Having Purpose

My students were asked to evaluate the sources they used in their papers this semester. More than one has told me that a particular article or book is reliable because it “has purpose.” What on Earth is that supposed to mean?! I am not sure whether I am more concerned by the fact that students [Read More…]

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Is This Gonna Be On The Test?

A nice bit of end-of-semester Bible humor, courtesy of Pictoral Theology. I imagine that whether you envisage Jesus as responding by saying “Yes” or “Study for life, not just the test,” says a lot about both your theology and your view of education… [Read more…]

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Is This Going To Be On The Test?

This PHD Comic is really brilliant. That you should not address a professor as “Yo” is not something that is ever on a formal test. It is thus the kind of thing that is missed by the student who thinks that the point of education is to study for the tests. Your future employers will more likely [Read More…]

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Consensus is Part of the Scholarly Method

An article in Real Clear Science highlighted that consensus-building is part of the scientific method. Alex Bezerow writes: I like to imagine the scientific method as resembling the solar system. The planets, traveling in perfect orbits, represent the pillars of the scientific method: Observations, hypotheses, predictions/experiments, and continuous refinements. What holds all of this together — [Read More…]

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Where You Sit In Class

From PHD Comics. I think this is almost certainly true in large classrooms like that depicted. In smaller classrooms it still has the tendency to be this way, but not always. Perhaps students have figured out that, in a smaller non-tiered classroom, the professor’s eye is often above the front row students? This semester I [Read More…]

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What All Students Agree On

Reading student papers this past week, it seems to me that students are in universal or near universal agreement about at least one thing: that no two people hold the same view. I cannot help but laugh at the irony of this state of affairs – that student after student holds this exact same opinion, that [Read More…]

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A Generic College Paper

Ever since I came across the McSweeney’s piece “A Generic College Paper,” I have wondered whether showing it to students and talking about it would not help them. It starts, like so many truly awful student papers, with “Since the beginning of time…” Here’s an excerpt: Utterly contrived topic sentence revealing pretty much every flaw of [Read More…]

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When Academics Play RPGs

This sample of how a role playing game works made me laugh. Does anyone know what book it is from?   [Read more…]

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Informal Discourse for Academics

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Jewish Christianity and the Origins of Islam #CFP

I had the above video of a roundtable discussion of “Jewish Christianity and the Origins of Islam” drawn to my attention. It took place at last year’s ASMEA conference. Apparently the topic will be a focus again next year, and so there is a call for papers that is currently open that some of you may [Read More…]

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Superman Takes Sociology

I love this. I hope that the experience of students is that, early on, we problematize simplistic ideas of good vs. evil, but also that by the end of their studies, we have helped them identify the genuine evils that are much more pernicious and pervasive, and which cannot be eliminated by killing “bad guys” since they [Read More…]

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