Call for the Blogroll (UPDATE)

You may have noticed, if you pay attention to such things, that I cleaned up the Blogroll a bit yesterday. I deleted the dead links and the rarely used links; included in the cleanup were Kojo’s former blog (now deleted), District’sNotTheBossofMe, and The Truman Lounge (not quite dead, but not active at all). I was going to link to Truman’s Teaching and Learning Center blog, but that is pretty dead too. I also cut the OIT Lounge, which had little and infrequent content, and a few things that I had put on there for me so I wouldn’t lose them (e.g., the list of philosophy blogs). Also cut were the links that no one has clicked on over the last year and some links that were primarily K-12 focused.

I have added Wright College’s Instructional Support blog (been meaning to do that for a while, actually–Maureen Mulcrone is doing good work over there with it), and a link for the Chronicle of Higher Ed. I have a few ideas for other things I can add, but I’m taking suggestions, too. I am happy to link to any faculty blog, project, or PD source (such as a professional organization) or any resource that you’d like to have easy, consistent access to. Put them in the comments, and I’ll put them on the blogroll.

Thanks, in advance!

UPDATE: Don wrote to suggest adding Academic Affairs@HWC (Margie’s blog), which I forgot was a blog, too! Did that. He also suggested a link to Five Books (which I love and read regularly); it used to be a feature of The Browser, but was spun off to its own site. Done and done.

A Survey about Surveys

In the last couple of months we have seen more and more surveys popping up in our inbox. There was the survey about the Inspector General’s Office, about Morale (where are those results?), Lecture capture cameras (ditto), and now Registration. I know many people do not fill out these surveys which I think is a mistake. Consider this, in some small way filling out these surveys is like voting. If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about decisions made later. How much happier we all would have been if the powers that be had sent a survey about branding or graduation or most recently,  no more spring hires. (Just a side comment- if we are no longer allowed spring hires, does that apply to district too? So, if there is a job opening do they have to wait until fall semester to hire or are they allowed to hire based on need and availability?).

Not to say that a survey would have changed the decisions that the money spenders made, but at least our voice would have been heard. A large complaint about this administration is the total top-down communication. I would like to think these surveys are at least an attempt to give the people who actually work with students a voice.  So next time you see a survey pop into your inbox, don’t ignore it, fill it out. Don’t pass up an opportunity to actually communicate back to the powers that be, we have so few opportunities to do so….

World Music Festival: Ongoing

Just in case you didn’t see it kick off over the beautiful weekend, the cool September air means that it’s time for the  World Music Festival.

It’s running all over the city, all week and through next weekend no less, with great, free music playing at all times of day. You can check out the Reader’s Guide to the festival here. Lots of great stuff abounds. Get out and see some of it if you can!

What Up?

Fire up the grill and white belts and shoes–it’s the last weekend of summer people…what are you doing?

Headed to the Fringe Festival? Maybe the North Coast Festival (maybe to see some FatBoySlim? (he’s headlining Saturday night; so is Common)) Or will it be Jazz Fest? Or India Arie (or Mary Mary or Bootsy Collins!) at the African Festival of the Arts? Camping in the north woods? Something altogether different like Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival?

What Up?

Oh, sure, you’ll be spending your Friday at the college for the Address to Faculty (it’s NOT the State of the College, right? Do staff have to attend? I digress), but what else will you be doing?

I’ll be out at Arlington on Saturday to see them running for the Million (I hear they give away money out there), and my kids will be hounding us to take them to see the Wild Kratts on Sunday at the zoo, but I think with the race and everything that will be a….a……zoo.

Ahem. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

What are you doing this weekend to squeeze the last drops of fun out of summer?

Day 1 (In Review)

So, the first day of this year’s DWFDW is in the books, and I have to say that it went as well and smoothly as last year’s went poorly! I’m sure some of that had to do with the general appreciation for the adjustment down to a two day District Wide event and three days for local business at the colleges–it’s always nice to feel heard.

There were many other things, too, though, that were strikingly different from last year’s event and showed greater understanding of the whole endeavor or improvements with respect to competence with this sort of thing or attention to the things that faculty have been shouting, saying, and whispering over the course of the last year.

