“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 visually oriented). But, let’s reconsider that quote in light of the cookie-cutter syllabi that higher ed mandates today. “While we many not talk about it, we know a syllabus reveals nothing about our colleagues except that we are expected to follow in line.” No childRead More →

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 too much, and any framework or typography can lose its helpfulness if its overly rigid (hardening of the categories”). Lately, I have been rethinking my commitment to this schema, and why I like it, because POD folks trash it regularly. Their skepticism and rejection isRead More →

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 entirelyRead More →

As of today, students pay a larger percentage of their tuition at state schools than the state does. The humanities died in higher education a long time ago. Now, higher education itself is under threat. Until academics realize we lost certain battles, and we move strategically to different grounds, we will continue to lose the war. The fault is ours. We are weak tacticians who suffer from occupational psychoses that prevent us from wisdom on the battlefield. Many ages ago, during my first semester in graduate school, a professor used the metaphor of the Catholic church to explain what was expected of graduate students. HisRead More →

What do the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) and the typical roleplaying game player’s handbook (PHB) have in common? The character typographies that both articulate are what Kenneth Burke would call “recipes for wise living, sometimes moral, sometimes technical” for fantasy worlds. Burke got this idea of recipes for living by analyzing proverbs through a sociological and rhetorical lens. He concluded that these short, pithy statements were a form of literary medicine, and that their medicinal quality could be found in all things literary. According to Burke, the medicinal quality of proverbs comes from their “naming” function, orRead More →

Over the years, my therapists have asked me how I feel. They tell me my answers express my inner thoughts, not my feelings. My vocabulary of feelings is remarkably thin. This is unsurprising given that I am an academic; thinking to the exclusion of feeling is, presumably, my occupational psychosis. Ironically, the academy has taken the turn to affect. It’s an interesting twist given the centuries-long atrophy of feeling in the sacred grove. Now that post-human, post-gendered, post-raced but always material bodies can play in the exclusive grove, we can talk academically about how it all feels. Unintentionally. What gives? I have noticed a popular turnRead More →

I posted about the politics of grammar and desegregation in Baton Rouge before running into this morning’s NYT article on the graduation gap. Regardless of SAT scores and college aptitude, only 1 out of 6 students who come from low-income families will complete their college degrees, whereas 90% of children from the upper quartile will complete. “Who Gets to Graduate,” indeed…Read More →

Sixty years ago the Supreme Court handed down the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Until around 2005 or so, give or take a year, the East Baton Rouge Parish school system operated under a federal desegregation order, one of the longest running orders in the country. Today, Baton Rouge Community College continues to receive entering freshmen educated under that order. Due to the cult of self esteem, the best of these students have been told throughout their education that they can succeed, that they are smart, that they have a future. In college classrooms over time, these students demonstrate facility with logic, organization, and critical thinking. Even though theyRead More →

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. ∞Read More →

The place of public speaking in the general education curriculum is constantly questioned. The image of communication majors in pop culture sheds light on why. Because “it’s kinda hard to put into words.” I experienced a moment of synchronicity to illustrate this. The moment is circular, a snake eating its tail. First, I received yet another email stating professional concern for eliminating public speaking in the general education curriculum. Then, later in the week, I watched a disturbing scene that negatively portrayed the communication major in the popular sitcom, Two and a Half Men.  This moment is circular because I don’t know which is the chickenRead More →