Category Archives: General

Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy

An editor called me up to ask me if I’d like to write a book. I smelled a rat, but I played along…

Source: Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy

I have had these calls.  There is a very dark underbelly and if this is your only alternative to publishing I think you are better off giving it away to a select but appreciative audience.  This is, of course, easier to do all the time with various technologies for sharing.  Consider it.  This is not vanity publishing.




Why lectures are dead (or soon will be)

2. For all other important learning activities, such as developing critical thinking, deep understanding, and application of knowledge – the kind of skills needed in a digital age – lectures are ineffective. Other forms of teaching and learning – such as opportunities for discussion and student activities – are necessary.

The post is very balanced and does not throw out the good with the bad.  It is a timely article for this time of year.

English Tech Pedagogy Quick Survey



Here are the responses we have so far in our quest to organize a ‘meet-up’ of our faculty and staff who want to share their tech pedagogies (defined as widely as possible-3X5 cards to transcription hardware) and who want to learn other tech pedagogies.  Please respond to the survery.  Once we have gotten all we are going to get we will gather for what some call an ‘unconference’ and others ‘birds of a feather’ and others still an ‘open spaces meeting’.  In other words we will have minimal top down and maximum bottom up  organization.  It is akin to improv, but actually more kin to a scripted reality show where the participants riff on, in this case, the very general theme of tech pedagogy.  I have done it before and it is quite fun.  And we really don’t enough fun in our daily lives.

If you haven’t completed the survey and wish to you, then follow this link to a live form to fill out.



How to Encrypt your Gmail Messages with Google Docs

picture of WW 2 encryption machine

Has your paranoia about government snooping ratcheted up lately with all the revelations of NSA spying in its Prism program? If so, Amit Agarwal shows you how to use Google Docs to do very strong encryption to encode those messages.


How California’s Online Education Pilot Will End College As We Know It | TechCrunch

Here are the highlights of this disturbing article:

How California’s Online Education Pilot Will End College As We Know It | TechCrunch

Gov. Jerry Brown has given his blessing to popular online course platform, Udacity, to partner with San Jose State University for the ultra-low cost online lower-division and remedial classes

In other words, computers can–and have–successfully replaced teachers.

If I had to predict how the fallout of this pilot will go, here’s my timeline:

Pilot succeeds, expands to more universities and classes

Part-time faculty get laid off, more community colleges are shuttered, extracurricular college services are closed, and humanities and arts departments are dissolved for lack of enrollment (science enrollment increases–yay!?)

Graduate programs dry up, once master’s and PhD students realize there are no teaching jobs. Fewer graduate students means fewer teaching assistants and, therefore, fewer classes

Competency-based measures begin to find the online students perform on par with, if not better than, campus-based students. Major accredited state college systems offer fully online university degrees, then shutter more and more college campuses

A few Ivy League universities begin to control most of the online content, as universities all over the world converge toward the classes that produce the highest success rates

In the near future, learning on a college campus returns to its elite roots, where a much smaller percentage of students are personally mentored by research and expert faculty

Read the whole article.  It isn’t long and is worth the candle.

Guidelines for Public, Student Class Blogs: Ethics, Legalities, FERPA and More

Guidelines for Public, Student Class Blogs: Ethics, Legalities, FERPA and More | HASTAC.

This recent post in HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) really helps to settle professorial nerves about the ins and outs of blogging in safety both ethically and legally.  I will be using these guidelines in future as I plan my syllabi and prepare for blogging projects at the beginning of the semester with students.  Amen.

Social Media Video 2013 – YouTube

I am not sure what I am supposed to take from these scattershot factoid videos, but I have to say this left me feeling a little ‘disrupted’ and wondering.  Do we have an obligation as teachers to slow the flow and create distraction free learning environments?  I am beginning to do this in my classes.  I start with some silent reading in the NYT, followed with some discussion both small and large group, some writing,  short tech aided lecture, some more writing, and exit slips (digital and analog).  This does not mean that I keep them from accessing their mobile devices, but perhaps it should.  Since an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out all electronics is unlikely, what are your thoughts on the topic of ‘quietening up’ the classroom and amping up the analog signal?


And take a look at this parody of the original above just for a little balance here.

Slow Tech, Digital Downtime, Tech Sabbath, Anti-Distraction, Information Overload: How Can We Deal with “IT” and Help Our Students as Well?

Jane Fife and I were discussing the video you will see below about ‘tech distraction’.  Since we have been given a wonderful ‘objet derangement’–an iPad–and given the call to make it work somehow in our classes and professional workflow, perhaps it is time to consider the larger issue here:  is technology an aide or a hindrance to the task of helping our students learn content, acquire skills, and otherwise internalizes processes that will help them live their lives as they see fit?

Slow Tech from Joe Kraus (mp4)

Jane and I both thought that it might be valuable to have a colloquium/uncolloquium or an informal ‘unconference’ (the latest buzzword for this is ‘teachmeet’) in November where we might discuss how we use technology and how technology uses us.  Jane will be following up with a survey to see when and if this might happen, but you can tweet me @tellio if you are interested.


OpenStax College

    • OpenStax College offers   students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most   courses. These are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content   developers. Adopt a book today for a turnkey classroom solution or modify it   to suit your teaching approach. Free online and low-cost in print, OpenStax   College books are built for today’s student budgets.      Stay informed through our   newsletter,   like us on Facebook, or   tweet  about @openstaxcollege.

      • Free online, low cost in print. A good model.

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