Thursday, January 31, 2013

'Can you explain the lecture to me?'

A colleague of mine recently told me about an especially annoying student: After each class meeting, the student lingers around and asks the instructor to "explain the lecture" that just concluded. You can well imagine that a student who does this once is asking for a lot. The student who does this, repeatedly, is, well, just plain annoying.

I've never had a student display this behavior so persistently, but I have taught students who've shown up during my office hours and expected me to convey the main points of a class meeting all over again. That's at least more comfortable, since I don't have three minutes and a crowd of students there.

But still, there's a problem here. What to do? Here are my ideas, but I'd be interested to hear further suggestions in the comments.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cultural mismatch and the norms of academic philosophy

There's no point in reciting the distressing statistics about the comparatively low numbers of women and minorities who pursue academic study in philosophy. Even though nearly everyone in the field recognizes that this is a problem, there still seems to be plenty of disagreement about its causes and potential solutions.

But one idea often floated in that discussion is that there's something about the culture of academic philosophy that women (and perhaps minorities) find off putting. That this 'cultural mismatch' might play a large role in explaining the small numbers from these groups was rolling around my head as I read Stevens et al's article on first-generation students and the culture of higher education.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sure you care about teaching. Or do you?

The past decade has seen a lot of bagging on the professoriate. We are (the baggers allege) lazy, overpaid, dilletante-ish, focused on research rather than teaching, obstacles to long overdue higher education reform. 

My response to such bagging is fourfold:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Time Saving Tips for Adjuncts Overwhelmed with Grading

In a couple of weeks, I will again be running a teacher development workshop for our adjuncts teaching Intro to Philosophy. Due to some funding/budget issues, it looks like our overworked adjuncts will be even more overworked with more students in their sections this term. Furthermore, because Intro to Philosophy fulfills one of the core requirements at our institution, instructors must require students to write 3500 words of finished writing (not including exams). That means that instructors cannot rely on exams but must assign papers and grade them. Therefore, I've decided to focus our teacher development session on time saving grading tips. I will recommend the use of rubrics and short written assignments graded on a check/check minus/check plus basis, which are two of my main time saving devices. I know that there have been previous posts about this on this blog and I will make sure to transmit some of that advice, but I wanted to make an open call to our readers and contributors for other suggestions. How do you save time when grading papers?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Latest issue of Teaching Philosophy

The latest issue of Teaching Philosophy is out, with lots o' good pedagogy stuff: assessing learning in online courses, 'inference blindness,' and the value of asking students what philosophy teaches. Full TOC below the fold: