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Don’t Be Cruel

[M]angled syntax, disordered thinking, and frequent error happen to be hallmarks of a novice writer learning a new discourse. If we incorrectly assume they reflect a lack of effort or character — and base our feedback on that assumption — we do our students a disservice and risk inflicting real damage. | It takes enormous amounts of time and mental energy to craft substantive, constructive comments that will truly help students…

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Breaking: Student consults syllabus before asking question about course schedule

NASHVILLE, TN – Vanderbilt University is currently under lock down after a student reportedly consulted his syllabus before asking a question about the course schedule. At least one Associate Professor is in serious condition after going into shock, and several other professor have suffered mild fainting episodes. Police have been able to confirm that Jose Gomez, a junior at Vanderbilt, had raised his hand during the first meeting of History…

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And so it begins: the unmarked assignments counter

This little icon will control my life for the next four months. It’s an iPad app that’s connected to Canvas, Seton Hill’s learning management system. Every time a student submits a new assignment, that number ticks up. Every time I submit a grade, the number goes down. Some assignments are really easy to grade — I scan a paragraph and tick off items on a rubric. Other assignments — like…

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When Students Won’t Do the Reading

Reading this story from IHE recalled my undergraduate class with Austin Quigley (then the chair of the U.Va. English department), who had us write about the newly-published Stoppard play Hapgood. This was in about 1989 or 90, so it was not possible to Google for a plot summary. Even looking up contemporary reviews would have meant a trip to the library microfilm reader. On the day we were to discuss the play — the…

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Seven reasons why blogging can make you a better academic writer

I’ve been doing this since 1999. Why do academics blog? What do academic bloggers get from blogging? Discussions about scholarly blogging most often centre on the need for we academics to write in ways that attract new audiences. If we write blogs, we are told, we can communicate our research more effectively. Blogs enhance impact; they are a medium for public engagement. The advocacy goes on… Blogs (and other social…

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Why won’t the University of Maryland talk about the chocolate milk/concussion study it was so eager to promote?

I took note of this University of Maryland chocolate milk press release while prepping a freshman writing class. What a PR disaster. Here’s an update: University of Maryland issue multiple news releases about a health research project… and then decline to talk about it? That’s just one of the questions piling up about research involving high school football players, concussions and a brand of chocolate milk. […] While the University of…