All good things…

Well, folks, this is it: my last post of the term (because next week is finals and I’m going to be swamped).

I want to thank everyone who did the clicky thing 28 times… that’s right, I wrote 28 posts (including this one) for this blog over the course of what will be arguably remembered as the most “interesting” semester we’ve had in the history of the college (and I lived through the bad old days).

So, let’s recap, shall we? The posts are listed below with their corresponding links.

  1. Hello World!
  2. Updating all your course dates with the data management tool in Blackboard
  3. Content curation and sharing made easy
  4. Book Recommendation: Intentional Tech
  5. Integrating quizzes within videos… and a puppy!
  6. Mind mapping: the answer to everything – Part 1
  7. Mind mapping: the answer to everything – Part 2
  8. SOTL meets Learning Tech
  9. The Swiss army knife of tech tools
  10. Death to… Death by powerpoint
  11. Death to… Death by powerpoint – Some tools
  12. Let’s talk about data
  13. Getting acquainted with Blackboard’s retention center
  14. Not to panic or anything
  15. Don’t throw pedagogy out the window
  16. Captioning made easy with Yuja
  17. In defense of the lecture
  18. Getting back in the groove
  19. Take note!
  20. But, Christine, you don’t even like kids
  21. The rules of Zoom
  22. Get interactive!
  23. Visual elements as narratives
  24. So we made another video
  25. Getting creative with content and feedback
  26. Book rec: Why students resist learning
  27. What I don’t like

Man, that was a lot of content and tools and ideas, and, amazingly, not too much ranting.

One last point I would like to make though is this: I’m not using tech just for the sake of using tech (well…). I try and spend the time teaching myself all sorts of different tools because the more tools I have in my toolbox, the more they help me find creative, off-the-beaten-path solutions to issues, or ways to just get my work done. You all know the old saying: if the only tool you have is a hammer, all your problems look like nails. Investing the time and energy into learning new tools is precisely so not all problems look like nails. It is precisely so that I have options when new problems present themselves.

For instance, years ago, I decided to teach myself html. And you know what, it has paid off many times over even though I’m not a web designer. It has paid off because html is everywhere. Actually, most of the time, when I work in the content areas in Blackboard, I use the html interface so that my content looks exactly the way I want it to, with more sparse code (Blackboard sometimes does weird thing when you use its WYSIWYG interface). When it’s simple documents, I know enough code to just, well, code directly in Blackboard. When it’s something a bit more complicated, I use an html editor, and then copy and paste the resulting code in the Blackboard html interface. In case you’re curious, this is the html editor I use.

I also think one of the best things we can do for our students is make them use their brains in different and creative ways rather than through the same old types of assignments. But, as the authors of the book Why Students Resist Learning, there is a price to pay for that. But to do that, again, you need a variety of tools in your toolbox. And learning new things flattens the learning curve of the next tool I’ll be teaching myself.

And maybe some of the stuff I like won’t work for other people in other fields. As I mentioned before, there is no one-size-fit-all in pedagogy. There are maybe broad principles, but how those translate in practice vary by discipline and classes within disciplines. Which is why a drive to standardize how we teach is, I think, detrimental to creativity and innovation.

Anyhoo, enough pontificating, we all have finals to prep and take care of.

One last time, thanks for reading.

Christine