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December 15, 2011
This is a GradHacker post by Trent M Kays. The end of the semester is a finite thing. It will happen. It comes every year right about the time most graduate students don’t think they can handle anymore work. I’ve always welcomed the end of the semester, and I’ve always lamented the end of the semester. If you think this attitude is, much like the Shakespearean tradition, contrarian or, perhaps, oxymoronic, then you are correct. However, the idea of the break is nothing to celebrate. Well, at least not yet anyways. It is something to be avoided and disdained because we aren’t done yet. At my university, like many universities, the official last day of class was over this past week, and while we often take that last day of class as a celebratory day, our dilemma is far from over. We still need to grade, meet with students who wish to argue about their grades, meet with our advisors about classes or work for the spring, meet about future meetings, etc. This crunch time is perhaps the most stressful of the entire semester: the last week, the last hurrah, the last push toward our break from insanity.
December 15, 2011
An "unconventional" Student Affairs Unconference is a fairly provocative way of framing an event.
December 14, 2011
Last week I attended a workshop on “backwards” course design: planning courses by identifying the big ideas or main concepts that we want students to master, and then creating assignments by which students can demonstrate that they have mastered these concepts. As basic as this might sound, it’s a radical departure from the default method of syllabus construction in which we cram the books we’ve already ordered into the available weeks of the semester. None of this is new to me, but I need to be reminded every semester.
December 14, 2011
I love this question.  A longtime reader writes: I was chatting with a colleague yesterday.  As we talked, a common theme emerged:  neither of us has found a way to do the following: 1) Easily and collaboratively share and revise documents or other materials on our college’s content management system 2) Easily and collaboratively share and revise documents or other materials on our college’s course management system (or on other open-source course management systems used on campus) e.g create a moodle course for a particular committee or task force and use this as a space to get some collaborative work done on a project.
December 14, 2011
I'm in the middle of reading (actually listening to) Daniel Yergin's amazing new book The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World.  Are any of you also reading The Quest?  (It is 816 pages, or almost 30 hours in audio - and worth every second).
December 14, 2011
Stanford's experiment this fall, offering 3 computer science courses online for free, appears to have been wildly successful, and the school plans to offer more courses next term.  Will this program change how we think about opencourseware?
December 14, 2011
While giving the closing keynote for the NASPA Western Regional Conference last month, I mentioned that one of the frequently used reasons for why some people do not use Twitter is because so many people use the platform to talk about the weather. This particular NASPA event was in San Diego. In November, in sunny San Diego, the weather was joyfully discussed by several conference attendees. We talk about the weather during our face-to-face conversations with one another all of the time.
December 14, 2011
Why hasn’t the Great Recession triggered a massive restructuring of American higher ed yet?
December 14, 2011
We just had our annual “Four Families” holiday dinner.  My husband says this name makes us sound like a crime syndicate or something, but it’s the affectionate way in which we refer to four families who met when our oldest children were in kindergarten together.
December 13, 2011
They're not perfect, but neither am I.



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