaking classes are fearful of delivering speeches. Although we work on speech anxiety in my classes, that is not our focus.Anxiety is a “fight or flight” physiological response left over from the “caveman” (That’s Sexist!) days when we needed adrenaline to face a predator. Since classmates are not predators, folks shouldn’t worry. There are many silly…

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…

Giving Students Lecture Notes Before Class

Making class notes available ahead of time to students can solve a lot of challenges for teachers and students alike. Teaching at a community college often means working with students who need help learning notetaking and other  “college ready” skills. Also, today’s students often come to class without reading beforehand, and with little skill in listening to lectures. This means…

Pecha Kucha in Public Speaking

Using PowerPoint in speeches sucks. Always. Many speech teachers probably feel the same. PowerPoint becomes a teleprompter, which defeats the purpose of giving a speech. Last semester, I taught Business Communication for the first time in my entire teaching career. In thinking through that class, I felt obligated to teach PowerPoint since it’s expected in the business world. Also, the…