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Month: January 2019

Academia is Ableist

Academia is Ableist

There’s a conversation happening on Twitter right now about accommodations in college classrooms for students with disabilities.  Many people have articulated beautifully why accommodations are not just a matter of law, but of justice, ethics, and professional responsibility.  But there’s one more big piece of this that I think we’re missing. Institutions of higher education in the United States are inherently ableist.  The ways in which we typically assess student learning are predicated on being able-bodied and neurotypical.  It’s not…

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The Tyranny of the To-Do List

The Tyranny of the To-Do List

I’m someone who needs to-do lists. If I try to carry around everything I need to do in my brain alone I forget things (including deadlines), and I feel a tremendous pressure to not forget things, which is a terrible one-two punch. I’m constantly searching my memory for things I know I’m not keeping track of, and when I do remember those things it’s usually somewhere inconvenient – the shower; in bed as I’m falling asleep; at the grocery store….

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Why They Can’t Write

Why They Can’t Write

I picked up John Warner’s Why They Can’t Write : Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities after hearing good things about it from colleagues, and following John himself on twitter.  I quite frankly longed to be told why my students found writing challenging.  (There is much I can intuit about my students’ habits, and still more I suspect, but there are limits to both.)  I thought the book would be a brief accounting of someone’s faults (students, faculty, administrators…

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Revisiting the First Day

Revisiting the First Day

I was lucky enough to be part of a panel at the AHA last week that talked about formative assessment – assessment that provides an instructor with an opportunity to see what students are learning and provide them with feedback mid-stream, usually separate from the act of awarding a grade. I talked about SOCC, a structured way of teaching my students how to analyze primary sources that doubles as a formative assessment method. You can read all about the panel…

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SOCC at the AHA

SOCC at the AHA

Thanks to everyone who came to the panel I was part of yesterday at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting in Chicago. I was lucky enough to present with Lendol Calder of Augustana College, and Steve Mintz from the University of Texas at Austin on formative assessment in college classrooms. Natalie Mendoza kicked us off and brought us home with great comments, and the questions from the audience were insightful and thoughtful and I enjoyed talking to everyone so much!…

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