What to make of these questions about teaching?

A survey (HERI) that Bucknell asked me to take included the following question: during the past year have I ever in class…

I can’t imagine a class at a liberal arts class that is not frequently in about all of these?  The fact that the question is asked is odd to me.  Am I that odd?  Are most faculty only lecturing and never asking students to write or do group projects or support arguments?  Who would say not at all to more than a few of these?

 

Frequently Occasionally Not at All
Ask questions in class
Support their opinions with a logical argument
Seek solutions to problems and explain them to others
Revise their papers to improve their writing
Evaluate the quality or reliability of information they receive
Take risks for potential gains
Seek alternative solutions to a problem
Look up scientific research articles and resources
Explore topics on their own, even though it was not required for a class
Accept mistakes as part of the learning process
Seek feedback on their academic work
Work with other students on group projects
Integrate skills and knowledge from different sources and experiences

Leave a comment

Filed under higher education

Bibliographic Software- what do you use?

I did this quick review for my Academic Ladder group.
I USED to use Endnote.  Got too cumbersome and tricky.  I stopped more than five years ago, so I can’t even recall details.

My U switched to refworks.  This was very nice at first.  It is an online database.  So, you have an account.  With most search databases and our catalog, it was one click importing.  It supports “descriptors” you edit, like tags.  Like, all known biblio outputs for every style.  Your database lives in the cloud, so you can be at ANY COMPUTER with internet and get to your library.  You can have folders, lists and stuff.  It ALSO has a plug-in for word that allows you to add citations as you write.  So you write, you think “oh, smith 1987 here.”  You then search in word your library, find smith,and stick it in.  It adds some code to your paper. At the end you push a button and all code becomes correct citation and a bibliography is made.

Issues.  1) My library has gotten so big, it is a bit sluggish at times.  2) It does not capture web-based metadata as nicely as Zotero.  3) The word plug in was buggy for awhile, like 2 years, which irked me.

I am romantically a sucker for open-source stuff.  I started using Zotero ALSO.  Very similar to refworks except it is free, designed by academics for academics.  Your library lives in a cloud.  You can sync it to a local program, zotero standalone, for when you are NOT on the web (I think refworks can too).

Pluses for zotero: it is VERY GOOD at getting metadata.  So, say I need a book that is not in my refworks library.  Rather than got to catalog, search, export, etc, I go to amazon, or catalog, and in firefox, there is an add-on such that with one click Zotero grabs the citation.  Also, it can make citations of webpages, blogposts and so on.  Plus in firefox, you can open a window and edit the citation or ADD NOTES easily.
2) It seems to support networks or communities of schoalrs more readily to share libraries.  I have not done this a lot, but could imagine so.

Me today: hybrid refworks and zotero user.  If I were starting over, I’d be all Zotero.  I haven’t switched all the way as it looks like a lot of work and so far my patchwork approach works.

Leave a comment

Filed under Information and Communication Technology, life, writing

Desktop

Desktop by jordi sunshine comas
Desktop, a photo by jordi sunshine comas on Flickr.

Trying some new behavior modification…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

IS ADD medicine over-prescribed in adults?

Or kids?

That is the $20,000 question.

This sort-of article in the NY times (maybe a blog post) does not really answer it.

First, if adults are now taking ADD meds, it can be because there is a real population of the needy who were not diagnosed or medicated. Is that over-prescribing?  Well, only if we can find that the people taking it are not fitting the diagnosis of ADD.

That is a valid question, but as the article points out, this report does not really nor can it, really answer that question.  So, instead, we tend to look at the question and answer it based on our own ideas.  If you think ADD is not a real or wide-spread problem, then, yes, it is over-prescribed.  If you think meds are a valid part of treating problematic problems, then this is progress.  If you think that perhaps people exhibit ADD symptoms due to their context, such as more stimulus, too little exercise, too little positive work structure, too many boring jobs, and so on, then we can medicate people to help them conform to context, but we are avoiding a full-spectrum approach.

I tend to be in the latter two camps.  Meds can help.  But it is worth asking if we have the best contexts for learning (kids) or working (bigger kids) for ADD people to be productive and resilient.

Leave a comment

Filed under psychology, sociology, Uncategorized

Is Sociology Too-Leftist?

” Sociology, for example, should be central to so many national issues, but it is so dominated by the left that it is instinctively dismissed by the right.”

So says Nicholas Kristof….

