Open Letter to Jeremy

light-bulbs

Dear Jeremy:

Your (I suspect) tongue-in-cheek response to a Facebook posting has led me to a lot of introspection and thought. When a colleague posted a very frustrating example of inept prose from a student (if I recall correctly, someone in the last weeks of the second semester of English comp, who should have known better before even beginning that semester), you responded with, “Yeah, I’m not teaching college students… thank you for helping me make that decision. ;)”

It’s always hard to tell if someone is joking in social media, and I realize you probably were—but at that moment, you seemed serious to me, and I was saddened. I can’t depend on my memory anymore, but I’m pretty sure you planned to become a professor, and I fear our water cooler banter may have seriously influenced you.

In any case, you prompted some introspection on my part that I would like to share with you, and with others who might be considering similar professional goals—even if you were just joking. (And I apologize for sucking the comedy from it if that was the intent.)

Note: thank you for letting me use this moment as a foil to dig into my own thinking a bit and writing about it!

Continue reading “Open Letter to Jeremy”

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Your listeners want to remain alive and engaged

I’ve heard for years from people seeking advice on making their slideware more effective. Slides are not the most important aspect of a talk, but handled incorrectly (and probably 90% of them are), they can suck all the impact right out of a speech or a classroom lecture. With just a few guidelines, though, you don’t have to be a PowerPoint superstar to harness its power to give “out loud” more punch.

We have released a free video called PowerPoint CPR that gives you nine simple steps to follow to put you way above the “normal” in creating slide decks. And who wants to be normal in that regard?

Get your video here.

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Is selection bias limiting your story?

Hidden Subway Entrance

How do you know what you don’t know?

It can be one of the hardest tasks to get students to go beyond their own opinions, especially those in the traditional college age range. I speak from two-fold experience: 1) When I was that age, I pretty much knew everything. Over the years, I have realized that I still don’t know what I don’t know, but I can tell that there is a lot within that area of the mental map labeled “There be dragons here.” 2) I’ve worked with thousands of college students at this point in my life (rough estimate: about 7,000). Bonus experience: I have four kids over the age of 25. Most have gone from thinking Dad was just stupid to thinking that maybe he know something worthwhile.

Continue reading “Is selection bias limiting your story?”

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Graphic helps with public speaking fears

Glossophobia

Lydia Bailey, content coordinator of Masters Programs Guide, has shared with us a handy graphic that pulls into one place many useful insights in dealing with the fear of public speaking. (Full graphic at the end of this post.) Continue reading “Graphic helps with public speaking fears”

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To split or not to split: keeping separate Twitter identities

Secret Identity

Note: this post mirrors one I posted on the PSCC Mobile Fellows blog. I think it will interest this audience also.

Brandon Ballentine and I talked about this a bit on an episode of our new podcast, Mobile Talk. (Promotional bit: you can subscribe on iTunes or via RSS feed, or look at the Podcast category for past episodes.) Twitter can be quite a useful tool for sharing information among colleagues and students, and there are a number of mobile tools for managing it. (My favorite is Hootsuite, available for iOS and Android.)

There is a practical question for teachers, though: do you maintain a separate account for professional-interest tweets, or do you simply tweet as yourself from one account for everything you’re interested in? Continue reading “To split or not to split: keeping separate Twitter identities”

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Don’t overload the channels

Bad PowerPoint

Today I got a reminder that teachers don’t necessarily remember that effective teaching equates pretty closely with effective speaking. A colleague at the lunch table commented on the ineffectiveness of teachers who will stand at the front of the room and read off a PowerPoint slide. Continue reading “Don’t overload the channels”

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The real advantage of social media: it makes it easier to ask for info

Tin Can Phone

Yesterday I worked with a colleague from the college on a new podcast for faculty using emerging technology in higher education. I really love what doing something like that does for my own mind. The cliché (which is true, even if cliché) is that to really learn something, teach it to someone else. Because we were putting together something to teach others about social media in education, it has changed the way I’m looking at social media myself. Continue reading “The real advantage of social media: it makes it easier to ask for info”

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Books (people) are always more interesting than their covers

books

I have not posted here in a long time, and honestly I still don’t have the time today, but I know I will miss the opportunity unless I talk about this now.

We are in the middle of the capstone speech round for my classes, the speech to actuate. Several students have impressed me, but a couple stood out today. I offer these stories because of their implications for communication on several levels. Continue reading “Books (people) are always more interesting than their covers”

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Ride the learning curve beyond frustration

student_driver

Let’s make something explicit: just exactly what is that “learning curve” you keep hearing about?

I can’t remember where I first heard this idea, but it has been around for awhile: whenever you learn something new, you go through four stages. Continue reading “Ride the learning curve beyond frustration”

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Creativity comes from the spaces

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Earlier today, my computer was acting weird, so I decided to reboot it. Rather than simply restarting it, though, I shut it all the way down.

This is probably the first time it has been completely shut down in a month. I’m one of those folks who tends to just shut the lid and let it hibernate so that it’s instantly available when I need it, and since it’s a Macbook, it can be weeks before some software glitch causes enough of a problem to make me reboot compared to having to do that two or three times a day sometimes on a Windows machine (although I’m not really trying to restart that debate).

The sense of relief and relaxation I felt was remarkable mainly because I hadn’t noticed how tense I felt until then. Continue reading “Creativity comes from the spaces”

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