Followup on Public Teaching Evaluations

My previous post about making my teaching evaluations public generated some thoughtful commentary, both here and elsewhere. Brian Coxall's post on Prof. Hacker and the ensuing comments raised some key questions, and I've briefly responded there, saying: [Regarding who owns the rights to the evaluations] ...in my case I think that answer is easy: it’s… Continue reading Followup on Public Teaching Evaluations

Reading List for ENGL 493: Graphic Novels (Fall 2009)

I've finalized the reading list for my Fall 2009 course on graphic novels. This is the same super-sized class that I'll be teaching with technologies that may help me preserve my student-centered pedagogy. The syllabus was especially hard to settle on, as there are so many compelling graphic novels worthy of inclusion. I had to… Continue reading Reading List for ENGL 493: Graphic Novels (Fall 2009)

Teaching Technologies for Large Classes

Faced with the prospect of teaching larger classes, I've been thinking about how technology might help me preserve what I value most about small class sizes—and perhaps even bring added value to those large classes. But first some background. There's probably not a humanities program in the country that hasn't received a memo from its… Continue reading Teaching Technologies for Large Classes

Zen Scavenger Essay Writing

Lately I've been wondering how to use Jane McGonigal's Zen Scavenger Hunt idea in my teaching. A Zen Scavenger Hunt is essentially a reversed-engineered scavenger hunt. The hunters go out and find ten or or so items and only afterward do they receive the list of the items they're supposed to be scavenging for. The… Continue reading Zen Scavenger Essay Writing

Writing is a Concentrated Form of Thinking

One of my friends from grad school, Tim Carmody, blogged a nice response to my recent posts on critical thinking and writing, and it got me thinking that I need to clarify one thing: I am not anti-writing. As I wrote in my comment on Tim's blog (and am copying here), I want to emphasize… Continue reading Writing is a Concentrated Form of Thinking

What’s Wrong With Writing Essays

A few days ago I mentioned that as a professor invested in critical thinking -- that is, in difficult thinking -- I have become increasingly disillusioned with the traditional student paper. Just as the only thing a standardized test measures is how well you can take a standardized test, the only thing a student essay… Continue reading What’s Wrong With Writing Essays