Large Classes FAQ

My colleagues and I like coffee a lot and spend a good deal of time consulting with faculty who teach large classes. Thus, we developed the caffeine-o-meter to demystify the process of improving a large course. Continue reading…

POD 2012 Presentation – Virtual Simulations and Cooperative Learning

(I’m not sure why SlideShare ate some of the PNGs.)

Here is our research presentation (Effects of Virtual Labs and Cooperative Learning in Anatomy Instruction) from the the POD 2012 Conference in Seattle, WA. Thanks to all who came and contributed! Some of my notes from the conference are also embedded below. Continue reading…

ELI Fall Focus 2012

As usual, the Educause Learning Initiative Focus webinar was excellent and has spurred plenty of good conversation about innovation on our campus. Below is a Storify of the lively backchannel and my Evernote notes are HERE.
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Listen, just listen.


The tragedy at Penn State is difficult to handle on numerous levels and unlike many national voices, I don’t feel in a position to nor would it be helpful if I were to judge the facts or people of the situation. As an aside, one of the most balanced views I’ve read on the subject is an article in the Chronicle by our new Dean in the College of Education at MSU and former PSU employee.

What I do know is that kids are the most precious resource our society possesses. As one who’s worked with children who have been sexually abused and/or been an abuser themselves (both very often go hand-in-hand), I’ve witnessed the destruction this insidious crime inflicts on children’s lives. Continue reading…

No, thank you.

As cliche as it sounds and inaccurate as it feels in many a difficult moment, we can never out-give kids, never. I don’t regret any second of time I’ve spent over the past 11 years trying to help kids learn stuff. I regret a lot of other seconds, but not those ones. I’ve received exponentially more than I’ve given.

So thank you, kids. Thank you for teaching and blessing me. Thank you for listening and for goofing off. Thank you for playing with me and accepting me into your world. I will dearly miss you.

Some dude not getting paid, doing it for his cousins


Prompted by a recent talk I attended by the brilliant Punya Mishra, I re-watched this 2011 Charlie Rose interview with Sal Khan. It was well worth the price of admission just to hear Punya’s point on the disconnect between the higher order skills Khan employs to create his videos (e.g., immerse, question, scaffold, make intuitive connections, assimilate, distill, teach) and the lower order skills that are implicitly required of the learners who watch them (e.g., ingest, reproduce, progress linearly).

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Backwards Design & Melding In-Class and Online Pedagogies

Below are two presentations we used in our Faculty and Organizational Development Spring Institute Workshop: “Tech-Savvy Teaching: Melding In-Class and Online Pedagogies.” It’s a little hard to follow out-of-context, but I was really proud of the fact that, before diving into technology tools, we spent almost a whole day on backwards design, big ideas/essential questions, and creating concept maps and visual syllabi. Our faculty did a fabulous job of engaging with this material and creating some wonderful course maps. What’s more, they humored us and trusted that developing good course objectives and conceptual structures was more than half the battle in using technology to maximize student learning.

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Anatomy of A Simple Course Intro Video

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