Adventures in Academia

A 20-something adjunct shares the trials and treasures of teaching in higher education. Also included: assignments and other interesting teaching tools.

A phoenix can't wear pants: On Dissertating

tdgs-rises-anew:

Tumblr ate the first version of this post, so here’s Take Two.

I’ve received more than one comment or question in the last week or so about my dissertating methods, and how to survive the process. So, in the interests of making this available to more people (if anyone wants it), I decided to just…

Very sound advice.  

(Source: drdisgruntledphd)

theatlantic:

'We're Not This Alien Group': Chinese Students on Fitting Into U.S. Colleges

Four Chinese students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Chinese enrollment has grown 356 percent in the last decade, have set out to educate their American peers about themselves. They’ve taken to YouTube to explain the social misunderstandings that block many foreign students—particularly those from Asia—from integrating with the slang-speaking, booze-guzzling Americans.


International students are flocking to US universities in greater numbers, particularly from Asia, but the cultural barriers are as sturdy as ever. Since 2007, the number of Chinese students in the US has grown by around one-fifth or more each year. In the 2011/2012 academic year, 194,029 students from China were enrolled in higher education in the US—an increase of 23 percent from the year before, according to the Institute of International Education.


But they still have a hard time fitting into American culture, and this “adjustment fatigue” can lead to isolation.
Read more. [Image: Universal Pictures]


I see this everyday at my university. I need to be conscientious of my foreign students’ needs and how they differ.

theatlantic:

'We're Not This Alien Group': Chinese Students on Fitting Into U.S. Colleges

Four Chinese students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Chinese enrollment has grown 356 percent in the last decade, have set out to educate their American peers about themselves. They’ve taken to YouTube to explain the social misunderstandings that block many foreign students—particularly those from Asia—from integrating with the slang-speaking, booze-guzzling Americans.

International students are flocking to US universities in greater numbers, particularly from Asia, but the cultural barriers are as sturdy as ever. Since 2007, the number of Chinese students in the US has grown by around one-fifth or more each year. In the 2011/2012 academic year, 194,029 students from China were enrolled in higher education in the US—an increase of 23 percent from the year before, according to the Institute of International Education.

But they still have a hard time fitting into American culture, and this “adjustment fatigue” can lead to isolation.

Read more. [Image: Universal Pictures]

I see this everyday at my university. I need to be conscientious of my foreign students’ needs and how they differ.

oatmeal:

(NEW COMIC)  How and why to use whom in a sentence.

Why we should use the Oxford Comma

intellectualgoulash:

bowtiesinthedungeon:

A direct quote from The Times newspaper, talking about a Peter Ustinov documentary and saying that:

 “highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector”.

 

omg yes. I am SUCH a huge supporter of the Oxford Comma. I’m so glad this example exists.

(via biblio-philly)

Penn State MBA program roots out plagiarism

The students in question were APPLICANTS, not accepted students! 

positivelypersistentteach:

planetsedge:

lightspeedsound:

one-bite-at-a-time:

aka 99% of Fox News programming.

EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET SHOULD HAVE THIS AT THE READY. 

hasty generalization ^

I was actually just looking for this.

Good to have on hand.

(Source: logan43000)

Getting into elite universities - through community colleges

Very interesting article about community college students transferring to UPenn and other Ivys (except Princeton, which does not accept transfers!)

A warning to college profs from a high school teacher

kohenari:

We entered teaching because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of the students who passed through our classrooms. Many of us are leaving sooner than we had planned because the policies already in effect and those now being implemented mean that we are increasingly restricted in how and what we teach.

Now you are seeing the results in the students arriving at your institutions. They may be very bright. But we have not been able to prepare them for the kind of intellectual work that you have every right to expect of them.

The whole piece in the Washington Post is worth the few minutes it will take to read it … but processing and discussing the author’s message might be difficult for those who weren’t taught critical thinking skills in school.

Indeed, that’s the central point that Kenneth Bernstein makes in the piece, namely that we’re educating students to know a bunch of facts rather than to think in a serious way about the topic at hand; that students are adopting this way of thinking about their education more generally because they lack the tools to do otherwise; and that, from the outset, a great many students lack the basic goods — like libraries, reasonable student-teacher ratios, and the like — required for a successful liberal education.

This is a serious look at the realities behind our current [failing] educational model from the perspective of an award-winning high school teacher, now retired, who worked within the strictures imposed on him by governmental policies. His warning to college professors is one that I’m sure many of colleagues will agree is coming too late; we already know — and complain about — the lack of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills in our students.

I’ve just spent the weekend at a teaching and learning conference with a few hundred of my political science colleagues, the vast majority of whom teach at very small schools, satellite campuses of big schools, or community colleges — very different from the Big Ten campus on which I teach. These professors are well aware of the challenges outlined in Bernstein’s piece and are trying to find new ways to teach students social science research methods or political theory.

In my session on teaching political theory, a great paper from Francis Moran focused on engaging students through new media like mash-ups and YouTube video projects. My own paper — on using Tumblr blogs in place of traditional essays in an ancient political theory course — begins from the notion that students aren’t doing well with the argumentative essays I’ve assigned for the past decade and aren’t really benefitting from my continued insistence on that form.

