Tuesday Teaching Talk (TTT)

Tuesday Teaching Talk is a regular feature which, as the name implies, is an opportunity to talk explicitly about teaching (and learning) in the practical and philosophical sense that happens on, you guessed it, Tuesday. Hold on to your hats.  The CAST coordinators (yes there are 2 of us) are tasked with supplying TTTs to you.  Look for questions, videos, tips, etc.  Enjoy!

I’m off for the summer with my grades all turned in as of this morning.  TTT slipped my mind.

Are your grades done?

Are you like me and planning to do a cost/benefit analysis of your teaching this past semester?

Would you be interested in creating course sites across the district?  I was toying with the idea of doing this for the courses I teach often.  The site would serve as a storehouse for the activities/handouts/lessons I use (and invariably recreate until I realize that I’ve already made them previously).  Just a thought…

See you at (DW)FDW!  Look out for info on the local portion of FDW which is hopefully not right around the corner, the Wed-Fri of Faculty Development Week, Aug. 8-10.

Think, Know, Prove–Blackboard as a Transparency Tool

Think, Know, Prove is a regular Saturday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

Yesterday’s post about Blackboard was intended as more of an informational post than a discussion post, but it raises some interesting issues related to the intersections of privacy and accountability. Lisa Delpit, who is one of my favorite education authors, writes that in most schools teachers operate much like two-year-olds engaged in parallel play (I think it was her anyway). Sitting right next to each other, a couple of two-year-olds will both play with a car or a block or whatever without engaging with each other, seemingly oblivious to the other (until they need something).

Similarly, we walk into our classrooms and shut the doors and “play with our block” in blissful isolation, with rare exceptions and have little idea what the others all around us are doing. This is good in some cases (rather not know) and bad in others (might be able to help), but ultimately it means lots of missed opportunities to collaborate, share, compare, and learn.

So, I kind of like the idea of being able to peek into each other’s classes. I am not naive about it, though, and have misgivings about the managerial surveillance implied and rendered much more convenient by the move to make our classes “open” to guest visitation and possible, subsequent pressures on academic freedom that such a surveillance may engender. I think it’s worth it, though, and good despite the risk.

What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?