Data visualization principles (not rules)

You can manipulate data to demonstrate a particular change or effect, but how will you put that into context for your audience? Thoughts on considering the audience, manipulating data visualizations, and principles that govern the process. Continue reading Data visualization principles (not rules)

Group process in the classroom: True collaboration, or Survivor?

Being “voted off the island” is a cultural phenomenon that has sprung up in the last decade, especially in television shows like The Apprentice, Survivor, and American Idol (I don’t watch any of these shows, by the way, I just here that contestants are voted off!).  TV shows that demonstrate collaborative group process?  Non-existent.  They would not make for good television, or so the ad-men tell us!  So when it comes to teaching group process, we don’t have many cultural examples to relate to, and we might be dealing with students who possess a distorted view of “real world” workplaces, where employees who don’t contribute their fair share are simply “voted off the island.”

I want to share my most recent experience with group process as an instructor in a motor development course.  Ultimately, my faith in group process has not been shaken, but through reflection and discussion, I have devised a few best practices that I will be employing in future group assignments.  What follows is an account of student successes and some areas where students struggled.

Continue reading “Group process in the classroom: True collaboration, or Survivor?”

Day in the Life – #dayofhighered

This morning, I woke up around 6:15am, and came across this article of a Day of Higher Ed on my LinkedIn reading list, suggesting that academics respond to a recent critique in a Washington Post editorial that academics are “underworked.”  It resonated, given my recent frustrations with managing my workload, and my feelings that my “work” as a research assistant and teaching assistant has compromised my experience as a doctoral student.  I think it’s always important to really document the “problem” so I figured I would track my day and add it to the conversation on Twitter with the #dayofhighered hash-tag.

So here goes… Continue reading “Day in the Life – #dayofhighered”

Mid-Semester Evaluation – KIN 360 – Spring 2012

I conducted a mid-semester evaluation in my Physical Growth and Motor Behavior section over Spring Break, to assess my performance and to identify areas that I can improve in the remaining seven weeks of the course.  I used a two question open-ended response on SurveyMonkey, and followed it up with an analysis of the 50 most common words using a word-diagram (wordle.net).  This word diagram helped to frame my reading of 36 individual responses.  For a complete description, including the word diagrams, see Mid-Semester Evaluation – Spring 2012. via KIN 360 Course Hub. Continue reading Mid-Semester Evaluation – KIN 360 – Spring 2012

Book Review: Blended Learning in Higher Education

As an instructor, how can I make the most out of limited contact hours with students? A semester seems like a long time… between 28 and 30 hour-and-twenty-minute meetings. But in reality, that time goes quickly, and when the end of the semester rolls around, I often ask myself, “did my students actually learn anything meaningful?”

To make learning experiences meaningful, I struggle with a basic question that most collegiate educators struggle with daily. Do I go broad, and attempt to “cover” lots of material? Or do I choose core concepts, and go into depth, giving students the time and scaffolding to ask deeper questions about the knowledge itself. This deep thinking is the gold-mine that all instructors are trying to find, but sometimes students need some “surface knowledge” before they can start digging deeper.

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My Information Diet

I’ve been prompted to examine my “information diet,” which includes all of my sources of information throughout the day.

I typically wake up around 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning, to the sound of the Michigan State University college radio station, Impact 89 FM. I love the awkward first-time DJs, and the station seems to have an early 1990s nostalgia — lots of grunge.

Ever since I got an iPhone, I now read most of my e-mail in the morning while I am lying in bed. There are about 20 minutes where I don’t want to be physically awake and out of bed, but I need to do something to wake my mind up. I get e-mail alerts from ScienceDaily website, which keeps me up to date on a range of topics from Social Psychology to Sensory Perception. Occasionally, I will tweet the findings of the study — I use twitter to catalog and bookmark things that are of interest to me.

Continue reading “My Information Diet”