How to Use Student-Created Rubrics for Participation Grades

The biggest philosophical benefit of a student-created participation rubric is that it gives students a voice in setting the criteria on which they are evaluated. With standards that are generated by the group rather than imposed from above by the teacher, students may feel more invested in the class. In this post, see step-by-step examples for how to implement student-created participation rubrics.

TextExpander for Teachers

On a couple of podcasts that I listen to, I kept hearing about a tool called TextExpander. I finally decided to try it out, and discovered that it’s definitely useful for teachers and academic advisors! This post provides an overview of TextExpander and a few examples of how TextExpander has helped to streamline my grading and correspondence in some subtle but helpful ways.

Review of a Thought-Provoking Podcast Episode about Online Teaching

Although it came out in December 2017, I only recently discovered an episode of the Teach Better podcast devoted to online learning: “Teaching Online with Doug, Edward, and Laura Gibbs.” This episode is worthwhile listening for anyone who teaches online or is considering branching into the world of online teaching. Since my bread-and-butter teaching is online, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to respond to Doug, Edward, and Laura’s ideas.

The Late-and-Missing Work Conundrum, Part 1: What’s the Problem?

How should teachers in online classes deal with late or missing work? Is it possible to craft late-and-missing-work policies that are fair and consistent, rewarding on-time performance while encouraging students like Jane to get back on track? These questions have consistently been some of my biggest challenges as an instructor, and in this essay series, I’ll share the philosophy and policies that I’ve developed through my years as an online educator. 

How One Academic Professional Uses Bullet Journal to Stay Organized

If you’re into productivity, you might have heard of the Bullet Journal system, which is pen-and-paper method of managing schedules, projects, ideas, and task lists. In this post, I’m going to talk about how my own Bullet Journal (often abbreviated BuJo) fits into my professional workflow as a teacher. There are oodles of talented people sharing their BuJo journeys out there on the Internet, but I thought it might be interesting to share the perspective of an academic whose work is primarily digital and less rigidly structured than a typical 8-5 job. 

Don’t Interrupt, I’m Busy Professing

I am a teacher. As far as my students are concerned, “teacher” and “professor” mean the same thing, and they do to me, too. That doesn’t mean that a college-level teacher and a kindergarten teacher receive the same training or draw upon identical instructional skills on a daily basis. However, just because we teach different subjects to different levels of students, doesn’t mean we cannot both be teachers. Being a “teacher” also does not diminish the expertise that I, along with my faculty colleagues, have all developed in our subject areas. One of the great pleasures and challenges of my job is that I’m always trying to improve as both a scholar and a teacher, two roles that I’m content to inhabit.

On Imperfection and Reflection

One truism of my own teaching is that I’ve never found the perfect way to teach something. That might sound like an empty cliché, the kind of thing you’d write in a teaching philosophy document and then forget, but it’s really true. It’s always necessary to “admit limitations” in teaching, and I’m always refining my ideas, designs, and approaches.

Talking about Teaching

What can you expect in this space in upcoming weeks? I will explore the theory and practice of teaching, in particular the intersection between my instructional design studies and my daily experiences as a teacher, both online and face-to-face.