After a pretty crappy day, I found shreds of joy in this clip of socially distanced salsa.

In my discipline, teaching small seminars typically depends on students sharing their weaknesses and vulnerabilities in pairs and small groups, gradually building trust while the teacher moves through the room, listening and joining in and backing away as appropriate. Masked students who are 6 feet away from each other will have to shout their failures from behind their masks, which is a totally different dynamic than having students put their…

Post-Pandemic News: 7 Lessons We Can’t Afford to Forget

Journalists are often criticized for emphasizing bad news. On a day when there are no commercial airliner crashes, there’s no need for a story on the fact that everyone who flew today landed safely. I prefer to get my news from the web, so I don’t follow TV news in any form. However, I was interested in this item on how local TV news has changed due to the pandemic.…

Post-publication review as an efficient alternative to pre-publication peer review

Andrew Gelman of “Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science” writes: Peer review is fine for what it is—it tells you that a paper is up to standard in its subfield. Peer reviewers can catch missing references in the literature review. That can be helpful! But if peer review catches anything that the original authors didn’t understand . . . well, that’s just lucky. You certainly can’t expect it. I…

Liberal arts college professor assaults alt-right group member

Carefully choosing language that fits your slant is a powerful form of persuasion. I try to teach my students to recognize and avoid biased language, which is a more difficult process than simply firing back with different biased terms that support your own slant (“You’re an anti-choice woman hater,” “No, you’re an anti-life baby killer!”). But rhetorical fairness is not the same thing as uncritically giving equal time to “both…

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A Matter of Perspective (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 13) Multiple-POV Courtroom Drama

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. An agitated Riker, beamed off of a research station just before it explodes, finds himself charged with murder. Testimony from Riker, the victim’s widow, and (indirectly) the victim tell conflicting stories. A solid storytelling concept, which somewhat freshens a mishmash of already-familiar TNG tropes: a brilliant male scientist, his attractive non-scientist wife, Riker’s libido, Picard’s hard-working noggin, and the Science Thing of the Week.…

Synchronous Online Classes: 10 Tips for Engaging Students

Every time I have taught an online class, I have made it asynchronous. I’m blogging these synchronous teaching tips so I can find them again when I’m prepping my fall classes (which will likely be HyFlex). The tips offered here won’t miraculously eliminate the initial awkwardness of virtual class sessions, but they’ll help. And over time, the rhythms and idiosyncrasies of virtual meetings will become normal, even comfortable. What’s more,…