Category Archives: Higher Education

Infographic Syllabus

After being inspired by a couple of different things I’ve read and some examples from people who have done similar things, I’ve turned my syllabi this year in less ‘wordy contracts’ and more infograph.  Mind you there are still lots of words on the syllabus – but it is less wordy than previously, the font is bigger, and it should stand out from the other syllabi students will be receiving.

Made with Piktochart – better control over look and design.
Made with MS Word – not exactly what I wanted.
Syllabus for same course that was used last semester.

I used Piktochart to create it, after a failed first attempt using word.  They have lots of snazzy templates, but I couldn’t really find something I ‘loved’.  Therefore, I ended up building something from scratch.  I based the color scheme and lots of the design elements off of pages from old books (especially books with pictures).  I’m pretty satisfied with the final product, although it took much longer to produce than usual.  Hopefully, in the future it won’t be so time consuming.  Here is a link to the full-size version.

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Reading Strategically in College and Grad School

This post is primary focused on how grad students should go about tackling the tremendous amount of the reading they need to do.  It offers some advice, however, that undergrads should probably take to heart.

My piece of advice is:

“Reading without taking notes is time wasted. Taking notes on your reading will help you process the information more deeply. In graduate school, the purpose of reading is not to learn definitions or simple facts, but instead to develop a deep understanding of concepts and to be able to apply those ideas to your work. To do that, you cannot simply passively read texts. Taking notes and annotating your texts while reading will help you think deeply about what you read. Good note taking will also save you time in the future. Marking useful quotes or annotating your readings well means you will not have to read that same text over again to find the main points.”

Source: Reading Strategically | Graduate Connections | University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Less humanities for engineers ?

At times I get the feeling that my colleagues in math and the sciences don’t value the type of learning and knowledge that is taught in history, literature, and political science.  I’m really pleased to see this group of engineering faculty standing up for the idea that their students will be less valuable as employees (and perhaps as members of society) with a general education that doesn’t require coursework in the humanities.

Of course at the heart of this change is the idea of ‘accreditation’ and having demonstrable learning competencies.  This is just one of hundreds of examples of how the demand that colleges “prove” students know something is actually weakening students’ educations.

Source: Faculty members criticize proposed changes to gen ed accreditation standards for engineers | InsideHigherEd

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APP That Can Predict GPA

A Dartmouth faculty member has produced an APP that monitors student behavior – study time, partying, sleeping, exercise, etc. – to determine what a student’s GPA will be at the end of the semester.  As far as I can tell, the APP has not been released to the public, but some of the take away points is that high performing students tend to limit conversations at the end of the semester and spend more time studying than partying.

Source: StudentLife Study

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History of Eductional Accountability

Interesting story on how the educational accountability movement began in the progressive era and why teachers have not been able to resist or stand up to it.  The author, however, suggests that higher education has been able to resist the accountability movement, but anyone involved in reaccreditation at a college or university knows that isn’t true anymore.

Source: Education reformers have it all wrong: Accountability from above never works, great teaching always does – Salon.com

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Using Team-Based Inquiry to Teach Research Skills in the Humanities

Interesting story from Inside Higher Education about a way of teaching research skills in the Humanities.  The inquiry approach is something I could see using in Historiography, not sure about team-based research though.

Source: Trying Team-Based Inquiry to Teach Research Skills in the Humanities | GradHacker | InsideHigherEd

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Technology and Higher Education

Great Chronicle of Higher Education piece about how technology can not address inequalities in education, because it does not have the power to inspire the motivation that students require to succeed.  Moreover, technology without a trained and dedicated instructor also fails to  achieve highest of outcomes.

Source: Why Technology Will Never Fix Education – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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