Think, Know, Prove: Plus-Delta

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.

Plus-Delta is a review scheme that I picked up from someone who undoubtedly stole it from some trendy business book, but the idea is that one periodically takes an inventory of actions and identifies the ones that were good (they go in the Plus column) and the ones that either need to be different or need to be added (those are the Deltas, as in “change”).

So, headed into the last week, what is in your Plus column? And what is in your Delta? These may be personal, institutional, or otherwise.

(I’d put my own list up, but there are some personal circumstances that suggest that for a few days at least, less is more; let’s just say that I’m not allowed to operate any heavy machinery, and I include “keyboards expressing personal opinions” in that category given the possibility of dropping an anvil on my own toes with a poorly expressed idea or two. Anyway, I’ll put some up later in the week, if anyone else does.)

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

By the Numbers

Total Views as of Midnight tonight:     43, 422 (not including the visits of the authors)

# of Posts: 889                     # of Comments: 1695                        Busiest Day: 10/29/10 613 views

21 subscribers, and  21 comments subscribers with 63 subscriptions

Average views per day in Spring 2010: 86

Average views per day in Fall 2010: 168

Average views per day in February 2011: 194

Most Viewed Items (excluding the Home page):

1. Reinvention (Page) 536

2. The Elephant In the Lounge 386

3. Faculty Council (Page) 375

4. Chancellor’s Presentation Debrief 360

5. Faculty Development Week–Bane or Joy? You Decide! 295

6. Breaking News on the Credentials conversation 292

7. Union(s) (Page) 290

8. CAST (Page) 246

9. Chair’s Council (Page) 242

10. Curriculum Committee (Page) 200

11. Hybrid/Blended Committee (Page) 193

12. Friday Spotlight–Faculty Development Week Action 189

13. Developmental Education (Page) 188

14. DWFDW–Update 176

15. Assessment (Page) 175

16. FYI: (Sudden) Appearances 173

17. Anyone else get this invitation? 154

18. Reinvention – It has a face, sorta 153

19. A Letter about DWFDW 145

20. Highlights from the Board Report–December 145

And this will be the  last of the navel gazing, meta posts this week, I promise! There’s stuff happening out there…But first one more quick little poll that I hope that even the lurkers will participate in (it’s totally anonymous!) about who is using the site how. I have some ideas, but I wonder if they’re right. Here goes, and thanks for coming to the Lounge!

Website Wednesday

I was struggling to find a worthwhile website to share this week. I don’t know exactly why, but I typed “teacher stories” into my Google search bar and found some pretty good reads, like the Teacher Case Story Collection from the National Network for Educational Renewal. The stories are from K-12 teachers, but their issues are ones most of us deal with regularly. When you have five free minutes (probably not happening this week), browse their collection of teacher stories, or if you’d prefer to start with a recommendation, check out “Can Classroom Assessment Foster Student Motivation.” Good stuff.

Student Self Evaluation for Participation

This was an interesting piece. I might try this for “preparation” in one of my classes instead of pop quizzes.

I’ve set aside twenty minutes for in-class writing assignments three times during this semester—the first of these fell last week. The assignment sheet for these classes is simple: on it I’ve printed the class participation policy from the syllabus. I ask students to write a one-page essay in which they:

  1. Propose what grade they deserve for class participation thus far, and
  2. Defend their proposed grade with evidence from the classroom.

I tell students that their actual participation grade will be determined by the persuasiveness of their essays. I advise them that I won’t find an essay persuasive if it misrepresents its evidence—just as I wouldn’t find an essay about Moby-Dick persuasive if it cited Ahab’s heroic victory over the whale. “If you have trouble finding enough evidence to make a case for a good grade,” I advise, “use your essay to describe instead the specific steps you will take to improve.”

Having collected one round of these essays, I’m ready to tentatively declare the experiment a success.

Check out the rest of it HERE. Anybody else do this? Something like it?

Midterm Reflection

I’m a big believer that it’s good to take a little time now and then to reflect on how things are going. Have you hit your goals for the semester? Made progress? Continued down the same ruts you were in before?

Check this out (from Inside Higher Ed):

I hope that you answered enthusiastically that your projects are perfectly on track and you feel exhilarated by all your success! But if you are like me, you’ve probably had some successes and some disappointments this semester. Whenever I find myself unsatisfied with my progress, I pause to ask: what’s holding me back? Because once I can pinpoint what the problems are, I can make targeted adjustments that will help me to get back on track.

In my work with new faculty members, I find that most people’s productivity is blocked by some combination of what Julie Morgenstern describes as technical errors, external realities, and psychological obstacles. I’ve adapted these for academic writers and describe each of them below. Of course, the answer to what’s holding YOU back is something that only you can answer, but personally, I find this checklist an extremely helpful and efficient framework to quickly identify the areas where I need to make adjustments for the remainder of the semester.

Find the checklist HERE.