Category Archives: From the Academic Blogosphere

“I Took a MOOC, and I Think I Liked It” by Matthew Young, PhD (Faculty Focus)

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Matthew Young, McCoy Professor of History at Marieta College, writes about his first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) experience and how he sees MOOCs fitting into his current understanding of what makes higher education meaningful:

Beyond learning how to make some pretty cool maps, my experience gave me new insight about MOOCs. I am not less concerned about impending revolutions and more interested in the ways MOOC content might be used to supplement what I do in y courses. MOOCs perform some teaching tasks capably. At the same time, if course goals include critical thought and analytical skills, MOOCs fall short. That sort of learning relies on a direct connection between teacher and student, and doing this properly on a massive scale is virtually impossible. Rather than fretting about the likelihood of being replaced by a cabal of masterminds immortalized in streaming video, faculty should be reminding themselves and others that what we promote authentic learning through invaluable that we establish with students.

Click here to read the entire piece on Faculty Focus.


David Gooblar, “So Many Papers, So Little Time” (Vitae by The Chronicle of Higher Education)

David Gooblar, literature and writing instructor, regular Vitae contributor, and owner of has written a post about the crush of papers to grade at this time of the semester. From the article:

It’s not just you. All over the country, college instructors young and old are groaning under the weight of too much grading. For some, this circumstance has already lasted weeks. For other, a back-loaded syllabus is only just now collecting its debts. What once had seemed to be a manageable course load has now revealed itself to be nearly untenable, with piles of ungraded papers taunting you in the office, in the car, at home. Although it happens every semester, the extent of it always comes as something of a surprise, doesn’t it? How are you going to get through all this grading?

Since so many of us are in the same boat, I thought I’d devote this column to some ways to lighten the grading load, at least a little. Although there are no tricks that can magically make all of your papers disappear, there are some ways to make your grading more efficient. Let’s see if we can spend a little less time on grading, and a little more time on other things (like sleep).

Click here to read the full article: And check out the comments, too. Other instructors have left more suggestions for relieving the overload.


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Five Suggestions for Supporting Underprepared Students | Cengage Learning

Recently, Cengage Learning published a blog post offering instructors tips for supporting underprepared students. You can read the introduction here, and click on the link below to read the full post.

For a variety of reasons, some students may come in to your classroom underprepared for the concepts and challenges you’ll cover in your course. Though they must do work on their ends to get up to speed and succeed, you can also adopt some strategies that help you support underprepared students and increase the likelihood that they will ultimately perform well.

Read the entire post by Tami Strang at


From the Academic Blogosphere | Two Birds, One Teaching Statement

From David Gooblar, instructor of literature and writing at Mount Mercy University and Augustana College, in Vitae (an offshoot of The Chronicle of Higher Education):

As I probably don’t need to tell readers of this column, crafting individual cover letters, updating a CV, tracking down letter writers, choosing and formatting writing samples, composing research statements, creating sample syllabi, and coming up with the dreaded statement of teaching philosophy can turn into another full-time job. No wonder the fall semester is the hardest time of year for many teachers.
Might there be a way for some of this seemingly wasted work, all of this material sent into the ether, to be made into something useful for our teaching?
One option might be to think of the statement of teaching philosophy—that much-maligned document—as a blueprint for next semester’s syllabi.

Read the entire post at

Read more of David Gooblar’s posts on Vitae or his own site, Pedagogy Unbound.