Reflections on the Learning Record

A mountain range reflected in a lake so that the mountains and sky looks duplicated in the lake

For my third time teaching "Rhetoric of Revolution," I am using a non-traditional method of assessment - The Learning Record (LR). This method has really changed some of my in-class methods and has also made me reexamine my teaching persona.

The Medium is the Mentor: How Failing With an LMS Altered My Teaching Ethos

It took me a while to accept that I can never have all the answers. It took even longer for me to realize that this is a wonderful, fortunate fact. As an instructor, a tenacious part of me clung to the fantasy of a future of flawless knowledge and perfect leadership. Sure, I’d tell myself, I flail about now and again in front of my students, bewildered by a question or flummoxed by a comment I wasn’t expected, but that’s just because I’m relatively new to my course materials, to this emerging technology, to [insert convenient excuse here].

Student Comments on Technological Lesson Plans

In the middle of this semester, I decided to do a survey of my students, to see what they had found helpful so far and what I could do to help them get what they wanted out of the rest of the semester. One of the things I discovered from this survey was that the lessons I found most interesting were not necessarily those that the students found most helpful. Two of my three favorite lessons to teach, and two of those that most depend on technology, attracted comments that questioned their utility.

Physical Objects in the Digital Lab

Image of papier-mâché and computers

These days I only accept student papers through electronic submission, but this May I’ll have quite a handful of things to carry away (literally) from my last class.

Let me explain.

Creating a Safe(r) Classroom for Trans* Students

I believe that most of us here at the DWRL want to create safes space for trans* students. Unfortunately, creating a safe classroom isn’t always the most intuitive practice--especially when it’s so easy to stay blissfully ignorant about cisgender privilege. Personally, I’ve never intended to make trans* students uncomfortable. Still, as I think back to my experiences as a TA and AI, I can’t help but notice things I could have done better. Regardless of intention, that’s not cool. One of the things I could have done better? Roll call.

Tell me where it hurts: Designing mid-semester course evaluations

For as long as I’ve been teaching, I’ve made a point of checking in anonymously with my students at mid-semester, asking them what’s working and what’s not to ensure we can all get the most out of the time available to us.

The Great Beyond: Teaching Technologies from an Inexpert Perspective

Hermes typewriter

As a teacher a generation older than most of my students, I begin to increasingly find myself in the role of “digital immigrant” to their “digital native” status. Most of us tend to be more familiar with technologies of our youths, inevitably falling behind the curve a bit as new media resemble the ones of our earlier days less and less.

Technological Nostalgia and the Academic Year to Come

XKCD comic "Time Ghost"

I feel so out of touch when it comes to video games.

Optional Collaboration and "Winging It"

Apple pie and a mushroom cloud

I’m a big fan of "winging it" in the classroom, a practice my colleague Scott Nelson addressed in a 2012 Blogging Pedagogy post. Typically, my improvisation is restricted to my lesson plans, which I leave informal and loose so that there is room to shift gears depending on the class's needs, interests, and concerns. This semester, though, my “winging it” extended to the broader arc of the course.

Surveying Perspectives

Sample graph

As the semester winds down, I have been thinking about my students’ responses to my course topic. Death and dying are universal facts, but our various responses to them are far from universal. This week I asked them to complete a short, anonymous survey that summarized their individual responses to the different topics we covered and conversations we had.



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All materials posted to this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. We invite you to use and remix these materials, but please give credit where credit is due. In addition, we encourage you to comment on your experiments with and adaptations of these plans so that others may benefit from your experiences.


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