Tag Archives: teaching

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

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Filed under higher education

How to use laptops in a classroom…

Some ideas I am including in my syllabus for today about how to manage technology:

Digital Copies and Classroom participation.  The reality is we live in a mixed technology environment of digital formats for materials and concrete classrooms of boards, overheads, and each other.  I am figuring out how to balance the two.  These policies are a work in progress.

1)      Expect you to be ready to discus and share the materials.  You will have to figure out what this means for you.

2)      You may bring a laptop.  I reserve the right to ask you to put it away for certain activities.  I reserve the right to call you out for letting it distract you in class.

3)      I expect you to be good citizens of the information world.  Pay for protected copyright.  Respect other content’s creators by citing them, ALWAYS.  Any image, presentations, link or whatever should be somehow noted or cited depending on the context of the usage.  SO, on a power point lisde, pu a little note at the bottom.  On a blog post, hyperlink.  On a paper use normal citations, and so on.

 

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Filed under higher education

Karl Weick Keeps You on Your Toes

As we were discussing yesterday in class, Karl Weick’s work is an influential example of the open systems approach.  On the spot, I tried to get us to think of examples of retrospective rationalizing.  My memory is that it was…painful.  And that pained me as Weick is influential because his ideas are original and relevant.  They always keep you on your toes as a thinker.

In grad school, it was a treat to read The Social Psychology of Organizing (still in print since 1967!!).  Not least because he pointeClick to enlarged out that organizations are never stable.  They are always organizing.  And because he used cartoons!  Like this one.  Weick also built his understanding of organizations from the cognitive, the individual, not from the structure down.

What I took from our discussion was that there were two ideas Weick covers that we wanted to describe not in conceptual terms, but in empirical terms.  These were retrospective rationality and enacting the environment.  Retrospective rationality is the idea that we act in a myriad of ways and then “make sense” of our actions in cognitive and linguistic terms that attempt to make them rational.    This si not because humans are dumb or lazy.  We act and then think because the unending flow of activity of the world demands it of us.  The ways in which we act are also due to a myriad of past reasons and contingencies.  In other words, there are always more reasons we have acted or that may explain are actions than we need.

There is equivocality in the world.  We don’t always know why things are.  Hence retrospective rationality is about reducing equivocality; reducing the welter of contradicting reasons why we may have acted or that may explain why the world of human affairs is as it is.  To be adaptive to this environment, to be open, requires tolerating some messiness, some disorder. For example, in SPofO, he writes:

…the inability of organizations to tolerate equivocal processing may well be the the most importnat reason they have trouble.  It is the unwillingness to meet equivocality in an equivocal manner that produces failure, nonadaptation, autism, isolation form reality, psychological cost, etc.  It is the unwillingness to disrupt order, ironically, that makes it impossible for the organization to create order (41).

But what about examples?  In his 1995 book, Sensemaking in Organizations, Weick offers tow research-based examples (29-30).  One involves asking film executives about the future of the film industry after they look at financial reports for the preceding three years.  Logical approach, right?  As it was reported, the exercise reflected how much variation in understanding there was about what had happened in the past.  Hence, any attempt to udnerstand the present and future was beset by equivocality.  Something explained past performance?  But what?  Consumer tastes?  Directors’ abilities?  Cultural zeitgeist?  A second example was a control group psychology experiment (very classic in style) where peopel were randomly assigned to groups that would be arbitrarily assigned low or high performance status (irrespective of actual results).  Those in high performance groups reported that in most areas of group function, guess what, they scored higher than low performing groups.

Closer to home, here is an example that came to me.  Faculty over years have been adapting their teaching differently in different disciplines.  In addition, students come to expect different outcomes in their grades.  There is often a unspoken negotiation about the meaning of grades.  At some point, the observation (which is verifiable) that average grades have gone up is made. Why?  Suddenly, retrospective rationalizing and sense-making kick in.  Is it smarter students?  A corrupted grading regime?  Reasonable adaptation to job market?  Better teaching?  Evaluation score-seeking faculty?  Equivocality is high, but everyone in higher eduction starts taking organizational action DESPITE the equivocality.  They make sense of the situation.

Enacting the environment will have to come in a second part.

Oh, this is also my book contribution, although not technically new books…

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Filed under psychology, social theory

Through the Wardrobe Door

My wife, Virginia Zimmerman, starts her own blog about Children’s Literature, Victorian literature, writing, and teaching. She launches with a nice post explaining a quotation from CS Lewis.

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Graph your Facebook friends

Bernie Hogan is my new hero.  He has written  a lovely little app that allows you to extract your Facebook network in a format that you can use in GUESS or UCINET.

My Online Network.

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Filed under Social Network Sites, Social Networks, technology

To Wiki or not to Wiki?

Write this email to Bryan Alexander over at NITLE to see if his input could help me make a quick dicision about “to wiki or not to wiki?”

I am thinking of trying to use a wiki for two projects.

