Podcast Episode 41: Confronting Teaching Challenges With Edward and Doug

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Edward and Doug discuss several challenges they’ve faced in teaching new classes this semester. Edward needs help motivating online students from 3,000 miles away, while Doug tries to energize students in an early morning econometrics class. Edward’s screenwriting class has a lot of moving parts to track, and Doug’s juggling in-class activities and short bursts of lecturing. Both of them wrestle with new Learning Management Systems and other technology. There’s something for everyone in this episode.

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Show Notes

0:00 Intro

0:39 Doug and Edward are newbies again.

6:50 Three teaching challenges we’re facing: student motivation, juggling the pieces of teaching, and technology.

9:25 Edward’s challenge: what do you do when students don’t do the work or miss something important?

13:18 Doug’s suggestions: early detection, a learning contract.

17:51 Labeling how much time the students should spend on each activity. A syllabus quiz.

19:48 Doug’s challenge: teaching 65 students at 8:40 am. A seventh-inning stretch?

27:29 Edward’s ‘Found Minds of Teaching’: where you just were, where you are, what’s next, and what’s working and not.

31:16 Doug’s challenge: teaching a ‘real math class’ for the first time. Modeling problem-solving, accepting students as they are, accepting fear.

33:31 Proofs must be neat but doing proofs can be messy. Teaching math WITHOUT a blackboard or whiteboard.

42:03 Edward: “The only thing worse than using an learning management system (LMS) is NOT using a learning management system.”

44:37 What’s wrong with the LMS? Doug on Sakai: “Like a bad interface to sharing a folder…I liked Canvas.” Edward’s issues with Moodle. We both like Blackboard.

48:15 Doug likes lecture capture and so do his students.

50:04 Doug: from lecturing nirvana to Roll Your Own Lecture Capture with Panopto. Doug’s current lecture set up is messy, but it works.

55:35 Edward: An online class is a reading quiz for every item you post. Using an informal tone. POR: Preview, Organize, Remind.

1:00:22 Growth in teaching is constant. Doug suggests video announcements. The students connecting with you vs. each other.

1:04:43 Doug and Edward’s Teaching Fails. Take responsibility for mistakes. Don’t forget to hit the “record” button. Forgiving failures.

1:11:14 Wrapping up. Beckett vs. Yoda. You can’t change everything.

Ever tried. Ever failed. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

— Samuel Beckett, Worstword Ho (1983)

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)