But we need to do more than simply change assignments around in order to take into account the fact that our students are less and less able to write a successful argumentative essay. What we need to do instead is to use these new assignments to engage students, as Moran and I are suggesting, but we also need to continue to demand the sort of reading and critical thinking skills that we have always demanded from our students. Recognizing that they aren’t getting these tools in middle school or high school doesn’t mean that we can’t find innovate ways to teach them even at the advanced age of nineteen or twenty.

One way to do this is to model these skills for them in our classrooms, providing them with examples of successful writing; fostering discussions that encourage them to think critically rather than to memorize the right answer; working with them to deeply examine their own beliefs and opinions on the subject at hand; allowing them to take chances on wrong ideas or possible dead ends; and letting them pursue ideas as far as they can run with them.

It’s here that a subject like political theory has a great deal to contribute to the study of political science at the undergraduate — and even the graduate level — because all of these ways of teaching and learning are the central features of any political theory course. In other words, it’s almost impossible to study political theory without honing critical thinking skills … even though theory professors must work a lot harder today to first imbue those skills in students who come in without them.

But, of course, we should also fully heed the call of Bernstein in his piece. Rather than grousing about the poor performance of our students, we ought to be lending our voices to the debate about education in this country lest we find the debate already over by the time we realize we could lend support to the side of it that will, in the long run, produce the kind of student about whom we won’t complain.

Professors enlist student snitches to enforce "no social media" policies

obscureref:

In a growing trend, professors are asking students in their classes to snitch on classmates using laptops or other gadgets for anything other than taking notes. Since no one, not even the most digitally-savvy students, can truly multitask and are likely to be distracted if they wander social media or the web, the “no surfing in the classroom” policies are meant to help students concentrate on what’s going on in the classroom.

I’m not a big fan of using students as tattletales and spies (although it may get them into habits of though and behavior that makes them more likely to be whistleblowers in the future), but cutting down on classroom distractions is a good thing.

(Source: The Toronto Star)

Very few of my students have laptops in class.  Most (at a large public university) still take paper notes (as do I, as graduate student / teaching assistant).

However, my biggest problem is phones and texting.  I need to devise a more effective system that will prevent phones from being such a distraction.

Unless it involved cheating, I would be embarrassed for a student to “told on” a classmate who was using social media in the classroom.

kbkonnected:

Digital Vaults is one resource you won’t want to miss.
This is an amazing site for anything about U.S.History.  The ability for teachers and students to create their own collections using items from the National Archives makes for endless learning opportunities in the classroom. Teachers and students can then create posters and movies with their collection. Click on “create” at bottom of screen to begin using this tool.  Amazing site with wonderful educational opportunities for students to create professional looking presentations.
           .
            
From the Site: “The National Archives new “Digital Vaults” exhibit delivers an online experience that is unlike any other. With a database of some 1,200 documents, photographs, drawings, maps, and other materials and a keywording system that visually links records, the Digital Vaults enables visitors to customize their exhibit experience and to create posters, movies, and games that can be shared by e-mail. Each record in Digital Vaults is also linked to the National Archives’ Archival Research Catalog (ARC), so visitors who want to know more can take the first steps toward a research journey into the National Archives.
The site has a special interactive resources section for educators and students. Teachers can get great ideas on lesson plans using reproducible primary sources, find information on teaching activities correlated to National Teaching Standards, and engage in a variety of professional development programs - on-site or online. Students can explore the depth and diversity of the holdings of the National Archives for their own school projects, gear up for National History Day, or even pick up a virtual pen and sign the Declaration of Independence!”


I will definitely be using this, even if its just for fun with my own kid.

kbkonnected:

Digital Vaults is one resource you won’t want to miss.

This is an amazing site for anything about U.S.History.  The ability for teachers and students to create their own collections using items from the National Archives makes for endless learning opportunities in the classroom. Teachers and students can then create posters and movies with their collection. Click on “create” at bottom of screen to begin using this tool.  Amazing site with wonderful educational opportunities for students to create professional looking presentations.

           .image

            image

From the Site: “The National Archives new “Digital Vaults” exhibit delivers an online experience that is unlike any other. With a database of some 1,200 documents, photographs, drawings, maps, and other materials and a keywording system that visually links records, the Digital Vaults enables visitors to customize their exhibit experience and to create posters, movies, and games that can be shared by e-mail. Each record in Digital Vaults is also linked to the National Archives’ Archival Research Catalog (ARC), so visitors who want to know more can take the first steps toward a research journey into the National Archives.

The site has a special interactive resources section for educators and students. Teachers can get great ideas on lesson plans using reproducible primary sources, find information on teaching activities correlated to National Teaching Standards, and engage in a variety of professional development programs - on-site or online. Students can explore the depth and diversity of the holdings of the National Archives for their own school projects, gear up for National History Day, or even pick up a virtual pen and sign the Declaration of Independence!”


I will definitely be using this, even if its just for fun with my own kid.