1)      Organize the ever more cluttered and bushy set of resources i would like to draw on in my teaching.  I have been a pack rat for awhile with both print and electronic resources.   When it comes time to dip into this pool to build syllabi, I tend to ignore it as it is hard to access.  I was imagining that a wiki could help me combine tags or a folksonomy with links and some brief commentary.

2)      As a collaborative tool in a class I am about to teach on organization theory.  The plan is to have students and myself educate ourselves on  the financial crisis and work together to find out “what went on.”  I though a wiki could be used to build knowledge and resources.

My university has Blackboard and there is a wiki tool there.

I was wondering if you have any thoughts about wiki tools or platforms.  Is there one good one for academics?  Is there an “industry leader” out there?

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Filed under Living Web, pedagogy, technology

Research ideas for Six Degrees Students

Research Ideas for My Students

Hello folks. This is by no means a comprehensive set of resources. It more reflects sources that seemed to be of interest to two or more of you AND that I thought might not jump out at you as pertinent. It is a mix of search terms, blogs, alternative media, as well as books and scholars.

For a few of you, I had specific ideas and those are at the end.  So read through to the end. If I did not comment on your specifically all it means is that your topics are either covered below, or, I don’t have any special suggestions.

General Ideas

The FIRST place for everyone to start if they are basing their paper on a topic in Six Degrees or Tipping point is to look at the references in the back of each book.  Watts provides a guide to different topics, and Gladwell has notes with references.

Also, you can get a one on one appointment with BU librarian once you have your topic.

EVERYONE should make an appointment with a Bucknell research librarian.

You are welcome to search my blog.  You can search or simply use the tag cloud to clickt hough to a set of posts.

Also, I use a social bookmarking service called del.icio.us.com. Basically it is like a big scrapbook of links I collect.  You are welcome to look there for any tags that match your research keywords.

http://delicious.com/jordisunshine

Click on “all tags” on the left to see my tag taxonomy.  For example, Jen mentioned technology and the presidential election in her topics.  I have a politics tag, and when you click on that, you can see what are “related” tags to narrow it down.  Politics+ technology has three links. One of those, to a book called “Netroots Rising” might be useful.

How to use blogs I recommend: browse them.  Use them to identify key ideas.  Use them to look for book, or article suggestions from more reliable sources (scholarly journals, mainstream press).

How context shapes roles

Stanford Prison Experiment

□ Look for social psychology on the impact of groups or roles

How social network affects a company

□ Work by Rob Cross

David Krackhardt

David Obstfeld

How breakthroughs happen…

Mob Mentality or “Wisdom of Crowds”

□ See Swarm intelligence as a search term. Also this book and tool.

□ See Smart Mobs as a search term. Also, this site and book.

Internet and Society

Pew Research Center on Internet and American life

Financial Bubbles…

Bill Moyers with Kuttner

Interviews with Greenspan

Greenspan debate Naomi Klein, a critic (bubbles and feds role comes up)

□   Planet Money Blog

□   Big picture blog

□   Brad DeLong Blog

Fanatic communities

MeetUp

Org theory post

Size of communities (Rule of 150)

□    Gore-Tex maker

□   More on Gore

□   Another article.

□   Leaderless organization

Advertising and Marketing

Changes that the internet has brought about

Viral garden blog

□   Any search on word of mouth or viral marketing

□   Paradox of Choice.

General blogs on organizations, networks, and sociology: Search them for your topics.

Orgtheory http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/

Complexity

Connectedness

Visiblepath

Jen:

About politics and technology.  The Dean campaign of 2004, and also the Bush Campaign of 2004, started the use of web 2.0 technologies as political organizing tools.  I think this book could be useful.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594514852

Will:

It would be interesting to look at the distribution of hit records over time.  In other words, what proportion of records sold are just a few?  Were the Beatles bigger superstars than a recent “big act” measured as % of all record sales?  How has shift to consuming songs as downloads changed that perception?  Are there fewer superstars now?  What does that mean for music as a business and as a cultural activity?

Charlie:

About diseases: it would be interesting to compare biological and social factors in contagiousness of diseases.

Jeff G:

In terms of channel capacity and music: this reminds me of research now on the cognitive structure of experts vs amateurs.  An expert musician can distinguish more than 7 tones, I think.   What is the evidence that we can increase channel capacity?

Kayla

I am not sure what the best search term for outside-in emotion is.

Emma:

You can do a special kind of search called a cited reference search with a database called Web of Science.  Basically, it tells you who cited a work.  You could look at original article “The Strength of Weak Ties” and see what more current research is saying.  The reference librarians can show you how to do that kind of search.  There will be thousands of articles, so you will need to use narrowing terms.

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Filed under Business, economics, innovation, organization theory, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, Social Networks, sociology

Classes begin…

Classes have begun.  Blogging goes down.  I’ll have to see what happeened to the statistics.

I am teaching a Foudnation seminar called “Six Degrees of Separation” and an upper level Management course called Management 335 “Changing Organizations.”

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