DWFDW Bibliography

Speaking of Faculty Development Week, over the course of it, I heard numerous references to articles and studies and what not, and tried to keep a running list, and then at some point I thought, bah, and stopped doing it.

Then Kristin Bivens (she’s back!) was kind enough to forward me a link to an article that she’d heard mentioned, and so I thought that maybe it would be useful after all. Anywhere, here are the ones I heard about and found. Please add any others in the comments:

~Is Algebra Necessary? (h/t to Kristin Bivens). Also posted on Don’s Desk. For a response (and links to others, you can go HERE.

(Sample: “Maybe we can start by reaffirming the importance of learning for the sake of knowledge, in stark contrast to the commodification that has overtaken our educational system. No employer has ever asked me to analyze a Petrarchan sonnet, or expound on the intricacies of a Bach fugue, but I’m not sorry I have that knowledge, even if the latter meant suffering through the daily grind of musical scales on the piano as a child. The drudgery meant I might one day, in my teens, attempt Chopin. Granted, I didn’t become a professional musician; I didn’t ultimately have the chops. But my life is so much richer with Chopin in it.

I spent ten years training in jujitsu, yet I have yet to use my skills to defend myself from a real-world attack. So I guess those ten years were a waste, right? Wrong! The most important lessons I gleaned from martial arts had to do with learning to fail: getting my ass kicked and getting back up, again and again and again, until I mastered a given skill. Why wasn’t I willing to do the same for math?

All we’d end up teaching kids with Hacker’s strategy is avoidance. I was a master of avoidance. But learning to buckle down and do unpleasant things that don’t come easily to us prepares us for life.”).

~CUNY’s New College (mentioned in Alvin’s talk).

~A description of Austin Peay’s Course Picking Software  (Tristan Denley’s thing) and an article in the Chronicle.

~Uri Triesman was full of interesting quotes and references:

~”All of our services were built on someone else’s ideas of the students’ weaknesses.”

~”There is no shortage of opportunities for humility in institutional improvement.”

~”Start with what’s working.”

~”Institutional reforms can go awry and many times the first thing that they do is kill off what’s best about your institution.”

~”Being a college president is like running a cemetary; you have lots of people under you, but no one is listening.”

~”People like changes until they happen.”

~”If you can’t change the culture, enculturate the change; change, in the words of Adrianna Kazar, ‘requires a joyful conspiracy.'”

~”Placement is a criminal enterprise.”

He also said some stuff about research on how they’ve learned to predict, using data through the third week of classes who will be left in the class at the end. I found him after his talk and he said to look up the SENSE study by Kay McClenney (who runs the CCSSE and it’s associated research) and David Yeager from the Carnegie Foundation, but all I found was this link to a press release and this video (which I haven’t watched yet). They were also in the news this week when the Gates Foundation pulled funding for some of their splashy reform efforts, but that is a something else. He also mentioned Peabody models of decision making (which might be this?), Robbie Case’s work on mathematical learning called “Number Worlds” (here’s a description, but this is better), and an op-ed by Madeline Levin in the New York Times, which he connected to Placement (I don’t see it).

After that I went to a session on the new Learning Analytics, but I’m going to save my reading on that one for another post.

What did I miss?


The Inside(r) Story

Between the midterms, the other stuff, the hoops, and Chicago’s High Holy Day, I’ve had a hard time making any space for much posting over the last few weeks, and even less time for thinking about any even slightly creative posts…sorry about that.

Still, I have  a backlog of 17 pieces I’ve read/skimmed lately from Inside Higher Ed.Why 17? Because that’s how many centuries it’s been since Patrick led the snakes off the cliff of Croagh Patrick (or something like that).

Come back and check them out when the weather is worse:

~Data can now predict student futures; another one on a similar project/topic is here

~On First Year Composition and civic/civil discourse

~Cheaters, cheaters, everywhere

~Philosophers advocate for one of their own: an Obit for a 20th century brain-giant

~Controversy at Columbia College: Reinvention redux?

~On post-tenure review

~Supporting seniors on campus (and why it’s good to have them around)

~On Student Success courses at community colleges

~On men teaching women-oriented courses

~DePaul’s Transfer Partnership Program with CCC and others

~A guide to doing research at the Newberry Library

~Academic Assistance Research: If the students who need it most don’t use it, should it be mandatory?

~It’s not the massive course delivery, it’s the badges that will change everything

~The President of the MLA on adjuncts and their summit

~Playing with students

~Term papers versus blogs; another one on research papers here

~A new book on Hip-Hop and college students




This one goes to 31, because that’s how many days there are in March. Enjoy:

~Emma Goldman was cool. Still is, actually.

~In my dreams, I write this well. One of the best essays I’ve read this year, in terms of its writing at least. Glorious.

~On Math and Magic.

~How research on memory should affect the way you teach (this is actually the second of two parts, but the first part is linked in the article; I’m sure you can do it)

~Barry Schwarz (who’s awesome) and a co-author argues that colleges should focus on teaching intellectual virtues

~Badges as the real, looming higher ed disruption

~How the presence of uninformed individuals can spontaneously inhibit a large group from being swayed by an opinionated minority, a fish study (or, why momentum is so hard to maintain)

~Critical University Studies would be an awesome research field, I think. Oh, wait. It is.

