Word Clouds to Assess Learning

I really like the suggestion that Shayna Sheinfeld shared in a recent article, for using word clouds in a pre-test and then post-test in classes. If you ask students what they think, or think they know, about a topic, on the first day of class or the start of a new unity, and create a word [Read More...]

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Invent a Religion for Money

Jerry Coyne drew attention to a competition with a cash prize, asking people to invent a religion. The Huffington Post has an article about the competition, and the full rules are online. It is actually an interesting competition, precisely because it is a lot harder than some might imagine to come up with something genuinely [Read More...]

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Clone Wars in the Classroom

I recently came across some Star Wars lego images about classroom education, and wanted to share them. Click through were more like the above came from. There was also an interesting article in the Chronicle that could be filed under “treating students like clones,” in which students complained about faculty who offer one-size-fits-all lectures to students. Here [Read More...]

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We Don’t Know the Whole Story

Maybe instead of or to supplement “What Would Jesus Do?” an updated way of making decisions would be, “If my words were inserted in speech bubbles into the story of Jesus, who would be speaking them?” Of vaguely related interest, see Jim Davila’s blog post on the question of whether Jesus was black. [Read more...]

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How To Get The Least Possible Out Of University Religion Classes

Michael Kruger has made a video which describes his own experience of having taken classes with Bart Ehrman, who he depicts as attacking Christianity. He complains that youth groups do not prepare student intellectually for their experience at university. That is true – but what Kruger seems to want is not intellectual and academic preparation, but inoculation that [Read More...]

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Not Terrorism, Not Appropriate Either

Eddie Kouya drew attention to an article in the Daily Telegraph, about plans to use anti-terrorism legislation against teachers who use the classroom to tell students that same-sex marriage is wrong. I think we need to be careful about over-using the terminology of terrorism, cheapening it in precisely the way some conservative Christians have cheapened the term [Read More...]

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#GenCon Thursday

I attended several seminars and similar events today at Gen Con. As a Trade Day participant, I was able to enter the exhibit hall before the crowds. I bought some game books that looked promising for teaching purposes, and debated buying one about the persecution of heretics in the Middle Ages. The salesperson turned out [Read More...]

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Proceed With Extreme Caution

This cartoon from Evolving Perspectives is inspired by the trigger warnings that some universities have been including in connection with classic literature and art. But it also highlights the reason for exposing students to literature in the first place. Sometimes we quiz and test in the interest of getting them to actually do the reading. And unfortunately that [Read More...]

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BTW

BTW, this comes from @PHDComics. It is a follow-up to another cartoon from there which I shared recently. See also a recent article suggesting that emoticons are not ruining language but revolutionizing it. [Read more...]

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Ten Professorial Commandments

Elliott Ratzman offered the following Ten Commandments in Inside Higher Ed: 1. Thou shalt have no other object of attention in the classroom. No devices — phones, gadgets, computers, guns — or distractions; I am a jealous and wrathful instructor. 2. Thou shalt honor thy fellow students. They are also struggling, growing, with opinions always changing, and [Read More...]

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Book of Job Trigger Warning

Rob Zaretsky’s piece in Inside Higher Ed proposes trigger warnings for a number of pieces of classic literature. Given my field, I particularly appreciated his treatment of the Book of Job: Anonymous’ “The Book of Job” “Are you sure this is part of the Bible?” asked many respondents, who also exhibited intense unease with God’s actions, [Read More...]

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