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Paper Vs. LMS: Tech Tradeoffs

A few years ago, I abandoned paper in my classroom almost entirely. First I stopped taking major assignments in paper form, but a while after that I also started encouraging my students to bring their phones, laptops, and tablets to class to participate in class activities via a Google Doc instead of collecting class activitiesContinue reading “Paper Vs. LMS: Tech Tradeoffs”

Promoting Student Choice

When I was a graduate student, I routinely had two sections of the same class. As a rule I generally kept them on the same syllabus and schedule, and I still do that now that I have four sections of the same class most semesters. It makes less work for me and lets me focusContinue reading “Promoting Student Choice”

Make It Simpler! Advanced Course Design

Despite all my best intentions, and no matter how early I get started on course prep, I’m at the last minute and still caught basically scrambling to put my courses together. That’s ok. I know what I’m doing. I’ve got over a decade of experience teaching college courses—in particular, these first year composition courses thatContinue reading “Make It Simpler! Advanced Course Design”

Fall 2021 Postmortem + New Semester’s Resolutions Spring 2021

As I’ve said before, I actually don’t consider the Covid semesters my “worst semester ever”; that honor is forever reserved for Fall 2019. However, although Spring 2020 was actually ok (all things considered), I will start by saying that Fall 2020 went badly for reasons that I probably could have prevented, and it is myContinue reading “Fall 2021 Postmortem + New Semester’s Resolutions Spring 2021”

Problems With Contract Grading

Traditional grading, which, like so many of our so-called traditions in the US isn’t actually very old, has a lot of obvious problems. It’s been rightly called racist, classist, and eugenicist. The conventional grading structure likely causes more harm to students than good, and yet teachers are forced into it by administrative demands that benefitContinue reading “Problems With Contract Grading”

Quarter Semester Reflection

My students are about a quarter through their coursework now. They’ve finished one of four projects. So I decided now would be a good time to assess how I’m doing in serving them as teacher. I’ve seen a number of instructors suggesting weekly (or even more frequent) check-ins with students. I like that idea, butContinue reading “Quarter Semester Reflection”

Genre, Learning, and Why Your Students Are So Tired

It’s a bit of a cliche right now, due to the pandemic, that we have to “relearn” how to do things that were normal. But it’s also, like many cliches, not wrong. And as teachers struggle to find a mode of instruction that meets ever-changing guidelines and protects themselves and their students but still preservesContinue reading “Genre, Learning, and Why Your Students Are So Tired”

Asynchronous Accommodations

At the beginning of the semester, it’s routine for me to receive several letters from our office of disability services requesting accommodations for students. These letters are form letters where they just drop in a list of accommodations from a fairly standard list of options, such as time and a half on exams and quizzes,Continue reading “Asynchronous Accommodations”

New Semester’s Resolutions: Fall 2020

I’ve written before about how I like to make resolutions at the new semester, rather than the new year. So let’s do this! I admit this semester I haven’t given that much thought to what I want to do better. Like most of us, I’ve been in crisis mode over the summer, waiting to seeContinue reading “New Semester’s Resolutions: Fall 2020”

You Don’t Need To Watch Your Students

A lot of us are teaching online for the fall. Not as many of us as should be teaching online in the fall, of course, but a lot of us (and as I’ve mentioned before, if you’re not, plan to teach online anyway, because it’s a definite possibility). And I know I’ve said it beforeContinue reading “You Don’t Need To Watch Your Students”