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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Double Irony

In addition to the irony that an atheist meme used an image of the library of an institution with religious roots and affiliation, which houses among other things the Book of Kells, to try to poke fun at Christians as purportedly readers of only one book, there is the additional irony that it speaks of [Read More…]

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How to E-Mail a Professor

Sometimes we neglect to explain how to do something, assuming that it should be common knowledge, and then live with constant frustration when others fail to know what we think they should. How to write to one’s professor in an appropriate manner is one such area. Perhaps we should just explain the rules, even if [Read More…]

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I Hope Every Class Makes You Uncomfortable

I’ve been waiting for the start of classes to return to a post on another Patheos blog from some months ago. It was a response to a student who asked whether a particular class was going to challenge their faith and make them uncomfortable. My answer to that question would be much shorter than the one [Read More…]

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The 2019 Mindset List

Beloit College has published its latest “Mindset List” – a list of things that characterize this year’s incoming freshmen. One is that there has always been a Benoit Mindest List! But perhaps even more striking for many of us are these: Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced. Google has always been there, in its [Read More…]

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Universal Grade Change Form

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How To E-Mail Your (Not You’re) Professor

This tutorial comes to you courtesy of PhD Comics. If you are not sure why it is funny, don't ask…it's in the syllabus.   [Read more…]

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Quote for the Start of Semester

The quote from Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, comes from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation.” The same can be said of the dictionary – I find it hard to believe that I get students starting essays with “Webster’s Dictionary defines…” – or worse still, [Read More…]

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10 Amazing Reasons to Buzzfeedify Your Syllabus

Beloit has released its annual mindset list, about the things that this year’s incoming freshmen take for granted (HT Inside Higher Ed). #2 (that’s “hashtag two” for you old-timers) is particularly interesting for educators: “Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.” I’m giving [Read More…]

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Christian “College” Ad

I saw this ad on Reddit. It is no different than a lot of the degree mill scams around, except this one is using religion in service of the deception. If the Bible is “your only textbook” then you are not getting a college education – not even a Christian college education. Most Christians are aware that, [Read More…]

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First Day of Classes

Today was the first day of classes at Butler University, as in many other places. This semester I’m teaching the Bible, the second semester of my first year seminar course “Faith, Doubt, and Reason,” and the second semester of a seminar course on “Religion and Freedom of Expression.” If you are an educator or a [Read More…]

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