How a Grumpy Professor Developed a PLN

Question of the Week ISTE Standard for Educators 1C challenges professors to “Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.” But what if networking is not our forte, offline or online? What if we don’t quite understand how to get engaged on social media? Is that a requirement for…

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Displaying Cultural Literacies in Canvas LMS

The Problem – My Assignment Fell Flat! All of us professors have had it happen. We work hours and hours to create The Perfect Assignment™. We pour in our anxious hearts and troubled souls, doing our best to enrich students’ lives. Instead of enraptured students’ insights, we hear crickets. What went wrong? What happens sometimes…

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Book Review: Windhall by Barry

Windhall : A Novel by Ava Barry My rating: 4 of 5 stars “Everyone loves a beautiful dead girl.” Windhall is a novel about Hollywood, how men treat women, fame, obsession, and Los Angeles. Hailey is an antisocial journalist at a counterculture zine turned blog (I think) in LA. He is obsessed with the decades-old…

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Teaching Creates Culture

The ways in which we teach and learn are, Jerome Bruner writes, “a major embodiment of a culture’s way of life, not just a preparation for it.” They are not just techniques for delivering curricular content. They are invitations to indwell the world in particular ways, to live within the long shadow of particular world-views…

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The Andragogy of Heraclitus

In On Christian Teaching, author David I. Smith asks, “If teaching is a complex design process fitted to a context, what are the features of YOUR particular context that you should take into account as you plan?” In response to Smith’s prompt, I sat down and made a list of what it’s like to teach…

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Making Meaningful and Engaging Online Discussion Questions

While the online classroom may be a new learning environment for many students and professors, certain truths remain the same no matter the medium. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that relationships are key to learning. Student – professor communication is important, but so too is student-student communication. One of the best ways…

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Quickly Establishing Class Vibe and Values in the Online Classroom

At ACU Online, we operate on a short semester system. We have six semesters a year, and each semester lasts seven weeks. Short semesters keep things fresh for everyone involved. Professors and students must quickly establish what some call a “class culture” or “class values.” It’s what I, an Austin-raised hippie, call the class vibe….

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On Teaching Christianly – Hospitality in the Online Classroom

One of my favorite parts of professoring is all of the reading I get to do. Primarily, my foci are on the field in which I teach and on becoming a better teacher. Right now, I’m reading a book specific to becoming a teacher who teachers more Christianly. David I. Smith’s On Christian Teaching, which…

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On Promoting Successful Navigation of Choice and Ambiguity While Acknowledging the Paradox of Choice

ISTE Standard for Students 4D recommends that “Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.”  This week I am interested in how to promote those characteristics in an online higher ed learning environment. From my experience, it’s a fine line between giving students freedom one hand, and causing…

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How NOT to Step in It

One of my favorite classes to teach at ACU Online is CONR 637 – Dispute Resolution and the Legal System. It’s kind of a hippie-ish class in which we look at conflict management in different cultures across the world and then try to use what we learned to see our own homes in a new…

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