~Nessie says that Business majors study the least (insert joke here).

~MIT says we should pay extra attention to re-admitted students and makes some suggestions for doing so

~On a fascinating aspect of Wikipedia (and another reason to steer students from it as anything but a starting place)

~The Accidental Activist: A piece about Jonathan Boldt, the adjunct who started the Google doc on adjunct working conditions

~A Consideration of the Public Discourse on Education

~Politicians insulting professoriate.

~This is about typewriters. Sort of.

~Interesting research about death and death rates.

~On the study of foreign language and internationalization (or, shut your data portal, Larry Summers)

~Work on the value of college (as defined narrowly–as earning power)

~Is new, better? It seems not to one who once thought maybe so.

~An Academic Abroad: this made me laugh out loud twice.

~Upper class and non-upper class terminology tells

~On the Freshman Reading Experience (or class-wide books)

~Tenure under attack–an explanation

~Another thing on college and work

~Ostensibly about philosophy and the urgency to “make it matter,” you can substitute other disciplines in there, too.

~Turns out “Rate My Professor,” Chili peppers aside, provides a more reliable picture of students’ consensus view of what’s going on in the classroom than typically suspected.

~Just in case anyone is on the academic job market…some advice.

~Texas phases out an astonishing number of degree programs

~Advice for getting published.

~On the current campus culture–how (traditional) students live their school lives and how that’s changed from 20 years ago.


Website Wednesday

The Browser is one of my new favorites for finding reading for the train.

It’s jammed with editors choices of great reading (and they’re great) and has something called, FiveBooks, which I’d like to steal if I had any time. They interview smart people about something those people know about and get suggestions for five books people should read on the topic. It’s tremendous.

If you go there once a week, at the end of the year you will be 520x smarter than you were at the beginning of the year. I promise you.

Random Readings

Here is a bunch of stuff that I’ve collected for you:

~I know I don’t make enough room for reflective solitude in my classroom. This article reminded me how important is to make space in the classroom for a little solitude now and then.

~If you have not yet read these investigatory pieces HERE and HERE (I’m betting that they win the Pulitzer this year) on one of Apple’s manufacturers in China, you need to.

~I liked this article on Metacognition so much that I posted it for one of my classes. It’s a topic that always arouses student interest I think because it puts words and structure to an idea that makes intuitive sense as important and helpful but rarely explained.

~Speaking of arousal, reading this story was horrifying and kind of funny in a “nutty professor” kind of way. Don’t worry–it’s safe for work. I found it here under the title, “Worst Lecture of All, Or Greatest?” from a link on Inside Higher Ed; some of the comments are amusing.

~Have you ever heard of the Collegiate Learning Assessment? I read about it in this article and then went to the site. It’s interesting.

~Ever heard of a “leap second”? I hadn’t, at least not until I read THIS and THIS (with video!).

~I liked this one, advocating for more working and less thinking as a BS prevention strategy.

~A couple that I pegged for administrators (current or future) were this and this–not that any of our administrators don’t already know these things (they do), but just in case they might want to share them with any peers who might not.

~Here’s the list of free museum days through March.

~An important piece on meetings (namely, how to make them better) is HERE.

~There are a number of new faculty who have recently received (or will soon) their first set of student evaluations. I think this post has helpful advice about how to use them productively.

Random Readings

I have a huge backlog of stuff from the last five weeks or so of last semester through the break, so every once in a while (until I get behind again), I’m going to slap a bunch of it up at the same time for you to see/pick through/come back to (as you wish). You’re welcome! And yes, they will all go to 11. Because that’s how I roll, people.

1. There must be something in the air (or maybe it was a topic at the MLA convention), but I find two pieces about the use of the word “like” on the same day (HERE and HERE);

2. Google asks some interesting questions in their interviews (answers here);

3. Our neighboring state (Indiana) is already revamping their Performance Based Funding formula (established 2009) to include new metrics that focus on first year mile markers and not just completions;

4. The editors of The Atlantic listed the best book they read last year;

5. More on Moneyball for colleges;

6. I’m thinking about using this essay as the “easy part” of my initial critical reading assessment in my classes this semester–it’s called “Is College a Scam?”

7. Again, not sure why, but within a few days back in August, there was a rash of stuff about author Nicholson Baker, “America’s foremost author of sex novels;” maybe its a sign of my shelteredness, but I’d never heard of the fellow–made for some interesting reading (HERE and HERE);

8. An interview (audio!) with an amazing philosopher, Kwame Anthony Appiah, from a great series;

9. Did you know that Blackboard was bought this summer? Here’s the news, and here’s a look at some developing competition and here’s a guess at what the future of LMSs might hold;

10.For the sports fans, one of the editors of Longform.org, posted a list of the ten “best” long form journalism stories from 2011 for Deadspin–I’ve read about half of them, and every one has been spectacular;

11. And just in case you were puzzled, as I was, by today’s Google doodle, you can go HERE to read about Nicolas Steno, the “father of Geology”