Posted on May 14, 2019

Attributes of Well-Written Assignment Instructions

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Fork in Road with Conflicting Right Way Sign

When you are teaching a face-to-face course, you have some freedom to provide assignment instructions to your students that are somewhat imprecise. This is because you have the opportunity to provide further clarification or to answer any questions in person when your students are right in front of you....

Posted on Nov 19, 2018

Google Translate: Freund oder Feind (Friend or Enemy)?

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Google Translate Venn Diagram

Google Translate is an astonishing program. It converts words and even whole sentences back and forth from dozens of languages through multiple modalities; you can type, handwrite, scan, and even say whatever you want to communicate. Its accuracy—at least in French, German, and Spanish, the three languages that I...

Posted on Oct 10, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 3: Learning from the Other Side of the Podium

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Recently, I went back to school for the first time in 20 years. Although I was at the university every day teaching until about two years ago and have often taken adult-education courses, I hadn’t been a student in a class for credit since 1997. (In case you’re wondering,...

Posted on Jul 23, 2018

Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bottom-Up or Top-Down?

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Stepped Pyramid

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a well-known hierarchy of different levels of cognitive skills, often used in education to distinguish between higher-level cognitive skills and lower-level cognitive skills. (See this article for a history of the development and refinement of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloom’s Taxonomy by Patricia Armstrong.) A revised version of...

Posted on Jun 22, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 1: The Loss of the Live

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One must start from that which is barely knowable but knowable to oneself and try to know what is knowable without qualification, passing, as has been said, by way of those very things which one does know. —Aristotle, Metaphyics   As someone who does research for HotChalk’s Learning Design...

Posted on Jun 01, 2018

Teaching Controversial Materials in the Online Classroom: Forbearance, Turpitude, or Learning Opportunity?

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Two mouths fighting with tongues like fists

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” —Albert Einstein, US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955), no original source given   As news and social media make readily apparent today, almost any subject can be controversial. In fact, contentious debate...

Posted on May 21, 2018

Writing Better Quizzes and Exams: Reasoning Questions and Asking “Why?”

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Quizzes and exams often make one crucial pedagogical mistake: they do not ask enough reasoning questions. Reasoning questions, simply put, are questions that ask about the reason why an answer to another question is correct. For any given quiz or exam question, there is always an implicit chain of...