13 October 2014

Items to Share: 12 October 2014

Education Focus
  • Is it teachable? | Webs of Substance 'When someone presents an objective that seems just a bit too fuzzy then it is worth asking whether it is actually teachable. It could save us from a lot of messing about.'
  • Why I Don’t Like Rubrics | Vitae [Chronicle of HE] 'In my experience, rubrics generally fail in practice because they're not good rhetorical tools. Most rubrics do not speak a language that students understand. Too often, in trying to isolate the skills we want students to master, we fall back on vague and abstract language that means little to them. I don't know about your students, but telling mine that they should "employ language to control the ideas" or "reflect the generativity of the topic" doesn't really help them understand why they can't seem to do better than a C+. Yes, you can work to use more effective language on your rubric, but the problem remains that, abstracted from actual assignments, rubrics often fail to show students what is expected of them in real terms.'
  • Coming Out About Learning Outcomes | Sam Shepherd 'Sometimes a lesson isn’t about the product, but the process – and by their very nature, learning outcomes detract from this. There should still be opportunity for reflection and discussion of what learning happens in a lesson, mind you, it’s just that it shouldn’t be seen as requirement at the beginning of the lesson: why not develop the learning outcomes as the lesson progresses, rather than rely on their conscious application at the beginning?
  • 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Multiple-Choice Questions | Faculty Focus 'In this article, we will examine seven common flaws in the construction of multiple-choice questions that students can exploit to help them select the correct answer based on their testwiseness rather than content knowledge. By recognizing these common flaws, you can learn to write better questions for your tests and quizzes.' 
  • On Yoga and Teaching Writing - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education '[The yoga teacher's] pedagogical choices [...] reflected her larger intention of inviting students to become active participants in their own journey toward understanding yoga. I wonder what would happen if we in higher education adopted a similar mind-set. Consider the corollary: If our larger intention was actually to invite students to become lifelong writers rather than college students passing a course, how might that shift the ways in which we read and respond to their writing?
Other Business
  • The Dog Mom’s Brain – Phenomena: Only Human 'On an intellectual level I understand that having a dog is not the same as having a human child. Still, what I feel for him has got to be something like maternal attachment. And a new brain-imaging study backs me up on this.'
  • A little knowledge : Nature News & Comment 'The trend in science is towards greater openness and data sharing. Communication is instant and in real time; knowledge has never been more fluid. Science traditionally argues that this is a good thing. There is no inherently good or bad technology, goes the mantra, only good and bad applications. Is the same true for all forms of knowledge? One way or another, we could be poised to find out. 

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