Author: Marcy Slapcoff

Faculty today

Turning class participation into short written assignments


In the entry from the Teaching Professor Blog pasted below, Maryellen Weimer, PhD, suggests that instructors give students a participation grade for writing ABOUT participation, not for talking up in class. What a novel idea! Weimer writes that the common approach to grading participation rewards students who like to talk and know that verbal participation will win them points. Instead, she suggests that writing short papers about the role participation plays in the learning process is a more fruitful strategy to help students appreciate how important interaction is to the learning process. Read more –>

Universities today

Learning to scythe


This summer my husband taught me to use a scythe. I accepted my friends’ indulgent smiles when I raved about the experience but I knew that many considered this to be a foolhardy and retrograde pursuit. Some asked, “Would you like to borrow our mower?” or “Why not pay your neighbor to cut the field?” assuming our choice was due to lack of funds or lack of awareness of the advancement in power tools since the Industrial Revolution. Read more –>

Events

Short writing assignments: something to consider


Many faculty shy away from short writing assignments, considering them to be the poorer cousin of the term paper or research paper. There is a commonly held assumption that shorter assignments can never match the rigor or substance of longer papers and that faculty are letting students down if they don’t assign a full-length paper (whatever that is according to the conventions of each discipline). Yet, what are faculty to do in a context of increasing class sizes and decreasing TA support? How can we still assess important outcomes such as analysis, synthesis and critical thinking? Read more –>