For me, at least, it was a significantly better experience in lots and lots of ways, and so I’m sitting here now a bit relieved, a bit satisfied, and a lot hopeful. Among the people I talked to, the sentiment(s) seemed to be similar; nearly every conversation I had gave off a nice kind of cautiously optimistic vibration, which is a nice way to start the year, I’d say.

Kudos to Mike Davis and the whole planning team, I would say (Heather Shevitz had a big role and I know there were a few other people, too, but I don’t know who. Please add any names to whom we can give due credit in the comments if you happen to know them).

How about you? What did you think?

Favorite Place to Grade

For a long time, before they revamped and expanded and all of that, I was a big fan of sitting at Uncommon Ground (the original on Grace) for extended grading sessions.

I’ll put in time now at The Magic Cup and The Kopi Cafe if I want to stay close to home, and Caffe Cafe if I’m close to work.

And if I have to pick a chain, I’ll choose Caribou.

Where do you grade? And throw in a why if you want to put it off a little longer…

Think, Know, Prove: Chicago Summer Bucket List

Last winter break, I posted something like this one and the thread garnered some truly outstanding possibilities, more than one of which I ended up doing. It worked out so well, I thought I would do the same thing here for summertime favorites.

A few of mine: the Printer’s Row Book Fair, a day at Arlington (either “Breakfast at Arlington” or actual races); the architectural boat tour, canoeing the river, The Folk and Roots Festival, eating rib tips from Lem’s off the hood of a car, and plenty of trips to Foster Beach and Morton Arboretum are all mainstays on the list. Taking the South Shore to the Dunes has been on there for a couple of years now, but we haven’t managed to make it happen yet. Maybe this is the year.

What else have you got?

What Up?

HW Social Chair, Jen Armendarez is encouraging all the right sorts of socializing over at the Emerald this afternoon/early evening–all are welcome. I’ll be in the woods gobbling and yelping at the squirrels and drowning some worms in between grading finals, but I know there’s a lot going on besides grading–great movies, great music, and it’s craft beer week!

What will you be doing?

Over the Transom

A few suggestions from regular readers flew in  “over the transom” as they used to say in publishing circles (at least those in old buildings with transoms):

From Rock’inthashoe: A piece from about what Jill Biden ought to be saying about Community Colleges.

From Assessment Chair Michael Heathfield: An article from Salon that takes a look at Michelle Rhee, business oriented educational reform, perverted incentives, and gives a thorough scolding to just about everyone, including national media (but not, for once, the teachers!).

From Don’s Desk: More good stuff at the President’s Blog, including this interesting research about the effectiveness of lecture for learning (as measured by standardized tests), and an interesting question for those of us committed to active learning techniques. (If I were forced to pose an hypothesis about they whys and wherefores of the research, I’d point to the effectiveness of the technique for that particular measure (tests) and suggest that maybe much that is valuable about the learning (and ancillary benefits–curiosity cultivation/reinforcement, independence, process awareness, etc.) that occurs as a result of other sorts of teaching strategies is missed by that particular measure. I don’t think that most of us would say that lecturing is bad or ineffective, but rather that it is one way, among others, to help students learn and that lecturing is most effective when students have well developed academic and cognitive skills and habits (e.g., note-taking, critical awareness, metacognition) that are better developed through technique rehearsal in structured activities. But that’s me. Maybe you have a different solution? Post it there. And be sure to check out the link on quantum teleportation, too. We live in a miraculous time…

And don’t miss the great stuff that Avramakis has been posting (like this and this and this); thanks, Avramakis!

And there was this one from PEARL, too, on Academic Freedom.


What Up?

I don’t know what it is, but I just heard about something called the Chirp Record Fair that sounded interesting, and I might have to check it out.

It’s movie festival season in the city by the lake–the Latino Film Festival is still going, Luna Fest starts early next week, and CIMM fest starts next week, too, but it’s supposed to be a pretty nice weekend. Plus the Derby Prep races are going full blast this weekend, too. Watching horses run…is there anything better?

So in addition to perusing next week’s festival schedules, and maybe having a cold beer in a warm, sunny spot and pretending that you don’t have any grading to do, what will you be doing this weekend?