Teaching Carnival 3.1

Once, long ago (before Twitter!), a man named George had a simple idea: since so many faculty members blog, why not start a carnival “devoted to gathering select blog entries related to teaching issues in higher education”?  And so he did.  And it was good.  The carnival continued through 22 installments before taking a brief hiatus, but it’s back.  Although people have mostly learned to tolerate the flexible rhetoric of blogs since that first carnival in 2005, it may be useful to remind ourselves of some ground rules.

Many thanks to George for his hard work in re-organizing this excellent tradition.

Without further ado, presented for your delectation is Teaching Carnival 3.1:

Some Things Never Change: Course and assignment design, lesson planning, and communicating with students and deans

Some topics are classics for a reason: Alice Pawley explains “how to write clear e-mails to your professor.” (Related: Sybil Vane’s pet peeve: students who open e-mails with “hey.”)

The inimitable Scott Eric Kaufman explains “how to teach film responsibly in a composition class,” using a scene from The Dark Knight.  (Possibly related: Michael Faris uses Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” to teach narrative in composition.)

Boone points out that most professors could be more paperless than we are.  (This post prompted me to learn how to use my department copier’s magic “scan + e-mail” setting, which is great.)

Chuck Tryon builds a writing assignment around “virginity auctions.”

Nels shares a series of prompts on writing from experience.

At edwired, Mills Kelly reflects on perpetrating a hoax.

Exams fill Chris Vilmar–and not just his students–with regret.

Feministing posed the question, “what’s the worst college advice you’ve been given?”  The comment thread is amazing. (Related: Dr. Crazy’s post on being called an asshole by a student, and “honey” by an adjunct.)

Julie Meloni documents why, when done well, first-year experience (FYE) courses take so much effort and how they pay off.   (While on her blog, don’t miss her plug-in that auto-generates citations for her various entries.)

Jim Brown talks about an assignment that asks students to use Google Maps to document their lives.

Silvia Straka offers a detailed explanation of using YouTube to increase engagement in a social work course.

Collin Brooke’s graduate course will spend the last ten weeks of the semester reviewing the past 10 years of composition research.  The result will be “a database of more than 400 essays over the past decade.”

Even after teaching a course for the “umpteenth” time, David Mazella continues to learn “about incorporating critical theory into literary studies; about the value of groups and groupwork in the undergraduate classroom; about the usefulness of annotated bibliographies for teaching research; about the need for library, electronic database, and ultimately information literacy instruction to improve their research; and about the usefulness of courseblogs.”

Dean Dad has noticed that faculty believe that “administrators in general are worthless, but my dean is obviously necessary.

Denis Rancourt started giving all his students As.  Stanley Fish pontificates, and P.Z. Meyers reflects.

A White Bear reads Kitchen Nightmares as a pedagogical drama. (Also don’t miss the even-more-recent post on students’ mad quest to “relate” to texts.)

The University in A Socially-Networked Age

Alex Reid, who will close the carnival for the semester in May, believes we need to hack the university ourselves before outsiders, possibly adversarial or indifferent, do it for us.  (Related: See Pixar’s Randy Nelson on what they’re looking for in new hires.)

Lisa Spiro’s first post recapping the digital humanities in 2008 should be read by everyone in the humanities, whether you think of yourself as “digital” or not.  (Related: The HASTAC forum with Brett Bobley, who runs the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities.)

Jo Guldi explains what an online academic journal *could* look like.  Hint: It’s not just PDFs of essay-length things!  Meanwhile, Luis von Ahn concludes that academic writing, in its present form, is “basically spam.”

Dan Gillmor argues that, properly understood, journalism education is central to the liberal arts today.

Leslie Inman Jensen points out that at universities “web education is out of date and fragmented.”

Remember: When your students ask if they should go on for doctoral work in the humanities, TELL THEM NO. (Or, at least, as Dr. Crazy says, not if they can possibly avoid it, which is probably fairer.)

Then again, A Concerned Professor explains that “Your college experience is likely to set back your education, your career, and your creative potential“!  (Related: Blackout poet extraordinaire Austin Kleon has been collecting a whole slew of articles under the rubric “you don’t have to go to college.”)

And then there was Twitter

When the teaching carnival started, Twitter wasn’t around; now it’s an unmissable resource for sharing links, quick takes, gossip, and all the other forms of discourse that can extend your network of colleagues around the world.  Naturally, people are starting to teach with it.  (On Twitter, I’m jbj.)

“Microblogging the MLA” began as a resource for an MLA panel on Twitter, but has expanded into much more.

David Silver teaches his students about thin/thick tweets, and about “aeiou” (already existing information optimally uploaded) tweets, and then asks them to “wow us.” He’s confident they can do this because, he claims, they’re already familiar with the tools.  (I have some doubts about this, which suggests that institutional differences still matter.)

Tom Barrett  has created an excellent, constantly-updated slideshow on Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom.  Last Thursday, he was at 6.  Tonight, he’s up to 18.

Dave Parry’s post from last year on Twitter in Academia holds up well, but it should be supplemented with his explanation of “Who I Follow on Twitter.”

This Digital Campus podcast also covers the relevant territory.

(Still not convinced? Try Elliott Kosmicki’s post–not just for academics–on how to use Twitter productively.  Then again, maybe not.)

This carnival post has been brought to you by the Little Professor’s academic advertisements–as seen on TV!

Thanks for reading!  Next up: Kathleen Fitzpatrick on February 23.  If you want to nominate entries for inclusion–and you do, you really do–find out how to do so here.

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