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-professors-we-need-you.html?_r=1

As a half-sociologist, I have some insight on this. Conservatives would rarely find themselves intellectually in accord with sociology. Modern conservative thought is deeply enamored of a naive economics that assumes that humans always maximize narrow economic interest and that therefore markets will deliver the best outcomes in all cases.

Sociologists, mostly, assume that humans are partly economic, and partly social. In other words, we are motivated by other forces, including family, identity, religion, or ideology. In fact, we cannot understand humans as only individuals, but must always see them as embedded in larger social forces and structures. My point: you can’t really do sociology as a field of inquiry if you agree with modern conservative thought.

So, with all due respect Mr. Kristof, it is a self-selection away from sociology more than any strategic decision to chase off conservatives.

I wish sociology did figure into more discussions of policy, but blaming us for not being sufficiently beholden to conservative thought is misplaced.

Leave a comment

Filed under sociology

OECD shows teachers do worse compared to comparable workers.

Student post prompted me to dig into this…

US teachers only earn about .6 in their careers of what the average worker with 15 years of experience and tertiary education does.

 

oecd teachers

US teachers lose pay over time compared to others with training.

Leave a comment

Filed under sociology

Mapping Projects, poeple, and orgs: Software to map square and bimodal networks

Sent to Socnet.

Hi,
I sketched on a napkin the other day a “map” of social innovaiton at my campus.
On it I had as “nodes”
  • - Projects
  • - Actors (like students, faculty, centers)
  • - Amorphous constituencies like “faculty” from which actors could come, or whcih projects could serve or interest.
I drew some ties for relations like
  • - created
  • - fund
  • - are interested in
I was thinking, I could make a “figure” of this, but any new data would involve manual additions.
Is there a software tool anyone recommends?
In mu ind, it is like a hybrid of a square matrix, like all the actors to the actors, and a bimodal network, actors or constituencies to projects.
Plus, I was thinking of differing relations which could be visualized.  So, maybe behind the visualization are different matrices that can be added or removed from the visualization.
Finally, I was thinking of this evolving over time.
I realize some of this relationships may not theoretically make sense with some kinds of lay out algorithims.  For example, I am not sure what it would mean to try to find the most central node when there are both actor-actor and actor-object (bimodal) relations, but at the moment, I was more looking for a tool to visualize these relations and dynamically update data to create newer visualizations.
I added a picture if that helps…
IMG_20140212_113043_381
 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Social Networks

The Illogic of Being a Homophobe in the Locker Room

I posted on Facebook, but I own these words, Zuckerberg.

 

ok, so a gay football player comes out. The guys worried about this say something like “yeah, but I’m going to be naked inn front of him, in the locker room.”

Ok. Let’s break this down.

First, sorry to break it to you, but odds are, there was ALWAYS some closeted gays in the locker room. So, if there is any harm to you in them “looking,” it has already happened. See? Don’t you feel better?

Second, if you think that they might, I don’t know, get attracted to you or something, and, following #1 above, it would have ALREADY happened. Have you EVER seen someone in the shower or locker room get an erection ??? No? Ok, so it is not a social space where sexual feelings get expressed.

Three, if you think they might, I don’t know, what, touch you/ Sexually assault you? Well, that is against the law, not conducive to team morale, and, in general, not a smart move for someone who wants to keep playing sports. So, while there are always some depraved heteros and homos, being gay does not mean your (always there but closeted) gay teammate is some uncontrollable sex fiend who is going to cause problems.

Four. Ok, so maybe your (closeted) gay teammate sees you and later fantasizes about you. Maybe. I am just trying to imagine the problem. Ok, well if you can’t see that as a compliment, then at least you can now know what it feels like to be objectified as a sex object like most females do. So, net gain: you can be more empathetic now.

So, in sum, if it causes you harm, it is cause your just hung up knowing she or he is gay. Any other possible concerns are BS.

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, Politics, Power, Activism, sociology

The Society Pages

The Society Pages.

Seems like a great resource I can use for teaching…

 

I loved the Contexts magazine.  is it still around?

Leave a comment

Filed under sociology

Theory and Practice and… Blueprints

So, in my classes, I emphasize how management, and our approach to it, is the nexus of theory and practice.  Moreover, there is always negotiation, always “play” in the ways theory and practice align or don’t.
And I see it everywhere…
Walking into Taylor today, I noticed the workmen hunched over a very formal-looking blueprint that said “School of Management.”  They were clearly engaged in some collective problem-solving about how to translate from blueprint to whatever they are doing (must be above my paygrade).
I pointed out that the blueprint had stamped in the corner “not for construction.”

1 Comment

Filed under humor, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies)